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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...


Folding Campaign Bookcase Complete

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:05pm


For the last seven weeks I’ve been building this folding campaign bookcase using sapele I purchased from the dearly departed Midwest Woodworking. My logbook says I have about 50 hours in the project. It took seven weeks because I was interrupted by travel, teaching and taxes (to name a few things).

Some details:

Overall dimensions (open): 37” long, 27” high, 10-1/4” deep.
Hardware: Most of the hardware is from Lee Valley. The corner guards, brackets and campaign pulls were vintage stuff from eBay (though Londonderry Brasses carries the exact stuff I used). The lock is from eBay as well. See here for details.
Finish: Garnet shellac and black wax.
More details on construction: Coming this fall in Popular Woodworking Magazine.

The piece is away for photography and then to the customer. Now I can get started on making some birdhouses.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Books in Print, Campaign Furniture, Projects
Categories: Hand Tools

Oregon Art Beat Exhibition Celebrates 15 Years Of Creativity

Northwest Woodworking - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:34am


Northwest Woodworking Studio Director Gary Rogowski will be featured in the Oregon Artbeat Exhibition.

From Art Beat’s Facebook Page

In honor of Oregon Art Beat’s 15th season, OPB is excited to present the Oregon Art Beat Exhibition: Celebrating 15 Years of Creativity. Opening April 19 to the public, the exhibition will feature hundreds of Oregon Art Beat alumni artists and brings together paintings, metal work, sculpture, calligraphy, pottery, music and more from across the region. The exhibition will take place on the top floor of Pioneer Place Mall at the Peoples Art of Portland Gallery, the Mark Wooley Gallery and the Art Beat Main Stage Gallery.

The address is 700 SW 5th Avenue, 3rd floor. The exhibition is free of charge and will run April 19-June 15. Hours are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Get the app!

A new app for iOS and Android has information about all the artists, a complete schedule of performances and serves as your guide through the Exhibition.

Art Beat Exhibition app for iPhone
Art Beat Exhibition app for Android

Categories: Hand Tools

Call for Entries: 2014 PWM Excellence Awards

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:30am

 2014 PWM Excellence Awards

Show off your excellent work in 2014 Popular Woodworking Magazine Excellence Awards. Winners in each of five categories, a grand-prize winner, and a Readers’ Choice winner will be published in a feature article in the November 2014 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. You can enter up to five pieces; the categories are: Casework, Cabinets & Bookcases; Seating; Tables; Boxes & Smalls (e.g. beautiful tools); Turnings, Carvings & Objet d’Art (by […]

The post Call for Entries: 2014 PWM Excellence Awards appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Impossible Dovetails

David Barron Furniture - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 4:22am

I was shown this joint at Yandles show. At first glance it looks like a lapped dovetail until you look more closely, it's angled at the top as well.

It was made many years ago out of boxwood and rosewood, both very hard and yet it was still a perfect fit. The pictures below should explain how it was achieved.
Apparently it was a joint used for holding together the top of large bookcases.

Another fine craftsman showed me some dovetail guides he had made and they really were things of beauty!

The two pieces were dovetailed square and then the angles on the sides cut afterwards. He was thinking of adding magnets and using them as a magnetic dovetail guide. Not that he needs one as these were cut totally by hand and were perfect.

Categories: Hand Tools

Upcoming Posts and Videos

Paul Sellers - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 4:18am

We have been busy creating new input for training and of course our outreach is far bigger than ever before. Your requests for specific videos and blog posts really is taken seriously so please keep the requests that interest you coming in.
We have new posts and videos emerging on the following over the next few weeks. This is a partial list:

DSC_0276Bevel-up and bevel-down planes – What’s the difference?
Moulding planes – What they do and how to sharpen them.
DSC_0183151 Spokeshaves and others – Sharpening them jig, adjusting them and using them.
The #4 scrub plane – How to develop yours, use it and more
Planing rough stock with scrubs
DSC_0268Carving a wooden scoop
Preparing chisels – Should they all be flat or do we obsess?
How to use #80 scraper to its best
Clamping stock to benches – Techniques and methods that work

When these are posted I will mention it here but to guarantee video access and updates it’s best to sign up by subscribing. We will post some on YouTube and there are about 50 free videos there already and some via the woodworkingmasterclasses.com site. To access WWMC you will need to sign in for the free subscription here. This is simple enough and we will not bog you down with any advertising because we do not allow any adverts on our websites.

The post Upcoming Posts and Videos appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Jackie Chan. Chopsticks. Woodworking. What’s not to like?

Giant Cypress - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 3:38am

Jackie Chan. Chopsticks. Woodworking.

What’s not to like?

VIDEO: Hand Cut Dovetails Part 11: Cut the Pins

Wood and Shop - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 3:05am

VIDEO 11/15 of Joshua Farnsworth’s free hand cut dovetail video series shows how to cut the pins using a dovetail saw.

This is a very detailed tutorial designed to teach beginners how to become expert at dovetailing by hand. It is offered as a free resource to encourage the revival of traditional woodworking.


This detailed video series was inspired by a 5 day class that I took from Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson: world-renowned experts on traditional woodworking with hand tools.

Which traditional hand tools should you buy?

If you need advice on which hand tools to buy (and not buy), then definitely read my 13 category buying guide article: “Which Hand Tools Do You need for Traditional Woodworking?”

Shortcuts to Dovetail Videos 1-15:

Split and Sawed Shingles

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:07pm


I have been interested in the communications of your correspondent in regard to shingles. I have had over thirty years’ experience in building and repairing roofs. I have taken rifted pine shingles from off several roofs that were worn entirely through, at the line where the water falls from one shingle upon the next one below, while underneath the courses the shingles were as bright as when first laid.

Such is not the fact with sawed and cut shingles, from any kind of timber. The reason is, that sawed and cut shingles are cross-grained, so that water runs through the pores of the wood,—wets the under course, and, in wet seasons, seldom if ever dries.

The agents of decay are, air, water and heat. All are combined on a roof to produce decay, and you have the effect on all roofs made of sawed or cut shingles. I have replaced many roofs of sawed shingles, but they never were half worn; they were rotten and unfit to remain longer.

Let any one examine a sawed shingle, and he will find the grain severed and every pore, through which the sap was pumped up from the roots to the branches, is a water-pipe to conduct water through the shingle, instead of over it, as is done by a rifted shingle.

I advise every man, who has means to procure a rifted and shaved shingle, never to use a sawed or cut one. I think slate is the most economical and durable of all roofs. Tin will do well, and roofs with it will be laid more flat, thereby making less surface to cover. There may be compositions that will make good roofs, but I know of none I would accept as a gift, and I have tried several kinds. In choosing rifted shingles, don’t get those of twisted grain, so that one side will turn up and the other turn down.

Any person who will discover a cheap kind of roofing, that will endure our variable climate, will deserve the everlasting gratitude of his kind. But forever deliver me from sawed, and more especially cut shingles.

Correspondent—Boston Cultivator

The Canada Farmer – June 1, 1864

—Jeff Burks

A Shingle sawing and packing operation at a small mill near Jefferson, Texas 1939. 8a25830v 8a25834v 8a25835v 8a25839v 8a25838v 8a25836v 8a25832v 8a25833v 8a25831v
Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

A Barrel of Shavings

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 9:29pm


A Carpenter can no longer be judged by his shavings. Machinery and improved tools is knocking to pieces the old-fashioned mechanical way of lots of sawdust and any amount of shavings in housework.

On this point the Springfield Republican remarks:
“A prominent city landlord, who is putting up many of the wooden houses in a district which is being rapidly filled, when asked by an old resident for a few barrels of shavings the other day, replied: We don’t have any shavings in the houses now; they are all made at the mill and you will have to go there for them. I don’t believe that the carpenters now a-days make more than a barrel of shavings in building a house. Modern residences are put up pretty much as Solomon’s temple was, the parts are brought together all prepared and fitted, and it is short and easy work to put them together.”

The wooden house is turned out of a saw and planing-mill, much as if it were a toy-block. Like ready-made clothes, the average mechanic can put up a ready-made house, while there is still the same opportunity for elaborate workmanship and outlay as in fine clothing.

The Builder and Wood-Worker – September, 1887

—Jeff Burks

Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Diamond Willow Roorkee - Part II: Joinery

Toolerable - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 8:36pm
I'm pooped! We got all of the joinery for one chair done today, and have parts roughed out for a second. I'm too tired to write too much tonight, so here are a bunch of photos for the day instead.

All I will say is we wanted some stock that was a bit thicker than the stuff Dad usually uses for his walking sticks.  It turned out he didn't have much, so we used what we had including some stock that had parts smaller that 1 1/2" in diameter.

It wasn't ideal. but after some testing involving a hammer and a tapered mortise and tenon, we decided these should be plenty strong for chairs.  We'll see.

Legs for two chairs.

Dad got pretty adept at roughing out the taper on the disk/belt sander.  He doesn't have many woodworking tools, so we made due with what he had.  I did bring a LV tapered reamer and a tapered tenon cutter.

This was one of the work-holding solutions I came up with.  Dad has no woodworking bench and no woodworking vice or proper clamps, but we figured out what to do without them.

It really didn't take long for the two of us to make enough stretchers for two chairs.

Here is an action shot of me doing some precision sawing.  The meat saw we were using was great for the dowels, but I had to use the hack saw for the back pieces.

The only 5/8" drill bit Dad had was this crappy Chinese spade bit.  It worked fantastic, but was a challenge when the hole had to be drilled directly in a diamond.  Note another workholding solution here:  Dad is stabilizing the piece to be drilled on the barbeque before I drill it with a corded drill.

The hardest part was figuring out the angles to drill.  There was  a lot of eyeballing going on as none of these sticks were straight.

Here is the tapered reamer in the drill.  It worked great as long as you went slow.  All that work practicing with a brace and bit paid off here as the same skills were used to drill straight holes.

Here is Dad doing his thing with finishing the willows.  He uses a random orbit sander for this most of the time.
It fits together!

Almost done.  I stripped some zinc-plated carriage bolts and blued them with something called Black Aluminum.  They look cool now.

Done with the joinery.  One chair to go, and then the leather.  - Or, maybe the leather next, then the rest of the other chair.

Categories: Hand Tools

When Good Tools Go Bad.

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 7:13pm
I get the idea that for some woodworking is mostly about accuracy. Accuracy is important but it has it's place. I have never worried about how infinitesimally thin I can get my #4 to take shavings, There are times and places I take thick groatish shavings, even with my #4. Instead I worry about the line I'm shaving to and the surface left behind. Who cares how gossamer the shavings are on my shop floor and under my feet.

I bought my first marking knife in 2010. Up to that point a pencil had always worked well for me. I bought it because I'd read it was something essential for a hand tool woodworker to have and to use. I knew it was indispensable to improving my dovetail layouts. I knew it because the internet had told me so, and the internet never lies. Abraham Lincoln wrote that and I know because Facebook told me so. Facebook is also on the internet.

I bought that marking knife and tried to use it. I tried to use it just like I'd read about.

I bought that knife. I tried to use it, and it was horrible. I hated it. It stuck in the grain, It took a slice off the blade of my wooden square. It wiggled and pushed the square out of line. It slipped and cut my finger. It cut into the dovetails I was trying to trace. The damned thing was defective.

I put it back into it's plastic sheath and threw it into the drawer of a tool cabinet. The controversy was settled, I was a graphite man.

