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The Blogroll Lives Again!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 11:53am

I am working to make sure Peter Follansbee is proven wrong. When he and I were chatting at Fine Woodworking Live, Peter told me he was sad to see blogs beginning to fade away from the woodworking community. I agree with his assessment but hope we’re just being pessimistic. Although I think social media is useful for its regularity, the snapshots and one-liners will never compare to fully developed thoughts, even if they are only 500-1,000 words long. (Blogs used to be criticized for their flippancy and brevity! Go figure!)

When I migrated my blogging activity from my old blog to here, I began a gradual process of fine tuning the features so that everything functioned as I wanted. Although the transition was relatively smooth, the one feature (my favorite) that didn’t make it was the newsfeed-style Blogroll sidebar that is automatically updated. It listed my favorite blogs chronologically with the most recent posts at the top of the list. I really missed this feature over the past year and continued to go back to check on what people have been up to. It has functioned for me (and other readers) like a public RSS feed. I’ve been looking into different ways of bringing this feature to the new blog for over a year here but until this past week, couldn’t solve the issue.

Enter Spencer Nelson. Spencer is a passionate hand tool woodworker and tech geek master that we connected with to see if we could add this feature. I went to his tech blog and when I realized I couldn’t understand anything of what he was talking about, knew he was the man for the job. Spencer did a bit of digging into the blogroll issue and couldn’t find any app that would work as we needed. So he wrote his own from scratch. As one does, of course.

Spencer had the new feature live after only a couple of days. Check it out on the sidebar under “Blogs We Follow” on the right (desktop) or below (on mobile). It’s wonderfully simple. These are most of the blogs we follow. (More coming soon.) Because of Spencer’s generous help, I will be checking this blog everyday to see what my friends have been up to in their shops. We invite you to do the same because keeping up with everyone’s blogs is hard and having them all here in one place is incredibly helpful.

I hope woodworking blogs don’t die. Here’s our effort to prove Peter and me wrong. We want to highlight the people we think are doing great work. Keep blogging and keep commenting on all the blogs you love. It encourages more incredible content.

Thank you, Spencer! You are the man!


Categories: Hand Tools

To Handworks, With Fear in My, Uh, Heart

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 3:00am

Handworks 2015. Day 1. There’s a reason I have that look on my face.

Warning: This blog entry contains medical information that might make you uncomfortable. If you are squeamish, here’s the executive summary: Yes, I’ll be at Handworks.

Perhaps because I have a lot of German blood, my body is like juicy, meaty clockwork. In the early 1990s, I used to attend and write about a political event in Western Kentucky called “Fancy Farm.” The problem: Every year I attended, I came down with an embarrassing and debilitating infection in my nether regions (the area of the body we call “The Good China”).

My doctor was puzzled but gave me this sound advice: “Don’t go to Fancy Farm anymore.” Since then I’ve had many other clockwork medical conditions, such as the “Thanksgiving crash” after turkey day.

Fast forward to 2015. During the last Handworks, I missed the entire second day of the event. The word among the snarks was that I was too hung over, due to to a beer bender.

I wish it had been a hangover. Hangovers last about a day.

Instead, I ended up in the emergency room in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dehydrated with a high fever and unable to eat or drink. Oh, and I should mention that I had the runs. Using the term “runs” here is an understatement. Like saying Catherine the Great “kind of liked horsies.”

I was diagnosed with c. difficile and sent home to recover (thank you Megan Fitzpatrick for driving me home on what we now call “The Trail of Smears”). It took me eight months of treatment and tests to get clear of the bacteria. And another three months after that to feel like a normal person.

So I am not looking forward to Handworks next month like I should be. It really is the greatest woodworking event I’ve ever attended or been involved with. If you aren’t going, I hope you have a good excuse (such as c. difficile).

I’ll be there – and I hope I’ll be there for both days. Though I’ll be bracing for the worst.

During the 2015 Handworks it was so crowded that John and I were unable to go to the bathroom. Every time we took a step away from the booth we got mobbed. This year if you see one of us headed for the men’s room, you might just want to steer clear.

Just sayin’.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

two beaders.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 1:03am
One of my cats isn't feeling so well. I think it is the female but I can't sure. One of them is letting go and leaving diarrhea all over the bathroom floor. At least it is being contained in one room and if it keeps up I'll have to take them to the Vets for a check up. This happened last year and it lasted for two days and didn't happen again until the surprise I got today. Had to clean and disinfect that present before heading for the workshop.

Matt from the Tiny Workshop asked if I would a side by side with the two different named beading planes I have. Here is the picture show.

from earlier in the week
 I planed astragals, side beads, and beading plane profiles on these edges to compare them. I picked the 1/4" side bead plane to use on the plate rail.

the two test planes
The side bead plane is on the left and the beading plane is on the right. These are the two names that came with them when I bought them. Both are 3/8" and the dimensions of the plane bodies are similar. The only obvious difference is the orientation of the boxing on the two. Both planes make the same bead in the end. (PS edit - the plane on the left is London made and the right one is American made)

3/8 side bead plane

3/8 beading plane
With the exception of the slight rabbet on the side bead profile, these beads are indistinguishable.

side bead plane on the edge
A beading plane needs a 90° corner to make it's profile. As long as the outside of the plane opposite you has real estate, it will make one.

side bead plane profile on two edges
beading plane profile on two edges
I can't see a difference in the two profiles.

beading plane on top and side bead on the bottom
the groove is determined by the iron
The width of the inboard groove of the bead is determined by the bevel width on the escapement side of the plane. (I think this is called the quirk)

side bead plane
I tried to plane a bead at an angle and I did get a partial bead. I was able to fix and get an acceptable looking bead out of it by planing it with the molder held vertically.

shaving the rabbet off the side bead
the shape and size of the bead didn't change
planing off the face rabbet from the side bead
this bead profile didn't change neither
which plane made which profile?
This convinces me that it doesn't matter which plane makes the bead. Both are easy to setup and use and I couldn't tell any differences in the use of them. One thing I do know is that a fully boxed beading plane is much better than one with a strip of boxing on the outside of the bead. A fully boxed one will wear better and last longer. But if either plane has a straight body and a tight mouth it will make a good user.

round over on the plate rail
I planed the 45 and the 22.5 with the 4 1/2. I cleaned that up and finessed it round with the block plane. I get a much better round over when I use the block plane vise the larger 4 1/2. I find it difficult to see what I am planing with the 4 1/2 and I don't get an even round over. I usually get a quasi looking bullnose thing.

you can tell that this is a half circle
I found out that my wife not only likes the hand made look, she can tell a machined and hand tool worked surface apart. I guess something rubbed off me on to her over the last 20 years or so.

the right side plate rail
The piece above is the left side plate rail and this one is the right side. Both of these butt into the clock shelf. This notch is for the plate rail to fit into the china cupboard molding on this end.

I just have to rout the plate grooves, make a bunch of corbels, dry fit it together, and paint it. I can't put it in place until my wife wallpapers and paints.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
If you are suffering from epistaxis, what is your condition?
answer - you are having a nosebleed

Last Chance for Hooded Sweatshirts

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 10:26am

We’ve heard back from all our customers that ordered a “Craftsmanship is Risk” sweatshirt and everyone said they are delighted with their purchase. That means the extras we have from the print run are up for sale now. We don’t have many: 2 L, 2 XL, and 2 XXL. We will not be doing another run of these so if you were bummed you missed it the first time, this is your last opportunity.

You can order yours here.


Categories: Hand Tools

Book Giveaway: I Can Do That! Weekend Woodworking Projects

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 5:00am
I Can Do That Woodworking Projects

Do you have a copy of “I Can Do That! Woodworking Projects?”  It’s a great book for beginning woodworkers, but also for anyone looking for quick weekend woodworking projects. We recently updated it for a 3rd edition, adding 10 new projects – so now’s a great time to check it out if you haven’t already. While accessible to newcomers, the projects in this book use solid basic techniques and yield some quality […]

The post Book Giveaway: I Can Do That! Weekend Woodworking Projects appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

New Source for Big Slab Workbench Kits

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 3:00am


As many of you know, I’ve had great success building workbenches using thick slabs that are wet (extremely wet) with less than a year of air-drying. Read more about that here.

I purchased my bench kit from Lesley Caudle (lesley27011@yahoo.com), a sawyer in North Carolina. Read more about his sawmill here.

Now Re-Co Bkyln is also offering slab bench kits using lumber that has been reclaimed from the New York City environs. The kits include all the stock you need to make a bench, including a single 6”-thick slab top plus stock for legs, stretchers and a vise chop.

The kit is $999 plus trucking fees ($200 to $400 depending on where you live).

Full details on the Re-Co bench kits are here.


The people at Re-Co are great. John and have met many of them personally. And they do good work – salvaging urban trees for furniture and now workbenches. Check it out.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

side beaders ready......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:23pm
I got the irons for both of my new beading planes done tonight and I had expected to do more. Doing the irons took longer than I thought even though I didn't run over any speed bumps. I have also formed an opinion on the side beads and beading planes. I think that they are one in the same. They both make beads and they are just made differently to accomplish the same task. Kind of like a wooden plane and a transitional wooden plane, both will make shavings but they don't look the same.

My thoughts on the slight rabbet/shoulder the side bead planes make is this. After you have planed the bead, you plane that rabbet/shoulder off flush with the edge. The only thing I could find on the two planes on line is that the name was used interchangeably. Even though the side bead 'bead' is slightly angled the bead it makes is the same as a beading plane. Mystery solved for me, at least for the time being.

first batter again
Lightly sanded these before I put on the tannic acid.

tannic acid applied
This looks good when the tannic acid first does on and it has a deep, rich black color. As it dries it fades a bit. It tends to look a little washed out when fully dry but I am going to keep at it for a few more cycles. I'll put the iron on tomorrow before I leave for work.

back flattening first
Someone already started to do this but didn't finish it. I started on my coarsest stone and went up to my 8K stone.

backs done to a little ways past the top of the round
free hand sharpened the bevels
sharpening and honing the round part is next
I use dowels wrapped in various grits of sandpaper to do this starting with 220 and ending with 1200.

pitted or a rust spot
It turned out to be a little of both. I was able to sand all of the rust away and 99% of the pitting.

sanded up to 1200 grit
stropping finishes this
This is a dowel with a piece of an old leather belt glued to it.  15-20 strokes going from the top to the bottom raises a nice shine.

3/8" beading iron done - repeated for the 1/2" one
1/2" beading iron
I took a few strokes on this with 220 grit and these dark areas weren't showing much change. I didn't know if this was dirt/grime or rust.

mostly grudge with a little rust
I scraped most of what was there away with the sheet rock knife. After this I went back up through the grits to 1200.

I will have to do the bevels better. That will take a bit of time as I changed the bevel angle on them because it was too shallow. They are good enough now for me to road test these.

made my blood offering to the Woodworking gods
removing the burr
stropped the bevels and the backs
3/8 bead
Both beads look good but they didn't come easy. I've found that with most of the molding planes I initially try, I have some trial and error to work out first with them and these two were no exception. After fiddling a bit, I got these two to look pretty good. Now I have to find a home for them. The 3 corrals I'm using now for my molding plane herd are all full.

round over layout for the plate rail
I thought I would have time to do the round overs but it is almost 1700 and time to quit.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What part of the body is the axilla?
answer - the armpit

(Representations of) Furniture at the Chrysler Museum of Art

The Furniture Record - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:42pm

Driving back from our research trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore, we stopped in Norfolk for lunch and our first visit to the Chrysler Museum of Art. Our lunch was good, only sandwiches but well prepared with fresh ingredients. The museum was nice, too.

There was furniture scattered around and a nice exhibit of Art Nouveaux. All this will be covered in the near future.

I quickly documented all the furniture there and was ready to move on but my wife had other ideas. It was still raining hard and she was not ready to leave. We hadn’t yet seen the glass, the European and American paintings and sculpture, ancient and non-western art or photography. And what is the difference between modern and contemporary art?

There were two paintings in the European gallery of particular interest to me, they were period domestic scenes with furniture. Most of the furniture I see is in auction gallery or antiques shops. There is no context for the furniture. Historic mansions and museums like Winterthur and MESDA do show entire period rooms but these are all curated and idealized representations of the past.

Painted period rooms might be closer to the way things actually were. The artist was living there and then. These might not be 100% accurate but, like Wikipedia articles, close may be good enough.

The first is The Surgeon by David Teniers the Younger, Flemish, 1610 – 1690:


Typical multi-provider practice of 1670’s Flanders.

David Teniers the Younger Flemish, 1610–1690 The Surgeon, 1670s Oil on canvas Is there a doctor in the house? Not in this one. The medic in this picture is a lowly barber surgeon, a quack who preyed on the ignorant and poor. Surrounded by his potions and aided by two dimwitted assistants, he operates on a patient’s back, ignoring his painful yelp. The monkey crouching nearby is an age-old symbol of foolishness. He “apes” the patient’s pose, suggesting that the man is chained to the ignorant belief that the barber surgeon will cure him. Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 71.480


Here are some benches and stools.


The other practitioner is treating a victim/patient sitting in a Savonarola or Dante chair.


Some seating and crockery. Down front there appears to be a cow’s skull. But yet we know Georgia O’Keeffe wouldn’t be born for another 200 years.


This monkey is not furniture but it is interesting.

The other painting of interest is Home by Sir Joseph Noel Paton, Scottish, 1821-1901.


Reunion of a Scottish soldier with his family upon his return from service in the Crimean War (1854-1856).

Sir Joseph Noel Paton Scottish, 1821–1901 Home, ca. 1855–56 Oil on panel Noel Paton’s scene brims with details that bring its story of military valor and family strength to life. The Scottish soldier seated at center has just returned from the Crimean War. Slumped in a chair, his wife and mother fold over him. He has suffered serious wounds—his head is heavily bandaged and he has lost an arm in battle. But despite the sacrifices the family has made for home and country, the open Bible proclaims its spiritual strength in the face of uncertainty. The promise of a better future is embodied by the child sleeping peacefully in the cradle behind them. Museum purchase and gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.


A Hepplewhite chair, a cradle and a table.


An amoire acting as a catch-all.


A table and what looks like a slyod knife.


Nice piggins and a good selection of platters.

Portable workbench part three

Oregon Woodworker - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 8:50pm
Of course, a portable workbench needs a twin screw, quick release vise, nothing less.  Spoiler alert:  this is hyperbole for the sake of amusement, although, as I will explain, there is something to it.  The vise does have twin screws and it does have a quick release feature.

Part of my goal is to build this portable bench and toolbox at minimal cost using mostly scrap material and things I have on hand.  The challenge was to come up with a lightweight but useable vise without spending anything.  This is something I already know how to do based on my experience years ago making Moxon vises using bar clamps.  Here is one that I kept:

It has collected dust since I made one with acme threaded rods, but now that I look at it again I am thinking it is better.  It's relatively light, fast as a result of being able to move the screw arm along the bar and nice to work on because the handles are in the back.  I am not sure why I mounted the rear jaw on top of the base, but I have decided to change that and go back to using it to see if I like it better.

The cool thing about using this idea on a portable workbench is that you already have the rear jaw: the bench itself.  I attached some tabs on the sides of the bench to hold light duty bar clamps at the right height:

I had a nice piece of 8/4 cvg douglas-fir (save for the pitch-pocket which I epoxied) to use for the front jaw:

The bar clamps fit in small notches in the bottom of the jaw that hold it in place.

I wasn't sure what finish to apply to a portable bench that will be spending part of its life outdoors, but I had some old tung oil on hand and decided to use it.  It seems like it might be a good choice as it didn't make the top slippery, but I have never liked the way it looks on douglas-fir.  I am going to use something else on the toolbox.

At this point, the bench is done.  Now it's on to the toolbox.
Categories: Hand Tools

Taking The Next Step Toward Boatbuilding

Close Grain - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 6:35pm

The house in East Boothbay.

Life has been busy, busy, busy lately. Hence the lack of posts here.

My book draft is now in the hands of the team at Popular Woodworking Books, with some 1400 captioned photos.

My shop time has been occupied teaching individual classes. That's produced good material for some upcoming technique blog posts.

I've started reading through my stack of boatbuilding books. That'll take a while, but Greg Rossel's excellent Building Small Boats has been a great first step, detailing the sequence of operations.

A Place To Build Boats

The next step in the journey is the other big thing occupying my time, a place to build boats. That place is in East Boothbay, Maine, where my mother-in-law has now bought a house. She'll live there in the warm months, then with us in the cold months. Meanwhile, we'll spend weekends and vacations there. Eventually, we'll retire there permanently.

The two main criteria for the house were that it be near water, and that it have a space for my woodworking, specifically large enough for small boatbuilding. We had previously owned a house near the Damariscotta River in Boothbay, Maine, so we were familiar with East Boothbay. That was our general search region. It's spectacularly beautiful, as you can see from this image search.

The house she bought meets the criteria wonderfully. Built in the mid-to-late 1800's, it sits directly across the street from the historic shipyard waterfront of East Boothbay, on the bend of the Damariscotta a couple miles upriver from open ocean.

They've been building ships and boats there since the 1700's. Two small yards are still active, Hodgdon Yachts, America's oldest boat builder, building high-end sailing and motor yachts, and Washburn & Doughty, building commercial tugs and fireboats. 

Hodgdon Yachts is on the site of the former Goudy and Stevens yard, where Louis Sauzedde (www.TipsFromAShipwright.com) worked on the replica of the yacht America as a teenager in the late '60's.

In between those yards is a public boat ramp and a separate kayak ramp. There's another public boat onto Linekin Bay less than a mile away. Ocean Point Marina, where we used to keep our old boat, is 50 yards upriver, on the other side of the mouth to the tidal millpond.

So near water, check. About 100 yards from house to ramp. The river is visible past the Washburn & Doughty buildings. Their launchings are always an event.

The workspace is behind the house, a small barn with loft and one-car garage. It's perfect. There's a big sliding door in the wall that opens to an ideal spot for a small boat construction frame, leaving plenty of space on the side for workbenches and general woodworking. The loft upstairs is perfect for, well, lofting! And sailmaking.

Rear view of the house showing the barn.

There are many other small boatbuilders in the area, as well as riggers and sailmakers. The shop of Nathaniel Wilson, master sailmaker, whose work graces the USS Constitution, among many other historic ships, is a couple houses upriver from the marina. That's only a quarter mile walk from the house.

I picked up this great poster for Nathaniel Wilson at the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland in March.

The whole area is just steeped in it, with 300 years of history. I even met a lady who's a former instructor at the WoodenBoat School and staff editor at WoodenBoat Magazine. For an aspiring boatbuilder, you couldn't ask for anything more.

I continue to learn about other schools in the area. In Bristol, on the other side of the river, there's the Carpenter's Boat Shop. Then just down the road from that there's the Maine Coast Craft School.

The latter school is particularly interesting because founders Kenneth and Angela Kortemeier have taken over the torch from Drew and Louise Langsner's Country Workshops in North Carolina now that they have retired. Kenneth was an intern at Country Workshops in the 90's (Peter Follansbee is another Country Workshops alum).

Boothbay Region Historical Society

When we first found the house, I was curious about the history of the barn. I was aware of the long history of boat and shipbuilding in the area, so I wondered if it might have been used as a workshop by someone building small workboats for the bigger ships.

I contacted the Boothbay Region Historical Society, and over the course of a few emails, historian Barbara Rumsey very graciously gave me some information.

The real-estate listing said the house was from the 1880's, but based on tax records, she felt it could have been built in the late 1860's. She also felt the barn was probably a small livestock barn, since it was common at the time for families to have a few animals.

I visited the Society, where Barbara showed me how to go through their copies of the old tax collector's books. That was fascinating. The book for each year was a hand-written account of every resident and their taxable property, roughly alphabetical by last name.

People were taxed on their land, buildings, and various types of livestock. There was even a heading for musical instruments over $15 (a significant sum in the 1880's). Anyone who had an ox was very popular; they were like the guy with a truck you could hire to help haul stuff.

What she had found was that the house's street address appeared in the book for 1882, listed under the name Alvin Goudy and occupied by his mother. That gave me a starting point.

Working back through earlier records, I found Alvin Goudy's name first listed for that location in 1867. Working forward to see if taxes increased due to property improvements (for instance, adding the barn), there didn't appear to a major change. So it's possible the house and barn have been there since 1867.

What I wasn't able to determine was what Alvin did for a living. Presumably he was of the same Goudy's as Goudy & Stevens shipyard. Lacking any other evidence, it seems likely the barn was indeed used for livestock.

After we closed on the house, I stopped by the Society again to say hi, and found Barbara talking to another gentleman. She said he was one of my neighbors in East Boothbay, Nate Wilson. I said, "The sailmaker!"

Indeed it was. I told him sailmaking was another thing I needed to learn, and I would love to visit his shop. He invited me to stop by any time. The mind boggles. What more could an aspiring boatbuilder ask?

Hobie Tandem Island

Since building even a small boat is 100 to 200 hours of work, it'll be a year or two at hobbyist pace before I have something ready to put in the water. In the meantime, I'm happy to enjoy some rotomolded plastic fun.

So under the heading of YOLO, I bought a Hobie Tandem Island, which is an amazing trimaran sit-on-top tandem sailing sea kayak. It has pedal-powered Mirage drives. The pedals power fins that move sideways, inspired by penguin fins; they're even reversible so you can backup as well as go forwards. You can paddle, pedal, or sail!

This thing is a marvel of mechanical engineering. The modular assemblies go together quickly and easily for use, and detach just as easily for breakdown. As a tandem, it's large, 18' long; as a trimaran, it's heavy, 240 lbs. fully rigged.

But those outriggers (called "amas") make it incredibly stable, able to handle any kind of conditions, even out to open ocean. That's perfect for the Maine coastal river estuaries. It has molded-in fishing rod holders, and Hobie says it's even suitable for bluewater trolling. I've never been a fisherman, but this I can get behind!

How To Transport A Hobie Tandem Island, New In Box

We spent a small fortune on Thule pickup truck bed and roof racks to transport the boat from Sebago Sailing And Watercraft in Raymond, ME. But with a boat that long, I wanted a good secure support to avoid damaging it or the truck. And now we have a very versatile hauling setup.

The boat was in two packages. The main hull was wrapped in a long bubblewrap bag. The amas and all other parts were in a cardboard box about 14' long. Both fit side by side on the racks. Captain Mike, a tall fellow, helped us load it up. His wife Maura had been my contact for buying it.

The boat loaded on my wife's F150 pickup truck. Mounted to the bed is a Thule XSporter Pro rack. On the roof is a pair of Thule AeroBlade bars. I secured the packages to the racks with 25' lengths of half-inch climbing webbing fore and aft.

To unload the boat on our own, I used a retired climbing rope and a pair of carabiners to rig a 2-to-1 haul system from the upper door of the barn. My wife, Cat, belayed the rope to sway the front end of the box down off the rack while I stood on my toes and lifted off the other end. That allowed her to lower away easily. Then we repeated that with the main hull.

Cat belays the box.

Belaying the main hull.

I unpackaged everything and laid it out, then followed the instructions on assembly. It didn't take long. The boat is made to break down for transport with minimum fuss. I had also bought a heavy-duty two-wheel dolly that included a cradle for the amas.

The boat fully assembled with sail unfurled. You've heard of sailing on the mooring? This is sailing on the driveway.

This boat also takes a spinnaker. That'll be next year after we've spent some time buzzing up and down the river and out the mouth.
Categories: Hand Tools

It’s Black and White Woodworking Reality

Paul Sellers - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:33pm

I’ve given it my best shot so far. For 25 years and few more I’ve given it my best shot and I’ll keep giving it my best shot for as long as I can. Seeing things in black and white somehow dispenses with the peripheral and gets you to the core issues and that’s what …

Read the full post It’s Black and White Woodworking Reality on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Two-Foot Rules

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:54am

One leg of this scale has been cleaned with lanolin. The other has been wiped with wood bleach, which lightened the boxwood but didn’t affect the markings.

This is an excerpt from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” by Anon, Christopher Schwarz and Joel Moskowitz.

The two-foot rule was the standard measuring device for woodworking for hundreds of years. The steel tape was likely invented in the 19th century. Its invention is sometimes credited to Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Conn., who patented his device in 1868, though the patent states that several kinds of tape measures were already on the market.

Tape measures didn’t become ubiquitous, however, until the 1930s or so. The tool production of Stanley Works points this out nicely. The company had made folding rules almost since the company’s inception in 1843. The company’s production of tape measures appears to have cranked up in the late 1920s, according to John Walter’s book “Stanley Tools” (Tool Merchant).

The disadvantage of steel tapes is also their prime advantage: They are flexible. So they sag and can be wildly inaccurate thanks to the sliding tab at the end, which is easily bent out of calibration.

What’s worse, steel tapes don’t lay flat on your work. They curl across their width enough to function a bit like a gutter. So you’re always pressing the tape flat to the work to make an accurate mark.

Folding two-foot rules are ideal for most cabinet-scale work. They are stiff. They lay flat. They fold up to take up little space. When you place them on edge on your work you can make an accurate mark.

They do have disadvantages. You have to switch to a different tool after you get to lengths that exceed 24″, which is a common occurrence in woodworking. Or you have to switch techniques. When I lay out joinery on a 30″-long leg with a 24″-long rule I’ll tick off most of the dimensions by aligning the rule to the top of the leg. Then – if I have to – I’ll shift the rule to the bottom of the leg and align off that. This technique allows me to work with stock 48″ long – which covers about 95 percent of the work.

Other disadvantages: The good folding rules are vintage and typically need some restoration. When I fixed up my grandfather’s folding rule, two of the rule’s three joints were loose – they flopped around like when my youngest sister broke her arm. To fix this, I put the rule on my shop’s concrete floor and tapped the pins in the ruler’s hinges using a nail set and a hammer. About six taps peened the steel pins a bit, spreading them out to tighten up the hinge.

Another problem with vintage folding rules is that the scales have become grimy or dark after years of use. You can clean the rules with a lanolin-based cleaner such as Boraxo. This helps. Or you can go whole hog and lighten the boxwood using oxalic acid (a mild acidic solution sold as “wood bleach” at every hardware store).


Here I’m using a zig-zag rule and a carpenter’s pencil to lay out the cuts on the pine stock for the Packing Box. I dislike zig-zags for this work because they don’t lay flat. They have the precision of a hand grenade.

Vintage folding rules are so common that there is no reason to purchase a bad one. Look for a folding rule where the wooden scales are entirely bound in brass. These, I have found, are less likely to have warped. A common version of this vintage rule is the Stanley No. 62, which shows up on eBay just about every day and typically sells for $20 or less.

The folding rule was Thomas’s first tool purchase as soon as Mr. Jackson started paying him. I think that says a lot about how important these tools were to hand work.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: The Joiner & Cabinet Maker, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Video: Inside a Mortise with Frank Klausz

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 7:27am
Frank Klausz

Woodworking is largely an exercise in subtraction. For much of what we do that subtraction is obvious – we can see the kerf left from a saw, we can watch the shavings fall out of our handplane and we brush shavings away from the work surface when we sand or scrape. In these instances, we can quickly assess how the process is going. Is my blade dull? Is my blade canted […]

The post Video: Inside a Mortise with Frank Klausz appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Building a Clamp Rack

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 7:00am

Having trouble storing all of your clamps? In this 2-part video, Steve Johnson, aka the Down to Earth Woodworker, shares his plan for an adjustable, re-configurable, stacked Clamp Rack that is 5S compliant for his workshop. Turns out this new design allows for 2x the amount of clamps in the same space!

Take a look and see if Steve’s ideas can help improve the clamp storage in YOUR shop!

The post Building a Clamp Rack appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Designed World

Northwest Woodworking - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 6:56am

Folks have a dread about learning design. They feel that it is somehow beyond them. They are not artists. They are not creative enough. They lack the weird curiosity to be a designer. Or the hair.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Think back to your dreams last night if you want weird.

Design is not an immediate skill, but like throwing a baseball you can do it even at first. Your throw may be ungainly or downright ugly or straight into the ground. But you can throw. So too can you design, however badly at first. But like baseball, how many throws did you have to make to first before you could zing it there? Hundreds, maybe thousands. The same is true with design, but make the practice fun and you will succeed.

If you want the thrill of designing your own work, then you learn to practice its vocabulary. Learn the things that make up a good design: form, pattern, details. Study great design, design that appeals to you, and then reverently steal from these good sources. For after all, that is what good design is: reverent theft.

We have been stealing from nature for centuries as this ancient wooden sculpture from China shows.


Horse at PAM






Categories: Hand Tools

A Woodworker Goes Into A Bar…

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 5:49am

A woodworker walks into a brew pub, glances around,  and spots another woodworker across the room.  As the first man approaches the second, words ensue.  In a few seconds the second woodworker clenches his hand into a fist and sticks it right under the nose of the first man.

This might be Mickey Spillane’s telling of a episode a the recent Lie-Nielsen tool event in Covington KY.  Of course there is much more background to the tale.

The two woodworkers in question were Dr. MichaelCD and me.  Michael is a professor and practitioner of the healing arts, particularly as they relate to the repair and rehabilitation of injured hands and wrists.  We have been corresponding regularly since I broke my arm last year.  His counsel has been a Godsend, especially once he convinced me that I was working too aggressively on my rehab exercises and was actually retarding the progress.  Once I learned to ease up a bit the progress was much faster.

While at the LNT event he gave my wrist and hand a through going-over.  The break to my radius bone was so close to the wrist (about 1″ up from the base of the thumb, in the narrowest part of the forearm) and of such a nature that the cast had to be quite snug and restrictive with my hand at a peculiar angle to facilitate the bone knitting properly.  As such it pushed all the swelling downward into my wrist and hand, hence my struggles at rehabbing them.  As the orthopedist noted when  examining the x-ray, my lifetime of working with my hands has resulted in every joint being afflicted with arthritis and they did not take well to the incursion of the extra fluid mass being inflicted on them.  (At the same session the bone doc asked me when and how I broke my wrist.  When I replied with a quizzical look he pointed to the x-ray image.  “All this debris here and here indicates a broken wrist, and the fragments are well-worn so it was a long time ago.”  Huh, who knew?)

At the end of the day in Covington I bestowed Michael with a whisk broom and the best meal we could find close by, a time of grand fellowship.  That’s the way health care should be.  Now if only they could figure that out in Mordor on the Potomac.  In parting he gave me a new finger flexibility regimen that I have been following with much success.

Oddly enough the part of arm/wrist/hand rehab that is usually the hardest (rotating the hand relative to the elbow) went very well and fast for me, while the more simple and easy recovery (hand and finger dexterity) is something I still wrestle with.  It gets better every day as I notice something new I can do; roll the toothbrush in my hand, put in my contact lens, use a credit card reader, unscrew the gas cap in the truck, and finally today, using a spring clamp for the first time with that damaged hand.  At this rate I expect these hurdles will be distant memories by the time I hit the First Anniversary.

But for now, thanks to Michael I am well past the 90% recovery mark, and find my effectiveness in the shop at almost 100%.  To top it all off, my left arm and hand are by necessity much more facile than they were a mere six months ago, in the end yielding greater aggregate hand skill than I started with.

How much more blessing can a fellow take?

Mark Arnold on North Bennet, SAPFM & Sgraffito – 360w360 E.229

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 4:10am
Mark Arnold on North Bennet, SAPFM & Sgraffito – 360w360 E.229

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking Mark Arnold of Boston Woodworking discusses his time at North Bennet Street School, editing and writing for American Period Furniture and a woodworking technique known as sgraffito, which he’s teaching at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in late June 2017.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic.

Continue reading Mark Arnold on North Bennet, SAPFM & Sgraffito – 360w360 E.229 at 360 WoodWorking.

William, you have a good knowledge of Japanese woodworking tools even though you are base in America. I am from Borobudur, Indonesia but based in Thailand and Singapore. I like to ask where can I see your portoflio work that is done by Japanese tools....

Giant Cypress - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 3:58am

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it.

I don’t really have a portfolio of the stuff I’ve built, but this is probably the nicest thing I’ve made so far. It’s a Bible box, an item that was common for 18th century Colonial American households to have, especially in the Pennsylvania region. Despite the western design, I made this all with Japanese tools.


I’ve only been in Singapore once, and that was for a meeting for work, so I didn’t have time to scope out woodworking resources. One thing I would highly suggest is to join a local woodworking club. Even if no one uses Japanese hand tools in particular, someone there will be into hand tools, and you can learn a lot that way. The internet is great, but there is nothing like seeing woodworking done in person to help you out.

At Handworks: Original Roubo Prints

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 3:00am


Don Williams will be selling first edition plates from “l’Art du Menuisier” at his booth at Handworks next month. Don purchased these unbound original plates recently and has decided to sell them to the public.

Real-deal copperplates are stunning things of beauty, suitable for framing. And originals from Roubo are quite rare.

Don has been posting the plates he’s selling on his blog. Here are some links so you can read more:

Roubo Print 249

Roubo Print 248

Roubo Print 245

Roubo Print 239

Roubo Print #238

Roubo Print #234

Roubo Print 224

Original Roubo Print # 222

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools


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