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From Crate, to School Box, to a Chest of Drawers. 178 Years Later.

Fair Woodworking - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 6:08pm
“In 1839, an English publisher issued a small book on woodworking…” In 2009, an American publisher re-issued a small book on woodworking that had recently been discovered by Joel Moskowitz. The identity of the original writer is unknown, anonymous if you will, and a kindred spirit to this blog I’d like to think, although it’s […]
Categories: Hand Tools

A Pair of Forest Chairs – Part Three

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 6:05pm
I bent the two arms from lengths of ash that were sawn from the straightest-grained board I could find. The back- and arm sticks were shaved from ash – as are the arm blades. The splats are of cherry and … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools


Northwest Woodworking - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 8:40am

3 Simple Finishes is a workshop coming up next week on June 16-18. If you have ever had a question about finishing, and who has not, then join us and learn some of the tricks.

Finishing is part chemistry and part magic. The great thing about this workshop over a lecture on the subject is that you get a chance to try out this stuff. Discover the approaches that will work in your shop. Learn the techniques and practice them.

You will walk away from this class with information, experience, and a great sample set of finishes. From oils to wiping varnishes and shellac, we’ll cover the range of hand applied finishes.

BKZ Ginkgo detail


Categories: Hand Tools

The BARN Workbench

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 4:30am

The BARN Workbench is named for a community group of woodworkers and other artisans. BARN is the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network located on Bainbridge Island. The island is directly across and a 35 minute ferry ride away from Seattle. Started by a group of enthusiastic woodworkers, the group has grown to include artisans with a number of interests, including fabric artists, metal workers, jewelers, writers, printers and more. After years […]

The post The BARN Workbench appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworking with Kids (Special Father's Day Edition) & Other Ways to Celebrate Father's Day & Posters

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 4:00am

Fathers Day is not only a celebration of fathers, its a celebration of fatherhood. For most fathers, this means passing along values and traditions, and for woodworking dads, it means passing along a love of woodworking and craft.

For some dads, this can be done by having kids help along with a project. One of the many benefits of using handtools is how relatively safe they are to use. Woodworkers who (reasonably) hesitate to gin up the chainsaw for a father-child joint venture could consider some supervised work with one of our Flexcut carving sets.

When I was about 8 or 10 I don't remember my father bought be a copy of Whittling and Woodcarving by E. J. Tangerman and fifty years later I still find it inspirational. I should mention that at age 8 or 10 I wasn't skilled enough to do the projects - but fortunately I am now.

Other option: a finishing project. I can speak from personal experience that kids love finishing - and even love watching demonstrations of finishing. Want to watch the wood! Want to watch the wood! my then-toddler son shouted when I attempted to turn off a video demonstrating polishing. We sell many finishing supplies that are non-toxic and perfect for a joint project with your kid like shellac and milk paint.

We also sell many books that can help you pass along your love of woodworking to your kids or give you ideas for projects you could do together. Here are some great ones:

For the young (not a project book) Grandpas Workshop.

Wood Pallet Projects
Speed Toys for Boys
Whittlin Whistles
Kids Crafts - Woodcarving
Kids Crafts - Woodworking

I dont underestimate the challenge of prying kids away from their phones, but I encourage you to try. The joy of working with your hands and making something of value is worth it!

For older kids and adults we have Roy Underhill's very fun novel Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!

Of course, we have plenty of great other gifts for fathers. Here are some of our most popular gift ideas:

Hardware Store Saw
Ben & Lois Orford Spoon Carving Tools
Blaklader workwear (& for the bold dad with a hot workshop, the Blaklader work kilt)
The Joiner & Cabinetmaker
For dads in the NYC area

And of course if you dont know what dad exactly wants, but you know hed love a woodworking present, theres always the option of a Tools for Working Wood gift certificate.(Well send the certificate via mail or email, in any amount you choose.)

I also wasn't going to mention this because I thought we were sold out but I totally screwed up the count and we have a few Plane Spotting Posters left. A few - under ten. First come first served.

Happy Fathers Day!

still prepping.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 1:23am
The last time I made something this big that needed a plywood back I was still in the navy. The woodshop there had 5 tablesaws, 3 set up for crosscuts, one for ripping, and the last one for miters using a sled. The largest crosscut saw had a huge fence on it but I don't remember the measurement but it would crosscut more than 48 inches - way past the center of a 4x8 sheet of plywood. It was on this tablesaw that I was able to saw almost any sized back panel to length and width.

Since I knew the back was sawn square, I used that to square up the carcass. I nailed one corner together and put the plywood back on and clamped it to draw up the sides and top/bottom tight. I nailed the back into the carcass and there was much joy to behold. I plan on doing the same for this bookcase except I won't have the advantage of using the Navy woodshop saw.

kitchen spice and book shelf
According to the date on the drawer backs I finished this in January of this year. This is a good spot for it - away from the heat of the stove but still easy to get to. I couldn't get all my favorite cookbooks on it but what is there isn't causing any sagging at all. The bookshelf is 3/4" thick and the rest of the spice rack is 9/16".

the paper towel holder
Missed this location big time. I thought it was going to the right of the spice rack but I was so wrong on that. Doesn't make sense to me to have it here but this is where my wife said to put it.

tannic acid solution
This had one grayish dot swimming in it the day after I finished using it. This stuff spoils once the water hits the powder. The next time I mix some of this up I'll try refrigerating it to see that will extend it's life. This container got shit canned.

sizing the the back
I cleared off the tablesaw and cut myself on one of the molding planes as a reward for being a good boy and doing that. I sawed the plywood to width on the tablesaw and used the handsaw on the end cut.

off cuts
Hand sawing this plywood was a massively sucky job to do. The long piece is the start of the cut. Then the saw jammed and I could not move it up or down. I broken this big piece off, sawed a little and broke another piece off. I kept sawing and breaking pieces off until the end. The biggest problem was the saw kept jamming (it would not budge)  and waxing didn't help at all.

getting awfully close
My diagonals are off about a 16th which isn't too bad considering the length and width of this. The top has the factory cut and the bottom is my hand sawn cut.

wee bit out of square
less than a 32nd off
The end cut almost touched the back of the rabbet on this end at the middle so that is where I placed the clamp. I lightly clamped it and I almost zeroed out the diagonals. It pulled the top factory edge in tighter at the top and the sides which helped equalizing the diagonals.

7 foot bar clamp
 When I made my bed 525 moon sets ago I used this clamp and four others. They are long but not that good. The iron is soft and can't exert a lot of pressure and will bow up like a warm pretzel if you exert too much.

this is why I made the gizmos
I do not have any luck using a clamp to shift corners to pull carcasses into square. The flat of the clamping pad always slips and drops off the corner. The gizmos won't have that problem. But it's a moot point for this because I won't be using them. I'll be using the plywood back to square up the carcass.

big red to the rescue
I need to square the end here because this looks like a bumpy country road.  I tried knifing a line first but I couldn't see it. Besides,  I caught the grain in a couple of spots and wandered off into La La Land. I ran a pencil line from both sides instead and planed down to it.

not perfect
This doesn't have to be perfect. The factory edge at the top squares up the carcass. The bottom needs to be closer to the back of the rabbet on the bottom. I will have to cut the rabbets again on the sides by about an 1/8" to do that as I lost a few frog hairs squaring up the bottom. I want the back to be tight in all four rabbets as that will strengthen the carcass and help to prevent racking.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the only river that flows north and south of the equator?
answer - the Congo River crosses the equator twice

HANDWORK A work in Progress

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 9:13pm

This is a quick update to let you know where we’re at.   The announcement of this magazine has sparked a lot of excitement amongst our craftsman worldwide, we have gained several contributing authors, among them are Brian Holcombe, Joshua Stevens aka Mr.Chickadee, Bob Rozaieski from the Logan Cabinet Shoppe, Bob has written several articles for various woodworking magazines, one of them being finewoodworking.  Unfortunately Paul Sellers has declined to become a contributor at this time, but the door is always open should he reconsider time permitting.

I’m in talks with Colonial Williamsburg, they’re very positive about this magazine.  I know I could do alot more had work not be in the way, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.   So far there’s about 23 solid pages of great articles completed including projects.

So it’s all coming together slowly but surely, I didn’t realise just how much work goes into producing a quality magazine.  Also in addition, an ePub version will become available in the near future for iPad’s.  ePubs are an interactive eBook mag with video’s and so forth.  So I’m hoping to have two versions, the standard PDF for those without an iPad and an ePub version for iPads.  I’ll see if it’s possible to cover the android users.

Articles are being written up by our authors as we speak, mine are already done I just have a few other additions I would like to add.  I’m not entirely sure just how many pages there will be in total, I’m doing this on the fly.  Comparing to other magazines I’ve counted about 30 pages of advertising and about four actual pure woodworking articles. So I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far, no ads just pure woodworking.

Please help spread the word, help by contributing if you can, send your articles, projects pics, tips, ideas, discoveries, everyone is welcomed to contribute.

Send to handworkmagazine@gmail.com

This magazine is not about me but all about you, it’s for all of us combined.  Articles are not reserved for the privileged, like you find with other magazines.  I want the world to see craftsmen and women from all over the world, let the world see you and what you make and have to offer.  This magazine again is not reserved for celebrity woodworkers, even though they are more than welcome to contribute, but I’m more interested in the unknown woodworker, the silent achiever.  Not matter who you are, what part of the world you live in, you all have something valuable to offer.  If language is a barrier, I will help you along as best I can.  This is a community based magazine and therefore a community based effort.  Let’s make this the best and most sought out hand tool woodworking magazine together.

Categories: Hand Tools

Taking Credit, Giving Credit and Stealing it

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 4:59pm

On the way back from Handworks, editor Megan Fitzpatrick asked me a question I get a lot: “Does it irk you when people build your furniture designs and fail to credit you when they post them on social media?” Answer: Not at all. For me, the reward isn’t that someone praises my design. The reward is that they were inspired enough to pick up the tools and build something. Building […]

The post Taking Credit, Giving Credit and Stealing it appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Update: Deluxe ‘Roubo on Furniture Making’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 10:21am


Before I travel, I make enormous lists of everything I need to do before I depart. At the end of each of these lists I should add this item: Get dumped on.

Less than 24 hours before getting on a plane for Germany, a huge task landed outside my front door in a FedEx box. Inside were the imposition proofs for the deluxe version of “Roubo on Furniture Making.” This was my last opportunity to comb the pages for mistakes before the printer cranks up the presses.

So I dropped everything and spent six hours reviewing all 440 pages. This morning I sent it to Wesley Tanner, the designer, so he could look it over for design errors. When Wesley completes his work, the book will go on press.

So when will you see this book? I talked to our printing representative yesterday, and he is hoping that the books will ship to our warehouse on or about July 17. The printing part is fast. Then the sheets have to be trucked to New Mexico to be bound (very few binderies can handle a book of this size). And they have to hand build the slipcases for each book.

If the schedule changes, I’ll let you know.


For those of you who clicked on the link for the deluxe version of “Roubo on Furniture Making” and felt your checkbook stroke out, here’s the deal. This book will be about as nice a modern book as can be purchased. It’s something that is difficult to describe on a web page or in words. When people see it in person (these volumes are 11” x 17”) and they see the quality, they understand the price tag.

John and I are taking a sizable financial risk with this book (the print run cost as much as our storefront building), but we are more than willing to stick our necks out to bring something into this world that is this special and rare.

We just have our fingers crossed that after the books come out, we don’t say: “Want fries with that?”

— Christopher Schwarz

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

Outside the Bustle of Living

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 10:07am

“Children’s Spades for the Seaside,” The Woodworker magazine, 1949 

“According to my experience, one usually makes the best kind of plans during a holiday, and not only, I think, because mentally as well as physically we have a breathing space. We are told that the sunken lanes of England represent the old trackways along which men’s plodding footsteps for two thousand years or more battered down the soil till the banks rose high on either side, giving shelter and protection but cutting off the view. Almost inevitably our daily lives get like that, following the routine paths it seems endlessly, till suddenly we are in the clear again and can see the buttercups in the meadows, the kingfisher flashing across the stream and the wide vault of heaven above us. At holiday times, as we move about the countryside, passing through small country towns and villages which have hitherto only been names to us, perhaps made famous in history or perhaps not famous at all yet with some flavour of the past, some magic of a word in them to link them with the dawn of our race, then something stirs in us; something that knows its affinity with the men who cleared this good earth and who laboured and built and passed on the work of their hands to us, and within it the inherent beauty that showed it was good. They built with chalk and flint and stone and wood just where they found them so that the homes they built fit snugly into the countryside as if they grew there, and everywhere we find traces of very ancient craftsmanship which has lived on in one form or another to the present. There is the ancient craft of flint-knapping which goes back two thousand years or more to the time when flint was used by the huntsman before ever man began to build their homes with it; and there is the thatch, the traditional roofing for humble dwellings long before the Saxons came; and there are walls bonded with brick courses in the old Roman style which, like the Roman roads underlying some of our modern highways, are caught up in a living tradition. We get these sudden glimpses of a remote past sometimes when we are least looking for them and they take us back to our roots as nothing else can.

“… There was a time when men, working with their hands, achieved grace and truth as naturally as they breathed because they worked soundly in a sound tradition. To-day we have to relearn these things and make our own standards. If we are willing to keep a high heart, if we hold fast to those moments of vision which we have received outside the bustle of living, then the skill which we learn will wed itself to the skill we have inherited, something older than ourselves which we can pass on to our children and, till heaven and earth pass away, the price and the joy of good workmanship shall not fail.”

“Ancestral Voices,” Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1955

Filed under: Honest Labour, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Craft Classics in Just 5′ – Must-Read Woodworking Books

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 6:40am

Fight woodworking ignorance 15 minutes each day. Editor’s note: In the September/October 2017 issue (which mails to subscribers on Aug. 1), we have an article from up-and-coming makers on the books that have influenced their work and woodworking philosophy. Below is a similar article we ran in June 2011, asking established makers what they felt were the most important woodworking books, plus we included our staff picks. (I’ve linked to […]

The post The Craft Classics in Just 5′ – Must-Read Woodworking Books appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

How to Make 90° Your Best Friend

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 6:28am

One of the great things about handwork is that 90° is not the most critical angle. While absolute 90° is a holy setting on machinery, 87° or 93° is just as easy to cut with a handsaw, plane or chisel. And so sometimes hand-tool users (myself included) denigrate absolute 90° as something reserved for beginners, Arts & Crafts enthusiasts and machinists. After years of working by both hand and machine, […]

The post How to Make 90° Your Best Friend appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Working faster with hand tools

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 1:27am

6 June 2017
Working faster with hand tools

By Salko Safic
Its a common misconception that working with hand tools is a slow and tedious project, and the justification of having machinery in both amateur and professional workshops are based on these common misconceptions. Professional woodworkers claim that time is money, and all of us agrees upon this statement, but have they been misled by advertisers that machinery is truly faster.  

 We can come to an agreement that once machinery, or a single machine is setup to perform a repetitive task, it most definitely is faster. Most small cabinet shops don’t deal with mass production type work. A successful cabinet shop won’t also work with single commissions, but will have a multiple of various commissioned orders with a back log that can run into the years ahead. Still one has to ask is there any truth to this misconception?  I would have to say yes and no, yes for thickness planing and ripping long thick material, and no to everything else.

Say your building a chest of through dovetailed drawers. Will the router get the job done any faster? And again I would have to say no, not for any single project. The task can be quickly and time efficiently done by hand in the same time it would take to setup a router and a jig.  

By developing a good work habit you can avoid simple mistakes and increase your production time by following some examples below.

Arranging your work to suit

You want to keep your work organised, so plan ahead. Be mindful of your workbench, you know it’s strengths and weaknesses. If your chopping a mortise, you would choose the corner of your bench as there is more solidarity minimising vibrations, noise and softening blow effects than if it were in the middle of the bench. You wouldn’t chop one mortise and one tenon to suit, but you would chop all the mortises, while marking each one as you go along with a number or a letter, then make all the tenons to suit again, marking each one that corresponds to each mortise. This will not only speed up your production time but will also eliminate mistakes and time wasting locating what fit goes where. The same principles apply to making dovetails. You would employ what we call stacking, where you lay each board on top of each other in a stair step sequence. If your sawing dovetails you can gang them up in your vice and saw multiple boards in one operation. Frank Krause made a video back in the 90’s demonstrating these techniques. It takes Frank 2 mins to saw, chop and fit two dovetailed boards, it would take longer to do the same with a router and jig setup. 

 When planing, plane all your boards rather than as the need arises, if you can afford to have several planes it would be highly recommended. You can preset these planes according to your needs, you can also save time in sharpening by having several planes, set, sharp and ready to go. Ron Herman a house wright in the United States does just that. 

 Another good method is to own several marking gauges set at different settings, here you can save a lot of time without the need to set your gauge constantly.

 Unnecessary clamping and unclamping of boards is also a huge time waste, many artisans throughout the ages avoided as much as possible clamping anything on their bench. They would either lean on it or work against a stop, for example if your chopping out some dadoes, rather than go in and out of the vice, you can have it rest against a stop.  

Another overlooked aspect of hand tool woodworking is regularly sharpening your tools in particular to hand saws. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a woodworker working twelve hours a day, six days a week not to wear out and replace his saws a few times in his lifetime. By regularly sharpening your saws as soon as you feel a slight degradation in the cut will decrease your sawing time. My new bow saw has a Japanese disposable blade, it cuts very fast, faster than any of my western saws. At first glance I couldn’t understand the reasons why until I stopped looking at everything but the obvious. It was razor sharp, so I took my western saws to the vice and took light strokes making each tooth to the same level of sharpness as my bowsaw, none of it took more than five minutes as they were already sharp but all I did was take it to the next level. Immediately there was a notable difference, it cut just as fast, one was not faster than the other. Had I not experience a Japanese saw blade I would never have made this discovery. 

 One last thing comes to mind, if a particular technique or tool works for you then stick with it, rather continue developing your skills and efficiency with what your doing than trying out someone else’s method because it works for them. Reality is, in some cases there is a right and wrong method, but if a method works for you then stick with it. What works for you might not work for me and vice versa, it all boils down to who trained us or how we trained ourselves.

Woodworking is a repetitive action, you as a craftsman decide what joints your going use and then you repeat it throughout your project. Experience develops from repetitive actions, speed develops over time through muscle memory, and muscle memory develops from repetitiveness. Work smart, not hard and remember, always safety first, if it doesn’t feel right; it’s not.

Categories: Hand Tools

prepping for the glue up........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 12:35am
I have the holes drilled for the shelves in the bookcase already. That means if I don't get the carcass square on the glue up, all my shelf pin holes will be in La La land. To that end I am going real slow on this glue up because I won't have a second chance at the brass ring. I even made a gizmo to help me out with that. That may or may not pay any dividends. I hope it does because working alone has it's ups and downs.

glue up gizmo step 1
I don't know the size of these but they are square.

step #2
Drill a 11/16" inch hole in the middle. This size isn't critical and I used this bit because it looks ok and it was the first one I grabbed.

step #3
Saw out a 90° piece or a 45°, depending upon your point of view.  Save the off cut and try to be accurate. I did these on the bandsaw.

the only one of the four that was off
A couple of swipes with the chisel on both legs and the 45 square fit with no daylight showing.

It isn't imperative that this be dead nuts 45° but it helps to practice to be accurate. The last step is to glue the off cut to the big block. A wee bit later in the blog and all will be revealed about it's function. That will give the glue a bit of time to set up too.

more stock
This is a prototype and I'm not sure if it will work as I envision it. I made my first set of these out of solid wood and stopped. I remembered making these before out of solid wood and having them break on me. The plywood is a better choice for this application. I  can make more if this one doesn't work.

dry clamping the carcass
This is where the fun begins. I clamped the near end with corner clamps to hold this end together while I clamped the far end. The 1x4's under carcass allow me to do this because the width of the bookcase is wider than my workbench is.

57 3/16" this way and the other way is 57 7/16" so I'm about a 1/4" out of square. It's been a very long time since I have made a something this big that had a plywood back. I have to ensure that the rabbet joints are tight, the carcass is square, and the back fits with no daylight. I fiddled with this a bit shifting the clamps to try and draw it up square but I had no luck. The best I got was a strong 1/8 off on the diagonals.

this I don't understand
The carcass is pretty square on the bottom which is the front of the bookcase.

the top is toast
This proves the square is not an accurate tool to use to ensure 90° corners on this. I can sight down the long sides of the carcass and the left and right sides bow inward. If I relax the long clamps the bow disappears but the carcass is still not square. No way to get a square to read the corners accurately.

one gizmo goes here
another goes on the opposite diagonal corner
a clamp connects the two gizmos
The big problem I have using a clamp to pull the long corner into square is having  the ^^$##@&;%$ clamp stay there. The big plan with the gizmos is to provide a flat surface for the clamp head and to pull the carcass square. I didn't get to try that tonight.because I have to figure out one more thing with them.

the gizmos are ready
The glue set up sufficiently and I was able to put a couple of screws in each one. The sticking point with these is just that. Working by myself how do I get these to stay in place while I get a clamp on them? I have double sided tape but that stuff is way too sticky. It is very difficult to pry things apart with that tape. And it gets worse with the amount of pressure applied. Blue tape is a choice but it is hard to get it stay put and not have the gizmo flop around. What I need is a post-it-note type stickiness.

I think I find the perfect adhesive to hold these in place and then release without taking a chunk of wood with them. It's the picture hanging glue tabs. The ones that you stick one to the wall and one on the picture.  To remove it, you just pull it off. I got this idea when I saw my wife hanging pictures up in the kitchen. I thought I would borrow some of hers but I don't know where she hid them. I'll have to make a pit stop to get some tomorrow.

measured the carcass
I measured the rabbet in the back of the carcass from both directions and compared them. They are the same but I don't have a warm and fuzzy about it. The diagonals are off so does that mean these measurements are not correct for a square back too? If I saw the back to these measurements will the carcass be square or will it remain as it is, slightly out of square. This is where my wonderful spatial abilities come to the fore and failed me.

I'll hand saw the plywood back
I did think of using the tablesaw to make the cuts for the plywood back but looking at this pile of crap changed my mind. Besides the cuts aren't all that wide - both are less than an inch - and that won't be easy or safe to do on the tablesaw. I'll wait until tomorrow before doing any cutting.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is on the flip side of the Susan B Anthony $1 coin?
answer - an eagle displayed over of a landscape of the moon


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