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This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read.  A whole bunch!  If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me.  Thanks!

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  



H.O. Studley’s Dovetails – Are Wrong. Maybe…

The Furniture Record - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 6:46pm

Saturday I had the unique opportunity to visit the H.O. Studley tool chest. Just me and 30 of Don Williams’ closest acquaintances. From 10:00 to 11:00 AM. All it cost me was transport to the Scottish Rite Temple in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the cost of a ticket ($25). Parking was free.

The Tool Chest in a darkened room with dramatic lighting.

The Tool Chest in a darkened room with dramatic lighting.

For the rational out there not salivating, Henry O. Studley (1838-1925) was an organ and piano maker, carpenter, and Mason who worked for the Smith Organ Co., and later for the Poole Piano Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. And he made on freakin’ amazing tool chest.

The right half in a darkened room with dramatic lighting.

The right half in a darkened room with dramatic lighting.

This exhibit was arranged by Don Williams, late of the Smithsonian, and the unknown private owner of the chest and accompanying bench. Now that the exhibit is over, it is being returned to its undisclosed location. The only way to experience it is to buy a copy of Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley from the good folks at Lost Art Press.
The left half in a darkened room with dramatic lighting

The left half in a darkened room with dramatic lighting.

Since I am taller than most people, (at least taller than Megan Fitzpatrick), I was able to see the dovetails at the top of the case. They were fine dovetails just cut in an orientation that many people found odd.

Dovetails one one side.

Dovetails one one side.

Dovetails on the other.

Dovetails on the other.

Conventional wisdom (which is often neither) would have the tails on the sides encompassing the pins keeping the top and bottom attached to the sides and defying gravity. There were some murmurs and a low-level of confusion. When you look at the center, you get an appreciation for why they were cut as they were:

The center dovetails.

The center dovetails.

There may be stress on the top and bottom of the case but when the case is opened, the major forces are trying to pull the sides away from top and bottom. Henry was right, like I really need to tell you that. Assuming that’s what he was thinking. Did I mention there was a matching bench?
He made a bench, too.

He made a bench, too.

A very nice bench.

A very nice bench.

For a nostalgic look at the tool chest, check out a less reverential visit to the chest by our old friend Norm by clicking HERE.
Norm and the Studley chest. Two icons in one.

Norm and the Studley chest. Two icons in one.

And another video HERE.
There are more if you look for them.

Japanese Toolbox-Progress 5-Complete

Greg Merritt - By My Own Hands - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 6:31pm

I did a little less than scientific weight trials on the completed toolbox.  I used a bathroom scale and weighed myself.  Using that base weight I was able to obtain a fairly close approximation of the empty and packed toolbox.

To find the empty weight I simply stepped on the scale while holding the toolbox.  A quick calculation and the empty toolbox was found to weigh approximately 15lbs.  Pretty light, I think, for the size.  Next I began loading in tools to get an idea of the capacity.

I was surprised at just how many tools I could pack in.  In fact it easily held all of the tools that I would typically need for any of my projects with a little extra room remaining.  I’ll not list everything here but here are the highlights.  The box held a #4, #5 and all of my joinery planes.  All of my Japanese saws easily fit as well as the majority of my layout tools.  It also held a full complement of chisels plus my sharpening setup.  My boring tools also fit.



Once fully loaded I installed the lid, picked up the toolbox and stepped on the scale.  Another calculation revealed that the loaded box had 50lbs of tools in it, giving me a 65lb package.  Not too bad for the number of tools that I had in it.

This toolbox was never intended to be worked out of.  It was designed for transport and possibly storage and I think it will excel for these tasks.  It’s just a box after all.  With a few additions it could become a toolbox that could be worked out of.  A shallow tray for chisels and layout tools would be a really good start in that direction.  For now, I like the flexibility that a simple box affords.

The toolbox is surprisingly strong given it’s weight and simple construction.  There are a couple of design elements that I would like to point out.  The first being the integrated handles.  Besides being, well, handy, they cause the ends to be inset.  This moves the screws securing the sides well away from the edge of the sides.  Reducing the chance of a spit during assembly and during use.  The other design element has to do with the bottom panel.  Generally speaking, the width of this type of toolbox is fairly narrow.  Typically 10″-16″ being the width chosen.  This narrow width reduces the loading on the bottom and allows for a thin, light bottom panel.  One additional weight reducing element is the lid.  The lid has no structural value for the box.  It simply closes the top opening to protect the contents.  So the lid can be quite thin.  The lid battens adding rigidity and helping to keep the panel flat.

A finish isn’t really necessary but to further my uzkuri research I added a single soaking coat of BLO.  Once that had dried for twenty-four hours I added a coat of Tried & True Original.  When that had dried I buffed the toolbox with a soft cloth.  As expected the oil brought out the grain and added a little color.




Part 4 Greg Merritt

Are hand tools holding me back?

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 6:04pm

Like many new woodworkers who started within the past ten years, I began woodworking using hand tools. My choice of implements had a lot less to do with tradition and a lot more to do with practicality. Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoy the tradition of hand tools and what it stands for, but as many of you heard me say many times before, my garage is just far too small to house a power tool woodworking shop.

Of course I have a table saw and a router, and with a few jigs you can make a lot of things out of wood with just those two tools. But because I don’t really care for routers all that much, the table saw is the only power tool that I use on a regular basis while woodworking. To me, a power-tool-centric woodworking shop needs to have the aforementioned router and table saw, as well as a jointer table, and oscillating sanding station of some type, and most importantly: a band saw. Of course there are other tools I could mention, but those to me are among the most important.

As I said before, I barely have enough room in my garage for what I have now, let alone two or three more stand alone machines; so hand tools are what I work with. Of course I like working with hand tools, and I have my favorites, one of those being the moving fillister plane. Of all the hand planes out there, and there are a plethora of them, the moving fillister for some reason to me looks the most like a woodworking tool (the coffin smoother is a close second). However, my favorite plane also caused me to rethink a few things, and it prompted me to write this post.

My favorite plane

My favorite plane

Today was a rare day for me, as I actually had a few hours to myself this morning to use at my leisure, so I decided to get in a little woodworking. Because I am not starting a new furniture project, I planned on finally finishing my infamous little chisel rack, as well as doing what most hand tool users do during downtime and perform a little PM on a my fillister plane.

Since I’ve had this plane I spent a lot of time with it. The plane has been disassembled, cleaned, flattened, and tuned many times. For its age it is in fantastic shape except in the most important place, the iron. When I received the plane the iron was looking pretty rough, as in whomever owned the plane before me didn’t know a thing about sharpening. And though I managed to get an edge on the iron, I couldn’t get it to hold one. So I did something that I do not like doing and used a power grinder to reshape the bevel.

A clean flllister

A clean fillister

I took my time, reground the bevel, and then went to the sharpening stones to finish the job. Once I got an edge that looked satisfactory, I did a few test fillisters, cleaned and waxed the plane, and called it finished. The iron held up okay, though I will need to hone it again before I put it to use. All in all it took me around an hour, which does not include flattening my water stones after I used them. After that was over I turned my attention to the chisel rack I had made a few weeks ago. The only thing needed to be done on that front was attaching the cleats, coating the rack with linseed oil, and installing it over the bench. I can’t say that rack represents my best work, but it puts my chisels and other hand tools right at eye-level and arms reach where I want them to be.

tool rack installed.

tool rack installed.

Once the rack was installed I got the garage cleaned up, reality set in, and I had places to go and things to do. I spent a shade over two hours woodworking, if what I did today can be considered woodworking. It occurred to me that more than half of the time I spent woodworking was tool maintenance. By its very nature hand tool work requires maintenance of tools, and that can be a real problem for someone like me considering that my current situation will allow me only a few hours per week to spend on woodworking. In other words, days like today will be the norm around here for the foreseeable future. Had I my theoretical small power tool shop in place I could have easily started a new project and made a decent amount of progress in just a few hours. Hand tools are unforgiving in that aspect, because they take time to properly maintain. So I’m wondering if a woodworker like myself, with a very limited timeframe to woodwork, would be better served by switching to power tools? I know that is easier said than done, as I’ve mentioned many times, my garage layout is not power tool friendly.

On the other hand, what else am I doing? At this pace I won’t be building any real furniture any time soon. Maybe a good idea would be to figure out a way to incorporate some power tools into my garage. The bottom line is that I want to make furniture, I miss making furniture, and what I’m doing now isn’t working. And if what I’m doing isn’t working, it’s getting near past the time to try something else.

Categories: General Woodworking

Picture This LIII

Pegs and 'Tails - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 5:47pm
I recently came across this early eighteenth-century walnut chest of drawers. It’s of fairly standard form, though the handles are replacements and the base moulding and feet appear to have been added during the third quarter of the century – … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Hospice Cart Auction

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 5:20pm

Finishing the cart took a couple of days. The rails and legs were finished with Shelac and wax and the top and shelves finished with polyurethane. Not knowing what someone would do with the cart the poly seems like the best solution. Most importantly the cart plus othe items in the final photo raised about $3,500 dollars for the hospice. 

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a canvas tool roll for mortising chisels.

Mulesaw - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 2:05pm
I haven't got any room for the mortise chisels in my tool locker at home, and wrapping them up in paper and putting them in the tool chest seems like a guarantee, that I will never use them.
So instead I have decided that a tool roll could be a good idea. It will protect the edges of the chisels while stored, and I can bring the tool roll with me when I am going to use the chisels for e.g. timber framing.

I have brought some canvas with me for this trip, and also my sail makers needles and a sail makers palm.

The first thing I did was to lay the mortise chisels on the table, so I could get some measurements.
I like the model of tool roll, where the blade is inserted in a pocket, because I don't like that the sides of the blades are banging together during transport.

I read somewhere, that you could stuff some fabric into the pockets, so the tip / edge of the tool would seat in that rather than at the bottom of the pocket itself. This fabric can even be treated with a bit of oil to help prevent rust. The idea sounded good to me, so I made the pockets about 1/2" longer than the actual blade of the longest chisel.

After marking out some cut lines on the canvas according to my sketch, I cut the canvas using a scissor. I started sewing the pocket for the blades. When both sides were sewn, I turned the inside out, so the seam was on the inside of the pocket.
Here after, I measured the width of the pocket, and divided it into 3 equal pockets. I used a normal ball pen for marking as I was to lazy to fetch a pencil, and besides most of the line gets covered by the thread anyway.

I took a small break from the sewing to go down to the workshop to make a couple of D-rings. These were made out of some bronze rod (5/64") that I bent into shape and then silver soldered.

For making the tape to close the tool roll with, I cut out a narrow piece of canvas that I intended to fold three times, and then sew. After playing a bit with this idea I realized that it would probably be too stiff to be practical.
So I decided to only triple the end for the D-rings, and then leave it as a straight piece of canvas in the tape end. It'll maybe start flossing at the edges, but I am willing to take that chance.

My sewing technique is to use two needles, and work from both sides. When I stop a seam, I take a stitch back again, and then weave the thread under 3 stitches.
The thread length I use is a bit more than 3 times the length of the intended seam. That will allow me to still have sufficient thread left to work comfortably for the entire length.
Before I thread the needles, I draw the thread several times through a lump of beeswax. This will help to lubricate the thread, so it doesn't wear thin and breaks while I am in the middle of sewing, and it also helps the thread seat well. I know it sounds contradictory, that the beeswax both lubricate and helps to stick, but that is how I see it.

I can see from my sewing that it is many years ago that I have been doing it, but it will hold the chisels and protect them which is the main purpose.

The finished canvas tool roll.

The first pocket is sewn, but not turned inside out yet.

Pocket divided into 3 smaller pockets.

Tape with D-rings sewn on.

Chisels inserted in the tool roll.

My drawing (Nothing compared to Greg Merrit standards)

Categories: Hand Tools

Take a Load Off

The Workbench Diary - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 1:19pm

I used to be part of a religious movement that did not view weekly Sabbath taking as a privilege Christians ought to enjoy. If you felt like working after the church service, you could go for it. Burn yourself out! Always looking to capitalize on “free” time, this pattern took a toll on Julia and I and we were exhausted all the time. We were running on all cylinders but only 75% efficiency seven days a week. As we got deeper into exhaustion, our patience thinned and bickering and arguing would surface. It was very unhealthy.

It wasn’t until six or so years ago, when we joined a new church that we saw the beauty of weekly Sabbath taking. Nowadays, after church (which is an hour drive from our house) we come home to do absolutely nothing. All day. That’s right… our family starts each week with a day of total rest. We don’t make strict legalistic regulations about this, though, because piano recitals, fun gardening, etc come up. The point is to relax and enjoy the day. If we feel like we “ought” to be doing a certain job, that may be a good indication to go take a nap in the shade instead. (At this point, Julia contributes in full disclosure, “You should tell them we let the house go insane. We don’t even do the dishes!”)

This lounging, napping, and family socializing prepares us for six days of hard work juggling house work, gardening, home schooling, the boy’s community activities, teaching piano lessons, serving in the church, furniture restoration, Fisher research, and the magazine. We make our own yogurt, bake our own bread, roast our coffee, brew our beer, and tend to the chickens and goats.

Maybe you see why we love Sundays.

Someone asked us recently how we do all the stuff we do without burning out. Sabbath, that’s how. I’m fully aware that not all of the readers here are Christians. But I don’t think you need to be in order to see the glory of this rest one day, work six system. With all sincerity, I recommend you take a load off.  Sanctify one day a week to resting from your work. Whatever material responsibilities you feel the burden of during the week, resolve to let go for a day. Besides keeping you sane, I promise you will be more productive the other six days.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hospice Cart Wheel install

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 11:15am

There are no dates on the wheels but I assume they came from an old factory cart. Working with a friend to determine the best method of attachment it became clear that some machining would be necessary. I’m sure that you have used one of the showing carts that have a bad wheel that goes thump thump thump as it turns. Neither of these wheels was centered on the shaft. Imagine the sound as I thumped down a dark cement corridor in a factory.   

With a new shaft, bronze bushings and bronze thrust washers the wheels are attached with an adjustable taper bearing that works great.


Each of the lower rails was 7/8 inch thick. I glued on an additional piece to provide strength where the axel passed through . Then I used a hole saw to make the holes. Yes I could have used an auger and bit but to keep tolerances tight it seemed to be easier to keep the hole perpendicular to the rail with the saw. That done I could attach the large wheels. The smaller wheels required a couple of mortise and tenons to place a board between the rails, than they were bolted on. Almost done.


Categories: Hand Tools

Mowing in Manchester

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:54am
A man mowing wheat and a wooden hay rake in the middle of the city, is this urban food production for the north? Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

SketchUp Books Bundle – Building Blocks + Woodworker’s Guide

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:33am
Which SketchUp book should I buy? That’s a question I get a lot, and if you have no experience with SketchUp, I recommend that you start with “Building Blocks of SketchUp”. That book starts with downloading and installing SketchUp and … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking


Toolerable - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:08am
What a weekend!

