Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator




Prepping for Williamsburg, a/k/a “Say Hello to Bench #18”

The Barn on White Run - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 4:06pm

Presenting a demonstration takes a lot of time, as much time as actually teaching a hands-on session on the same topic.  When I used to manage educational programs in my previous life I usually budgeted staff time of one full day of preparation for each hour of a new class.  So if a colleague came to me with an idea to develop and teach a week-long class, I knew to budget for them eight weeks of prep time.  Time-compressed demos for a conference like Working Wood in the 18th Century are even more lopsided, as a 90-minute live demo requires roughly the same preps and materiel as a two week workshop.  So, for my two sessions at this year’s conference, Roubo Rediscovered: Merging 1760s Paris with The 21st Century and The Historic Gilder’s and Finisher’s Workshops,  I began preparing aand assembling the supplies in earnest before Thanksgiving.

Things were progressing swimmingly until just before Christmas, when I corresponded with Anthiny Hay Cabinet Shop master Kaare Loftheim about the logistics of moving Colonial Williamsburg’s Roubo bench to the stage of the auditorium.  His reply, which I should have expected, was that they did not possess a Roubo bench.  I smacked my head.  Of course they would not have such a bench since Williamsburg was essentially a 17th century English town!

It was time to rethink my strategy as I would need to arrive with my own Parisian workbench.  I already had three that would serve the purpose nicely but they were so ensconced in their places that it was easier to build a new one for this demonstration.

So I did…

did some woodworking.....

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 2:29am
I sawed up some plywood so that counts as woodworking. It felt good to play with wood and not metal even though it didn't last the whole day long. In the end I went back to rehabbing the 4 1/2 but only because it is a daily user for me. The #3 will have to wait and it will probably get done next month, maybe. I ran into something that gets put at the head of the line over it. I'll get to what that is later on.

10 1/2 is redone
It took a lot of dance steps to get the frog set at the right spot. I didn't have this much trouble the first time but I also didn't take note of where the frog was on the seat. I had it set too far forward initially and I had to keep tapping it backwards. I didn't want the mouth to be tight so I did it in small increments and that is why it took so long.

I got the left, middle, right shavings set and the last step was to shoot a rabbet. This plane could also be a smoother but I use it just for rabbeting.

port side
aft, starboard quarter
This is ready to go back to the herd.

marking the proud
Working on the roll around tool cabinet. I had purposely left this proud so I could plane it after the glue set to whatever way the box ended up. I marked both sides and used a ruler to connect them.

no wonder I needed a break
There are 14 tools here and there are more but I couldn't fit them all in one pic. With the exception of 3 hand planes, all of these were done within the last 4-5 months with the bulk in last 2.

2 #4 Stanleys
Why didn't I pick up on this and do the lever caps back then? Even though the shine on them doesn't wow me, what shine there is looks better than the previous one. At least I am improving on what I am doing. And no, I'm not a patina fan.

10 1/2 on the left and #3 on the right
These two are about the same size but the 10 1/2 looks better. I did a good job on rehabbing the #3 but the new extra steps I added to my plane rehabbing shows. Rather then do the #3 under the workbench I'll be doing these first.

Two #6s
The left #6 is mine and the right one is Miles's. Re-doing the rehab on his will be quick and relatively painless. All I have to do is the lever cap to bring it up to level of mine.

the last 3
These bring the tool total up to 17. The 4 1/2 I'm doing now will make 18. I'll redo the ones from Miles's toolbox but I won't count them again. The router plane, Record 044 plow, and the Stanley 78 rabbet plane, are the only tools that I made boxes to keep them in.

I forgot about a #3 I rehabbed around christmas. Ken Hatch sent me a #3 for Miles's toolbox but I already had #3 for Miles. So with Ken's blessing, I rehabbed it and sent it across the big pond to someone else. The revised total is 19.

no room to hang it from here, my first choice
The #6 plane gets stowed here and the tote would be in the way.

hanging spot #2
This would have worked here. It's below the ledge for the tool trays and it fits. However, I had to rearrange how the planes were stowed and this free space went away. A #4 plane now lays up against this end taking away the hanging space.

back to planing to the knife line
had a hump on the first check

I'm still square at the front and back
a frog hair off on the side to side
It is ever so slightly tighter at the front then the back. It is maybe the thickness of a piece of paper.

the same here too
Drawers slides need to be 0 to + 1/32" off front to back on parallel. Before I sawed out the plywood tray I wanted to see what I was up against. I'm good and within specs.

3rd time was the charm
I started with the plywood tray being a strong 16th over in the width. It was too tight and the slides wouldn't operate. The 2nd trim helped some but it was too stiff going in/out for my liking. On the third shave I got the fit just right. It slides in/out smoothly with no binding or hold ups along the length of travel.

why did we stop using this?
I like the positive control I have with this. I have found it (so far) to be impossible to over drive a screw. That is very easy to do with a hand drill (battery type).

still working nicely
I have the tray screwed to the drawer slide and it still works in/out smoothly. I don't have a lot of experience with installing these and I tend to be over cautious and double triple check myself throughout the installation.

