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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...


New Handle for a Turning Tool

Plane Shavings Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 1:09pm
The original style handle above the new handle below.

The original style handle above the new handle below.

I just finished re-handling a 1/4″ spindle gouge. It is like new even though I have had it for years. I never used it because I didn’t like the handle. It had the same handle as the skew chisel above it in the photo above. It was too long and an awkward shape. So I found a chunk of hickory and fashioned a new handle in a shape and length that I find comfortable. I finished it in a mix of oil and bees wax with a coat of hard wax over that and a good buffing on a wheel.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Knives In My Shop

Doug Berch - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:36pm

I was sharpening all the knives I regularly use and they told me this was a good photo opportunity. Yes, they told me. I was as surprised as you are. From top to bottom: My pocket knife is almost always in my pocket. Where else would it be? I have recently discovered Opinel knives and […]

The post The Knives In My Shop appeared first on Doug Berch.

Categories: Luthiery

On Logging and Woodworking

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:26am

The first time I visited the hardwood forests of Pennsylvania I was handed a hardhat. At first I thought the loggers were just trying to get me to wear a stupid hat, but within about three minutes, I realized I was wrong. Logging is incredibly dangerous. And while I marveled at the beautiful forests and huge kilns during that visit, I was mostly astounded by how easy it is to […]

The post On Logging and Woodworking appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:26am
Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?
The Cube Design "inlay" around the Drawers is Tarsia a Toppo

Charles Montgomery was one of the most important men in my life, even though I only met him once.  Isn't it amazing how someone can have such an impact in such a short time?  Of course, I had followed Mr. Montgomery and his work for nearly a decade before I met him.  During...
Categories: Hand Tools

Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:26am
Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?
The Cube Design "inlay" around the Drawers is Tarsia a Toppo

Charles Montgomery was one of the most important men in my life, even though I only met him once.  Isn't it amazing how someone can have such an impact in such a short time?  Of course, I had followed Mr. Montgomery and his work for nearly a decade before I met him.  During...
Categories: Hand Tools

Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:26am
Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?
The Cube Design "inlay" around the Drawers is Tarsia a Toppo

Charles Montgomery was one of the most important men in my life, even though I only met him once.  Isn't it amazing how someone can have such an impact in such a short time?  Of course, I had followed Mr. Montgomery and his work for nearly a decade before I met him.  During...
Categories: Hand Tools

Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?

WPatrickEdwards - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:26am
The Cube Design "inlay" around the Drawers is Tarsia a Toppo

Charles Montgomery was one of the most important men in my life, even though I only met him once.  Isn't it amazing how someone can have such an impact in such a short time?  Of course, I had followed Mr. Montgomery and his work for nearly a decade before I met him.  During my time at Winterthur, I managed to find a drawer in the back room of the library where his 3x5 index note cards were kept and I read every one more than once.

At that time I was working on my personal research project: "The Regional Characteristics of American Empire Furniture 1815-1845" and wanted to show it to him.  So in August, 1977, I travelled to Yale and walked into his office.  His secretary was very pleasant and told me he was returning from Europe and would be in the following Monday.  I left my name and contact information for where I was staying in Hartford and left, unsure if I could actually get a chance to see him.

To my surprise, early on Monday I received a phone call from the secretary telling me that Mr. Montgomery would be pleased to meet with me the next day.  I hurried down to Yale and was waiting for him when he arrived that morning.  I noticed that his secretary had a desk full of work that I assumed needed Mr. Montgomery's attention after his trip.  Instead, as soon as he walked in, he shook my hand, smiled to his secretary, and said that he would be in conference and not to be disturbed.

He invited me into his office, which was a desk surrounded by books and file cabinets.  He pulled out a yellow legal notepad, picked up a pen, sat down and said:  "Tell me what you have found."  We talked for 4 hours.  At the end of my "presentation" he said that I needed to follow up on some other lines of research, in particular the "Price Books" of that period.

As you can imagine I floated out of that meeting and the rest of the day was a blur, as I continued on my trip.  When I returned home the next week, I found a letter from him.  It was dated August 16, 1977 and said:

"I enjoyed seeing you last week and remembered after you left something that I should have told you about, namely, an article I had on regional characteristics in a wonderful book, American Arts, 1750-1800: Towards Independence.  It dealt with regional characteristics and I enclose a xerox copy for you.
Good luck to you."

