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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...


Walnut Dining Trestle Table: Legs Part 1

Nabil Abdo - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 9:51am

This table is all about the legs.  So thats where we start:

Sizing the blanks for the feet on the bandsaw

No 16/4 Walnut handy, so these are face laminations of 8/4 stock.

The foot features a colossal M/T joint where the upright meets the foot, I like to start with the mortise. If I can get a nice mortise cut with parallel walls, I find it easier to size the tenon.  

I hog these out on the slot mortiser , adjusting the z-axis as I go:

Put the upright right on the foot and pull your measurements directly.  This is a simple joint to cut. I am comfortable running the upright on the TS and finishing off with a sharp X-Cut handsaw.

With the bottom joint fitting properly we move to the bridle joint at the top attaching the upright to the upper support where the top will rest.  Again work piece to piece using centerlines always to line up and do the layout.

Its easy to miscut this joint because you are only removing half of the material from either member.  I chose to kerf the waste and finish up on the bandsaw.

Categories: General Woodworking

Welcome Microjig!

Matt's Basement Workshop - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 9:00am

As I’m posting this we’re heading into the weekend, and considering so many of us are also starting all those holiday gifts and will be in the shop every waking moment between now, and possibly the night before Christmas (or whatever you celebrate.) It only makes sense that this is the perfect time to remind you to work safely.

And to help remind you of safety, this is the perfect time to say WELCOME to our newest sponsor at Matt’s Basement WorkshopMICROJIG!

That’s right, the makers of the amazing 3-D pushblock system known as the GRR-Ripper are now sponsoring the show. And while Microjig is all about safety, they’re also big into making sure woodworkers work just as smart as they do safe.

With the introduction of innovative tools such as the Microdial taper jig and Zeroplay Guide Bars, Microjig helps to ensure woodworkers not only work wood safely but better and more efficiently by making tools that just work amazing.

Right now, not only do I want to tell everyone that Microjig is sponsoring the show, but also to mention they’re having a great giveaway happening on their Facebook page to celebrate their availability now at select Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores:

Win a $500 Lowe’s Home Improvement Gift Card – Step 1, post a picture of you and your GRR-RIPPER to the Micro Jig Facebook Like Page. Step 2, #worksafer and tag three friends who’s fingers you want to save. Deadline: 11pmEST 11/29/2014.

To get your entry in for a chance to win, click on this link to visit the MicroJig Facebook Page before the deadline.

Thanks again to Microjig for their support and I hope all of you are the winner!

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Technical Difficulties

The English Woodworker - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:18am

We have gotten over many difficulties this year but are still facing a small battle trying to get our internet connection at the new workshop. We’ve a kind neighbour who has allowed us to sneak access now and then, but as the weather turns ever more dreary the prospect of hovering in the hedge trying to get signal becomes less and less desirable.

I wanted to say hi and keep you interested with a few thoughts of what we’re working on. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Helen is writing a great article about oil paint which she’s been making for my chair, and I’ve got a post ready on why cross grain planing when prepping is a waste of time (I’m probably playing with a loaded gun with that one!).

Both of these are very photo heavy and we just don’t have the bandwidth, so we’ll leave you waiting a little longer.

Other articles also include ‘ A composting toilet’ (yep you read that right), and ‘Why I smell like horse piss’.

Once that fibre optic reaches us we’ll be starting up a video diary as well, something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

We’re still reading all your comments and they’re keeping us going so please keep them coming, and we’ll be in full swing as soon as BT know what a telegraph pole is.

Categories: Hand Tools

I Just Can't Leave Things Alone...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 5:53am
I'm a few days late getting this article posted but as my old man used to say when he was in the same pickle, "Better late than never".

This article is about how I ended up correcting a 70-year old mistake on my uncle's army service records. I put it together for publication in our local newspaper as an interest piece for their Remembrance Day edition. While they rewrote it, which is fine, it made my day to see his story get out in front of the public. There are so many men in all our histories who died believing they were doing what was right. Sadly, while we have all benefited from their ultimate sacrifice, most are diminished to a vague memory that is conjured up on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month every year. We owe them far more than that.

