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References and Glossaries

New Blog -

Norse Woodsmith has been a great experience for me.  I've learned more putting together this blog over the years about woodworking and hand tools, and met more people because of its existence than I dreamed possible.  It's been an exciting journey - to quote the Dead... 

"Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been"


In other words - a lot of fun! 

Math, Metrics, and Mayhem

Going through my "archives", and I ran across this early article I put together some time ago and never published.  It's still good info, so here it is in its unvarnished glory:

Here's a few small tips I use when working to keep my projects on the straight and narrow, and some meandering thoughts on inches, feet, millimeters, fractions thereof and of paranoid machinists who have invaded the souls of today's woodworker.  I can't say it will help you mark the correct side of the inch mark, but maybe it will help.

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.

Old chairmaker's books - and other ramblings

I saw this and had to mention it here, if for no other reason than to have a record for myself of it so I can refer to the links...

A Mid-Nineteenth Century Lap Desk

It can be hard to figure out what will keep someone with Alzheimer's occupied - and one that will keep them happy...  The activity has to be something the person is interested in, and it's better if it has some long-time personal connection.  It was difficult to find such things for dad to do - about the only two things he was interested in were gardening and woodworking, and gardening was out in the winter - so woodworking was called upon as an activity we could both do while in the shop.  I tried having him help make saws, but the tasks required were all beyond his capabilities in his diminished state.  I also tried to get him to make wooden mallets and other basic tools for me, but he lost interest quickly.

 One successful activity we had with him was having him make reproductions of a lap desk my great grandfather owned.  It's an interesting piece, one I thought would be fun to examine for this blog.  It's an interesting study - showing some signs of both elegant and of crude construction techniques.  It lends itself well to study of early furniture and casework, as not all that was done as high-end furniture.  Most stuff that survives today wasn't the run of the mill stuff, anymore than you would expect today's run-of-the-mill furniture to be around in 150 years.  What does survive is often the high end stuff that is heirloom quality, which I think often distorts people's views of craftsmanship during these earlier periods.  To that, I offer this piece, which has more sentimental value than anything, as one example of construction techniques used in early work:

 Lap Desk


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