Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


Hand Tools

Shooting Boards from Evenfall Woodworks


Click to enlarge


Fig. 1:  Illustrations of Different Shooting Boards

One of the most common tools in the arsenal of pretty much every hand tool shop is a shooting board, a couple examples of which you can see illustrated in Fig. 1 that are based on illustrations from one of Charle's Hayward's writings, "The Complete Book of Woodwork".

I don't know how many of these I've cobbled together over the years. Usually from scrap, and often - because I'm usually more worried about the project than how I put together the shooting board - thrown away not long after because I don't take the time to make it properly.

Essentially, a shooting board (or 'chute' board in some lands) in its simplest form a simple fence that allows one to plane an edge or end on on a piece of wood to a known angle, commonly 45 or 90 degrees.  It provides a shelf to place the wood on to raise it so the blade of the plane used is fully exposed to the wood (if it isn't a rabbet plane, the blade doesn't go all the way to the edge of the plane).

 The plane used can be a specially made "miter plane", made just for the purpose - one such as Lie Nielsen's iron miter plane, but usually it is just a standard bench plane whose sole has checked to be perpendicular to its side. 



Click to enlarge


Fig. 2.  The Evenfall Woodworks Shooting Board


Rob Hanson (no relation) has come up with an interesting product - one he's been selling through his blog page at the Evenfall Woodworks web site.  You can see his version of a shooting board in Fig. 2 at work with a low angle bench plane.

If you look closely, you'll notice a series of holes in the body of his shooting board.  This is what makes Rob's product devilishly clever - its fully adjustable to different angles.

 I'm impressed.  It's bloody ingenius.




Make Your Own Totes? An Interesting New Veritas Router Bit


Click to enlarge


The Veritas Variable Round-over Bit

Do you make your own totes or tool handles?  It is one of the most time and labor intensive parts of toolmaking.  I find when making a saw, it probably took as much time to form the handle as it did to make the entire rest of the saw.

Today I see that Veritas, the manufacturing arm of Lee Valley, has come out with a new router bit the likes I haven't encountered before - a variable width round-over router bit.  Made specifically for handles, it promises to speed the process greatly...

Lee Valley has also come out with several templates of theirs and classic Stanley plane totes, free for download.

The instructions for the router bit are available here.

Kudos to Veritas.  This is the kind of forward thinking and customer oriented design we've come to expect from Lee Valley and Veritas.  They are constantly innovating and coming out with tools and products geared towards the hand tool user - and though this technically doesn't count as a hand tool itself, I think I can let that slide by this time.

On the Cusp: Bad Axe Tool Works Back Saws


Click to enlarge


A Bad-Axe Tool Works Prototype.

 Having this web site has given me the great privilege of watching and conversing with some of today's finest toolmakers and restorers from their very beginning.  Every story is different, and all of the toolmakers each have their own individual talents and approaches to challenges, but yet all of them seem to be cut from the same cloth. 

Each are fiercely independent, entrepreneurial, and motivated.  And each want to have their own "stamp" on the tool.  Some are more artistic, some more attached to historical preferences, and some - like Mark Harrell of Techno - are simply out to make a quality tool.

Now, Mark - who has been mostly restoring saws until now - has decided to turn his talents towards sawmaking.  The results look stunning. 

Marking and Cutting Gauges


Click to enlarge


Figure 1. A freshly made set of marking and cutting gauges, ready for use.

 Have you ever had a favorite old tool that you have used absolutely forever, and weren't willing to give it up even though it's worn far past the point of usefulness?  I have two such tools - both, unfortunately, happen to be marking gauges.  One is an old Stanley #97 wheel marking gauge, the other a Stanley #77 mortise gauge.

This errant devotion to these old tools finally led to frustration when I realized that on the #77, the pins had worn down to the point that there wasn't enough pin left to mark anything with.  Over the years I had filed them down to tiny little nubs - there simply wasn't enough of them left to do the job anymore.

Something else - I didn't have a decent cutting gauge, something that I am going to need for my radio cabinet project.  Very similar to a marking gauge in construction, they use a knife blade rather than a pin to cut rather than mark the surface, and are often used when cutting veneer parallel to an edge when installing inlay.

I could buy all the gauges I wanted, but getting all I wanted would cost a bit of cash, and the way things are I figured it might be cheaper (and funner!) to make them myself.  Besides, I had all this brass stock laying around and also had this one, perfectly quartersawn piece of coco-bolo I have been hording since I found it years ago that was just begging to be used for some small tools just like these.

Recommendations on Sawmakers, Restorers, and Sharpeners

Every once in a while I'm asked if I could restore or make a saw for a fellow woodworker. Unfortunately, my current employment situation allows me little time for personal endeavors (like finishing my shop!), much less that for others - so I've had to severely cut back work I do for others.


Subscribe to RSS - Hand Tools