Hand Tool Headlines
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!
At Woodworking in America this year, I presented a talk called, 'Cutting the Cord: Why I Converted to Hand-Tool-Only Furniture Making'. During the talk, I had my voice recorder on to be able to share it with you readers that couldn’t make it to WIA.
That audio can be heard here. Please note that the recording reflects the fact that I had been talking non-stop with visitors for two days straight. Excuse the strained voice.
If you are curious to hear what inspired me to put the power tools away, listen to this 27 minute podcast. And pass it around. I’d like to give more folks a chance to hear a case for hand tools in the 21st century shop.
After you give it a listen, let me know if you can connect with my journey at all. I’d love to hear your story.
Last year we made a series on making a wall-hung tool cabinet using hand tools and the whole process involved many elements to help woodworkers develop various woodworking and cabinet making skills. As we were filming we generated some extra footage intended for different YouTube presentations and one of the different series was how to make a door by hand. The door is panelled, grooved and has mortise and tenon construction methods for the joinery. The goal is to make a twist-free door starting with the rails and stiles and using my method for guaranteed co-planer surfaces between rails and stiles. This in essence means that within the mortises the inside faces or cheeks of the mortise holes must be as near parallel to the outside faces as is humanly possible. A difficult accomplishment even for skilled craftsmen. Forming the tenon cheeks with faces where the cheeks perfectly align with the outside faces of the rails requires the same level of accuracy too. All of this leads to the outside faces of the rails and stiles being perfectly surface aligned. I have never seen anyone create a strategy like this that didn’t follow what I developed and show in this video, but I have consistently seen twisted doors made by those using both hand and machine methods. This series has been important to me in that I wanted to pass on what truly works for the generations to come who love hand work as I do. It’s a four-part series and I think/hope that you will enjoy what we have put together for woodworkers around the world. As apprenticeships and craft training through colleges and universities gradually shut down over the years to come we must find alternative ways to ensure the future of craftsmanship. Please, if you do like it, make sure that you tell others about this and our other craft training series as this is the only way we can truly protect the traditions of handwork. Much of what we teach comes from decades of training passed down that will only come this way.
Here is the link to a guaranteed future for craftsmanship internationally.
When researching Roman workbenches, one of the things that leaped out at me was how low many of them were low, knee-high like a sawbench. After building a low bench based on drawing from Pompeii and Herculaneum, most visitors to my shop had one question: Were the Romans really short? The answer is: no. These low benches are used differently. You sit on them to plane faces of boards. You […]
My grandson is currently in the US Navy serving on a ship stationed in Yokosuka. He ask me if I would like a tool from there, I'm not a great hand tool fanatic but would like to add a Japanese hand plane to my collection of hand planes. Do you have a...
Thanks for reading, and thanks to your grandson for his service.
I would start with a 65mm Japanese plane, as it will be a little easier to set up and handle than the standard 70mm Japanese plane. You tend to get what you pay for, so beware of super-cheap planes. I think that when you get into the $200 range, you can be assured that you won’t get a piece of junk.
One of the issues is that there are going to be many more Japanese planes available in Japan than we know about on this side of the Pacific, so a specific recommendation may not be super helpful. Having said that, there’s a plane made by Tsunesaburo called “Kotobuki” (see the picture below) which seems like a good first choice. I’m picking this one mainly because it seems to be easy to find when I look on Japanese tool seller websites. This doesn’t mean that other good options don’t exist, however.
How I Started in Digital Woodworking I had a long career as a designer. Long enough that I started out using traditional design tools, techniques and methods. So, when digital tools for designers first became available in the early 80’s, I jumped in. Even though the first design and publishing software programs were pretty basic, they helped me get real work done and soon became indispensable. I also really liked using […]
Good morning! Another weekend over and another busy week is upon us. No matter how crazy life is, make sure to take some time to read the forum and see what your fellow woodworkers are up to. 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.
No. 7 Adjustment Issues
Kendall took apart his Lie-Nielsen No. 7. to sharpen the blade but now that he is putting it back together he cannot get the blade to adjust below the sole. He is looking for any help on what he may be doing wrong. Let’s see if we can prevent him from having to make a call into Lie-Nielsen. Help him here.
Does anyone who has attended Handworks have a recommendation for a place to stay? Steve is ready to get his plans together and is looking for input.
Spare Bedroom Workshop
Mark and his girlfriend have found a house that they love and want to buy but there is no garage or basement to use as a workshop. Mark is looking for feedback from anyone who has used a spare bedroom as a shop before. Did it work out? How was the noise? Was dust all over the house?
Jason likes the pictures of the Crucible dividers but wants to get to the point and find out how they work. If you have a pair, let him know what you think.
Hot Hide Glue Gelling Quickly
Josh has had success with hot hide glue on small pieces but has had no success with it when trying to glue up a panel. Every time he finds he is unable to close the joint. He is wondering if anyone would be able to help with why this is occurring.
Travis has made a pair of staked chairs from “The Anarchist’s Design Book” and they turned out great. (Photo at top and to right.) The beveled edges are a great touch!
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Uncategorized
This chair didn't get used a whole lot, until I brought it with us to Spain. We have a furnished apartment here, but it was a simple thing to bring this chair along since it folds up into a neat bundle. I find myself using this chair multiple times per day here, as it is the perfect thing for watching TV in our new apartment here.
That is, it was the perfect thing. A few days ago there was a bit of a mishap:
|OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration. This was after I removed the offending stretcher.|
The chair was not as stiff as it had been, and upon inspection, I found the following break in the stretcher on the left side of the chair that goes from front to back. It was on the rear side of the chair.
|Is it really that bad?|
|Yes. Yes it is really that bad.|
This was the first Roorkee chair I ever made, and I turned the stretchers on a lathe. This chair got me into a bad habit, though. I must confess that I always make this tapered tenon 100% with the tapered tenon cutter from Lee Valley.
The recommended way to make this tenon is to turn the rough shape of it on the lathe, and then finish with just a few turns of the tapered tenon cutter for a finished shape. This method preserves the shape of the tenon being perfectly centered on the dowel.
What I did was turn the dowel on the lathe, put it in a vice and use the tenon cutter like a pencil sharpener to make the tapered tenon from the beginning.
I determined that this really wasn't all that difficult, and since then I've made all my tapered tenons this way.
The big problem, is that it is easy for the tenon cutter to get off a bit. This particular tapered tenon looked like it was bent. What must have happened, is I must have put a bit more pressure on one side of the tenon cutter than the other while turning it, resulting in the center of the tenon not being centered on the center of the dowel.
Long story short, when I put this chair back together, this "bent" tenon was in the back on the side, a position which I have discovered is the highest stress part of the whole chair.
The best fix for this is to turn a new stretcher, corectly taper the tenon and replace.
Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough pear left to make another stretcher like this. If I do, it is in Munich, and not here in Spain with me. For the meantime, I can either try to repair it, or turn a new dowel in a completely new species of wood.
For starters, I think I'll just try to glue it back together and see if that works. I first thought of liquid hide glue, since it's reversible. On the other hand, if it doesn't work the first time, what's the point? Plus, liquid hide glue won't do squat on the crack that runs perpendicular to the grain. Pretty much no glue would.
What I think I'll try is super glue.
|How super is Super Glue?|
The idea was that the tapered mortise would press everything into the shape it needed to be in.
The other thing I did was every few seconds I rotated the dowel, so it did not get glued and stuck to the mortise permanently.
Here's what I wound up with:
|Glue is set.|
|The good news is it seems to be working.|
The fix seems to be holding. I've been sitting in it for a couple of days, and there were no problems until the other night. I was leaning sideways in the chair, and I heard a snap.
To my chagrin, I could see space in the crack across the grain, but the long grain part of the crack was still holding.
|A bit of a closer view.|
I have a couple of options:
- I could just glue it again
- saw it apart, and glue it up again with a floating tenon or a dowel. I think this is how I would fix an antique piece. Since this tenon is "bent," I'm not sure it's worth it. Although, I could scrap the current tenon, attach a new piece of wood and re-shape the tenon with the tenon cutter.
- I could make a new stretcher - although I am pretty sure I do not have enough pear so it might be a contrasting species.
- I am kind of leaning toward scrapping all of the wood for this chair and building a new one, recycling the leather from this chair.
|my collection of marking gauge pins|
|found what I was looking for|
|too tight to tap home|
|I need to get a machinist vise|
|snug and I can push it in with a finger|
|9/16" disc from one of these|
|#12 washer is closer in size|
|sanding it down to 9/16"|
|not round but it fits|
|my router bit collection|
|the other half of the drawer|
|dry fit on the cradle|
|the last dry fit it was square now it's a 1/8" out|
|I was dreading this happening|
|the tenon was fat at the shoulder end|
|I kept trimming it until when I inserted it the crack didn't open up|
|Yikes this doubly sucks|
|vacuum cleaner trick|
|sawing out the feet|
|switched to my big rip saw|
|coping saw tryout|
|a cautious cut|
|I'm getting better with these|
|cleaning up the feet|
|1/2" plywood for the cradle|
Mini rant. Why do stores change where they normally stock things every so often? I know the answer to this. It's a marketing ploy to get you to walk around the store looking for where you thought it was and maybe you'll see and buy something else. All this does is piss me right the F--- OFF. I know what I want and where it is supposed to be so stop playing games with me. Mini rant over and we can now resume are regularly scheduled blog.
|pic of the finished foot|
|I thought these two were clean|
|finishing the shaping on the last upright|
|the finished upright top|
|smoothed and cleaned up|
What innovation did Walter Scott of Providence, Rhode Island, introduce to America in 1872?
answer - the diner (it was a horse drawn freight wagon)
Rod from California sent me this picture and made these very nice comments,
I am really excited that your guide has made a very difficult process much less daunting. I have to admit I was a bit sceptical but all doubts have been brushed aside. My first attempts were cut with a Veritas dovetail saw since I already owned one. Not 100% happy with my results, I ordered the Japanese saw you recommend and I am very impressed with it. Here is a sample of my latest attempt:
Thanks also for all of your YouTube videos demonstrating how cutting dovetails can be achieved by most anyone willing to give it a go! Take care.
Below is the very first dovetails cut by Michael from Melbourne, most impressive! If you can nail it in 3/4" stock then smaller dovetails will be a piece of cake.
Long weekends are made for woodworking projects, there’s time for the family, kayaking and woodwork. Beginning work on the cabinet doors brought to mind the need to carefully dimension all of the parts, removing any twist. Hand planing one side and both edges I turned to the planer to make sure everything is parallel and consistent. Then a final hand planing to remove any machine marks and eliminate as much sanding as possible.
Demonstrating chisel usage at the Littleton Common Makers booth at Littleton's Third Thursday event in July.
Littleton Common Makers, the makerspace in Littleton, MA where I run my free veterans woodworking program, is conducting a GoFundMe campaign in order to remain open for another year. