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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!


Chinese Gate Bench-Progress 5

Greg Merritt - By My Own Hands - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 4:37pm

Woke up to about 8″ of heavy wet snow this morning.  This mess continued all day and is still coming down as I write this.  Trying to get to work Monday is gonna be fun.  Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program.

The plan for today was to continue shaping parts.  But first I had to disassemble the dry fit from last time.  This went a little easier than I had anticipated but still took about half an hour of slowly knocking each joints apart.  Once I had the bench broken down to its basic elements I turned my attention to the long rails.  The first order of business was to create a template to ensure uniformity.  I used a scrap piece of cheap plywood to make my pattern from.  A little divider gymnastics and I had the layout completed.  Using a coping saw I cut the rough shape.  I followed this with 4-in-hand rasp and finally knocked off the sharp edges with sandpaper.  Using my newly minted pattern, I marked out each of the long rails.


I then used my bow saw to cut the rough shape.  Then I clamped the two rails together in the vise and used the rasp to refine the shape to the line.  Some further cleanup with a file and sandpaper and I was ready to add the heavy bevel to the edges.


To create the edge bevel I marked guidelines with a pencil using my finger as a gauge.  Most of the bevel I was able to cut with a spokeshave save the inside curve portions.  For this area I simply used a chisel bevel down and pared to the guidelines.  A little sanding and the long rails were done.


I must have been moving pretty slow today because that is about all I was able to get done.  I did manage to profile one leg and fabricate the small blocks that stiffen the end of the long rails.  The leg profile is subtle but adds a bit of dimension to the piece.  I used the same moulding plane for this as I used for shaping the short rails.  Of course it’s the only moulding plane I own, so the choice was easy.


Tomorrow I’ll finish profiling the other three legs and add some edge details to the seat.  Then it will be time for final assembly.

Greg Merritt

“Get off my Feckin’ Land!”

Pegs and 'Tails - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 3:18pm
The last successful invasion of Britain by France was, as everyone knows, in 1066 when the Normans stepped ashore at Pevensey in Sussex with 10,000 men and 4,000 official embroiderers. (The majority of English didn’t actually consider the event an … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Shadow Box

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 3:02pm

The cart wheels were dropped off and then picked up from a local sand blaster. Next they went to a friends auto shop for a paint job. While waiting for their return I began to make a shadow box for my wife.

Beginning with visions of using some left over Sapele and imagining the beautiful look of the dovetailed corners I quickly had to reverse direction when the word paint was spoken. Nothing wrong with paint except I’m not a great painter and I have no intention of using a beautiful wood which will be hidden from view. Fortunately I found some pine in the corner and pressed on.



No dovetails have been cut since the small tool chest project so I warmed up with a couple pieces of scrap. After marking the tails I set to work sawing and then chopping out the waste.

You will notice in the pictures that I used a piece of scrap wood on the first cut, then used it as a guide for the other dovetails. This ensured they were all similar and made the layout process much quicker. Paul Sellers showed me this trick when I attended his foundations class.


I was also greatly helped by a freshly sharpened Bad Axe Saw. When I was at the saw sharpening seminar, Mark Harrell took the saw and gave it a little personal service. It’s cutting great. Although I sharpen most of my own saws there is nothing like have a pro do it for you.

With the tails cut I chopped out the pins and within the space of three hours I went from some boards to a dovetailed frame.

Next step is to cut the grooves for the glass. I used a couple of tricks to get this done. The first is to secure the boards using a clamp into my bench vise. this gives me all of the security I need and access for the plow plane. The plow works great everywhere except those ends where I can’t break through and expose the groove. I could fix this with some blocks inserted at the end of the process or switch tools. In this case I grabbed my router plane and using the guide finished up the grooves with little fuss.The final piece of construction is making the rabbit (rebate) for the back panel.



Categories: Hand Tools

Making masts for Ma Bell

A Woodworker's Musings - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 12:03pm

Recently I decided that I needed a larger draw knife for chamfering seat planks.  So, I went to Ebay and was surprised to find a significant number of large draw knives (12-14″ blades, 22-24″ overall) that were available and most were in surprisingly good condition.  In the descriptions, most sellers referred to them as “mast makers” draw knives.  At first, that made sense to me.  Certainly, masts, spars and booms were made using draw knives for shaping.  What didn’t make sense was that most of these knives didn’t appear to be old enough to have been around during the “age of sail”.   In several descriptions there were makers marks that gave dates.  One example was “L.I. & J. White, Buffalo, 1837″.  The seller had assumed that 1837 was the date of manufacture when, in fact, 1837 was, more likely, a founding date for the L.I.& J. White company.  Then other tell-tale words popped out in a number of descriptions; “Bell System”, “Western Electric”, “U.S. Army”.  A bell went off in my head (no pun intended).

These days, we tend to forget that the construction of the communications and power delivery systems that we take so much for granted, are, relatively modern phenomena.  The rural electrification system was largely a product of U.S. government efforts to modernize the country’s infrastructure after the Great Depression. It became immediately clear that these “mast maker’s” draw knives were used to make the “masts” that supported the nation’s telegraphic, telephonic and power lines.  They were used to make utility poles and cross-arms.

A 24" (woa) "mast maker's" draw knife

A 24″ (woa) “mast maker’s” draw knife

A "mast maker's" draw knife with a thicknessing gauge bar

A “mast maker’s” draw knife with a thicknessing gauge bar

Today’s utility poles are manufactured with large machinery in centralized plants, then transported to the field.  In earlier times, utility poles were often made from appropriate trees removed when right-of-ways were being cleared.  Many of these “field made” poles are still in place around rural areas across the country.  During WWI and WWII, telegraphic communications were critical.  Where do you string telegraph wire, on poles.  Ergo, “U.S. Army.”

Utility companies and all braches of the Defense Department bought massive amounts of forestry and woodworking equipment and continue to do so.  And, it was always of high quality.  For example, many of us are in possession of bit braces and all-metal Yankee drills that bear the “Bell System” logo.

Kelly provided felling axes to “Ma Bell”.  Stanley was a huge supplier of all sorts of tools for the “utility” trade.  The number of well known, U.S. companies that provided tools to Bell, General Electric, etc. is immense.  Sadly, many of these firms are no longer with us.  They fell victim to the advance of technology.

Broad hatchet with hole for tightening square cross-arm bolts

Broad hatchet with hole for tightening square head cross-arm bolts (Bell System)

So the next time you pay your phone bill, give “Ma Bell” a little nod of thanks and respect.  “She” helped American hand tool manufacturers and continues to provide “unplugged” woodworkers with quality, vintage tools.




Categories: Hand Tools

View Out the Window

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 10:47am

Normally I can stand at my bench and gaze at the mountains, late afternoon especially as the barn falls into shadow and the mountain crest ablaze in sunlight.  Not so today.  I can barely make out the log barn only forty yards away.



We’ve got near white-out conditions, so my only practical means of transport is simple perambulation up to and back from the barn.  Though the temp outside is brisk, it is cozy in the shop as the wood stove and kerosene heater combine to keep it nearly 60 degrees.  I’ll glue up the last face board on the Studley benchtop in a bit, then work later today to compile my information on how much protection extortion I owe GovCo.

new threads for Saw vise - neue Spindeln für die Sägekluppe

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 10:42am
Ich habe meine Sägekluppe vopr einier Zeit mit Handräderns ausgerüstet. Als Gewindespindeln habe ich einfach Schlossschrauben M12 verwendet. Leider ist das M12 Gewinde nicht wirklich dafür geadacht, ständig unter Belastung bewegt zu werden. Das Gewinde ist runter.

I upgraded my saw vise with handwheels some time ago. I took "Schlossschrauben" M12 as threads. But they weren't made for moving under tension. The threads are down.

Als Ersatz habe ich Trapezgewindespindeln und -muttern 14/4 besorgt.

I've replaced them with some acme or trapezoid threads and nuts 14/4

Unglaublich viel bessere Kraftübertragung.

Power transmission is much better now.

Categories: Hand Tools

Campaign Hardware Question (& Answer)

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 8:27am

The question below on campaign hardware came over the transom for Christoper Schwarz. If you’re looking for more info on the subject, click here for the search results on Chris’ blog – he’s written a lot about it, tried out hardware from a number of suppliers, and discussed how to install it. I have spent months researching campaign hardware, yet remain unable to reach a decision.  Though discussed multiple times […]

The post Campaign Hardware Question (& Answer) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Building Bradley’s Crib Part 4 – Final Assembly

Rainford Restorations - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 7:42am

Molding plays with light and shadow, it blends transitions and it can be pleasing to touch. I’m glad molding has so many positive features as I had to make a LOT of it to finish off this project. Below is a quick walk through of what it took to complete the woodworking on this project.

Making Molding:

Sampling of the MANY moldings

Sampling of the MANY moldings

As you can see from the photo above a had to mill a lot of stock and produce a lot of profiles to produce all the moldings necessary for this project. I won’t go into the minutia of each profile, or how to create molding using a handheld or table mounted router as that has been covered to death elsewhere. I will talk about a few of the things I do to help get consistent results when using a router.

1.) Make sure your router bits are clean and sharp. Make sure to use a bit cleaner to remove any pitch left on the bits. A diamond card or file can also be used to tune up a bit that is not cutting as well as it used to.

2.) Feather-boards. Whether they are store bought or shop made a feather-board is a great way to help keep stock where you want it. This project required many thin moldings with several different profiles on the same piece of stock. To ensure that the stock stayed exactly where I wanted it I used feather-boards to keep the stock pressed firmly against the table top and against the fence, both before and after the cutter. Without this seemingly heavy handed setup the stock could flex and you’d have to run it a few times. A push stick is also nice to have nearby. For this project the blanks were 2 to 6′ long so I was able to safely move the stock through the cutter with my hands kept at a safe distance from the cutter by virtue of the feather boards.

Extensive use of feather-boards on the router station

Extensive use of feather-boards on the router station

3.) When possible, try to be aware of the grain orientation when passing it through the bit to minimize tear-out

Profiled sanding blocks

Profiled sanding blocks

4.) After coming out of the router I hand sand the profiles to remove any scallops left by the bit. For tight or very complex profiles I will also use a profiled sander (a bit of formed rubber (shown above), piece of dowel or block of wood) that will help me get the sandpaper into the portion(s) of the profile I want to sand.

Molding profile details

Molding profile details

5.) Use the right tool for the job. For the cap moldings above I used a dado set on the table saw (with feather-boards there as well) to create the dadoes, and round-over bits in the router table for the round-overs. (You certainly could use a straight bit to cut the dadoes on the router table, but it would involve taking a few passes which takes more time and could introduce error).


Gluing up the bed rails

Gluing up the bed rails

With the moldings all milled, sanded and cut to size it was time to glue up the various assemblies. Shown above I am gluing up the top and bottom molding onto the adult bed rails.

Shop made jig for drilling centered holes

Shop made jig for drilling centered holes

After the glue dried overnight on the rails it was time to drill holes for the through bolts using a shop made jig constructed out of plywood. This made it very easy to line up and drill consistently centered holes on the ends of the rails. I also made use of some of the stopped drilling techniques outlined here.

Clamping each section using extended bar clamps

Clamping each section using extended bar clamps

Next up was gluing up all of the large sections of the bed — head-board, foot-boards, side panels etc. Given the width of this project I had to break out the Bessey K-Body rail extenders which allow me to bolt two K-Body clamps together to effectively make an even longer clamp. The connector section also works as an extra set of feet to keep the clamps level. I used hot hide glue again for its long open time and compatibility with finishes. Once in the clamps I checked everything for square, adjusted as needed and let the section dry overnight.

Attaching the cap.

Attaching the cap.

Once the panel was dry it was time to glue on the top cap/hand rail. Next I cut the cove molding to size and glued it in place with the help of some dowel cut-offs.

 Installing the slats:

Cutting spacers on the cross-cut sled

Cutting spacers on the cross-cut sled

I milled and test fit the slat spacers when I produced the molding above. I gently eased the corners with some sandpaper and cut them to length using my crosscut sled on the table saw and a stop block that was clamped in place against the rear fence of the sled. My OCD side also kept them in order so the grain matched across each panel.

Installing the slats is a bit of challenge so I did a full dry fit/test run before doing it for real with glue. You start from the center slat which you mark with center lines on blue tape (that way you can remove the lines easily as they are only on the tape) on the slat and the panel and install at an angle to insert the slat and then straighten out when it is firmly in the top and bottom slot. I then install spacers to the left and right of the slat and repeat the process. When I get near the end of the assembly I install the last 3 slats at once (otherwise there would not enough room to angle them into place), move them to where they need to be and finish gluing in the spacer blocks.

Installing the slats

Installing the slats

When laying out the slats in the dry run I also examined the individual pieces and laid them out so that the completed piece had even grain patterns and tones. I also made a few extra slats so I could swap in grain I liked etc. Some of those extra pieces were recycled into a baby blanket display rod here.

Slats installed

Slats installed

Once I completed all the assemblies, I test fit the bed in all three configurations. (You can see several photos of that process over on my public Facebook page here.)

Test fit

Test fit

Now it was time to pick a finish and head out to the finishing booth. To cap off this series, I’ll be talking about choosing and using a finish.

If you’d like to read some other posts related to this project as they get posted please check out this link here.

Take care,

Filed under: Children's Projects, Made In The USA, Traditional Woodworking, Woodworking Techniques Tagged: Bradley's Crib, Cherry, Cherry Crib, Crib, Full Size Bed, molding, Toddler Bed, Wood Magazine, Wood Magazine 3 in 1 Bed
Categories: General Woodworking

A Bench By Any Other Name Is Still...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 5:52am
I spent a lot of time thinking about the type of bench I wanted to build. I read everything Christopher Schwarz wrote on the subject, I sent away for plans from different online sources that I thought might give me a greater insight into what would work for me and I wrote a great deal about the thoughts I had regarding my perfect bench here, on my blog. Rereading those posts was a real trip for me as some of my ideas were really out there.

In the end, though, all of it was for naught.

Back in 2002 my son was a budding chef who wanted to hone his skills by cooking up a storm, even at home. To make his life easier, he decided to build himself a cooking centre, an almost 5' long bench set to a height that was perfect for cooking, a good butcher block top and lots of storage for the tools of his trade below. That summer he came down to the marina where my wife and I were moored and he joined me in the yard to use my tools to get his bench built.

This is what he came up with...

I had started tearing the chef's bench down before I realized
I should take a photo of it. The hole at the top-left in the
photo was filled with a drawer that matched the one
on the right which, at the time I shot this photo,
was in pieces.

Less than a year later, he was taking his first step up the career ladder and onto a rung that happened to be in Scottsdale, Arizona. His moving budget was limited, as was the size of his new abode, so he had to find a place to store his cooking bench. Naturally, his old man supplied the answer and my wife and I have been dragging his build around with us ever since. 

While we were on the boat the bench sat in storage. In our first residence, after we moved back to dry land, I set the butcher block top up to slide in and out, doing so without having to screw anything to it, and we used it as a breakfast counter in the kitchen. In our second residence, it served as a sideboard in my office and it held a lot of my junk. In our current residence, it again sat in my office and I stored a good portion of my tool collection in it.

I have been messing around with a remake of the tool cabinet I made over ten years ago and by the beginning of last summer I realized that no matter what I did, it was never going to hold my entire collection. I realized something had to be done and decided that maybe my son's chef's bench might be the answer. 

The bench had a lot of pluses going for it when it came to doing a remake of it. First and foremost, the results would be a father/son collaboration, even though the individual participation would be over a decade apart. Added to that is the fact that the bench is built like a Sherman Tank and with a base that is 51" long, it would hold far more tools than my cabinet's 36" wide base could ever hold. It took me a while to build up the nerve to ask, but ask I finally did and I was surprised at my son's reaction. Either my son had no intention of ever wanting the thing back again, or he too liked the idea of the father/son collaboration. For whatever reason, he was quick to accept it.

Hauling the thing out to the patio this past summer, I went to work modifying it. This is the results...

The first thing I had to attack was its height. My ideal height for a workbench is 30" while a chef's work height is 36". To bring the top down, I cut 1" off each of the legs and cut 7½" off the top edge of the carcass. This brought the height down to 27½". I will be adding levelling feet to the bottom of each leg, so that will bring the height up to 28½". I added a structural frame inside and flush with the top edge and a set-back frame to support the top. This set-back frame adds the remaining 1½" needed to bring the overall height to the required 30".

The structural frame...

To install this frame, I cut 8" off the tops of the birch plywood sides and back panels and 7½" off the tops of the eight legs. I then built a 2" x 4" poplar frame with pegged corners that was rabbeted out to fit inside the carcass and rest on the top and back panels and fit around the protruding leg tops. I cut a matched pair of rabbets in the frame and the carcass' centre panels to tie them together. The frame was then glued into place and screwed around the edges, as shown in the photo. I think this will give the already solid structure an even better chance of withstanding the lateral pressures workbenches have to endure.

I then built the set-back frame...

I made the set-back frame out of 1½" x 1½" poplar, pegged at the corners, to use to attach the butcher-block top. I made this frame 3" narrower and 3" shorter than the outer dimensions of the structure frame for two reasons. First, this 1½" set-back all-round will allow clamps to reach further back into the bench for glue-ups and holding stock. Secondly, it gives a break between the top's edge and the top drawers so I will have room to remove tools from those drawers as well as helping me see into the back of them. The top overhangs the carcass by 2" in front and I am using full-extension and self-closing drawer slides, so with the additional 1½" spacing, I should have full access to all the top drawers. To allow the top to be removable, I used six ¼" machine bolts screwed up through the structure frame and into T-nuts mounted in the set-back frame.

The bench will have 21 drawers by the time it is completed, then the whole thing will be covered in maple veneer. So far I have only the three top drawers made and installed as I have been held up going further because I am currently making my wife happy with a redecoration of the entire house. I will blog more about the making of the drawers once the job at hand is completed. If you are married, you will know that we have to stop what we want to do and do our wives' bidding if we ever want sex again in this lifetime, so bare with me on this.

Along with the 21 drawers, I will also be making a new top section to hold planes and saws, as well as some of those tools that I really enjoy looking at. To make the whole thing workable until this is done, I cut the top storage panels from my old cabinet and set them up on the new. Currently, this is what I am working with...



Categories: Hand Tools

Slabbing Studley

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 5:21am

With three of the four lamina glued up for the replica Studley workbench top, I got the assemblage flipped over and moved onto my bench for planing the oak core surface for the final lamina, the top (African) mahogany boards.  I must say that even now this hunk weighs a ton.  I can barely flip it over by myself.


I like to use a toothing plane to work surfaces like this, and using my favorite toother I went after the surface this morning.  My care in the assembly to this point paid off as it took me only about an hour to get it ready for the final glue-up.

Once the final lamina gets glued on, I will trim the unit to size, fit the vises to it, then work on the edges.

Stay tuned.

Window to my workshop 87

Karl Holtey - From the Workshop - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 3:46am
It has been a long time but the Chariot Plane is now finished. I have some No 983 planes to complete and then I am moving on to something new.
Categories: Hand Tools

almost there......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 2:34am
Over night temperatures are supposed to be 5F or less. Saturday and Sunday are forecasted to be full of snow, rain, sleet, and just be a nasty miserable weekend. Did I mention that it is supposed to be record breaking cold too? The Alaska woodworker posted a few days back that it was 48F in Anchorage Alaska but in the northeast we are seeing way below average temperatures for this time of the year. It seems to be popular subject on most the blogs I have been reading.  I'm hoping that things turn around next week with a heat wave and temps around freezing.

shaker drying rack
I haven't forgotten this. I just haven't devoted any time to completing it. I got 3 -  1lb coats of shellac on the rails and the painted parts. So it is almost ready to apply poly to it. I have to finish sanding it down first.

paint nib that got sanded off
The shellac over the paint worked with controlling the dust. I sanded down these two uprights and the shellac dust wiped right off. I'll be applying shellac to my clocks in the boneyard. The little white dot on the left upright I'm undecided on what to do with it. This going to live in the cellar so I may leave it as is.

poly is waiting
I've had the poly here on the boiler for over a week. It's warmed up and ready to go whenever I am ready to use it.

no stupid wood tricks overnight
The reference face is still straight and flat. If it didn't move overnight, I doubt it'll move before I could make a panel out of it.

1/32" over a 1/2"
I checked around the four edges and this is the thinnest part of the board. I met my target thickness with a wee bit to spare.

this won't work
There isn't going to be a lot of meat on one of the groove outside edges. The outside edge on this looks like it'll be around an 1/8" and I want it to be 3/16" minimum. That is the same as the width of the groove.

the opposite end of board #1
I used this board to get the first panel out of. This opposite end of the same board is bowed but no where as much as the other end.

can't drive a truck under this bow
these 3 boards are bowed more than the one I have on the workbench
a strong 1/16" less than 3/4"
I flattened and made a reference face and ran my gauge line . I tried to maximize how thick this will come out.

caught the grain on this gauge line
The board is over a 1/4" wider than I need it. I can safely plane this gauge line off and run it again. This time I will pay more attention to what I'm doing and keep the marking gauge up tight against the reference face.

got a reference face and edge, and one corner square
the A miter
This is the best miter I have of the four. It is almost 99.999999% dead nuts on all the 45 faces.

the C miter
This miter is pretty good at the toe but if runs in a bit at the heel. This is the worse of the miter faces. It closes up with clamp pressure and disappears so I am not going to give in to urge to go nutso and get this one 99.999999% dead nuts.

C miter is dead square when clamped
I think I am starting to obsess about this too much. Part of the problem is that I looked at the frame Jonas did again at lunch time.  He did his at sea with a hacksaw. My deck wasn't pitching or rolling and I had a nice carcass saw with a  workbench to do my frame on. The results he gets with the what he has to work with just amazes me. It's proof that it is the person and not the tool that matters.

marked for the groove again on the frame
I sanded the marks off yesterday flushing the faces of the miters. The story stick I marked yesterday lined right up with marks again.

sawing the L to R
The width I'll plane to fit and leave it shy for some expansion and contraction. The L/R I want to be right on and use that to stiffen and support the frame. I sawed just off on the waste side of the knife line and I'll plane down to it.

something is wrong here
As I was sawing this to the L/R I thought that is looked too short. I put the story stick on it to check it and I was sawing on the long tic mark.

the culprit
I used the correct tic mark for laying out the long measurement. What I didn't do, twice, was to layout from the correct end. Instead of laying it out from the left side to the tic mark (like in the pic), I did it from the right side to the tic mark.

I cut off the right side of the story stick so I won't have a repeat episode of this. I'll use this panel for something else and I'll make a another tomorrow. In spite of the tonight's doings, I'm going to reward myself by taking my wife out for fish and chips. I'll be having the fish and chips and who knows what she'll pick to eat. I mean, what could possibly be better the fish and chips I ask you?

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Why were Animal Crackers made with string for a handle?
answer - They were originally a christmas novelty when introduced in 1902. The string was for hanging the box on the xmas tree.

The Skottbenk

Hackney Tools - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 1:35am

I found this wonderful post about the ‘skottbenk’ over on Roald Renmaelmo’s website the other day. The skottbenk is an almost forgotten type
of bench, (Actually, it’s more a massive ‘sticking board‘ with two large ‘Moxon-vice’ type boards that clamp the long stuff and hold it vertically. It’s essentially a standalone version of having your long board clamped against the apron of your Nicholson bench.
The difference is, that with a custom bench plane called a ‘skottokse’, you can raise the board to a depth you know will be shot once the plane reaches its set depth, (the plane has a rebated iron, with deeper sides).
It all makes a lot of sense in the video, and for those struggling with perfecting their form with a Stanley No.7, or unable to afford (or want) a machine jointer, it’s food for thought!

Categories: Hand Tools

Countdown to Handworks, Iowa, USA 15-16th May 2015.

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 1:27am

This unique hand tool event is approaching fast, yes less than 3 months to go so get planning!
Above is the eager crowd form the first event in 2013, waiting for the doors to open.
Below (in the middle) is the man responsible for organising the show, Jammel from Bench Crafted.

There'll be plenty of opportunity to try and buy a whole range of quality hand tools with not a router in sight, or earshot! I'll be at the show for the first time demonstrating my dovetail guides and showing my range of hand tools. I'll be meeting many of my customers for the first time and I'm really looking forward to it.

The magnificent Studley tool chest will also be on display in nearby Cedar Rapids, a rare opportunity to come face to face with this amazing piece. Details of this years show and Studley visit are here http://handworks.co/

Categories: Hand Tools

The strength in a mortise and tenon

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 12:43am
The glue line of a properly constructed mortise and tenon joint will almost never break from external load. Other things might break but not that. To get a good sense of this, let’s think about what’s going on in just a small joint with a tenon 3″ wide by 1″ long. There are 6 square […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Old. Growth.

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 7:22pm

In processing the lumber for my marquetry press, two of the shorter components ended up unusable.  Too many nails.

The simple solution would be to pick up some green construction lumber at the local yard.  So I did.  Cheap, fast, easy.

Check out the difference in growth rings.  The reclaimed wood, from a 100 year old barn has fine, tight growth rings.  While the piece I picked up today is very coarse and has less than 1/4 of the growth rings per inch.

Old growth, fine-grained wood on top.  New, green, fast growth on the bottom.

Old growth, fine-grained wood on top. New, green, fast growth on the bottom.

I can probably use the new wood, but I don’t like the look of it.  I’m going to try gluing up some of the scraps instead.

Categories: General Woodworking

But I can’t get woodworking this week!!!

The Light Hearted Woodworker - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 6:32pm

So today is the last day of Get Woodworking Week 2015 and I am 2500 miles from my shop.  So I haven’t got any woodworking done.

However–one of the perks of my job is traveling and staying in fancy hotels and at the moment I am suffering through 70 Degree weather out in Hollywood (it is 10 Degrees back in NY).  So I am not complaining.  But I will be here for three weeks which means about a month with no shop time.  Bummer, but I keep my mind on the wood–I still read the blogs and as a woodworker I am always on the lookout for interesting furniture and art built from wood. I constantly snap pics with my phone of things that peak my interest, either that I admire and think “I could build that” or pieces that I look at and think “What the ….?”

So instead of sharing what I’ve been up to in the shop I thought I would share some photos of pieces I’ve found travels.

I’ll start with some of the woodwork in my hotel in Beverly Hills.

This is a beautiful wall of wood 'plates' in the bar of the hotel

This is a beautiful wall of wood ‘plates’ in the bar of the hotel

A detail of one of the plates

A detail of one of the plates

Panel doors that close off the door.  CNC'd  but a very slick design.

Panel doors that close off the door. CNC’d but a very slick design.

A detail of the same bar panels

A detail of the same bar panels.

I call these the Into the Woods panels.  Used in the restaurant  as dividing walls.  As a lighting designer I am big fan of these.  This is  also where I get coffee every morning!!

I call these the “Into the Woods” panels. Used in the restaurant as dividing walls. As a lighting designer I am big fan of these. This is also where I get coffee every morning!!

Some wacky stick pile art in the corner.  Kinda cool though.

Some wacky stick pile art in the corner. Kinda cool though.

It’s fun to travel to different parts of the country and see what they see as art and decor. The next photos are from Miami, a place where I don’t think any woodworker lives!  Plaid wool shirts are a little hot I suppose.

This is the root of a tree cut into a table and gold leafed.  yup.....

This is the root of a tree cut into a table and gold leafed. yup…..

...and here is a gold leafed stump.

…and here is a gold leafed stump.

These slabs were standing in the lobby as art work.  I am a huge fan of live edge slabs, but felt like I was walking through the lumber yard.  Felt really out of place in South Beach.

These slabs were standing in the lobby as art work. I am a huge fan of live edge slabs, but felt like I was walking through the lumber yard. Felt really out of place in South Beach.

But who am I to judge.  Besides, some woodworker can make a lot of money selling these.... I am looking at you  Dale Osowski!!

But who am I to judge. Besides, some woodworker can make a lot of money selling these…. I am looking at you Dale Osowski!!

A different hotel in Miami had woodgrain elevators.  Again, very odd on the beach.

A different hotel in Miami had woodgrain elevators. Again, very odd on the beach.

Here is a bench made from a beam in the hallway of a hotel.  the rest of the decor was cement walls and very industrial, so this fit, but certainly goes into the category of "I can do that".

Here is a bench made from a beam in the hallway of a hotel. the rest of the decor was cement walls and very industrial, so this fit, but certainly goes into the category of “I can do that”.

This Thimble Table served as my coaster for many nights.  ;)

This Thimble Table served as my coaster for many nights. ;)

 This is a Hollywood Dust Collector!!  This is from the scene shop on the Paramount lot.  Everything is big in Hollywood!

And finally:
This is a Hollywood Dust Collector!! This is from the scene shop on the Paramount lot. Everything is big in Hollywood!

So while I can’t be in the shop this week, woodworking is always on my mind.  I see it everywhere I go.  That’s what makes it such a passionate hobby.

That said:  Tomorrow I am sneaking out of work and headed to the Sam Maloof house outside of LA for a tour!!  So excited!  I’ll report back….

Categories: Hand Tools

Ultra Cheep Lapping Plates

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 6:07pm

Cosmologists assert that the four phenomena holding the Universe together are 1) strong inter atomic forces, 2) weak inter atomic forces, 3) gravity, and 4) magnetism.  Which shows how little they know, as somehow they overlooked 5) duct tape, and 6) shellac.

What has this got to do with The Barn?

Well, nothing actually, but it does lead me to another fundamental phenomenon of the Universe, namely inertia: a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  For the purposes of this post Chris Schwarz and Joe McGlynn fall into the latter camp, I in the former.  These two guys seem to be the very definition of peripatetic.  I am, shall we say, more contemplative.  Yeah, that’s the word, contemplative.  (“Lazy” was so much less mellifluous).

One of the things I really like about my studio in the barn is a dedicated sharpening station, and thanks to the inspiration of plane makers Konrad Sauer, Raney Nelson, and Ron Brese, and inventive scrounging genius Mike Siemsen I have long recognized the utility and hence have desired an elegant lapping plate for that work station.  Recently I was at the building recycling center and saw a stack of granite splash boards, probably from a kitchen where the users finally came to their senses and had the granite ripped out in favor of some nice butcher block wood slab counters.


Anyway, I selected two pieces that fit my needs, and they were a whole fifty-cents apiece.  They are 4-inches wide and 24-inches long, which makes them a perfect fit for 4×24 sanding belts for a portable belt sander.  yes, I do own one; I have found no better way to sharpen lawnmower blades.


Using the polished granite surface as my base, and spray adhesive as the binder, I first tore the sanding belt once crosswise, then applied it to the granite.  Voilay!  An instant lapping plate.  Given my two pieces of back splash, I can mount four different grits of sanding belt simultaneously, so regardless of the delicacy of the task I am ready to roll. Or lap, as the case may be.

Coffee Table Finished

I'm a OK guy - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 4:29pm
The coffee table is finished. Well almost, I still have to attach the top which I will do tomorrow. I've had enough fun for today, my back is yelling No Mas No Mas followed by Cerveza Por Favor.  I think I'm going to listen.

Simple Type of Indian Home Cot

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 4:03pm


ONE of our Indian readers sends us particulars for the making of a simple home cot, which we think will be of general interest.

The cot consists of a skeleton framework supported by four legs, the overall height being 18 ins. The length of the cot is 5 ft. 6 ins., the width 3 ft. 6 ins. The mattress is made by weaving a good strong tape mesh as suggested in the top right corner of the plan drawing. The method of jointing the side and end rails of the cot to the legs is somewhat unusual and, if the maker is not familiar with the joint, he is advised to make a rough model of one corner before proceeding with his work. Fig. 1 shows a plan of the cot as seen from above. Fig. 2 is the front elevation, showing on the right a turned leg as suggested by our Indian contributor, whilst on the left we show a square tapered leg having a foot which is suitable for those makers who have no lathe. The wood used for construction of the article is generally teakwood, but there is no reason why such wood as ash, beech or birch should not be used. Fig. 3 gives an end elevation.

The following is a list of the wood required: Four legs, 1 ft. 7 ins. by 3 ins. by 3 ins.; two long bars, 5 ft. 7 ins by 3 ins. by 1-1/2 ins. and two end bars 3 ft. 7 ins. by 3-1/2 ins. by 1-1/2 ins. An arch has been allowed in the length of the bars, but they should finish in width and thickness to the sizes given.

At Fig. 4 we show a sketch of the cross and end bar mortised into the leg, and it will be seen that a turned hardwood peg fits into a suitably provided hole and locks the tenons, which are dry jointed (not glued) in position.

The head of this turned peg forms an ornament or finish at the top of the leg and it should of course fit tightly in position so as to prevent the youngster from pulling it out. Fig. 5 gives a sketch of the end and cross bars in their relative positions when they are apart from the leg. At Fig. 6 is given a sketch of the end bar and cross bar when the cot is fixed in position, but in this illustration the leg is purposely left out of the drawing for a clear representation. Fig. 7 shows the joints of the leg portion when the part of the leg above the line (A, Fig. 4) is sawn off. The hardwood peg is shown at Fig. 8. The above methods of illustrating the joint have been chosen because the interlacing of so many dotted lines in the ordinary sketch makes it next to impossible for a worker who is not familiar with the joint to follow an ordinary drawing.

If beech, birch or ash is used it may be stained either mahogany or walnut colour, after which it may be given a coat of brush polish and when this is hard the work may be wax polished. If the cot is made in teak wood it may be finished as above, but without staining.

We are indebted to Mr. S. V. Ramesad, of Beswada, India, for the above particulars. (600)

— from The Woodworker magazine, May 1925

Filed under: Campaign Furniture, Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools


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