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Interview with Core77, Part 2

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 3:40pm


The second half of my interview with Core77 was posted today (here’s the link), and I am deeply jealous of the lede that Rain Noe wrote at the top of the piece. It’s a nice piece of work, and it’s a connection – between Frankfort, Ky., and Frankfurt, Germany – that I wish I had made.

In the second installment, we discuss Crucible Tool, American anarchism and how to design outside the world of trends.

I am sincerely grateful to Rain and Core77 for showing an interest in my work, which at times feels like the drunken uncle to real and honest industrial design.

And while you are at Core77, check out Joel Moskowitz’s new piece on saws. And this crazy piece on a foldable wheel.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

Extrude This

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:43am


This is an excerpt from “The Anarchist’s Design Book” by Christopher Schwarz. 

There is a three-step process for how people – woodworkers or not – approach a typical table.

1. They run their hands over the top to feel how smooth the finish is.

2. They run their fingers on the underside of the tabletop, right at the front, to see if it is also smooth.

3. If there is a drawer, they pull it out to see if it opens smoothly, and to look for dovetails – the mark of quality mid-priced factory furniture.

What annoys me about this ritual – and I’ve witnessed it 100 times – is not the people who look for dovetails. Heck, I want dovetails, too. Instead, what bugs the bejebus out of me is how people are looking for plastic textures and plastic drawer motion in a piece of handmade wooden furniture.

We have been ruined by plastic and its inhumane smoothness. I’ve watched people on a train rub their smartphones like they were rosary beads or worry stones. I’ve seen people pull drawers out of a dresser and feel the underside.

The message is that “smooth” equals “quality.”

That is so wrong.

I refuse to equate quality with smoothness in a universal manner. The “show surfaces” of a piece should be smooth, though they don’t have to feel like a piece of melamine or Corian. Subtle ripples left by a smoothing plane are far more interesting than robotic flatness.

Secondary surfaces that can be touched – think the underside of a tabletop, the insides of drawers or the underside of shelves – can have a different and entirely wonderful texture.

When I dress these surfaces, I flatten them by traversing them with my jack plane, which has a significantly curved iron (an 8″ to 10″ radius, if you must know). This iron leaves scallops – what were called “dawks” in the 17th century – that are as interesting as a honeycomb and as delightful to touch as handmade paper.

That is what old furniture – real handmade furniture – feels like. I refuse to call it “sloppy” or “indifferent.” It’s correct and it adds to the experience of the curious observer.

But what about the surfaces that will almost never be touched? Historically, these surfaces were left with an even rougher texture than dawks left by a builder’s handplane. I’ve seen cabinet backs that had ugly reciprocating-saw marks left from the mill – even bark. To be honest, parts with saw marks and bark look to me more like firewood than furniture.


Typical insides. This is what high-style furniture looks like on the inside. Unfinished. Tear-out. Knots. This is a late 18th-century North Carolina piece.

What should we do with these surfaces?

Here’s my approach: When these parts come out of a modern machine, they are covered in marks left from the jointer and the thickness planer. The boards are usually free of tear-out, bark and the nastiness you’ll see on the backs of historical pieces.

Should I rough these up with an adze and hatchet to imitate the look of the old pieces? Or perhaps just leave the machine marks?

Personally, I find machine marks ugly in all cases. I don’t ever want to see them. So I remove them with my jack plane or a coarsely set jointer plane. The result is that all the surfaces are touched with a plane of some sort – jack, jointer or smooth.

Those, I have decided, are the three textures I want to leave behind.

And none feel like my iPhone.

Meghan Bates

Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworking Workshop for Parents and Fall Fair 2017 – Part 2: How Build a Gnome house

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:29am

When our School’s Fall fair is over, we have the opportunity to pick up some of the leftover forest decor materials and store them for future use in our Manhattan-based woodshop. One find from past years’ Fall Fair was a hollow branch of about 8 inches in diameter. A week after the Fair ended, a volunteer parent mentioned to me that she wanted to build a Gnome house for her […]

The post Woodworking Workshop for Parents and Fall Fair 2017 – Part 2: How Build a Gnome house appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Throwback Thursday: Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 9:16am

Today we wanted to share a special #ThrowbackThursday to a blog written by Chris Schwarz exactly 5 years ago about Highland Woodworking, calling us the ‘Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South.

We also wanted to give a special thanks to Chris Schwarz, Megan Fitzpatrick and Lost Art Press for being some of our biggest advocates and supporters! If you haven’t read any of the beautiful books published by Lost Art Press, we suggest you get your hands on one (or a few). The quality, craftsmanship, and words that their books express about woodworking is bar none.

Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South

The post Throwback Thursday: Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Half-blind dovetails, part 2

Oregon Woodworker - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 8:42am
My test joints turned out well enough that I decided to go ahead and finish the drawer, which I will find a use for at some point.  I did find that very careful fine-tuning made a difference but some small gaps remained.  I used a filler of glue and sawdust to fill the gaps and this is what I ended up with:

Pretty good, could be better. The best way I have found to fill small gaps in dovetails is sawdust and shellac and that's what I will go back to in the future.

Here's how I think I can improve:
  1. I need to make further progress on precise, crisp marking out of the pin board but in a way that produces a line I can follow;
  2. Although I have made significant strides, there is always room for further improvement in sawing technique.  
I decided that I would try to use a marking knife but then find some way to highlight the knife line so I can see it.  After a number of unsuccessful experiments, I settled on putting a chisel in the knife line and drawing a line with a .5 mm mechanical pencil along the back of it.  Here's what it looks like under magnification:

After all of the fumbling around marking out dovetail pins that I have done, this simple and obvious solution seems like it is going to work.  I think it is better than the masking tape trick or any other method I know of.  Quicker too.

Here's the result:

This is dry fit off the saw and chisel and is a significant improvement.  Further improvement depends on sawing accuracy, so this is what I am focused on.  

Now I have two drawers and nothing to put them in.

Categories: Hand Tools

Barn Workshop – Boulle Marquetry

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:47am

Since seeing my first piece of antique furniture decorated with tarsia a incastro, or “Boulle work,” I have been captivated by both the art form and the technique.

This ancient method of  using a minuscule blade in a frame saw, usually a jeweler’s saw in our time, for cutting patterns in two or three layers of material comprised of the shell of a sea turtle, a sheet of brass, and sometimes a sheet of pewter, remains captivating to this day.   The result is the same number of completed compositions as the original number of layers in the stack.

Due to the prohibition of trade in turtle shells I invented my own very convincing replacement material I call Tordonshell.

So these three days will comprise of making your own piece of Tordonshell (I will have some pieces made in advance for the workshop) and sawing patterns from packets we will assemble for cutting.

Though we will be cutting them vertically to begin, there is a chevalet in the classroom and anyone who wants to give it  try is welcome to do so.


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

Twisted Bandsaw Blade Culprit

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:05am

Today I changed the tyres on both wheels of my bandsaw and it was an all day event. I had to travel 70km to buy it, then I had a friend show me how to put one on, got home couldn’t get the bottom wheel off, posted a help request on a forum, told I needed a wheel puller or heat the rubber and wheel to 100° C and put it on that way.

I did neither of that and just slapped it on. I will write an article on this as it is a pain in the backside to put it on, but the way my friend showed me today it makes it a little less frustrating.

When I placed the tyre on there were a few bumps which I levelled out.  So when I installed a brand new blade and saw it twisting like chubby checker I went back to re levelling any spots I may have missed on the tyre. Backwards and forwards for an hour until I was satisfied it wasn’t the tyre.  Then I had a thought and reinstalled the old blade and presto she was running true again. So now I knew that the new blade was twisted. Luckily I had one brand new blade left and installed that one, I must admit I was a bit nervous that it too may be twisted but it wasn’t and ran true.

twisted blade

Btw that picture isn’t my twisted blade, but it had half the twist of that.  There you go I learned two new things today; How to replace a tyre and bandsaw blades can have a twist in it.

Machinery absolutely without a shadow of a doubt SUCK. They are a pain in the pocket and in the backside.  Most machinery and that’s not including Hammer or Laguna are made cheaply and carelessly made in China. You all know that you don’t need me to tell you this but what you may not probably know is it’s not China’s fault. They will make to the standards companies are willing to pay for and that’s not very much.

I use that bandsaw maybe twice a week for re sawing thicker stock into thinner ones and no more than 5mins for those two times combined. Both tyres snapped from wear and tear and I have to express my disappointment in that. Imagine I had a machine only wood shop. Imagine I relied on that machine to work all day everyday. Imagine I had to buy new tyres every month because they’re so poorly made under the direct instruction of companies to keep their costs down.  I worked it out for the length of time I had to an average time I used it and it came 40mins.  I used that bandsaw over the years of a total of 40mins and let’s be gracious and add another 20 mins to that in case I made a mistake. I think enough is enough and it really is time to fight back.  If it’s made in China piss it off, walk away. Rather be without it than throw your money away.

As for me I will be in the near future building myself a Roubo saw. She will last as long as I last and will continue to work when the next person picks it up. Bugger machinery, they may work faster for a moment and then something will break down and she’ll go on strike bringing production to a grinding halt and put you out of pocket for a month. Remember it was the tortuous that won the race and not the hare.

Categories: Hand Tools

Issue Four Now Open For Pre-Orders!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:00am
The moment has finally come: Issue Four is available for pre-order!

As always, all subscription and pre-order copies ordered in our store will be wrapped in brown kraft paper affixed with the official Issue Four wax-sealed trade card (which just arrived from the printer today) and will be packed into mailers accompanied by pine plane shavings. 

The pre-order window will be open through March 21st. After that window closes, the trade cards and wrapping will no longer be available.

Issue Four ships out March 23rd and 24th. (Stay tuned for packing party details very soon.)

This issue is full of incredible authors: Jim Tolpin, Vic Tesolin, Charles Hummel, Jarrod Dahl, Will Lisak, Peter Follansbee, as well as several of the M&T crew: Mike, Jim, and Joshua. You can read a blog post about each of these upcoming articles here.

Thank you again for your support! We’re ecstatic to bring you this newest issue!


Categories: Hand Tools

troubles come in threes.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 12:23am
Maybe it is an old wives tale and maybe it's just total crappola. But I have had two troubles with the third happening today. When I left work to come home, I had the fun of having a flat tire to deal with. There was no mistaking the tire was flat and sitting on the rim and I wasn't going home right then and there. I have AAA and they responded to my service call in a little over a half an hour. I was thinking maybe the Tire Gods were smiling down at me.

The service guy filled the tire up and he could hear a low hiss of air once he was done. He ran his hand over the tire and found a bolt stuck in it. Cause of the flat found and then I got a real pleasant surprise. My pickup truck had a full sized spare tire. AAA changed the tire and I got the joy of  driving home in the rush hour traffic. Will the fun just stop now and let me off the merry go round?

The tire problems started this morning when I left for work. All four tires were stuck and frozen to the driveway and I had to do some rocking back and forth to break them free. The skid indication on the dashboard went into overdrive and wouldn't shut off until I got to Warwick Ave. The truck was also making a funny noise and was pulling to the right. That was the tire that went flat - right front passenger side.

I thought I had thrown the truck's front alignment off breaking free of the ice. When I got to work I looked at all four tires and they looked ok so I went into work. I figured if I had the same problems going home, I would make an appointment and have the front end checked. With the spare tire on, the pulling to the right disappeared and the rubbing noise was gone too. I'll get the tire plugged and put back on the truck this weekend.

the 10 1/2 frog
It was 1645 before I got down to the shop. I didn't have any time to do anything but check on what I had done last night. I hit this with a couple swipes of 320 grit and the bottom where the iron sits is high on the left and low on the right. It looks like I'll be adding a few days to getting the 10 1/2 up to the standards of my recent rehabs.

tarnished and not so shiny
I expect this with the brass and I'll hit the both of them again with Bar Keeps Best Friend. I remember in metal shop in Junior High School that anything brass, that was meant to be shiny, we dipped in lacquer to keep it that way. I am thinking of spraying one of them with lacquer to see how it holds up to it.

kind of shiny
I hit this with the HF buffer and it doesn't look that bad. It still didn't make me say wow but maybe with the right rouge it will.

it's in there somewhere
I didn't have a good grip on the brown rouge and the buffer wheel caught it and flung it in here somewhere. I couldn't put more rouge on the wheel to see if it would make me say wow.

5 1/2 frog is done
All I had to do to finish this was sand the face to remove the paint spills.

the backside
I sanded the frog seat and the bottom pads that contact by the mouth. Tomorrow I'll touch up the plane body with 400 and 600 grit and put some Autosol on it. If I get the adjuster knob shiny, I'll put it together and it will be done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a 6 foot wide shuffleboard court is 52 feet long?

Seating of Distinction (Part One)

The Furniture Record - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 10:58pm

At a recent auction there was an unusually large number interesting seating units. There’s always a lot of chairs at an auction but this was the most interesting assortment I have seen locally. Too many for one blog so I will just start with the multi-user seats.

First up:

Large Antique Continental Paint Decorated Storage Bench


This lot has sold for $1,550.

Description19th century, pine, two hinged seats, with bootjack feet, the whole retaining old painted surface featuring floral sprays.

Size: 28 x 118.5 x 18 in.

ConditionInsect damage; surface wear; paint loss; signs of outdoor use; shrinkage crack to one seat and left side.


When they say “decorated”, they mean this.


This view show construction details and the extant of the damage both weather and insect. Also, note the bootjack feet.

Up next:

French Provincial Style Double Back Settee


This lot has sold for $140.

Description: Late 20th century, mahogany, shaped ladder backs , rush seat, curved arms, raised on six cabriole legs with turned stretcher base.

Size : 41 x 48 x 22 in.

Condition: Light surface wear; overall good estate condition.

Not much to say here so we move on to:

Dutch Marquetry Inlaid Double Back Settee


This lot has sold for $825.

Description: Early 20th century, mahogany, mixed light wood inlays, shaped crest rail, upholstered back and seats, reticulated arm supports on a curule form base, the frame with barber pole and flowering vine inlays throughout.

Size36 x 41 x 18 in.

Condition: Later upholstery; some shrinkage cracks at base.


This give you a feel for the fabric and marquetry.


Marquetry continues on the arms and frame.

And finally, this is a single-seater but it is similar in nature to the above settee:

Dutch Marquetry Inlaid Arm Chair


This lot has sold for $460.

Description: Early 20th century, mahogany, light and dark wood vine and floral inlays throughout, shaped crest rail, rolled arms, on paw feet.

Size: 35 x 30 x 25.5 in.

Condition: Later velvet upholstery; expected wear especially at feet


Less frame but similar marquetry.


A better view of the craft.




Issue Four T.O.C. – “In Pursuit of the Handmade Aesthetic” by Michael Updegraff

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 1:20pm

This is the last article of the Issue Four table of contents to be announced. Every weekday until the February 1st at 8 a.m. Eastern time (tomorrow!) opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we've been announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here. 

We all know there’s something special about handmade furniture. But how can we put it into words? To try to find an answer, Joshua Klein and I set out to study and measure a wide assortment of period pieces, made both by hand (pre-industrial) and by machine (Victorian), in the hopes of better understanding what makes them distinct from one another.

Handmade furniture is often characterized by a variety of textures and irregularities, which were completely determined by period sensibilities. In this article, I attempt to unpack the tolerances acceptable in the 18th and early 19th centuries. I examine the factors that might have affected the precision achieved by the furniture maker, why the ideas of “flat” and “smooth” have changed over time, and how the Industrial Revolution brought about greater exactness in furniture tolerances than ever before, but led to the near-demise of the handcraft signature of the individual maker.

This article took on a life of its own during our research. What seemed at first to be a simple compilation of facts and numbers, seeking trends and looking for averages, evolved into a challenging digression into what constitutes such abstract ideas as “grace” and “beauty” in handmade furniture. From learning how to better understand the pre-industrial artisan’s thought process, to being awed by the precise level of detail that a skilled craftsman can perceive by hand and eye, putting this piece together was a mind-blowing endeavor.


- Mike Updegraff


Editor’s Note: Pre-orders for Issue Four open tomorrow at 8 a.m. Eastern Time. If you’ve already signed up as an M&T subscriber, you don’t need to do a thing – you are all set to receive the new issue when it ships! If you’re not a subscriber, tomorrow is the time to place your order to receive Issue Four (with free U.S. shipping). Late March, we’ll be sending out all pre-order and subscription copies wrapped in brown paper, affixed with a special trade card and wax seal, and placed in a mailer with a handful of pine plane shavings. After pre-orders close on March 21st, the special wrapping for Issue Four will no longer be available. Don’t miss out! You can sign up for a subscription here.


Categories: Hand Tools

Stephen Shepherd Obituary

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 12:06pm

Stephen in his Salt Lake shop, 1978.  Photo courtesy of George Stapleford.

Stephen's obituary can be found at this location -- http://www.premierfuneral.com/obituaries/Stephen-Shepherd/#!/Obituary

The text of his obituary --

Stephen Arden Shepherd

Stephen Shepherd, was born April 20, 1948 in Salt Lake City, UT, to Arden Warren and Vida Johnson Shepherd. He passed away January 24, 2018, a kind release from the debilitating effects of a stroke. He leaves a sister Merrily Runyan, Clovis, CA, and nieces and nephews.

Stephen Shepherd was a unique individual. Whether known as Stephen Shepherd the author, lecturer, and expert in 19th-Century Woodworking, or as “Tater”, the Mountain Man and adventurer, he influenced many people and sometimes irritated others with his infallible knowledge. Arguing historic technology with Stephen was frustrating and pointless – his knowledge was vast. And he shared that knowledge with anyone genuinely interested.

He was always building, repairing, tinkering and inventing, very often simply to see if he could do it – if it could even be done. Many of his friends are proud owners of a “Tater-made” item, from furniture to walking-sticks to quill pens. He shared his knowledge by writing four authoritative books on woodworking, and re-published two more “rescued” books of great value to historians of 19th-Century crafts.

For the most part he lived a 19th-Century life. Almost all his furniture and re-created items were made and restored using only hand tools. He had no power tools in his shop. His careful craftsmanship, restoration and renown finishing techniques, including gorgeous “painting and graining”, gained him world-wide recognition. His clients over the years included many wealthy collectors and The LDS Church Historic Collections.

He dressed for most of his adult life in 19th-Century-style clothing, including when traveling to other states. In 1976, during the bicentennial re-tracing of the Domingues/Escalante journey to Utah, Stephen and companions met the party in the desert, dressed authentically as fur-traders. Their clothing and accoutrement authenticity far outshone that of the re-creators! For decades he attended Mountain Man rendezvous all over the west, and was always welcomed by everyone.

People loved Stephen Shepherd, and were proud to know him. Sometimes they were friends of Stephen, sometimes friends of Tater, some not even knowing they were one and the same! His cheerful demeanor, his willingness to laugh at society’s faults, and his dedication to his friends make the memory of Stephen “Tater” Shepherd precious to all of us who were close to him.

Per Stephen’s wishes, no services will be held, donations may be made to This Is the Place Heritage Park in his memory.


Stephen (left) and myself (right), Mill Creek Canyon, February 1975.  We camped this way.  We were much younger then.

George Stapleford (left) and Stephen (right) near Moab, Utah, March 1975.  Better camping conditions, still cold.

L to R, myself, Stephen, LaMar Higbee, Taos, New Mexico, May 1975.  Yet better camping conditions.

George, Stephen, and I, September 2016.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Stacking Tool Caddy – Adapt a Project to Make it Yours!

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 7:01am

Once in a while I come across a Popular Woodworking inspired project on Reddit. It’s really interesting to see how people use the pages of our magazine to bring an idea to life. The user, bityard, came across Chad Stanton’s build article, Stacking Tool Caddy, from the December 2017 issue, while at his parent’s house. It sparked an idea for storing his rachets and sockets. The stacking caddy is an […]

The post Stacking Tool Caddy – Adapt a Project to Make it Yours! appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Desk Prototype – II

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 5:20am

With the legs in-hand it was time to build the writing box that went on top of them.  Again using mostly southern yellow pine from my pile I set to work.  It was straightforward but had to fit the legs precisely.  I dispensed with making the bow-front drawer for the box as it would be predetermined by the box itself.

To get practice for the re-sawing that would come soon in prized vintage mahogany I did that with this tulip poplar stock.

The joinery for the box was mundane but a necessary exercise.

I established the curve of the drawer frame and the top with drawknife and spokeshave.

And put it together.  The writing surface was simply tacked in place with finishing nails as I would need to remove it to check the internals once the real project was underway.  On that version the top would be glued in place with glue blocks.

Up next: joining the legs, box and shelf to finish the prototype.

Ash splint basket making film – My father’s tools

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:37am
A beautiful short film about ash splint basket making. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Safety Last

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:00am

I'm old enough to remember when people didn't routinely buckle up when they got into cars. Years of laws, enforcement of laws, knowing people who were maimed or killed in car crashes and probably millions of dollars of advertising later, most people I know wear seat belts every time they get into a car. We wear seat belts and accept that that the chance of an accident might be small but it isn't zero. We know that the seat belts will offer a lot of protection relative to the inconvenience of using them. We generally don't think, "Hmmm, I'm drunk so I had better buckle up" or "Taylor just passed his road test so guess I'll wear the seat belt" or "Only in bad weather" or "Only with my parents/kids in the back seat" or "Only on New Year's Eve." The practice most people have is protecting themselves every time.

So why is it in a workshop - especially a home shop - do so many people only put on safety glasses only before a potentially hazardous operation, not wear them all the time?

It's true that when working with hand tools there is less chance of kickback from a saw, but there are plenty of other hazards - sawdust in the air, sharp edges, splinters, etc. - all of which can fly into your eye when you least expect it.

Here is what I insist upon with all my students and strongly recommend to all woodworkers: when you enter the workshop, get into the habit of putting on safety glasses right way. Any kind would work as long as they are comfortable enough so that you actually wear them. Get into the habit. You will be glad you did.

In the picture above we have four forms of eye protection. The ones in the lower right with the black frames are prescription safety classes. You get them from an optician. I like them because up until recently we didn't have any glasses that worked with googles (see below), and by using these glasses I save wear and tear on my regular glasses.

I also have an oversize pair of glasses OTS XL that fit over my regular glasses, seen here over my glasses on the upper right mannequin head. For people who truly need their glasses, this is a godsend. These are the only style of safety glasses that I have seen that really work well over a pair of eyeglasses. Highly recommended.

If you don't wear prescription glasses, you have a range of options that are comfortable and inexpensive. The pair with the black nose piece (lower left) fits almost all faces. You can also get safety glasses for kids and adults with small faces. We know adult woodworkers who have complained that nothing fits them -- until they tried the glasses worn by the picture's upper left mannequin. This is great for instilling good work habits if you kids hang out in the workshop with you (and we hope they do), and for giving small adults the routine protection others take for granted. Click here for more info.

The Capstone shield is great when you need more protection and don't want to swallow wood chips being thrown at you. Great for yard work too. The Shield opens and closes

With the exception of prescription glasses, safety glasses are also remarkably inexpensive, as a matter of fact if you click on the links and want to order one pair of glasses the shipping will be more than the glasses - so you might just want to add a pair to your next order and save shipping.

The title of this blog post comes from Harold Llyod's great film. The scene below is amazing - even with camera magic. Lloyd did his own stunt work, which is remarkable especially considering that his right hand was missing fingers due to an accident several years earlier. In the film he is wearing a glove designed by Hal Roach and movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, a former glove salesman.

An Interview with Core77

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 3:49am


Core77, a website for industrial designers, just published the first part of an interview with me on my research methods for my designs plus about 100 other little topics.

If you’re wondering what the next book in the “Anarchist” series is, that’s in the interview. My favorite museum? Yup. What breed of goat I prefer….

The interview was conducted by Senior Editor N. Rain Noe, and in the second half of the interview we’ll dive into the questions of anarchism, consumerism and the designer.

Core77 is a great place for woodworkers to wander about because it’s about the built world and filled with little tidbits such as this piece on vault lights. Definitely a better place to spend your lunch hour than that blog on sausage-making you’ve been reading.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

snow et al things.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 12:27am
The weather seers were predicting 0-1 inch of snow falling overnight into the morning commute and stopping around noon. They were wrong on both counts. About 2-3 inches fell and it stopped around 0900. The drive into work was an adventure because almost nothing was plowed. All the side streets to Rte 10 were a complete mess and Rte 10 only had one lane clear. Not a problem because once I got on it, I was all alone all the way to work.

Had another problem that came up yesterday. My father-in-law slipped and fell in his kitchen and broke a vertebrae. He went to the ER(?) where an x-ray showed the break and he was sent home. I don't know anymore than that about it. Today he can't get out of bed so my wife is going there to have medicare get a home health aide to come in to help with his daily needs.

Normally my wife's sister, who lives down the street from her parents, would be doing it. But she has the flu and can't be around them. So my wife is leaving tomorrow to get the paperwork started but I think she is in for a surprise because she has never dealt with something like this before.

changed lanes on the 10 1/2
It is illuminating to look at this plane that I already rehabbed and compare it to what I am doing now.  I can see a few differences and this paint job is first. I was surprised by some things I did on this plane that I left as being done as being good also. It seems as my rehab experience has increased, my skill set it doing individual items in the rehab have increased too.

I do like shiny
I don't think that I spray painted too many planes. Maybe 2 or 3 at the most. I like the look of this enamel paint applied by hand. I am going to repaint the 10 1/2 and I won't be doing the wax on and off dance steps.

I think I can get away with one coat
The 5 1/2 should be ready to be put back together tomorrow. The 10 1/2 may take another day as I found a couple of things that needed attention. The frog had to be touched up with paint in few areas. I don't remember painting it back then, It may need a second coat tomorrow. I also will have to sand the frog face because it looks like I never did it.

typical Harbor Freight crappola
The manual says that this can not be stalled. That is total BS. I can not only stall it, I can stop it dead with very little effort. I slowed it down to nothing applying the brown rouge and did the same buffing a lever cap. As long as I keep this in mind, this will work. I don't anticipate this getting a lot of long term work anyway.

10 1/2 lever cap
I sanded it with 120 and then buffed it with the brown rouge. This is the level of shine that I got.

sanded with 220
I got a better shine with the sandpaper than I did with the buffer. Maybe this is a metal that doesn't like to be worked on a buffer.  I will continue my shining efforts with sandpaper and I'll go up to 400 and call it done with that.

casting pits on this flat
got a bigger one on the opposite flat
I won't be able to sand and feather these out. I'll sand and shine them the best I can and I'll have to live with it.

another comparison
10 1/2 tote and knob compared to my just finished 5 1/2 tote and knob. The 10 1/2 is a light colored rosewood which I like. I will spray a couple of coats of shellac on it and see how it compares then.

Another short night in the shop but I have to help my wife get ready for going to upstate New York tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the standard width of a bowling alley is 41 1/2 inches plus or minus a 1/2 inch, excluding the gutters?

What’s in a Name?

The Furniture Record - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:01pm
mule chestnoun                                                              (from various sources) 
low chest with drawers, mounted on a low frame.
A hybrid form of chest, intermediate between a simple chest and a chest of drawers
A chest commonly wider than it is high and deep. A mule chest has drawers in its base and a hinged top, beneath which there are either two short drawers or one long one.
1 – Although strictly speaking a horse/donkey hybrid, the term ‘mule’ is commonly used to designate many hybrids. The term mule chest arose because it is a hybrid with a combination of drawers and a top-flap compartment.
2 – This design of chest was used by peddlers to transport their goods on a mule. The chests were often used in pairs, one on each side of the mule, and the drawers were used for smaller items, while the trunks held cloth and larger items. The peddler could easily gain access to goods in the drawers without unloading the mule, and could thus accost potential customers even when on the move.
There are as many types of mule chests as there are definitions/explanations. Take these two examples from a recent auction.
First, the fancy:

George III Oak Mule Chest


This lot has sold for $420.

Description: Late 18th century, two-part form, top with hinged lid and applied molded edge, interior with two drawers and secret compartment, upper cabinet with two lipped drawers, lower chest with two cock beaded drawers, on straight bracket feet.

Size: 45 x 44 x 22 in.

Condition: Shrinkage cracks and staining to lid; no key; missing locks; later pulls; shrinkage crack to right side of lower case and small chip near waist drawer.

Kinda a mule chest on chest with bracket feet. The upper three drawers are just applied molding and pulls:


Inside, space, not drawers. There are drawers in the till, but they don’t count.

The drawers in the till were a bit stiff so I did not pursue the search for the hidden compartment as aggressively as I might have.


The drawers are dovetailed so it is truly a quality piece.

Then, there is the primitve nailed version:

New England Painted Mule Chest


This lot has sold for $250.

Description19th century, white pine, red wash, remnants of old blue paint to molded lid, two lipped drawers, raised on bootjack feet.

Size: 37 x 37 x 18.5 in.

Condition: Later red wash; top missing hinges; later foot facing to front.

I would show you the inside but there are no hinges and the lid kept falling off. No till. I can show you this ingenious repair of a sort:


Rodent damage a notch for a power cord? You decide.

And the back:


37″ covered by two boards. And the patch.

Notice, as I have pointed out before, the back is unpainted. They really didn’t care what the wall saw. Of course, it could have been dipped, stripped and repainted.


The pulls seem original but I’m no expert.


And, of course, the drawers are dovetailed.

Tenon shoulder jig for the table saw

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 9:47pm
tenon shoulder jig
This simple jig makes it easy to produce highly accurate tenon shoulders on the table saw. Admittedly, it is a nicety, not a necessity, but I have been delighted with the consistently excellent results from it. The special feature is that both edges of the fence are used, in turn, to register the work piece. […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools


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