A while later I built a traditional tool chest and started to work out of it. I emptied the drawers of my tool cabinet into the tills of my chest. The Damned Marking Knife ended up with my measuring and layout tools in the top till. I spent a while moving it out of the way to grab a pencil. Then I started to pull it out of the chest every once in a while to see if it was still defective.

Once in a while grew to more often, which grew into fairly frequently.

Then I impulse bought a second marking knife at a woodworking show in Milwaukee.

That one seemed to follow the example of the first, It worked as well.

I'm proud to announce the Damned Marking Knife has learned it's lesson. It understands if it stops working again I will be forced to return it to exile. I consider this another bad tool reformed.

Now where did I put my pencil?

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

On the Stump and the Axe

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 1:34pm


For some reason I never considered a tree stump as essential workshop equipment until I met Richard Maguire.

Maguire, a lifelong furniture-maker and bench-builder, uses a stump and an axe in his shop and counts it among his essential workshop kit. I’ve always favored sawbenches (yup, I hew on them), but I am coming around to Richard’s way of thinking.

Especially after playing a few (OK, 126) rounds of the Hammer Schlager game, the best stump game ever.

This week Suzanne Ellison sent me this photo from the Victoria & Albert Museum archives. Lady Hawarden Clementina took this photo at Dundrum House circa 1858. It is a fascinating photograph. Not only for the workbench, the chest in the foreground and the awesome hats, but for the stump and the axe.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Historical Images, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworkers Worst Nightmare!

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 1:13pm

I really enjoy customers sending me photos, but not this time. Joshua Tree Furniture and the Wooden Duck Furniture Store in Berkley USA were both totally destroyed by fire.

At this stage it is not known how the fire started.

It took five hours for the firefighters to get the blaze under control and this was what was left in the morning. Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident. My condolences to Aaron and his staff.

Categories: Hand Tools

A use for young beech leaves

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 11:32am
beech leaves There's more to trees than just wood - the bark, sap, fruit, seeds and roots are all useful. Yesterday I was out collecting leaves for a project I've been wanting to do for a few years. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

‘The Shellac Archive’ from Don Williams

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 11:19am

'The Shellac Archive' from Don Williams

Don Williams – conservator, historian and woodworker extraordinaire – was in town a couple weeks ago to shoot a video on historic transparent furniture finishes, for which he brought a truckload of examples and props (the video will be available in mid-August). He was kind enough to leave some of his stuff behind for us to try out, including the “lemon shellac flour” pictured above. Now Don cares about shellac […]

The post ‘The Shellac Archive’ from Don Williams appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Starting from Photos

Peter Galbert - Chair Notes - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 8:19am

I've often been asked about starting a project from a photograph. I made my first chair that way, as a copy of one of Curtis Buchanans chair in a magazine. When I saw it in person, I was surprised by how far off the mark I was. Not only did I get just about every shape and proportion wrong, but the magazine had made his yellow chair look quite green. That was a lucky break for me as the green that I painted the chair became a favorite color!
Since then, I've learned a lot about the process.

A client recently asked me to reproduce a chair for a set, and the Museum where the original is housed refused to let us take measurements. Don't get me started...
Anyway, here is the scan that he sent me.

He is dropping the book by with the image soon so I can get better details, but this is my starting point.

My first step is to create a rough scaled drawing while getting to know the details and relationships in the chair. I'm trying to figure out the role that the different elements play so that I can get the overall impression to match, even before fleshing out the details.
I try to pin the scale of the chair by some educated guesses. Usually, older chairs like this are rather small, but a 17" to 18" height at the front is probably reasonable, and besides, it will ensure that the chairs can be used at a normal table. The chair is not shot straight on, which is almost always the case, but it is straight on enough that I can use the height to guess the distance between centerpoints of the bow where it enters the seat are about 13" apart. I confirmed this dimension on my own hoop backs as well as the measured drawings in John Kassays book.

Once I had those dimensions, I was able to start a scaled drawing at 3/16" scale. After I had found the width of the bow where it enters the seat on the 3/16" scale ruler, I printed a copy of the photo so that the dimension of the bow in the photo matched the drawing. From there I could scale all the parts directly from the photo.

Next, I'll refine all the proportions, measurements and angles in an accurate drawing that I can scale up for the patterns and forms.
Next week Tommy MacDonald is stopping by to film an episode of Rough Cut on building Windsors and we will be showing the construction of this chair.

Categories: Hand Tools

Upcoming Projects at Lost Art Press

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 5:39am


When I left the corporate publishing world, I stopped wearing a wristwatch everyday. In fact, I don’t think I’ve worn one this year. This is, of course, a symbolic gesture. We won’t release a book until we are happy with it.

So I can’t ever say when a certain title will be released. However, here are the projects we are working on now and in the coming months.

“Windsor Foundations” (a tentative title) by Peter Galbert
I’m about halfway through editing this book. As a woodworker who loves chairmaking, I can say that this is the best book I have read on the topic. Peter is able to explain complex subjects with clarity and just a few words. Plus, he is drawing all of the illustrations for the book (and there are a ton of them).

“Princips de l’Architecture” by André Félibien, translation by Brian Anderson
This important French book pre-dated Joseph Moxon and explains processes and tools not shown in Moxon’s “Mechanick Exercises.” Brian is finishing the translation, which should be in my hands in a few weeks. Read more on this book here.

“Roubo on Furniture” by Donald C. Williams, Michele Pietryka-Pagán & Philippe Lafargue
The translation of this book is complete and the edited sections are now flowing to me. The scope of this book is remarkable. I think you will find it was worth the wait. We will again publish a standard edition and a limited deluxe edition of this book. I don’t have any more details on pricing or availability.

“Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” by Roy Underhill
The text is complete and Megan Fitzpatrick is finishing her first edit. We are on the verge of selecting an illustrator. Right, Megan? This book is on track for release in the fall.

“Furniture of Necessity” by Christopher Schwarz
I’m taking the first load of furniture up to the engraver on Saturday. So look for an update on this title in the next week or so.

“The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years” by Charles Hayward
This project has been going on for as long as our Roubo translation. We have acquired the rights to publish about 500 magazine articles written and illustrated by Charles Hayward when he was editor of The Woodworker magazine in England. The book will cover joinery, tools, casework, carving, turning and traditional design. The goal is to have this massive tome released by the end of 2014, but you’ve heard that line before.

“Virtuoso: The Tool Chest and Workbench of H.O. Studley” (tentative title) by Don Williams
This book will be out this time next year. That is all.

We also have three other titles that I haven’t announced yet but we have completed contract negotiations with the authors. One of these books is a do-it-before-you-die project for me. So our 2015 is booked up and we are already working on the lineup for 2016.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!, Chairmaking by Peter Galbert, Furniture of Necessity, Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley
Categories: Hand Tools

A Funeral Chair in Atlanta

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 4:09am
  I received a letter from Wallis, in Atlanta, GA last night- Wallis recently completed this folding chair, following my Funeral Chair design, and I wanted to share it with you. I absolutely love seeing readers projects and this is a really great example of...
Categories: Hand Tools

English Mortise Chisels - Mid-18th Century to Now - Part 5 - How to Handle a Chisel

Tools For Working Wood - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 4:00am
Click here for the start of this series. In the nineteenth century (and less so the twentieth) you could purchase edge tools with or without a handle. Especially in the era before 1850, when ferruled tools became common, handling was a labor intensive job. In Sheffield the job of handling was and still is done by the Cutler.

The complex shape of a mortise chisel make is seem like a daunting task to re-handle but it's not.

I'm going to repeat a paragraph from the previous blog in this series because it is so important:"

"A point to understand is that the handles are held on the tang by compression. It's exactly like driving a nail into end grain, only bigger. Like a nail or a Japanese plane iron what holds the tang in the wood is pressure from the compression, and just as if not more important, the fibers of the wood getting bent back and resisting the tang being pulled out. In theory at least one might strive for a hole for the tang that is just a tad smaller than the tang is and fits it like a glove. In reality that's impossible to do and doesn't matter anyway. The compression forces are so high that as long as there is reasonable engagement we will be able to stick a tang in the handle and even before it's driven completely home - it will be impossible to remove. "

The other thing to consider is the condition of the chisel bolster where the handle has to butt up flush against. In theory the bolster should be reasonably flat but in this particular case the bolster is uneven from a crude forging process. If the handle doesn't fit flush against the bolster it won't transfer forces from the handle to the chisel evenly and will crack. I have two solutions to this. Grind the bolsters flat. On a high speed grinder this is pretty easy to do and takes minutes. If this chisel wasn't a sample from my collection that's what I would do. The other solution, which is found on so many old mortise chisels is a leather washer. The leather compresses and takes up any gaps. But because of the uneveness in the first place the leather won't compress evenly and you will have uneven handle pressure and eventually the handle will crack. This solution is better than doing nothing, and helps the forces a little, but I hate it. But since I don't want to grind this chisel, and it gives me one more operation to show off, leather washer it is. But I hate it. As it turned out at the end if it all we ground the bolster sides a little as when we flushed up the handle. You can see uneven bumps in the bolster and when the handle breaks I expect to just grind the bolster flat and do a proper job. This particular tang also had barbs on it from a past repair. The barbs screwed up the fit on the first handle I made (too loose) so I ground them off for the second one and that worked much better.

1 - Find a square scrap of wood the right size. The average mortise chisel handle is about 5 1/2" long. It should be the same proportion as your bolster on the chisel but since we want the handle to taper made it bigger. 1/8" to 1/4" seems about right. But don't taper it yet. The most important characteristic the wood must have is that it should not be brittle and it should be bone dry. Brittle wood won't compress and will split. And wood that isn't dry will shrink both inside and out and shrink away from the tang, making it loose. This handle was pretty long. We trimmed it down after we were all done.

2 - Drill the handle for the tang. On a modern tool with square, non-tapered tags one drill bit a touch bigger than the width of the tang but less than the diagonal width should work fine. For a tapered tang like I am handling in the pictures you want two bits or three. I used four because I had them handy. The big thing to check for is making sure you can get the depth you need without moving the drill press table for all the bits you are using. Starting with the largest bit, drill successively. In both tapered and non-tapered tang situations you want to drill at least 1/8" past the length of the tang. Since I am drilling into end grain I find using regular twist bits seems to track better than brad points. The reason we start with the biggest bit is to help keep the bits tracking straight.

The instructions in the AQ-1135.XX,Joiner & Cabinetmaker) call for a single bit - which was a lot more work and hard to chisel accurately and the drill bit didn't track well.

3 - Layout and then chop a rough square taper that follows the profile of the tang using the tapered hole as a guide for the square hole. You want the chisel to seat to about 1/4-1/2" in the handle. Don't worry about engagement - the compression that holds the handle is is massively strong so if your chopping isn't perfect it will still work fine. The easiest way I know of to clear the chips from the hole is to keep a drill handy with the smallest bit you used and just redrill the hole when it's clogged and then shake it out.

4 - Chamfer out the hole at the base so the radius at the corner where the bolster meets the tang has a place to go.

5 - Do any rough shaping you need on the handle. (which I didn't do).

5A - If you are using a leather washer cut a scrap of leather oversize and cut a hole for the tang big enough so when the leather is against the bolster it lies flat.

6 - Bang the handle onto the tang. If you got the drill depths right it will compress all the wood fiber it needs to to hold on for dear life. If you got it wrong the handle either won't go on, fall off, or split the wood.
6A - If you are using a leather washer trim the excess leather away so the washer is flush with the bolster.

