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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...


Writing Arm Chair in a Week!!!

Around The Shop - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:20pm

Ok, it has only been 4 days of the writing arm class but these guys are flying by with great velocity but with extreme quality. It is always a pleasure teaching chair making alumni. I won't lie. I had reservations taking on such a class with so much detail but so far this has been so much fun. I can't believe they pay me for this. You can see below John (right) and Martin (left) day one working on spindles.
By the end of day 2 they had the spindles roughed out and the crest carved and bent.
Day three started with drilling and reaming the seat with lasers. Wow! Check out Martin's snazzy ebony reamer that Tim Manney made. What's next Tim, ivory reamers? 
 Day three and the seats were carved and all the stretchers were measured and turned.
 Day four John carving the knuckle. There is only one on this chair since the other side is a writing arm.
 Martin carving his knuckle. Both guys are making right handed desks.
 John fine tuning his legged up chair on day four. He's getting good use of the chair makers workbench.
 Fantastic work. These are museum quality chairs these guys are making. The bottom half is complete and all the carving is done by the end of day four. The next two days should have the chair complete. Saturday we start the writing arm and yes....dovetailed drawers!! Stay tuned to see how they turn out.

Categories: Hand Tools

Keeping My Head Above Water.

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:43pm
As a lot of you know I'm neck deep in the middle of a project I've been toiling with for years. I'm writing a book on medieval furniture specifically the pieces shown in the Maciejowski Bible (AKA the Morgan Bible, or The Crusader's Bible). Currently I'm finishing up some of the measured drawings and broad stroke concepts for a lecture I'm giving on November 30th at the Castlerock Museum of Arms and Armor.

Casting about for additional resources to corroborate the design and construction decisions I'm making can be difficult. Often I have to tease the details out of a dozen varied other sources, other times I have to make an educated guess. But often I the other resources I find are like little Lewis Carol's rabbit holes and they threaten to swallow me up in an afternoon of distraction.

Today I found one page that nearly distracted the whole project. It's a surviving Miniature from the Turin-Milan Book of Hours created around 1420 - 1425. A book of hours is a devotional book, illustrating specific scenes or lessons from the bible In the days of yore they were often beautifully illuminated (fancy artful calligraphy) and contained miniatures (illustrated depiction of a certain passage). It's a depiction of the birth of John The Baptist and I think there's enough information in this one page to write an entire project furniture book. Let's take a closer look.

Here's the full page, but let's look a little closer at the larger top portion that depicts the birthing bed chamber.

I count up eight different builds within this one frame. That's enough for a book! Let me show you.

First there's this obviously central aumbry. It's fantastic with the details and the carvings, It looks nearly as tall as the woman standing next to it. You can see the hardware and even tell which way the grain is running. I may have to build this piece eventually anyway.

Next obvious is the hutch chest on the left hand side. I have built one of these before and I plan to build more in the future, possibly even offering them as a class.

That's just two, but its a really great start.

The woman in the green dress is seated on a triangle shaped stool with a cushion. I can tell it's a triangle shaped stool because there's another one all the way to the right.

A good depiction and evidence of the existence of this style of chair back to early 1400's in France. Standing before the chair I believe is a distaff for the drop spindle spinning of flax fibers into linen thread.

In the back doorway is a Gandalf looking figure sitting upon a cushioned chest and reading his signed copy of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. These low boxes can be found in the furniture record. To Gandalf's left looks to be another triangle stool.

Above the door is a cool knick-nack shelf.

Last, but not least, there's a turned bowl and wooden spoon on the floor in the foreground.

That makes
1: The aumbry
2. The hutch chest
3. The three legged stool
4. The distaff
5. Gandalf's chest seat
6: The wall shelf
7: The turned bowl
8: The wooden spoon

That doesn't count the obvious objects like the bed, which is lacking in details other than the textiles that cover it, and what is undoubtedly another chest like Gandalf's under a red cloth to the left of the doorway. Off the top of my head the skills you can cover in this book starts with: mortise and tenon joinery, tongue and groove joinery, simple carvings, spindle turning, face plate turning, and spoon carving

Maybe another time.

I have to remind myself of the mission at hand and keep my head above water or things like this will carry me out with the tide and I'll never finish.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Good Day Sunshine

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:02pm

Over the past few weeks I’ve received several nice emails (even some from family) asking me where the rant-driven, vitriolic, cynical version of my woodworking blog has gone. It’s still here, somewhere. But the truth is that I’ve stopped reading nearly every “professional” woodworking blog, and when I do happen to read a professional blog, those readings have been few and far between. In other words, I haven’t read anything supremely stupid lately, at least not stupid enough to piss me off. So that’s the answer.

Don’t worry, this has happened before. I know sooner or later I will stumble upon something a “professional” has written, it will be really stupid or condescending, or both, and I will write a post about it. In fact, I can guarantee it. It is an inevitability. So please don’t despair; I’m still here.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Place to Set Some Clutter

The Workbench Diary - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:21pm

 I recently felt the urge to put up a little shelf above my desk at home so that I could clear my desktop a bit. Not looking for anything super elaborate (and not wanting to spend much time on it), I decided to screw an old board onto two brackets and attach it to the wall.

Conveniently, a client of mine gave me a few orphaned walnut table leaves to reclaim them to some good use. So use them I did. I did very little to them other than partially strip the crusty finish, scratch a molding profile on the front, and cut out a cyma reversa-ovolo-cyma recta profile on the brackets.  Then I stuck it on the wall. Now my clutter has class.

Categories: Hand Tools

Music I’d Like To Hear #83

Doug Berch - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:48pm

The post Music I’d Like To Hear #83 appeared first on Doug Berch.

Categories: Luthiery

Picture This XXXVII

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 2:34pm
Fig. 1. Merlin’s Mechanical Chair, circa 1811. MERLIN’S MECHANICAL CHAIR.    This curious machine, of which a correct perspective view is given in the annexed engraving, is the contrivance of the late ingenious and well-known Merlin. It is expressly calculated … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Filming the Toolbox Making Videos

Paul Sellers - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 2:00pm

Working on the toolbox build

Yesterday and today we filmed making the toolbox for the start to the New Year series to start 2015 with. I have a feeling that this could be as popular a series as any we have done so far and as far as conservation goes it’s important to me as it means hundreds of them will be made over the coming months. DSC_0001If you follow me as I build this toolbox you will see that the patterns used offer a simplicity and ease in the making that will inspire you to want to build one too. This toolbox is really more useful for storage and transporting tools and that’s where this type truly comes into its own. DSC_0221The functional size makes it neat and useful and of course the insides can be customised to the tools you use for different aspects of your personal woodworking. I think it’s the kind of box you might want to make two or three of so that the tools are indeed totally accessible. I have more toolboxes, chests and so on than I care to number because of the number of tools I have collected through the years, but soon we will work out how we want to let one or two of them goto new homes.


The filming went well because of the behind the scenes guys that do indeed make it all happen. It’s a workout for me to take off 1/4” from 12 square feet of wood even if it’s pine but exercise is of course good for me and it gets my heart pumping for an hour or two every day. Though I do exercise diligently, I find it boring, but when it’s work related I can muscle for two or three hours and feel as though I am accomplishing something so much more.


My stock is now milled to thickness and that generally means that I planed and jointed all of my boards by hand, planed the edges and endgrain square with scrub planes, a #4 smoother and a #5 jack. I did use some wooden planes and of course these are much lighter and easier to use than metal-soled planes anyway.

DSC_0061In the morning I will lay out the boards for dovetailing the corners using different methods for each corner to make the videos more interesting and to show some of the historical methods used that made dovetailing the corners of a box like this so fast. The fast method means one corner will take about 20 minutes so we’ll show how that is done; and, no, it’s not the coping saw method.


As I said, we will be unpacking the methods and the madness behind making strong yet lightweight and transportable toolboxes. Weighing in at around 12.5 Kilos (30 lbs), this box is one of the most useful because even when filled with tools it can usually be lifted by two people.

The post Filming the Toolbox Making Videos appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Few Ways to Use Large Dividers

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 1:08pm

Big Dividers on a 4 by 8 Sheet of Plywood

Highland is selling large dividers and I got one this week to try it out. I think it is a test, because everybody knows that the only thing you can do with these things is draw, in this case, a very big circle.  The pair I have opens to 24-1/4 inches for a circle diameter of 48-1/2 inches and that is the next to small size.  The big one opens to 50 inches for a 100 inch (that is over 8 feet, Ralph!) circle.  They come with no pencil holder on the end, just two really sharp points, but you can tape a pencil, a pen, a very large crayon or a six inch paint brush to the end of the leg and you are right where you want to be.

