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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...


The Village Carpenter

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 7:00am

Almost every time I go to the High, my first stop is the book section.  I love the books for a couple of reasons, one of which is budgetary.  I have almost all the moderately priced tools in the store, so the books offer a chance for a little vicarious woodworking at a moderate price.

Last time I was there I bought a neat little book originally published in 1937 — “The Village Carpenter” by Walter Rose.  He writes about woodworking in England in the Victorian period when his father ran a woodworking business.  In the introduction they talk about carpenters:    ”…  a child can watch a carpenter at work without risk of soiling;  sawdust is cleaner than snow and not unlike it, and the long curling crinkled shavings, that come off sweetly (as clean as a whistle) are lovelier than any manufactured  fabric.  Wood is tender stuff, too; you must not bang it about as you bang iron about, and, handling it gently, carpenters as a race are gentle.  They seldom shout; they never leave their tools about.”  I like that.

It’s a lovely little book, talking about times gone by in England.  But something hit me when I started reading it and particularly when I got to the chapter on Undertaking.   Let me explain.  My Great Grandfather John Nathan Chapman was a carpenter and woodworker and he made wagons and buggies in the backyard of my Grandmother’s house.  He was born in 1847 and lived until 1922, so his career spanned the era that Mr. Rose wrote about.  That would have been only a few generations removed from the family migrating from England/Ireland, so you know some of his traditions and tools had to come from the old country.   People don’t invent new tools and methods of work and traditions just because they go for a little sail.

Here’s his picture in front of the shop.  I’m looking at the wheel rims, and the wheel blanks and the buggy shafts and I love that apron he is wearing.  He would recognize all the tools in my shop if he walked in today, and I bet he would really love my table saw and the electric bandsaw.  I have this fantasy that one of his buggies or wagons is still out there somewhere.  How I would love to have one of them.  I do have a nameplate from the “Crawfordville Furniture and Buggy Shop”.

Great Grandfather at left center in apron. (c. 1920)

Great Grandfather at left center in apron. (c. 1920)

But back to the Undertaker chapter.  My family has been in the funeral business for a long time and the family story is that it came from the carpentry shop in the back yard.  As explained in the book, it was a standard part of the carpentry business.  After all, if not the carpenter, then who else would make a casket?  Making coffins evolved into the funeral business.  My Grandmother, a widow with three small children in the Reconstruction South, needed an income and continued doing funerals with her two sons, one of whom continued until his death a few years ago.  I remember when my brother or I spent the night at Grandma’s, it was not unusual for there to be a body lying in state in the room next to the bedroom.  In fact, we often asked permission to go in for a private viewing before going to sleep.  The room at the top of the stairs was where the coffins were displayed for sale and we loved to play in the coffin house next door.

I really related to this little book and it is one of hundreds available for sale at the High.  They can’t list them all in the catalog, but look on the web site and there are at least 830 shown there.  If you don’t see what you want, call and ask.  We’re here to help.

The post The Village Carpenter appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Oh Baby!

The Workbench Diary - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 5:45am

Two good things here:

1. Blueberries are picked. Our old house has a wonderful field through the woods and the owners have generously allowed us to go to pick there. We’ve ate some fresh but the vast majority go in the freezer. These little guys help stave off the winter blues when the eating is a little less exciting. We have one rake and the others pick by hand. 

 We are able to use our friend’s solar powered winnower to separate out the leaves. This clackety-bangety batch of old iron and wood is a true beaut. I love hearing the squeaking of the wheels accompanied by the faint plop of berries into the wooden box. What a thing it is to see!

2. And even better than blue berries… our new little baby is due in November. We are very very excited. So is Eden. He said he wants the baby to stay in his room because besides carrying all his pirate loot around for him he will also clean up all of Eden’s toys. Hmmm? This might be an interesting adjustment for our only child. We’re little by little trying to ease him into the change but I think his utopian bubble will nevertheless pop when little brother does finally come along.

Categories: Hand Tools

Zebrano guitar

Finely Strung - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 4:18am

It’s always nice to hear from people for whom you’ve made instruments, and I was delighted when Dave Crispin got in touch recently. I made him a classical guitar five years ago, (see here for photographs) and he sent me a recording in which he uses it to play Paul McCartney’s Blackbird.


Big Steel City News

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 2:30am

The folks over at Steel City Tool Works (SCTW) have teamed up with Columbus, Ohio woodworking icon WoodWerks’ Todd Damon to revitalize and energize their line of tools. I spoke with the managing partners (David Campagna & Damon) and president of SCTW (Lucas Chang) about the formation of the Axiom Tool Group (ATG) and what it means to the woodworking world. ATG is setting the pace and direction of both […]

The post Big Steel City News appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Knowing Your Customers and Being Known by Them

Paul Sellers - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 1:56am


DSC_0038I don’t believe it is unrealistic to derive your full income from being a woodworker no matter where you are in the world. It does seem that some governments have legislated protectionism into its governance for different reasons and not the least of which is ensuring protection for the customer or should I say consumer. Germany seems  to be ahead of the game on one hand, with extreme levels of legislative controls, whereas here in Britain, whoever picks up a claw hammer or a drawknife can call him or herself a carpenter, chair bodger or the total escapist ‘green’ woodworker. I must admit I do like the freedom we enjoy in deciding to make change. The fact is that, for the main part anyway, if we are no good, and our products inadequately made, we will most likely go under before we cause any real distress. In other words we survive by being fit – that’s making products fit for purpose, not the dog-eat-dog survivalism we left our corporate jobs for.


Anyone offering an honest piece of work will indeed stand out and the quality of work always sets us apart because, no matter the background, it seems to me that a percentage of people always seem to recognise quality workmanship. I recall a furniture maker in Texas lowering a car onto four of his small oak tables made with traditional joinery to prove the value of what he had. The legs sank into the earth 3” but the joints held and the car stayed there for three days. He sold tables and other pieces throughout the weekend and established himself as a fine furniture maker based on his educating strategy. He never had to do that again, but that was what it took to persuade people that his work was different. 

I strongly think that we woodworkers need to give more insights into what sets us apart and whereas the car trick was a bit over the top, and it is unlikely that most of us could indeed offer such an exhibition, we can’t usually just expect people in todays world to understand what we are bringing to the market. 

In my workshop I have several joints sitting out in the visitors area for people to look at. These joints tell a story and especially is it of value in relating to what might otherwise not be seen inside the jointed areas of say a table or a chest. Dovetails especially seem to impress people. 

This week three people from China came in to see my work. The older man was a woodworker also and he was happy to see what we were working on. He seemed a modest man, humble in spirit and expressing only appreciation without saying a word. His wife too seemed of a similar disposition. The daughter, in her mid twenties, assertively insisted that I could sell my work and “make a lot of money.” It seemed to this confident visitor that I had never thought of that and now at almost 65 I needed someone to help me see where I had failed myself.

So, it is important to educate your future customers. This can be done in different ways. Video is much simpler now than ever and a short film can show you at work making the joinery. You can also demonstrate at the workbench at craft show venues as I did for decades. This really works well. I once saw a man demonstrating carving a ball and claw chair leg at a show and people stood there for half an hour  totally glued to his demo. Creative work is always electric and of course you can print a brochure of what goes into your work to support any audiovisual you might have there too. Drawings of Mortise and tenons and explanations of which joints you used where. Before many minutes pass people are asking questions and most days when people come into my shop they are asking if this or that is for sale and how much would it cost to have something made.


It is important to take your work to an audience of you don’t have a venue to work from that shows your work. In every shop I have owned I have always set up a reception area showing my work. Sharing what I do is as important to me as the actual making of it. It’s here that I engage the most and it’s here I can best explain my ambitions and goals and indeed my life as a lifestyle woodworker. There will always be a percentage of people who want to buy a piece knowing it was carefully made by hand. I’m not saying it’s an easy passage being a maker, designer, marketer and salesperson, but somehow it seems so much more relational and you develop something so much more substantive when people know that the piece in front of them didn’t come from a factory or from another country or continent. 


The post Knowing Your Customers and Being Known by Them appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Arts & Crafts Bookcase – Idea for Stained Glass

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:11pm

I spent several hours over the past couple of days trolling through the Greene & Greene Virtual Archives, mostly exploring but also looking for inspiration for the stained glass and inlay for this “Mission-ish” bookcase I’m designing.  I found some interesting bits in the files for the Earl C. Anthony house, including some drawings for various stained glass panels.  I’ve adapted one to work in the doors on the cabinet.

This is just a crop-and-paste of the original image, the horizontal ribbons need to be places at the location where the shelves are, and I have to do all of the fussy detail layout for the glass cuts.  At least if I want to do full scale patterns in SolidWorks.

I think this has possibilities.  I’ll probably do a simple mockup of one or two other ideas I have before investing a lot of time in the CAD layout.

Bookcase with one Greene & Greene-designed stained glass.

Bookcase with one Greene & Greene-designed stained glass.

I also thought about adapting the design for the curtain pattern from the same house for the inlay, this is the pattern from the archives:

Charles Greene's design for the fabric for the curtains for the Anthony house, maybe this could be done as an inlay in the backsplash?

Charles Greene’s design for the fabric for the curtains for the Anthony house, maybe this could be done as an inlay in the backsplash?

Categories: General Woodworking

“Your Brain on Matt’s Basement Workshop” t-shirt sale!

Matt's Basement Workshop - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 7:31pm

“Your Brain on Matt’s Basement Workshop” t-shirts are being marked down to make room for more inventory.

Matt in Your Brain on Matt's Basement Workshop t-shirt

As the cooler weather isn’t that far away, some of you are asking for long sleeve shirts, and there’s even the chance a special “CHORTLE” design could be in the works too!

The “Your Brain on Matt’s Basement Workshop” t-shirts are a lightweight polyester/cotton blend that are comfortable to wear in OR out of the shop.

Sizes are limited to what we currently have in stock, ranging from Medium to 3XL. So hurry before they’re sold out.

The price per shirt doesn’t include shipping and handling. Shipping and handling charges are a flat-rate fee* for domestic shipping in the USA that will be added to the order at checkout.

For international orders please contact me directly to order so I can determine the proper shipping charges prior to purchase. Email me using this link.

“Your Brain on MBW” – Sale Price!Your Brain white background

“Your Brain on MBW”

Small $9.00 USD
Medium $9.00 USD
Large $9.00 USD
X-Large $9.00 USD
2X-Large $11.00 USD
3X-Large $13.00 USD

Want to order both “Your Brain” and the “MBW Classic Logo” shirts together? CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE MBW T-SHIRT PAGE.

*Why a flat-rate fee? The weight of the t-shirts and packaging take them very close to not being eligible for 1st-class shipping rates, so to make it easier for the shipping department (me) and to keep costs low, I’m currently only offering the one form of shipping unless indicated.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

right now it’s baskets; but spoons & more for sale

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:21pm

The spoons, a frame-and-panel and one spoon rack for sale now – the top of the blog, or this link. . http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-august-2014/  If you’d like to order something, leave a comment. I can send a paypal invoice, or you can send a check. As always, I appreciate everyone’s interest in my work.


Meanwhile, but here’s today’s blog post. I have some stuff underway that I haven’t put on the blog much, because I haven’t made more than a few baskets a year in 2 decades. This is the scene these days. Baskets, and more baskets. I used to make these a lot, before there was joinery. It really is exciting to explore them again; but I’m having to re-learn stuff I used to know pretty well.  Today I had to make a slitting tool too, to slice up the narrow horizontal weavers. I’ll shoot it tomorrow when I use it again. I had one once, but it got lost in the shuffle 20 years ago I guess.


the scene

I decided to dedicate a whole week, maybe more, to making baskets. It’s been so long since I made more than one or two…and the only way it’s going to come back to me is for me to do it over & over.


basketry 1

basketry 2

basketry 3

Earlier in the week, I was shaving and bending some white oak for handles & rims. I’ll fit those on this weekend. I like the white oak even better than hickory for bending. The King of Woods, Daniel O’Hagan used to say…

riving white oak

shaving horse work


Hosting the Baton Rouge Woodworker's Club on Sept 6th

L'ébénisterie Créole - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:11pm
We will be hosting the Baton Rouge Woodworker's Club on Sept 6th at the LSU Rural Life Museum

Making an Epi de Faitage for a hip roof I recently shaked
Networking is important for us woodworkers. It serves a paramount role in today's non-guild system and bridges the gap once filled by apprenticing in the trades. If you attend you this meeting you will meet the members of the Baton Rouge Woodworker's Club, a boring lecture and demonstration by Jean Becnel, hot coffee, and a tour of the museum.

This will consist of  a one hour lecture from yours truly on use of the wedge in traditional woodworking, the club's normal monthly meeting, a show and tell by the members where they will display and discuss some of the projects they have in their shop and it will commence with a tour of the museums over 30 historic structures to discuss design and construction techniques of the buildings.

I hope to see you there.

Saturday Oct 6th, 2014 
LSU Rural Life Museum, 
4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA 70809


Jean N Becnel

© Jean Becnel, 2014. 
The material found herein is the sole intellectual property of it's author(s). 
Reproduction of this information is strictly forbidden without the written permission of it's author(s)
Categories: Hand Tools

And now the Toolemera Books Store gets a face lift

Toolemera - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 5:23pm
I installed a new Shopify theme on The Toolemera Books storefront with an eye towards fixing a number of minor but annoying quirks of the old theme. There are bits and pieces that need attention but on a whole, it works as it should. Comments, critiques and general suggestions are welcomed. http://toolemerabooks.com Till next, Gary
Categories: Hand Tools

New Furniture?? Not My Problem!

WPatrickEdwards - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 5:05pm

Me Looking At New Furniture
During my career restoring antique furniture, I have gotten fairly good at screening calls.  I am always amused at prospective clients who have lived with a piece of furniture for years, perhaps even their entire life, and who have never really looked at it.  Until it broke or was damaged somehow.

Then they call a refinisher to see about getting it "restored."  Of course, these people are people who actually have jobs and hobbies and spend their time doing other things than looking at furniture like they were in love with it.

So I have a series of simple questions, like: "What wood is it?"  When they don't know, I ask the back up question: "Is the wood red (ie. possibly mahogany), brown (walnut?) or yellow (oak for sure).???"

Another series of investigation starts out "What do the feet look like?"  To which the standard answer is "I don't know, I never looked."

The final question is the most obvious: "How old is it?"  And I always get the same response: "It's old!"  Which, of course, is meaningless.  Old compared to what?  Your car?  Your dog?  At this point I hit them with my best shot: "Is it an antique?"  That is when they always say, "I'm not sure, but I know it's old.  I got it from my grandmother."  Always the same type of response.  In the end I insist that they send me a photo since that is the only way I know what they have.

I anticipate the email with photos so I can find out exactly what kind of work is involved.  The majority of the time it is disappointing, and some of the time amusing (to me; not to the client I'm sure) and in rare instances it is amazing and exciting.  A good example happened this week when a caller asked about repairing water damage to their dining table.  Here is the photo I received:

"Water Damage"

Clearly, if you have a table made of MDF with paper thin veneer and finished with a conversion varnish, it is probably not the best idea to use it outdoors in the rain.

I am writing this post since there were three instances this week alone which made me think of the consumer and modern furniture production.

The first one was a call which mentioned a Mission Oak Dining table and "several mahogany pieces."  When I arrived I was shown a Mission Oak table which was very clearly brand new.  The finish on the entire top had peeled away from the wood, leaving large bare spots all over the table.  The finish which was not peeled was cracked and ready to delaminate.  When I asked how old was the table, they informed me that they had bought it two years ago, new.  The "mahogany pieces" were actually mahogany (African) and old (1940's).  I sent them to another refinisher.

Then something exciting happened.  A young couple came in and purchased 4 nice New York dining chairs from me.  These chairs were made in 1850 and were solid Brazilian rosewood, with the original seat upholstery.  They told me they had been buying IKEA furniture, but it always fell apart after a few years, so they wanted to "do the right thing" and buy something with a "low carbon footprint."  I think that furniture manufactured over 150 years ago must have a very low carbon footprint.  Actually, I think at that time it was a whale oil footprint.

When I delivered the chairs, they immediately placed their IKEA chairs out on the curb and, within 5 minutes they had disappeared.  Talk about recycling!

But the most amazing story just happened here at work.  The door bell rang and I opened it to find an older gentleman.  He asked me if I could fix his drawers on two chests he had.  I started to explain that wood drawers often wear out on the lower edge of the sides and the wood runners would also need some repair.  He said that wasn't the case.  I then said that some more modern drawers have a center slide under the drawer, and if that was not in the right place the drawer would be hard to open.

 He said "No.  Actually there are metal slides for the drawer."

"Oh, I see.  What you have is more like office furniture?"

"No," he replied, "It's high end furniture I just bought it, and I paid a lot of money for it."

At that point I told him that I couldn't help him.  But he said that what was wrong was the screws holding the slides were coming out and he could see that they were in the way.

"Why don't you just screw them back?" I asked.

"Because it would void the warranty," he insisted.

"But, if it's high end furniture and under warranty, why don't you just have the store fix it?"  (I suppose this was a dumb question, but I was now in new territory.)

"They have already sent out a repair man twice and he can't seem to fix it!"  He was exasperated.  All I could mutter was "I am sorry, but I can't help you."

As I closed the door of my workshop, I was relieved somehow that it was actually closing out the modern world, and that I could return to my glue pot and workbench in peace.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Last Hardware Swap (I Hope)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 4:50pm


With the finish drying on my knockdown Nicholson workbench, I began working on a removable shelf to go below the bench. (Forgive me. I am so stuck in the 18th century when it comes to wanting a shelf below my bench.)


Then our postal carrier made an unscheduled stop at our front door. In his hands was a box filled with hardware bits I had resolved to try at the recommendations of readers.

Most of the bits were no better than the steel tee-nuts I had installed on the bench. But one of the bags in the box was heavy. Real heavy. This bag of 14 malleable iron mounting plates (McMaster-Carr 11445T1) was impressive. The plates were sand-cast, thick and heavy.

So I put aside the planks for the shelf and began removing all the tee-nuts to install the iron mounting plates.

I could be wrong, but I think I’m now done.


I tried to destroy the threads of one of these mounting plates and I failed. The wood between the plate and the bolt’s washer just popped and crushed instead. I’m sure I could ruin the mounting plate, but the bolt and wood would also be ruined in the process.

So I installed all the mounting plates and reassembled the bench. I was going to shoot a video of the assembly process, but that will have to be tomorrow. I’ve got 63 pending e-mails to deal with tonight.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Naked Woodworker DVD, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

Mark Your Calendar: French Oak Roubo Project Part Deux (cross post from Benchcrafted)

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 2:41pm

An announcement from Jameel Abraham at Benchcrafted.


The arrangements have been made. Contracts signed. Wood procured. We’ve even struck a deal with the local meteorologist to all but guarantee comfortable weather.

The French Oak Roubo Project will happen again the week of November 8-14, 2015.

We’ve been working out many details over the summer and can say with assurance the following:

1. The original crew will be back. Chris Schwarz, Don Williams, Raney Nelson, Jeff Miller, Ron Brese, Will Myers, and Jon Fiant will all be back. Of course Bo and I will also be there, although I can’t promise you won’t find us fishing in one of Bo’s ponds for lunker bass.

2. We’re making room for more. There are eight benches in Plate 11. Since this is FORP II we’re going to double that. We’ll have 16 spots available for participants. We actually built 16 benches last time around, but this time the original crew will work on everyone’s benches, in the hopes of getting more accomplished during the week.

3. Another huge bench. Bo complains that one 16′ Plate 11 bench isn’t enough (some people!) So we’ll try to build another one for him while we’re there. We had loads of fun getting Bo’s bench put together last time. Lowering the top onto the base with the fork truck was thrilling on the last day. I want to duplicate that.

4. Schwarz will talk Sunday night during a meet and greet about bench history, the art of the green bean casserole, and how to live without a modern sewage system. There will be refreshments (no casseroles though.)

5. Lunch. Catered lunch everyday from a local chef who studied in France and at the CIA (the other CIA.) Some of you might end up staying at her B&B. Excellent. We may also break out the grills in the evening if we feel up to it.

6. Hardware from Benchcrafted, Lake Erie Toolworks, and Peter Ross. Same as last time.

7. Personalized letterpress labels from Wesley Tanner

8. Pig Candy.

As for price, it will be a little more. Some of our costs have gone up in the past couple years. It won’t be a deal breaker for anyone, promise.

We’ll open registration on Tuesday, September 2 at 10am CST (we’ll do a blog post then to announce.) To register you’ll simply send an email to jameel@benchcrafted.com saying “I’m in” and we’ll send you all the nitty gritty. To be fair, it will be first-come, first-served only.


‘I Don’t See that Going Anywhere’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 1:21pm

Roger and his partner Dan Richfield.

If you frequent Lie-Nielsen Toolworks events you may have run into Roger Benton. He is one of the show crew that demonstrates Lie-Nielsen tools and lifts large crates of tools at the end of the show. When we travel to do shows we get to catch up with people like Roger whom we haven’t seen since the last show. It’s sort of a Carney thing. One of the many things Roger does to make ends meet is roam the borough’s of New York City harvesting lumber from trees. As you can imagine, dealing with large tress is like dealing with large animals. The “fun” is in direct proportion to size. Roger has lots of stories, like the one involving his uncle getting an injured hand permanently mended into a half closed position so he could work the clutch on his Harley.  Sadly this story doesn’t involve uncles and Harleys….

— John Hoffman

‘I Don’t See that Going Anywhere.’

“Nah, that’s probably fine,” I said.

Kyle had just brought up the possibility of adding another ratchet strap to the load of mulberry slabs that were causing the truck’s bumper to hang so close to the ground.

“There’s another strap behind the seat,” he offered, hopefully.

I made a show of vigorously attempting to rock the stack of slabs side to side, demonstrating the absolute soundness of the load. Then I confidently dropped the clincher: “I don’t see that going anywhere.”

Kyle managed to emote the phrase “It’s your funeral” without actually speaking as he went for the rest of the gear.

The preceding batch of hours had been spent doing the work of many men so we were pretty shot. The mulberry tree was massive, the biggest I’ve seen, and working quarters were tight. The tiny Brooklyn backyard this beast lived in was barely 25 feet square with tall brick buildings on three sides. Chainsaws are loud, and I’ll tell you that you haven’t really heard a ported Husqvarna 395xp sing until you’ve run it wide open for a few hours within such tight concrete confines. Running this saw in that space is to your sterocilia as Mt. Saint Helens’ explosion was to the surrounding fir forest: utter devastation. I love that saw, I have feelings for that saw that would scare people, but I have to admit that on this occasion I’d had quite enough of it, thanks much. The mulberry cut really well when we found the rare stretch of metal-free wood, but stretches of metal-free wood would prove to be in short supply that day. We hit an even dozen nails on the first cut. Ten mangled chains later we had ringing ears and nine slabs to show for it, the slabs around 2-3/4” thick, 10 feet long and 20″-34” wide.

Mulberry nails

The slabs were gorgeous and heavy, and had to go through a “small alley,” then up a short flight of stairs and into the truck. The homeowner had warned us about the “small alley,” and we thought we were prepared. We were not, for at some point in the past someone had seen fit to erect a small storage shed in the alley. This looked to have been around 800 years ago. The dilapidated shed was crumbing into the building on one side and left a gap around 20″ wide on the other. So the “small alley” was further condensed into a dirty gap one could squeeze through if one wanted to abrade oneself against a filthy brick-and-stucco building on one side while contracting tetanus from the jagged tin ruin on the other. We each gave it a dry run before committing to the feat with slabs in hand. This was when we confirmed that the small alley doubled as a urinal for the homeless.

Mulberry slabs

A few scrapes and bruises later and we had all the slabs in the truck with no signs of lockjaw.

That’s when Kyle tried to be reasonable, I uttered what is now a fun phrase for my friends to throw back at me and we hopped in the truck and drove off.

We made it about six blocks.

Kyle said, while looking through the rear window, “Um, dude….”

Before he could finish, the truck bed bounced up sharply as if suddenly relieved of its burden. That was because the truck bed had been suddenly relieved of its burden. The slabs, splayed across Kingston Avenue, quickly grew smaller in the rear-view mirror. I could hear tires screeching as the cars behind us slammed on their brakes. It was like in a spy movie where you press a button on the steering wheel to deploy the road block. “They’ll never catch us now!”

Kyle: “We lost the….”

Me: “Yes, I see.”

While the street kids from the bodega on the corner laughed and made insensitive remarks, we loaded the truck a second time. We  blocked the street for about 15 minutes, 20 at the most, the car horn crescendo drawing heads from upper-story windows. I smiled and waved cheerfully. Kyle, bless him, quietly fetched two extra ratchet straps from behind the seat.

We were on our way again in short order. Back at the shop the story was told, embellishments were made. Laughter was had at my expense. “Let the troops have a laugh,” I’ve heard. It’s good for morale.

“I don’t see that going anywhere” is now one of my standard catch phrases for exceedingly precarious situations, and it gets used with scary frequency.

 — Roger Benton

For more information on Roger, his furniture and wood business see





Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Spinning Wheel Maiden repair

Full Chisel by Stephen Shepherd - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 11:51am

This is a maiden from a Canadian Production Wheel and had been previously repaired.  It was repaired with hide glue but the small bamboo skewer just wasn’t big enough to reinforce the joint.


I had to remove a nail holding the stub of the tenon on the end of the off-side maiden.  Instead of making a new maiden, I decided to use a shouldered tenon and make it match the original.  With the nail removed I could remove the stub tenon.


I cut the maiden off flush at the shoulder for the end of the maiden, then drilled a 1/4″ twist auger and then enlarged it with a 3/8″ duck bill spoon bit.  I fit the new birch tenon into the hole, applied hide glue and clamped it together.


I also drilled a hole with a gimlet bit for the wedge and made a new one of birch to match the original


The next day I applied pigmented shellac to match the original finish on the parts exposed.  The customer was happy.



Categories: Hand Tools

Thomas Day House: Pre-WIA Special Tour

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 11:45am

Come to North Carolina a day early for Woodworking in America (the conference is Sept, 12-14 in Winston-Salem, N.C.) and make plans to visit the Thomas Day House/Union Tavern (a National Historic Landmark) in Milton, N.C. between 1-5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 11. Jerome Bias (who is speaking in Day and his work at the annual woodworking conference) has organized special tours to introduce you to Day’s home and shop, […]

The post Thomas Day House: Pre-WIA Special Tour appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Travisher Blades: Grinding and Sharpening

Claire Minihan Woodworks - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:32am
Okay now, I know taking any new blade to the grinding wheel can be intimidating, but despite the curved blade, the same principles apply as if you were grinding any other plane blade. 

First things first, dressing the wheel. Square your tool rest to the grinding wheel, doesn't have to be perfect, eyeballing is fine, this is just to keep your dresser steady. With the grinder on, come in with your dresser working it across the wheel to true up the wheel and remove remaining metal.   

If you've got a freshie wheel, you will to have to round over the outside corner. As you can see mine is rather extreme, the radius does not have to take over the whole wheel only about 1/8" is necessary. With your dresser in the same position as the photo, removing material from the front of the wheel, start easing the corner about 1/8" in from the side. As long as the radius on your wheel is tighter then the radius of your blade, you're in good shape.   

Setting up the bevel angle, I grind the blades to a 27 degree bevel. With blade fastened to the jig, set up and angle fence to keep the established angle. My process for setting the fence starts with sighting it by eye to get in the ball park. Once close spin the wheel by hand and scratch the blade, this way you can see exactly where the wheel is making contact on the bevel. With the tool rest slightly tightened, tap the fence at the front if the wheel needs to shift towards the top of the bevel and tapping at the back to shift towards the bottom.  

Once you see the scratch pattern spanning the entire width of the bevel you are good to go. For people like myself who are less visually inclined, take a sharpie and color in the bevel to make it easier to see the scratches. 

Now you are set to turn that sucker on and with a relaxed stance and steady but not overbearing pressure move the jig side to side on the tool rest grind away that bevel.

Now this takes time and practice to finesse, but you want to grind the bevel, coming as close to the edge as possible without a burr on the wheel. It's safer and protects the flatness of the edge to roll the burr in the stoning process. Will you ruin the blade by picking up a small burr in on the wheel? No way man! Its not the end of the world and you will still be able to get it sharp on the stones.  I only tell you this as proper practice to strive for. 

Water Stones, you got your: coarse stone (1000), hard stone (4000) and polishing stone (8000)

Starting off buy picking up a burr on your coarsest stone. Working the blade in a rocking motion along the stone. Putting pressure down with your thumbs on both edges, starting with your leading thumb down transferring the pressure to the back thumb as your arms are pushing the blade up the stone. Difficult motion to describe but it becomes highly intuitive once put into practice.  As a visual aid to help you out the next three photos depict the motion. 

Next switching to your hard stone and sharpening the blade

and finishing off on your polishing stone

This guy: DMT diamond cone. After working the back of the blade I use the diamond cone to to hone the bevel and work the burr back to the back side.

You will work the diamond cone back and fourth on the bevel with balanced contact to establishing a nice even hone along the top and bottom on the hollow grind. Pinching the cone directly, instead of holding by the handle gives you much better feed back on where contact is being made. More visual aids to help understand the motion in the next 3 pictures

Polishing the hone. Chuck up an 'ol peice of hardwood and turn it into a round around 2" dia.

 Mark off 1 1/2 " sections and smear on some diamond paste. I start with 5 microns working down to 2.5, 1.5, 1, and finishing off with green rouge  

Carefully with the lathe on, your hair safely in a bun, and the blade slightly skewed you will polish the bevel by working down the grits of diamond paste. I'm all about the visuals so again the next three photos will show the motions of this step. Keeping firm contact with the bevel to your round and pushing it forward against the rotation of your polishing blank. 

No lathe? No problem, you can take a dowel and apply the diamond paste or wrap it in wet dry sand paper. 

You will work it across the bevel with the same motion as the diamond cone

Now its back and fourth battle royal between the polishing stone and the strop to remove the burr. 

Working with the end of the strop making firm contact with the bevel pulling from front to back while moving side to side along the bevel. Don't use the strop on the flat back of the blade.

And of course more visuals to give method to my written madness

Within these last two steps you can watch the burr curl off, once all remainder of the burr is gone and you've shaved off all your arm hair, cause you just wanted to cut a few hairs to see how sharp you actually got it, then you are good to go my friends. 

Also friendly reminder: proper maintenance of the blade between uses will keep it from getting dull. I recommend the last two steps of the sharping process: a few passes on the polishing stone and working the bevel with the strop.

Categories: Hand Tools

Close Ups! The challenges of Day 3 of our Workbench Course

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:30am

The third day of our workbench course was a lot of work; hard maple is not too forgiving! We started the day by laying out the dog runs. We used a divider to find the correct spacing between the dogs, then used a hand-saw and chisel to remove most of the waste from each dog hole. […]

The post Close Ups! The challenges of Day 3 of our Workbench Course appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Auto-Regulator chapter one: Breakdown.

James Watriss - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:13am

 I suppose the first entry for this particular series should be about milling up the lumber. There are many, many instances where boards continue around corners, or where the grain continues from the movement case, past the waist of the case, and down the sides of the pedestal. There are so many individual parts to the case, that I didn't want to run the risk of having too many subtle differences in color, or texture, especially around the mitered corners. So, I cut every piece from a couple of huge beams of 12/4 walnut. Well, I tried to, anyway. In the end, I'd cut the front arch 3 separate times before I understood what was going on in the miter joint, so that's actually from a different piece of walnut.

 One of the many grain patterns that I ended up putting to use was to book match the wood around the edges of the front pillars. The pillars started out pretty thick... roughly 3" square in cross section... because they needed to be thick enough to allow for the wide sections at the end, where the miters are cut. At that point, the material is about 2 3/4" from edge to the widest point in the miter. But the blank is also square in cross section to allow for the sculpting that happened on the inside. (Click on the top photo, and take a better look at the contours on the inside of the case)

The diagonal grain near the top was a fluke. That's just what I happened to get when I opened up the beam... the grain went from being in-line with the board to 30-something degrees on angle from the face.

In the end, the pillars are a 3-part lamination: There's a 2 1/4" square core, which is destined to be sculpted down on the inside, faced on the outside with 3/4" thick pieces that are seamlessly mitered around that front edge. Those face pieces continue down into the pedestal, but the grain's pretty straight, so it's not so obvious at that point. And, the pedestal's not an open structure, so the solid core isn't there. (There's no need to sculpt anything, and we needed room for the clock's power supply, anyway.)

The pedestal parts aren't solid... they're all 3/4" thick pieces that are mitered into panels, and those panels are, in turn, mitered on the edges into a box. But, adjacent pieces along the edge from side to top were contiguous in the original stock, so that had to be taken into account.

Put simply, there was a lot to keep track of when I was breaking down the 12/4 stock... what pieces were book matched, or continuous, and with what. I went through (and broke) many crayons in the process, making notes on all pieces to indicate what went with what. Front pieces for the pedestal, orientation to keep grain continuity with the movement case pillars, or to keep continuity with the upper faces of the pedestal... Not exactly a Rubik's cube, but it felt a little like that sometimes.

Note on the photos: All of the pictures of the finished piece were taken by David Schonbrun.

Categories: General Woodworking

Workbench Class: Getting the perfect fit with Tenons, Dog Runs, Bases – Day 4

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:00am

The fourth day of our workbench class began by fitting the tenons into their correct mortises; it can be quite time-consuming to make sure that each one fits perfectly. A shoulder plane is handy for this task. We then glued the dog runs that we cut yesterday, on to the bench tops. We then finished fitting all […]

The post Workbench Class: Getting the perfect fit with Tenons, Dog Runs, Bases – Day 4 appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools


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