7 - Do a little more shaping of the handle. Rasps work great. Blend the handle into the bolster using files or a belt sander. While the wood might shrink or expand over time, having a flush fit is the way to go. The whole process took under under two hours. It would have taken less time if I didn't have to scout around for drill bits and if I didn't screw up the first handle. I doubt there is more than 1/2 hour of actual work in it. Most of the time was just fru-fooing around.

8- If you did NOT use a leather washer you might have a gap or two between handle and bolster. A small gap doesn't mean much but you really want the bolster to support the handle all way around. So what you do is take a hacksaw and saw all around the wood at the base of the handle next to the bolster. Then drive the handle a little deeper. If that doesn't fix it repeat until the gap is gone.

9 - Finish with linseed oil, or some other oil finish that doesn't make the handle slippery.

10 - Use your newly handled chisel on a project.

If you look on the Internet there are some people who suggest enlarging the hole for the tang by burning in the tang. While we see broken handles where this was done this was NEVER done professionally for three reasons: It's way to easy to set a handle without doing this. It's extra unnecessary work. Most importantly, the layer of soft charcoal in the handle will make the chisel easy to bed but also make the chisel easy to loosen and fail. The technique described here works by compression and even with a minimal interference fit the compression forces are huge. After I finished Ben and Tim played Tug-of-war with the chisel and as expected the handle was fine. It's not coming off anytime soon. The method works with all tanged tools. One advantage of using a ferrule on a tanged chisel is that the wood can take a lot more compression than an unferruled handle can, but in either case the wood compresses around the tang, and the exposed ends of grain keep the chisel from pulling out.

Occasionally you will run across old tangs with barbs cut into them. I'm guessing this is also an amateur repair, you don't need it and I ended up filing my barbs off.

I think the real message of this blog is not how easy it is to replace a chisel handle. But how little expertise and equipment is actually needed, and how fast the job goes. And the handle works. It's poplar - which is what I had lying around - and that uneven bolster might even be the reason why is was unhandled when I bought it. If my handle stock was a little thicker the final handle would have been more oval, but we were just following the bolster profile which is rectangle-ish. On another chisel I handled last week, not a mortise chisel, I had to use a hacksaw to get the handle flush (see above) that took a few minutes but again this isn't complicated and nothing to be scared of.

Note: Ray Ile's 1/4" and 5/16" Mortise chisels will be back in stock by the end of next week (April 23th or so)

This post draws to the end the series on mortise chisels. I know I left some topics out such as how to chop a mortise, why the grind angles, and other stuff. I'll cover that in the future.
I also must mention that as a professional iron monger I occasionally feel the need to mention new or interesting products that we stock in my shop. With Spring coming I feel the need to mention our Rivendell Mountain Works Back Packs before I forget and you are already set for summer. The Lupine day-pack is the best bag I have every used, and in a year's work of daily use mine shows no wear. The Mariposa Deluxe is bigger, and for actual hikes and trips it carries a lot more stuff.

VIDEO: Hand Cut Dovetails Part 10: Layout the Pins

Wood and Shop - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 3:05am

VIDEO 10/15 of Joshua Farnsworth’s free hand cut dovetail video series shows how to layout the pins using the previously cut tails as a template.

This is a very detailed tutorial designed to teach beginners how to become expert at dovetailing by hand. It is offered as a free resource to encourage the revival of traditional woodworking.


This detailed video series was inspired by a 5 day class that I took from Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson: world-renowned experts on traditional woodworking with hand tools.

Which traditional hand tools should you buy?

If you need advice on which hand tools to buy (and not buy), then definitely read my 13 category buying guide article: “Which Hand Tools Do You need for Traditional Woodworking?”

Shortcuts to Dovetail Videos 1-15:


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by Dr. Radut