I kept trying to think what I might use these things for and I started to do some research.  I suppose you could use them to do the navigation for a very large ship.  If you need to lay out rafters on a roof, you could step the 24 inch spacing for marking.  I remember in geometry learning how to set off a perpendicular to a line with only a divider.  When we lay out batter boards for a house, we could use this to make sure the house is square, though a 3, 4, 5 triangle would probably be better.  If I were a cooper, I could draw the top of my barrel with this tool.  If I were a wheelwright, I could step off the circumference of the felloes in my wagon wheel to see what length the steel rim needs to be.  How about painting a sign for the Lottery advertising a $100,000,000 prize?  How about making a decorative sunburst?   How about an arch for a kitchen entry inside your house? You can do a One-Centered Arch., a Two-Centered Gothic Arch, a Three-Centered Basket Handle Arch, a Four Centered Tudor Arch, a Segmental Arch,  a Pointed Segmental Arch, a Pseudo Three Centered Arch, and a Pseudo Four Centered Arch, all with dividers and a square.  How about an eyebrow dormer for your house?  How about a Traditional Tangent Handrail?

By Hand & Eye --  Walker and Tolpin

By Hand & Eye — Walker and Tolpin

Now if you want to see what a divider can really do in construction and woodworking, get yourself a copy of “By Hand and Eye” by Walker and Tolpin from Lost Art Press. Note the cover imprint if you want a sense of what this book is all about.  The main premise of the book is proportion. Our eye moves to proper proportion and we can learn to see good design in furniture and columns and buildings. It is amazing when you are able to quantify what you are seeing in design and much of it only requires dividers. Go to Section III of the book and learn a huge amount about constructing elements with a straight edge and a compass/divider.  You can also go to George Walker’s web site to see animated constructions of the elements. Join with the ancient Egyptians and the Masons and the Greeks and the Romans and the classical furniture makers of England and France and start using these ancient and wonderful tools.

Now I know you can design all this stuff in Sketch-Up, but let me see you find a printer big enough to make yourself a Four Centered Tudor Arch pattern to trace on the sheetrock for your kitchen wall. You can do it all with one of these honking compaii plus a straight edge. Besides, what kind of fun would it be to do it on a computer ?!!

I might even start a woodworking book publishing company and use it for a logo.

And you thought I was stumped.

The post A Few Ways to Use Large Dividers appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

‘Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!’ has Landed

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:15pm


I am pleased to announce that “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” by Roy Underhill has arrived in our Indianapolis warehouse and is shipping out to customers as I type this.

Our warehouse has set up a special line in its packaging department to fulfill “Calvin Cobb.” If you ordered your copy before today it will be in the mail to you by Friday. (Administrative note: Some customers will receive two notifications that their book has shipped. Please do not be alarmed. You will receive the correct number of books – not twice as many as you ordered. It was a small computer snafu.)


If you haven’t yet ordered “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” you have 17 more days to do that and receive free domestic shipping. After Nov. 29, 2014, shipping will be about $7. Also good to note: Orders made now will make it to their destination for Christmas.

The book is $29 and can be ordered here.

This morning I drove the 100 miles to our Indianapolis warehouse to pick up some copies and it was well worth the drive. The book – every bit of it – is impressive. The matte dust jacket looks fantastic, the interior printing job is crisp and even the cloth headbands on the spine match the cloth cover and internal stamping. I think you will be impressed with the physical product.


As those of you who have already read the electronic version of the book know, you know the story is great fun to read.

Thanks to everyone who worked on this crazy project – from Roy who signed on for a wild ride, to editor Megan Fitzpatrick, designer Linda Watts and cover illustrator Jode Thompson.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. For our international customers and those who buy our books through other sources, such as Lee Valley Tools, Henry Eckert and Lie-Nielsen Toolworks (to name a few). Their books are en route, but we have no information on when they will arrive or when those vendors will begin selling them.

Filed under: Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!
Categories: Hand Tools

Love Tapper

ZK Project Notebook - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:11am
A small hammer I made just ’cause. I have a dead blow but it doesn’t get under the quill. I have a big brass thumper (no handle) but it will dent the cast iron. So a small mover for small … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

HP-10 Foxtail Convertible Plane Crown Kit …

Bridge City Tools - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 10:59am

Dear Drivel Starved Nation;

For those of you that follow this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog, you know that one, you need to get a life – you should be in your shop making something. Oh wait, you are at work…

Second, I am a huge fan of crowned edges in woodworking.

A crowned edge can be used in many ways and in my opinion, almost always more beautiful than a dead square edge. You can read about the proportions of this edge treatment here.

This week we will open the pre-order window for the definitive set of crown profiles for the HP-10 Foxtail Convertible Plane and the kit appears below;

Crown Kit Works 700

HP10 Crown Plane 700
We learned much over the years with the HP-6 Mini Multi-Plane and not the least of which was all the boxes that accumulate in your shop. With the HP-10 Crown Kit, there is only one box and it holds all four profiles (whether you acquire one or all four), both hones and will have a space for the included tube of diamond paste. We are doing this so you can remove the high density foam insert and design a cabinet to house the coming profile kits over the next four years. At some point we will also make the exact same size foam insert for the HP-6 sole and iron kits so you can have a home for them as well.

The two aluminum hones are dual sided and will allow you to hone a 5 degree micro bevel in short order using diamond paste on all four profiles. The angle to the hone for the micro bevel is 30 degrees and it is really easy to do completely by hand. However for those with disabilities or unsteady hands, you can use a honing guide as well.

As of this writing, it looks like we will make HP-10 bodies every two years so if you are thinking about adding this plane to your shop, we have a small inventory remaining from the previous production run.

A visitor to our showroom recently asked me if you use the crown plane to remove all the wood from a square edge and the answer is a definitive NO! You always remove as much material as you can with a block or bench plane and use the crown plane for the last four or five passes. This keeps your crown iron sharper much longer.

My next post will feature images from the wood invitational now appearing at the Bellevue Arts Museum – it is an incredible exhibition of creative woodworking.


The post HP-10 Foxtail Convertible Plane Crown Kit … appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

New Tool Chest Video on YouTube.

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 8:34am

I've just completed a batch of videos for YouTube, the first is a video on the tool chest we will be making at Bridgewater College in July for the New English Workshop http://www.newenglishworkshop.co.uk/
There aren't many places left so if you're thinking of booking don't leave it too long!
Categories: Hand Tools

Chips ‘n Tips 4: Ripping Marks

The Renaissance Woodworker - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:21am

Win woodworking prizesFor some reason I enjoy hand sawing, especially ripping. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t tiring. When you get tired your technique suffers and a good cut can go back very quickly leading to a lot more work later one with a hand plane. I have come up with a simple tip to pace myself but also add a little more accuracy over a long rip when my technique can break down due to fatigue. I hope you enjoy this tip.

Chips n Tips Prize Dovetail Saw Today’s Chips ‘n Tips winner is Mark Greene. Mark chose a Lie Nielsen dovetail saw from my list of prizes.

If you haven’t registered to win yet, then visit my Chips ‘n Tips page to do so. I give away something with every tip I produce.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Longest Drive Ever

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:51am

As I write this, I have just completed my longest day of driving ever.  I turned the ignition key at 7.30 this morning, well, yesterday morning to be technically accurate, and exactly 16 hours and 999.4 miles later, I turned it off.  That’s the distance from Topeka, Kansas, to my Fortress of Solitude in the Virginia Highlands.  Three refills of gas, four chili cheese-dogs from Pilot, a handful of celery and carrots and two apples, and here I am.

If I could stand up straight I would have a bit of a strut.

Little did I know last year when I agreed to make a presentation to the Washington Woodworker’s Guild it would be the day following this trip, but I am not about to shirk my commitment.  They are my woodworking peeps, after all.

Now, on the the hard part of tying up all those loose threads from Henry Studley’s apron.

Spoons for Hunger is Back!

Peter Galbert - Chair Notes - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:28am
I was out working on a maple tree yesterday and saw so many lovely spoon blanks in it that I thought it was about time to start up the Spoons for Hunger project again.
 For those who don't know, here's how it works. I use my nervous energy to make spoons and then I put them up on the blog for sale and if you are interested, you can email me.
 I put the names in a hat after a couple of days and pick a winner. Then you get a spoon and I sent the proceeds to aid hunger relief. I'm looking forward to a long winter by the fire kicking out spoons!

 This monster cherry ladle is $210. I have more to come that are smaller and a bit less expensive, so stay tuned. Thanks for joining in and please let me know if you have a favorite hunger relief organization.

Categories: Hand Tools

The History of Wood, Part 28

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Roycroft Inn & Campus

360 WoodWorking - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:21am
This free presentation is available in PDF format – Click Here to Download (file size 10MB, no video content) Travel Back to 1910 at Elbert Hubbard’s Utopia in Western New York

by Robert W. Lang


This sitting area is just inside the lobby entrance of the Roycroft Inn. The furniture is a mix of original pieces and reproductions, and the room appears much as it did in the early 20th century. The inn offers fine dining and guest suites in a relaxing and authentic atmosphere. Spend the night if you can, for there is a lot to see.


Seeing furniture in the flesh is much better than looking at photographs or drawings. A visit to a museum is good, but seeing furniture in context, in relation to other pieces and in an appropriate interior is better still. The Roycroft Inn and adjacent campus, Elbert Hubbard’s utopian community, offer that in abundance, and if you are fascinated with the Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century, a visit to East Aurora, New York should be on your bucket list.


Originally completed in 1905, the Roycroft Inn was restored in 1995. Today it is a treasure trove of Arts & Crafts furniture, glass, metal and architecture.

The inn, originally opened in 1905 and restored in 1995, offers the opportunity to enjoy a meal or spend the night surrounded by the best examples of the period in furniture, metalwork, glass and architecture. When you step into one of the public areas, dining rooms or guest rooms, it is like stepping back one hundred years to when the Arts & Crafts period was the height of fashion.
If you like the furniture by itself, you’ll enjoy it more when you sit in an original Stickley morris chair, look out the window at the garden and enjoy coffee and conversation surrounded by murals, exposed wood construction and art glass lighting. At the Roycroft Inn, you are surrounded by the real thing and invited to make yourself at home.

Hubbard and His Vision

Elbert Hubbard was one of the leading figures of the Arts & Crafts period, best know for his writing and publishing. In 1895, he sold his interest in the Larkin Soap Company and founded the Roycrofters. His skill in promotion and marketing had put him in a position to cash out and retire while in his mid-thirties. Some of the most commonly used marketing strategies of the 20th century, such as offering premiums with products, “cutting out the middle man” and celebrity endorsements are ideas that originated with Hubbard.

Extremely successful at marketing and salesmanship, he saw himself as a writer and philosopher, and the main focus at Roycroft was publishing. He traveled to Europe, enrolled in Harvard and wrote a few books before returning to East Aurora, about 20 miles east of Buffalo.


An original Roycroft armchair, alongside a desk are at the entry to a glass-enclosed dining area between the formal dining rooms and an outdoor garden.

He set up a print shop and book-bindery modeled after William Morris’ Kelmscott Press. He wrote several books titled “Little Journeys” and founded two magazines, “The Fra” and “The Philistine”. An essay in “The Philistine” in 1899 called “A Message to Garcia” struck a chord with the American people, sold millions of copies when reprinted as a pamphlet, and enabled Hubbard to expand his campus and businesses. Hubbard was also popular on the lecture circuit, often setting out to tour when cash was needed for one of the many enterprises at the growing Roycroft campus.

Success Begets Growth

In 1901 A new stone building was erected for the printing operation, and the original print shop became the Roycroft Inn. Around this time, several other buildings were constructed to house other crafts, including a furniture shop. There is also a Chapel that was originally used for community meetings and a powerhouse that suppled electricity and steam heat to the Campus. The woodworking operation at Roycroft originally supplied furniture for the community and the inn, and pieces were offered for sale through a printed catalog.


The “Little Journeys” books made Elbert Hubbard famous, and this knock-down book stand was a bread and butter item for the Roycroft wood shop.

Roycroft furniture was nicely made, and the designs were typical of the period without being direct imitations of other makers. The easy way to identify a Roycroft piece is the presence of either the Roycroft orb, or the name itself carved in a prominent place. This type of branding, the forerunner of today’s Nike “swoosh,” is also one of Hubbard’s innovations. Construction was generally of quartersawn white oak, stained in shades of brown.


In the hotel lobby, this massive table takes center stage. About twelve feet long, it is a variation of the hay rake table, with an additional center leg.

The feet on Roycroft pieces often have some detail, either tapering to a bell shaped foot (known as a Mackmurdo foot) or with a carved recess above a curved foot. The influence of English Arts & Crafts designers, as well as Medieval and Gothic designs is seen both in Roycroft furniture and in the interior and exterior details of the buildings.

In Hubbard’s writings he talks about hiring local carpenters to build the buildings at Roycroft, then keeping them on to make furniture. When the buildings were furnished, pieces were then made for sale. Hubbard never designed any furniture himself, and never made that claim. No individual has been clearly identified as a Roycroft furniture designer, and it is likely that the cabinetmakers collaborated with artists and designers at Roycroft to work out the details of specific designs.


Roycroft furniture often had curved details, seen here at the top of the back legs and in the tapered legs that terminate in Mackmurdo feet.


Pulls and escutcheons were fabricated in the copper shop and the trademark Roycroft orb is carved into the top of the leg in a prominent position.

Roycroft was never a major player in furniture production of the period. Bruce Johnson’s book “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture”  (Popular Woodworking Books), which is now unfortunately out of print, tells the story of the furniture industry at Roycroft in detail. Elbert Hubbard’s main focus was on printing; the print shop had the largest and best equipped facility on the Roycroft campus, and printing and bookbinding brought in the most revenue. Works in copper, glass and furniture (and for a brief period, pottery) were also produced, but in smaller shops with fewer employees. Work in these secondary crafts was well done. The Roycroft woodworking shop, however, was tiny in comparison to Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Workshops a few hours away in Syracuse, New York.


Originally the home of printing and bookbinding, this building was converted to the inn when a new print shop was built across the street.


An original Roycroft side chair sees daily use in the hotel lobby. Throughout the inn, original pieces are in service, not behind velvet ropes.

In 1904, as work on the Inn began in earnest and in hopes of establishing a foothold in the furniture market, a three story building was erected to house the woodworking shop. Machinery was located on the first floor, powered by a generator in the basement. The second floor contained a bench room and assembly areas, with finishing and storage of completed projects on the top level.

Hubbard’s marketing philosophy of selling direct to the consumer through catalogs may well have limited the growth of the furniture shop. At its busiest, there may have been as many as a dozen workers. For most of its active period, however, as few as three or four cabinetmakers was the norm. Roycroft furniture is not as common as that made by the major companies active in the period.

Hubbard and his wife Alice both died in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. Hubbard’s son Bert took over management of the various Roycroft enterprises, staying active until the great depression.

What’s in the Roycroft Inn Today

Many of the original furnishings in the Roycroft Inn were produced by one of the Stickleys, with pieces from both Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Workshops and L. & J.G. Stickley, the company headed by Gustav’s younger brother Leopold. Today, the furniture inside the inn is a mix of old pieces and current reproductions. Most of the originals are in the lobbies, and most of the new pieces are in the dining rooms and guest suites. It’s a nice collection, and pieces see daily use. It’s a refreshing change for the furniture lover; no velvet ropes and no “do not touch” signs.


In front of the window, a Stickley prairie settle with spindle sides and back sits next to a Roycroft drop front desk and an unusual double Morris chair.

In the period between the 1930s and the 1970s, the inn and the other buildings on the campus saw various uses and several owners, none of whom were successful in the long run. Much of the original furniture was sold locally along the way. In the 1970s the inn was purchased by an owner committed to restoring the property. Part of that owner’s effort was tracking down and purchasing original pieces of furniture that were still in the area.

In 1986, the campus and the inn were granted status as a National Historic Landmark, and a major restoration effort began. Restoration of the inn was completed in 1995. Several of the other buildings have also been restored. The second print shop building, the copper shop and the Chapel across the street from the inn look as if they had been transported from the English countryside. The front facade of the inn is in the Prairie style, and the interior is a pleasing blend of exposed beams, wood panels and floors and other elements that were popular trends in the early 1900s.


In this dining room, you can enjoy a meal in an ideal Arts & Crafts period interior surrounded by great examples of wood, metal, glass and stone.

The Roycroft Inn began as a single building, the original print and bindery shop. Between 1901 and 1905, additions were made to the original structure. Two wings are added to the front and back of the building, connecting it to a three-story structure that contains the hotel lobby on the ground floor with guest suites above. Both wings are now dining areas, with the front wing open to the air and a garden area in the space between the wings and the hotel.

Behind the rear wing is an additional dining room, and there is a small dining room behind the lobby of the original building. A bar is to one side of that lobby. It all has a definite feeling of a building that grew rather than one that was completely planned at the outset. It works, but it can be confusing to the first time visitor. Plus, some of the dining areas are far removed from the kitchen; the serving staff  gets their exercise.

There are two entrances to the inn. One is to the original building, a few steps up from the stone wall that separates the sidewalk from the street. The second entrance is at the opposite end of the building, around the corner facing a parking area. Beyond each entrance is a large room. These rooms are of particular interest to woodworkers and furniture collectors.


Some Roycroft pieces had a carved name in a prominent spot instead of the orb. Elbert Hubbard wanted you to know where this came from.

Inside the door at the street entrance, the room has groups of side chairs around circular tables. In the center, two L. & J.G. Stickley prairie settles with paneled sides and backs face each other across a modern cocktail table. To the right, the wall has windows that open to a central garden and is anchored with a brick fireplace at the middle.

Many of the doors in the Roycroft Inn have carved mottos or quotes from Hubbard’s writings. This door leads from the lobby to the guest suites.

Many of the doors in the Roycroft Inn have carved mottos or quotes from Hubbard’s writings. This door leads from the lobby to the guest suites.

To the right of the fireplace is a high-back bench and to the left is a grouping of two Gustav Stickley bent-arm Morris chairs with an art-glass-shaded lamp atop a circular table placed between them. These chairs have numerous small spindles below the arms; a style that was short-lived, but the latest thing in 1905. On the opposite wall are more groupings of chairs and an elegant tall clock, custom made to celebrate the restoration of the inn.

At the far end of the room is a stairway, flanked by arched openings to a small dining room beyond. At the top of the stairs is another room, currently set up as a private dining room, and stairs to a private suite above. At the top of the stairs are carved newel posts and a wonderful view of the room below, as well as the exposed beams with glass lanterns hanging from them. The upstairs rooms have served different purposes as the inn has grown and evolved.


The inn’s guest book sits on a period desk with book shelves built into the ends. This combination was common in the period, but never became popular.

Beside the Morris chairs at the far end of the room is a handsome glass door Roycroft cabinet, and there are several side boards and serving tables where the transition is made from the lobby to the connecting wing and the large dining room behind it. Today this wing is where breakfast is served. At the far end of the wing is a paneled vestibule with doors leading to the hotel lobby, and to the garden area between the wings.

The hotel lobby was originally used as a performing area for music, or for Hubbard or a visitor to speak from a raised platform. Today it is arranged in several discrete seating areas, with a massive Roycroft table in the middle of the room. Upon entering the room from outside, the check-in desk is to the right and a massive partners desk to the left. Above the paneled walls are murals, with windows on three sides of the room.


The frame building (originally three stories tall) between the power house and copper shop housed the woodworking operation at Roycroft.

Two of the windows have built-in seats, surrounded by a nice assortment of chairs from several makers. There is also a variety of interesting occasional tables throughout the room, including L. & J.G. Stickley “encyclopedia” tables and round tabourets. Near the doorways are sideboards, desks and serving tables. As in most areas of the inn, it takes a while to take in everything that is there. It’s easy to focus on one piece and miss several others nearby.


This pair of Gustav Stickley spindle-side Morris chairs is one of many sitting areas in the inn where guests can use original pieces, in their original setting.

At the end of the room is another seating area, by the windows that face the street. Here you’ll find a spindle side version of the prairie settle, a nice Roycroft drop front desk and a most interesting Morris chair. This chair, made in the woodworking shop across the street about 100 years ago is wide enough for two to sit in cozy comfort. Throughout the inn are original pieces that see daily use, a testament to the longevity of this style of furniture.

The large table in the middle of the room is an interesting variation of a hay rake table, with an additional leg in the center of the long top. The end stretchers are bow-shaped curves that join the legs with pegged tenons. The square legs terminate in bulbous feet, a detail that softens the imposing appearance of this piece.

Many of the doors in the inn have mottos carved in them, and there are carved plaques with pithy sayings in the main dining room and in the lobby in the original building. Hubbard was fond of these short quotations, both in coining them and in using them. In rooms with exposed beams in the ceiling a plaque hangs from each beam.


A small nook in a guest suite is a cozy area to compose a “having a great time, wish you were here” letter in an authentic setting.

The hallways leading to the guest suites are also home to several nice original pieces. Between the lobby and the elevator is an original “Little Journeys” bookstand, complete with a set of original books. These stands were one of the bread and butter items of the woodshop; made to knock down for flat shipping to catalog customers. Near the elevator on the first floor is a hall tree with a full length mirror, and the elevator lobby on the second floor is home to a Stickley bench and a Gothic style chair.

The guest suites have been returned to their original appearance, and are named for luminaries of philosophy and English literature. Upon entering the room, there is a sitting area ahead and a large tiled bath to the side. Beyond the sitting room is a bedroom with a small nook equipped with a desk. The bedroom and nook have windows across the outside wall, and there are also windows between the front and back rooms of the suite. The suites are compact, but comfortable and functional. Staying overnight adds to the experience of visiting the Roycroft Inn. Plan on spending a couple of days because there’s enough to see to make it worthwhile.

 — Robert W. Lang

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Shannon wants your “Lumber stories”

Matt's Basement Workshop - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:00am

Last week my Wood Talk co-host, and good friend, Shannon Rogers posted on Facebook that he was seeking a little help from the masses to compile information on visiting lumberyards.

Shannon Rogers of the Hand Tool School

Image courtesy of Shannon Rogers…not really…

In a nutshell he’s looking for tales of the good, the bad, and the WTF?!

Shannon’s Facebook request:
“Need some lumber stories. Bare your shame, voice your anger, and share your triumphs. I’m trying to assemble a baseline of common confusions, misunderstandings, frustrations, etc centered around a trip to the lumber yard or buying lumber in general.

You can expect a thorough video series that will hopefully address them all. I’m still not sure whether The Renaissance Woodworker will host it or J. Gibson McIlvain Company but it will be comprehensive and ideally eliminate some of the fear and frustration that comes with buying wood.

I’ll even throw in some plywood stuff. Ready? Go!”

We all have them, and I know to some degree or another we’ve already shared them with each other, but that’s no excuse not to dust them off and share again.

My own personal struggles have always centered around misunderstandings about the grading system, and determining boardfeet in material thicker than 4/4 (something I still wrestle with from time-to-time…but then I just ask Shannon, and when he stops laughing he explains it to me.)

So please take a moment to send your story to Shannon either by clicking on this link to send him an email, or head over to his Facebook page and leave a comment there.

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Categories: Hand Tools

PayPal, Festool, and Cyber Monday

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:00am
This blog post is a catchall letting you know about some of the new things on the horizon here at TFWW. First of all, in addition to all our current methods of payment was have now also accept PayPal for all transactions. On one level PayPal is just another means of buying stuff, but I'm excited because it speeds up checkout. With Paypal checkout becomes simple: Click the "Pay with PayPal" button on the bottom of the shopping cart, or on the checkout page, log onto PayPal, select the address in PayPal, return to our store for shipping method selection, and then confirm the sale. Done. Of course, if you're shopping on mobile, anything that lets you avoid typing in information into a phone is a big step forward.

Cyber Monday: All around our office and warehouse are boxes of tools that for one reason or another aren't on the website. So on Sunday November 30th at 10:00PM(ish) Brooklyn Time, we are putting all this excess stuff on line for a massive Cyber Monday Blowout Sale. Over 200 items will be available! For the first time. you will be able to put something in your cart, and have it reserved for you for 20 minutes or so to give you time to shop some more and then check out. After the 20 minutes, if you don't check out, the items will be removed from your cart so other people can snag them. My big project for the next week is writing the software to make this reservation system work. So details might vary in the final execution. But it's a fair system so two people can't buy the same thing only to have one person disappointed.

Diamond Sharpening: For the past year, we have introduced a new product every week. In the past weeks. DMT diamond sharpening products has been a big new category for us. After years of being on the fence about diamond sharpening I am working on testing and figuring out a sequence of stones to get a great edge for a minimal cost. So far I don't think diamonds are great for the final finish, but they certainly do a fine, fast job of roughing out an edge and staying flat. I'll have a real how-to soon.

Festool: New stuff from Festool will be coming out on December 1st, with pre-orders starting (we hope) next week. The big new tool is the Festool Vecturo Oscillating Multitool, which is a Festool branded Fein Super Cut tool. The Super Cut, which is the top end of the Fein Multi-Master tool, is very popular, and the Vecturo cutters will be interchangeable with the Supercut Tool (not the regular Multi-master). The Big Festool innovation will be several versions of cutting stops that will also fit the Super Cut Tool. The attachments will be available separately for Fein Supercut owners.

Also new from Festool this fall is the return of the Toolie - a wrench with all the metric Allen and screw keys you need for Festool. A hose attachment to give you a third hand, And drawers slides to turn any cabinet into a SysPort.

We will have full information and be ready for pre-order next week or so. Stay tuned for more details!

The picture above, which has nothing to do with any of this, is of one of my favorite new products - our set of mini colored pencils (see photo above). They are cute, portable, and a great stocking stuffer. It even comes with a sharpener, an eraser, and it fits in a wallet. Some people use them in pencil holders - which sounds like it might be a fun lathe project.

About ten years ago, I had the privilege to talk to Click and...

Giant Cypress - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:18am

About ten years ago, I had the privilege to talk to Click and Clack about a question I had about my car. It was a great experience, and an enduring memory.

Tom Magliozzi passed away last week. That’s going to be a big piece of radio silence to fill.

(I meant to post this remembrance earlier, but it took me a while to find this audio file.)


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by Dr. Radut