I have in past installs got the tray screwed on and that made it tight. It is usually because a screw(s) is throwing the slides out of parallel. Now that the tray is ok I will screw the slides to sides of the cabinet. I only put in two screws, one at the front and one at the rear, and check the operation.

still working smoothly with two screws
still working - drawer front or a door?
I got full extension slides and with it fully extended, the cabinet is still laying on the saw horses. I don't know how it will be once I have the tool boxes loaded in here.

I need to push the slides back
allowance for adjustment
I put the screws in the elongated slots first for this purpose. It is a simple matter of loosening the screws and pushing the slide back. If I didn't have enough backwards movement, I would put the screw in the next elongated slot and start over.

I have the tray extended a little past 1/2 way and it isn't causing the cabinet to trip forward. Maybe I will be able to fully extend it when the cabinet is done. I haven't forgotten that I need to make a new box for the LV rabbet plane.

time to use your imagination
The area to the left within the blue tape is the interior of the top drawer. I thought of making two drawers but I think I'll go with one. I don't have that many chisels that I need two drawers for them. I'm using this to figure out the layout for chisels going in the drawer.

a lot of chisels to be stowed
I have 6 sets of chisels spread out around the shop. This is the main purpose of the tool cabinet - to give all my chisels one place to call home.

I have an idea - I know this because I have a headache
One big deep drawer. Chisels that I use most of the time on top and the infrequent use ones in the bottom. Now I have flesh that out and see if it is feasible.

first bottom layout
top layout
I was thinking of reusing the box for the AI chisels and the board for the LN chisels. In order to get access to the bottom stuff I will have to lift either one of these out first. That would be a bit of a PITA to do. I think a better choice is two sliding tills that I can move R/L to get access to what is underneath.

I wanted to use these because I wouldn't have to make anything. I might be able to use the AI box and make something similar for the LN chisels. Either way, just the AI and LN chisels will be topside.

it will slide
I will put dividers on the bottom to not only separate the chisels but also to give the topside tills something to slide on.

possible storage for the big AI chisels
layout #2
The AI and Buck paring chisels are dictating how and what goes where.

proposed dividers
I am now thinking of putting all the chisels in place with dividers. No other holding gadgets for  any of the chisels, even the big AI ones.

I may keep the angled thing for AI chisels
I don't want the bottom drawer dividers to be higher than 2". That is the width of the largest AI chisel and with a holder the OAH (over all height) will exceed that. Something to sleep on as nothing is carved in stone yet.

back to the 4 1/2 to finish the shop day
I want to get this stripped, cleaned, and the primer sprayed on. I also wanted to paint the yoke and the frog.

I don't have any shavings to clean up the stripper so I used the sawdust generated by the tablesaw.

stripper box
The sawdust worked a lot better than the shavings. I did it in this box so it wouldn't get all over the workbench and the shop. The sawdust acted like a sponge soaking up water. It got almost all of the stripper and clumped up like kitty litter. The shavings are history and the lead off batter from now on will be sawdust.

almost ready for primer
Almost every bit of the japanning came off with the first application of the stripper. After the sawdust soaked up the stripper, I washed and rinsed the plane and blew it dry. I sanded the heel with 100 grit sandpaper and this is what I ended up with. I did the rest of the plane and cleaned it with acetone.  After dinner I came back to the shop, cleaned it again with acetone and sprayed the primer on.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know on the Professional Golf Association tour that a player is only allotted 45 seconds for each shot?

Whiskey Barrel Coffee Table

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 5:48pm

My cousin had been asking me to make a whiskey barrel coffee table for her for over a year. I put it off for months because I didn’t know where to buy a whiskey or wine barrel until I ran across a guy on Craigslist who sells them out of his house. Even better, he sells half barrels which was perfect for me as I really didn’t feel like cutting a barrel in half.


When I got the barrel home, I let it acclimate in my shop for a few weeks. As the barrel dried out, the staves started to fall apart, so I clamped them together using band clamps until I was able to screw fasteners into each stave to hold it in place. While the band clamps were holding the whole barrel together, I laid it on top of white oak boards I bought at a sawmill to see how big I wanted to make the top of the coffee table.


To keep the barrel together, I screwed hex bolts through the bands into the wood to hold each stave in place. I also leveled the top of the barrel by sanding the edges straight with my belt sander. The barrel came with a stand for it to be used as an outside planter which was helpful in holding it in place while I worked on it.


My wife didn’t like the look of the hex bolts I used so, I replaced them with #14 stainless steel pan head screws. She was right, the pan head screws look much nicer.


I designed the shape of the legs by using the stand that came with the barrel to shape the curves. Each leg had an angle to the top that fit the angle of the barrel as it laid flat. I chamfered the edges of the feet to mimic the chamfers on the top and bottom of the barrel.


You can see how I used the compass to figure out the gap that I needed to shave off the other side of the leg in order for the barrel to fit tight.


Once I was happy with the legs, I focused on the frame of the barrel. I traced the shape of the barrel onto a piece of wood and cut it out on my band saw. I then trimmed the end of the sides 90 degrees to the edge and double-stick taped it to the other side. This allowed me to clamp the whole frame while it was screwed and glued together.


After carefully measuring all the pieces, I test fitted the frame together to make sure it would fit nicely on top of the barrel.


I was more aggressive with the clamps when it came time for the actual glue up. I let this set in place for 24 hours.


As the base was setting up, I turned my attention to the top. I glued up several white oak boards together and flattened them with my hand planes because the panel was too wide to fit through planer.


I wanted the top to have a bread board edge so I plowed a groove into the ends that was the same width as my 3/8″ mortising chisel. I would later chop three mortises into the groove to fit tenons I would make.


To make the tenons, I used both power and hand tools to get the job done. I routed most of the material away with my plunge router, then finalized the fit with my Stanley No 10 1/2 rabbet plane.


I made sure the panel would fit into to the groove before I cut the tenons


Cutting out the tenons, I drilled holes through the middle for pins. The middle hole I left round while the tenons on the outside I elongated for the expansion and contraction of the wood.


Once the joints fit well, I drove pins into the holes and added a dab of glue so the pins wouldn’t fall out.


I shaped the sides of the top to match the curve of the barrel and lightly rounded over the sides with my hollow molding plane.


The final shape of the coffee table top came out nicely. Now I needed to find away to attach it to the frame.


After days of pondering, I decided to attach hinges to the top so that the lid could open and close. The inside of the barrel was charred from the brewing of the whiskey so, it’s not very useful as it will leave ash on your finger if you touch it, but I thought it was cool enough to show off. I clamped my level to the middle of the frame to determine where in proximity the hinges would need to be installed.


Because the lid overhangs the side by an inch, the barrel of the hinges lay underneath the top when closed. I had to rout out a recess on the underneath of the lid so the top could properly close.


Even with all my calculating, I ran into a problem. The top would hit the middle of the barrel when I tried opening it. I had to route a recess in the middle of the lid so that there would be enough room for the lid to open. It took several hours of trial and error to make it work, but I finally made it work.


Once everything worked, I sanded the entire coffee table to 220 grit sand paper and applied a weathered wood enhancer to blend the old barrel to the new white oak. This turned the coffee table a bit purplish gray.


Next, I stained it Minwax Espresso stain and applied three coats of water based polyurethane for a protective finish. I think the coffee table turned out really nice. Luckily, my work has me going to Detroit next week, so I can deliver the coffee table to my cousin.



Now THAT’S A Book

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 4:07pm

Recently I was back in Mordor for a couple of days and dropped in to visit my friends and colleagues at the Library of Congress Book Conservation Lab.  I was delighted to see them again, and can happily report that the work bench I custom made for them last year is suiting their needs perfectly.

There is clear evidence of use of the bench, and there is universal acclaim of its suitability for their needs.  They are especially appreciative of the stepped riser blocks so it can be fitted for everyone in the group.  As you can see there is a wide range of statures represented in the group.

The purpose of the bench is to serve in the re-binding of ancient books, a process that is typical every few centuries for books of the pre-16th century type, which were bound with solid wood cover boards.  In preparation for an upcoming rebinding of an important book (14th century?) they undertook a practice run of creating a completely new book that replicated the projected treatment for the old book.

Much to my surprise and delight they gifted this practice book to me, and it has become a treasured keepsake.  The workmanship and artistry are simply breathtaking.  They urged me to use it as a note book but thus far I have not been able to force myself to do that (although I did already ding one edge).  Time will tell if I ever can.


PopWood Playback #5 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 3:10am

Episode #5 is live on Youtube! We’re really enjoying all the submissions and support from everyone – we have five great videos to share with you this week. Look out for more PopWood Playback episodes every Saturday morning on our Youtube channel. David will be returning next week, so in the meantime check out our picks this week: 🎥 Young Je – https://youtu.be/b_F8-atFOcQ 🎥 SE Woodwork – https://youtu.be/rxK-YFcCJco 🎥 Modern […]

The post PopWood Playback #5 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

I'm reaching my limit.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 12:17am
I lost count on how many tools I've rehabbed in the past few months. It is about all I've done with very little woodworking happening.  I think I've rehabbed 8 and I have 4 more that I'm doing. Two of them are definite with the third being 50-50 and the 4th one ain't happening anytime soon. I've had enough of rehabbing and I want to get back to woodworking before I forget how to do it.

2nd coat of paint on
This is close to the distance I saw the bumpy edges yesterday before I filed them. Today the sides look pretty good. Smooth, shiny, and flat looking along all the edges. I will be checking and doing all my future frogs this way.

I said wow this time
I can't put the frog on until tomorrow but I could sand and Autosol some parts. I said wow this time when I got done with the lever cap. The plane body isn't too shabby looking neither.

It says on the tube this does brass and the adjuster knob is brass. I put  some on and I will definitely keep an eye on this to see how well it keeps the brass shiny. If it works, I'll go back and Autosol all the other adjuster knobs.

the 4 1/2 before pic
This is the definite rehab one and it could be the last one for a while. The lever cap is what I was doing with them back then. I cleaned it with degreaser and that was it. I'll try to sand a shine up on it. I tried to buff the barrel nuts on the buffer after putting some Autosol on them. It kind of shined them up but I know I can raise a better shine sanding them with 400 grit sandpaper.

the Autosol protection
Not quite as shiny but the Autosol on the 4 1/2 was last applied about 3-4 months ago. In that time the 4 1/2 has been my daily user along with the 5 1/2. I keep the both of them on the bench at the top left corner ready to go.

first time I've noticed this writing
I scratched the bald spot for a few minutes but it didn't help. I still don't have a clue as to what the writing means. And I won't be preserving it for future generations to look at.

filed the side
This wasn't as bumpy as the 10 1/2 frog but it is now smoother than what it was. Repeated it for the other side.

filed the lateral adjust lever edge
This was pitted and I had sanded it but it didn't do much for it. The file knocked off 99% of it and I sanded it again to remove the filing marks.

I'll be flattening the 10 1/2 iron again
I have a couple of low spots and I don't have a consistent look side to side. Not getting anything up under the chipbreaker but I'm still going to flatten it again.

consistent side to side after a few minutes on 100 grit sandpaper
I'll finish working up through my stones but I'll do that tomorrow. My fingers started protesting half way through th100 grit.

the #3 that has a 50-50 chance
I did this plane  couple of years ago. The body had been sanded up to 600 grit but it has had no Autosol applied at all.

I think I sprayed painted the body
After I take this apart I'll check out the body. If it has been done, I might finish this to my new standards. The hardest part is done and what is left isn't that difficult to complete.

#7 - this was the first or second plane I rehabbed
Sanded up to ??? - I don't remember. I know that this have never seen Autosol and this what the plane has weathered to since I rehabbed it. Cherry knob and tote made by Bill Rittner.

the sole
I don't use this plane anywhere near how much I use the 4 1/2 or the 5 1/2. This is what it looks like after being sanded post 3+ years and with out ever having Autosol. This one will take a bit more rehab calories to get it up to the new standards. One biggie on this plane will be stripping and painting the body and the frog.

my #8

This plane got the body sanded and a Bill Rittner cherry knob and tote to replace a painted hardwood set. My favorite Stanleys are the type 11's on down. This #8 is a type 15-16 if I remember right. I decided that I'm not going to invest the calories in rehabbing a plane type I don't like. I will sell this one and buy a #8 type that I like.

So this is what is going on in my world. I will finish the 10 1/2 and do the 4 1/2. The #3 may or may not get done. It may because the #3 is a plane that I use a lot more than the #7 and the #8. The rest of the planes in the herd will be done as I feel like doing them.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that St Louis, Missouri, was the first US city to host the Olympics in 1904?

Wooden Handplane Maintenance (That Most People Forget)

Fair Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:28pm
Wooden-bodied planes require so little maintenance (aside from sharpening) that it’s easy to forget that they do need some love every year to work smoothly. Recently I borrowed a friend’s smoothing plane to demonstrate a cut and was struck by how easily her iron adjusted. It was like silk. I thought my plane was in […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Chester Cornett at the Kentucky Folk Art Center

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 4:51pm


For many years, I have been an undying fan of the work of Chester Cornett (1913-1981), a traditional Eastern Kentucky chairmaker who crossed over to become an artist who lived out his last years in Cincinnati, just a few miles from where I am right now.

Cornett’s story is long, tragic and documented in the book “Craftsman of the Cumberlands” (University Press of Kentucky) by Michael Owen Jones. My personal copy of the book is dog-eared and always within grasp.


For years I’ve known that the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, Ky., had some of Cornett’s work, which it acquired for an exhibition and its permanent collection. But despite my long love of folk art and woodworking, I’d never made it down to the Folk Art Center until Wednesday.

It was a bittersweet journey.

Kentucky’s state budget is in turmoil. And though I try to steer clear of politics, I am deeply saddened and angered at our governor’s proposed budget cuts, which would shutter both the Kentucky Folk Art Center and the University Press of Kentucky, which published the book on Cornett. (And has a 75-year history of publishing fantastic books about the Commonwealth.)

If you dislike funding for cultural institutions, don’t bother leaving a comment. I don’t want to hear it. We’re talking about pennies.

Anyway, we arrived at the Kentucky Folk Art Center on Wednesday and spent a couple hours with the director, Matt Collingsworth. We arrived unannounced and unheralded. But Collingsworth enthusiastically gave us full access to all the pieces and all the paperwork the museum owns on Cornett – including the only known drawings and descriptions Cornett made of his pieces.

Side note: Some of you know that I have been collecting folk art/outsider art for as long as I have been a woodworker. My home is full of it. The Kentucky Folk Art Center is – hands down – the best folk art museum I’ve ever visited. (Yes, I spent a day at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. I went to the Garden of Earthly Delights in Georgia while Howard Finster was still alive. I’ve been to every folk art museum in every town I’ve ever visited.)

In fact, when I arrived home on Wednesday night I spent the next hour showing my family all the photos from my trip, and I cannot wait to take them there as soon as possible.

OK, back to the woodworking.



The Kentucky Folk Art Center has three of Cornett’s pieces on display: an early side chair that resembles a heavier version of Jennie Alexander’s chair from “Make a Chair from a Tree” (Taunton). There’s a standard rocking chair that looked to be a “sample” chair because the slats were scrawled with Cornett’s sales pitch on the slats.


And there was one of Cornett’s “chair-and-a-half” rockers in walnut, ash and hickory bark. This chair, which Cornett also called his “fat man’s rocker,” was stunning. Octagonal seat. Four rockers. An astounding amount of drawknife work. Pictures do not do the piece justice.

Brendan Gaffney and I were stunned by it. Brendan took lots of measurements and vowed to produce a version of it. I tried to capture its essence in photos (and failed).

We also got to see one of Cornett’s tables, which is eight-sided and has octagonal legs with a most unusual taper. And the table broke down into two pieces.

As I made the drive back home up the AA highway, my head spun with the joy of seeing Cornett’s pieces (and getting to sit in one of his rockers) and the foreboding feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to make many more of these visits in the future.

If you have a free weekend, please make the trip to the Kentucky Folk Art Center, which is deep in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, before the axe falls. And know that we’ll do our best to keep writing about Chester Cornett and his unusual and incredibly well-made chairs.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

No loitering!

Mulesaw - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 4:41pm
I got inspired by this post by Bob the Valley woodworker who is organizing his shop.

At a point in my life I would actually feel kind of frustrated after being in the shop, because I felt I didn't get anything done at all.
I would go out there, look a bit around, maybe try to take a couple of stokes with a plane, perhaps move some tools away and try something else etc. But I rarely started a new regular project, and I never completed anything.

After being unproductive in the shop for some time, I would go inside the house disillusioned, and have a cup of tea and feel sorry for myself.

I wasn't getting anywhere at all.

Someplace I then read about another guy who had experienced the same thing, and his mean to  overcome it was that he could only stay in the shop, if he did some actual work or actual cleaning of the place.

I decided to try out that approach. So I put a mental sign up in my head when I entered the shop where it said:

The minute that I started procrastinating or dreaming about future projects or looking at this and that, I had to leave the shop.
It worked great!

Clearing out the shop and organizing all the tools suddenly went really fast, because I would not loaf around - wasting my own time.
When all the tools were in place, I swept the floor and vacuum cleaned the machines. Then stopped for the day, leaving the shop with a feeling of accomplishment instead of frustration.

The next day I opened the door and looked inside. the shop was inviting. But I didn't have any actual plan for what I wanted to do in there, so I remember just looking around and then leaving again.

I can't remember what my first actual project was after my new shop practice, but I remember that it went a lot faster than normally, because I stayed focused all the way.
And due to being focused, I never have the same feeling that I "waste" my time by being in the shop, because I try my best to always be productive out there.

Despite my best efforts, I still experience that horizontal flats will eventually become crowded with stuff, and suddenly there are old pieces of glass in a corner of the shop, scraps on the floor and some surplus wood from the last five or six projects occupying space along one wall. But it doesn't scare me anymore, or get me in a bad mood, because I still keep my imaginary sign hanging in the shop, so as soon as I am out there, I try my best to be efficient, either in building or in cleaning.
Categories: Hand Tools

Setting Up a Hand-Tool Workshop – M&T Podcast 06

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 2:05pm
Listen to our new episode above.
We had lots to talk about today. On the magazine front, pre-orders for Issue Four opened yesterday, and we’ve been releasing the Table of Contents for the past two weeks leading up to the big event. We talk about our soon-to-be-released t-shirt design, commissioned from artist Jessica Roux. In our discussion, we go over the ins and outs of setting up a workshop specifically based around the use of hand tools. We consider decisions to be made around lighting, heat, and tool storage, along with details from period shops that might inform the way we approach this task today.


Notable Links from this Podcast:


Categories: Hand Tools

Remarkable Things

Paul Sellers - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 1:11pm

It is a remarkable thing to me, an older man, an old man, seeing where everyone is around the world that reads my blog. People watching my videos afar, looking at what I type up and then sending me messages. I post a blog one day in the morning and by midnight 18,000 people might […]

Read the full post Remarkable Things on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Handplane Maintenance (That Most People Forget)

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:00pm

Metal-bodied planes require so little maintenance (aside from sharpening) that it’s easy to forget that they do need some love every year to work smoothly. Recently I borrowed a friend’s smoothing plane to demonstrate a cut and was struck by how easily her iron adjusted. It was like silk. I thought my plane was in good shape, but I was way off the mark. So as soon as I delivered […]

The post Handplane Maintenance (That Most People Forget) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


Northwest Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 9:45am

1-Dovetail corner1

Dovetails. This symbol of woodworking excellence. What a pain in the butt.

They’re fussy. They require concentration and skill and enormous patience. At least if you want to do them halfway well. I do have students who after trying tail and pain by hand, turn to the router and dovetail jig. I get this. I never had clients who could afford hand cut work. This was out of everyone’s price range. I used sliding dovetails for their pieces instead cut with a router and bit.

But I understand as well the dovetail joint’s virtue in teaching accuracy and slowing down. This helps me at the band saw and the router table. In the end, I advocate my 5 minute dovetail as a means of getting our heads to the bench, slowing down, and training our focus to get tight. Because the work we do at the bench has a tight focus to it.

It depends entirely upon one’s intention while at the bench. If it is to build good work at a pace, then finding methods that work whether by hand or with a machine seems to me a fine choice. Check out the furniture of Greene & Greene and the Hall Brothers building for them. No dovetails used. All finger jointed drawers and cases.

If on the other hand, one’s intention is simply to be at the bench then hand cutting everything makes good sense too. Pace doesn’t matter then.

Simply answer this question: does it feel good to get work completed that you can feel proud of? Then use all the tools in your kit. {Note: I stop short of programming a CNC to cut mine, if I had a CNC.} If product isn’t your goal but process is, then mill your wood by hand too. But always ask yourself before you dive in: What do I want from this project?

If it’s a gift, get ‘er done. If it’s a gift for you, take your time and enjoy the ride. Either way you’re at the bench and that’s a good thing.

Dovetail chest Matthew DMP #12 013

Distance Mastery Student Matthew Kanomata’s Dovetail Chest







Categories: Hand Tools

How to Cut the Maloof Joint by Hand

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:11am

A Blind Rabbet and a Tenon Walk into a Bar…

When thinking about how to cut the Maloof joint by hand you need to step back and examine it for what it really is. Its a notch that has rabbets cut on opposite faces. The leg part of the joint is 3 dados. Suddenly this iconic joint becomes a lot easier. The cut a notch in the seat, we saw out the extents and fret saw or chop out the waste in between just like a dado or dovetail pin. The rabbets are blind so a bit more complicated, but really almost identical to a hinge mortise. Finally the leg dados are just sawing the extents and chopping and router planing to depth.

But as with any complex joint, the actual cutting of it is a minor aspect. In fact the success of the cutting is based upon strong layout. So I spend a fair amount of time in this demonstration laying out both parts of the joint and taking care to use dividers to transfer dimensions instead of relying upon actual measurements. Still I think some efficiency could be added into this process and that will come with time as I cut a few more of these.

On the whole, whatever your feelings for this joint, it is a great sawing and chiseling exercise.

More How to Joinery

Some of the other popular joinery suggestions I received were for the Rising Dovetail and the Blind Mitered Dovetail. Both of these I have cut in demonstrations for my Apprenticeship students at The Hand Tool School. So I have pulled these lessons from the vault and made them available for individual purchase.

how to cut a blind mitered dovetailhow to cut the rising dovetail

Categories: Hand Tools

Sanding with Festool – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2018 – Tip #1

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:00am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

I have been working on a painting project every weekend for several months. Actually, it started three years ago. Brenda said, “Since we’re taking the carpet out, before Brent gets here to start putting in the oak floors, what about if we painted the living room?” You might think the operative word here is “we.” It isn’t. I started, of course, with the ceiling. Because our house is built on pilings, it moves a lot. Or, maybe we just had a sorry Sheetrock guy, but, whatever the reason, the panel joints in the ceiling were all cracked. I wasn’t going to sand them down, tape them and apply new knockdown before I painted, but I did take the time to caulk the cracks the best I could.

From there it was on to the walls, which went fast enough. When the baseboards were first installed, they weren’t properly sanded and primed, so it was time-consuming to take them all the way down to bare wood before painting. I worked every night after work, and every Saturday after we closed at noon, for months and months.

