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Avoiding A Cloud Of Dulcimer Dust

Doug Berch - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 3:44pm

The joy of sanding dulcimers

Yes, another post about the joy of sanding dulcimers.

A while back I mentioned possibly making dulcimers without sanding someday. Someone took me up on it!

I made a dulcimer with a bare minimum of sanding. Scrapers and files accomplished about 90% of the surface preparation. Sandpaper was still needed to soften some edges, get a good surface on the fingerboard, and to clean up a few small messes.

I spent much more time and effort than usual burnishing the wood with cloth before applying the finish. The extensive burnishing combined with using fine abrasive pads while applying the finish produced a result nearly identical to what I carry out by hand sanding. The process took about the same amount of time as hand sanding but it was the first time I had tried this. I am hoping I will gain speed as I become more familiar with new technique.

The minimally sanded dulcimer did show a few imperfections and hand tool marks that would have been eliminated by further hand sanding but to my eye and hand they add to the charm of the dulcimer.

Still, it is not yet time to abandon lots of sanding on a regular basis.

In the photo you can see my warm weather dust cloud elimination system. A small fan blows dust away from the dulcimer (and the dulcimer maker) towards a window fan that blows the dust outside. This simple setup works surprisingly well.

During the colder months I replace the window fan with a home-made air-cleaner; a box fan with a furnace filter taped to one side.

And I do wear a dust mask!

On another topic; after doing some updates on my website something went wrong and about 10 years of photographs have dropped noticeably in quality. Something malfunctioned and over-optimized my photographs. This becomes painfully obvious when you click on an image and see it at a larger size.

I figured out how to avoid this on current photographs.

It’s just another adventure in being self-employed and learning to do everything myself!

Doug Berch - Dulcimer Maker And Musician

Categories: Luthiery

Happy Friday, from Giant Cypress.

Giant Cypress - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 3:06pm

Happy Friday, from Giant Cypress.

Making an infill plane from scratch 8, front knob and wands

Mulesaw - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 2:55pm
There's not much to be said about the continuation of the build today except that it involved a little bit of filing, and a lot of sanding.
The sanding was done with grit 60 emery cloth, so the surface is not perfect yet, but like the base of the plane, there is no need to make a show surface and risk destroying it while riveting the plane together.
The front knob looks a bit big, but I think it is because the rest of the plane is not yet filled. I made it a bit longer than the base of the plane, so I'll have to trim that when it is riveted in place.

Now that I have gained a bit of experience with the Bubinga, I am going to try to make the aft infill and later the rear tote.

There was a discussion going on in the comment section of one of the earlier posts in this series regarding which type of wand that is best for a woodworker.

I am not saying that the wands from Olivanders' made out of ebony or holly with Phoenix feathers or griffins teeth etc. aren't good, but for woodworking my old time favourite is without any doubt pallet wood with a bit of hair from a Newfoundland dog.

If there should be any sorcerers amongst the readers of this blog, please feel free to comment on your personal favourite wand composition.

Front knob in place.

View from the other side.

Dipped in water to give a bit of shine.
Categories: Hand Tools

Shop Update 9/29/17: Announcement of Upcoming Events

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:39am

Some Live Events Coming in October

perch stoolLast January I built a bookcase live on my YouTube channel using Chris Schwarz’s book the Anarchist Design Book as my model. This October 14th I will be doing the same thing but following Chris’ lead again and building a staked piece of furniture. Or really I like to think of it as a Windsor Stool or often referred to as a Perch. That will start at noon on 10/14 and I’ll be as usual taking questions as I build.

Next Thursday, 10/5/17, at 6:30 PM EDT is RWW Live. Its another open Q&A opportunity to bring your questions about hand tools and hand tool techniques. I’m open to answer and demonstrate anything so I hope to see you there. I will also be starting up an Auction to benefit hurricane relief in partnership with Ernie Stephenson of Grandpaslittlefarm.com. Ernie will be putting up a fully restored Jack plane and 3 blade kit and a 3 blade kit for those who already have a Jack plane. I will be throwing in a semester of choice to the winning bidders as well.

New Lesson From The Hand Tool School Vault

If you have ever wondered or struggled with creating parallel edges or duplicate sized parts by hand then this 20 minute lesson may be just the trick to get you making your parts identical with a hand plane.
Categories: Hand Tools

Book Giveaway: Mackintosh Furniture

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 9:00am
Mackintosh Furniture

This week I received advance copies of Michael Crow’s new “Mackintosh Furniture” book. Its a book of techniques and shop drawings to help you recreate 30 of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s furniture designs. Often remembered for his architecture and graphics, Mackintosh designed hundreds of pieces of furniture throughout his career. This is the first book of its kind dedicated solely to his furniture. Finally fans of Mackintosh’s work will have access […]

The post Book Giveaway: Mackintosh Furniture appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

‘Carving the Acanthus Leaf’ Now in Store

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 5:19am


You can now place a pre-publication order for Mary May’s “Carving the Acanthus Leaf” in the Lost Art Press online store. The book is $49, which includes free shipping in the United States and Canada.

Customers who place a pre-publication order will receive a free and immediate pdf download of the book. The book is expected to ship in late November. You can download a sample chapter of the book here.

For customers outside the United States, we will offer this book to all our international retailers (a list of retailers is here). It is the decision of the retailer as to whether they carry this book or not.

“Carving the Acanthus Leaf” is May’s first book and is the result of three years of intense work. It is a deep exploration into this iconic leaf, which has been a cornerstone of Western ornamentation for thousands of years. May, a professional carver and instructor, starts her book at the beginning. She covers carving tools and sharpening with the efficiency of someone who has taught for years. Then she plunges the reader directly into the work.

It begins with a simple leaf that requires just a few tools. The book then progresses through 13 variations of leaves up to the highly ornate Renaissance and Rococo forms. Each lesson builds on the earlier ones as the complexity slowly increases.

One remarkable aspect of the book is how May has structured each chapter. Each chapter begins with a short discussion of how this particular leaf appears in architecture or the decorative arts, with photos May has taken from her travels around the world. Then you learn how to draw the leaf from scratch. Though you are provided with a full-size or scaled drawing of each leaf, May insists that drawing the leaf makes it easier to carve it. Each step of the drawing process is illustrated in detail.

As May explains how to carve the leaf, she augments each step with multiple photos and illustrations that show where and how each tool should move through the work. The result is that each leaf can have as many as 100 photos and illustrations of each step of the carving process.

In addition to the intense instruction, May also provides a short essay between every chapter that illustrates her journey from a young pumpkin carver to the world-renowned carver she is today. The overall effect is like apprenticing with a master carver, with both the demanding instruction and the personal experiences that make woodworking such a rich craft.

“Carving the Acanthus Leaf” is manufactured to survive many hours of use in the shop. The heavy paper is both glued and sewn so the book will lie flat on your benchtop without the pages coming loose. The pages are protected by cloth-covered hardboards and a tear-resistant dust jacket to protect its contents. This is a permanent book – produced and printed entirely in the United States.

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

Filed under: Carve the Acanthus with Mary May, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Lumber Rule

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 3:40am
lumber rule photo

A must-have tool for the lumberyard by Greg Paolini In addition to my truck and a pile of cash, there’s always one other thing I take to the lumberyard or mill – a lumber rule. Also known as a grading stick, a lumber rule is a simple tool that instantly shows how many board feet are in a piece of rough lumber. This helps me keep track of how much wood I’m […]

The post The Lumber Rule appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

got one done

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 1:23am
It feels like summer has made a U-turn. It didn't feel hot and it didn't feel humid neither.  But once I started working in the shop, the sweat just pored out of me. It was like someone had opened a faucet. The effects of global warming maybe? The accident I had to endure last night, my wife got caught in one on route 10 at the same exit tonight. She didn't see the vehicles involved but she had to to wait a while to get through it. That sucked because she was bringing dinner home and she was late. Not that I am a raving anal nut job if dinner is late.

it looks pretty good
I nixed this detail this morning during my second cup of mojo at work. I like the look but I don't think it is going to work for the donkeys.

stock stop
I thought I would use it as a stock stop for pushing against as I sawed. Then I thought about it some more and maybe having this on both uprights would/could be a potential problem. Being clever I thought I would make a rounded 'U' shaped piece of wood that I could slip over the top bearer and make it flat and straight across the top. Then I got a headache because I couldn't figure out how and where to stow the 'U' shaped thing when it wasn't be used. Then I decided to make it flat just like my 4x4 donkeys.

I had to take a look at this way
It's a half inch down from the top here. I got one more idea for a spacer here that might work. A 1/2" thick piece of stock held in place with a couple of dowels. Then I could take it off, use the stop, and put the spacer back on. No storage problems.

this is leading in the polls
This may be done or the idea above may be done. It'll be a seat of the pants decision when it comes time to chop the mortises for bearers. I like having the bearer fully housed in a mortise. Making the top flush I would have to make a haunch or a stopped dado.

I'm really liking this for fixing bevels

5 strokes
This is an A2 LN chisel and these few strokes removed the 3 bevels I had and made it one again. It's almost done and it took a few more strokes before I felt a burr on the back.

I don't plug many things or at least I don't think that I do. These are one of greatest things ever invented. I would put them right after popcorn, ice cubes, and sliced white bread. I have used a square to bring lines around a corner but this wins hands down. I used them together tonight to bring my mortise lines around from the top to the bottom.

this one brings the top line to the side
I placed the other one on this and that brings the top line onto the bottom. No fuss, no muss, and although I'm pretty good with a square at transferring the lines, I occasionally miss it. I do much better making tic marks with a marking knife than using a pencil.

ready to chop my first through mortise
Hopefully I am not being cocky here, but I am going to chop the mortise without using the Paul Sellers jig.  Keeping the chisel straight and plumb is something I feel comfortable doing. Fingers crossed on that not biting me on the arse.

1/2 way - time to flip and repeat
this is the reason I made the jig
I want to use the jig to smooth the walls of the mortise and make that flat, straight, and clean. I had to cut it down because it was too long. I sawed it off at the top of the back piece.

it's a 1/2"
It's a snug trip from one end of the mortise to the other but it's a 1/2" wide trip nonetheless.

this end of the mortise is ok
I used a 6" ruler and laid it on the end of the mortise to see if it rocked. It didn't so I don't have a hump on this one.

got a hump on the opposite end
I could see the hump looking down the end of the mortise. I have the ruler pushed down on the left side and I have a big gap on the right side. It took a few swipes coming from both the top and bottom to flatten it out.

all four walls are square
They aren't all perfectly square but I think they are awfully good for a glued and pinned M/T.

I wish this was an inch longer
The blade is short of the 3" depth of the mortise. It didn't matter here as I read square from the top and bottom.

cleanest mortise I've ever made in Douglas Fir

the other cheek wall looks just as good

sometimes you have to just walk away
I am slowly getting over my urges to trim just a wee bit more here or there.  It is only 1630 and I had time to chop another mortise but my wife had told me she was going to be home before 1645 (that didn't happen). Maybe tomorrow night I'll get two of them chopped.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Where is the oldest seaside resort in the US?
answer - Cape May, New Jersey


The Furniture Record - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:16pm

It always interests me that often on those rare occasions I go out looking at furniture I will find very similar items. Similar but not the same.

First I found this:

Continental Victorian Burled Sideboard

Description: Circa 1860, choice burl wood veneers, ebonized highlights, oak secondary, three part form, backsplash featuring a central cartouche with relief carved nuts and fruit, mirrored back, base with two upper side by side drawers above two paneled cabinet doors, flanked by rounded cabinet doors, on suppressed bun feet.

Size: 72 x 65 x 23 in.

Condition: Likely later mirror; top with several shrinkage cracks including one long crack; wear and paint loss to ebonized edge highlights, shrinkage crack to left cabinet door panel; other imperfections from age and use.


This lot has sold for $320.


Dovetailed drawers mean quality construction.

The French are very fond of the knife hinge.


The use of knife hinges require some additional clearance in for the back of the door.


The knife hinge.

And this one has the cutest little bun feet:


Maybe not so little.

A consignment shop in Raleigh has this similar piece:


1860 Louis Philippe Mahogany Buffet, France, $3650.

Again, dovetailed drawers:


A different take on tails but dovetails, nonetheless.

This one has hinged drawers:


Another use of the knife hinge.

This buffet also has the lock with two bolts used on many pieces of French furniture:


The centrally located lock has two bolts. One goes low into the right drawer, the other bolt goes high into the mortise on the left drawer.

If any of you know the name of this lock or where I can buy one, please share.

This buffet also has some really great pulls:


Ebonized pull with mahogany rosette. Very attractive.

Last and by far the least, this poor sad thing found at a mall furniture store:


Kensington Buffet, Blue Stone Buffet Top. List $2,999. On sale for $1,999.


Hinged drawers also using the knife hinge. No dovetails.


Buffet doors use typical butt hinges.

Now vote:









How to Cut Wide Tenons

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 6:29pm

FIG. 1. WIDE TENONS WHICH ARE AWKWARD TO SAW It would be difficult to keep the saw to the line over so wide a rail. The planing method outlined here is generally followed in the trade.

This is an excerpt from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume III” published by Lost Art Press. 

A reader has been making a piece of work which has involved the use of a tenoned rail some 12 ins. wide, and tells us that he has had difficulty in sawing the tenons. Whilst it is possible to saw the tenons, we should not advise it. It would take too long, and it would be difficult to keep the saw true across so wide a tenon. We give here the simplest method.

We show a wide rail in Fig. 1, the cutting of the double tenons of which is a typical example of the process to be followed. A similar case of even wider tenons is that of, say, a table top with clamped ends, the last named being mortised for tenons cut at the ends of the top.

Mark out the joint in the usual way, squaring in the shoulders and marking the tenons with the mortise gauge. The chisel is used for marking the shoulders, and a shallow sloping groove is cut on the waste side as at X, Fig. 2. This forms a convenient channel in which the saw can run when cutting the shoulders, the next operation. The tenon saw can be used for this. Saw down to a fraction short of the gauge line, and be careful to keep the saw square.


FIG. 2. CHOPPING WASTE AFTER SAWING SHOULDERS. This can be done only when the grain is straight.

Assuming that the grain is reasonably straight, chop away the cheeks with a chisel as at B, Fig. 2. Do not attempt to remove all the waste in a single cut, but start the chisel about halfway down, and finally take it to within about 1/8 in. of the line. Of course, the grain must be watched. If it tends to run downwards the chisel cannot be used so close to the line. If it runs upwards, it can be taken almost on to it. A fairly wide chisel is desirable for this work.


FIG. 3. PRELIMINARY USE OF THE REBATE PLANE. The shoulder acts as a fence for the plane.

Now take the rebate plane and work across the grain, the side of the plane pressed against the shoulder as in Fig. 3. If you have the metal type of rebate plane you can set the depth gauge so that the plane ceases to cut when the tenon is reduced nearly to the gauge line. Be sure that the cutter does not project on the shoulder side as this will damage the latter. At the near side the grain is sure to splinter a bit, but this does not matter. It cannot splinter on the shoulder side as it has already been cut with the saw.


FIG. 4. FINAL REDUCTION WITH JACK PLANE. Work the plane inwards from each end.

To finish off use the jack or any other bench plane as in Fig. 4. Carried out in this way the reduction of the wood is quite rapid, certainly quicker than when the saw is used throughout, and it enables the tenon to be trimmed to within fine limits. The remainder of the work, that of cutting the separate tenons and the haunches, is as in normal tenoning.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker
Categories: Hand Tools

Folding Campaign Bookshelves in 1 Minute

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 5:55pm

For the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I built a pair of folding campaign bookshelves based on a 19th-century pattern. Long-time readers of this blog know that I love mechanical furniture that folds up into tiny spaces and is durable. So 19th-century British campaign furniture is right up my alley. These examples have a Gothic look to them, but you could alter the profiles of the folding end […]

The post Folding Campaign Bookshelves in 1 Minute appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dumb but now better than OK

Oregon Woodworker - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 5:08pm
Recently, I knocked a quarter-inch chunk off the tip of the top horn on the handle of my Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw.  I have no excuse whatsoever.  When I do something like this, I just shake my head and wonder how I could be such an idiot.

I certainly wasn't going to leave the handle that way but I wasn't looking forward to making or buying a new handle.  Holding the handle, I noticed for the first time that it was kind of tight for my very large paw and it looked like it might be more comfortable if the horn were shorter.  With nothing to lose, I used a quarter to draw a new shape and had at it with my TFWW saw handle maker's rasp.  I originally purchased this when I was shaping a saw handle, but now I use it regularly for all sorts of things.  It's the only hand cut rasp I have and the shape and random fine teeth are perfect for shaping of compound curves.  It's a must have.

Reshaping took only a few minutes and, to my great surprise, I ended up with a handle that I like better than the way it came from the maker.

  Really.  It fits my hand better and I can't see how it detracts from the saw's handling.  I don't think it looks bad either, although maybe that's a rationalization.

I read that Lie-Nielsen finishes its handles with a wiping varnish, so I applied two coats of satin Arm-R-Seal to the repair.  As expected, the tip of the horn is somewhat lighter but I think it will age and doesn't look bad anyway.

This was one of those lucky occasions where a dumb move had a happy result.  It got me thinking.  What other tools that I have would I like to personalize?  I might even try it without damaging the tool first.
Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 7, shaping a mushroom.

Mulesaw - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 3:46pm
I found a brand new fine file in our spare tool cabinet, and I used it to make the plane look nicer than yesterday.
I also opened the mouth a bit to the rear of the plane at an angle, so the blade can get through to the bottom and do its job once everything is ready.
Since I will need to flatten the end of all the rivets once the plane is completely assembled, I didn't see any point in going all wild with emery cloth etc. The body is flat and reasonably good looking, so it was finally time for me to get back to some woodworking.

My experience with working this bubinga is very limited, so I decided that it would be a smart move to tackle the front knob or tote first.
I had an idea about making a mushroom shaped knob, and I started by sawing out a block of wood that was slightly oversize.
Once the block was ready, I sketched the outline of the mushroom and the lower part of the knob. I used a hacksaw to saw close to my layout lines, and that way remove the bulk of the material. A coping saw would probably have made it a bit more roundish, but the hacksaw did its job admirably.

I haven't quite figured out how the grain orientation works on this wood, because it seems to be very prone to tear out. But skewing the chisel and working end grain slowly but surely helped getting the shape out.
There is still a long way to go before the front knob is finished, but at least I am back to woodworking which I prefer to filing metal.

Front knob straight from the hacksaw.

Patience and a sharp chisel will eventually get you there.

Categories: Hand Tools

Recipe for Happiness

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 1:46pm

“Traditional Chair Making – High Wycombe,” photographer unknown. © High Wycombe Furniture Archive, Bucks New University

“It is one thing for the man whose daily work offers him a really creative job, the engineer, the skilled craftsman, the artist, the writer, because with the work comes the discipline. He has to stick it, in spite of the weather or his feelings at the moment, because he who will not work neither shall he eat, neither, in fact, shall he have anything else that is worth having. But because the job is a job into which he can really put all his powers, he has the chance of extracting real satisfaction, real happiness, from it. Or at least as much as we can hope for in an imperfect world. Because to become absorbed in an interesting job is happiness. But when a man takes up some form of creative work in his spare time, he has to be his own taskmaster. And that is not so easy. There is always the temptation to cry off when he doesn’t feel like it, or to drop it altogether when difficulties crop up—as they are bound to do when a man is learning to do a thing on his own. In short, it takes character and grit to stick it long enough to acquire real skill. But once that is attained he has achieved something that will set him on the road to still greater achievement in the future. And that is at least one recipe for happiness.”

— Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1942

Filed under: Honest Labour, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Preview: The Shapeoko XL CNC

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:18am

A Desktop size CNC at an Entry Level Price The question I’m most often asked is “would you do a review of an affordable CNC?”  Up to now, there have been few choices for woodworkers on tight budgets with small home shops. Here’s the thing: as woodworkers, we do pretty heavy duty work and that doesn’t seem to match up with what’s available on a hobbyist budget. So, I looked […]

The post Preview: The Shapeoko XL CNC appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

More Ripple Molding Success

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:38am

While I was fussing with the Roubo bench, John was in the adjacent space being utterly productive in tuning up the Winterthur ripple molding machine.  His success was such that he was able to concentrate on running samples with a variety of the cutters that my long time friend Cor van Horne made when he built the machine.


Our plan is for John and me to feature and demonstrate this machine at the upcoming Working Wood in the 18th Century conference at Colonial Williamsburg in early 2018.

Product Video: Hofmann and Hammer Workbenches

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 8:00am

Are you thinking of upgrading the workbench in your shop? Consider the Hofmann & Hammer line of workbenches, available at Highland.

In the video below, Mike Morton takes a closer look at all of the models of the Hofmann and Hammer premium German workbenches. Take a look and figure out which one would fit best in your workshop!

The post Product Video: Hofmann and Hammer Workbenches appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Video: I Can Do That’s Chad Stanton – The Outtakes

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 6:20am

“Insightful … erudite … polished … scholarly”, just a few of the words that we’d like to use when talking about the host of I Can Do That!, Chad Stanton. But seriously the words that are used are more impressive, “love your work”, “simple and thorough”, “exactly what I needed”, “all levels of ability can learn something”. Strong support for a show that aims to educate new woodworkers with minimal […]

The post Video: I Can Do That’s Chad Stanton – The Outtakes appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Meeting Friends at EWS

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 5:02am

One of the nicest things about going to shows is to catch up with old friends!

Categories: Hand Tools

Beamish Show of Agriculture 2017

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 4:49am
Some scenes from the Show of Agriculture at Beamish Museum. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking


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