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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read.  A whole bunch!  If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me.  Thanks!



Answering the Unasked Qs

Paul Sellers - 4 hours 45 min ago


Hello Paul

I have pretty much zero experience with woodwork, and I am at a bit of a loss where to begin.
So, what do I need to become a woodworker?
With kind regards
It’s a question that at one time would never have been asked. Prior to the 1980s almost all boys in the western world learned woodworking as part of the general school curriculum, beginning for boys at around 13 years old. DSC_0602This initiation was a rite of passage into the adult world of working; an equipping for future possibilities whether that be actual occupationally or for general home repair and indeed home making and maintenance. Back then schools had weekly, three-hour classes in the workshop spanning two to three years in ever-progressive levels. Back then craft classes were non gender specific until around that age. After around 13 the class split and boys accessed metalwork and woodwork and girls accessed something called home economics or domestic science. All areas were significant to life ahead if parents didn’t or couldn’t teach their children these life supporting skills in the home. My mother, a full time dressmaker from age 13, gave me the basics of sewing, housework, cooking and working within the family community. She encouraged my woodworking passion from an early age but never neglected the areas essential to a well balanced lifestyle.

Picnic table or startup workbench? He who frames the issue determines the outcome. It’s not really an either or but both.
Whether many or indeed any gained quantifiable skill in any of the above listed departments remains questionable, but in woodworking and metalworking, I think most boys did use what they learned to better evaluate whether one or the other was for them a calling. It was here, in the hallowed walls of the woodworking workshop, that we learned all the names and uses of a range of hand tools. It was pure, unalloyed and unsullied by robotics, machines and computers. There is no doubt in my mind that woodworking the way I learned it was the very best thing that happened to me. I learned so much from Mr Hope who always responded kindly to sensible and sensitive questions. He taught me to use the wood lathe where I turned rolling pins and legs for stools. P1210339I learned to square my billets for making a framed stool and weave seagrass seats with crisscrossed stranding. Woodworking and metalworking workshops were both the making of the boy and the stepping stone to an apprenticeship. Classes were constantly filled and in any secondary level school, be that secondary, comprehensive or grammar school, thousands of boys throughout Great Britain went through courses that equipped them with the basics I am talking about that they used throughout their adult life at some level. That’s no longer the case today of course yet what’s happened is many thousands of adult men and women are asking the question, So, what do I need to become a woodworker? . Sad though that might be, what a great time we live in when we can reach out to all to even out the disparity that once cut half the population out of the workshops of wood and metalworking.  I recall holding up a mortise gauge to a recent classful of students to name it. The answer came back, “A hammer.” For the main part, despite the brief transition from gender specificity to non-gender status, woodworking has become so diminished in western schools it is almost non existent. Perhaps in light of that reality that they are no longer taught by skilled artisans as in my day that is the very best thing.DSC_0258
In the mid 90s this question started cropping up in my world as a crafting artisan. At craft shows, exhibitions and  then, and subsequent to that, resulting from the malaise, even dedicated woodworking shows I would encounter serious people looking for a change. The UK and the US are very different entities when  it comes to working wood and the question in the UK is very much, “What do I need to become a woodworker?”, whereas in the USA it was more, “How can I learn woodworking the way you do it?” No matter. The reality is that people were and are looking for an answer to the unvoiced question so here we are voicing the question to bring new clarity.
P1250819I asked Mark (above) to send me this question via email. Mark works for us as our office manager and the only experience of woodworking he’s had in his 30 years of life is to make the spatula we created for the experiment video how-to some of you contributed to a few weeks ago. We gave him the video, the few hand tools and the wood. The rest was to to see if indeed the video would work as a serious training vehicle for someone with zero experience. Could someone actually create a spatula with no further input from those experienced woodworkers around him? It worked. P1250821The reason I asked Mark to email the question was because it is one of those questions that’s rarely if ever asked but I know people ask themselves the question when they consider this as a possibility for them. Of course the hardest question to answer is the one that’s never asked. It doesn’t at all mean that the questions aren’t there, but that they are unvoiced.
I plan to try to answer this in view of the successes we’ve gained in training hundreds of thousands of woodworkers worldwide over the past decades. These people comprise individuals of all ages who attended my hands-on workshops and now a massive audience of people following our work online We calculate that we now reach around 1.5 million enthusiasts every month who are genuinely interested in woodworking at every skill level from raw beginner to the most advanced. Amidst the steady decline in the amount of woodworkers receiving quality instruction to gain competency, I’ve seen a new generation of real woodworkers emerge from the flawed thinking of schools, political strategies and economic and cultural shifts. The result has been a stronger, more resilient breed of woodworker. One that is slowly emerging as, well, a successor. In one sense it’s been a sort of survival of the fittest; the evolutionary revolutionary. He, she finds solace in just a few square meters of workspace at the end of the lean-to in the garden, a garage or in a rotting shed. A dozen hand tools and workbench made from an old kitchen table seem the most unlikely of anchors for the hours of well-spent immunisation against the malaise of the age. Hours just disappear to become minutes or even seconds. When the thought was that hand tools would soon be obsolete relics belonging to past generations, a small but inspired generation of individuals began to discover that hand tool woodworking answered the deep, deep roots of creativity they never knew existed. For some it seems indeed a primitive pastime, for others, the majority, it’s the total absorption they need for healing to take place in a word filled with dis-ease—an immersive therapy of simplicity if you will. So I choose a less complicated approach to identify the need and prescribe the antidote to the question,  “What do YOU need to become a woodworker?
This is the preamble or perhaps more a prelude to the new series I’ve began for you  to reason out for yourself or give to others to better understand why and what it is to become a modern-day woodworker reaching back into the past for the treasures we need in the future of woodworking. I hope to show what I think it takes to develop true competency. I hope you enjoy it.

