Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
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!
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.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized
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|
|the two test planes|
|3/8 side bead plane|
|3/8 beading plane|
|side bead plane on the edge|
|side bead plane profile on two edges|
|beading plane profile on two edges|
|beading plane on top and side bead on the bottom|
|the groove is determined by the iron|
|side bead plane|
|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?|
|round over on the plate rail|
|you can tell that this is a half circle|
|the right side plate rail|
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.
If you are suffering from epistaxis, what is your condition?
answer - you are having a nosebleed
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.
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.
Pretty much all of them.
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.
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
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|
|tannic acid applied|
|back flattening first|
|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|
|pitted or a rust spot|
|sanded up to 1200 grit|
|stropping finishes this|
|3/8" beading iron done - repeated for the 1/2" one|
|1/2" beading iron|
|mostly grudge with a little rust|
|made my blood offering to the Woodworking gods|
|removing the burr|
|stropped the bevels and the backs|
|round over layout for the plate rail|
What part of the body is the axilla?
answer - the armpit
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:
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
The other painting of interest is Home by Sir Joseph Noel Paton, Scottish, 1821-1901.
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.
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:
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.
The house in East Boothbay.
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.
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.
Rear view of the house showing the barn.
I picked up this great poster for Nathaniel Wilson at the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland in March.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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
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.
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 …
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).
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
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 […]
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!
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.
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?
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.
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....
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.
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:
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized