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If I buy a plan and chisel set what sizes do I need to get basic projects done?

Giant Cypress - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:28pm

The standard answer is, “It depends on the exact projects you’re planning on making.” But I’ll go out on a limb and say that you can do a lot with a set of 6mm, 12mm, and 24mm Japanese chisels. For planes, the standard Japanese plane has a 70mm blade. But the plane I use most often has a 65mm blade, and the 65mm planes tend to be a bit cheaper than the 70mm planes on eBay.

Fixing a Mistake on an Assembled Case

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:40am

Where this Chisel is Going, It Won’t Need Roads

As posturepedic as having the leg tenons poking an inch out of the seat, I think it will feel better and look better once I have pared them flush to the seat. On the center leg this isn’t a major deal because the pommel creates a convex curve, but the back tenons fall into the scooped out area. Certainly if you have some carving gouges you can tackle them with those, but I find that a regular old bench chisel used bevel down and quickly and precisely pare them flush and beautiful.

RWW Live Next Week

Tune in to my YouTube channel next Wednesday, February 1st at 6 PM EST for a special Joinery Roulette. I will cut a joint of your choice and discuss how I do it and anything you want about it. Suggest a joint in the comments below, feel free to try to stump me or just suggest something that might actually get used in a future project.

Joinery Roulettte

Categories: Hand Tools

Book Giveaway: Wood Finishing 101

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 7:19am
Wood Finishing 101

This week I’m giving away a copy of Bob Flexner’s “Wood Finishing 101.” This book is a great step-by-step guide for simple finishes. Simply post a comment below and I’ll choose 1 winner at random. Winner will be announced Monday 1/29. Good luck!

The post Book Giveaway: Wood Finishing 101 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

new toys.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:31am
Got two in the mail, one for me and one for Miles. My toy is a replacement Record 044 and Miles got a 1/4" pigsticker. Can't honestly say that I'm thrilled to pieces with either one. That is the luck of the draw when you buy old tools. Both will need a bit of fettling to give the warm and fuzzy feeling.

1/4" pigsticker
I decided that I am going to get a 1/4" and 3/8" pigsticker for Miles's toolbox for now. These are the two most common size mortises and should get him going. I'm sure that before he gets to use either of these, I'll have added a couple of more to the herd.

funny shaped handle
It doesn't feel too bad in my hands but I think it will be way too big for Miles.  I may thin this down a bit and keep the oval shape.

my new 044
The rods from my first 044 with what I now think are hang holes. The new 044 rods don't have them.

first rods fit the new 044
The fit of the rods is still sloppy. And the sloppy fit is consistent in all four holes.

the fence works
The fence will cock itself on the rods but I can also make it parallel. Far away or in close, I was able to duplicate cocking and making it parallel. Once I tightened down the fence screws, it was tight and maintained the setting.

plowed a long groove
I started at the front and worked back taking full length strokes when I got there. I had no problems with the fence and it maintained it self up tight against the edge.

first one on the bottom, new one on the top
The new one has more nickel loss and the handle is showing rust on it. The screws from the first one are in better shape looks and rust wise over the new one. I can swap these out with each other.

10mm rods
They fit snugly in the new plane body and they fit only in the front holes on the fence. They barely go in 1/8" and no more.

eyeball for parallel looks good
it was off 32nd
It was easy to correct but this will prove to be a PITA with each use. Maybe with new rods I won't have to do these dance steps. For now it is an improvement over the first 044.

both rods wiggle in the holes
The back rod wiggles much more then the front one does. I really had to crank the screws to tighten them down and remove all movement in them.

done with all the sanding
I won't be able to get these put together tonight. I'll be tomorrow before I can show the glamour pics.

the tote broke again
I am not impressed with the gorilla glue at all. This is my third time using it and it is the third time it has failed on me. I put water on side and applied the glue to the other side. I got some foaming so this should not have broken again on the same line again.

I'm using epoxy this time
clamped with electrician's tape
I am doing one last check to make sure it is flush before I set it by the furnace to set up overnight.

10mm rods
McMaster said the rods would be .02 less then 10mm.

new fence rod
second fence rod is thinner
This is why one rod is looser in the holes than the others. This time I'll take Steve's advice and buy the 9.9mm rods. They are less the 6 inches long but I haven't had to make a groove more than an inch in from an edge yet. The rods that came with the 044 are about a 1/2" longer so I'm not losing much.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the longest refueled plane flight was made in a Cessna 172 and it lasted for 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes, and 5 seconds?  (Bob Timm and John Cook were the two pilots who did this in 1959)

Not a Good Businessman

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 11:03am
I really don't like the cheap Chinese fiddles being sold these days.  A heads-up: if you are thinking of buying a violin, bow, and case on-line for $100, just buy beer and pizza instead.  You'll be better off.

I have found one place, however, where inexpensive instruments, not bottom-of-the-bucket VSOs, are useful, and that is in the fractional violins that go out on rentals.  Even then, I don't just pull them out of the box and send them on their way.  Typically, new (real) violin strings, work over the pegs, adjust or replace the bridge.  Throw the bow away, substitute in a Glasser or something similar that has a chance of surviving.

And my rentals are rent-to-own, so I move the kids up through various sizes as they grow.  If the kids stick with it, the parents are well into paying for a decent full-size fiddle by the time the child has grown to that size, and has learned, through various mistakes, how to take care of a fiddle.

The other day, this poor 1/4-size violin came in, brand new, from a reputable supplier.  The fingerboard was a ski-jump.  I debated sending it back, but didn't want that hassle.  I debated asking the supplier for a new fingerboard.  That just seemed too demeaning to all of us.  So I decided to waste more time.

Here's the old fingerboard --

And here is the new one --

After all my reading and work with Hardanger fiddle design, I started to get a little interested in the inlay process, something I haven't done much of.  So I found a piece of bone, a cut-off from a guitar-nut blank, cut it quickly to a rough diamond shape, laid it out on the center of the fingerboard in a random spot, and started the inlay.

I didn't notice at the time, but I drifted a bit to one side during the inlay process, something to be on the look-out for if I do more of these things.

I also did a little bit of simple engraving, which is a bit crude, but I think it looks better than just the bone diamond.

Also cut a new bridge, installed new Prelude strings and a Wittner tailpiece.  For a cheap little fiddle, it ought to work well for someone.

On a sad note, my long-time friend, Stephen Shepherd, passed away yesterday.  He had suffered a stroke a few years back, and went from being a vital historic cabinetmaker and author to a semi-paralyzed invalid.  Early on, it looked like he might come out of it.  He didn't.  When I visited him in Salt Lake this past Thanksgiving, he was basically bedridden and bored, starving himself to death.

I will miss him.

Here we are, the Three Musketeers, at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, in 1974.  Stephen is center, I am to the left, and George Stapleford to the right.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Issue Four T.O.C. – Peter Follansbee Recommends “The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay”

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:46am

Every weekday until the February 1st opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we will be announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here. 

We at M&T have found that, although there are many new books that cover the topic of historic craftsmanship, there is a nearly inexhaustible and often untapped well of knowledge to be found in older titles. We want to reopen these pages for our readers and bring this information back into the light so that it can become a part of the conversation again and inform us more deeply about the handcraft heritage we are passionate about. As such, rather than regularly reviewing only new books, this space will now be used to recommend works both new and old that our contributors believe are worth another look.

Peter Follansbee got his start in traditional woodworking in the 1970s. Starting with ladderback chairs, coopering, and basket making, he found himself inexorably drawn to the world of timber framing. In those days, handcraft resources and information could be hard to come by, but Follansbee pieced together everything that he could find in his study of this trade. Eventually, his hunt led to the discovery of The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 by Abbot Lowell Cummings, first published in 1979. Such a geographically-specific title may lead a reader to question the practicality of this book, but Follansbee was immediately drawn in. Broken into 10 chapters and organized much like a house-building project, the book lays out a thorough historical context before diving into plans, tools, and raising timbers. The chapter on “Interior Finish”, Follansbee notes, contains the most information directly useful for the furniture maker: baluster turnings, molding edges on timbers, even painted decoration. The images and diagrams throughout are large and full of detail.

Follansbee writes, “The author’s multi-disciplinary approach, studying the artifacts (the houses) and the documents pertaining to them, fleshes out what could be a dry study [but] Cummings shows us the life of old houses.”

You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here.


Categories: Hand Tools

Poor Ol' Keyhole Didn't Get No Respect...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:01am
Awe, the lowly Keyhole Saw. Tossed into the bottom of our toolboxes, lost in the back of a closet, this poor category of saw rarely garners any respect. The only time their needed it seems, is when you have to whack a hole for a light fixture in a sheet of drywall. Until then, though, they just seem to be things that get in our way when we are going through our toolboxes looking for a tool that we really need. After a few short years of being disrespected, their tips get broken off, their blades become bent and some of their teeth somehow go missing, but its a Keyhole Saw, so its no big deal. No respect.