The post Answering the Unasked Qs appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Joiner and Cabinetmaker - Free Downloads

Tools For Working Wood - 8 hours 11 min ago
When I first started TFWW, we stocked VHS tapes. Then one day we switched over to DVDs. Remember when Netflix had their red envelopes for DVDs, and then made the revolutionary transition to streaming? Increasingly everyone is streaming videos, and consequently the market for DVDs has gotten smaller and smaller. Lots of people don't even have DVD players anymore. Time marches on.

When the Joiner and Cabinetmaker was first published, co-author Chris Schwarz, who had built the three projects in the book, had hundreds of extra pictures that just didn't fit in the book. From a construction guide standpoint these pictures were very useful, but adding several hundred pictures and pages to the book wasn't very practical. So Chris instead used the photos to produce a DVD slide show with audio that takes the viewer through the process of building the projects --a nice complement and amplification of the information in the book.

Before Chris actually built the projects - the Packing Crate, the School Box, and the Chest of Drawers - he, as any craftsman would, took the original sketchy dimensions for each project and made real plans using SketchUp, the free CAD software you can download from Google. So when he made the DVD he adding those Sketchup files so that you can examine and alter the plans to your heart's content.

These slide shows and plans are now available as a free download. Click here to get to the product page. We've embedded the three slide shows in the picture viewer. A sample of the book and the SketchUp downloads are at the bottom of the screen.

it was hotter yesterday......

Accidental Woodworker - 10 hours 46 min ago
Monday when I got home the porch temp was almost 97°F (36°C) with the forecast saying tuesday would have worse heat and humidity. Well that turned out to be BS. Today the temp on the porch was barely over 92°F (33°C). This is New England and like Mark Twain said "....if you want the weather to change wait 20 minutes and then look....". The weekend is looking good as the same weather gurus are saying it will be cooling off.

still stickered
Tonight's fun in the shop was the same as last night - I didn't want to sweat. So I looked at this and decided to let it stay as is. With this weather the wood may still have a trick or two it's waiting to spring on me.

still nice and straight
Before I put this together, I'll check it one last time for twist etc. The slats will follow whatever the bed of this is like.

it's a banana tree
Over twenty years ago I made the circuit of the local flea markets and church bazaars trying to sell things I had made to make some money to buy tools. One of things I made were banana trees for holding a hand of bananas. I also had cutting boards and lots of wooden toy trucks, planes, cars, etc. Nothing sold as the mind set at flea markets and selling quality objects don't go together. After 6-7 months I gave up on this. But I'm going to make one more tree by hand this time as a gift.

basic idea
All the parts I'm using to make this are from the trestle assembly for a table I don't have anymore. They are a little bit on the thick side but I think this will work.

left turn minor distraction
I had a spray can of poly I used on the the punch pin stand.

mounted on a lazy susan bearing
I made this several years ago and stowed it somewhere and promptly forgot about it. When I found it on the last major workshop clean up I put it out in the open so I could find it. I can't remember the last time I used it it has been so long. Spinning the object on this and applying the finish makes this very easy to do.

the banana tree base
The base has two 1/8" wide and deep tracks in it. My first thought was to plane them off and with the heat that idea evaporated real quick. I found some thin strips of padauk that I'm going to glue in them instead. There is a black stain in them I'll have to scrap out first.

One other thing I'm going to do is bevel the 4 edges. That should lighten it a bit and make it look thinner.

everything is laid out
I got the mortises done on the upright and I still have a little cleanup to do on them yet. Tomorrow I'll do the tenons and maybe fit it all together. The upright leans forward at 10° and the tenons are laid out with 10° shoulders. I am hoping to get a snug fit so I can rely on glue alone to hold the bridle joints together..

Way back when I first starting to make these, I put them together with biscuits. This was the early 1990's and Norm ruled the airwaves with the New Yankee Workshop. He used biscuits and so did I for everything. I don't know if any of the 3 I gave to my sisters are still alive but I think this one will last for a bit.

 I got distracted again as you can see. I wanted to do something in the shop tonight but not work on the cradle.  I have a lot of hand planing up coming on the cherry and I think I'm going to get an assist on it. I'll hand plane one face twist free and flat and run the other side through my lunchbox planer. The glued up panel for the ends will be roughly 24" square and that is too much to plane in this weather.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the name of the Prince that woke up Sleeping Beauty in the Walt Disney movie version?
answer - Prince Philip

Maybe the Rarest TS-2 Try Square?

Bridge City Tools - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 3:42pm

Drivel Starved Nation;

Someday I am really going to have to do a thorough search of all the stuff tucked away around here. Yesterday I found something that really gave me pause for thought…

Residing at the bottom of a box full of other boxes of old stuff, I found this;


Tulipwood TS2 700

This is a non-logo TS-2 made from solid Brazilian Tulip wood. The non-logo is a key that I made this in 1983 when I thought branding tools was somehow evil. (I have never claimed to be a good businessman.). And I do remember making this square. I was experimenting with exotic woods left over from my furniture making days and I have always liked Tulip wood (Dalbergia decipularis). I don’t think it is commercially available any longer and that is probably a good thing.

Finding this square makes for an interesting dilemma — should I keep it, or should I throw it up on eBay? Since I have been sitting on this for 33 years, and actually forgot I had it, makes me wonder why I should keep it. Then on the other hand, it is one rare tool. So chime in and I will tally your votes… which of course is completely different than making them count.

Speaking of votes, approximately 10 years ago I met Dave Jeske, founder of Blue Spruce Tool Works. If you recall, we met after a customer sent me a link to a particular nasty internet thread that was slamming your favorite tool company and your favorite Tool Potentate. Imagine that!

Dave was “elected” to meet with me to get to the bottom of our unbearable greed. We met for breakfast so he could “analyze” our price structure and report back to his friends who I fondly referred as the “Woodworking Taliban”. (Not only am I not a good business man, but I am not politically correct either.)

His first words, “Why are your tools so expensive?” was followed about a minute later with the confession that he wanted to be a tool maker.

We have been friends ever since.

We meet two or three times a year to discuss the tool business, or lack thereof, and you can imagine my surprise when last week he shared with me an almost identical internet thread slamming his character, his prices, etc. etc. The truth of the matter is; this shit gets old.

On our third glass of wine, he shared with me some of his new stuff, and one in particular is damn cool and a great deal. Check out his new universal marking knife set;

BSTW Knife Kit

He has the same make to order model as we do, and this kit is specially priced at $220 through August 10th. You can learn more about it here. Dave promised me that if he sells 100 of these to BCTW customers, the next time we meet, he will buy — and that will be a first!

NOW for Something Completely Different.  Sorta…

“When is Commemorative Tool #20 going to be announced?”

Hey! Thanks for asking!

Real soon.


The post Maybe the Rarest TS-2 Try Square? appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Flattening the Roman Benchtop

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 3:33pm

Here I’m traversing the underside of the benchtop.

I only want to work each surface of this benchtop once. The slab weighs enough (approximately 115 pounds) that I have to struggle with it to get it in and out of the vise and onto the benchtop.

So every move with the slab is planned with care so I don’t end up injured or (at best) embarrassed at having to ask a friend to help me get the benchtop off the floor.

Today I dressed the two broad faces of the benchtop: the underside and the benchtop itself. Both have to be fairly flat and free of twist in my experience. Of course, this slab turned out to be a weird one. Typically the bark side of a slab will be concave across its width, and the heart side will be convex. This slab was reversed.

So I started on the convex face. Normally when I dress a rough convex face I remove the hump in the middle using with-the-grain strokes with my jack. But because I had a lot of wood to remove (about a quarter of a thumb), I used a different tactic. I traversed the hump alone at first and stayed away from the long edges of the benchtop. Traversing allowed me to take a bigger bite with the jack plane.


The winding sticks showed the slab was twisted significantly.

Once the hump was gone, I checked the top for twist. It was indeed twisted. So I used my jack plane to work away the two high corners, which were diagonal from one another.

When the underside was flat (according to the winding sticks), I dressed the entire underside of the top with the jack to leave a consistent and tidy (if scalloped) surface.

Then I flipped the benchtop over to work on the concave side.


Here I’ve darkened the two high corners of this slab. I worked away the two high corners until all four corners were in the same plane.

Because I knew this surface was also twisted, I began working away the two high corners straightaway. After bringing all the corners into the same plane, I dressed the surface with a jack. I’ll probably dress it with the jointer in the morning and leave it like that until after assembly – that’s when I’ll clean up the leg joints protruding through the benchtop and tooth the surface with a toothing plane.

I also managed to rough out the legs on the band saw today and hope to turn them on the lathe tomorrow.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it’s not. I have logged only two full hours of shop time. How much more time I’ll log will be determined by whether I decide to build an opossum or an arachnid.

— Christopher Schwarz


The almost-finished underside of the benchtop. I love the furrowed surface and wouldn’t trade it for anything smoother.

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

The Lever Cap Isn’t a Screwdriver (Or is it?)

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 1:22pm

When I bought my first Stanley No. 5 in the mid-1990s, I regularly used the lever cap as a screwdriver to adjust the tension screw in the center of the frog and to tighten and loosen the cap iron screw. Then one of my fellow employees dressed me down. You should never do that, they told me, because that illicit activity could chip the lever cap. This is advice repeated […]

The post The Lever Cap Isn’t a Screwdriver (Or is it?) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Roubo With The Sound Turned On

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 11:07am
Diorama of Plate 99

Diorama of Plate 99

Almost two years ago Chris sent me a pre-publication copy of “The Book of Plates” and gave me free reign to color, cut-out and otherwise manipulate anything I found in the plates. Yesterday I started work on the index for “Roubo on Furniture” and now get to read the descriptions of each scene, tool and work method in the plates. Most of the plates that I transformed into dioramas and collages are from the furniture book and seeing them again was a reunion with old friends.

The plates have tremendous detail but having the matching text is like have the sound turned on. Part of Plate 4 is a description of  proper storage of wood and protection from the elements. Roubo provides meticulous instruction on stacking the wood and how to achieve the angled “rain diverters” at the top of each pile.

Adding dimension to Plate 4.

Adding dimension and color to Plate 4.

In preparation for this indexing assignment I pulled my special china pattern out of storage. I like my china pattern to match the book.


Later in the week I’ll revive the Birds of Roubo and the trash-talking Chairs of Roubo.

Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible
Categories: Hand Tools

Tormek T-8 Sharpener Video

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 8:40am

The Tormek T-8 water cooled sharpener will let you sharpen practically everything in your shop and home. The T-8 uses a unique wet grinding stone that lets you restore your woodworking tool’s edges quickly and precisely, without any risk of destroying the temper of the steel and then uses a leather wheel strop for honing them to a razor sharp edge.

Michael Morton gives an overview of the features of the T-8 sharpening system and shows how the sharpening machine is used to sharpen a chisel.

The post Tormek T-8 Sharpener Video appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

a lot of photos of the 3-legged stool assembly

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 5:05am

the 3-legged/footed stool is done.


here’s some of how it went. I do the joinery in two halves. Here, the leg is propped in the “joiners’ saddles” (V-blocks) to hold it steady. Line up the centerline on the end grain with a square, and then fire away. Because the stretchers are at three different heights, you need to keep track of which one’s which. I tend to make the front stretcher the lowest one. the other two don’t matter which is which. Align the bit against the square propped on the bench.


My half-inch mortise chisel is packed away somewhere. I had to use this short firmer chisel. Makes it harder to steer, and can’t whack it as hard. I chop half-way, then turn the leg over & come in from the other side.


test-fit the rectangular tenons.

test fit

Sub-assemblies, ready for the next holes to be bored through the rectangular tenons. 

I drew the seat plan full-scale on a piece of cardboard, then copied the angles from that. Set the adjustable bevel and tilt the inserted rail so that where I’m boring is plumb. Then go.

bore plumb

Same idea, different setup with the bevel.

bore plumb 2

beveling under the seat. Like a joiner’s beveled panel, feathered down to fit the grooves in the seat rails.

bevel seat

the front seat rail & stretcher have spindles between them. Knock this together, then insert one rectangular tenon into each post/leg.

sub assembly 2

Keep in mind the rectangular tenon is a through tenon, the stretcher is not. So the seat rail enters the post ahead of the stretcher. Here’s the front section on the saddles, don’t want the rectangular tenon to bump into the bench top.

v blocks

Here, catching the stretcher tenon before the seat rails get too far ahead. Gotta keep things open enough to install the seat. 
starting final assembly

I once was putting one of these together in front of a crowd, pounding away on the joinery, when my friend Ted leaned over & said “you forgot the seat!” Not this time…

tip seat in

Knock it together.

knock it together


Miter Saw Accuracy – 360w360 E.167

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 4:00am
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, the 360 guys are joined by Master Housewright, Ron Herman. The guys talk about miter saws and the popular notion that they lack accuracy. Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & […]

fun day at work.....

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 1:27am
The heat and humidity today was unbearable. The A/C at work had gone south sometime overnight and wasn't noticed until almost 0900. By the time it was fixed and running it struggled to cool things off. It wasn't a pleasant day at work for sure. Couple that with the oscillating fan in my cube not working neither, it made for a sticky uncomfortable day. Especially so when your butt cheeks are captive to a seat in order to do your job.

#2 of 3
I made 3 of these wooden dovetail gauges many moons back. I wore one of them out and this is close to be tossed too. I used this for all of my dovetailing for over 3 years.

wear points
The pencil abrades these junctions over time and the crispness disappears. Along with that you lose a little accuracy placing it against a pencil or knife line. This is the biggest reason why I had Mark make me one out of brass.

oak one on the left and brand new brass one on the right
Mark does excellent work
I asked Mark to get the brass one as close to the  wooden as he could. The bottom of the base is extended 1/8"  wider and I wanted the slope matched. Mark did an awesome on the slope match. I can't see or feel a difference in the two.

new brass one on the left and the first brass one on the right
Why do I need two when I only use one gauge to mark all my dovetails? The first one I had made to a 1 in 7 slope. I love the gauge a lot. I like the weight and heft of it. I like the length I can mark dovetails with it and the accuracy of the 90° is dead nuts perfect. What I am used to is the oak gauge's slope which I don't know what it is.

I have noticed with using the first brass gauge that at first I wanted to saw a steeper angle than what I had marked. I think the memory of using the wooden gauge was kicking in. So I had Mark make me a new gauge that I will now use for my dovetailing. I think I may use the first one to do half blinds. Or maybe I'll go up town and use one for softwoods and the other for hardwoods. I've been known to do crazier things.

Yikes something is amiss
I must grabbed the same two and marked them again. I noticed this when I took it out of the clamps tonight. I have the fix for this.

erased the last 3 and remarked them
I used a fine point Sharpie to mark these and if I remember right Sharpie's are alcohol based. That means I can't put shellac on this. I think I have some poly in the shop somewhere. I normally wouldn't put any finish on this but I want to protect the numbers. I had to use a magnifying glass to read the barely legible stamped sizes on the punches.

I was trying to go real slow in the shop tonight. Today was a notch below miserable but tomorrow is supposed to notch it up beyond miserable. I didn't want to start sweating like a pig and doing the T-shirt exchange dance steps so I purposely picked things to do that wouldn't cause that.

sharpening cones
The vise holds the chisel at 90° and it has a 'v' notch on the moving jaw that helps a lot there. The Lee Valley instructions say to run the drill at it's lowest speed  and start with the coarse cone and finish with the fine one. This setup appears to be working ok. I didn't have any problems lining up the sharpening cone with the inside of the drill.

But this is with the drill shut off. I am concerned that with the drill running it will grab the bit and throw it off. I would have a real nice warm fuzzy about this motorized sharpening if I could secure the vise to the table somehow. I'll think of something because I don't need this chisel and bit for a little while. I'll also practice on a crappy 3/8 mortising chisel first.

new glue
I sawed a poplar board in half to make the sides for the new slat flattening jig.  This is a new glue I saw at Lowes and I bought it. I'll use this to glue the runners to the jig base. It has a 30 second bond time that caught my attention. We'll see how it performs when I do the deed.

I don't need the flattening jig right now neither so I stickered it on the tablesaw along with the newly sawn sides. The only remaining part needed is the front stop.

using my jig to lay out my boards for the ends
not wide enough
I don't have the width in the cherry to do a two board glue up. I'll have to use 3 boards that will have to exceed 24" in total width. The widest part of the cradle at the top is 23" and change. The two outside boards are 9" wide and the center one is 4". This is not wide enough.

8" board in the middle
This is the bare minimum. I am going to lose precious fractions of inches when I flatten the edges of the boards to join them together. My three widest boards are all around 9" wide and I'll be using them.

another hiccup
I'm losing at least 5 inches on this end due to that end check and maybe more. I wanted to use only two boards on this. One board for the two center pieces and this board with the check giving up the outer four pieces. With that check it isn't going to happen. Not unless I can find a way to stretch this board.

left board is the problem
The board is 95" long and I'm losing 5" off one end for the check and 4 inches on the other end for a knot. That brings me down to 86-85 inches. The two outboard boards need a maximum length of 22" including wiggle room. That makes it a tight fit to get the four pieces out of this. I would hate myself if I have to take off more for the checks and come up an 1" short.

back up board
I wanted to use this board but that defect on the edge I can't work around. I can get the 4th board out of this though.

the V board is the center one
The V board is very orange in color but underneath the color is pretty close to that of the II board. In fact the color of all three boards is a pretty good match under the rough sawn top layer.

the defect board is outboard
I'm feeling a bit better about the glue up to come. I am not one who goes nutso trying to color and grain match 100%. But this cradle is different and I want to hide the obvious fact that it is 3 boards as much as possible.

I stopped here because I was starting to sweat. I went upstairs and started to sketch some hardware that I would like Mark to make for me. I want the cradle to swing freely and noiselessly too. Another thing I want is the ability to lock the cradle too. So far I haven't find any off the shelf hardware anywhere. And I looked at a lot of hardware to see if I could repurpose any of it for my needs. I'll keep looking and run my ideas by Mark.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a philogynist?
answer - a person who likes or admires women

A Router Too Young to Shave!!!

Paul Sellers - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 1:12am
P1210847I really like the ‘wave’ aspect for the thumb and fingers to pull and push with. It’s comfortable and non-slip and whereas the handles seem unnecessary, the fingertips do pull on them and help to guide the router in the cut. P1210628Here you can see the precision grind to 90-degrees, but that’s not what we really wanted. It is quickly resolved with a grinding wheel though, so not to worry.

It happens frequently enough. You buy a tool and it looks good, but then you start to work with it and it doesn’t work. This was one of those more awkward situations that unfortunately happened in front of a larger group of woodworkers looking for shavings when none came. I say unfortunately because the tool itself was well made and priced right, but it was also disappointing because the other factors surrounding its manufacture seemed sound. At first glance the tool looked like it should have worked, but then I know something I have studied extensively with router planes and that is that the cutting iron must have a relief  angle from the cutting edge on the larger flat face opposite the bevel forming the cutting edge. Here you can see that the foot is dead square to the stem.

In other words the cutting iron cannot lie parallel to the face of the sole of the plane, it must rise up from that cutting edge to the heel of the foot-shaped cutter. P1210675P1210676Without this, the cutting edge will not reach the wood surface and the whole functionality of the plane is lost. Truth is that even the flat face of a cutting edge on say a chisel or a plane has an unintentional micro-micro bevel on the cutting edge because of micro-fracture along this edge. Offer a chisel to a flat face of a piece of wood with the bevel up and push it into the wood and the incline of presentation will be a few degrees before it actually has the capacity to engage and penetrate into the surface fibres of the wood. This is what’s needed for router plane blades also.

Of course what happened in this case was the tool was never tried by its designer, manufacturer or by any crafting artisan on the wood itself. Of course logic prevails; how can it not work? By  the time it was on the shelf and offered for sale it was too late and the name of the company slightly jeopardised for a few weeks. In my case I was with my friend who stocks the planes for sale and I could show him directly the reason the tool didn’t work. I was also able to make some points for him to perhaps work with the tool maker to make suggestions for other considerations for improvement or correction. In this case, as far as tool looks goes, the design was fine. The size of the router plane was very nice and it was indeed nicely made too. So now let’s take the plane apart and say what would make the plane a best seller all round.

The cutting iron

P1210667In this case the three cutting irons are developed with the cutting iron welded or formed exactly 90-degrees to the stem of the cutter. P1210867The stem is installed in the plane through a perpendicular hole that then also presents the foot of the iron at a perfect 90-degrees so the iron will only cut if presented into the wood from an edge and not a surface. That being so, and the fact that we actually enter the wood from the face and not the edge so much, the plane is rendered unusable.P1210736

Thankfully the fix is simple and takes but a couple of minutes with a grinding wheel.

P1210741Once the heel is ground down the router works perfectly.

Once done the cutter is good for the rest of its life. Here I did just that. I ground the underside of the foot in a straight line from toe to heel and then used the diamond plate to finesse the work. Further polishing and refinement gave me a good cutting iron and I was ready to go. Oh, and the steel is hard. I tried to file mine with a flat file and it barely scratched the surface. P1210707I ground it on an electric grinder and then honed it on diamond plates and it worked fine. The steel seemed good and took a good edge.

Cutting irons

The plane comes with three cutting irons and whereas I might dismiss all three and say give me one good one to the right size and square instead of the others, I thought that the others would be very useful in some of my work not the least inlaying recessing tight internal corners where the angle might be impossible with a square and wide bevel. P1210702The main cutter is a spear-point cutter, the one we use rarely but used for truing up recesses after the straight, squarely presented cutter. Mostly we don’t need this cutter unless the recess bottomed out is seen rather than hidden after the  installation of hardware that covers it. This is a rarity for most work and that’s why the cutters are often found in good condition in standard sets when bought secondhand. What I am saying is that the set of cutters should include the ones provided but the main cutter should be perhaps 2-4mm wider and square ended. This would make the tool a craftsman’s tool.

The cutting irons provided at the moment measure approx 6.4mm and 2.4mm wide, so around 1/4″ and 1/8″. Such sizes are actually arbitrary for most work because of course everything we route down is wider than the cutter width. 1/4″ and 1/8″ are handy sizes. I also think that a 10mm cutter would be a very good size for this plane too. A 10mm cutter is good for most of the general recessing work we do that involves routing down recesses such as housings and housing dadoes.  The cutters already in the blades provided are excellent for small work but too pernickety for most of the work we engage in. We choose the cutters to match the work, so a narrower recess is usually scarcer and therefor lessens the need for narrower cutting irons.

The sole of the plane


Most routers have a flat aspect connecting the two sides of the sole so that the router is supported over narrower edges. Without this the router cannot be used on say the edges of thin (narrow) wood. In this case anything less than 20mm cannot be routed. For 95% of general woodworking this plane works fine, so I would not hesitate to buy the plane at all. Here you can see the plane slips down over the face and makes depth of cut impossible to control. This then means that the cutter gouges in on narrow, unsupportive edges. It would have been better to have the sole span the gap at the rear half of the plane in my view. That said, again, for 95% of work the plane works great as can be seen below.P1210856P1210852

The front arch gives clear visibility to the work and no fibres build up at the fore edge for stopped recesses such as stopped housing dadoes. Something other manufacturers have failed to see.





In this case the plane is adjusted by pinching the cutter and setting it near to depth. No router plane is intended to hog off large amounts so in most cases we have reduced the depth with a chisel. The plane refines the depth of cut and goes down incrementally by further adjusting the depth of cut by half a mil at a time. To do this we pinch the cutter at the top of the stem and use the top edge of the plane to micro adjust the depth once it’s set near to depth. The setscrew can usually be set by finger and thumb pressure but a full lock-on is achieved with a screwdriver. This makes it less convenient. The best method is a thumbscrew and nothing comes close for solidity, speed and effectiveness. If they were to change to this the plane would be greatly improved too.


With the corrections made I hope to see this plane enter the world supply. We cannot get the plane in the UK but when we do I will likely look for the cutters to enhance the functionality of mine. It’s a good plane.


Grind the foot to 95-degrees instead of 90 and the problem of functionality is solved. Provide an added main cutter of 10mm and also an 8mm cutter but both square across. Not totally essential but definitely a winner for me is the fill in the rear part of the sole so no gap there.

I loved the overall size of the plane. I also liked the ‘wave’ shape that so suits the hand. This is not new, but it was never really manufactured in quantity, yet the shape combines with the knobs for finger gripping.

For small router planes like this it is common and adequate to pinch-set, but I am sure that this plane/tool maker will want to make a version a bit larger with a precise adjustment mechanism. A simple enough addition.

A thumbscrew to replace the slotted head would greatly improve functionality.

The post A Router Too Young to Shave!!! appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Home from the Campaign

The Furniture Record - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 8:51pm

You just got back from a tour of duty civilizing and acculturating those in the far corners of the Empire, er, Commonwealth. You like everything about being out there in the field. Your Campaign furniture greatly enhances your gender identity. You bring most of it home with you but some of it does not fit your urban, hipster lifestyle. You’ve just purchased a vintage bistro height table. You know bistro height tables are passé but you are such a hipster that you are on the leading edge of the early 2000’s retro movement.


Your new bistro height table from the local quality consignment store.

One issue is that your favorite Roorkhee chairs don’t really work with your bistro height table.


One of your Roorkhee chairs.

Your civilian brother-in-law can only afford a set of Kaare Klint Safari chairs.


The Kaare Klint Safari chair, nice but no genuine brass rivets.

Now there is a solution to your conundrum. I present the Roorkhee safari stool:


The Roorkhee stool, or something like it.


Equally handsome in the reverse.

It’s got wood. It’s got leather. It breaks down. It’s got straps.


The stool you’ve been looking for!

Now, your task is to go out there and find the right clip on instant man bun. You may be in the service, but you have a reputation to uphold.


The Roman Workbench Begins

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 4:15pm


This afternoon I got a good start on my first Roman workbench – a knee-high bench with almost no workholding, aside from holes for pegs or holdfasts.

I’m building it using a red oak top from Will Myers, who dried the slab in his homemade kiln in North Carolina. The legs are some white oak stock that is sold at the lumberyard for making rustic mantles. (I was going to instead use some firewood I have in my shop, but that firewood is actually going into two upcoming commissioned chairs.)

The real fun part of the project is the measurement system. Thanks to Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney at burn-beart.com, I have a Roman ruler to guide me as I design and build these two workbenches. I’m using his Cubitus Ruler, which combines several Roman systems onto one pretty stick.

So here is the cutting list for this first Roman workbench:

1 benchtop, measuring 3.4 thumbs x 14 thumbs x 4.9 cubits (or 87.8 thumbs)
4 legs, measuring 2.2 thumbs x 2.2 thumbs x 1.25 cubits (or 21.3 thumbs)

Before you do the math, just think of the cubit as the distance from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger. And the thumb as the length of the second segment of your thumb. That’s accurate enough.


Today I dressed the front edge of benchtop with my jointer plane, making sure it was square to the benchtop (the benchtop is the heart side of the slab, FYI). Then I marked the final width of the benchtop using a large square – my panel gauge is in my other shop.

That’s when I found that I had to remove almost 1/2 thumb of wood in places to make the front edge and back edge parallel.

I looked for my hatchet. Dangit. It’s also in my other shop.


So I decided to traverse the edge with my jack plane. After marking the final width of the benchtop, I use my jack to create a chamfer on the corner that touched the line that represented the final width of the benchtop. The chamfer acted as gauge – as the chamfer disappeared I knew I was closer to my finished width. It also protected the corner from spelching during the traversing.

This dodge worked surprisingly well.

Tomorrow I’ll dress the benchtop and start shaping the legs.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. The book “Roman Workbenches” is unlikely to have any photos because we are printing it via letterpress, so I’m not sure why I’m documenting every step. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

Christopher Schwarz on Roman Workbenches

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 9:02am
The lower left corner shows a Roman workbench; this form was used for thousands of years.

I recently stopped by the Lost Art Press shop to chat with Christopher Schwarz for a few minutes about Roman workbenches. He’s in the midst of building two of these in preparation for his talk on that subject at Popular Woodworking in America 2016 (Sept. 16-18 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center). I was curious as to why, after so many years of championing the “Roubo Bench,” he’s become interested […]

The post Christopher Schwarz on Roman Workbenches appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

An Imperfect Surface

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 9:00am

For those of you who think that sanding and abrasive technology is a fairly new thing, I have news. Sanding is older than handplaning. As Geoffrey Killen points out in “Egyptian Woodworking and Furniture” (Shire, 1994), Egyptians did not use handplanes. Those tools were invented by the Romans or Greeks. Instead, Egyptian woodworkers used an adze to dimension pieces and then finished off the wood with sandstone. His book shows […]

The post An Imperfect Surface appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

FREE: Just Bead It!

360 WoodWorking - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 8:45am
Take a look at furniture from major periods in the United States and you’re apt to find some form of bead being used. During the William & Mary period, drawers were surrounded by beading (often called single- or double-arch moldings). Some pieces (earlier in the period) have a single-bead detail while others (often later period […]

Weekly Update for July 25, 2016

Billy's Little Bench - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 7:06am
This week I'm talking about my new 1930's Delta DP 220 drill press and the new saw till. 

Been very busy the last few days getting this drill press cleaned and painted, still more to do, and I will continue to share the progress as time goes on. 

Thanks for stopping in. Enjoy the video, and don't for get to subscribe, like, share, comment. 
Categories: Hand Tools

Miter Saws & Dust Collectors

360 WoodWorking - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 6:52am
Does your miter saw produce the accuracy you expect in the shop? Which is better a pig-tailed tool or one driven by human hands? That’s the topic of the 360 Woodworking podcast on Tuesday. Ron Herman from woodworkingwithron.com joins the guys for this edition, so you might expect dissension among the troops. Plus, we talk […]

Beat the Heat, Read the Forum

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 07/25/2016 - 6:26am


Summer is in full swing and where I live it is HOT. The best way around this is to stay inside and read the forum. Remember, if you have a question about our products, procedures in our books or anything related to Lost Art Press, the fastest way to get an answer is our forum. Check it out here.

Workbench is finally finished
I love showing off people’s finished projects and this one is perfect for that (above). I love the painted legs. Beautiful work Tyler.

Staked worktable is rickety
Christopher is finding his staked worktable to be a little rickety so far in his construction and is thinking of putting two aprons between the battens with screws to remedy the problem. Has anyone had a similar experience? And if so, what was your solution?

Suitable replacement for pine
David is looking for pine on the West coast and has found it nowhere. The question now is whether to build from 3/4” pine or switch to poplar. What are your thoughts?


Roubo bench green timbers – the waiting game
How dry does wood need to be to start a bench build? This is the question Jason is pondering while anxious to get started. Most are advising that as long as there is dry would for the legs, the top can be green. Do you agree?

Making a wider bookshelf
Thomas’s bookshelf is painted and in use. Looking good! (At right.)

Planting on a raised panel
Michael is getting ready to build a wall cabinet and is thinking he wants to approach his doors the way Peter Follansbee did the lid on his tool chest. (Below; the photo is from Peter’s blog.) The problem is that he is not sure how he attached his dust seal. Glue? Dowels? Dominos? Anyone able to help him out?


See ya next week!

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Forum
Categories: Hand Tools


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