Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator




Roman Workbench Build-Along

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 10:25am


Inspired by Chris Schwarz’s article in Issue Two “Decoding the Roman Workbench”, Mike and I have decided to build our own Roman (i.e. staked) benches. I’ve been doubly curious about this form because Jonathan Fisher’s bench of this type survives in his house (now a museum) and I’ve really wanted to get some time working at one before finishing off my book on him this winter.

The week of February 20th, Mike and I will each be building a bench. I will be basing mine largely on Fisher’s bench, which is a 12.5” wide by 7’ long rough-sawn board with four riven and hatcheted legs. His is a little less than 2” thick but the plank I have set aside is a bit thicker than that. This plank is special to me because it was lodged in the collar ties of the 200 year old Cape Cod house that my wife and I are in the early stages of restoring. The plank is rough sawn with a few small hatchet marks scattered around and has even sawmill tally marks on one side. Since this plank has been in an attic for about 200 years, I think it’s pretty well dry by now. That leads me to Mike’s bench….

We don’t have a plank picked out for Mike’s bench yet. Based on Chris’s experiments with green bench building, we are going to be building that one with pretty fresh wood. We are fascinated with this high-moisture-content bench building idea. We have both done this when building benches for our boys. All settled out just fine on both of those so we are going to give it a go on Mike’s bench. 

Wanna build your own Roman bench along with us?  We’re going to be building these the week of Monday, February 20th and blogging along the way. We thought it would be fun to open it up for others to join in on the build. Don’t have a thick plank set aside? It’s not necessary. Just go pick up a 2 x 12 at your home center. It’s really nothing more than a plank with four legs anyway. The wooden pegs for workholding don’t care if the top is only 1.5”.

We’ll be posting on the progress during our build and sharing our experiments using the benches.

So… who’s in? In the meantime, read up on Chris’s working methods and study the plans he drew in his article in Issue Two. Put this build on your calendars. We look forward to building with you all!

 - Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools

Finishing the Dresser Chest

Paul Sellers - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 12:30am

From  my Journal Tuesday 7th February 2017 Finishing the Dresser Chest of Drawers Applying the finish for many woodworkers is often a daunting task ahead but with the right brush and technique it need not be. With the video series concluded and posted we made a finishing video for everyone to follow to conclude the …

Read the full post Finishing the Dresser Chest on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

citric acid bath time.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 12:12am
I only got one thing that I ordered today. I was supposed to get my Benchcrafted wagon vise today but the UPS site just says that shipments are delayed due to the storm. No updates, no nothing, so I have no idea when I'll get it. I also ordered a couple of things to come Prime from Amazon and their updates have the same storm delay blurb. So I may not get nothing until next week because I doubt they will play catch up and deliver on saturday.

0330 friday morning
Round two of the ebonizing - put on the iron solution before I went to work.

put the same iron solution on set #2 also
12 hours later
I wiped on the tannic acid on set #1 and it got blacker. I'll continue this until I have completed 4 rounds.

set #2
Huge improvement in the color. This is after one round of the apple cider vinegar and tannic acid that I used on set #1.

my first iron sulfate solution
When I first made this it would foam and produce a bazillion bubbles when I shook it. Today I didn't even get one bubble when I shook it.

looks nothing like the first time
It's hard to see in this picture but this is rather thin and watery looking. When I first made it up it had some substance to it. It was not thick but you could tell just by looking that there something more than water. This looks rusty and smells like vinegar but I get no reaction at all with it and tannic acid.

#8 iron and chipbreaker from NH plane parts
This looks pretty good and the iron has got a lot of life left in it. I now have 4 irons that I can use in the 4 1/2 and the #8. I have an extra iron (or 2) for every plane I have except for the LV BU jack and my #6.

chipbreaker side
Other than an accumulation of grunge, there is very little rust on either the iron or the chipbreaker.

chinese take out containers to the rescue
this is interesting
This puts the chipbreaker in the late 1880's or so.

I think this one say Apr 1882
probably isn't necessary
I lightly sanded both the iron and the chipbreaker and again I was surprised by how rust free they were. I wiped them down and then cleaned them both with the simple green. It is going in the citric acid next so this might have been overkill.

going for the gusto
A little less than a quarter of a cup of citric acid in two cups of hot water. I stirred it until I didn't see any more citric acid bits in the water.

I read on a post about this where the author went for the gusto with a lot of citric acid and having the parts sit for a couple of hours. I'm going to try the same thing - lots of citric acid and a short bath time. I'll look at this at 1900. I plan on taking it out regardless because I don't want this to sit in the citric until tomorrow.

this bugs me
I have barely two frog hairs worth of the iron poking out past the sole and over half of the adjuster is being used to get it there.

two chipbreakers
The left chipbreaker is in the plane now. The one on the right I bought to replace the left one.

why I am replacing it
The chipbreaker has a chip missing on this corner of the plane. I haven't run into any problems with it so far but I am going to replace it.

a lot of the iron is peeking out
This is about 3 times what I normally have on the iron projection. The plane has the replacement chipbreaker in it now.

look at the adjuster
I have 3 times as much of the iron showing and less than what the adjuster was at with the first chipbreaker in place.

I have to fix this
I replaced this but chips are going underneath it as I plane. It isn't laying flat across the iron. I'll have to spend some time at the stones fixing it.

adjuster slots are slightly off
The replacement chipbreaker is not only smaller, it's adjuster slot is a bit lower. When I first put this in the plane I had noticed that I didn't have to run the adjuster out so far but didn't put 2 and 2 together.

my LN 51 shooter
I barely have the iron past the front edge of the plane which is where I usually have it. I can take fine shavings with it there.

the adjuster on the LN
It looks like it is ready to fall off and that is because it almost at the top of the threaded stud.

side view of the adjuster
I have adjusted the frog as close as I can to the mouth. You can only move that forward so far because the chipbreaker and the iron on this plane are so thick and there isn't lots of room in the throat. That thickness limits how far forward the frog can be and still have some of the iron sticking out.

It my contention that I shouldn't have this much of the adjuster used up for having so little of the iron protruding. I had sent it back to LN when I first got it and asked about this but I never got a reply or an answer to that question. I was told the plane was fine and that the lever cap was loose. That is the way I received it back too, with the lever cap loose.  My question on that is if the plane was checked out as being fine, why did I get it back with the lever cap loose? Did someone there fix that and then make it loose again to send it back to me?

My 4 1/2 has a similar problem where I think a lot of the adjuster is used up. The rest of the herd doesn't have this issue. It's a bit of a PITA to me or maybe it is just a quirk on these two planes. Either, way I've learned to work with it and a shooter doesn't need a lot of iron sticking out to do it's job.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame?
answer - Aretha Franklin

Chair Chat: Stick Chairs & Trinocular Crest Rails

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 10:58pm

Yesterday Chris and I had a Q & A session about stick chairs, the Hall’s Croft chair, chair design and more. It was only towards the end of the evening portion of our chat, and after he had consumed two beers, that it was necessary to redact a line or two.

Suzanne: The last time we talked about chairs was in January 2015, your pre-condition was we had to be naked (although we were about 550 miles apart) and it was titled ‘Naked Necessity.’ What pre-condition do you have this time?

Chris: Let’s say hirsutus maximus.

Suzanne: Sorry, I’m rejecting your hairy pre-condition and going with a jolt of Tia Maria in my afternoon coffee. Let’s get started.

When you see a stick chair what do you find pleasing to your eye?

Chris: Well first it’s the angles. Peter Galbert, the bard of chairmakers, nailed it when he wrote this: “The angles of the legs, along with their design, help give the chair a ‘gesture.’ Whether the desired result is a visual lightness and sense of action or stability and weight, angles are important.”

I’m looking for a gesture that is somewhere in the neighborhood of “f-you world.” I like chairs that have an animalistic stance – like they would jump up and lick your face or tear you to shreds.

Most Windsor chairs have a stateliness that leaves me cold. In contrast, Welsh stick chairs are more like a crazy uncle.

Suzanne: For the woodworker in you what do you like about these chairs?

Chris: These chairs were not manufactured. And in many cases they were built by the same people who used them. So every chair is different and is connected to a person.

Plus, the makers didn’t follow the same rulebook as the Windsor makers of High Wycombe. They used angles that were more rakish and severe (and got away with it). They used construction methods that were simpler (and many of these chairs survived 200 or more years). And they used found materials. The armbow of many of these chairs is a curved branch they nicked from a coppice or from their own land.

You don’t have to be a professional chairmaker to make nice Welsh stick chairs. You just have to have some sticks, a plank for the seat and a few tools.

The Hall's Croft chair.

The Hall’s Croft chair.

Suzanne: When you and Roy Underhill stumbled upon the Hall’s Croft chair what were your first impressions? 

Chris: Roy and I had spent the entire day crawling around the floors of the dwellings of Stratford-on-Avon, photographing all the stuff that was fascinating (I filled a 32gb SD card). There was a short bed, for example. Why is it so short? Was it because people were shorter back then? Or was it because beliefs at the time were that you should not sleep flat – you should sleep upright – so evil spirits didn’t get in through your mouth.

When we saw the Halls Croft chair we both just stopped for a minute. Unlike a lot of the stuff we’d seen that day, this chair was out of the norm (by the way, I really doubt it was contemporary to the house; many of these chairs are much younger than dealers suspect or advertise).

The first thing we did was set up a perimeter. I poked my head into the dining room to make sure the docent was facing the cafe. Then Roy started putting objects on the chair that were an identifiable dimension – such as a touristy pamphlet – so we could scale the chair’s parts when we got back to the States. We took dozens of photos each whilst I kept a lookout for the very helpful employees of the house museum.

We did it without upsetting anyone and without anyone (me) having to say: I’ll create a diversion!

I think Roy liked the odd crest rail. I really liked the birdcage-like structure of the spindles.

Suzanne: You encourage woodworkers to explore many furniture forms to develop their knowledge of joinery and their own designs and suggest carrying a sketchbook, camera, etc. What else do you do to get a good record of a piece of furniture?

Chris: I always carry a camera with me. It’s a habit I picked up as a newspaper reporter and has served me well as a furniture designer. I also carry a credit card – not to pay anyone off but to put it in photos so I can scale the object in Photoshop. And I try to take photos that resemble construction drawings: a straight-on elevation, a profile and (if possible) a plan. Then I take a “beauty shot” to remind me of how all these pieces add up together, and I take photos of the important details.

I rarely make replicas. But knowing what a maker did – exactly – with a beautiful piece is solid gold information.

Suzanne: As for measuring the chair I’m surprised you didn’t use body parts as measuring devises. And no, not that body part (this isn’t ancient Rome after all). I mean the width of your palm, elbow to wrist, etc. 

Chris: Using body parts works in a pinch. I usually have a 6” rule in my man-purse when I travel – that’s the easiest gnomon to deal with because you can pick out 1/16”s easily. I know all this sounds a bit wacko, but a good image inventory of pieces you’ve encountered is a huge help when designing. It’s like a sketchbook of other people’s work that you love.

Suzanne: Would you say your experience as a chairmaker plus the image library you have built provides you with a “muscle memory” of seat proportions, back splay, etc.?

Chris: That’s a good way to put it. Once you see thousands of designs you quickly see any design as a collection of angles, segments of circles, boxes and other assorted shapes. It’s a bit like seeing the code in “The Matrix” or the magic point where you think in a foreign language.

Suzanne: To use Peter Galbert’s term “gesture” of the chair the features that caught my eye, besides the crest rail, are the roundness of the arms and the gap in the back. The arms curve around to embrace the sitter plus the surface of the arms are rounded. The gap in the back adds a lightness overall. You posted a photo of a similar chair. In your study of these chairs have you seen this feature very often?

Chris: Sitting in the chair is very much like receiving a hug. There is an amazing compactness to it. It’s so close to you that it feels like an exoskeleton or a carapace.

While the compactness of the chair isn’t common, having the arms threaded by the back spindles is fairly common. As I have been told by our John Brown team, Welsh chairmakers didn’t do much steam bending, so this technique allows them to cut the arms from solid material (no bending) and yet create a pleasing horseshoe shape.

To be honest I was skeptical of this style of armbow until I sat in one. They are amazingly rigid thanks to the spindles below.

Another "birdcage" example.

Another “birdcage” example.

Suzanne: The original chair was made from elm. You chose sycamore. Why and what do you like and not like about sycamore for this chair?

Chris: Vernacular chairs were generally made from whatever materials were on hand. So that’s the philosophy I use when building chairs. Elm is difficult to get here – you have to find it and cut it yourself. And Dutch elm disease made finding elm a tricky business.

When you look at the materials available around the Midwest, sycamore is a logical choice. It’s a junk tree of no real commercial value. Its grain is interlocked (like that of elm), which makes it impossible to split. (That’s a good thing with seat material.) And it can be had if you ask around.

Like elm, sycamore is an enormous challenge to work. If your tools are not razor sharp, it will tear out horribly. Its density varies greatly depending on the color of the wood. But if you take the time to conquer it, the rewards are spectacular. The quartersawn figure is like a field of stars.

Suzanne: The Hall’s Croft chair has a unique crest rail which I have dubbed the Trinocular. You indicated the form might be an exercise in geometry. Explain, or do we need to bring in Jim Tolpin?

Chris: Well one of the themes underlying the geometry of woodworking tools is that if you set your dividers to the circumference of any circle, then that distance can be stepped off exactly six times around that circle’s circumference. Hollows and rounds are one example of how this plays out in our tools. If you want to know what radii a certain plane cuts, you measure the cutter’s width. That width equals its radius. That makes layout predictable.

