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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer!  Their fundraising goal was met.  Our prayers are with you, Walt!  


Shooting Board Questions and Answers Volume One

Evenfall Studios - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 3:00am

I get questions about our shooting boards from time to time, so I thought I’d help out by sharing the Q&A stream with you.

Q: Why do we use shooting boards?

A: Shooting boards have been pretty common in woodworking for the last 200 years and were widely taught for use in Educational Sloyd. Shooting devices certainly predate 200 years ago, but were less common when furniture was less complex. They are tools that help reduce the workmanship of risk, reduce the complexity of difficult work such as specific needs for straightness and angles, and help enhance woodworker safety, particularly on small parts.

Making anything from wood means working to the lines and begins with layout lines on accurate boards. Lines are then sawn closely on the waste side and finished to the line, smooth with planes to remove the saw marks. When the need for a line is to fit parts precisely with other parts, that line is planed with a shooting board. The shooting board and a sharp plane can improve upon any sawn line whether it was cut by hand or machine, removing all the tearout and leaving a crisp edge and smooth surface. It also reduces risk to work the further a project progresses. Shooting boards offer a great deal of surety in the work.

Q: Why offer Shooting Boards as a tool, Don’t people make those from scraps around the shop?

A: A shooting board is a device that can offer accuracy to woodworkers that rivals machinist accuracy. This is really handy for fine work in woodworking. Historically, as the woodworker has acquired tooling of higher precision, the appearance of their work has reflected it. To make a tool capable of this precision with repeatability in accuracy and durability requires a specialized manufacturing process. The shooting board has to be more accurate than the things it will be used to make.

Many scraps of wood and quick build methods for making any shooting tool usually result in short term accuracy, or a jig that doesn’t last. We found we could offer woodworkers a very versatile shooting board, that is multiple angle capable, and able to calibrate one-thousandth inch (0.001) accuracy while compensating for seasonal wood movement.

While anyone is welcome to make their own shooting board, we specialize in making them to a high degree of lasting precision. Many people expressed to us that making tools for high accuracy isn’t easy, and others would rather save their time for making projects that are not shop tools. We understand. Quality, accuracy and precision are key to a fine appearance and helpful to accomplishing everyone’s finest work. Time is elusive. Some timbers, moldings, veneers and flitches are expensive and irreplaceable. Our shooting boards are here to help!

Q: Which Shooting Board type is the best overall?

A: Just about everyone will use their strong hand to push the hand plane on the chute, will have a need to shoot stock that is fully square or rectangular and will find having the 45 degree and 90 degree angles very handy. Every Shooting Board Model we offer except the Long Grain Shooters will provide these capabilities. If you need capabilities beyond these, we offer those too, so think about the future and what you would like to make.

The best shooting board for a job may be quite specialized for that job, but there are also boards that will handle a great deal of general work, and they are well worth having on hand. We specialize in shooting boards that will cover a lot of woodworking situations.

Q: Shooting Boards are known for making accurate angles, but what about matching something that isn’t exactly accurate?

A: A shooting board with a nailed and glued in fence will likely suffer from wood movement and the resultant inaccuracy. We spec woods that are highly stable for tools of accuracy, and design +/- 3 degrees of adjustment into the angle calibration of our fences to compensate for most of the slight inaccuracy that can happen with wood and its movement. We also offer the “Any Angle Fence” to adjust for any angle you have or need. If the angle you need is a little off, our fences can usually adjust and adapt. If you need angles that are more than a little off common angles, we have a fence for that too!

Q: Why Shooting Boards that offer more than one or two angles?

A: We offer shooting boards that allow woodworkers precision in any project the imagine. Bookmatch joins, and for angles that will help join up to 12 sided objects. We want to leave a lot of capability in the hands of imagination and think that is good! We also offer a fence that allows figuring at any arbitrary angle, so you can make whatever you want with full precision accuracy. It’s mostly about value added empowerment that doesn’t impose on shop space, and building all that you can dream and imagine.

Q: What keeps my plane from cutting into the shooting board, and ruining it’s accuracy?

A: If you look at the sole of a standard bench plane, you’ll see there is about 1/8th to 3/16’ths inch from the side plate of the plane to the mouth. Then there is usually another 1/16th-ish gap between the mouth and the blade. The plane rides in the chute on the side plate and the mouth position never reaches the base of the chute. This space rides the accurate edge we put on the chute and is never cut away. We don’t recommend using Rabbet or Shoulder Planes on our shooting boards.

Q: My shooting board fence does not seem to reach the edge of the chute. How does this happen?

A: How it happens is from having a setting on the shooting plane that is for a too thick shaving. Shooting is most commonly done in end grain wood fibers. Its a difficult cut cross cutting grain with a plane iron, the most difficult cuts the plane and iron must achieve. End grain cuts – even angular ones are across the grain, and require both sharp irons and thin iron settings to get the best quality.

We recommend setting the plane iron for no more than a 0.002 inch cut thickness with the 0.001 thickness preferred for the best finish. Leave room for a thin shaving on the final pass for the nicest work. Never take a run at the work piece. This can bruise the workpiece and will surely speed the dulling of your iron. If the iron is sharp as it should be for this difficult work, it will slice and leave a nice finish by bringing the iron up to the wood gently and pushing through. Best results will provide you with shavings. Dust is an indication of a dull iron.

With an iron setting of 0.001-2 inch, as outlined above, the plane will never wear the shooting board’s fence beyond this depth of cut.

Q: What does “Calibrating” the Shooting Board mean?

A: It means setting the angle for the fence accurately. Our boards offer a great deal of options when it comes to the angles you can shoot. When it comes to high levels of accuracy, it may surprise you, but many materials experience movement from heat or humidity, so to be angularly accurate, it is best to confirm the accuracy of the angle we need before we shoot. It’s easy, and can be done with many different angle setting tools, we like using drafting squares. Calibration means you can have an accurate shooting board from a quick calibration process for the first shot on any day of the year.

Q: What is important to shooting board accuracy ?

A: Quality Assurance is as important to us as our tool accuracy. We employ tooling from Starrett, Mitutoyo and certified granite surface plates to help create and confirm this.

There are actually four dimensions to accurize per cut. Top to bottom and side to side. Our part in creating this accuracy for the tool happens during the making of each shooting board. We cut and confirm that the chute edge is straight to 0.001 inch over it’s length, then we test, adjust and confirm that the chute has become coplanar with the top, also to 0.001 inch tolerances. The fence is flat on each edge to 0.001 straight, and square to the same standard. Accuracy like that helps assure you of the angles you set. We want your craftsmanship to shine.

Q: Do we really need accuracy in woodworking?

A: It depends on what is being made and who the maker is. Our best work comes from the highest accuracy and precision. This is not completely about measuring., but it is all about the fit and finish. Joinery fitments are everything to the joint and often beyond. So are decorative fitments like moldings, veneering or parquetry. Pieces that fit together with perfection are accurately laid out and accurately made. This also lends itself to the exact replication of multiple parts. The best fitment we can make will be lasting fitment, and it will look as good as we made it for years. When you can make to that level, there is never a need to apologize for skills or tools. the proof in in the making. We offer a tool that simply and directly helps you make as good as you want.

The nicer you want to make anything, the more important all this will become.

Q: Who can use this tool?

A: Any one, most any age, and any skill level. A second hand block plane is priced well for entry level and will work to 4/4 thicknesses easily. Any plane that is sharp can play. Any plane you have can shoot. The shooting board will help you fight above your weight if you are developing skills, and no matter who you are, it can help you look really good!

We custom make these tools to order for woodworkers world wide. Are you ready to take your making capabilities to a higher level? It’s easy! We offer a wide range of shooting boards to fit the woodworking you do, and the woodworking you have imagined. Check them out in our Woodworks Store, Order when you discover the tool that best fits your work.

Please remember to subscribe to our Blog, we offer both RSS and email feeds at the top of every blog page!

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We enjoy your questions, comments, ideas and suggestions! Please Contact Us.

Thanks for visiting Evenfall Studios!

© Copyright 2015 by Rob Hanson for evenfallstudios.com All Rights Reserved.

Categories: Hand Tools

Nails, baby nails!!

She Works Wood - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 8:22pm
So a friend of mine wanted to build a toy chest for his daughter and asked for my help.  So I suggested the six board chest since its a pretty quick project and he agreed.  Turned out it was the right level of effort and its coming together fairly quickly.   The amazing part about this chest is […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Why You Should Be Using Tru-Oil

Benchcrafted - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 8:14pm

When asked what may favorite finish is, I usually respond "shellac".

But that's not entirely true. While shellac is my favorite finishing material, due to its endless list of pluses, my absolute favorite finish to apply and touch is Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil.

I've been using the stuff for about twelve years now, and I consider it one of the absolute best finishes you can use, for nearly anything. I know that sounds like a lot of fluff, but it really is the case.

If you like French polish, but don't like some of the quirks of the finish (keep that pad moving now!) then you should try Tru-Oil. It's sort of the French polish for the lazy. So maybe we should call it.....well, French polish.

Anyway. Here's a quick rundown of my sequence.

If you don't sand, polish the wood surface with your finest smoothing plane until it gleams in the sunlight. If you can't plane, sharpen a card scraper to perfection and made the surface as smooth as you can. If you (can) sand, work progressively through the grits until you reach 1000. Yes, 1000. Then go over the entire surface with 0000 steel wool. Liberon brand. Wipe it down with a rag soaked in mineral spirits to get all the dust off.

Cut a square out of an old t-shirt about the size of a playing card, then ball that up inside another piece of the same size (like making a small French polish pad) dribble a dime size puddle of Tru-Oil onto the pad, tap it off onto a scrap of wood to distribute the finish, then in smooth, even strokes wipe the finish onto the wood. The goal is to get as thin a coat on as possible. Do not leave any sags or runs, or pools. Thin coats is the key.

Let that coat dry for a couple three hours. If its humid it might take longer. Feel the surface. If there are any rough spots, carefully and lightly sand with 1000 grit. Repeat the application described above. With thin coats like this, you can apply three coats a day unless you shop is humid. One first thing in the am, one after lunch, and one before bed.

When I finish furniture with this method, I usually do six coats (so, two days or so) then sand back with 1000 grit a bit more aggressively  (use a lubricant like mineral spirits) to level the finish. Even though you put it on super thin, there are always a few areas that will be heavier. Then I'll do six more coats or until I'm satisfied with the evenness and sheen level. The final coats will have a semi-gloss to gloss sheen.

With open pore woods, like walnut, the pores will remain open using the thin coats technique, but without a built-up area around each pore like you would get with a brushed finish.

If you keep the coats thin, you can control sheen by simply stopping when you achieve what you're after. The more coats, the shinier it will get. Designed for finishing gun stocks, this is a very durable finish that will last under fairly hard use. It's a favorite finish for guitar makers as well, and those see some pretty hard use.

The very last step is to let the finish cure for about a week. If I want to knock back the sheen a little I rub with 0000 steel wool, very lightly, then apply a tiny bit of lemon oil and burnish with a piece of burlap or coarse fabric. The resultant finish has beautiful clarity, which allows the luster of the wood to shine, and if feels like silk to the touch.

Right now I'm letting the last coat of Tru-Oil cure on the lid of my case for sharp tools. This is by far the most difficult part of finishing for me. That seemingly endless wait before you get to see the finished piece assembled for the first time.

Give Tru-Oil a try. I think it might become your new favorite finish that doesn't rhyme with shellac.

Categories: Hand Tools

Which chisel should I sharpen?

Trial and Error - Woodworker - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 7:40pm

which chisel to sharpen

At the end of an evening in the garage I often find I don’t remember which of my chisels have been used and need a touch up. So I devised a simple system to highlight them.

I place them in their rack facing backwards.

By turning them around I know which ones I need to strop (or sharpen if use was excessive) and wipe with an oily rag before packing up for the night.

Filed under: Hand tools, Sharpening, Tips & Tricks Tagged: chisels
Categories: Hand Tools

Suitable Spirit for Varnish-Making

Pegs and 'Tails - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 5:38pm
When making spirit varnishes for polishing furniture etc., the gums and resins (colophony, sandarac and shellac etc.) are dissolved in ethyl alcohol (ethanol) – or more acceptably, for safety reasons these days – Industrial Methylated Spirit (IMS or ‘meths’). Meths is … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Details on Drilling and Reaming

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 4:58pm


To make the conical mortise for a piece of staked furniture, I first bore a hole that is the smallest size of the overall joint – typically 5/8” in diameter. Then I follow that up with a tapered reamer that turns the cylindrical mortise into a cone-shaped mortise.

There are lots of good ways to do this. Here is the method that suits my tools, head and hands.

I make the 5/8”-diameter mortise with a brace. You can do this with a drill press with an angled table or any other boring tool. But after trying many methods during the last 11 years I have settled on making the initial hole with a brace and an auger.

I sight the drilling angle against a bevel gauge that I tape or clamp to the underside of the seat. As long as I sight against only one angle (what we call the resultant angle), then I can get within a fraction of a degree with this method.

Like with all good augering, I reach below the seat to feel for when the auger’s lead screw pokes through on the exit side of my hole. When I can feel the lead screw, I flip the seat over and finish the mortise from that side.

That’s the easy part for me. For many years I struggled with reaming. When I used a brace I tended to create an elliptical mortise, which is no good. After much practice, I still made a wonky mortise. I know other people do this operation with ease, but it’s out of my hands, apparently.


Then I tried reaming with a cordless drill that was set to a low speed and maximum torque. For some reason, this fixed my mortises. Instantly. Perhaps I’m suited to focusing on the direction of the cut while the drill supplied the round-and-round.

I’m not saying this is the best way, but it’s something to try if you have the same problem.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Project Rebirth

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 4:28pm

If you happen to own a garage, or barn, or perhaps a workshop, eventually you will find something in there that surprises you. Before I go on, let me say that there is not one item in my garage that wasn’t put there by me or my wife. When we purchased our house the only things left in the garage were an old door, an old workbench, an old vice, an old shovel, and an old cabinet. If combined the value of all of the items (including their usefulness) they may have been worth roughly one dollar. It wasn’t long before I ridded myself of that small pile of junk and went to filling the garage with my own junk.

To be clear, I have a lot of tools. I spent more than 10 years operating a printing press and almost 7 years as a field electrician. Not to mention, I also have many of the tools of your average homeowner: carpentry, plumbing, masonry, and gardening. While I hardly have a large set of woodworking tools, I don’t work with just a saw, hammer, and chisel. Most of the people who happen to read this blog have seen my woodworking tool set and the tools I use on each project, and it is average in just about every way.

Recently on many blogs and forums I’ve been noticing some tool purges going on. They don’t necessarily affect me all that much, as I don’t have enough tools to warrant a purge of my own, and at the same time, since I already have most of the tools I need, I’m not heavily in the market for purchasing a lot of new stuff (or at least new to me stuff). But, there does happen to be a few tools I’ve been looking around for, among those are a 3/8 and ¼ beading plane. It seems that these planes are becoming more and more scarce on the used market, so you can imagine my surprise when I found that I had a 3/8 already in my garage.

The truth is that I immediately recognized the tool, and this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen it in years, but it was the first time I’ve taken notice of it in quite a while. I can’t necessarily remember when it was purchased, though I do know that it was purchased on EBay, and it was inexpensive. I honestly didn’t know what size it was until I looked at it last night. I’m guessing that it was purchased somewhere around 4 years ago. Why did I purchase it if I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was getting? There are a few reasons; I like beaded profiles, I don’t care for electric routers, and sometimes you have to bring the tool to the work.

I’m no expert on woodworking tools, not even close, but I like to think I have a good overall knowledge. Moulding planes, however, are not one of my strong suits. I took the plane apart last night and it seems to be in decent shape. The iron looks pretty good; I flattened the back and the front bevel, probably when I originally purchased the tool. The wedge is in decent shape but could use a little work, and the interior of the plane is a little rough. The boxing seems okay, but there is a little ding in it, which may or may not affect how the plane functions. If I happen to get a free hour or two this coming weekend, I think I will give the plane a good going over and see what I end up with. I’m not worried about saving the patina, or the character, or the Soul of the tool. I am only concerned with making it a functioning plane again.

With these tools becoming more and more scarce, and with the cost of a new one hovering at $300+, this is one of those instances where spending the time on rehabbing an old tool is by far the better option. The lead time on a new, side-beading plane is a minimum of a one year wait, and maybe much longer. Rather than sitting around waiting a year or two for a new plane that may or may not show up, I can just as easily fool around with this one. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I’ll have to put my money where my mouth is and see if I can get this thing up and running.

So the Slightly Confused Woodworker would like to give his full endorsement for refurbishing an old tool rather than purchasing a new one. My endorsement, along a dollar, will perhaps get you a bag of potato chips. But let it never be said that I always go against the grain.

Here are some before photos. Let’s hope the after photos are better…

A few dings on the boxing

A few dings on the boxing

Side few of the damage. I think I can improve it.

Side few of the damage. I think I can improve it.

The iron and wedge are decent, but both need work.

The iron and wedge are decent, but both need work.

Categories: General Woodworking

New tool chest for the sea 1

Mulesaw - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 3:50pm
I have used the old tool chest for the sea in a bit more than a year, and I can't ignore the fact any more: It needs to be replaced.
Being thrown around in a bag in various airports have taken its toll on the chest, and it is pretty much beyond repair now. 

The good news is that it gives me an excuse for building another small chest while I am on the ship. Furthermore I now know that it needs to be a bit more sturdy built than the old one. 

There was hardly any space left in the existing tool chest, so I want to make the new chest a little bit bigger, so it can accommodate my moving fillister plane as well. But I still need to be able to put the chest in my bag for transportation.

I have pretty much settled for a chest with outside measurements of 16 x 11.5 x 8" My aim is to make the stock approximately 5/8". That should give me an inside volume of around 3.5 gallons (13.5 L) which is a bit more than my current tools chest.
I might make the bottom just 1/2" which should give a little extra volume. With a bit of luck, I can maybe use the bottom of my current tool chest. 

Normally when I attach a bottom to a small chest, I either nail it on and cover the sides with a skirt, or I'll plough a groove and insert the bottom in that.
For this chest my idea is that instead of adding a skirt for covering the end grain of the bottom, I'll make a rabbet for the bottom and thereby leave a clean looking side. The bottom will then be nailed in place with nails from the sides to add strength to it. That will also give me an excuse for using the moving fillister.
If I am able to use the plywood bottom from the old chest, I'll use screws from the bottom only
I should be able to see in a year or so, if it is an OK solution.

The lid will probably be a panel in a frame assembled with mitered bridle joints. 
I would like to paint the chest, so that will rule out using the lid for a shooting board this time. Instead I might be able to make a small shooting board that can fit inside the chest. Kind of like a bench hook.

As usual I'll make the major parts out of pallet sides, I found this set of sides that looked OK. It is for a half pallet, and It should be enough for the sides of the chest.
I started out by sawing off the hinges.
Next I flattened one side of each of the boards and then I tried to make it 5/8" thick. 
I am not very good at planing 4 panels to the same thickness, so there is bound to be a bit of planing to do once it is assembled. I did get pretty close on these boards though, and that is fine with me.

One of the boards revealed a massive pocket of liquid resin, once I had planed it to the final thickness.
Even I couldn't ignore such a pool, so I had to do something about it.
I traced the outside of a piece of wood that would cover the resin pocket. Then I carefully sawed on the inside of the line and chiselled out the waste afterwards. Kind of like a very shallow mortise.
The piece was glued in, and when the glue has dried, I am going to plane it flush with the board again.

The pallet sides.

Stock preparation.

Resin pocket.

Shallow mortise and graving piece.

Graving piece glued in.

Categories: Hand Tools

Furniture Details: Are We Perfection Obsessed?

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 2:01pm

2008.0009.2Times have gotten complicated and so have the people that live in them. Life used to be so much simpler, but was it less perfect? I’m not talking about the quality of life, but what we as a people expect of it.

I see it in many aspects of our lives, but it’s most clear to me in woodworking (probably because I’m fully immersed in it daily). What I’m talking about is our quest for absolute perfection, and I’m as guilty as any. Somehow I just don’t think our forefathers were as worried about the minutiae of things. They were too busy hunting and gathering to worry about taking a “half-a-thou” shaving with a handplane.

The Industrial Revolution has ruined mankind. We’ve driven the soul out of the creative process. Everything is all “piston-fit.” Sometimes I just think we need to relax and enjoy things for what they are – not what we wish they were.

The cupboard pictured in this post is a beauty. It’s a large piece, but it doesn’t appear to be bulky. The feet look large enough to adequately support a piece of this size and the crown molding certainly doesn’t look like a shrunken head up there. The door panels give the piece good lift while not being so tiny that they look out of place. The drawers look roomy, but don’t stand out as being way out of proportion to the rest of the piece. And the size of the panes of glass in the doors is large enough that you can see the contents of the cabinet, but small enough that the doors themselves don’t look gargantuan. All-in-all it’s a cupboard of great design – a real thoroughbred.

The things that are going to bother most people are the shelf placement in the upper cabinet and the door pull placement. And this is exactly what I’m talking about at the beginning of this blog post. Who cares if the shelves don’t line up with the door mullions? And there’s a practical reason the one stirrup drop is higher than the other. When I look at this piece, I see the work of a highly skilled craftsman who had a tremendous eye for design. What he didn’t have was an obsessive-compulsive need to line up everything perfectly. And he’s not alone.

There are lots of 18th-century pieces out there that have misaligned hardware and/or shelves placed for optimal use rather than optimal aesthetics. I’ve seen hardware that was mismatched or missing altogether. There’s something to be said for appreciating the quirks that some makers built into their pieces. And in the case of this particular cupboard, just because the guy was building in the Chippendale style doesn’t mean he had to make absolutely everything symmetrical. Sometimes, we just have to appreciate things for what they are – with all their faults included.

— Chuck Bender

Salt Saw With Copper or Bronze Blade

Toolemera - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 1:31pm
This is one of those peculiar tools that I've read about but never had the opportunity to exam one, much less own one. I can't determine if the blade is copper or a bronze or brass alloy. The blade is fairly hard, has a decent spring to it. Any information on salt saws would be much appreciated! Till next, Gary
Categories: Hand Tools

Getting excited to Organize My Shop with Steve Johnson, this weekend!

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 1:29pm

Have you ever wandered around your shop desperately looking for a tool, or some glue, or even the work piece you just had in hand? I know I have. I’ve had those moments of, “I just saw X a few minutes ago, where did it go?” and have been frustrated by all the time I wasted looking for things around my shop. I’ve worked on getting organized a few times, done grand cleanings of my shop where I get everything put in a particular place, but these never really seem to stick. A few months ago I saw a video series by Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, about the organizational system he uses for his shop. Steve uses a modified version of the manufacturing principles known as 5S and his discussion of these principles really hit home with me. I’ve been building my shop toward those principles over the past few months but now I have an even better opportunity to learn from Steve.

This coming Sunday, Steve will be offering a class on his 5S principles at Highland Woodworking. Steve will be speaking about the various principles he incorporates in his shop, and how you can apply them to your own shop. I know I am certainly looking forward to learning from Steve. The 5S principles are intuitive enough that I feel I can follow them once I get them implemented and Steve’s instructions have always been very helpful.

The 5S principles are loosely based on a Japanese manufacturing strategy that many companies have adopted to improve workflow and time management. The principles are based on 5 words beginning with the letter S and designed to engender particular modes of behavior when you apply them to your workshop. The 5S’s are Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Straighten), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain). Applying these principles to your life in the workshop should provide more quality time within the shop. I know Steve’s video series on the 5S principles helped me somewhat and I am looking forward to learning and listening to his points directly during the class. It is my hope that by attending the class I can further refine my own use of the 5S principles and make my time in the shop more productive and valuable.

Matthew York has been a woodturner since 2004 and has been interested in woodworking since he was a teenager. He currently lives in downtown Atlanta and has a small shop in his basement. He is an avid woodworker and is always available to talk about the craft. He can be contacted at fracturedturnings@gmail.com or visit his website at fracturedturnings.com. You can also follow him on twitter at @raen425

The post Getting excited to Organize My Shop with Steve Johnson, this weekend! appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How I Remember ‘Rake’ and ‘Splay’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 12:45pm

These aren’t the real legs for this chair. They are “dummy” legs that I use to check the angles.


First-time chairmakers often confuse the terms “rake” and “splay” – and never mind the other names for the other angles in a chair.

After I took my first chairmaking class 11 years ago, I made up this little explanation for myself so I wouldn’t forget.

Chairs are like saws.


When you look at a saw from the side, you can see the teeth raking forward or backward (depending on the filing). When you look at a chair from the side, you are seeing the rake of the legs. And chair legs can rake forward or back – just like sawteeth.


When you look a saw from the front, you can see the teeth bent out from the sawplate. This is called the set. When you look at a chair from the front, you can see the legs splay out (they never splay inward that I know of). “Set” and “splay” both begin with “s.”

OK, it’s not the most perfect explanation, but it has prevented me from mixing up the terms for many years now.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Computer Model of Toolbox Mark Two, New English Workshop Corse.

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 11:39am

Simon has produced this three D computer model of my toolbox mark 2. It's fascinating to watch and he hopes to be putting a link through to the dimensions shortly for those of you interested.
For those attending the New English Workshop course in the summer it's a great insight into what you'll be making in just five days!
Categories: Hand Tools

Keepsake box: finished!

Guitar Building By Hand - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 9:06am

With the hinges installed, all there was left to do was apply the finish, right? Wrong! Now it was time to clean up the box. There were bits of glue and pencil marks that needed cleaning up. I especially hate getting rid of pencil marks. Even though I use a soft lead (2B) pencil, it still takes me ages to get rid of the marks. I find using a scraper or sandpaper are the best ways to get rid of pencil marks. Sometimes even an eraser works. What works best? I find it depends on the mark and the wood, but haven’t found any rules of thumb as yet. A necessary evil I guess.

Finally, the finish. I’m a big fan of Auro wax, which is a combination of boiled linseed oil (BLO) and wax. Its non-toxic and is easy to apply (with a brush or a rag). It can be buffed out after an hour or so, but needs about 24 hours to dry properly. I usually apply three coats. The end result is a finish that protects the wood and is not too glossy (which I like). And while it brings out the grain, it is almost transparent. I find that BLO (even the clear BLO) turns wood a slight yellow/orange colour. This Auro stuff doesn’t do that.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the finished product:

IMG_8728 IMG_8733IMG_8735

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

18th Century Chisel Handles

The Eaton County Woodworker - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 8:31am
Categories: Hand Tools

The Beauty of the Resultant

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 6:32am


The nice thing about geometry (aside from sitting next to Cris Titsworth) is that you can perform some operations that look difficult with surprising ease.

For example, let’s look at my “wireframe” model for my next project. With needlenose pliers I can adjust the rake and splay of the legs, which are made from 12-gauge wire, until I’m pleased with how the legs look from all directions.

This is the "grasshopper" method.

This is the “grasshopper” method.

Then, using some formulas picked up from old books (see above, I can’t believe I am showing you this)…. I can dial in my angles.


Then it’s a cinch to knock out the finished piece:


Of course, I can adjust the legs to produce these simple variants.


Or, by simply changing the value of X, produce this:


— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Winter Wonder Woodworking Begins

Paul Sellers - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 8:39pm

P1020343When a class begins, on the first hour of the first day, we walk through the processes of sharpening different tools. Inevitably, from the first questions asked, we must work through the modern-day myths and mysteries surrounding sharpening to restore sanity to an otherwise quick and simple task. Japanese stones versus oilstones and diamond powder and paste, hollow grinding and micro-bevels and so much more have become part of a confusing mass of information overload. P1020318Even with the best intensions, it’s become problematic for new woodworkers to really understand what they really need to get the edge and they end up going down one rabbit trail after another buying this kit and that gizmo only to find they’ve wasted much time and money. Thankfully we can present what really happens at the bench and no one feels anything but a sense of being set free. I know, it might seem a bit exaggerated, but most people seeking genuine insight have become confused over basic issues just like this and that’s why we spend time dismantling and unpacking things to get to what at the end of the day is only a simple abrasive issue.P1020320

We are starting this season with a two-day introduction to woodworking with out Discovering Woodworking workshop that starts this coming Friday and we always start every class with crisp, newly sharpened edge tools. Why? Well, first off I discovered that it’s important to know what truth is to begin with, then, when a lie stands in truth’s stead, everyone will know what a truth is. When the chisel hits the wood for the first time it will be sharpened to around 15,000-grit and the wood will peel away like a hot knife through butter. They will from that time on know what the difference is between sharp and sharp. So planes and chisels are ready to go. P1020290Oh, they will also know what chisels and planes will work for all of their needs for about the next 50 years without compromise too. We’ll displace the scared-to-sharpen syndrome with a new confidence in about five minutes and show how not to rely on any mechanical grinder apart from perhaps a once-a-year need to grind out a nicked chisel or plane iron. It’s always freeing knowing you are gaining control.

P1020294The next nine-day Foundational Course this winter season follows quickly on the heels of this one with ten days of new filming in between. The snowdrops are already here and they will stay long enough for everyone to enjoy them before the Welsh national flower, the daffodil, skirting the highways and byways in mass swathes of golden yellow, replaces them beneath the shadows of a snow capped mountain range of Snowdonia. Sounds a bit like a vacation brochure? Well, it’s so much more and I am as excited today as I was in 1988 when I taught my very first workshop!

The post Winter Wonder Woodworking Begins appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Build the Christopher Schwarz (TM) Staked Chair

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 5:28pm


Perhaps this is because my shop is small, but I don’t like building full-size mockups of projects during the design process. When I’ve built full-size models in the past, I felt bad about wasting materials. Cheap pine could actually be used in a piece of furniture, and pink insulation could be protecting Hello Kitty from the cold.

But building half-size models is OK for some reason in my head. I can cut most parts from scraps in my waste bin. I use wire (clothes hangers) and cardboard (waste from boxes) at times. And the components are large enough to make it easy for me to imagine how the piece would look.

Today I finished up a half-scale model of a staked-leg backstool I’m working on for my “Furniture of Necessity” book. After dialing in the rake and splay of the legs, I concluded that this piece of furniture was so unique that it should bear my name – the Christopher Schwarz (TM) Staked Backstool.

No one has come up with a Backstool like this one with these particular angles, and so I, Christopher Schwarz, would like to share it with you so you can feel the full-on Schwarz when it comes to Schwarz Rake, Schwarz Splay, Schwarz Sightlines and Schwarz Resultant Angles.

To lay this out, you’ll need to use a special technique that I have developed after more than 35 years of examining angles as they result to other angles, plus segments, vertices and Cris Titsworth, who sat next to me in high school geometry.

That technique involves setting the angle of a leg and determining its position in relation to line that is struck off the perpendicular axis of the spheres of influence that are tangent to the Titsworth Twins, who were nice and would play Lifesaver games on the band bus but were not as hot as their older sister, Cris.

You can sight this angle using an ordinary try square, laid flat on the bench and sighted so the leg looks 90°. Then you set your bevel gauge to an angle that appears in line with the leg and try square.

This three-legged Christopher Schwarz (TM) chair is fondly dedicated to Joe Kent Wagg. Thanks to its three legs, Joe would be unable to tip backward in the chair when Ms. Widemann would duct tape him to the chair.

And scene.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Skew it (or how to increase your spoke shave proficiency)

A Woodworker's Musings - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 1:34pm

I’ve noticed that when most folks begin to use a spoke shave, they are inclined to pull the tool towards themselves.  I suspect that it’s very natural to associate the method of using a draw knife with that of using a spoke shave.  In truth, the spoke shave is more closely related to a plane, in that the blade is supported in a body and here’s where the trouble often starts.  The length of a spoke shave’s sole is very short.  Consequently, when the spoke shave is pulled towards the user, especially when being held perpendicular to the workpiece, the shave will tend to follow the existing contour.

The simple way to eliminate this tendency is to skew the shave in relationship to the workpiece.  Two things happen when the shave is skewed.  First, the length of the supporting surface (sole) of the shave is lengthened.  Second, the effective cutting angle of the iron is reduced.  This is an especially effective technique when shaving long, thin cylindrical or tapered sections.


The spoke shave is a very versatile tool and most craftsmen never fully exploit its potential.  Click here to see a spoke shave being used by John Surlis, who was credited with the revival of the Leitrim Chair.  (Be sure to watch the last ten minutes.)  The video is part of the “Hands” series produced in Ireland during the 1970’s.  John Clarke has posted all of the episodes on his Daily Motion account.  (There are 25+ episodes and Mr. Clarke has posted hundreds of videos, so you may have to dig around a bit.)  It is a wonderful catalog of traditional crafts that were still extant in Ireland during that period.  From carriage builders to wheelwrights, coopers to cabinetmakers, it’s an educational and entertaining view.

Categories: Hand Tools

Two NEW Knife Kits — See Them First in San Diego!

The Sharpening Blog with Ron Hock - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 11:41am

Now you can build a set of 4 classic kitchen knives.


We’ve added a beautiful 8″ Chef’s Knife kit and a matching Slicer/Carver kit to compliment our popular 5″ Chef’s and 3.5″ Paring Knife kits.

Linda and I will be at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Palomar College in San Marcos, California this weekend, January 23 and 24. Along with our usual assortment of the best blades, breakers, plane kits, etc, we’ll be introducing our two new knife kits!

We’ve received rave reviews about our knife kits along with numerous requests for longer blades. So you can now add an 8″ chef’s and an 8″ slicing/carving blade — just waiting for you to add handles — to your kitchen knife block.

The newest blades have only just arrived and the photo above is how far I’ve managed to get toward pics for the website.  But I’ll finish these up and bring them to Palomar College, along with some some kits for you, too. (The website has these new kits listed but without photos — I’ll get to it, uh… tomorrow! Yeah, that’s it.)

We hope to see you there!


Categories: Hand Tools


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