Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
You are a proud and dedicated hand tool woodworker. Equating religion and hand tool woodworking to you trivializes both. You were quietly resentful of the workers at the sawmill when they used a forklift to load your wagon. There was a perfectly good jib and several block and falls that could have accomplished the same task more appropriately.
Since your spouse suffered a back injury, the pit saw has been a challenge.
You’ve tried using your six-year-old twins. If you put them in the pit, they immediately start complaining about getting sawdust in their eyes. Then, after about a half hour, they start playing in the meager pile of sawdust they made leaving their end of the saw unguided.
According to the judge and Child Protective Services, you can’t put them pack on top of the log until you can get Texas Heritage Woodworks to make you some toddler-sized harnesses for required fall protection devices.
Once they can safely ascend the log, you know that with their short stature they will we capable of only relatively short strokes. Not all that useful but any stroke is better than no stroke.
For now you have rigged some ropes and pulleys. The best you can saw is around four logs a day. All life is a compromise.
Your infill plane are still three years into the future. You couldn’t fit the ebony into the frames in any way that meets your high standards. You are trying this method you think you remember from a woodworking guild blog that you can’t find anymore. You flew to Madagascar and implanted three bronze and steel plane frames into some ebony trees (Diospyros celebica) in 2013. In three years, you should be able to harvest the trees. Once you get the proper clearances (remember Gibson Guitars fun with Customs a few years back), you can bring the planes home and complete the fitting. There may be some shrinkage but you are a dedicated hand tool woodworker.
With all your tremendous hand tool woodworking skills, the one task that confounds you is pen turning. Your well-intentioned family and the cretins at work have all pressured you into making them pens for gifts and charitable causes. The first year you made a few hundred by splitting out the green wood and then shaping them with drawknives and spokeshaves. You then bored them out with a brace and spoon bit. Close to round but still tricky fitting all the various pen parts.
The next year you added a dowel plate to the process. First thing you learned was to bore the holes after pounding the body through the dowel plate. A matter of centering and structural integrity. Lesson two was to not use a fluted dowel plate. An interesting texture but hard to finish. There was still tear-out using the plain dowel plate but you were able to smooth them with a scraper.
Being a hand tool woodworker, you decide a lathe may be the answer. You try a spring pole lathe. Not bad but you don’t like the tear-out on the lathe’s backspin and you aren’t coordinated enough to pull the tool away in time.
Next, you try a treadle lathe. Results are good but the treadle banging the floor annoys the twins and your back-injured spouse.
You tried your Narragansett Machine Co. hobbyist lathe but it looks too industrial and still smells like a machine shop.
The wheel lathe? Your back-injured spouse is not willing to try before finishing physical therapy. Your fallback engine is the twins. The pit saw has given them some impressive upper body strength but their short arms still limit their power. You try a longer crank but that lifts them off the ground for about 1/3 of a rotation. You try a second crank 180° out from the first but that creates more problems. If they are on the same side of the wheel, one tries to kick the other in the head as they pass over one another. If you put them on opposite sides of the wheel, one claims the other is not doing their fair share of the work. Within ten minutes, all you hear is screams of “Not fair!”. This is not productive.
This year, your pilgrimage to Handworks in Amana brought you the answer. In one of the area antique shops You found this:
So, you can be a purist hand tool woodworker and a pen turner. They are not mutually exclusive.
Note: I do not own the rights to most of the photos. In fact, I never even asked. What do you expect, I’m a blogger.
In “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino and translated by William Weaver, the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo sit in a palace garden while Polo diverts the emperor by telling tales of his travels (or so it seems at first).
Towards the end of the book the two play chess and Kublai Khan reflects on what he has lost as he has gained.
By disembodying his conquests to reduce them to the essential, Kublai had arrived at the extreme operation: the definitive conquest, of which the empire’s multiform treasures were only illusory envelopes; it was reduced to a square of planed wood.
Then Marco Polo spoke: “Your chessboard, sire, is inlaid with two woods: ebony and maple. The square on which your enlightened gaze is fixed was cut from the ring of a trunk that grew in a year of drought: you see how its fibers are arranged? Here a barely hinted knot can be made out: a bud tried to burgeon on a premature spring day, but the night’s frost forced it to desist.”
Until then the Great Khan had not realized that the foreigner knew how to express himself fluently in his language, but it was not his fluency that amazed him.
“Here is a thicker pore: perhaps it was a larvum’s nest; not a woodworm, because, once born, it would have begun to dig, but a caterpillar that gnawed the leaves and was the cause of the tree’s being chosen for chopping down. . . This edge was scored by the wood carver with his gouge so that it would adhere to the next square, more protruding. . .”
The quantity of things that could be read in a little piece of smooth and empty wood overwhelmed Kublai; Polo was already talking about ebony forests, about rafts laden with logs that came down the rivers, of docks, of women at the windows. . .
Filed under: Personal Favorites
We are back in Norway after almost two weeks touring Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa in USA. For most of us it was our first trip to USA and it was a very nice experience for all of us. We have met a lot of skilled craftsmen and made many new friends on our journey. The first four days we spent in Grand Marais, a small city on the northern shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. There we met Trond Oalann that had a class making a Norwegian kind of timberframing, «stavline» at North House Folk School. On our stay here we had some demonstration of planemaking, splitting and hewing logs and forging plane irons and chisels. Peter Henrikson at North House let us have some pices of white pine so we could start to make a new Skottbenk for our demonstration at Handworks 2017. We did also assist Trond and did some work with his students.
After our stay in Grand Marais we drove down to Folklore Village near Dodgeville in Wisconsin. I had read about Aslak Olsen Lie (1798-1886), a woodworker from Reinli in Valdres in Norway who moved to Wisconsin with his family in 1848. Here he built his new home in 1848-49 and this house is now under restauration by Nels Diller who works for Folklore Village. We got to meet the director Terri Van Orman and the carpenter Nels Diller and could see a lot of original materials and logs from when Aslak built his home more that 160 years ago. Some of the preserved floor boards seems to have been made on a skottbenk, but we could not find a bench in that area. You can read about Aslak Olsen Lie in the very interesting book: Snikkaren Aslak Olsen Lie : bygdekunstnar i Valdres og Wisconsin. It might be available only for Norwegian readers?
We left Folklore Village and drove to Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa. We arrived in the evening 16th May and could participate in 17th May celebration in Decorah the next day. It was still time to make a visit to the museum collection at Vesterheim. Darlene Fossum-Martin from Vesterheim guided us through the very interesting collection of tools and workbenches in the Painter-Bernatz Mill and the building in the Open Air Division. We even got to se some of the furniture collection where they had a cabinet attributed to Aslak Olsen Lie.
After our stay in Decorah we drove to Amana where Handworks 2017 where arranged. This was the main reason for us to go to USA in the first place. It was caused by a tip from Jameel Abraham at Benchcrafted who had found an old original Skottbenk in Amana. At Handworks we found a lot of hand tool enthusiasts from all over USA, Canada, UK, Australia and Norway. It was great to meet all the nice people we only had seen on various blogs and instagram. We went straight down to Amana Woolen Mill and found the old local Skottbenk. Then we finished the new Skottbenk we had started to make in Grand Marais.
It was a lot of things to see and do at Handworks and you might get an impression on Instagram #handworks2017. I recomend the YouTube video of the presentation Roy Underhill had on saturday at Handworks.
Last week I was driving home on Dixie Highway and spotted a small grey lump in my lane. Before I could steer around it, my truck’s tires went over it, and I immediately knew what had happened. I had run over a turtle.
A glance in the rearview confirmed it. The grey lump was flatter and redder. I adore turtles, and so I felt a bit sick to my stomach for several hours.
As penance perhaps, I’ve taken to rescuing earthworms while on my morning walk. When it rains, the worms get stranded on the sidewalk and die. So when I spot a living one I scoop it up on a leaf and return it to the soil.
I’ve got a lot of worms to save. This is the odd way that my head works: I need to save enough worms to equal the weight of a small turtle.
This sort of calculus is hardwired into my brain. You can mock it, but you might as well abuse me for being furry or having odd-shaped toes. There’s not a dang thing I can do about it.
I’ve long had the same urge when it comes to my woodworking. If I had any land, I’d plant trees to replace the ones I’ve used to build furniture. But lately I’ve come up with a different plan.
Now, before I tell you more, please understand I know how forest management works. I’ve visited the hardwood forests of Pennsylvania and watched it in action on both private and public lands. I know that harvesting mature trees is good for the ecosystem and is part of the great circle of life (cue the theme to “Lion King.” Wait, please don’t. It burns).
I try to use domestic woods whenever possible, reclaimed wood when I can, urban trees and even firewood when building stick chairs.
But like when I ran over that turtle, my brain demands more.
So I’ve decided to make a donation to a forest-related nonprofit every time I complete a project. There are many organizations out there that do research and work to create a better future for woodworkers.
To balance my psychic scales for the gateleg table I just completed (and shipped to its new owner in Colorado), I’ve made a donation to The American Chestnut Foundation, a non-profit organization that has worked since the 1980s to restore the American chestnut to the Eastern forest.
Chestnut was once a significant source of food and furniture lumber in the Appalachian forests until the blight, which was first detected in 1904. I’d love for my daughters and grandchildren to be able to work with this wood again.
After each major project, I’ll try to make a note here of which organization I’ve made a donation too. I’m not trying to say you should do the same – this is just the way my brain works.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. I’ll be in Germany for the next two weeks with little access to the Internet (this is intentional; I’ve heard that Germany has had internet for several years now). Kara and the rest of the crew at Lost Art Press will pick up my slack on blogging while I’m away.
Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
As you are probably aware, 360 Woodworking is a big fan of Micro Fence. So much so that owner Rich Wedler was one of the early interviews published to our members (Listen here). Rich has also participated in a few podcast, such as episode #37 & episode #38. And I’m still working to get him to write an article – the man is a wealth of knowledge about routers, router bits and a lot more.
I still don't have anything in print (audio neither) as to when this is coming form Olympus. I found out that the factory that makes the TG cameras was destroyed in an earthquake. Can't find anything on when or if it was rebuilt or the manufacturing was transferred elsewhere. Other than the one blurb on a camera forum saying the new TG was being in released in June, I haven't come across anything else.
|batting lead off|
|marked and then sawed to length|
|blue tape to the rescue|
Ran an errand after this thinking I would play with the bookcase when I got back. Turns out the road trip was a bust. I went to pick up my wife's genealogy certificate but it wasn't ready. The lady didn't have enough of one of the mats I picked out and she didn't have my phone number. She said she could have it done later today but I told her I would come back next saturday. I didn't want her rushing to complete it. When I got back home I decided to leave the bookcase clamped until tomorrow.
|it's hogging the bench until tomorrow|
|back to the #2|
|a couple of hours later|
|the left cheek wall|
|the right cheek wall|
|a big first|
|a hand clamp|
|fits in the hand|
What is an agalma?
answer - a cult statue