Because we have an open floor plan between the living room and kitchen, there was no painting the living room and not painting the kitchen (I painted the kitchen ceiling at the same time as the living room).

The massiveness of the millwork on the living room windows and kitchen bay windows was overwhelming.

This bank of windows is wonderful to look through, but the convoluted millwork at the bottom is an amateur painter’s nightmare. Sore fingers were a nightly feature when I was sanding them to bare wood. And, working on the floor wasn’t this hard when I was in my 30’s.

This bay window is one of Brenda’s favorite sitting spots, so it needs to look good. Willie likes it, too.

I don’t recall what interrupted me, but, at some point in 2014 I stopped painting and, despite good intentions, couldn’t get going again.

This go-round, I took a more practical approach. Rather than unrealistically working every night, I decided to devote every Saturday until I finished.

Not surprisingly, I’m not getting much woodworking in. In fact, I wonder how long one can go between projects and still call himself a woodworker.

Now, the kitchen and living room are finished and that made the adjacent foyer look dark, so we’re (there’s that word again) painting over all of the stained wood.

Nothing beats the Festool system when it comes to a sanding project like this. The CT36 Dust Extractor with a Dust Separator has made this an almost completely dust-free project. Like Steve Johnson letting his inner woodworker creep into his barn project, I couldn’t be satisfied with the machine marks left in the millwork, so I’m sanding most of it to bare wood. The dark stain needs to come off anyway for better white paint coverage. The RO125 Festool Sander is loaded with 120 grit paper, and it doesn’t take long to get down to a smooth surface. Alan Noel recommended 220 grit for a nice, painted finish, and the Festool ETS125REQ Sander, with its shorter stroke, and fine paper, makes every flat surface paint-ready.

There are plenty of nooks and crannies in this project, and the Festool RO90 Sander, with its triangular head attachment, has made short work of those spots.

This skirtboard was the place where the RO90’s triangular head made sanding the hard-to-get-to spots really easy.

There are still areas that require hand sanding, and that’s the only dust generation there has been. Disconnect the sander from the CT, switch from AUTO to MANUAL, and the dust is gone. With the separator, there is no worry of filling up those expensive Festool Dust Extractor Bags.

Dust management is one of Festool’s biggest selling points for the pros, but, it’s pretty darn nice, too, for the DIY handyman with no time to waste.

One day, all of this will be finished, and I will be proud for visitors to come through the foyer, into the living room and lounge in the kitchen.

Just stay out of the parts of the house “we” haven’t gotten to yet.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Sanding with Festool – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2018 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Barn Workshop – Knotwork Banding Inlay

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 5:49am

One of my favorite aspects of working on The Roubo Translation Project has been the replication of many of the techniques he described in L’art du Menuisier.  For a long time I thought that intricate banded borders were dauntingly complex and fussy.  Then I did it the way he said and I realized that the artisans of the period had standardized the process so as to make them near idiot-proof.  Voila’, a method I can work with.

The knotwork banding  illustrated in Plate 287 is a perfect case of this.  Using a set of sawing and planing jigs to produce an infinite number of perfectly sized and fitted pieces the design pattern is a piece of cake.  But, as with most things, the set-up is crucial.  And that is what we will be doing in these three days; making the banding, laying out and creating the jig block, and making knotwork corners to your heart’s content.


The complete 2018 Barn workshop schedule:

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

Making A Petite Dovetail Saw June 8-10, $400

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950

5 1/2 done again......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:36am
I finished the 5 1/2 (again) and I blame it on my increasing skill in rehabbing planes. I was happy with what I did the first time but some things change for the better. I think that taking the 5 1/2 a couple of more steps paid off. Now, not only do I have a plane that still works like a dream, it is pretty darn good looking too. I am hoping that I don't find something else I can add to the rehabbing steps with future ones because I want these to stay done.

After I completed the 5 1/2 I started back on the 10 1/2. I thought it would have been a simple follow up rehab and it would have been done tonight too. Instead I took a left turn and upped the ante. I don't remember all that I did on the first rehab but there were a few steps that I am doing now that I didn't do then. It'll be this weekend before I will be able to put a check mark in the done column for the 10 1/2.

up to 400 grit
I'm still not getting a wow shine on the lever cap. But it is an improvement over my previous doings. I went from just cleaning and degreasing, to sanding to remove rust, to trying to shine them. Not very shiny but shinier than what I got from just a clean and degreasing.

10 1/2 on the left   5 1/2 on the right
 The 5 1/2 cleaned up pretty good with the Bar Keeps. The 10 1/2 knob will need a bit more help to bring up a 100% shine.

before and after brushes
A brand new brass brush on the left and what it looks like after cleaning two adjuster knobs with Bar Keeps.

still not a wow
I used Autosol on the lever cap and I can see a slight difference. It cleaned it some and raised a bit of a shine. I think I'll have to be content with the shine level and go with the protection it affords.

put on the frog too
I put it on mostly for the protection factor.

back together
It only took a few dance steps to get my shavings spitting out correctly. Same width and thickness on the left, the middle, and the right. The 5 1/2 is done and has rejoined the herd.

the before and after
The 5 1/2 looked similar to the 4 1/2 before I rehabbed it for the second time.

stern view comparison
this is a sweet looking daily user
the shine on the lever cap looks good on the bow shot
the before pic
I thought this looked ok for a daily user before I went down this rabbit hole. I remembered to take a before pic of this one but not the 10 1/2.

found an ugly spot - 10 1/2 frog
The sideswere bare in a few spots before I painted it yesterday. I lightly sanded it tonight to see if I could remove the bumps along the edges. I couldn't and I don't like the rough textured look on this sides. This and the other side of the frog will be visible on the finished plane. I used the file on this to smooth it out.

filed and smoothed
I didn't go nutso on this - I just wanted to remove the bumpy look along the edges.

the other side
This side was sanded and I totally forgot to snap a pic of it after I filed it smooth.

didn't forget to get a pic of it painted
It looks better than the paint job from yesterday.

the other side painted
used a small brush to paint the area around the lateral adjust
Wally World brushes
I got these in the art department at Walmart. 10 brushes for less than $10. I thought if I got one use out of each of them I got my money back on them So far I have used only 3 and the same three for all the tools I have painted. So far they are holding up with all the painting and cleanings. The third brush from the left is the one that I use 99% of the time.

knob and tote for the 10 1/2
I sprayed 3 coats on the two and they look a lot better than what I started with. Most of the 10 1/2 is rehabbed. The frog will have to get a second coat and that will hold up finishing this plane until this weekend.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know a golden set in tennis is where the score is 6-0, with the winner not losing a single point?

Bedlam in the Workshop

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:25pm

“Sacra Famiglia” by Andrea Polinori (1623), Chiesa di San Giuseppe, Todi, Umbria, Italy.

This is one image you won’t see in Chris’ new book “Ingenious Mechanicks: Early Workbenches & Workholding.”

Suzanne Ellison

Categories: Hand Tools

Back in the shop

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 6:34pm

First off – my holdfast is bigger than yours. Being back at Colonial Williamsburg last week reminded me of my previous visit there 11 years ago. I was using the 18th-century style holdfasts, and made an off-hand comment along the lines of “boy, these high holdfasts get in the way…” Ken Schwartz, the head blacksmith offered to make me a low one like I use at home…but I said “No – don’t go to all that trouble..”  – then I guess I made another comment about the height of the holdfast. So after lunch, Ken came on stage and presented me with a custom-made holdfast.

He & I met up again last week, both remembering that event. Seems we’ve both told the story many times – but I’ve never posted the holdfast before. I find it a couple times every year during deep cleaning of the shop.

I finished a carved box for a customer today. One of my “usual” boxes; oak with a pine lid & bottom. Wooden hinges.

I have a number of custom pieces to build this year, so I’ll be doing a lot of furniture work. I get questions sometimes about “do you take commissions?” – and the answer is yes. I have a list right now that will take me through the first half of the year, but this box is an example of something that can jump the queue – I can usually work one of these into my schedule pretty easily. As it happened in this case, the box was made, I just had to finish the lid & bottom.

Finished this walnut book stand today too – which was just the finish; linseed oil. This one is spoken for, but there’s another right behind it.

One of the custom pieces I’m working on now is a chest of drawers. This one is not based on any particular period example, it will be carved and have moldings between the four drawers. I don’t want to use applied moldings in this case (it’s going to a very dry climate, compared to here by the ocean) so I have opted to adapt this “lipped tenon” seen in Plymouth Colony work of the 17th century. In this shot, you see the joint halfway home, leaving a piece about 7/8″ thick riding over the stile’s face. That section will get the molding cut in it.

Here’s how I cut it. Pencil layout for the camera’s benefit. This blank is laying on its face, that will be the molding.

I’ve made the rip cut that sets off the molding, and cut the tenon to length. Now I’m cutting the rear shoulder.

Splitting the waste off. 

Sawing the other cheek of the tenon.

Then chopping the end grain between the tenon and the molding.

The joint once it’s cut & pared.

Fitted into the mortise. There’s 3 rails like this, the other two will have scratched moldings. I’ll shoot more of this project soon.

The Strength of a Chair Comes from Imperfection

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:12pm

If you’ve ever used a hand-cut rasp or a hand-filed saw you know how their tiny imperfections from handwork make the tool cut smoother. When it comes to making chairs, the small handmade imperfections are what give it its strength. If you build a lot of casework, I am sure you are grunting in displeasure. Accuracy makes all your pieces go together easily and tightly, right? Well in chairmaking, that […]

The post The Strength of a Chair Comes from Imperfection appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator