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With apologies, Norse Woodsmith articles and blog entries are not available online pending some work on the website. The feeds from other sites are all still available.  Also, there may be some graphic issues while I migrate the site to a new host, please bear with me.  Thanks!

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Joel and the Barrel Knife

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Fri, 04/12/2024 - 11:48am
We were wrapping things up at the end of the bowl carving class. Joel Paul and I were talking about bowls and tools when he handed me this: I had no idea what it was. Heavy. A fancy plumb bob? … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Look Inside Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp 3rd Edition

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Fri, 04/12/2024 - 9:45am
Yesterday the hard proofs for Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp, 3rd Edition arrived from the printer. As I went through it I took out the camera and took some photos of the inside pages. When I’m thinking about buying I book Continue reading →
Categories: General Woodworking

Upcoming talk at the Maine Japanese Woodworking Festival

Giant Cypress - Fri, 04/12/2024 - 5:08am

Although I’ve alluded to this before, I realized today that I never explicitly mentioned this here. My bad.

The good folks at the Maine Japanese Woodworking Festival were kind enough to ask yours truly to teach and give a talk this year. The festival runs from July 26 - 28, 2024 in Mercer, Maine. The title of my talk is “The Japanese Tool Tradition: It’s Not What You Think It Is”. I figured it’s a good title — vague enough that I can keep tweaking the talk and still be in scope, and with just the right amount of clickbaitiness.

I know I’ll be covering the things that make Japanese tools so awesome — Japanese tool steel, blacksmithing, and tool making techniques and construction, and so on. I’m also putting together thoughts about where Japanese woodworking sits in the wider woodworking world, some of which were informed by my trip to Japan last year.

Here’s the link to register. Hope to see you there.

and then there were none.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 04/12/2024 - 3:27am

 The crappy weather came back today but the worse of the rain is supposedly coming on friday morning. It doesn't matter as I got all the drawers done for the 2nd portable chest of drawers. Well it might be a maybe got all of them done. One drawer might be iffy. I'll find whether or not it went south tomorrow.

 healthy amount of twist

I knew this was twisted or was going to be twisted when I glued it up. It was way too much ignore but I was sure I could plane it away. The one hiccup with that was with the twist planed away would that make it too small for the drawer opening?

 2nd small drawer

Before I started fitting the first drawer I glued the 2nd one up and set it aside to cook.

 had to plane a lot off

Didn't realize it at the time but this was the bottom drawer of the 3. I planed and fitted it to the top drawer opening. The bottom one is a 1/8" taller then the other two drawers.

 taking a lot of dance steps

I misread where the drawer was binding and I planed too much off the sides. The continuing headache was the top was still binding. I am less than 1/2 way into the opening here.

many minutes later

Still hadn't dawned on me that I screwed up where this drawer should have been fitted into. This drawer will bottom out in the opening. To get it out I tilted the carcass forward until it fell out.

out of sight

I labeled all the drawers on the inside edge of the front slip. You can't see it when accessing the drawer, you have to pull it out and look for it.

last drawer

I didn't saw the back to the correct width. I might have to add a strip to the bottom of the two sides to bring it flush with the bottom. I'll decide that tomorrow because I really don't want to make another drawer.


This is where I found out I fitted the drawers to the wrong openings. This is going to be the bottom drawer now. It fits loosely top/bottom but not R/L.

planed the side

This gap (top) is a wee bit wider than what I would like it be. If I add a strip to the top front I'll also have to build up the top of the sides. It might be easier to just whack out another drawer - shouldn't take more than an hour to do that and I have stock for it. Another decision for tomorrow.

knobs came in

The chest in the book has knobs with a 9/16" diameter that has an integral screw. I don't know whether or not they were metal, wood, or glass. I doubt they were glass because I have never seen any glass ones shaped like this. These are brass and come with a wood screw and a 8/32 machine screw. 


I like the wood screw idea but the screw is too long to use on these drawer fronts. They aren't thick enough so I will have to use the machine screw but cut its length down some.

changed my mind again

Decided to ditch the brass knobs and use wooden ones. The one on the left I thought of using on the left side large drawers. The one on the right is for the 3 smaller drawers. Killed this one too due to the small tenon size on the right knob.

dwindling numbers

I am going to use these small shaker knobs instead. Knob layout sitting at desk is 2 knobs on each of the large drawers and single knobs on smaller ones - all of them the same size.

accidental woodworker

2 left......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 04/11/2024 - 3:27am

 Didn't get much time in the shop today. I got a blister on my left foot a couple of days ago and it has been throwing a hissy fit since I got up this AM. It is a throbbing, tooth ache like pain that makes it suck to walk. I got it bandaged and cleaned up but that ain't helping. It is getting red and itchy which is a sign of infection so I'll have to keep an eye on it.

My order from Infinity Tools came today. When I last checked it this AM it was supposed to come tomorrow. My order of 20 Izzy skirt washers has arrived. $7.90 for ten plus about $7 for S/H. Much more reasonable than the $31 S/H from the other site I was going to buy them from.

 table top fasteners

These are two of the table top fasteners that I use. I have yet to have any issues or headaches with either one of them. The figure 8 fastener on the right supposedly doesn't have a lot of movement but again, no problems. I can see where any movement with it might not be in the right direction depending upon the wood grain it is screwed down to.

 my 20 Izzy Skirt Washers

Why didn't they put all of these in one bag? Not that I'm complaining because the bags are heavy duty and I'll reuse them for something else.


This is an interesting design and it has a lot of room to move around. Not only can't it swing in an arc, there is about a 1/2" of lateral movement. I have a project up coming that I plan to use these on.


Both of the large drawers are done. Slips and bottoms are installed and fitting them to the openings was in the batters box.

 bottom fitted

I think this will go in all the way but I stopped it here. I have knobs on order but that haven't arrived yet. I didn't want to risk fully seating the drawer and not being able to pull it back out.

 2nd drawer

This is as far as the drawer will go in. I still have to plane the top front of the drawer so it will fit the opening. That will happen after the knobs come in.

 new slips

I went to Lowes this morning and bough two sheets of 5.2mm plywood for $13 each. 1/4" birch plywood is $21 each but for drawer bottoms the 5.2mm is good enough.

 one down, two to go

This is the largest of the remaining 3 drawers. Got it glued and cooking with the front slip cooking too.

 kicked my arse

This back dovetail joint was a struggle for me. I first reversed the sides (put the outside on the inside) but that didn't matter. However when it came time to saw the pin socket I found a boo boo. I had reversed the pin socket on the ends of the back. Muscle memory kicked in and saved me a lot of grief.

Killed the lights here because the foot was singing arias to me. I have never had a blister hurt this much. The goal for tomorrow will be to finish and fit the last two drawers. Hopefully the knobs will be in by then too.

Shout out to Sylvain for pointing out a me-steak I made on my 'herd of woodies' blog post. I wrote that the irons were different where it should have been the 'chipbreakers' are different. The slot for the yoke on the transitional chipbreaker is higher up, closer to the top. The metal plane chipbreaker has the slot lower and about in the middle. I have made the corrections to the blog post.

accidental woodworker

Collections & Fine Furniture sale, 16th April 2024

Pegs and Tails - Wed, 04/10/2024 - 3:23pm
Woolley and Wallis’ upcoming Collections & Fine Furniture sale will take place at Dinton Hall, Buckinghamshire, on Tuesday 16th April 2024. “The sale will comprise of over eighty lots of fine furniture and works of art which has been collected … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Collections & Fine Furniture sale, 16th April 2024

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 04/10/2024 - 3:23pm
Woolley and Wallis’ upcoming Collections & Fine Furniture sale will take place at Dinton Hall, Buckinghamshire, on Tuesday 16th April 2024. “The sale will comprise of over eighty lots of fine furniture and works of art which has been collected … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

What steel was used in vintage plane blades?

Working By Hand - Wed, 04/10/2024 - 8:29am

Modern planes come blades made of exotic types of steel, but what about vintage planes? For instance, what sort of steel did the Stanley’s use?

The short brochure “Read this before you use STANLEY PLANES”, describes the blades. It appears that for several generations the steel used In Stanley Plane Cutters was made for Stanley in one of the steel mills in Sheffield, England and was known as “Composite” Steel. It was comprised of a cutting edge of “very high carbon, crucible steel, alloyed with tungsten, manganese and other elements in ideal proportions”, and a softer backer made of lower carbon crucible steel. Both were welded together when cast, and made of the best quality Swedish pig iron.

A Stanley composite steel blade

It is hard to know exactly how long Stanley made these composite blades. There is no mention of composite steel in the 1906 Stanley catalog, just “English Steel”. Examining the various catalogs over the years, it is not until No.129 published in 1929 that there is any mention of composite steel. In Catalog No.34 (1915) it describes the use of “the finest quality English steel”, and by Catalog No.34 (1942) is had changed made in Sheffield, England from “the very best grade of Swedish iron”.

Sargent planes of the VBM type, short for Very Best Made, had blades made of the Very Best Tool Steel, whatever that seems to mean (it was a phrase used by many tool companies). Union planes were made out of “a superior grade of heavy steel”. A 1939 catalog from Swedish company E.A.Berg talks about “best quality Swedish steel”, compound-steel, and “Swedish Charcoal Steel”, but fails to discuss specifics. Maybe it was a proprietary blend, or perhaps they just felt that people wouldn’t be interested in the “chemistry” side of things.

Record took great effort to make sure its blade steel was special.

Record made it well known that their blades were made using Tungsten steel. The concept is explained in Planecraft, first published in 1934. The tungsten combines with carbon to form tungsten carbide, a metal used in machine tools for high speed cutting of metals. Basically “a plane iron containing the correct amount of Tungsten is harder and more resistant to wear, and will take a keener cutting edge, and hold it for a longer period than would an ordinary steel.“. The tungsten also helps create a very small grain size, making a blade more resistant to shock.

Why did so much of the blade steel seem to come from Sweden? Swedish iron ore deposits contain small percentages of the element vanadium, which makes steel produced from it a natural alloy. The presence of vanadium allows production of a tough, fine-grained steel whose high tensile strength is not crippled by brittleness.

Categories: Hand Tools

New Gramercy Tools Hand Cut Riffler and Rasps

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 04/10/2024 - 4:00am
New Gramercy Tools Hand Cut Riffler and Rasps 1
As many of you already know from experience, hand-cut rasps cut smoother and faster than machine-made rasps. For nearly 20 years, we have been selling hand-cut rasps to a great reception. The range we have offered, however, has been pretty static for a bunch of years. The Gramercy Cabinet Rasps and Modeller's Rasps cover most cabinetmakers' needs. We have also added a couple of sets of riffler files for smaller, more detailed work. The only real innovation has been the Saw Handle Maker's Rasp, which is both bent and then toothed on one side, so that you can shape the inside of a handle without accidentally damaging the material opposite.

Over the years we have gotten suggestions and requests for other styles. In the last few months I've been thinking about new permutations of rasps that might be useful to woodworkers and wood carvers. For example, riffler rasps are doubled ended with complementary shapes on each end. The theory is that you can do one operation with one end and then do a complementary operation with the head that is on the other end - you just flip the rasp over in your hand. The actual complementary pairs of shapes are traditional and date from when the biggest use of rasps was in shaping wooden patterns for the foundry industry. The hand shaped wooden pattern is mostly a thing of the past, but the shapes and pairings of the rifflers remain. So we wondered: what would happen if we took two very useful ends of a rifler that are typically on different rifflers and put them together on one rasp? So that's where the new Fine Riffler design comes from.

The second new rasp is simply a longer, thicker Gramercy Tools Rat Tail rasp. I find rat tails espeically handy for decorative work, and a longer, thicker one simply made sense. So there's the second design.

The third new rasp is a customer suggestion - actually the suggestion of several customers. The original Saw Handle Maker's rasp wasn't my own idea; it came about from a suggestion by Larry Williams, the acclaimed planemaker. Its design makes it really easy to shape the inside of a handle or anything that has an opposing surface close by, because the curve is bent up so you don't hit the other side (and even if you do, only one side of the rasp has teeth). We had requests for a narrower version of the same thing. With an narrower rasp, you got a tighter radius on the half roundness of the file. This translates into a freedom to do tighter curves. And in certain situations, the narrower rasps fits the space better.

We are very pleased to announce these new rasps and we have more still to come. They may help solve a specific problem that some of you are working on today, and going forward we hope they open up new possibilities and capacities for fabrication. And that is very exciting indeed.

2 down, 3 to go......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 04/10/2024 - 3:12am

 Went for my daily stroll in the AM. I think I'll keep with this schedule because it works better for me. Strolling after lunch breaks up a big chunk of my PM shop session. Today I got back to the shop before 12 noon and quit around 1500. Depending upon when I stroll in the AM I could get an hour or more shop time in the AM too. I'll have to see how that shakes out. The stroll won't happen until after I finish my daily sudoku and crossword puzzles.

 first large drawer

My goal for today is get the two large drawers glued and cooking. Fitting them will come tomorrow. I was mulling over here whether to chop the pins or put it on the bench and go for my stroll. The stroll won the coin toss.

 before lunch

Got the tails chopped and one end of the drawer front fitted. I had no doubts that I would get both of these done by 1500.

 needed a visual

Something was causing my spider sense to start tingling and I couldn't put my finger on it. The back dovetails were off and looking at a drawer from the first portable chest of drawers wasn't clearing things up from me.

 the 'aha' moment

This is what was causing the heebie jeebies with me. I have too much to the right of the right 1/2 pin. It took me a few minutes before the light bulb came on. The back hadn't been sawn to the correct width - it was still the same width as the drawer front. After I sawed it to the correct width all was well in Disneyland again.

 first drawer cooking

The pins and tails were snug enough to hold the drawer square. While the drawer was cooking I glued the front drawer slip on.

 2nd drawer

About an hour later I had the 2nd drawer the same as the first one. I will glue the side slips on later - probably after dinner.

back to the first drawer

Got the side slips glued on and cooking. I found two scraps of 5.2mm plywood for the drawer bottoms. Still leaning in the direction of 1/8" plywood for the 3 smaller drawers but that is subject to change. If I do change lanes on that I'll have to make a road trip to Lowes for 5.2mm plywood.

 2nd drawer

Satisfied with the joinery on both of these drawers. I had a bit of apprehension going into these due to thinness of the drawer sides. I shouldn't have because I have done drawers with this thin stock before. Not sure how the slip detail will work on the 3 smaller drawers because they aren't as wide. I'll find that tidbit out tomorrow.

It was another beautiful spring day in my part of the universe. The temp got up to 78F (26C) with sunny skies. Great strolling weather for sure but it is looking like it will be cut short this week. Rain supposedly coming in tomorrow.

I didn't gain or lose this past sunday's weigh in which sucks because I behaved. I found some old 5lb ankle weights that I'm into my second week wearing. I put them on in the morning and remove them before dinner. I walked yesterday with them and today and I can feel them walking up the two hills on my route. I cut out about 15 minutes of the stroll so as to not over do it. I'll keep this up until I feel like I am walking without them and I'll add the final leg of my daily stroll. 

accidental woodworker

2nd chest of drawers.......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 04/09/2024 - 3:53am

 It was a beautiful spring day. The temp zoomed up to 68F (20C) with an almost cloudless blue sky with winds out of the west south west. That was blowing at a good clip and would have been a PITA if the temps were lower. I think this was the 2nd time this year that I went on my stroll without a coat. The rest of the week is forecasted to turn into crap with cloudy skies first with rain showers coming back.

 clamps off

I was able to pull out the 2nd divider on the right. The next batter was its sibling above it.

 gentle persuasion

I got the top one out with the help of slip joint pliers. The rag was to keep them from marking up the dividers.

 ain't budging

In spite of the rag I left an imprint from the pliers on the dividers. I pulled on this one with all I had and nada. I will wick superglue into the dado on the top and bottom at the front and back.


In hindsight me thinks I made a boo boo. Decided to flush all the dividers and the vertical divider is proving to be a problem. Classic planing with and across the grain in the same direction. No way to avoid it neither. Next time I'll do the dividers flush from the git go.

 split the end

The end went in/out dry without any hiccups. I put some glue on the ends and it froze going back in. I got it to seat but the dado bottom split almost from the front to the back. I glued the split and clamped it.

 drawer stock

I'm glad I made extras for the front and backs because I needed them. Or at least I thought I did. I forgot that I was using 3/8" thick sides and backs. I fitted two new 1/2" thick pieces for the backs.

 ditto for the right

Did the same for the 3 drawers on the right - all the backs are now a 1/2" thick.


The top is set down 1 1/4" and the bottom is up set 7/8". The 1" radius was supposed to be on the top and me, because I'm brain dead, put it on the bottom.

I could have left it as is making the bottom the top and top the bottom. However, I liked the 1 1/4" at the top so I put a 1 1/4" radius at the top. It didn't look off to my eye on the workbench but I think this would better if it was hung on a wall. That way it makes sense to have the bottom rounded like the top.