The next year I heard that Charles F. Montgomery, Curator of the Garvan and Related Collections of American Art and Professor of Art History, had died at the age of 68.

The reason I am thinking of this episode of my life is that Charles Montgomery wrote one of the most important books on American Furniture I have: American Furniture: The Federal Period, published in 1966.  I asked him to sign my copy when I was there, and he graciously wrote: "For Patrick Edwards, on the occasion of a most interesting discussion about Empire furniture.  Good Luck."

In this book, he began to create the basic structure for "regional characteristics" as a way to understand American furniture, and his work is certainly responsible for the quality of research and analysis that is currently being conducted.  He discussed form and design, including decorative elements, as well as wood species and construction features, and started the classification of these features using documented examples from each region.

One page of the book, in particular is significant, as it is the first time I am aware of that the "inlay" motifs found on furniture are attributed to a region.

Taken from Montgomery's Book

Charles Montgomery referred to this material as "Stringing and Banding" and most woodworkers I know just call it "inlay."  Mr. Montgomery did not explain how it was made or why he considered it to be a regional characteristic beyond the fact that it was found on documented pieces from a certain area.

It was a decade later that Dr. Pierre Ramond published his work, Marquetry,  that I actually began to understand the process of how this "inlay" was made, and why it might be localized to a certain region. In addition, I learned the proper name for this decoration: Tarsia a Toppo.  The real problem with the term "inlay" is that it is both a verb and a noun.  Thus, I can describe "inlaying the inlay" into my furniture, but it is not clear what I mean.

Pierre shows the process of making Toppo in his book.  His chapter on "Procedures" breaks down the historical development of marquetry into 5 methods, each with a uniquely different process.  Tarsia a Toppo is one of these.  The reason it is local to a specific region is that a workshop making Toppo generally only makes Toppo, and not other work.  The design is built up in a block which is quite large, and then strips of "inlay" are cut off and sold.  To survive in the market place, a Toppo maker must have several cabinet shops in the area to purchase his stock.  That is why a Toppo supplier in New York would usually supply New York cabinet shops and a maker in Boston would supply Boston and the surrounding area, and so on.

Pierre illustrated the making of Tarsia a Toppo here:

Taken from Ramond's Book

I am sure that there are an infinite number of possibilities for Toppo design.  That is one of the exciting things about the process.  If you can imagine it, then you can build it.

These days, inlay banding or Toppo is manufactured commercially and sold in supply houses.  Here is an example of "store bought" and "home made" strips:

Commercial Strips on top and Home Made on bottom
Over the years I have made toppo for projects and restoration, generally since I work in thicker material and modern strips are too thin for my use.  Also, I like the subtle irregularity in the design which matches the hand made work I do.

Here are some of my examples:

Home Made from Sawn Veneer
And for lectures, I have made a larger than usual example to pass around:

Sample Toppo
There is a sub-set of Tarsia a Toppo which is unique to England.  It became popular during the 19th century and is called Tunbridge Ware.  I have a book written by Brian Austen and published in 1989 which goes into great detail about how it was made.  I usually compare it to needlepoint, in that the design is made up of small squares of wood in different colors.  Like Tarsia a Toppo the design is made up into a large block and then cut into thin strips which are glued on the project.  Here is a page from Mr. Austen's book:

How Tunbridge Ware is made
Here are two examples of this type of work which are also from his book:

Two examples of Tunbridge Ware

Rosewood Box with Tunbridge Ware 
Another example of this type of work is a method used in Japan.  I first heard about it from Pierre and almost didn't believe it was possible.  However, now that I see it on YouTube, I believe it.  It involves the same method of making a pattern in a block.  The big difference is that the strips are not sawn off the block, but instead a razor sharp plane is used to strip off the surface, which is then glued down on the project.  Simply amazing.  

Here is one example of the Japanese Tarsia a Toppo method: Japanese Work

Like the Tunbridge Ware I would not like to be asked to restore this kind of surface.  I am kinda spoiled by working with 1.5mm thick sawn material.
Categories: Hand Tools

Crap Wood for Good Workbenches

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:19am


A common bench-builder’s lament: “My home center stocks terrible dimensional wood. I went to every store in a 20-mile radius and didn’t find a single board.”

This blog entry is my retort to that complaint. I’ve bought dimensional stock in every region in the United States for workbenches, sawbenches or other workshop equipment. I have never walked away empty-handed. Here are my strategies.

1. 2x4s are for suckers. I buy the widest, longest stock my vehicle can carry. Not only is it clearer, as a rule, but it is cheaper per board foot. The last time I bought a 2×4, Ron Reagan was in the White House. Go for the 2x12s or 2x10s – rip out the pieces you need.

2. Know how the store stacks the wood. The front of the pile is always – always – junk. I’ve watched home center employees carefully stock the dirtiest, knottiest, splittiest, warped junk at the front of the pile. Their strategy: To snare a sucker who is in a hurry, doesn’t care or doesn’t know the difference.

I will unpack the entire pile if need be. (And I will stack it back neater than it was when I walked in.) Near the bottom of that pile is gold that has been pressed flat by the bad sticks above it as it dried and waited for a woodworker.


See how the pith is tangent to the face of the board? I like this.

See how the pith is tangent to the face of the board? I like this.

Here is the face of that same board. Nice.

Here is the face of that same board. Nice.

3. Look for the pith. Many people will avoid boards that contain the woody sapling in the middle of the board. The pith can cause the board to split, after all. I love these boards that are near or contain the pith. If a small amount of the pith is in the board, the board is going to be quartered or rift-sawn. If you find a clear board with the pith fully enclosed in it (sometimes called a “boxed heart”), grab it and rip the pith out.

Look for tight growth rings. These boards will be denser and more durable.

Look for tight growth rings. These boards will be denser and more durable.

4. Watch the end grain. I look for slow-growing trees where the bands of earlywood and latewood are close together. These boards will be dense and incredibly strong – even if the boards have a few knots.

The wide bands of dark latewood are a sure sign that this board will weigh a lot more than its neighbors.

The wide bands of dark latewood are a sure sign that this board will weigh a lot more than its neighbors.

My favorite boards have wide bands of the hard latewood and narrow bands of the soft earlywood. These boards are like iron.

5. Grab what’s good. I always have a shopping list for how many linear feet of wood I need to buy, but I always over-buy, especially when I hit a nice vein of clear wood. Earlier this year I was at an Indiana Menard’s with a group of students and we found a bunk of the clearest, straightest, driest yellow pine I’d ever seen at a home center. I said only three words: “Buy it all.”

They did.

Today I bought four 2x12x12’ boards, five 2x10x8’ boards and one 1×10 to make a knockdown Nicholson bench this weekend. I also bought all the bolts, washers and screws I necessary for the project. I have enough material for an 8’ bench and spent $130.

Saturday morning is almost here. Very excite!

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

a debt

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:14am

CW 3


I spend a lot of time thinking about connections and chronologies. If you have read my blog much, you know that most of my woodworking connections came through one place, and in that place one family; Country Workshops, and Drew & Louise Langsner. I have been made to feel a part of their family since the early-to-mid-1980s, when I became a regular student at the workshops there. In 1988, I spent several months living with them and their daughter Naomi, who was then about the age my kids are now, 8-9 years old. We’ve been connected ever since.


A big shock came through last weekend, when Drew & Louise’s new son-in-law, 32-year-old Teo Reha was killed in a logging accident in western North Carolina. It’s heartbreaking news; Naomi & Teo had just moved back to the Langsner farm last fall, and set up the old cabin there as their home. They got married on the farm in June. I saw Naomi last summer for the first time in many, many years, and we chatted about when she was a kid, how much she was looking forward to coming back home – that sort of thing.

Louise sent a couple of notes about the burial – it sounded amazing.

“Hello, Peter. We had a very beautiful burial today, up on our pasture looking out over the mountains. All of our friends have been super supportive and giving. Teo’s friends dug the grave and were here to tell stories and make us laugh. Naomi is surrounded by her women friends. Her [biological] mother Kay has been here with her constantly to give guidance and ceremony. It is an incredible feeling to know we are part of such a strong web of friendship and community. It is a terribly painful time. We all had so many dreams of how we would grow old together. It has been especially wonderful to get to know both Naomi and Teo’s friends better and to know they will continue to be part of our lives. Curtis [Buchanan] came and pulled weeds in the garden and returned to build the coffin. It meant so much to us. ..There are no words.

I have never met Teo, so again I’ll let Louise’s words do the job:

“about Teo. He loved his job and was very good at it. He and his boss Joe had a dream of helping people log sustainably and helping the forest be more healthy. He loved poetry and explosives, hunting and animals. He was dedicated to the land and forests, family, community, and most of all Naomi. We only knew the tip of the iceberg of this young man, and even that was larger than life. Our friends are carrying us through this, but it is unbelievably painful. Love to you and your dear family. Louise”

I asked the Langsners if I could write something here on the blog; and Louise said yes. They have given so much to our woodworking community over the years, if you were ever there, then you know how much of themselves they put into Country Workshops. I’m back here in Massachusetts right now, but my thoughts are with my friends back on that North Carolina mountain.

Beyond that, all of us are in debt to a logger somewhere. Every stick of wood that hits our benches, lathes, shaving horses or laps; a logger, either amatuer or professional, felled the tree. Let’s all keep them in mind, and hope for their safety as they carry out this very dangerous occupation which we all rely on so much. To us, they are all but invisible, but they have names, families and loved ones out there.

Love to Naomi, Drew & Louise, from Peter, Maureen. Rose & Daniel

Updating my Logo

She Works Wood - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:16am
I’m updating my logo from my hand drawn logo to a logo done by a graphic designer.  What ya think? Better?  Is it easy to tell tha the tool in the picutue is a rasp?
Categories: General Woodworking

Making a Sargent Mahogany Tote

time tested tools - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:44am

I picked up this nice #410, but it needed a Mahogany tote.

Comments welcomed on the forum.


A piece of old mahogany from a friend needed some sizing.


Comments welcomed on the forum.

Categories: Hand Tools

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase II

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:38am

A couple of days ago I start working on designing a bookcase for for the guest room in our house.  I’ve done a couple of other projects for that room and we really just need this bookcase to finish it off.

The design brief looks like this:  The finished bookcase has to be wider than it is tall, roughly five feet wide by maybe three and a half feet tall.  It will be made from Quartersawn White Oak and finished with the same regimen as the cabinet and sconces I made so it matches in color.  The style should tend toward “mission” or “craftsman” within the Arts & Crafts genre.  I’m generally fixated on Greene & Greene these days, but this works too.  For myself I want to incorporate some stained glass work, and it’s important to me that this be more than a rectangle with shelves and mission-y details.

In the previous post I started by laying out a 2D drawing of the rough proportions first, then building up the initial components and assembling them in SolidWorks.  I ran into a couple of problems, neither were insurmountable, but I ran out of time to go through the model and make all of the requisite changes.  I won’t rehash all of the specifics, but the main problems were around how to fit the back and clearance issues with the side pods and not having enough room to fit everything.

I’ve solved both problems.  For the back — for now — I’m going with a solid wood ship-lapped back.  I changed the width of the staves for a little more visual interest.  They will be screwed into a rebate on the back of the case and into each shelf, which should lock everything together reasonably well.

For the side pods I made them deeper by an inch and shortened the length of the mortises, moving them further back from the edges of the case sides.  This gave me (barely) enough room to inset the middle shelves and door.  I also chased down several other “bugs” in the model, so this is probably close enough to reality that I could build it.

Version one of the bookcase

Now that I have the basic “bones” in place I can start playing with the details to develop a better feel for it.  I’ve already tweaked a few things, for example I removed the through tenons on the toe kicks, I decided that didn’t add anything and it felt inconstant to have them on the side pods but not the center unit.  And adding through tenons on the ends of the toe kick on the center unit would be visually messy with the side pods.