Lest we forget.
Correcting a 70-Year Old Mistake
William James Andrew Mitchell
Dec. 1942
The following article is about a local boy who never came home from the war and how his nephew, who he never met, corrected a mistake in his records 70-years after it was made.
William James Andrew Mitchell was born on October 4, 1916 in Peterborough, but at the time he enlisted in the Canadian Army, his had moved to the newly created corner of Ivan Road and Meadowvale Gardens in Highland Creek. The family lived in a small cottage his father had built on a double lot just after their purchase in the spring of 1934. Because of the size of the property, the family was able to augment their income by everyone pitching in to raise chickens and grow fruits and vegetables. Billy, as his father called him, had graduated that same year with a motor mechanics certificate and that fall he started working as a mechanic at Leno’s Garage, the only auto repair shop in the village.
Billy's father, William, or Will as he was known in the family, had firsthand experience in war, having served with distinction during WWI in France. Even though he had returned to active duty in 1940 as an instructor at #20 Basic Training Camp in Brampton, he didn't want his oldest son to have to witness what he did (by the end of the war, the senior Mitchell held the rank of Company Sergeant Major and was the camp's administrator). Against his father's wishes, Billy finally enlisted in the Canadian Army on July 16, 1941.
Billy spent the first 17-months of his service being kicked around Canada and then spent another 19-months doing the same in England. Over those 3-years, he was transferred 20 times, a result of him being shipped wherever and whenever his skills as a motor mechanic were needed. During that time he participate in numerous Driver and Motor Mechanic training courses, eventually earning the army’s highest trade classification for both, as well as their accompanying pay hikes. When his nephew reviewed his service record for the first time, he noticed that his uncle had also participated in an unusually high number of courses in Rifle Training, Bren Gun Training and Combat Techniques, far more than his nephew had seen in the other service records he had reviewed. When Billy finally arrived at the front in France on July 3, 1944, he was a well-trained motor mechanic with a high level of combat skills. The unit he was attached to, however, saw him differently.
Billy had been transferred to The South Saskatchewan Regiment (SSR), a regiment that had the sad distinction of having one of the highest attrition rates in the Canadian military. The SSR were part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division who were prominent in the allies' actions to push the enemy westward. To them, Billy was what they needed most; a highly trained soldier who could, in a pinch, fix any vehicle they might have a problem with. In other words, Billy, who was then a few months shy of his 28 birthday, was suddenly “regular army”.
Within a month of joining the SSR, Billy had been promoted to Acting Lance Corporal. The day after that promotion, he also earned himself a Military Medal. The Military Medal Citation states that while on patrol, Billy came across another SSR patrol that was pinned down by an enemy machine gun nest. Realizing the precarious position the other patrol was in, his first action was to divert the enemy’s fire away from the pinned patrol and onto himself, getting himself wounded in the process. Wound or not, he then went “forward toward the machine gun post and, firing his weapon from the hip, destroyed the post”. The weapon Billy was doing his James Cagney impersonation with was a Bren Gun, a 10.5kg (23lb) gas operated machine gun that spewed 600 to 800 rounds per minute and is believed to be Billy's weapon of choice.
Ten days later, Billy was promoted to Acting Lance Sergeant and six days after that, Billy was “killed in action”. He was still two days shy of his 28th birthday.
Billy's parents were devastated by his death. Because Billy didn't want his mother to worry, he never told his parents he was in the thick of it as "regular army". As far as his parents knew, Billy was behind the line doing what they thought he did best; fixing machinery. Because he wasn't a commissioned officer, there was no record regarding the circumstances of his death so they didn't have a clue what happened to him. Thankfully, once the war was over, one of Billy's mates came to their rescue.
Joseph Potash was an American citizen living in New Jersey when the war broke out and he wasn’t pleased that the United States didn't declare war on Germany right away. His answer to this was to head north and sign up with the Canadian Army. He and Billy had met originally in England during Billy’s brief attachment to Joe's unit, the 2nd Heavy Anti Aircraft Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Although Billy was soon transferred out of the 2nd, they never lost touch with each other. Both were finally transferred to the front within days of each other and once in the thick of it, they saw each other often as the 2nd Heavy Anti Aircraft Artillery Regiment was the outfit that gave The South Saskatchewan Regiment their artillery support.
Not long after the war was over, Joe bundled his young family into the car and they headed north to visit with Billy's parents. During their first meeting he related to them what he had been told about how Billy died. As an Acting Lance Sergeant, Billy was leading multiple reconnaissance patrols on a daily basis. On the evening of October 3, 1944, he lead a patrol of 12 men out to look for enemy patrols, stragglers and snipers in and around their location at Camp de Brasschaet, Belgium. Upon returning to their line, it was discovered that they were one man short. After Billy had submitted his patrol report, he asked for and received permission to retrace the patrol's course alone to see if he could locate his missing man. While doing so, Billy mistakenly entered an area that hadn’t previously been swept and stepped on a land mine. On October 4, 1944, a patrol found his body, an unnecessary death as that same morning, the missing man found his line.
When Billy's nephew viewed his records for the first time, he realized his uncle wasn't getting the recognition he deserved. Every database his nephew had accessed to find information about Billy had his rank listed as “Lance Corporal”, yet the last two entries on his service records stated differently. The second last entry in his uncle's service records listed his promotion to Acting Lance Sergeant and the last one stated, “Killed in action”. There was no entry that demoted his uncle back to Lance Corporal and because of the army's unwritten rule that a soldier retains the rank he held at the time of his death, his nephew knew that the rank his uncle had been remembered with over the last 70-years was just...wrong.
The issue of the incorrect rank bothered Billy's nephew for a few reasons. 
If his uncle was a Lance Corporal, then when that patrol returned to their line, he wouldn’t have been allowed to leave again to try and locate a missing soldier. Instead, as a Lance Corporal, it would have been more likely that he would have been ordered to get some sleep. 
Then there was the reality of what an "Acting" promotion really is. While there are a few reasons why a soldier would be given an "Acting" promotion rather than a full one, the most common reason was to use it to test a man’s moxie, to see what he is made of and whether or not he can handle the responsibilities of the rank. When Billy got that last promotion, he wasn't handed the two extra chevrons for his sleeve that denoted his new rank, nor did he get the higher pay rate and the few other minor benefits that came with it. What he got was the responsibilities of the rank and nothing more. 
When Billy's nephew put together everything he had discovered he quickly realized that Billy was killed in action because he chose to fulfill the responsibilities of his temporary rank to the best of his abilities, yet for the past 70-years, he wasn't being remembered with the rank that gave him those responsibilities in the first place. 
The definition of an "Acting" promotion also explained why Billy's rank was incorrect. When his body was recovered, Billy was still wearing the rank insignia of Lance Corporal, a single chevron. Given that the soldiers who had the gruesome task of collected the war dead weren't the ones who fought beside Billy, they wouldn't have known about his new "Acting" rank, so they used the rank they saw when recording his death. What surprised Billy's nephew most is that his grandfather didn't spot this mistake and fix it then. 
Armed with what he knew, Billy's nephew wrote the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Library and Archives Canada and a few other departments explaining the mistake he had discovered and why he felt it should be corrected. They all replied within months and before long the databases’ listings started to change, displaying Billy’s rightful rank. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission even went one step further by first having Billy’s gravestone inspected to see if the correction in rank could be done on it and finding that impossible, they committed to installing a duplicate gravestone, but one with the correct rank as soon as possible. 
So as it stands now, from this time onward, Billy will be remembered as Acting Lance Sergeant William James Andrew Mitchell MM. If those who come across his listing take the time to understand what the information offered about him represents, they will gain a good understanding of who this man was and what he stood for.

This is the newspaper's version of the story...

Lest we forget.



Categories: Hand Tools

Hung up on Workbench Overhang

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 5:49am


When designing a French workbench (or any other style, really), one of the most common hang-ups for new woodworkers is determining how much the benchtop should overhang the base at the ends of the bench.

When I design a workbench that doesn’t have an end vise, I usually use an overhang of 12” to 15”, and I make the overhang equal at both ends of the bench. Simple. And it looks good.

When you add an end vise into the equation, some bench designers become a bit uncertain. Is that cantilever too much? And when you are building a smaller workbench – say 6’ long – then real worry begins to set in. Will the bench be stable?

Here’s how I go about proportioning things.

With An End Vise on a Big Bench
If your bench is 8’ or longer things are pretty simple when adding an end vise. Determine how much overhang you need to accommodate the end vise, usually somewhere between 13” and 20”. Use the same overhang on both ends of the bench and you are pretty much done.

Because of the thick top of the French bench, the cantilever isn’t a problem. A 4”- to 6”-thick top is plenty thick enough to resist gravity and the weight of the vise.

If, however, you are making a short bench, things get complicated.


With An End Vise on a Short Bench
Here’s a typical problem: You want to put a Benchcrafted tail vise on a 6’-long bench. You need about 19” overhang on one end. If you made the overhangs symmetrical – 19” at both ends – then your workbench’s base is only 34” long. That’s ridiculous and unstable.

What do you do?

One solution is to use a small overhang on the end opposite the end vise. This is the solution used by the modern European-style workbench with its massive tail vise. This solution works just fine, though the bench loses its symmetry. But hey, it’s a bench, not fine furniture.

The other downside is that the bench – like European workbenches – becomes less stable. If you or your fat friend plops down on the cantilever, then you might get an unexpected thrill ride. I have seen this happen dozens of times, especially at Woodworking in America when people are setting up benches in the Marketplace.

Or Use No End Vise
If you are willing to eschew an end vise, your bench will be less expensive and easier to design. Plus, you can easily use A.-J. Roubo’s dimensions and proportions to draw a bench that is – to my eye – beautiful.

At the top of this blog entry is a detail from Plate 11 from “l’Art du menuisier” on which I have overlaid the known dimensions from Roubo’s text. I do not think that everything in his drawing is perfectly to scale. However, I do think that Roubo is showing a 9’-long bench, which he says is the standard size. If the bench is indeed 9’ long, then the planing stop, the legs and the stretchers are all correctly scaled and match his text. (The mallet is a different matter).

If you want to follow Roubo’s drawing, then make the overhang 12” or a little longer.

One side note: What if you are making a 12’-long bench? Do you need a third set of legs in the middle? I think you can avoid this complication by making the top thicker – 6” or a bit more – and by using an 18” to 24” overhang on the ends.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

A Card Catalogue – Part Eighteen

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 4:33am
  Hey folks, we’re moving right along with the Card Catalogue series, and here is the second part of the drawer front veneer work. This being a card catalogue, I wanted to maintain a traditional looking cabinet with three banks of 5, card-sized drawers. Having...
Categories: Hand Tools

WORK No. 139 - Published November 14, 1891

Work Magazine Reprint Project - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 4:00am

Come ye woodworkers, come ye metalsmiths! Gather and sing Kumbaya around the warm glow of heated STEEL as it passes its Curie point and begins to form austenite. Much to my own distinct and unabashed glee, this week's issue of Work contains an article on the subject of hardening and tempering steel. Yippee!

This activity resides at the intersection of many disciplines. As a toolmaker, I never tire of hearing different tellings of how to manipulate the properties of steel with heat. To the woodworker, the temper and quality of steel edges is a field of concern second only to sharpening.

But apart from the predictable gravity and importance of understanding steel and its transformations, there is also unmistakable delight. I've taught the rudiments of steel toolmaking to range of pupils. Even uninitiated neophytes sit up and take notice when a hunk of red hot steel is quenched. The spectacle and wizardry of the moment makes fellow travelers of us all. So, if you're new to the path, now's as good a time as any to start in.

Be warned though; while this week's article is mostly useful and informative, it's still 123 years old. Some of our understanding of alloying constituents has changed, and you probably shouldn't quench anything in mercury, no matter how cool it will probably look. In case of any doubt, see our Disclaimer.

I'd encourage anyone with even a moderate interest in tools to try making their own hardened stamp. It's pretty simple, requires minimal tools and materials, and there are loads of instructional videos out there that can get you started. Here's an old favorite from the likes of Tim McCreight.

For extra credit, there's an episode of The Woodwright's Shop where Roy Underhill uses the same method to fashion a cutter for a shop-made screw box. At 9:27 Roy says that "those who know their metallurgy" won't approve of his "jackleg" methods and descriptions. Phooey. Roy gets everything right, as usual, and shows you how to make one too with a smile on his face saying, "everybody should know how to do this in a pinch." He even has excellent quenching technique. -T

P.S. If you're an old hand at this stuff you'll get a kick out of the crazy cowboy chisel tempering method outlined below. The smith will use the residual heat in the shank to temper the edge, after the tip has been quenched. Granted, the description indicates this move was used on cold chisels. Still, one can speculate about the production advantages afforded by designing large, heat-mongering bolsters on joiners' firmer chisels.











Disclaimer: Articles in Work describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.

• Click to Download Vol.3 - No. 139 •

Categories: Hand Tools

Infill Plane Maker from Australia

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:28pm

Brian Shugarue contacted me recently to introduce his lovely planes. He is a cabinetmaker and planemaker living in Melbourne Australia.

This is his latest plane, a 'low slung' smoother in Damascus steel.
The style of these planes is similar to the ones I make from wood and they look very comfortable, a nice rounded back and an upward sweeping front bun which gives a great finger and thumb hold.

I couldn't resist slipping this picture in of his very fine looking toolbox.

Here's one of his earlier planes a cute, more traditional squirrel tail block plane.
If you want to see more of Brian's work check out his website http://www.bjsplanesandwoodworking.com/p/main.html
And Blog http://www.bjsplanesandwoodworking.com/2014_10_01_archive.html

Categories: Hand Tools

GIVEAWAY: New 18th Century Jointer Plane DVDs!

Wood and Shop - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:21pm

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth


In my above video I share a preview of the DVD that I just produced & released with Popular Woodworking Magazine, titled: “Building a Traditional 18th Century Jointer Plane with Bill Anderson“. It’s nearly 4 hours of instruction! Bill and I wanted to create a very affordable and detailed class that would be easily understood by both beginner and advanced woodworkers, and we achieved that…with the help of Roy Underhill! To celebrate, I’m giving away 3 of these DVDs! (see below)


DVD: “Building a Traditional 18th-Century Jointer Plane with Bill Anderson”

DVD: $29.99 (FREE SHIPPING!)    |     DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: $24.99

Traditional hand plane making…made simpler in this step-by-step tutorial!