One saw cut removed the bulk of the waste. I did the final removal and shaping with a 80 grit sanding block.

 back rabbet

Happy with how tight this rabbet turned out. There are no gaps on either the outside on inside of it. The rabbet is also consistent from the top to the bottom. I am not going to nail it.

 layout and labels

The labeling I do for dovetails is usually one thing I follow. It has saved my bacon quite a few times. I'm doing the two larger drawers first.

 drawer slips

I thought I had more than this left over from the first portable chest of drawers. No matter as I have more than enough for the two large drawers. I'll have to make slips for the 3 small drawers.

 both ends

Since I had the slips already I could do the dovetails at the back as well as the front ones. I had to stop and orientate myself again back to the first chest of drawers on the dovetail layout at the back. I think I got it right and the acid test comes tomorrow.

 tails done

Killed the lights here. I'll do the pins in the AM and the goal for tomorrow is to get the two large drawers done. I'll have to make a run to Lowes to get some 5.2mm plywood for the bottoms. I'm thinking of using 1/8" plywood for the 3 smaller drawers. That would give more depth (minuscule amount I know) in the drawers.

accidental woodworker

Japanese plane setup (Wilbur’s version) - I: where to start

Giant Cypress - Tue, 04/09/2024 - 3:38am

Back in 2010 I put together a series of posts on how to set up a Japanese plane. I’ve been told that these posts were good, but there are aspects of Japanese plane set up that I didn’t cover back then, and other aspects that have changed a bit over time. I figured if Taylor Swift can rerecord her catalog, I could revisit Japanese plane set up.

This time, I’m starting with a used plane instead of a new one. The set up process will be the same with the exception of one step that may or may not be needed for a used plane. I’ll be sure to point that out when we get there.

Here’s our plane. I found it on eBay. It has a standard 70mm blade, and is in decent, but not great shape.

To my eye, the blade looks decent. The flat area between the hollow and the cutting edge is too narrow, but that can be fixed with sharpening. From what I can see on the bevel, the lamination looks even, and the hard steel layer is nice and thin. It’s hard for this to show in a photo, as the bevel is a little rough, which hides the lamination a bit. We’ll see how it looks once I sharpen it.

The body is in okay shape.

There’s some waxy stuff on the bed of the plane. My guess is that the blade was projecting too far forward, and this stuff was applied to build the bed up to fix that. I will be getting rid of this at some point, and using what I think is a better way to fix this.

There’s also an insert that was put in to tighten up the mouth. In the picture above, you can see three nails holding this in place. Here’s the view from the bottom.

There’s also a crack in the back part of the body. There’s some stuff in the crack, and a nail that was driven through the body of the plane, which was clenched to hold this together.

So this is where we’re starting. The first thing to do is to sharpen the blade.

Why sharpen the blade? It’s not because Japanese tool fans are obsessed with sharpening. There’s a practical reason for doing this. The blade of a Japanese plane is not perfectly even. There’s a slight wedge shape to the blade which can be seen from the side.

The wedge shape matches the wedge-shaped side grooves in the throat of the plane, and this is what keeps the plane blade in place when you use a hammer to adjust it. If I worked on the plane bed to fit it to the blade without sharpening it, and then sharpened the blade, which shortens the plane blade, the fit would not be optimal after the sharpening.

So sharpening first it is.

Traditional Tool Chest Build Video

Journeyman's Journal - Mon, 04/08/2024 - 6:33pm

Categories: Hand Tools

Been Busy…

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 04/08/2024 - 5:38am

Baby M’s fingers wrapped around one of Grandpa’s.

… and here’s why.  L’il T now has a brand new baby brother!

We just back to Shangri-la after a month in New Jersey helping with preparations, pitching in whenever and wherever needed, and doing grandpa and grandma stuff.  L’il T and I spent untold hours playing with his cars, chasing balls in the yard, swinging and sliding at the park, reading books.  Mrs. Barn got a full dose of medicine to respond to the demands of the grandma gene.

Amusingly (?) when I go to visit I always travel with a bin or two of projects to work on during the “down times.”  When packing to return home, I realized I had not opened up those bins this trip except to complete some gold leafing (more about that later).

We also celebrated L’il T’s 2nd birthday, and I made him his first toolbox, complete with 23K gold leaf trim and his name.  This picture is just before I started the gold leaf trim.

Categories: Hand Tools

1/2 day......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 04/08/2024 - 3:05am

 Just worked in the shop for the AM session. I got the 2nd chest of drawers glued up before lunch. I used hide glue on it so I'll be allowing it to cook until tomorrow. I spent the rest of day watching Spiral which is a french crime drama series. I've watched season one and I'm on into season two. The way this is going I'll be buying season 3 sometime tomorrow too.

 center vertical divider

I got a snug fit with it after I shaved a wee bit off one end.

 using the original drawer layout

I was going to do only two drawers on both sides. I changed my mind and I am doing the 3 drawers on the right side of the vertical divider. The right side first two drawers (from the top) are 1 3/4" and the 3rd one is a shade over 1 7/8".  

The first spacer is a 1 3/4" followed by a 1/2" one for the divider with another 1 3/4" spacer and a 1/2" divider. I used this setup to layout out both sides of the horizontal dividers on the right drawer opening.

 2nd one

The first one I did by hand split on me. I chopped the first dado was on the left with no problems. Doing the second on the top left was working until the center dado said No Mas and split. For the 2nd attempt I made all the dadoes on the tablesaw.

 dry fit minus the drawers

The drawer openings on the right are off (height) by about a 16th. I doubt that anyone will be able to pick it out. Everything is fitting well and snug. No gaps and the carcass is still dead nuts on the diagonals.

 left them proud

I will flush the dividers after the carcass has cooked and set up.  I am thinking of leaving the top and bottom horizontal ones proud. I like how that looks over having them flush with the ends.

glued and cooking

I think I made a boo boo. I only glued the center divider, the ends, top and bottom, and the back together. I inserted the horizontal drawer dividers in dry so the clamps didn't distort the openings. They were a frog shy of snug and now they ain't budging. I couldn't pull out any of them. There isn't any glue or fasteners in them and won't be if I can't pull them out. I'll have to wait and see what shakes out with that in the AM.

 shop is cool again

The shop temp is down to 61F (16C) right now. It had gotten up to 64F but the night time temps have been barely above freezing (32F   0C) again. Because I used hide glue and the low temp I will leave this in the clamps for 24.


This is 99% of what was left over from three 1" x 12" x 5 foot pine boards. Gave myself a pat on the back for good guess-ta-mating.

accidental woodworker

Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp 3rd Edition-Reservation

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Sun, 04/07/2024 - 11:43am
Reserve Your Copy of the new Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp, 3rd Edition Today! The latest version of Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp will soon be available, both as a PDF download and as a spiral-bound printed book. You can reserve either Continue reading →
Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp, 3rd Edition On The Way

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Sun, 04/07/2024 - 11:42am
History of a good idea In 2010 I went out on a limb and self-published the first iteration of Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp. It was intended to show woodworkers how to use this 3D modeling software to design, plan and Continue reading →
Categories: General Woodworking

Second Vanity Coming Soon

She Works Wood - Sun, 04/07/2024 - 8:36am
This project is 67″ x 20″. It’s so large its taken quite a bit of time. Final project pics coming.
Categories: General Woodworking

2nd portable chest of drawers......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 04/07/2024 - 3:34am

 Started the 2nd portable chest of drawers. I thought this one would easier to do but so far I've found that it is as difficult as the first one if not more so. I'm liking the challenge so far and I have had to make sure that my pencil was well sharpened. I think it won't take me as long to do this one as the first one. This one has half the drawers.

 the next day

Happy with how the stock has behaved itself. The big boards are all still flat and straight. No quibbles with the drawer stock neither.

 next ones to adopt

I have two #5's and one 5 1/4 that I'm prepping to adopt. All the screw holes were rusty which surprised me. Here I filled the frog adjust hole with EvapoRust and let it work for a couple of hours. After that I blew it out with canned air.

 joinery decisions

There isn't enough detail in the pic for me to pick out the joinery. This chest of drawers is basically a 'U' shape with the front filled with drawers. The back and how it connects with the sides is the battleground.

ugly end grain

From my view there is no way to avoid having end grain showing on this. It will either be at the front or at the top. It is a coin toss as to which it will be.

 I see two choices for here

There is a third one that is a butt joint that will get zero consideration. The other two contenders are dovetails (#1) or a rabbet joint. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and with either one I'll have to eyeball end grain.

two choices here

If I use a rabbet joint I can run the grain in two direction. The first one is with it flowing around the corner matching the back putting the end grain at the front. If I flip the end 90° the end grain is on the top. I then will have a cross grain glued joint to contend with.

 end on the top

I think to use this one is asking for potential stupid wood tricks to pop up. Since I would have to deal with end grain either way the rabbet joint is employed it makes more sense to put the end grain facing out and have continuous grain flowing around the corner.

breaking down the stock

I need 9 distinct pieces just for the carcass. The drawers need 25 pieces (already done except for the bottoms and slips).

 picked dovetails

I tried to layout the dovetails so that the groove would be hidden by a tail. I couldn't get a layout that I liked that didn't look like crap to my eye. I also didn't want to plug any groove gaps in the dovetails. Switched lanes here and decided on rabbets.

 never used these

I have 5 of these Stanley planes and I have yet to use one to make a project. Here I was still intent on hiding the grooves with a tail. I thought it would be better to do the layout after the grooves were done. The iron was sharp and the spurs were too but initially I had them set too deep.

 I'm not in Pisa Italy

My groove ain't flat but on the bright side it is a good snug fit for the size stock I'm using.

 too deep

I had to fiddle around with setting the protrusion of the iron and also make sure that it was parallel to the mouth. The irons in all the dado planes are skewed.


It ain't happening today boys and girls. I made ten practice runs and every single one of them was a slanted groove. I flipped flopped from tilting one side to the other and I said No Mas. Getting to know the in/outs of this plane wasn't going to happen today. I put this on the I'll get acquainted list for later.

doing it the hand tool way

 I'm not fond of chopping dadoes with the grain and even more so in pine. You have to have sharp chisels and a boatload of patience. Pine's grain usually grabs and tears out on the chisel line without any warning.

rabbets done

Got a good fit with the rabbets. Nothing is proud and nothing is short. The rabbets are on the ends so there won't be any end grain showing from the back.

 rabbet joint

Still mulling over whether or not to nail this along with gluing it. I think the Shaker craftsman you originally made this wouldn't frown on that. I thought of putting the rabbet on the back so if I did nail it that wouldn't be seen. Makes sense to me to nail from the ends into the back. I could also nail at an angle from the back into the ends but I don't want to risk getting any splits.

 too long

It was nerve wracking chopping these dadoes. I did have some blow out but luckily for me it was all on the bottom and will be hidden. The one spot I had it on the top I glued the chip back in with super glue. The top and bottom were too long by about 1/8".

dead nuts

It has been a while since I have gotten dead nuts equal on my diagonals. I'm sure the top and bottom are what helped to square up the carcass.

 changes coming

The drawers differ in heights a little. The 3 on the right by a 16th and the two on the left by 1/8. I'm thinking of putting two drawers on both sides because the left ones are too shallow. Originally this was for stowing sewing and knitting things. I don't see this being used for that.

 drawer divider layout

The interior diagonals were a frog hair off from each other. However, it checked for dead nuts square in each corner. This is where I left off for the day. I am leaning in the direction of four drawers, two on each side. I have a 5 3/4" opening and I'll lose a 1/2" for the horizontal drawer divider so I'm thinking of asymmetrical drawers. A 2" drawer on the top and the larger one on the bottom.

 came today

These are my favorite measuring sticks. I have two of them in shop - one kept at the workbench and the other on the tablesaw. Thursday I couldn't find either one of them. I went nutso tearing around the shop trying to find where I had put them down. Finally found the both of them in the pencil drawer. 

Decided the best way to deal with it was to buy two more. I'll probably misplace all four at some time down the road. Any bettors reading this?

accidental woodworker

American Windsor Chairs

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sat, 04/06/2024 - 9:07am

Several months ago, I was reading a post on the Lost Art Press, and someone asked Chris Schwarz which book on Windsor chairs he thought was the best. Chris mentioned American Windsor Chairs and said it’s worth getting if you can find it cheap enough. Curious, I checked Amazon and saw one was for sale for $300. Then I checked eBay and saw one seller was asking $40 plus shipping, so I jumped on it.

Written by Nancy Goyne Evans, the book is over 700 pages with 1000 illustrations of chairs of various makers. The book starts with the classic European design and how the chairs evolved in America with first handcrafted chairs to mass-produced units in the 1850s. The book is categorized by geographic region and describes the differences in Windsor chairs in different regions of the country. It’s extremely detailed with stories about some of the makers and their business practices. If you have a passion for Windsor chairs and their designs, then this a must-have book you need to own.

In the back of the book, there are reference pages where it lists the chair makers and the time of their business. Simply look up their name and determine where and when the chair was made. It’s an excellent reference book you’ll enjoy owning if you’re lucky enough to find one at a reasonable price.

If you own a Windsor chair and would like to know when it was made, drop me a comment, and I’ll look it up and see if I can find more information for you.


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