I want to play with the height and shape of the backsplash components, explore different options for the case back, add hinges, door pulls and of course figure out the stained glass design for the doors.  I’ve got another several hours of CAD-hackery to go before I’m ready to decide it’s ready for construction — and then the real work begins.

I’m worried about getting the wide Quaretrsawn White Oak for the project though.  Usually when I see this material it’s in narrower widths.  I can certainly glue up narrow bits to make wider pieces, but for the sides and top shelves at least I really want solid wide boards with some dramatic ray fleck figure.

Realistically I’m at least a week from being able to start on it as I need to finish the Thorsen House Cabinet first.  The woodwork on that cabinet is 99% done, there are just a few details to complete, finishing and making the stained glass for the door.  I’m really eager to see that one come together.

Categories: General Woodworking

New Shop Toy

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:07am

Got a new toy in the shop and no, it’s not Festool.  Let me tell you about it.

Twenty five years or so ago, I designed sewage lift stations for land developers. One day a salesperson came by with a demonstration pump on a small trailer behind his truck.  All the trailer sides rolled up so we could walk around the pump and get a feel for size and installation issues.  I remember standing there with the distinct impression the pump was running, but there was no electrical connection or generator.  I could hear it running and feel the vibration through the floor of the trailer.  No sewage either, thank goodness.  (It may be sewage to you, but it’s bread and butter to me!)  I searched for a minute to see where the noise and vibration was coming from, and finally realized it was from a Bose radio down in the front of the  trailer playing a recording of a pump running.  I have wanted a Bose radio ever since.

Bose Shop Radio

Bose Shop Radio

Finally sprung for one for my birthday last week.  I ordered the attachment for Bluetooth to go with it.  What that means for you Luddites out there, is that I can play music off my phone and my iPad and it comes through the radio.  It is a radio of course, but it will also play CD’s.  The sound is nothing short of fantastic and will rattle the walls of the shop.  It will drown out almost any power tool in the shop and it may drive bugs out of the sawdust pile, depending on what kind of music I play and how loud I make it.

I spend many hours at the lathe and I can hear my new radio while I am working.  I also listen to podcasts, (look on iTunes — ask your grandchildren to help you! )  and there is one particular podcast I really like called “Stuff You Missed in History Class”.  Excellent discussions on some really arcane subjects (did you know that only five people actually died at the Boston Massacre?), but very well done.  Podcasts typically download automatically once you subscribe and there are thousands out there on hundreds of subjects including many on woodworking.

Get yourself set up with a good radio or a Bluetooth speaker and enjoy music and a whole bunch of other good stuff while you work in the shop.

While you are out there, by the way, go look up Bluetooth and the connection with Hedy Lamar, the famous actress.  What a remarkable woman.

Editor’s Note: Some great woodworking podcasts include: Wood Talk and The Modern Woodworkers Association

The post New Shop Toy appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Painting Plywood

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 4:23am

Plywood surfaces are usually not very attractive on their own unless they have been veneered. Attaching veneer or buying pre-veneered plywood or board is often not appropriate for many projects, especially the more functional ones for the kitchen, bathroom or garage storage.

A straight paint job is often the only finish required. The results can be quite pleasing if some amount of care is taken.

I often get questions about painting plywood, which is understandable because painted plywood can look terrible if not done properly.

I prefer to use the non-glossy paints called "satin" paints. These paints do not shine or look like plastic emulsion. They give a smooth, silky look. Dulux and a number of other companies makes these paints and you can choose from many different shades.

The stages to a very decent if not excellent finish are as follows:

1. Light sanding. No abrading, just rubbing gently to remove burrs, loose bits and so on.

First Coat of Primer Applied

2. First coat of wood primer; slop it on any way you can. No need for any technique or finesse.
Water, chalk, paint and scraper

3. Chalk, water and paint mix coat. Chalk powder is readily available in all paint shops; mix this with a bit of water to get a thick cream-like consistency; to this add a bit of paint; mix well and apply.

The chalk coating dried and sanded. Looks a bit patchy but not to worry

If the chalk coating after sanding looks patchy not to worry, the next step will fix it

4. After this dries, sand it lightly with 220 grit paper. If the application is extremely patchy you might consider applying another light coat of the chalk mixture. But this is strictly not necessary provided the coverage has been consistent and complete.

Second coat of primer applied after sanding chalk coat. Slight patches visible.

After another coat of primer things begin to look up even though patches are still visible. Go for another coat of primer if you are a perfectionist give another coat or esle let it be. A coat of paint will even things and no patches will show.

5. Second coat of primer.

6. Sand after primer has dried and apply first coat of paint.

This photo was taken after second coat of paint has dried and sanded thoroughly. In places the primer base is exposed. This is fine because all the high spots have been sanded and the next few coats applied thinly will coat everything beautifully.

7. Let paint dry for at least 24 hours; in the monsoons 2/3 days is better. Then sand thoroughly with 320 grit paper. Do not fret if the sanding exposes parts of the primer coat. The important thing is to rub down the high spots and brush marks of the first paint coat. After sanding the surface should feel smooth to the touch.

8. Apply second coat of paint; let dry and sand again.

This is after the second coat of paint has dried. The surface is excellent already but another round of sanding and a thin third coat would do wonders.

9. Apply a thin third coat of paint diluted appropriately with turpentine. This should provide a good final finish.

Generally, there is no need to do anything further but at times for the extra smooth surface you might want to run down the last coat lightly with 600 grit sandpaper lurbicated with a little water. But be gentle this time and do not overdo things as the last coat is pretty thin.

If the surface will be subject to heavy usage consider placing a sheet of glass over it. A coat of water based Polyurethane could also be applied but that tends to spoil the satin look.

Indranil Banerjie
14 August 2014
Categories: Hand Tools

Best Traditional Woodworking Books & DVDs: “The Handplane Book”

Wood and Shop - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 3:01am


In the above video I share another one of my absolute favorite books about traditional woodworking: “The Handplane Book” by Garrett Hack.


I hesitated to buy this book because I thought it would just be a small book about someone’s handplane collection, but I finally decided to order it online. I was wrong about this book being slim on information. This book is exceptional and very helpful.


Not only does the book have beautiful photographs of historical and modern handplanes, but it also shares the history of handplanes, and more importantly how to refurbish, sharpen, tune, and use handplanes.


It’s also a fantastic reference book to help you identify plane types and characteristics. There are approximately 250 pages of very useful information on handplanes. I know, I know. I sound like a tool geek recommending a 250 page book on handplanes. But when you get interested in traditional woodworking, you devour anything you can get on hand tools. And this book is well written and keeps my attention. It’s hard to put this book down!


You can purchase this title here:





Flattening One of My Benches

Paul Sellers - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 2:08am

Using any wood for a workbench will almost certainly be affected by exchanges of moisture in the atmosphere being sucked into and released from the wood  even though the laminations should hold just fine. This then changes the flatness of the top because, depending on the way the wood orients in relation to the annual rings, different sections expand differently. Sometimes the difference is greater on one piece than another and its this that then causes undulation in the surface. When that happens it can be annoying and especially so if the work in hand depends on flatness. Making my picture frames is a point in case, both for the frames as I assemble the components for fitting and testing the mitres but also for the shooting board because it shouldn’t rock.

In my experience bench tops move and especially so if the benchtop is thick and wide. An unavoidable dilemma for bench makers and users. By wide I mean generally about 16” and wider. By thick I mean from an inch and a half  and on up. In actuality all tops move regardless of thickness and width but it becomes accentuated in larger sections of wood. Thin tops such as those we use for a regular tabletop rarely show much movement at all, but this of course is not suitable for benchtop work. Although the work area requiring thick and heavy mass is actually more localised to the area nearest the vise area of the bench, the remainder of the bench top being the same thickness adds stability, equality of weight and thickness and this in turn adds the uniqueness we workers of wood depend on. Without it we feel totally ill-equipped for work. Oh, it is worth noting that movement takes place in the first year or so. The urge to flatten sooner should be avoided otherwise you will end up doing it two or three times. I would wait for a couple of years and then do it. After that time wood becomes less elastic and movement slows down. It stabilises you see. This is a form of conditioning we used to call seasoning. It works to wait and allow nature to do its thing.


Flattening the benchtop on wider benches is simple enough. In this case I used a #5 jack plane for the whole process and in a few minutes the highs hit the bottom of the lows and I was left straightening to perfection. This benchtop was made from Northern European redwood pine. The bench is dead rigid and does not flex to unevenness in the floor. That means the benchtop should be untwisted as I t won’t change like lesser benches. It also means that any twist should be corrected through planing. I checked mine with two pieces of plywood stood on edge. Straightening the ends with the jack cross grain gave me a starting point. I stood the ply pieces on edge and eyed the two tops to see if I was in wind.


There was a small amount of twist so I levelled the two extremes until no twist was evident. I did the same in the mode section and then straightened all points in between and finished with long with-the-grain strokes for final smoothness with the #4 smoother.


I remove the corners just a tad to make sure there are no weak edges otherwise they break off anyway.

DSC_0020 DSC_0021

Easy enough to plane all round and once true I got rid of the whiteness for my photography and filming needs by using an outdoor water-based stain finish from Sandolin using three thin coats. I roll on the finish with a 4” sponge roller for speed but these leaves suction bumps like minute polka dots in the surface as a texture. DSC_0037

To remove this I then draw the sponge in fixed position (so it doesn’t roll) by jamming the roller with my finger and pulling from end to end of the bench. This evens out the surface so I can still see the grain clearly.


Another thing I added in the finished refinished top is two inserts with a “V’ channel notching to accomodate saw cuts each side of the vise. The saw kerf causes this anyway so I may as well add the recess. Dovetailing it in and gluing it in place means it will hold fast but I can readily replace in a few years time of needed.


It smooths out the appearance and means the saw catches less on the corners that rip and look ugly.

DSC_0030 DSC_0035


The post Flattening One of My Benches appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Welcome to the Team, DZ-015

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 7:36pm


I avoid dealing with large organizations whenever possible, and that is because I am not Chinese.

Somewhere, somehow, some nutjob in the Cincinnati medical community put a note in my file years ago that my preferred language is “Chinese (Mandarin).” While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s a never-ending source of inanity when I go in for a medical test and they hand me forms so they can hire a Chinese translator to be present during the procedure.

This has been going on for years. No matter how many times they delete the reference to Chinese, it keeps resurfacing, even after we switched health insurers.

Exhibit 2: A certain percentage of the times that I fly, I am questioned about why my name on my passport doesn’t match the name on the passenger manifest.

Here’s why the names don’t match: Some computers only allow you to enter 10 characters for your first name. “Christopher” is 11 characters. “Christophe” is 10 letters and is the French version of my given name. Que the cavity search.

So I’m French. Or Chinese.

After many years as passing for an English speaker, I ran into the Chinese problem again today while scheduling a medical test. After going through the whole “you don’t sound Chinese” conversation, she asked me if this test was related to a worker’s compensation claim.

“Yup,” I said. “I was in a rickshaw accident.”

I’ve filed this entry under “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Categories: Hand Tools

Nonpareil, The Elephant Brand.

Hand Made In Wood - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:00pm
I’m certain that the first glance at any hand-saw will start with the handle…. or tote, if you prefer. Next, you’ll look at the manufacturer and the condition of the plate, but it’s the handle that stands out. Whether we like it or not, it’s the first impression that forms our opinion of the tool …

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Categories: Hand Tools

Veritas Planing Stop (Or, Some Tasty Crow)

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 5:56pm

I scoffed a few months back when I opened a box from Lee Valley Tools in which was enclosed a 17-1/2″ Veritas Planing Stop. It’s a thin stick of aluminum with two steel posts that drop into dog holes. I could see how it would be handy, but hey – we’ve got garbage cans full of offcuts (the dumpster is sooooo far away); an offcut clamped across the bench (or […]

The post Veritas Planing Stop (Or, Some Tasty Crow) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Jointer-planer combination machines, part 5

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 5:50pm
Now for a look at the parts and systems of the Hammer A3-31 that can be adjusted and tuned, with particular consideration to the ease, accuracy, and durability of the adjustments. Jointer beds When the machine arrived, the beds were slightly out of parallel to each other across their widths (i.e. in twist) – by […]
Categories: Hand Tools


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