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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...


Lignum quod sit eadem numero scientia.

Toolerable - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 3:47am
The title makes me sound smart, doesn't it?

It is how Google translates the phrase, "Wood should be scientifically identified" into Latin.  Google translate can be a tricky thing, so I actually have no idea if the translation is in any way accurate. 

Perhaps Ben knows.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (often a quite dangerous thing!), and it dawned on me that I read blog posts by woodworking authors all over the world.  Also, according to my Blogger stats, this blog is read by people in many different countries and regions.

While we all may be able to follow different tools and techniques based on the photos and descriptions posted, sometimes really knowing what a woodworker is going through is difficult for the simple reason that the wood that is being used may only be identified by the author as "oak," or "maple."

Sometimes this is not so important to the story, but it can be.  Take, for instance, a friend who recently told me that birch is the perfect wood to learn spooncarving, because it is so soft.

Naturally I was surprised, because my only experience with birch was a board that was so heavy and hard, that I couldn't imagine it being great for beginning anything!

It turns out that my birch board was a hunk of flame, yellow birch, Betula alleghaniensis, from the US, and the birch my friend was thinking of was likely downy birch, Betula pubescens, common here in Europe.

Just looking at the Latin, it doesn't mean much.  However, it turns out that yellow birch, B. alleghaneinsis, is about 35% harder than downy birch, B. pubescens.

We woodworkers refer to  a whole lot of different trees by only the common name of the genus.  For example, there are some 125 species of maple worldwide, and some 600 species of oak.

Lots of different maples.  Photo courtesy LoveToKnow Garden.
The only way for someone living in Ohio to really know what wood I am talking about (assuming he or she cares) is to use the scientific name.

A brilliant resource for woodworkers is the website The Wood Database.  This website lists photos of lots of different woods we as woodworkers are likely to come across.  There are technical specifications for each kind of wood, and photos of these woods both finished and unfinished.  Plus, there are some fantastic articles about identifying wood.

From now on, I will try to remember to include the genus and species of the woods I discuss here on my blog.  If you want to do the same, those of us who are interested in the different species of wood will thank you.

Guidelines on proper usage of the genus and species are spelled out on National Geographic's website.  Essentially, genus and species are in italics, with the genus term capitalized and the species beginning with lowercase.  If you know the genus but not the species, you can substitute "spp." or "sp." to indicate it.  For example, if you know a sample of wood is oak, but knot which kind, you would list it as Quercus spp.

A final word is to echo Eric Meier of the wood database, and state that it may not be possible to always be correct in identifying wood to the species, but knowing a little about where it came from may help narrow the list of possibilities down.

I'll get myself a jeweler's loupe to make identifying the wood on my rack a bit more accurate.

I am lucky to be near a lumber yard that sells wood from all over the world, and it always has a large stockpile of North American woods.  Some of the woods I have discussed on this blog  (or will soon):

Categories: Hand Tools

Jointer-planer combination machines, part 2

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 12:07am
In the previous post in this series, I recounted my stock preparation history culminating with the Hammer A3-31. Prior to discussing the ins and outs of the Hammer machine, let’s look at the rationale for a combination jointer-planer in the small shop. I’m guessing most of us share the following woodworking profile. We have: A […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Easy Sign, Difficult Customer

Wunder Woods - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 10:51pm

At the end of May, my daughter and pickiest customer Mira, turned eight and planned to have a mermaid swimming party at Grandma’s house. Grandma has a swimming pool and we knew that she would be willing to heat it for an early-season swim, so it was an easy choice. The difficult part was finding mermaid themed items that met with Mira’s approval and weren’t for little girls (Ariel, A.K.A. The Little Mermaid, is not cool when you are eight).

While searching for party decorations, my wife, Chris, came across a little sign that she thought was cute and asked if I could make one for the party. It said, “Mermaid Lagoon” and it was pretty simple, and since it was right up my alley, being made of wood and all, I said “Yes”.

I dug out some cypress that had lots of knots and a good rustic look and started cutting. I wanted the sign to be bigger (who wouldn’t) than the one in the photo, so I cut the boards about two feet long to make the height. I trimmed the ends at random lengths, some at a slight angle, until I had enough to make the sign about three feet wide. It went quick, especially since I had no formal plan. If a board didn’t look right, I just trimmed it more or flipped it around or just grabbed another board. I love that kind of woodworking; no tape measure, no pencil, no worries.

After I nailed the boards together, I painted them with a wash of blue/green paint. I already had some bright blue paint in the shop and added green Transtint to get the color right. I thinned the paint down with water and brushed it on as quick as possible. While it was still wet, I wiped it off like it was a stain to show the wood below.

Once the paint was dry, I did the lettering, which I laid out and printed from the computer. I cut out the words with an X-acto knife and used a light coat of Super 77 spray adhesive to hold it in place while I painted it. A light mist of white spray paint did the trick, making the words legible but not too pronounced.

After the sign panel was assembled and painted, I needed to come up with a post. My first attempt was a weathered piece of oak 2″x4″. It had the right look and feel since it was old and gray, but I thought that Mira might not approve since it just looked like an old board, so I continued to search for a better way to display it.

A quick walk to the other end of the shop revealed a piece of driftwood that was perfect. It was the right size and height, and with just a little block added to the bottom, it sat up beautifully crooked. Plus, I wouldn’t have to pound it in the concrete-like ground since it would stand up on its own. That piece of white oak driftwood couldn’t have worked out better.

All that was left to do was screw the sign to the post, which took a grand total of 30 seconds. If it was going to be for long-term use I would have been more serious about it, but two 3″ deck screws worked just fine and quickly put this job to bed.

The perfect piece of white oak driftwood and cypress lumber teamed up to make this sign for my daughter Mira's swimming party.

The perfect piece of white oak driftwood and cypress lumber teamed up to make this sign for my daughter Mira’s swimming party.

I was pleased as punch. I showed it to everyone within shouting distance of the shop and couldn’t wait to bring it home and show the girls. They were pleasantly surprised at how it turned out and I was pleasantly surprised that Mira quickly approved it (I was still a bit worried that my unauthorized driftwood addition might have been a bit aggressive in her mind (even though it was perfect)). We capped the whole thing off with hot glue, a few seashells and then perfect weather for a “Mermaid Lagoon” swimming party.

The sign now resides in my shop, where it generates many inquiries, but as of today, no more official orders for driftwood mermaid signs.


Categories: General Woodworking

Making it work

ZK Project Notebook - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 8:12pm
The not-always-so-fun part: getting the desired results. The blade has been hardened but I probably didn’t draw the temper far enough (new oven), it is pretty hard, which made sharpening the profile a tedious pain. Since I’ve only done this … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Practicing using a scroll saw

McGlynn On Making - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 5:55pm

I never imagined I’d own a scroll saw, much less find myself watching videos about “scrolling” and practicing with a scroll saw.  But that’s what I’ve been up to today.


Original Thorsen Plant Stand

Original Thorsen Plant Stand

Yeah, the next step on the little Thorsen table is to cut out these abstract designs in the skirts.  I don’t know how the Halls did it, but my thought was to use the scroll saw I got when I was making the Gamble Inglenook sconce.  I learned that sawing accurately on a scroll saw isn’t as easy as I’d hoped.  On the sconces it was mostly straight lines, I sawed as best I could then spent a lot of time cleaning up the piercings with sandpaper stuck to a piece of sheet metal to make a thin file (of sorts).

Piercing for the Inglenook Sconce

Piercing (pattern) for the Inglenook Sconce

My concern of course is that any little screw up in the piercing is going to show up like a nose wart on a beauty queen.  If I can cut them accurately the sawn edge won’t need much attention to be “finished”.  If it’s wavy and over cut, all of the sanding in the world won’t help.

I found a close up view of the piercing in the “taboret” from the Thorsen house, which has the same design.  Take a look at how nice those shapes are.

Taboret detail from the Thorsen house.  A little wider and 3.75" shorter than the "plant stand".

Taboret detail from the Thorsen house. A little wider and 3.75″ shorter than the “plant stand”.

So, what else could I do but spend some time practicing.  I’ll give away the surprise ending: I still need more practice.

I started by watching a couple of YouTube videos on scroll saw techniques.  This one seemed to have most of ht basics:

I downloaded the practice  pattern and headed out to the shop where I glued it to a scrap of 1/4″ pine, fit a blade in the saw and proceeded to embarrass myself.

Practice pattern glued to some pine

Practice pattern glued to some pine

The straight lines aren’t too bad.  That is to say, I didn’t totally screw those up.  The right angle turns are going to take some more practice, although I can do “ok” on those.  Curves, those are going to take a lot more work before I’m comfortable with them.  I did all of the practice elements, then decided I was tired of practicing and wanted to do the real project.  Luckily I didn’t give in to that impulse.

Practice circle

Practice circle

Instead I decided to practice on the same type of wood (Sapele) in the same thickness (3/4″) as the skirts.  I glued a pattern to the wood and drilled access holes for the blade.

Sample pattern

Sample pattern

I fitted a fresh “Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse #5″ blade, set the tension, slowed the speed way down, and went to town.  The results?  Not horrible, but no where near good enough for the table.  The long arcs are OK, the tight turns on the ends are tricky, you have to rotate the piece a lot factor than you would imagine.  The moon lander shaped arc on the end detail came out pretty sloppy in particular.

 MEH.  Almost, but no cigar.

One word: MEH. Almost, but no cigar.

The finish from the cut is very nice, if the cut is fair then it probably won’t need any sanding.  I tried some scroll saw sanding files to try to smooth out some of the undulations.  It helps, but the files are kind of a joke.  Using light pressure it would take several files to get the job done, and they really only work well on gradual curves.  They are marginal on tight turns, and useless on tight areas.  A spindle sander with a tiny drum might work in some areas, but I don’t have one of those.

I want to get this figured out though, I can see being able to cut accurately with this saw being a real asset for some of the furniture that I want to make.  Eventually I want to try doing “Greene & Greene style inlay” or Bolection Inlay.  More practice tomorrow.

Some detail sanding done, but this is certainly not going to fly (except into the kindling pile)

Some detail sanding done, but this is certainly not going to fly (except into the kindling pile)

Categories: General Woodworking

Welcomed Guests

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 4:36pm


Yesterday I had the unmitigated delight of hosting Charles Brock (aka Mr. Highland Woodworker), Mrs. Brock, and Charles’ videographer colleague Stephen Price.  They were up to film a segment for an upcoming HW episode, talking to me about my passion for finishing, which does make me a bit of an oddball in the woodworking world (which just confirms my oddball-ness in relation to just about every facet of the human endeavor) and my upcoming production of Gragg chairs.  Being a chair maker himself, Chuck and I got into pretty deep weeds about the minutiae of curvilinear chair construction.


Thank you Chuck (and Mrs. Brock) and Steve for a day of invigorating conversation, and giving me the opportunity to show off The Barn to you.


Tools to Make the Anarchist’s Tool Chest

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 3:55pm


The following is a list I should have made four years ago when I first started teaching people how to build the full-size tool chest in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”

Apologies for the delay.

Here are the tools you need.

Dovetailing Equipment
Dovetail saw (15 point or coarser)
Cutting gauge, such as the Tite-Mark
Mechanical pencil
Dovetail layout square (Or a bevel gauge and smallish try square)
Coping saw with several blades (coarse blades, 12 tpi or so)
1/2” bevel-edge chisel
Mallet (I like a 16 oz. model)
Two pair of small dividers

One bench plane, such as a jack, jointer or smoother
Block plane
Rabbet plane or shoulder plane (if you have one)
If you have a tongue-and-groove plane (or match planes), use them
Beading plane (1/8”, 3/16” or 1/4”)
Plow plane with 1/4” cutter

Nailing equipment
Hand drill
Variety of small bits (1/16” up to 1/8”)
16 oz. hammer
Nail set
Nippers (if you have them)

General Marking/Measuring
12” combination square
12’ tape measure
Spear-point marking knife

Additional Tools
Crosscut handsaw (7 or 8 ppi)
Rip saw (4 to 7 ppi)
Your personal sharpening kit
Clamps (48” bars)

Hardware Installation Tools
Small router plane
Birdcage awl

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Categories: Hand Tools

Repairing Woodworking Chisels with Blacksmith Bruce Dembling

Wood and Shop - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 11:46am

My friend Dr. Bruce Dembling recently invited me to his small blacksmith shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the above video you’ll see how he repaired several problems on my old antique woodworking chisels.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

These blacksmith chisel repairs included:

1. Fusing a broken chisel blade:


2. Removing the “mushroom” from a socket chisel:


3. Cutting off the end of an irreparable chisel fracture:


This video isn’t meant to be a full tutorial of blacksmith work, but an enjoyable tour and a tutorial for those already familiar with the basics of blacksmith techniques…so don’t get mad if some details are left out!

If you’re interested in learning more about blacksmithing for woodworkers, then buy these DVDs by Peter Ross (master blacksmith). I’ve loved them!





A Small Taste of Winterthur

The Furniture Record - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 8:28am

Living in Kennett Square, PA my wife and I were spoiled. The magnificent Longwood Gardens became a place that we could get a quick dinner and take a long walk all summer. Henry Francis du Pont’s Winterthur was where we took our Sunday morning walks. We were members of both places and visited them both as often as we could. No house guest could avoid a trip and no one ever complained. Both have Yuletide displays that we have visited at least 18 times in the past 21 years.

Both are former du Pont estates that have become non-profits to allow the public to come and see what these families had built and loved. And if you can avoid some taxes, that’s nice too.

There are two other du Pont properties of note in the area, The Hagley, E.I. du Pont’s orignal gunpowder mill and mansion that now also houses a research library and the Nemours Mansion and Gardens, a 300 acre estate with formal gardens and a classical French mansion. Also on the property is the renowned Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. A really good use of their money.

But we’re here to talk about Winterthur, Henry Francis du Pont’s obsession. As copied from their website we learn: Founded by Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the premier museum of American decorative arts, reflecting both early America and the du Pont family’s life here. Its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among the country’s best, and its research library serves scholars from around the world. We invite you to visit and explore this place of beauty, history, and learning.

The largest portion of the museum is the over 170 period room displays featuring over 85,000 objects. Mr. du Pont collected primarily Americana from 1640 to 1860. Period rooms are only available through one of their several standard tours or by arranging a private special interest tour.

A small view of one of the 175 period rooms.

A small view of one of the 175 period rooms.

In the 1990′s they built a more formal museum that features permanent and rotating displays. Much to my dismay, they are now featuring the Costumes of Downton Abbey. That ain’t Americana although it might be good business.

On the second floor of the museum is reconstructions of the Dominy clock and woodworking shops used by the Dominy family’s four generations of craftsmen working in East Hampton, New York, from the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s.

One view of the Dominy woodworking shop.

One view of the Dominy woodworking shop.

Chris Schwarz (Popular Woodworking, Lost Art Press, Goetta Illustrated) wrote a blog about the Dominy workbench back in 2007.

The first floor displays highlights of the collections including furniture, glass, ceramics and textiles. When I was there last they were displaying some of Philadelphia’s finest.


To view a small portion of the Winterthur collection, click HERE.

If you are in the area (north of Wilmington, DE and west of Philadelphia) you might also consider the Brandywine River Museum. It is: Renowned for its holdings of the Wyeth family of artists, the museum features galleries dedicated to the work of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. And others. (I stole this, too.)

The Small Things

Hackney Tools - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 7:40am

Today, whilst going through a large batch of tools I’ve recently purchased, I was struck by the amount of handmade tools and tools with good repairs. The gentleman who owned these tools lived in the Midlands and was a master carpenter. Three of the smallest tools jumped out at me and I just had to share them, they are exquisite.

Hand scraper1
Hand scraper2
Hand scraper3
I think these small hand scrapers were commercially available, but I’m not 100% sure about that. In any case, this particular one look like it could be craftsman-made. The quality of the wood is superb and looks to be two different types. Can anyone please tell me what the wood might be? It’s very dense and hard, with the tightest grain. The surfaces almost feel french polished. To use it, you would have inserted your scraper blade into the gap and this would have helped take away the aching fingers and the heat generated by the scraping blade.

Tiny square1
A tiny square with a bevelled blade. I haven’t check it yet, but I bet it’s dead on.

Small side rebate 1
Small side rebate 2
The loveliest little side-rebate plane with adjustable fence. Again, made by the craftsman, probably for one particular job. The wedge tightens easily and well, but is obviously sitting very low in these photos as it needs a blade. I’ve hunted through the box to no avail. I’ll try a small plough plane blade and see if that sits well. Other than that, might have to see if someone could make one for me, I’d love to see this in use.

Categories: Hand Tools

Campaign Birdhouse (And a Movie)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 6:57am


Campaign birdhouse. It is real. Check it out on my blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Categories: Hand Tools

Campaign Birdhouse, the Movie

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 6:42am

I often joke that I will someday make my fortune by writing a birdhouse book – typically the best-selling woodworking books (by far). And many readers have asked (jokingly) why I didn’t include a campaign birdhouse in my latest book on campaign-style furniture. So it was amusing when woodworker Ric Archibald showed up with a campaign birdhouse he had made that collapses like a typical campaign bookcase. The bookcase uses […]

The post Campaign Birdhouse, the Movie appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Miter Jack Of Excellence

Benchcrafted - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 6:27am

Last month we received an email from a tool collector who sent us some pictures of a beautiful miter jack manufactured by the La Forge Royale company. The collector asked if we'd like to see the tool. We said, "absolutely". The gentleman replied, "I'm just up the street from you, I can come over at your convenience."

I wasn't sure if he was pulling our leg. Turns out he wasn't actually just up the street. It was more like just across the creek.

Earlier this week we got together to pore over this gem of a vise.

First off, a little history. La Forge Royale was under the direction of at least two men that we're aware of. A Mr. Lemainque, and later, Mr. Feron. It was the latter's catalog that the Midwest Tool Collector's Association reprinted in the 1980's, and from which we derive all of our images of this firm's wares.

This vise comes from the earlier period under Lemainque. The vise itself is stamped at least 5 times with A. DENIS, likely a previous owner of the vise.

I've used miter jacks for many years, and have built several versions to handle everything from full size case mouldings to diminutive parquetry for musical instruments. They are powerful fixtures that are more versatile than shooting boards (although more complex to construct.) They also require a more advanced technique to master. Get ham-handed with them and it isn't long before you've planed away all your accuracy. One big plus of the miter jack is that it places the workpiece in such a position that you can use a typical bench plane in a normal fashion, not on its side as in a shooting board. I prefer a low cutting angle, since most of the work is on end grain or some angled variant of such. I'm usually not a fan of bevel up planes, but for miter jacks I love them. They have a low center of gravity which feels grounded on the angled ramp of the jack. I usually use my Lie-Nielsen 164. You can also plane a miter from virtually any direction, which is especially helpful when planing moulded pieces to avoid blowing out the moulded elements. Tweaking the angle is also easily accomplished by subtly shifting the workpiece off-angle in the jaws. It doesn't have to sit dead flat on the ramps.

But enough about how miter jacks work. They work. If you don't have one, build one.

The first mystery we tried to unravel was the configuration of the clamping block, with its bold cyma reversa profile. With the jack in position for planing 45 deg. miters the inside of the block is parallel to the planing surface, and the bench it rests on.

With a holdfast position close to the front of the bench*, the jack can be held somewhat securely. However, I don't think this method would withstand the rotational forces encountered in use. 

*For illustration only. I don't have a hole in this bench close enough to the front, so the jack is positioned too far away from the front edge of the bench to be functional.

As I looked close at the sides of the block, I found some V-shaped notches in both sides. With the jack position for 45 degree planing, these notches matched up perfectly with the square dogs in my wagon vise.

The jack sits firmly on the bench held between dogs. A holdfast in the pocket would improve the stability even further.

While turning the vise around countless times I noticed the bottom of the mounting block was left with a toothed surface.

Underneath the fixed jaw I discovered a metallic hook and screw to engage the hook.

I pivoted the hook into position, then operated the vise.

A secondary, but much smaller jaw was now traveling along with the main jaw. What was this for? I didn't have a clue.

I looked closer at the screw itself. It's beech (as is the entire vise), precisely made, with a straight section to which is pinned a brass sleeve that engages a garter screwed to the moving jaw.

The end of the screw is made of steel, and I surmise that this bit of hardware also engages the pin through the brass sleeve. I couldn't investigate this further without doing harm to the vise.

The handle of the screw is fitted with a detachable lever, presumably to increase torque or speed when adjusting the vise. The lever would not engage the octagonal handle past this point. It may have been intended to slide off entirely. Note that this feature is not pictured in the catalog image.

I soon returned to the clamping block. The opposite side (above) has its face at 45 degrees to the opposing face, and parallel to the face of the opposing pocket. That places the pocket above at 45 degrees to the opposing pocket.

In other words, when the vise is placed along the front edge of the bench, the pocket is now parallel with the top of the bench, and the entire vise can now be held very securely to the bench (since the clamping block and body of the vise form a massive rabbet) with a single holdfast. The vise is now positioned for 90 degree (square) planing.

But it wasn't until I started operating the vise in this position that the smaller moving block started making sense.

As I opened the jaws, I had forgotten that I left the metal hook engaged. The small block moved with the larger and I immediately recognized its purpose.

I grabbed a bevel square to check.

The angle was 22.5 degrees. Beautiful.

Actually it was more like 23. And here's the eerie thing. The number "23" is written on the small block's ramp. Perhaps the maker or owner wrote that on there as a reminder of the actual degree of the ramp? But why not correct it?

One last detail I couldn't figure out. This little dowel sticking out the end of the fixed jaw. It's not pinning anything. The top half of the jaw is just finger jointed to the bottom half. No other joinery here.

So if this post hasn't motivated you to build one of these, what's your excuse? I'm going to build a reproduction at some point, even though I have perfectly serviceable jacks in the shop.

Special thanks to the owner, who is letting me examine the vise for a few more days. Without a doubt, a very sweet miter jack.

Categories: Hand Tools

My Main Roubo Bench (for now…)

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 6:07am


This was my first Roubo bench, built from leftover timbers that were part of the original barn in Illinois. It’s been several years since I built it, and I never really did get the top finished all proper. Now it is.  Using my scrub plane on opposite diagonals I got it pretty darned flat. At that point I slathered it with some of the Schwarz bench varnish of 1/3 polyurinate, 1/3 tung oil, and 1/3 turpentine. I did it at this point because two of the timbers turned out to be eastern white pine and were a bit soft compared to the southern yellow pine; I hoped the softer timbers would be firmed up by impregnating them with the varnish. They did, but only after a week or so, which was way longer than I was willing to wait.


I followed the scrub plane on the varnished top with a toothing plane, on opposing diagonals again, checking to make sure everything remained flat. I prefer the tightly checkered surface of the toothed top as it grabs the work piece a little better than a smooth surface.


In the years since fabrication the entire unit has twisted a tiny bit, so I have a thin shim underneath one of the legs to keep it from rocking.


I have not installed a leg vise, even though I have a vintage one ready to use. I’m just trying to see how long I can keep on using the bench as is, with my workpiece-holding functions solely with holdfasts.

Above the bench I finally built racks to hold a multitude of tools, mostly files, and am hanging saws and the like off the joists with nails.


No doubt this may soon be supplanted by the group of in-process benches in line awaiting my ministrations, including a 5″ solid maple top with white oak legs bench; my French Oak Roubo Project bench, which is slowly being uncovered by the ongoing archaeology within the barn; a pair of Roubo benches also made from salvaged barn timbers (although I am almost certain to hang an Emmert K1 off one of them); a mahogany slab and black walnut legs Roubo bench (I was originally going to use this for a Studley bench, but have now decided to build a Studley bench the way Studley built it instead), and finally the true Studley bench.

I’m thinking I may need to install some of my existing or future benches up on the fourth floor.  That’ll take a passel of stout guys even with a compound block-and-tackle.

The truth about Full Blind Dovetails

Fair Woodworking - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 8:38pm
First off. EVERYBODY LIES. Lies are best wrapped around a kernel of truth. The truth hurts, and… When there’s no pain, there’s no gain. And we all need a little gain. So when I started hearing rumors told by big fat (but mostly skinny) liars, I had to check it out. **The Lie** Full blind […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Walking Cane

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 6:05pm

While I was milling lumber for the shop stool, I also milled a couple of pieces of oak for making a walking cane. One of the projects in Paul Seller’s Masterclasses is a cane and the curves look like a great challenge. I have done very little carving and this should be a great project to discover new skills.



Dimensioning the lumber was quick since there are only two pieces, the handle and the cane itself. The cane is tapered from top to bottom and I used my panel saw to make the taper. This is the same saw that I blogged about a year ago. It is one of the most useful saws I have and is perfect for making cuts such as this tapered cut. Keep an eye out for a used one, you will be very happy with it.




After smoothing all of the pieces I roughed out the shape of the handle and located where the mortise and tenon will lie. After cutting all the mortises in pine for the shop stool I am glad to be working with oak again. The softness of the pine makes it more difficult to work and much easier to dent.


Categories: Hand Tools

Finishing the Work Stations, One By One

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 5:13pm

In my workshop in the Barn I have a number of work stations — planing, main bench, secondary bench, Japanese tool corner, main tool cabinet, sharpening, metal smithing, etc. — awaiting my ministrations to make fully functional and dare I say it, DONE!  I am going to attempt to address them one by one for a week or so to get the place ready for making and restoring furniture, as it was intended to be from the beginning.


The lowest hanging fruit was the planing beam and surroundings, as it has been in place and vaguely functional for quite some time.  Still, my planes were scattered about in a variety of boxes and bins, so I cut, planed, and installed several shelves into the window well behind the beam to hold the ones I wanted close at hand.  It looks like I have space for a few more planes, but never fear, I have more and will pack the joint very shortly

One unexpected benefit was the realization that my shaving beam for making Gragg Chair parts fits right behind the beam on the trestles, nestled out of the way and immediately accessible.


No doubt about it, this image makes me smile. You can just barely spot the head of the shaving beam behind the planing beam.

REVIEW of a Stanley No 60 Miter Box

Hand Tool Journey - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 2:40pm

I see many reviews of contemporary tools by modern manufacturers. However, given that many woodworkers purchase vintage tools for their own use, I thought it would be valuable to write a review about one of them.

My goal here is to answer the question, “Is a Stanley #60 miterbox worth buying?”

Spoiler alert. Answer. Yes, it is.

My sample came from an estate sale. It was so minty that I couldn’t resist handing over $15.00 to take it home.

P2-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Full shot with saw P3-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Full shot without saw P5-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Detail shot-model plate P8-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Detail shot-box bottom

Based on the crappy saw handle, I would guess that this model was manufactured in the 1970s. At first blush, the saw guide posts look flimsy compared to vintage boxes.

P11-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Saw-guide-Saw-Retention-clip

However, after cinching down the screws, they hold the saw firmly with little play to either side.

You can get a manual for the No. 60 here. It details a number of features.

The Stanley No. 60 Miterbox’ Features With Amaze and Astound You

Saw-guide catches
The catches located at the top of each post work well to keep the saw secure while stock is placed on the bed below.

P10-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Saw-guide-catch

One user-friendly feature is that when you release the front catch by hand, the back-side catch releases automatically by angling the saw downward—thus allowing a one-handed release. Compare that to the usual, but awkward method of holding the top front of the saw while releasing the back catch on other models.

Stock-retention “spurs”
One feature I’ve never seen before are the “spur screws” for keeping stock in place while sawing.

P12-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Stock-Retention-Spur

They are like set screws but have a sharp pointed end that the stock seats against. It works surprising well at preventing lateral movement and makes me wonder why more models don’t have this feature. Other than marring the edge with a small puncture mark they apply a lot of holding power for such small hardware. That’s an ingenious solution in my book.

Easy-peezy adjustable depth stops
Another feature I like is the adjustable depth stops. Rather than clips with serrated sides affixed by a screw, they are circular hardware that resemble bearing casings.

P6-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Detail shot-degree adjustment

I’ve never gotten the knack of adjusting the serrated stops, they’re just too finicky for me. The #60’s bearing stops, by contrast, are easy to set. There are two per post, one atop the other. You set the lower stops so that the saw completes the cut no more than 1/16” into the sacrificial board. For cuts of a specific depth, simply adjust the upper stops.

Panel saws welcome
Another interesting feature is the ability to use a panel saw with this model. There’s a hole to place a nail in to prevent the saw from riding up into the saw guides and damaging the teeth.

P18-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Panel-Saw

Decent-quality saw comes standard
The miterbox came with a 24” x 4” “Warranted Superior” saw. It sports a nice Stanley etching reminiscent of the “Made Expressly for” Disston saws of yesteryear.

P7-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Detail shot-saw plate etching

The quality is “decent” compared to the mitersaws of the early 20th century, and downright “fantastic” compared to what you can buy today.

Still, I have two beefs with the saw. For one, the hardware is made of nickle, or possibly even aluminum-gasp! Secondly, the stock handle is clunky and uncomfortable.

P9-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Detail shot-saw handle

So I made a new handle out of walnut.

P13-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Saw-Handle-Old-and-New-A

And now it fits comfortably in my hand.

P14-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Saw-Handle-Old-and-New-B

Configuring for use
The saw I use with my Goodell Manufacturing Co miterbox is sharpened at 30 degrees rake and 25 degrees fleam. And boy does it make beautiful cuts, leaving a smooth surface. But it cuts relatively slowly. So to give myself a fast-cutting option, I sharpened the #60’s saw with 15 degrees rake and 20 degrees fleam.

P15-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Saw-Sharpened-15degRake-20degFleam

That setup suits my taste, cutting fast while leaving OK-smooth surfaces that can easily be cleaned up on the shooting board.

And that brings us to THE most important feature of the #60 miterbox. And the reason why I would recommend that you consider buying it.

Dead-on 90- and 45-degree cuts
I was pleasantly surprised with how well this puppy performs. The sawing action is smooth and comfortable. Most importantly, however, is the fact that it produces cuts that are flawlessly accurate.

P16-Stanley No 60 Mitre Box-Dead-on-accurate-cuts

The Stanley #60 miterbox and saw deliver accurate cuts along with a lot of user-friendly features. It performs as well as my Millers Falls #1124, my Goodell Manufacturing, All-Steel Miterbox and my Millers Falls #74C 5-inch monster of a miterbox. It’s lighter than the 74C and because it’s a later model, I wouldn’t mind traveling with it. No worries about losing or breaking a classic with this one.

While the saw’s steel is of good quality, the handle is of poor quality and demands replacement. Creating a new one to fit my hand made a significant improvement in the feel of the saw.

© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

Categories: Hand Tools

Award Winning Woodshop Video

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 2:28pm
I’ve written before about Dean Mattson and his work as a shop teacher at North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon. Shortly after meeting him online, I published “The Future of Woodshop, Win, Win, Win.” That inspired me to travel … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Time to start on the details…

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 1:27pm

All the skirts, legs and stretchers are cooperating nicely. Next I will do the details on the skirts.


Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut