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This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read. A whole bunch! If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me. Thanks!
We again have our hand-forged holdfasts in stock. Price is $189 plus shipping.
To order, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your shipping address. We'll send you an invoice to pay. Simple as that. For more info on our holdfasts, see this.
I haven’t had time to post for a while – lots going on – but I thought I should drop down a couple of lines on how the Biltong Slicer project is going.
This is the design I eventually came up with, and as you can see the design features that set it apart from the other one are: 1. the blade is integral to the handle, 2. the base is shaped, rather than oblong, 3. the cutting board is more rustic than the original, and 4. the base includes a bowl, for the slices to fall into.
I began by making templates for the component parts, first on tracing paper, then onto 6mm ply. This is so that I can reproduce the parts if I should make a mistake, or even if I want to build another one in the future – you never know!
I then cut the components from a raggedy piece of walnut on my new Sawyer’s Bench, resawed them where necessary using the Kerfing Plane and Frame Saw, and dimensioned them. I did the same with the zebrano and acacia until I had the five main components i needed.
Then, using a gouge, I carved out the depression for the bowl, scraping and sanding until I had a decent finish. My next job will be to chop out a thin mortise for the blade and drill holes for dowels to join all the pieces together.
Filed under: Projects Tagged: biltong slicer
Following from the last video, we’re looking at setting up a cap iron. This one’s in two parts and the second will be along on Sunday.
I've had the pleasure of being associated with the Hand Tool community since around 2007. During this time I've met most of the people that made up the majority of the presenters that were present at Handworks this past weekend. I made their acquaintance at the first several Woodworking in America events, Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Events in several locations across the country or the last Handworks event in 2013. They are a special and unique group of people.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
Put a sheet pan in the oven on the middle rack and while the oven is preheating....
3 cups of rolled or old fashion oats - this is one thing you can't substitute
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
3 tbsp of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of shredded coconut - if you use roasted coconut skip adding it here and add it with the fruit and nuts at the end. I like to bake/roast my coconut because I like the flavor/crunch of it over it being uncooked. This is optional.
Mix this together in a big bowl and set aside - you'll be adding the wet to this so make sure it's big enough for that and for the mixing to come.
1/4 cup of canola or veggie oil (corn oil would probably work too but I haven't tried that yet - I also want to try peanut oil and a flavored oil like walnut but they are expensive)
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp of Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur) this is optional and there other liqueur flavors too
whisk these ingredients together until the honey and oil combine
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the oats are evenly coated
Spread the mixture out on the sheet pan in a thin even layer
Cook for 15 minutes turning the the sheet pan at the half way mark
After 15 minutes take the pan out of the oven and turn/mix the granola and lay it out evenly and put it back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. I cook it until it gets to the brownness I like which is closer to 20 minutes with my oven. It will continue to brown after you take it out so it may take a bit of experimenting with your oven to get it to the level you like. Browner = crunchier
After you take it out of the oven let it cool for about 20-30 minutes. I found that if I start mixing it up after about 5 minutes and do that a couple of more times that the granola doesn't stick as much to the sheet pan as it cools. The honey will stick to the pan like glue to wood if you wait till the very end to mix it.
After it is cool to the touch add the fruit and nuts of your choice. The original recipe I got this from called for a 1/2 cup each of nuts/seeds and fruit. Not enough for me and I go nutso here.
I like raisins - I don't measure this I just eyeball it
Dried cranberries - I use the ocean spray ones as I think they are the best. They are moist, chewy, and packed with flavor. I throw in a boatload.
Walnuts - I like these and I add a lot of them. I also like pecans and mix these two sometimes. Peanuts are another nut I like alone or mixed.
Roasted unsalted sunflower seeds. I don't like the salted ones as they tend to make the granola too salty for my taste.
You can also add other fruits, seeds, or nuts of your liking.
I usually end up with about 2 cups (eyeball measurement) of fruits and nuts. I mix this in with the granola on the pan and then add it to a air tight container. I am not sure how long this keeps as the longest it has ever lasted for me has been 4 days. This will make about 4-5 cups.
Enjoy and you'll find that it's cheaper to make and better tasting than the stuff you buy in the stores.
What year did Disneyland open?
answer - 1955
The next step in the construction of the Blacker table is to build the table top. I’ve already glued up the wood for the main section, but need to run to the lumberyard for some thicker Sapele for the breadboard ends. In my plans I originally made the top 3/4″ thick and the end caps 7/8″. When machining the stock I left it thicker, at .930″ because it looked better, but that’s thrown a monkey wrench into my plans. I need the end caps to be 1/8″ thicker than the top, which I can’t get out of 4/4/ material. It also complicates making the fixture to cut the slot for the spline. It seemed like a good idea at the time though, I like the extra visual weight of the thicker top.
I also decided to make the breadboard ends wider, going from 2″ to 2.5″. This was in part aesthetics, and in part wanting more “meat” for the attachment screws. The screws hide under the ebony plugs on the outside ends and drive into the tips of the tenons. Since the tenons protrude 1.375″ into the ends, and I’ll need about a 1/4″ mortise for the ebony plug that leaves me a 1/2″ of wood in between. Enough, but barely I think. I may shorten the tenons by another 1/8″ just to be sure.
And finally, I did the layout for the inlay that goes in the top. It is similar to the design on the legs, 1/16″ Silver wire for the main stem, 1/32″ wire for the smaller stems, silver and copper “buds” and Abalone leaves/petals. It’s slightly abstract, but I like it.
So my to-do list includes sourcing wood for the breadboard ends, figuring out the jig to make the spline slots, making the breadboard ends and doing the top inlay. I’m hoping to get the breadboard ends sorted out tomorrow and get on to the inlay by Sunday, but we have some family plans too so we’ll see how it goes.
Editor’s note: During his time design director for Herman Miller, George Nelson recruited a series of talented designers including Ray and Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Propst and Alexander Gerard. During Nelson’s tenure, Herman Miller produced numerous iconic designs including, the Eams Lounge Chair, Marshmallow Sofa and Noguchi coffee table. And, as the literal foundation for the modern cabinetry system featured in Herman Miller’s 1948 catalog, George Nelson’s own platform bench is […]
I’ve been trying to distance myself further and further away from product reviews. Since they consist entirely of opinions they can be a little tricky to pull off successfully.
This is especially true if you’ve had plenty of time to try the item out and can navigate your way around it like a seasoned pro, and forget to mention the number of times it took you to get to that point (I promise I’ve never done that on this show…tempted to do it, but never have!)
One tool in the wood shop that doesn’t typically have a built in dust collection system or necessarily a great way to capture dust at the source is the drill press. Sure there are different ways to go about pulling the chips and dust out of the way*, but one new option on the market is the Drillnado.
The Drillnado is a dust collection accessory for the drill press that slips right over the chuck, the bit** and clamps on to the quill. According to the folks at drillnado.com it’s designed for use with most floor-model drill presses, but can be easily adapted to many bench-top versions also thanks to the included components in the kit.
(**NOTE: After recording the video and sharing it with the folks at Drillnado.com I heard back from them that they’ve started manufacturing the sleeve that fits over the drill bit without the narrower nose at the bottom. They’re now pre-cut to work with the larger diameter forstner and spade bits you might be using.)
I haven’t used it for more than demonstrational purposes, but given the early success I’ve had with it, I don’t have a problem recommended it to anyone who’s looking for a great way to add dust collection to their drill press (there was one little hiccup involving my Festool dust extractor, but I’ll explain more about that in the video.)
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I recently sent some products to Raf Nathan for evaluation. He writes for the Australian Wood Review magazine AWR (it's amazing how so much time can be spent thinking up a title only to have it shortened to something meaningless!) Anyway the AWR magazine is excellent, I've been an overseas subscriber for nearly 10 years and although in only comes out 4 times a year is well worth waiting for.
This video by Raf shows the use of my 90 degree guide along with the Veritas versions and is nicely done. He'll be reviewing my dovetail guide shortly in the magazine (hopefully in a little more depth!).
I'll have had reviews done in all three UK magazines as well as Germany, Canada and now Australia. I think it's about time a US magazine does a review, especially as that's where most of my tools are sold. I'll have to work on it.
I have decided that I am going to do my bread boarding like Will Myers did on this table here. I could do this with a corded router but I want to try and do this by hand. I think if I take my time and leave myself a generous oops factor I'll be ok.
|attaching the drawer fronts|
|one use jig|
|cheap ^%!$#*(;@^#) 8-32 screws|
I had drilled the hole in the drawer box to be a snug fit for the screw. It bent from me tapping it home with my mallet. I could bend these screws with just finger pressure. Total pieces of crappola. I tossed both sets of these and replaced them with 8-32 screws from my stash. Those didn't bend.
|rethinking the handles|
|been thinking of this most of the day|
I wasn't sure what to expect here. I had built up the epoxy so that it was proud of the surface. I did that because I didn't want any craters. The block plane did a great job of shaving the epoxy flush. I couldn't tell a difference between planing this or wood. The feed back from the plane felt the same to me.
|planed and scraped|
|planed and scraped the second set of epoxy fills|
|the before shot of the two biggest ones|
|the biggest one flushed|
|#2 big knot hole done|
|making a practice dowel|
|5/16" on the left and 1/4" on the right|
The board is the same thickness as the bread boards I'll be using. I like the look of both of them but I think I'll be using the 5/16" ones. This isn't carved in stone yet so it may change.
|gluing on a stiffener|
|my drool book finally got here|
What are the most frequently landed on properties in the game of Monopoly?
answer - the four railroads
One great cause of the decrease in English exports is the conservatism among English manufacturers and their extreme dislike of innovations. They are inclined to stick to old processes and old styles, refusing to study the tastes of their customers.