Bill Anderson & Joshua Farnsworth offer a visually stunning and very detailed video about traditional hand plane making. It’s comprehensive enough for even beginners to successfully follow along and build a jointer plane of their own. Filmed on location in Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, North Carolina, Bill shows how to make an 18th Century jointer plane with only traditional woodworking hand tools.

Buy Now


If you’d like to be one of the lucky woodworkers who wins one of the 3 DVDs that I’m giving away, then just fill out the below entry…just follow these simple instructions:


That’s it! The winners’ names will be drawn randomly around November 21st, 2014, and will be notified shortly thereafter. I will only ship these free DVDs to the U.S.A. (don’t worry: international customers can still purchase a DVD or a digital download)


Here’s a bunch of photos that I took during the video shoot:

Winding Sticks Bill Anderson

Norris Panel Plane Scottish Infill Plane

Bow Saw Bill Anderson

Tenon saw Bill Anderson

Jointer Plane Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson chiseling mortise


Bill Anderson building a hand plane

build a hand plane

Bill Anderson building a hand plane

Bill Anderson building a hand plane

Bill Anderson flatten panel plane

Bill Anderson carpenter triangle marking

Bill Anderson building a hand plane angle gauge

Bill Anderson building a hand plane bed gauge

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Bill Anderson building a hand plane rasp

And here’s the shorter trailer / preview of the video:





Fred. D. Crawshaw - 1914 - Problems In Woodturning

Toolemera - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 3:24pm
From my Tumblr Blog comes: Fred. D. Crawshaw's early 20th century book on wood turning: The Manual Arts Press is by far my favorite early 20th century publisher of books on manual educational crafts and teaching. Fred Crawshaw authored a few great titles, this one being his book on wood-turning. Meant to be a guide book for teachers, the text is supported by a tremendous array of plans for students, ranging from the beginner to the advanced turner.
Categories: Hand Tools

Cabriole Legs Without a Lathe

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 3:15pm

How did woodworkers create beautiful, curved table legs without machinery? A technique used building this tea table (pictured left) will show you… Queen Anne-style furniture makers focus on curves and achieving a light, graceful look. Cabriole legs are all about curves, and to give a lighter look to the design, slipper feet were the choice for many tea tables. Forget the lathe. A slipper foot is shaped by hand. To […]

The post Cabriole Legs Without a Lathe appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Workbench 2014 Base Day Three: The Details

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 2:40pm
Day three and go ….

I had the base together now it was time to put the details together to finish it up

While I had the base sitting on the underside of the bench top I flipped it over and straightened, squared, measured, and fussed to get the bench sitting exactly where I wanted it to end up. Then I took a Sharpie and traced around the locations for all the legs. This would help me locate the stub tenons that would eventually connect the top and base. 

Now to prep for a sliding deadman. There are several way to install a deadman. I decided to go with a simple groove along the underside of the benchtop and a 3/4" thick tongue along the bottom rail. 

To start I had manuvered the top upside down onto a couple high stools. After a couple swipes of the plow plane I figured out the stools offered little stability and wiggled quite a bit as I worked. Normally I can appreciate a little wiggle when I see it, but that wiggle made me nervous. I guess the top weighs in somewhere around 300 pounds. Not the kind of thing you want wiggling while you work on it.

To remedy I moved the base over and transferred the top onto it. A couple clamps were placed to keep it from sliding and it was amazing. Here was my first taste of working at the new bench height would be like and I was happy to find I'd gotten it right. Two passes of the 3/8" plow blade next to each other and I had a 3/4" wide and 3/4" deep groove.  

While I had the top stable on the base, I used a straight edge to draw a line connecting the opposite corners of the rectangular shaped outlines I'd traced around the legs. This gave me the center of each rectangle. I chucked up an 1 1/2" forstner bit into my plug in drill and hogged out a 1 1/2" deep hole at each center point. 

The top moved back over to sit on the stools and I moved the base onto my low saw horses to work on it.

I used a rabbet plane to run a front facing rabbet 3/4" deep on the front rail. This created a space for the deadman to run along and still be flush with the front of the bench. 

I cut a lambs tongue detail on the outside corner of the front legs.

I measured and face glued two pieces of 1 by and 2 by 6 to make the deadman. Once things were set up I decided to make it a little pretty with a bead detail reminiscent of the detail you can find on the Anarchist Square that Chris Schwarz builds (The one most of us have prominently hanging in our shops) I marked it out and cut it out on the bandsaw.

I liked it so much on the deadman I dug out the jigsaw and repeated the detail on the front rail of the base.

The I decided to split from the script a bit.

I said it here before but I'm lucky that Don Williams has asked me to help him with the Studley Tool Chest and Workbench Exhibition this coming May in Cedar Rapids Iowa. This means I've been paying particular attention to every picture that comes across his blog (Don's Barn) or the Lost Art Press blog. As well as corresponding with Don and others about the exhibition. I'm very excited and I had the tool chest and workbench on my mind these days in the shop. I decided to have my first go at inlaying anything. A dot and darts similar to those that are in mother of pearl and ivory on the bandings of the chest.

I laid out the shape on the rail with chisels and a marking knife. used those lines to make paper templates which I transferred to a piece of (I think) mahogany veneer. I excavated a the thin recesses in the rail by chisel and router plane and glued the inlays into place.

The only thing left to do was nail in some cleats to the bases rails to hold the bottom shelf boards in place.

I also marked the centers of the legs and drilled a corresponding 1 1/2" radius by 1 1/2" deep hole, and cut some 1 1/2" maple dowel I had sitting around into four 3" long sections. I shaved and sanded those down a bit and rubbed canning wax on them until they cried for mercy. 

Then, as if building a huge bench in a one man shop doesn't throw things into disarray enough. I had to clear out one whole wall, old bench and all, to slide the new bench into place.

Here's a slightly doctored shot of the place in disarray. With some help from physics and a wife who was willing to move saw horses in and out of place while I held up one end of the top I got the beast maneuvered into it's new home.

Did the dowels all fit? Well not perfectly, one out of four was off by just enough it wouldn't drop in smooth. A piece of sacrificial 1x6 and a good smack with the 8 lbs sledge and it stopped arguing.

If at first you don't succeed . . . get a bigger hammer.

My measurement was off on the deadman by a slim 1/4" But I can fix that with a shim. It won't help me much until I get my hands on some leg vise hardware. I'm leaning towards the ones made  over at Lake Erie Toolworks. I just have to save a few pennies first because I already ordered a custom plane stop from Blacksmith Tom Latane. I should get it by the end of the month and I can't wait to show it off.

It was a long day finishing up the bench but from a pile of reclaimed barn beams to the final dimension of 12 foot long, 22 1/2" wide. 33 1/2" tall and solid as a freaking mountain. Definitely an upgrade for me.

That was enough for one night. The next day I would shiplap some 1x12 pine and line the bottom shelf but for now I was just looking to lay down and rest.

Ratine et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Hand Plane Basics Part 1

Plane Shavings Blog - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 2:08pm
Flea market Stanley #5 jack plane.

Flea market Stanley #5 jack plane.

I am often asked how to get started using handplanes. So, here goes.

I chose the plane pictured above for this article because it is common and inexpensive. It is a modern Stanley #5 jack plane made in England. I bought it at a flea market for $7. My purpose is to show you that just about any plane can be made to work well with some knowledge and work. The object of this article will be to make this plane work well not to make it look pretty.

Iron bench planes have been in production since the Civil War era. There are so many on the used market that it should not be hard to find what you are looking for. I recommend that a beginner choose a #5 jack plane for the first plane. The #5 is called a jack plane because it is “the jack of all trades” as the saying goes. This plane can be used to chute (commonly referred to today as shoot) the edges of boards for panel glueups, roughing boards to thickness, even smoothing surfaces. It is my go to plane and the one I most often use.

One note of caution here. As I stated above these old iron planes were made by the millions and are very plentiful. Inspect a potential purchase carefully before you buy. If it has missing or damaged parts DON’T BUY IT! There are so many of these old planes that there is no need to buy anything that is damaged or incomplete. Replacement parts are expensive.

The jack plane with some of its parts identified.

The jack plane with some of its parts identified.

Let’s begin by identifying the parts of this plane. In the photo above you can see the knob, the lever cap and the tote.

The #5 from the rear.

The #5 from the rear.

Here you can see the sole of the #5.

Here you can see the sole of the #5.

The photos above give you a better look at the neglected #5. They also clearly show the depth adjuster knob and the mouth.

A view of the #5 without the iron assembly.

A view of the #5 without the iron assembly.

In the photo above you can see the frog, the lever cap screw, the lateral adjusting lever and another view of the depth adjuster knob.

Here we see the iron assembly.

Here we see the iron assembly.

The lever cap.

The lever cap.

In the upper of the two photos above we see the cap iron/iron assembly.  And in the lower photo we see the lever cap that holds the iron/cap iron assembly securely to the frog in use.

The frog adjusting screw.

The frog adjusting screw.

The photo above clearly shows the frog adjusting screw. This screw moves the frog forward or backward to adjust the size of the mouth opening. This screw came into use on Bailey style planes around 1907.

The #5 completely disassembled.

The #5 completely disassembled.

The first step to putting an old, neglected iron bench plane back into service is to completely disassemble it as can be seen in the photo above. Thoroughly clean and degrease all parts and inspect them for rust, wear, and damage. If you have carefully inspected your plane prior to purchase there should be no damaged parts. However, some damage can go unseen during an inspection. Damaged parts must be repaired or replaced and all traces of rust must be removed because it inhibits the fit and smooth movement of parts.

Over the many years that I have been dealing in antique and vintage tools I have tried just about every method of rust removal there is. I have settled on EVAPO-RUST for small parts and electrolysis for larger parts. I use the basic method you will find in the link, but you don’t need the electronic device or all the anodes the author uses. A 12 volt battery charger, one piece of stainless steel for an anode, and a 12 volt trailer clearance light with two bulbs connected in series with the positive lead to the anode will yield sufficiently low current to make this a clean process. This low current method is the same one used by museums to clean ancient, valuable artifacts. I plan on doing an in-depth article on rust removal in the future. For now use whatever method works best for you.

In the next article we will assemble, sharpen, and fettle this old plane to work the way it should. Until then you have plenty to do. Go out and find a plane and get started. Once you bring hand planes into your woodworking you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.



Categories: Hand Tools

preview of Wainscot chair video

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:24pm

No sooner did I mention making a wainscot chair, than I got an email from Lie-Nielsen’s youtube channel – they’ve posted a preview of the new DVD, (as well as a couple of others)

here’s the chair one – you can order it from them, or I have a few left as well. But from them, you can get the disc and all that other good stuff too.



Essential Tools at a Good Price

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:11pm

On the left is a “2nd” PEC square, on the right is a Starrett

For me, good projects come from good parts. Woodworkers will often work with material that isn’t quite square, isn’t quite the right size or isn’t in quite the right place. I’m at the precise and persnickety end of the spectrum, but that’s my way of making complex projects go together easily. Quality marking, measuring and layout tools are essential, and if you’re just starting to put your tool set together, this isn’t the place to scrimp. If you don’t know that the piece you just cut is square, and you don’t have the means to tell, you’re in for frustration. My grandfather was a tool and die maker, so I grew up with an appreciation for Starrett squares. My grandfather was also an immigrant from Scotland, so I also inherited a fair amount of what we call “frugality” in my family.


Machinist’s squares excel when you need to repeat layout marks.

In an upcoming story for 360 Woodworking I will be discussing all sorts of marking, measuring and layout tools. For several years I’ve been reading online about a source for good tools at good prices, the Harry J. Epstein Company of Kansas City, Missouri. In the interests of science I went online a couple of weeks ago and purchased both a 4″ and a 6″ double square. With shipping, I spent less than $40 and the tools arrived in a couple of days. In the photo above, the new square is on the left, and a Starrett I’ve had for 25 years or so is on the right. In the photo at right, I’m using the new square to mark a line 1/2″ from the end of the board. Before these tools were invented, most woodworkers used a marking gauge. Marking gauges are still useful, but an adjustable square is a lot more versatile.


The advantage of a double square is you can use it to gauge distances and check or mark for square.

You can do the same thing with a standard combination square that has one side of the stock angled at 45 degrees. But the combination square falls short, quite literally, if you need to check to see if a corner is square, or if you need to mark a line at a right angle after you’ve set it to gauge a short distance . The double square allows you to perform both tasks, so (in theory at least) you can do the same amount of work with fewer tools. If you’re laying out a complex project and have several increments that need to be marked on several pieces, it makes sense to have several adjustable squares available. Under that scenario you can leave different tools set at different distances. Size also comes into play, and the 4″ double square fits easily into a pocket.

EpsteinThe squares sold by Epstein are “seconds” manufactured by PEC in the United States. PEC makes quality tools, including some house brands. They don’t have the reputation of Starrett, Brown & Sharpe or Mitutoyo but they are respectable tools. These tools are cosmetic seconds or “blems” with some slight flaw in the appearance that doesn’t affect the functionality or accuracy of the tool.  If you’ve been getting by with a combination square that came from one of the big box stores, you’ll notice a huge improvement. If you’re used to machinist-quality, top of the line tools you’ll see that these aren’t quite as pretty or refined, but you’ll find that they adjust easily, hold their settings and are quite capable for day-in, day-out work. Here is a link to the Harry Epstein website, which is well worth investigating.

 — Bob Lang

The first “issue” of 360 WoodWorking” is on it’s way and will be available free of charge as our way of demonstrating our approach to woodworking media. Look for it in mid-December. If we’ve impressed you so far, and you’d like to go ahead and subscribe you can do that here. Your credit card won’t be charged until January 2015.

Chinese Spy Satellites Over Indianapolis

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 10:54am


You did not see this here.

John needed an advance copy of “l’Art du Menuisier: The Book of Plates” so our box supplier could measure it and make a custom carton – no one wants a $100 book with bumped corners.


The bindery sent this early bound copy – without the cover stamp, which is weird.

The book will start shipping next week. Order here before Wednesday to get free domestic shipping. After that date, shipping will be significant – this book is whopper-big, thick and heavy.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

‘Handplane Essentials’ Going out of Print

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:50am

u7285_500px_72dpiI’ve just been informed that my book “Handplane Essentials” (F+W Media) will not be reprinted, either in paperback or hardbound. It will, however, continue to be available as a downloadable pdf.

So the following announcement is a public service. Full disclosure: I’ve never received royalties from writing that book – I was an employee of F+W at the time and worked on it during company time. So buying that book – new or used – has no affect on my bank account.

But if you have ever wanted to own that book in paperback or hardback, you might want to buy it soon before the last ones dry up. I was told that while ShopWoodworking.com lists it on its site, the book is actually backordered and they will not be fulfilling it. However Amazon, ABE and other sellers still list “Handplane Essentials” as in stock.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Handplanes
Categories: Hand Tools

a good problem to have…

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:28am

I needed some oak today for the drawer bottom for my box.

drawer w bottom half done


Something in the range of 7″ wide, 22″ long. So I went out to the collection of oak bolts in the yard to get something to work with.


I picked out a few panels; and brought them in to rough-plane them. These had split so well they needed little hewing. Here’s some…

a good problem to have


But the problem? Most of the stuff I had on hand was too wide! That almost never happens – it’s usually quite the opposite. The narrow one in the photo above is almost 10″ wide at the bottom end…

narrow one

the wide ones are over 15″ wide and flat – great stock. (thanks, MD for setting me up with it…) -

wide one

I’ll save these for the rear panels to a wainscot chair I have to make. Like this:


TD chair overall

Most of the time, I don’t have such wide stock; the one above was similar width, but quartersawn, not riven. You can make a wainscot chair w 2 panels & a muntin too -

PF design three quarters

to make such a chair, see http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/book-dvds/

Now I have to go find some narrower oak.

Love Those Stripes

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00am

IMG_2050If you’re a fan of the NFL, and you know that I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, you may think I’m writing about the Bengals. Nope! I’m writing about the stripes in tiger maple.

I’ve taught many classes and built quite a number of projects that have string inlay. And even though the stringing in the furniture that I’m reproducing is most likely holly (even some of the string inlay that is black was holly that was dyed black), I’ve developed a passion for using tiger maple as my stringing. I know that takes the project out of the race for being a true reproduction, but I like the characteristics of tiger maple. Plus, I like the extra smack you get when using it.

Take a look at the opening photo (click it to see an enlarged image). It’s the corner of a sugar chest I built many years ago. The stringing is tiger maple. Notice the extra play you see in the string. Not only does the lighter wood stand out off the walnut background, the stripes in the string add to the overall look.

IMG_2052I’ve been working on a piece of inlay for a Pennsylvania desk on frame that I’m building for a project in 360Woodworking. It, too, is a walnut piece from the early 1800s. In the lid of the desk is a bold piece of inlay, so I’ve been trying to reproduce the look for my piece. The original has maple inlaid into walnut, and there is evidence that the maple may have been sand shaded. When I shaded my inlay pieces, I was unhappy with the results.

What to do?

I decided to play around with the stripes in the tiger maple and did away with the attempts at proper shading. If you select the right piece of stock from which to make your inlay, you can manipulate the pieces to have the stripes dance. The piece of inlay shown here is a hurried attempt to get the look I was after. So far, so good. My hope is that when it’s combined with the other pieces, the inlay will look great set into the walnut. But will the design be too stripy (is that a word)?

Build Something Great!


Washington Woodworker’s Guild Presentation

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 5:47am

Recently I presented at my home woodworking posse, the Washington Woodworker’s Guild.  I have been making presentations there for almost thirty years, since I first moved to the DC area, and even though I no longer live quite so close I enjoy it enough to keep coming back.  I think this was either the 12th or 13th presentation for them.


A couple of old friends came; Tom, my Wednesday night woodworking pal for many years, and Daniela, one of my furniture conservation proteges and the gifted hand holding the brush for the peacock feather on my Gragg chairs.


My topic(s) for the evening were pewter inlays, about which I am completing an article for an upcoming Popular Woodworking, and the progress of The Studley Project.  That book is now in editing, and development of the accompanying exhibit of the Studley Tool Cabinet is progressing nicely.  There are still plenty of tickets available, and the combination of it with the Handworks tool extravaganza in nearby Amana, Iowa, makes for a memorable woodworker’s weekend.


Next Thursday evening I will be presenting an overview of The Studley Project for Central Virginia  woodworkers Guild in the Lynchburg area.


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by Dr. Radut