I'll try to sum up what went through my brain last weekend, but there was so much, I'm sure I'll only get a fraction in.

Plus, my laptop charger is broken, so I only have as long as my battery lasts while I am waiting for my eight hour layover in Atlanta to be over.

Here goes:

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as I didn't really need any new tools.  The only thing I planned on bringing home was a plane blade from Ron Hock to build a small smoothing plane, as my luck on getting a #2 or #3 from eBay has been thwarted.  I thought I would be able to come up with something better anyway.

What I really wanted to do here was meet and talk to fellow like minded woodworkers.

As soon as I walked up to the Festhalle barn at about 9:20 or so on Friday morning, I knew I was in the right place.  There was a big line that went half way to the street already.  For some reason I thought they opened the doors at nine, but it wasn't until ten when they opened the doors to the great unwashed.

The wait was OK, as the next guy to arrive after me was Bill Schenher from Billy's Little Bench.  Shortly after that was a nice guy by the name of Hamilton who loves to read woodworking blogs.  Chatting with these two was a nice way to pass the time.

Since I really didn't have much interest in buying new tools, I walked in and was amazed with the number of people there.  I fiddled with Benchcrafted's traditional French vice (I really might have to think about upgrading someday to this, as I like it), and admired Chris Schwarz's chest with Jameel Abraham's fancy lid.

This really looks good.
My "no substantial purchase" embargo lasted about 12 minutes, until I realized it wasn't only new tool pushers, but old tool dealers, too!

Slav Jelesijevich was sharing a booth with a nice guy by the name of Jeremy (whose last name I didn't get).  There were some gorgeous tools here.  There was a guy there fondling the two Stanley #3s when I got there, and as soon as he bought one I snatched the other one.  It was gorgeous and a good price, so I bought it.  It turns out it is a nice and clean enough to use without much mucking with Stanley Type 10 #3C.  Since Richard Maguire has been discussing the #3 I have decided I needed one to address some problems with my walnut dining table that I haven't been able to take care of with the planes I currently have in my tool chest.  I now no longer have an immediate need to build a Krenov smoother.  For some reason, I don't have pictures of this plane yet.

I went about three paces to Slav's portion, and there he had a gorgeous Swedish chisel that looks to be more than two inches wide.  I couldn't resist and opened my wallet again.

I then went to Patrick Leach's booth and about went into a coma.  I have never seen so many desirable old tools in one place before in my life.  I feel like I was lucky to get out alive, with no purchases from him.  Although, there were two nice sets of Swedish chisels I had my eye on.  Unfortunately for me, he knew their true worth.

There are many pictures of this elsewhere on the blogosphere, so I'll spare you and only show one:
For God's sake, who has ever seen such a huge box of mortice chisels?
I wanted to talk with and meet as many cool people as I could, but I especially wanted to meet Bengt, Jeremy, Ralph, Ethan, and I wanted to catch up with Christopher Schwarz.  I got to see everyone on my list in the first hour or so of the event, except Ralph.  I kept my eye out for him the whole time, but never bumped into him.  Maybe next time.  The Schwarz was of course running around like a chicken with his head cut off, but he promised that we would get a few minutes to chat on Saturday.  Unfortunately he was under the weather and missed the show that day.

It is great being able to wander around and chat with the various vendors.  One of the first I was able to watch and speak to was Mary May.  She was demonstrating her carving, and mentioned she loved to work with walnut.  I asked if she preferred air-dried walnut, and she said she didn't really know.  A client will give her a chunk of wood with a commission and she just works with it.  I think there is something to be learned here, that there is no need to be snobby with the woods you work with.  If it carves well, then it is good carving wood.
Mary May carving a chunk of walnut.
It was right after this that I started speaking with Chris Kuehn of Sterling Toolworks.  He convinced me that I needed to spend the rest of the money I had with me on a new 1:4 dovetail marker.  So much for not spending any money.  This little gauge is cool, though.  I look forward to using it.

I got to have lunch with Bengt, and spend a good deal of time with him.  He comes to Germany every time Chris Schwarz teaches there.  If you don't read Swedish, run his blog through the Google language translator and be patient as Google's Swedish to English isn't quite perfect. 
Bengt and St. Roy.
The second day I arrived at about ten after nine, and was shocked to see the line of people already there to see Roy Underhill's speech.

Almost an hour early, and here is the line.
Roy's speech was fantastic.  The guy is a 1st class performer.
There were a LOT of people there to see Roy.

I think everyone could see and hear him.
I found myself out at the green woodworking barn a lot.  It was a lot less busy than the Festhalle.  I had a nice conversation with Peter Galbert when he had a few minutes.  What a nice guy.  It was neat to talk to him about his book.  He spent a lot of brainpower trying to figure out how to write in a book what can be shown in person so much easier.  I think he did a great job (from what I have read so far).  It also seems he is open to questions and communication regarding what is in his book, so feel free to look him up with your questions.  I am sure he will be gracious in answering them.
Peter Galbert demonstrating sharpening a drawknife.
Claire Minihan was there, too.  It was fun to watch her teach people to use a travisher.  I must have watched her demonstrate sharpening a travisher blade three times.  Too bad I didn't get a video.  I'm glad I haven't sharpened mine yet, as I would have ruined it.  It really looks easy.

Another "A-ha" moment I had was watching Tim Manney demonstrate his adze technique.  He clamps his board on a sawbench, braces it with his leg, and swings the adze down (just behind his leg for safety) pivoting at the elbow.  The idea is to make a smooth, cross grain cut.  He says the hardest part is coming out of the cut, going up the grain.  If you can do it this way, you save a lot of time as you don't have to turn the board around and re-clamp just to work down-grain on the other side.  I bet he could hollow a wooden serving bowl in no time flat.
Tim Manney demonstrating adze technique.
Jeremy from JMAW Woodworks seemed to bump into me every five minutes.  The Frau and I even got to go to dinner with him and his lovely wife.  He and I have been thinking about entry level moulding planes (or the lack of them).  I am working on some French, open mortice ones, and he has come up with a design all of his own.  I got to see his prototype, and I think it is clever.  Keep an eye on his blog to see how it turns out, as it will be very cheap to make.
Here is Jeremy with Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted discussing the lid to the CS tool chest.
The undeniable highlight of the weekend was the Studley tool chest.
Don Williams speaking to our group admonishing us to keep our grubby mitts off!
The presentation was as professional as any museam exhibit I have ever seen.  There were some guides in the room discussing different aspects of Mr. Studley, his chest, and his bench.
The pictures we all took suck.  Get the book.
Even though I have been following this project on the Lost Art Press blog, as well as Don's own blog, I was amazed at the amount of research and preparation put into this exhibit.
Don Williams giving his spiel for about the zillionth time.
My photos are just a tease.  From what I have seen of the book so far, I am impressed with the photos in there.  However, nothing is like seeing it in person.  My condolences if you missed it.
Even the bench was stunning.

The obligatory photo of me with the chest.  I was glad to see one of the exhibitors photo-bombed this pic!
The vices on the bench were well worth seeing, too.  It would be cool if Benchcrafted offered a silver plated model.
Wouldn't it be neat to have a silver-plated vice?
One of the funniest things of the weekend in my opinion, was looking at the parking lot.  There was only one yellow Beetle there, which was my rental car.
This made it easy to find my car in the parking lot.
Overall the weekend was a success for everyone.  I don't know, but my guess is that a lot more people showed up for this even than were expected.  People were spending money like crazy.  I'm sure Patrick Leach did well, as every time I saw him at least three people were trying to buy tools from him.  Lost Art Press sold out of their first printing (3000 copies!) of the Studley book.  Most other vendors sold out of many things, too.

Congratulations to everyone regarding this event, as I'm sure it will be remembered forever.
Categories: Hand Tools

Roy Underhill, doing his thing, at Handworks 2015.

Giant Cypress - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 9:15am

Roy Underhill, doing his thing, at Handworks 2015.

A rosewood jointer. Back in service.

time tested tools - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 9:00am

I picked this rosewood jointer up at a flea market. It was missing the tote, wedge and blade. When a blade came along, i found a piece of maple and had at it.





Don @ http:\\

Categories: Hand Tools

Relics ;-)

Reliquie ;-)

Roy Underhill while observing  Studley tool chest.
Source: David Barron blog.

Roy Underhill mentre osserva il mobiletto portautensili di Studley.
Fonte: il blog di David Barron.

Jorge Bergoglio while observing the Shroud.
Source: Vatican Radio.

Jorge Bergoglio mentre osserva la Sindone.
Fonte: Radio Vaticana

Categories: Hand Tools

Norris 6G update

Hackney Tools - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 7:27am

No, not more news about a new mobile phone service, but I now have some pics of another Norris 6G, courtesy of Darryl Hutchinson at Classic Planes. Darryl’s pictures are below and I think you will agree my own plane hardly differs. Compare the pictures below, good to see another one in the wild.
Norris 6G Plane_1
Darryl’s plane
Norris or not_1
My plane
Norris 6G Plane_2
Darryl’s plane
Norris or not_5
My plane
Norris 6G Plane_3Darryl’s plane
Norris or not_2
My plane
Norris 6G Plane_4
Darryls plane
Norris or not_3
The only noticeable thing being the lack of screw under the handle. (As Paul Blanche pointed out in the comments on the page, these planes sometimes came without.)
So, yes, I’m naming this a rare Norris 6G.

Categories: Hand Tools

Workmanship of Screwing Up

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 7:26am

Yesterday I wrote about the workmanship of risk (or the workmanship of screwing up as I like to call it.)  It’s a topic that has been on my mind as I started in on the inlay for the Blacker Serving Table I’m making.  This project is a bit of a stretch for me, I’ve done inlay twice before, both as sample projects that didn’t matter.  Now I’m doing a real project, with a very real risk of ruining a part.

The inlay process is simple enough.  Make a cavity and stuff some contrasting material into it.  It’s the making of the cavity where the risk comes in.  For the petals on the vine motif I’m doing I have cut out Abalone shell that I’ll inlay.  To create the cavity I’m using a micro router to freehand the opening using 1/16″ and 1/32″ bits.

Inlay router from Micro Fence

Inlay router from Micro Fence

When I first did inlay I tried using a router base from William Ng, but wasn’t satisfied with it.  The screws to set the depth didn’t hold when routing and the depth would drift deeper.  I returned it and eventually got this tool from Micro Fence.  It can use a variety of Dremel-like tools for power, I’m using my Foredom flax shaft tool.  I like this tool a lot better, it holds depth properly, is easy to adjust and has a real plunge mechanism unlike the Ng tool.

But the point of showing it is to demonstrate the risk of the operation.  Most of the work is done using a 1/16″ bit and freehand routing the cavity that the inlaid material will sit in.  If it’s too small the material won’t fit, if it’s too big you have ugly gaps around the inlay.

I spent a couple of hours staring at this tiny bit through 5x magnifiers while routing out the legs.

I spent a couple of hours staring at this tiny bit through 5x magnifiers while routing out the legs.

The very first leg I tried on I lost control and made a bad cut for the silver vine, which is also freehand routed.  It wasn’t the end of the world, although it felt like it at the time.  Luckily I was able to move past that and finish the inlay in the first leg, here it is sanded flush and (mostly) ready for finish.  It’s far from perfect, but when it’s part of the table, has finish applied and is viewed from three feet away it will look great.

First leg done

First leg done

The silver wire is 1/16″ and 1/32″ thick square Argentinium Silver — a Sterling Silver alloy that is tarnish resistant.  The dots are 1/8″ round silver wire and 3/16″ copper round bar in drilled holes.  I learned some tricks doing this first leg, and I’m working on the other three legs right now.


Categories: General Woodworking

The thrill.

Giant Cypress - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 6:28am

The thrill.

Middle Shelf Through Mortises

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 6:20am

The middle shelf is attached the the ends of the cart with fourthrough mortises. Laying out each mortise carefully I use a chisel to cut 3/4 of the way through from one side, reverse the board and finish up from the other. With a little care you have a nice design element.

The key word is “care”. Although it would be more expedient to take “care”, for the sake of the community I found it imperative to make several key mistakes.


Mistake Number 1:Notice in the photograph that the tenons extend far beyond the cross rail. The picture doesn’t give me credit for the full 2.5 inches that will allow much greater forces to placed into the tenon when fitting the pieces together. If the length had been trimmed to a reasonable amount there would be no demonstration of the human domino machine (see festool domino) for reattaching the tenon..

 Mistake number 2: maybe I should call this trial number 2…. The long rail decided to twist and cup severely. No picture but there are definitely some stresses in this wood. It’s now in my scrap collection. Enjoyed the additional mortise training. 

Mistake number 3: After two mistakes it would be wise to go for a long run where you could carefully review options and format a plan for carefully taking the next steps. However to ensure that the reader gets a full plate of mistakes I continued forward assembling the cart. The weather has been variable and over a couple of days joints have swollen. Possibly the weather is to blame, but more likely a hard hammer blow rather than a gentle squeeze with a clamp resulted in the sound of a crack. Yes another leg to practice veneering! The excitement almost brought me to tears. The resulting 5 mile run was one of my fastest ever. You have to take the good with the bad.


Categories: Hand Tools

Skottbenken i “Lærebog i bygningskunsten”

Norsk Skottbenk Union - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 5:27am

Eg har gjort eit poeng av at skottbenken ikkje har kome med i faglitteraturen i snikkarfaget eller tømrarfaget. Det er mogleg det vert “sant” om eg repeterer det mange nok gongar og ikkje tar meg bryet med å sjekke med denne faglitteraturen? Om ein slår saman faglitteraturen i våre nordiske land så blir det fort ein del bøker som ein kan leite gjennom på søk etter skottbenken. Eg har gjort ein del tekstsøk i digitaliserte versjonar av nokre av desse bøkene. Så langt har eg ikkje fått treff på skottbenk, rettbenk eller strykebenk i dette materialet. Eg har då gått vidare og lest gjennom det som er skrive om golvbord. Sanneleg vart det ikkje napp på dette, og eg må moderere mine påstandar om at skottbenken er fråverande i faglitteraturen.

Theodor Broch gav ut “Lærebog i Bygningskunsten” i Christiania (Oslo) i 1848. Boka er gjerne halde fram som den første norske læreboka i husbygging. Broch var norsk og hadde militær utdanning frå Noreg, men han hadde offentlege stipend for å reise og studere militær byggekunst i Tyskland, Frankrike, Østerrike, Belgia og Nederland. Han baserte nok mykje av både tekstinnhald og illustrasjonar på utanlandsk faglitteratur. Det er tydeleg at øksene han har teikna er meir i tråd med tyske og danske økser enn med samtidige norske økser. Det er grunn til å vere kritisk til kor vidt boka representerer norske tradisjonar, eller om det er mykje påverknad frå utanlandsk faglitteratur? Likevel er boka ei tidleg og viktig kjelde som tar for seg mange nyttige detaljar som ikkje er med i nyare fagbøker.  Om bord og plankar skriv han:

“§410. Bord og Planker som ved Hjælp av Hövlen ere jevnede paa deres brede Sideflader, kalder man hövlede; er de hövlede paa de smale Kanter siges de at være strögne. Dette siste er nödvendigt ved Bord eller Planker, som lægges Side om Side, thi elles ville de aldrig slutte tæt til hinanden. Strygningen udføres sædvanlig paa Fugbænken (Fig. 65), paa hvilken Bordet eller Planken holdes opretstaaende mellom Aagerne ab og cd ved Kilerne m, m. Al Hövling sker först med en kort Hövel (Skrubhövlen), hvorved Bordene eller Plankerne kun blive grovt tiljevnede (skrubhövlede); siden fuldföres planeringen med en finere, lang Hövel (Slethövlen, Oxhövlen, Stryghövlen).” (Theodor Broch, “Lærebog i Bygningskunsten”, 1848)

Skisse av Fugbænk frå "Lærebog i Bygningskunsten" av Theodor Broch, 1848. Skisse av Fugbænk frå “Lærebog i Bygningskunsten” av Theodor Broch, 1848. Skissa er med i ei eige bok som har med alle planer som det er henvist til i teksten i boka.

Illustrasjonen av Fugbænken i boka til Broch har litt til felles med benken som K. Gjesme i Lærdal har teikna. Også nokre av benkane som beskrive frå Sunnmøre kan ha fellestrekk med denne benken. I staden for lange bord som ein klemmer saman er det ein ås som kanten på bordet som skal høvlast ligg på. Korleis “stryghövlen” har sett ut er vanskeleg å seie sidan den ikkje er illustrert eller forklart nærare. Det kan vere ein lang høvel. Det er mogleg at Fugbænken til Broch fanns i fleire variantar, også med rettbord på sida slik som K. Gjesme har teikna? Slik han er forklart i tekst og skisse har ein ikkje noko form for rettbord som ein eventuell skottokse kan brukast saman med. Arbeidshøgda er 2 fot, ca 62,75 cm. For høvling av 8″ – 10″ breie bord så gir det ei høveleg arbeidshøgd samanlikna med det som er vanleg på andre typar skottbenkar.

Vidare i teksten forklarar Broch om pløying av bord.Vidare i teksten forklarar Broch om pløying av bord. frå “Lærebog i Bygningskunsten” av Theodor Broch, 1848. Skisse 206 frå planverket til "Lærebog i Bygningskunsten" av Theodor Broch, 1848. Figur 206 frå planverket til “Lærebog i Bygningskunsten” av Theodor Broch, 1848.
Categories: Hand Tools

final day in Amana with H.O. Studley.....

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 3:46am
My day of seeing the H.O. Studley tool chest didn't start out too good. I tried to get on line at the hotel and I couldn't. I went over to McDonalds and I got on line there. I wanted to email my wife but I ran out of battery power. I had just gotten done posting my blog for today when that happened. No problem, I'll call her and wake her up. Lucky for me that didn't happen neither - no service on my cell phone.

It was raining when this all went on. The last time I was here the internet connection died when the rain started. I don't give much hope for posting this in the AM from the hotel but maybe McDonalds will still be supplying WiFi.

Not shaping up as a good prelude to seeing what Mr Studley made so long ago. I had printed out the directions to Scottish Rite Temple and they didn't involve a lot of turns. It was basically off the exit and two turns. I still managed to miss one of them. But what is good about the directions I had was they tell you if you have gone too far.

The the street names in Iowa are a bit funny to me. I'm used to names etc and here in Iowa it's letters and numbers. Throw in a bunch of one way streets and it took me 15 minutes to get back to where I came off the highway and then finally to the Temple. I got there about 0915. Plenty of time to go get a coffee before my viewing time at 1000.

the room I waited in
This masonic temple has adages all over the place. They even have them in the men's room over the white porcelain things.

 Don's into piano vises
I found the piano makers vise faces to be a bit shallow in the height of the face. I have no doubts that they will clamp anything put in them. These seemed to be made specifically for working narrow pieces of stock. This is the replica Studley bench that Don made for this exhibit. It even has faux dog holes.

the back of H.O. Studley's workbench
This guy was over the top. The black panels are ebony. This is a workbench but he turned even this into a show piece. I think the other wood is mahogany.

I have a poster of this tool chest but that is nothing to compare to this. Seeing it in person is unreal. The precision that he did in executing this is flawless and jaw dropping. Don said there are approximately 275 tools in this. The planning and the layering of tools is extraordinary. I can't imagine how he did this as even now with all the computer power available now, I think it would not be easy to do.

built in last decades of the 1800's
slightly opened drawer
Don said that this drawer is about 3/4" wide and 3/16" thick. Mr Studley did a full blind pin and two half pins into the drawer front. No gaps and absolutely dead nuts perfect looking. Don said that this was Mr Studley showing off and he did an excellent job of it.

In front of the drawers are the ebony bench dogs for his workbench. They are individually numbered for their corresponding hole on his workbench. Solid ebony bench dogs with a small piece of brass to keep in place - unbelievable.  

video show
Throughout the hour I was there, this video was running on the screen. It's a record of Don removing the tools in the chest one by one. I'm sure that the video was consulted when it came time to reverse this action.

crappy pic
This is a pic of the layering and the genius of H.O. Studley in figuring out how to do it. The first holder swings up toward the top. The second layer is the two slanted doors on the left and right (they are holding the first one up). The third layer has the auger bits underneath. Just about everyone, including myself, opined that it must of been a chore getting the tools out and putting them back.

The front of H.O. Studley's workbench
I wonder what he kept in these drawers? Or in the cubby hole space underneath? This almost looks like he was using this as a desk too. I didn't have a chance to ask Don but it looked like the top of his workbench was rosewood. The black stripe I'm sure is ebony again. I don't know if the top of the bench was refinished but it looks like it was hardly used at all. I couldn't see any tool marks or errant saw cuts anywhere on it.

better picture of H.O. Studley's bench
The lights were down low for the first 40 minutes or so and they didn't come on till the very end. This must have a been a conservation thing that Don employed.

Studley's calipers
Lee Valley sells a caliper that looks a lot like the top left hand one. I saw it at their booth at Amana.

bench lamination
This is how Mr Studley built his bench. An inner core covered with rosewood. I wonder if he was aware of the Roubo Bench?

wagon end of Studley's bench
I had to wait for the crowd to thin out a bit before I got my chance to drool. Don opened the Plexiglas cover and opened up 3 of the layered tool holders.

best I can do picture wise - no large rip or x-cut saws
To all who see this - if this ever comes up for exhibit again put it on the A list to be done immediately. I simply don't have the words to explain the majesty of this tool chest. The tolerances for taking the tools out of their holders is obscenely tight. The ebony and mother of pearl inlays on all the turn buttons is mind blowing. The molded edges of the tool holders are magnificent. The gothic details of arches is used throughout the tool chest are stunning. I am willing to bet a lung he did it all by hand too.

It became even more apparent just what a guy Mr Studley was when Don flipped these 3 holders. The level of detail goes way over the top. The edges of all the holders are all molded and some have applied ebony moldings. And it continues from the first one to the bottom one. It wasn't just the top or show piece that got his attention to detail.

the last bad picture
If you didn't get to this showing of the chest the next best thing would be buying the book on it. Hopefully my copy is at home waiting for me. Quite a few guys here had a copy and one owner and I looked up a tool that Don was removing in the video. Turns out Mr Studley had 4 awls to choose from.

The size of this chest isn't that big for the number of tools it contains. It is only about 7" or so deep and maybe 36" tall (eyeballed measurements) that even with the layering it almost defies comprehension on how he stuffed them all in this space. Seeing this up this close was worth the trip to Amana again.

3" x 8" coarse diamond plate

I have been thinking of getting one of these diamond plates and seeing and playing with it convinced me that I'll have to get it. Joel at TFWW had the fine and x-fine ones. I like having a larger stone to sharpen on. Allows for a longer stroke which should shorten the time spent doing the deed.

I was up on the Lie Nielsen platform at 1230 and I ended up alone in the universe. I didn't see Bob or Brian anywhere. And I didn't see Bartee at the Scottish Temple. I thought he had blogged he was going at 1100 but I didn't see any white haired gents wearing glasses that looked like him. I guess some things aren't meant to be.

lilacs at Amana Village
These smell very good and remind me of the 3 lilac bushes I have at my house. They are in bloom there too but they don't look like these here. This is a different variety then the ones I have. They smell about the same but these are smaller with a smaller delicate flower.

I wandered around at the tool event again and left it around 1400. I never got to play with the Chris Vesper bevel gauge and I went back to Konrad Sauer (I screwed up his name in yesterdays blog) again and asked the price of the small smoother. It's 2100 Canadian which means it's about 20% less if paid in american dollars. Still too rich for me but I do have a sock drawer and lots of time.

I couldn't remember the name of the guy who made the miniature chest with all the tools in it on yesterday's post. It was William Robertson. I forgot his name and mis-remembered the name of the guy from Heritage Woodworking. His name is Frank Strazza not Sturgis - my apologies for getting that all screwed up.

Ron Hock came from California
I would have liked to have bought a few plane irons but I didn't want to chance bringing them home in my carry on back pack. I bought the new carbide tipped scraper from Benchcrafted and the Father was very kind to me and is mailing it to me with free shipping.

Patrick Leach offerings
This makes me wish that I had driven out here. There is a nice older record quick release vise that I would have re-mortgaged the house to buy. This is the stuff Patrick had going out the door. The pile in the pic is only a portion (less than half) of one of the three rows of tools here.

I don't know if Jameel is going to pony up and do a show like this again. If he does do it he'll have to use a real big hook to get me out here for a third trip. If that happens I'll be staying at different hotel hopefully with a better internet connection.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the only continent that corn is not grown on?
answer - Antarctica


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