They seek to impose their own notions and ideas upon the world. Hence, foreign buyers seek in America, in Germany, and in France, goods better suited to their taste and needs. French manufacturers are particularly ready and quick to suit their work to the tastes of their customers. They are especially apt in devising new styles and patterns, such as shall most readily meet the varying tastes of buyers.
They realize that variety is pleasing and fashion capricious, and never hesitate to change a machine, or a pattern, when the old one fails to suit; while the Englishman looks well at the cost, and prefers to continue “in the good old way,” with the hope that some day the fashion may come round again.
Another example of the conservatism of the English manufacturer is manifested in his preference for hand work over machine work. He refuses to believe that a machine can be made to do more perfect work than the hand. Hence, in the manufacture of watches, of sewing-machines, and of many classes of fire-arms, he utterly fails to compete with more progressive mechanics on this side of the Atlantic.
The more observing and thoughtful of Englishmen themselves are beginning to realize these facts, and have already raised the note of alarm. A British correspondent, who styles himself “A Skilled Workman,” who recently visited some of our manufacturing establishments, writes as follows to the Sheffield Telegraph:
“The use of files, rasps, and floats are superseded by other tools [machine tools] astonishing in their adaptability for perfect and rapid production. No written description could convey an idea of their great ability and method….. The skill of the engineer has taken the place of the skilled artisans; for mere boys are tending these operations, and yet quality is not ignored…..”
“The readiness of the employers to adopt any practical suggestion from any one of their hands is a notable feature in most American factories, whereas the cold shoulder is generally given such in England. We weakly waddle in the wake of America in the matter of inventions until a necessity is proved, when an earnest effort is made and progress is attained.”
“Old-fashioned methods of manufacture will have to be abandoned for newer and better ones, if ‘Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin,’ is not to be written across British commerce in the future. The individual skill and handicraft of the best Sheffield workmen I have not seen surpassed in the United States, but they are inadequate for all the requirements of the present age.”
The Californian: A Western Monthly Magazine – January, 1881
Filed under: Historical Images
Do not let artisans discourage you from learning this or that trade because they have not made a success of it. They may tell you that a certain trade is overcrowded. Investigate a little and you will find that only the botch workman and chronic kickers are out of work. The cheerful, enthusiastic workman is idle only when misfortune overtakes the whole country.
We have here hundreds of mechanics who have no real heart in their work, and no sort of interest in the welfare of their employers. To be discharged is considered no disgrace, and to be in debt is no cause for worry. They work while the eye of a boss is upon them, and kill time when it is not. They growl at the workingman’s condition, but are solely responsible that they are not better off.
You will find them in one shop this week and in another the next, and their sad tales of being oppressed by bosses will make you shed tears—if you are green enough. It is a certain and undeniable fact that the poorest workman is the one who does the most complaining.
If you take up a trade push it to perfection. As an apprentice be prepared for many unpleasant things. To begin at the foot means more or less drudgery. Your inexperience will provoke ridicule, contempt, and sometimes abuse. Because you are a boy any man in the shop may feel free to order you about.
Be obstinate, sulky, and dilatory, and none of them will care how long it takes you to reach a higher round in the ladder. Be cheerful, obliging, and civil, and you will find every man ready and willing to speak a good word for you and help along your skill.
When you have become a finished workman bear in mind the well-worn but truthful maxim that a rolling stone gathers no moss. Steady work at fair wages is what piles up the dollars. A large share of our workingmen are ready to listen to the glowing accounts of the high wages paid somewhere else, and they spend a good portion of the year looking for the place.
Next to being settled in your mind be economical. One of the chief causes for dissatisfaction among mechanics and labourers springs from the lack of good management and the fact that so many of them are spendthrifts. In every city in the lands’ large proportion of workingmen chew or smoke or drink. Tobacco injures the system and robs the wallet. Drinks could better be replaced by cold water. Ten shillings per-week are taken from their wages to maintain injurious and selfish habits, and yet those who squander the most are loudest in their complaints about hard times.
The Australian Journal – September 1888
Filed under: Historical Images
I’m interested in several crafts/hobbies some of which can be practiced inside the house. Drawing, knot tying, leather and canvas work being the primary examples. My wife enjoys crafting quilts and there is always some general sewing task that needs to performed as well. Each of those crafts involve tools and supplies of their own that need to be stored away and, hopefully, corralled together. To that end I have been searching for a suitable box design that can be pressed into service for holding these craft items. My intent is for each craft to have it’s own storage box.
Generally I wanted a medium-sized box that could be easily transported from room to room and that could be stored away on a shelf or atop a dresser/tansu. A drawer or two is always handy and of course it needed to have a Japanese flare to it.
In my search I came across several examples that came close to what I wanted. The problem was that the examples tended to be a little to specific to the task. They also tended to be purpose-built for a specific tool/material combination. Two examples being the Japanese sewing tansu and the Japanese calligraphy tansu.
I like both of these examples but they each fell short of what I was looking for. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for, but I was confident that I would know it once I saw it.
So I spent a good deal of time trolling websites that sell Japanese antiques looking for inspiration. Too big, too small, the search droned on. Still nothing jumped out as “the one”. Then I came across this merchant tansu. Bingo!
One large base drawer with a bank of smaller drawers tucked away behind a removable panel. The smaller drawer bank can also easily be configured as needed depending on the intended use of the box. Very reminiscent of a carpenter’s drop-front toolbox. In fact, I think this would make a great “fix it” toolbox for in the house.
The joinery is fairly simple (dados, rebates, laps) and I see no reason to change how this box is put together. I will, however, change the drawer construction to match my standard assembly method. Most of the details I can decipher from the photographs. Those that I cannot, can be readily guessed and have little structural importance.
I’m currently working on my usual proportional layout drawing as well as a couple of detail sheets that cover the joinery details. The seller of the above antique lists the dimensions as 19-1/2″(W) x 13-1/2″(D) x 12″(H). I’m scaling this first box to take advantage of a nominal 1×12 available at the big box store. Once the design work is complete I’ll begin the build process. The lumber for this project will be the same inexpensive Home Depot #2 pine that I built the Japanese Toolbox from. The specific species of pine is still a mystery, but it was pleasant to work with and half the cost of the clear pine. Win, win.
In mastering hand tool work I learned early on in the 1960’s that there’s a rhythm to the life of lived craftsmanship that’s governed by internal chemistry, muscle memory and reflex actions. We don’t need to understand how they work but we must allow their governance to give our bodies the rhythm that paces our day. Pacing is very much a part of hand work and herein lies the key difference between the machinist and the woodworker. Craftwork like mine is a uniting association of hand-eye coordination that demands cooperation. Hand work automatically demands all of the senses engage in some measure in craftwork and it’s this that separates me from anxiety and stress because I find such saneness in it. There are of course dozens of different rhythms and many of which we will never understand but rhythms they are. Just to put some perspective on this I took something I wrote in my new book I thought might be of interest.
“The weight of a mallet must be lifted and dropped to the chisel with a quick and rhythmic arm and wrist movement. At around 60 vertical mallet stroke lifts per minute equalling 3,600 strokes in an hour, and with a 2 lb mallet, that’s 7,200 lbs of lifting in an hour ( well over 3 metric tons or both the short or long tons) driven with the exact force to deliver each blow to an inch diameter. A momentum grows and the whole dynamic of shape and size needs to match the craftsman. Here you see the marriage of the mallet to the hand of the man that made the mallet. It’s an until-death-do-us-part marriage you see.”
Saw strokes, hammer blows, planes strokes by the thousands all have rhythm and poser. The neat thing is that I see a joint come together and the wood get smoothed. I see a door trimmed and hinged step by step and when my day is done all of the rhythms come together like a symphony. I live for this.
This month’s 50th issue focuses on the educational aspect of woodturning with several authors sharing their love of teaching.
This month’s issue includes:
Making a Tapered Reamer– Curtis Turner has begun the journey toward making his own Windsor Chair and to start, he has made his own tapered reamer. In this article he discusses the different steps he took to create this project.
Celebrating Woodturning by Teaching– Temple Blackwood celebrates our 50th issue by sharing his love of teaching. He discusses his teaching process for a first time woodturner and the process of turning a ceremonial gavel.
Show Us Your Woodturning– This month we are sharing the beautifully turned bowls created by Jeff Greenberg. On many of his bowls Jeff incorporates beautiful inlay designs and colors.
All of this and more in our 50th issue of The Highland Woodturner!
When I have a visible split in a large slab tabletop, I’ll stabilize it with a wooden key, like I described here last week. But when it comes to the underside of a slab, I prefer to use a little pocket-hole jig to make a fast repair that is adjustable and easily removed if need be. Keep in mind that I’m not trying to close the split – just keep […]