In fact, we treat these "saws of last resort" so badly, we don't even call them by their proper name. We call them Keyhole Saws or Pad Saws, but in most cases, they aren't Keyhole Saws at all. Keyhole Saws have a very fine blade, both in thickness and in height, being only 3/8" to 1/2" high, with a length of about 10" to 14". Because the blade is so thin, the ideal Keyhole Saw has a handle that will allow the blade to pass through its entire length, allowing the blade length to be adjustable.

I bought a Keyhole Saw, the seller called it a Keyhole Saw, and everyone that I have shown it to since getting it has called it a Keyhole Saw. It isn't. It's a "Compass Saw".

A Compass Saw is similar to what you see below in the photos. Compass Saws have a 10" to 18" blade that are normally about 1 1/2" in height at the heel, tapering to a definite point at the toe. The blade can be fixed to the handle or removable, and is made from thicker steel than most saws, due to its shallow blade being unsupported for its entire length.

So here is my £31, 150 year old Keyhole Saw that is really a Compass Saw...

Pretty flash-looking little saw.
As with most saws of this nature, it is missing a few teeth,
the result of getting no respect. Its filed 6TPI.
Nice looking handle from any angle.
The handle has a couple of strange cracks that must be
attended to.
Pretty handle design, Mr. Mitchell.
Opps! It seems to be missing the point.

So now I need to find someone who can bring this find back to life. I am still looking for an experienced saw technician in Canada. I found one two years ago, but he quit offering the service and shipping back and forth to a sharpener in the United States is more expensive than ever. If you know someone, or are that guy or girl with all the patience needed for saws, please let me know. I have four saws now that are waiting for you.

This Mitchell Badger Plane was made in 1865 - 1867

And on another note, I got email the other day from a gentleman in Leeds, UK, who sent me a bunch of photos of an H. E. Mitchell plane that he produced in his first two years of business. It's a Badger plane with a skewed blade that is flush with one side and set back on the other. I was really pleased to get the photos as the plane has multiple maker's stamps on the toe, a mark that I haven't seen before on a Mitchell plane. I have seen the "H. E. Mitchell, Eastbourne", but never with the added line, "Saw & Tool Maker". In fact, this is the first time I have seen any mark for Mitchell that says he is anything other than a Saw Maker. I have also seen his planes marked with the Elms Building address before, but not separated like they are on this particular example. I get the feeling that this particular plane is either a very early one in Mitchell's career, or he made it for some type of exhibition where he wanted his business location information in everyone's face. The plane is a bit beaten up, but I have asked if I could purchase it and I'm waiting for a "Yay" or "Nay".

In all these years of messing with H. E. Mitchell planes, I
have never seen one marked with this type
of maker's mark before.
Great Stuff!
That's all I got today...



Categories: Hand Tools

Phil’s Turning Tip: Turning Wooden Spoons on the Lathe

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 8:00am

In this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner, Phil Colson demonstrates how he turns wooden spoons on his lathe, an interesting alternative to carving.

Spoons, spoons, spoons, everybody is getting into carving spoons. Spoon carving is a great hobby. I like to make spoons also, but I do it with the lathe.

Take a look at how he does it in this month’s Phil’s turning tip, and while you are at it you can read through the rest of this fascinating issue of The Highland Woodturner!

Click here to read the article

The post Phil’s Turning Tip: Turning Wooden Spoons on the Lathe appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Ash splint basket course in Cornwall

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 6:15am
Ash splint basket making UK Learn to weave ash splint baskets in Cornwall 17th -18th March 2018 Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

How Trees Grow

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 5:34am
How Wood Grows

Being a woodworker of many years I have friends who will constantly ruin a good walk in the woods with questions of, “what type of tree is that?” Truth is, I’m not really very good at identifying trees. I’m much better at identifying a slab of lumber! I recognize the wood in the form I’m most familiar with. I’d like to be able to identify trees, but it doesn’t strongly […]

The post How Trees Grow appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Folding Bookstand Made with Rivets

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 4:45am

For the June 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve built a folding and adjustable bookstand that is assembled with copper rivets and folds up to a neat package about the size of smartphone. It’s a quick and fun project that uses shop scraps and regular shop equipment. The result is great for reading, cookbooks or even holding your iPad while watching movies. It can be scaled up or down […]

The post Folding Bookstand Made with Rivets appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Close Encounter With Albrecht Dürer

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 3:59am


Step into Roy Underhill’s bathroom at The Woodwright’s School, and you’ll encounter a poster of Albrecht Dürer’s “Melencolia I,” a puzzling image filled with mysterious symbols and woodworking tools.

Whenever a student goes missing in the bathroom during the classes at Roy’s, it is for one of two reasons: the pork chop sandwich from lunch is troubling their innards, or they are studying “Melencolia I” and have lost track of time in the loo.


If you like Dürer’s work and live in the Midwest, I suggest you close your laptop, get in your car and drive to Cincinnati before Feb. 11, 2018, to visit the Cincinnati Art Museum’s exhibit ”Albrecht Dürer: The Age of Reformation and Renaissance.” Admission is free. Parking is free.

The exhibit tracks the progression of Dürer’s work using dozens of original prints he created using engraving, etching and drypoint. And the museum supplies magnifying glasses so you can view every stroke and get within about 1” of the original works.

This was the first time I ever got to see an actual print of “Melencolia I.” Like always, seeing the original is much different than seeing it on screen. The texture of the paper, the resolution of each line, even the physical edges of the image stir up a wilder set of feelings than pixels.

It was great to see the square and straightedge, both of which I’ve built many times for myself and customers. (Free plans for the square are here.)


I also spent some time hunting down other woodworking and tool images in the prints. One of the prints, “Sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt” (1501-1502), depicts a sawbench much like the one recovered from the Mary Rose shipwreck. And it features a birdsmouth or ripping notch. That might be the earliest depiction of the birdsmouth I am aware of.


On the more gruesome side of things, there’s “Martyrdom of the 10,000” (1496-1497) in which someone is boring out the eye of a bishop with an auger. This image sent me scurrying to my archive of images. Somewhere in there is an image that Jeff Burks dug up that shows the eyeworker alone, separate from the chaotic scene.

My favorite part of the exhibit was an excerpt from the colaphon of the book “Life of the Virgin.” I wish we could print this inside all our books, instead of the dry copyright notice.

Woe to thee, fraudster and thief
of someone else’s labors and
invention, let thou not even think
of laying thy impertinent hands
on this work. For let me tell thee
that Maximilian, the most glorious
emperor of the Holy Roman Empire,
granted us the privilege that no one
might print copies of these pictures,
and that no such prints might be sold
within the imperial domains. But
should thou still transgress, whether
out of disregard or criminal avarice,
be assured that after confiscation
of thy property the severest penalties
shall follow.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com


Categories: Hand Tools

Lay Out a Bank of Drawers Using Progressive Extension

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 3:36am

This is what we are going to arrive at.

This is an excerpt from “By Hound and Eye” by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Tolpin; illustrated by Andrea Love.


The height of the face changes in a progression equal to the size of the blades, which are called “shadows” when included in the face height.


Start by stepping out the two intervening blades plus three shadow blades.


Divide the remaining space into three parts – the primary drawer height.


Lay out the first face plus one intervening blade.


Lay out the second face increased in height by a blade. The space left over is the third face.

Meghan Bates


Categories: Hand Tools

"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust..."

Giant Cypress - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 3:08am
“I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.”

- Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018), in the introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness. I wonder if Christopher Schwarz had this percolating in his subconscious when he wrote “Disobey me.”

I'm this close......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 12:26am
......mental pic of thumb and forefinger being squished together. I still have neither the #4 or the #6 done. I am oh so close, but still no dancing in the streets. It is looking like it will be a few more days before they are done.  Sanding both planes with 400 and 600 grit is taking longer than I anticipated. But that is all that is needed to be completed on the #6.

The #4 needs that, and the finish applied to the tote and knob, and some more sanding action on the lever cap followed by buffing. The iron for the #4 is toast. I spent a little time trying to get the chipbreaker to lay flat on the back of it and I couldn't get it. The chipbreaker is good and I can use that but I'll have to use one of my spare #4 irons on this plane.

#4 tote
I got 3 coats brushed on this last night before supper and before I finally hit the rack. The crack didn't disappear but the shellac toned down the whiteness of the line.

more noticeable on this side
Not perfect but acceptable. I just may have to elevate the status of this plane to a user vice a parts plane.

putting the yoke back on the #4
I read a blog on restoring  planes where they removed the lateral adjust lever.  He filed the back side of the pin that is peened. The installation just said to peen the pin again. No pics or any verbiage in explanation of removing or putting it back. For now I'll stick with just removing the yoke. That is easy for me to do both ways. But having the lateral adjust off would make sanding the frog face easier to do.

the ubiquitous blurry pic
I tried to sand this but the paper ripped because there is a big burr. This being brass, I thought I could sand it out but that didn't happen with 320 grit.

tried out my new files
I used 3 flat files and all 3 filed ok. I bought these mostly for the non flat ones for shaping in my upcoming class.

trimmed my 3 new sanding blocks
my biggest sanding block
I am thinking of putting this tote and a front spare tall knob on this. I also think it would benefit from some kind of holding thing to secure the sandpaper too. I won't put any cork on this until I make up mind on how to do this.

ready to start sanding
The plan is to use the big one on the #6 and the smaller on the #4.

gave me the willies
I tried sanding this on the bench but that wasn't working. I couldn't maintain control of the sanding block and the plane at the same time. Clamping this in the vice was giving me cold sweats. There is an incredibly super fine line between clamping this and saying 'aw shit, I broke it'. I sanded the sole with 400 and 600 grit and took it out of the vise.

smaller sanding block on the sides
 This is was how I spent the majority of my time in the shop tonight. Sanding can't be made glamorous with the written word nor can it be enhanced with pics. Doing the sides is easier than doing the sole but I'm thinking of making a jig for this. It's something to think about that would make the sanding easier and a bit more secure.

2 sprayed coats of shellac
I have a couple of cans of shellac and before they go bad I want use them up as I can. I will spray two more coats on theses and call it done.

knob is looking real good
The plane collector uses lacquer because he said that is what Stanley used. I like shellac as being friendlier to use. I don't have a lot of experience with lacquer. They last time I used spray lacquer in the basement it stunk up the whole house.  Shellac smells medicinal.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a standard credit card is 3 3/8 inches by 2 1/8 inches?

It Starts With A Tree

Doug Berch - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 10:17pm

Future Cherry Dulcimers

I’ve taken some wood down from the attic and have been truing it up for resawing. I true up wood with hand planes. I get a good work out, make lots of shavings, and enjoy the smell of freshly planed wood.

It is easy to disassociate materials from their source. When eating a hamburger one usually does not think of the cow from which it came. The same thing can happen with wood; one can forget it was once part of a tree.

One of the reasons I enjoy working wood with hand tools is the sense intimacy with the timber I am working. Each piece of wood and process of working it is unique. As a luthier I feel I have a better understanding of the structural and acoustic potential of wood as I work it by hand.

The cherry billet in the photograph still has bark on what had been the outside of the tree. This piece comes from a board that was originally about 12 feet long, perfectly quartered, and rough sawn. I made a few cherry dulcimers from this board several years ago. This last remaining piece has a few flaws I need to work around but most likely there is enough for a dulcimer or two in there.


Doug Berch - Dulcimer Maker And Musician

Categories: Luthiery

Issue Four T.O.C. – Examination of an English Walnut Kneehole Desk

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 2:25pm

Every weekday until the February 1st opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we will be announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here.

Every issue we are committed to providing a thorough close-up insider view into a piece of pre-industrial furniture. These photo essays focus on showing tool marks and construction evidence because we believe seeing typical hand tool surfaces is one the most valuable ways we can learn about period craftsmanship.

We’re excited to share this English walnut kneehole desk with you readers in Issue Four because it is so unbelievably rife with the artisan’s fingerprints. While it has an elegant face, the interior reveals that this piece was made with practicality at foremost importance. Did you ever hear anyone say that English cabinetwork was more refined than American work? While there may be truth in that statement, this piece disagrees. But don’t take my word for it… look for yourself.


You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here.


Categories: Hand Tools

WATCH: Interview with Wendell Castle

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 8:31am

Wendell Castle, the father of the art furniture movement, died Saturday at age 85. Many are mourning the loss of an innovative mind that brought art furniture to the mind of the masses. In 2016, we documented an interview with Oscar Fitzgerald and Wendell. There are many insights to glean, please enjoy this video on YouTube Live this afternoon. Hop over to the live stream HERE.  Purchase the DVD or video download here. […]

The post WATCH: Interview with Wendell Castle appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Barn Workshop – Historic Finishing

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 5:13am

April 26-28 Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings.  Each participant may bring a small finishing project with them, but I have found that invitation to have erratic responses so the workshop will focus on creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections.  Tuition $375.


The complete 2018 Barn workshop schedule:

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

Making A Petite Dovetail Saw June 8-10, $400

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950


If any of these interest you, contact me here.


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