So the crest rail is three half circles. That means the length of the crest rail is exactly six times the radius of each circle. The radius also equaled the width of the area below the half-circles. So the maker laid out the entire crest rail with one setting of his or her dividers. I don’t know if they were lazy, in a hurry or winking at the person who stumbled on it 200 years later.

Suzanne: I just had a flashback to 8th grade Geometry class.

You made several different crest rails and finally put aside the Trinocular. You also made other design changes to the chair. Describe what you did and why. Did your changes include resizing the chair for the modern body?

Chris: I don’t make replicas unless a customer requests it specifically. I made replicas for many years to get inside the heads of early makers, but I’m at the point now where I sit in a chair and know exactly what needs to be changed to make it suit me and the modern frame.

For my first version of the chair I kept the seat dimensions and leg angles true to the original. I wanted to see how the chair sat because I didn’t get to sit in the original (promise!). But when it came to the crest rail, I had to make changes. The trinoc crest rail was too quirky, low and flat. I made a couple trinoc crests and just couldn’t fall in love. So I increased the length of the four back spindles and carved a curved crest out of solid beech.

I also made some minor changes to the seat profile and arms, but nothing major.

For the third version of the chair, which I’m building now, I’ve changed a whole host of things. The seat is slightly wider and deeper but retains the same overall feeling of getting a chair hug. The rake and splay of the leg angles are all new. I wanted to give it a slightly more aggressive stance and make it more stable in back.

I saddled the set to add comfort (the original had a flat seat). And I’m working on a slightly different crest rail that will tuck under the sitter’s shoulder blades. Most people will see it as the same chair. But the third one is a different animal.

Suzanne: What did you learn from making this chair? Did making the Hall’s Croft chair help you with your design of the staked armchair that you didn’t get to include in the “The Anarchist’ Design Book”?

Chris: I really love the birdcage effect of this chair’s spindles and will use that a lot in my future work. This chair gave me some clues about how to deal with a staked armchair a la “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” but that chair is on hold right now. I pushed things a little too far with its design and ended up pinching the sitter’s side meat – not good. So I’m finishing up this other chair and am putzing around with the staked armchair. As of now, I’m detaching the arms from the back spindles and trying to see if the chair still feels durable.

Or it will go in the burn pile.

Suzanne: You are also planning a staked settle. Where are you in designing that piece? Have you made a settle before?

Chris: I have made a number of settles over the years. They’re kind of a weird form with their own sets of rules that aren’t exactly like chairs.

I’ve designed this staked settle a couple times, and I think I have it nailed. But I won’t know until I build it.

Suzanne: I am ever hopeful you will build one of those Welsh pub settles with the bacon compartment.

Chris: Anything with a bacon compartment is a good thing. One might call it the “meat pocket.”

Suzanne: What kind of finish did you use for the chair?

Chris: Organic linseed oil and beeswax.

Suzanne: I am slightly obsessed with the Trinocular crest rail. Do you see any other use for it? Door stop? Bookend? Trivet?

Chris: [Redacted – Heavily Redacted] OK, I’ve had two beers. Please excuse that.

I don’t know. They look like a pair of “wooden knuckles” to me. Maybe they could be used in a massage situation. The shape is utterly odd – like the face of a three-eyed frog. I like it, truth be told. But I can’t see it as a component in my furniture – yet.

Suzanne: Do you have any questions for me? I take that back. Chris, thank you! We will have to do this again in another two years.

Chris: Thanks for doing this little chat. It’s actually an interesting exercise to put some of this stuff into words that has been swimming around in my head.

Off to find beer No. 3.

Suzanne: While you enjoy your beer I’m going to update my woodworking dictionary with some meat-based terms: meat clamp, sitter’s side meat, meat bushing and meat pocket. 

You can read our first chair Q & A, ‘Naked Necessity’ here.

You can read more about the Hall’s Croft chair here.

Chris did five posts on building a stick chair. Click on the titles listed below to go directly to the article.

‘A Staked Armchair for ‘The Anarchist’s Design Book’

‘Legs for the Staked Armchair’

‘Legging up the Staked Armchair’

‘Saddling a Seat’

‘Undercarriage Assembly

The gallery has a collection chair of photos from the Instagram feed.

Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: The Anarchist's Design Book
Categories: Hand Tools


Pegs and 'Tails - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:32pm
Seventeenth-century Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog landed on the west coast of Australia on the 25th of October 1616 (only the second European to do so). Having tarried merely three days on the continent, he set sail again writing in his … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

The Last of the ‘Roman Workbenches’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 7:59pm



We are down to 30-something copies of the letterpress version of “Roman Workbenches.” This book is currently in production and will ship sometime in April 2017.

Brian Stuparyk at Steam Whistle Letterpress and I are trying to create a book that is as perfect as the technology will allow, but no more. Using a sheet-fed proofing press, there are limits to how precisely you can get 16 pages to line up on both sides of a 19” x 25” sheet.

Brian is a maestro with his Vandercook press, so I know that the pages will be in near-perfect registration. But we’ve been negotiating with the bindery, which is accustomed to laser-line precision. That’s not what we’re after with this job.

As with anything handmade, there are small (very small) imperfections that accumulate to produce an object that is not technically perfect, but is aesthetically so. So a page might be 1/32” out of register. Another page might have its image tilted a fraction of a degree. These things are not visible to the eye. They can only be measured with precision tools. But they can be sensed.

Will we succeed? I have every faith in Brian. We’ve worked on a couple of very tricky jobs together (and many non-tricky ones). “Roman Workbenches” is going to be something to see.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

non-woodworking books for sale

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 11:50am


For I-don’t-know-how-many-years this household did a lot of research into 17th-century topics. Mine of course, was focused on furniture and woodworking; Maureen was a generalist. She left the museum field before I did, about 9 years ago now. We were cleaning & sorting through some boxes today and found some books that someone might like. I listed them on Amazon – but…if anyone out there is interested, we can sort it out. Sorry there’s no woodworking or furniture – I kept all those. you never know when I might get back to writing furniture history…

Paragons of Virtue: Women and Domesticity in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art, Wayne E Franits, Cambridge University Press, 1995, softcover. $40

Findings Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing, Mary C Beaudry, Yale University Press, 2006. hardcover $40

Trumpets from the Tower: English Puritan Printing in the Netherlands, 1600-1640, Keith Sprunger, E.J Brill, 1994, hardcover – $60

Painting and the Market in Early Modern Antwerp, Elizabeth Alice Honig, Yale University Press, 1998. Hardcover  $90

The New Draperies in the Low Countries and England, edited N. B. Harte, Oxford University Press, 1997, hardcover.  $60

Normal woodsy bits back soon…



Northwest Woodworking - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 9:00am

I’m in a mode these days that might be called a production mode. I’m finishing up a run of stools. One for a close friend, one for a long lost friend that I’ll keep until we meet again, and two stools that will become workshop beaters.

These are the stools that will get examined by students, sat, stained, and stepped on as if they were ladders. These are the pieces like the one behind my own bench that get the brunt of the work and abuse. Do good work, there will be evidence left behind.

It’s funny that as a piece is built the tiniest details are fussed over before I can let it go. But I know that the furniture will remain behind long after I’m gone, so I keep pushing myself to do decent work. Or at least work that pleases. It slows me down some but I feel better setting that finished piece aside. I’m trying out shellac on this ash stool. One more coat to go.




Categories: Hand Tools

Introducing the Madcap Woodwright

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:00am

mcbrideIn this new monthly column the Madcap Woodwright, John McBride, invites both seasoned pro and novice woodworkers alike to stop and reevaluate their perspective on woodworking.

Each month, the Madcap Woodwright column will explore issues that encourage you to examine time worn attitudes and approaches to woodworking.

In his first column, John starts by telling the story of how he fell deeply in love with woodworking, starting from shop class in his sophomore year of high school.

John is also in the process of building a Roubo Workbench “with a Twist“, and documenting the build in stories and pictures in his column. Part 2 of that build is also included in this month’s column, along with a link to part 1.

Make sure you subscribe to Wood News and get the Madcap Woodwright and much more delivered to your inbox each month!

The post Introducing the Madcap Woodwright appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Shop Update for 2/10/17: Planing an Assembled Case

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 6:55am

Clamps Slip, Use a Stop…and Wax, Lots of Wax

If the secret to a good finish is preparation then the next question becomes, “how do prepare this fully assembled piece of furniture?”. Finish preparation isn’t necessarily saved until the end of a project but rather I prefer to think about it before I permanently glue or join one piece to another. That may not always be the case but the sooner I start thinking about it the better my chances are for getting good results.

Want Some Smoothing Planing Tips?

I’ve written/talked about smooth planing and controlling tear out many times over the years and you can find many posts here on my site, but here are some suggestions:

Categories: Hand Tools

Create a Fumed Finish

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 5:00am
fumed finish taboret

Ever tried to create a fumed finish? Fuming with ammonia is a traditional Arts & Crafts finishing technique. When exposed to concentrated ammonia, the tannins in white oak cause the wood to darken, yielding a rich, warm color that penetrates the surface of the wood. Depending on the intended use of the piece, different topcoats can be applied to provide different effects. Boiled linseed oil is easy to apply. Shellac offers additional protection […]

The post Create a Fumed Finish appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

How To Restore A Hand Plane

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 3:21am

There is nothing like being able to tune-up an antique hand plane to put it work like it was meant to but sometimes folks are unsure about how to properly and carefully restore them without ruining their value and character. In this new YouTube video above, I share my minimalistic and pragmatic approach to restoring the hand planes found in second hand stores. I deal with general cleaning, restoring the finish on the wooden handles, sharpening the iron, and basic setup for planing. This 20-minute video is aimed at giving a good introduction without overwhelming you with minutia. Enjoy! Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you would like to see more of this kind of content!

For more info on sharpening see… http://www.mortiseandtenonmag.com/collections/videos/products/apprenticeship-series-the-foundations


Categories: Hand Tools

How To Restore A Hand Plane

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 3:21am

There is nothing like being able to tune-up an antique hand plane to put it work like it was meant to but sometimes folks are unsure about how to properly and carefully restore them without ruining their value and character. In this new YouTube video above, I share my minimalistic and pragmatic approach to restoring the hand planes found in second hand stores. I deal with general cleaning, restoring the finish on the wooden handles, sharpening the iron, and basic setup for planing. This 20-minute video is aimed at giving a good introduction without overwhelming you with minutia. Enjoy! Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you would like to see more of this kind of content!

For more info on sharpening see… http://www.mortiseandtenonmag.com/collections/videos/products/apprenticeship-series-the-foundations


Categories: Hand Tools

it's a snow day.....

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 12:33am
I went to the grocery store at 0700 this morning and it was raining lightly with the temp at 36° F (2.2°C). I was in a world of my own because I thought it was too warm to snow. By 0900, the white fluffy stuff was falling at a pretty good clip. By 1000 the snow had covered everything in sight. The good news - it stopped around 1600.

I didn't get as much done considering today was a day off for me. I found a new home for the hide glue pot, did the last hurrah on the boxes, had a couple of hiccups that I'll have to deal with later, and I ended the day with another experiment with my ebonizing stuff. I know I could have done more but I'm coming down with a cold and they usually drain me.

I didn't forget
 Making a shelf for this turned out to be an all day affair.

prepping the shelf stock
This side had a big cup and trying to flatten it after taking cold medicine was a fun adventure. It took me about 7-8 trips (traversing and at an angle) before I got it flat.

opposite side had a hump
This side went quicker.

the up side
No check for twist with winding sticks. I checked that the corners weren't rocking and left it at that. I used the #7 plane to check the side to side.

the down side
The area above the last shelf pins will be the shelf for the glue pot. The rest of the board will give up the back rail and center support.

first hiccup
This knob on my tail vise fell off. The slot in the head is chewed up and I couldn't tighten it back down on the rod. I had a spare that I put on and I'll order up some 2 1/2" long 10-24 screws so I can fix this one.

first time doing a complete round over with just a chisel
It is a little bumpy but acceptable. I can sandpaper it smooth.

both done
I watched Paul Sellers take a square board and make it round using just a saw and a chisel. I tried it on two corners and it worked for me. It isn't as smooth looking as his but I did get the round look on both corners.

dado for the center support
I sawed this out after making a knife wall. I chiseled out most of the waste and got it to depth with a router.

too tight - planed it to fit
split it out
After I split out most of the waste I used the chisel to get it down to the line. This is the first center support and I realized it was too small. Made a second larger center support the same way.

dado depth
I made the depth a frog hair below the bottom of the chamfer.

why I made the depth so deep
no gaps on this side
same on this side
I made a boo boo on a past shelf I made where I didn't take this into account. I ended up with a gap and this time I didn't. I wasn't 100% sure that I was going to hide this but I got lucky.

shelf and the rail, need a center support
this is where I realized the first one was way too small
it's new home
This is the right side of my saw till. There is a power outlet right below it that I can plug into.

some of the crap that was on the saw till
I've been using this side of the saw till as a quasi cork board. Once I have the shelf in place, I'll see about actually making a cork board for the area left over. Now I've got to find a hole for this pile of crap.

new center support blow out
I was cleaning up the sawn edge with a chisel and big chunk of wood popped off. I didn't even get a chance to say 'aw shit'.

that space shouldn't be there
It should be a continuous line from the bottom of the cove right on to the bottom.  I doesn't look too bad and I think I rescued it. I didn't want to make another one.

spokeshaving a chamfer
I thought I would do good on this area but I didn't

I thought I would have problems on the curves but didn't
fixed the bad chamfering by making it a round over
hiccup #2
I tried both of these and got so-so results. The one that did the chamfering did so beautifully. I looked at all three irons and saw the problem right away. These two irons had flats on them but not across the entire iron. No wonder I was getting shavings off one side and toast on the other. I put these with the other irons that need to be done.

thought about it and rounded over box #2
out of sequence pic and the new center support
This loaded this way somehow. I glued this up and set it aside to cook for an hour or so. Then I screwed it together.

stock for the ebonizing experiment
Both sets of wood came from the same stock. I have poplar, cherry, walnut, and ash.

last piece I did as a comparison
The second set of ebonizing stuff  with apple cider vinegar is on the left and the first batch I made with white vinegar is on the right. I'll start the first test with the iron and second test with tannic acid. I'm anxious to see if this stuff is still effective at ebonizing.

apple cider iron solution for set #1
The apple cider still had the steel wool pad in it. There was no mistaking that it had apple cider vinegar in it.

tannic acid on set #2
while the experiments dry
it's not in the way
I got this on the far side so I won't brush against it as I walk back and forth past the saw till.

I think this is going to work well
The white thing is a rheostat because the warmer heats the hide glue up close to 170°F. I can dial in the right temp with this.

hiccup #3
My drill died. The motor won't turn no matter what I do. The LED light comes on as do the green battery level indicators when I depress the switch but the motor doesn't turn.

my smallest torx driver is too big
Maybe this is an omen to go all hand tool only. I set this aside to deal with later.

found my citric acid
I bought a chipbreaker and iron for a #8 and I was supposed to get it today. I think the snowstorm slowed everyone down and I got no deliveries. When I do get it, I'll use that as my test with the citric acid. I want to see if it eats or etches the metal at all.

set #1 is dry and ready for the tannic acid

iron applied to set #2
This iron stuff still smells like vinegar but it looks like colored water. This doesn't have the same consistency that it had when I first made it. It did absolutely nothing with the wood. This is after about 5 minutes.

set #1 after 5 minutes
put set #1 apple cider iron on set#2
5 minutes later
It turning a little black but not as much as set #1. I'm conceding that set #2 iron solution is toast. It appears that leaving the steel wool in the solution pays off with a longer shelf life.

boxes are officially done
Branded, signed, and sealed with Shellac.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the first US Navy ship named in honor of a black person?
answer - the USS Harmon DE678

My Favourite Sketchbook Journals

Paul Sellers - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 12:30am

From Entry Monday 6th February 2017 My journal preferences I am often asked about my journals, where I get them from and so on. When I lived in the USA I began using these for two main reasons. One, the smoothness of the paper – I didn’t want texture in the paper to influence my …

Read the full post My Favourite Sketchbook Journals on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Half-pencil: Your Layout Friend

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:21pm

Carpenter’s pencils have limited uses in a furniture shop, but when I encountered the “half-pencil” years ago I started hoarding carpenter’s pencils to transform them into half-pencils for my friends. The half-pencil, as its name implies, is a carpenter’s pencil that has been planed down to half its thickness. (Using a carpenter’s pencil makes it easier to plane it down and it gives you more bearing surface in use than […]

The post The Half-pencil: Your Layout Friend appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Abstract for yesterday’s article

Giant Cypress - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 11:48am

TL;DR version of yesterday’s post:

If you’re interested in interacting with other Japanese tool fans, check out the Piedmont Japanese Carpentry Club and Japanese Woodworking Tools, Techniques, and Interests pages on Facebook. Get a Facebook account if you have to. It will be completely worth it.

SketchUp Class-March 18, 19, 2017-Cincinnati Area

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:31am
I will be teaching a two-day SketchUp class on March 18 & 19, 2017, at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio. This two-day class (Saturday and Sunday) will cover how to use SketchUp to design, plan and problem solve … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Different Ways to Elongate Wood

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:27am

Plate 10. Jupiter’s Thunderbolt Joints for Lengthening

This is an excerpt from “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture Making” by Donald C. Williams, Michele Pietryka-Pagán & Philippe Lafargue.

The elongation of wood should also be put among the number of assemblages, its application being very useful, given the impossibility of always having wood of the necessary length, or supposing that it is, the defect being that they sometimes are
not of a perfect quality along the entire length, but being corrected by this method.

There are two ways to elongate wood: the first, by notching half of each piece with tongue and grooves at the ends of each piece of wood, which you hold together by means of glue and pegs, Figs. 1 & 4.

The second way to elongate the wood is with Jupiter’s thunderbolts (apparently named thus because the shape of the cuts is a bit similar to that which you give to the gap which you wish to represent). [This is a notched and pegged scarf joint, most likely named because the configuration of the joint looks somewhat like a lightning bolt.]

There are two types of Jupiter’s thunderbolts, one which you make by notching half of each piece and by forming a second notch to receive the [inserted tapered] key. One must note to make this second notch off-set toward the end of the piece, so that the key forced against it finds no resistance in the opposite side of the other notch, and consequently it better draws the joints together [so that it acts like a draw pin], Figs. 2 & 5.

The second way is to trace in the middle of the piece two parallel lines a–b, c–d, which give you the thickness of the notch. After having determined the length of the notch, and having traced the position of the key in the middle, you cut out all the wood from the front of the wood (assuming you are looking at the front of the notch) up to the first parallel line. From the position of the key up to distance e, you make a second notch a–e, such that in each piece, what there is more of takes the place of what there is less of in the depth of the notch, and makes space for the key. For the ends of these notches, they make tongue and grooves, or only an angle, but the little tongues are better, Figs. 3,6 & 7.

This second way is very strong, and is much better than the first because the key bears all the thickness, instead of the other way, which has only half as much. What’s more, a key bearing only half [the thickness] is subject to rolling, and consequently to open the joint. Even if the joint does not open up, the key can be eaten up [word down] and forced, bearing on the opposite side of the groove, which loses its desired effect, see the figures above.

This assembly is very useful and very strong, and is in use not only by Joiners, but also by carpenters, as much for buildings as for ships.

When the entire length of the wood which you wish to elongate is taken up by mouldings, and you cannot or do not wish to make Jupiter’s thunderbolts, for fear that the key and the grooves will not meet up in the mouldings, you use an assembly called a flute, or a scarf joint, which is made in this way.

After having divided the width of your piece into two equal parts, as indicated by line f–f–g, you make the length that you wish to give to your grooves by h–i–l–m. From this line to the end of your piece, you draw diagonals r–o–p–i, and f–q–m–n, some from one side of the line and the others from the other, such that these notches are made in two pieces with much precision, are at the same time a solid and very tight assembly. You must take care that these grooves be made going from right to left, so that when you wish to elaborate with mouldings, they will not be subject to splitting, Fig. 8.

Although I said that you must separate the piece into two pieces to make these types of notches, this rule is not however general.When you have many pieces of mouldings in the piece, you put the joint in the loosening of one from the other, if it is found in the middle, or in the middle of the groove, as you can see in Fig. 9.

When you elongate pieces ornamented with mouldings using Jupiter’s thunderbolts, you should take care to make notches according to the depth of the moulding, if there is not a groove, so that the key is not uncovered, Fig. 10.


You can also lengthen curved pieces, both on their face and on their edge, using Jupiter’s thunderbolts, as indicated in Figs. 11 & 12. For as many pieces as are curved on the face, and for as little as they are curved, you should never make any tenons, because they will become too sliced up, and consequently less solid. You should fit them together by making at the end of the piece a forking of little depth and of the thickness of the tenon. In this forking you make three or four holes for placing pegs or dowels from the tenon that you fit together. These types of tenons are called tenons a peignes [toothed tenons, doweled tenons], Fig. 12.

There you have it, all the different assemblies that are used for the construction of joinery. I have detailed them the best that was possible for me; this matter, lifeless by itself, not being able to be rendered with as much clarity as I would have wished. You will have recourse to the plates where I have illustrated all the different assemblies, either joined or separated, so that you can see their effect better. I have also indicated all those that are hidden by punctuated lines. I hope that for as little as you may wish to pay attention, the demonstration that I have made will supplement that which one could find obscure in this discussion.

Meghan Bates


Filed under: Roubo Translation, With All the Precision Possible
Categories: Hand Tools

How Darrell Peart Makes Greene & Greene Ebony Pegs

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 7:14am
ebony pegs

In this video, Greene & Greene expert Darrell Peart discusses the square, pillowed ebony pegs often seen on the Greene brothers’ furniture designs (most of them were merely decorative, he tells us, though sometimes they were used to cover up screw heads). Then, he shows us how he makes the pegs, start to finish – including the simple jig he uses at the disc sander to rough-pillow the ends quickly. […]

The post How Darrell Peart Makes Greene & Greene Ebony Pegs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator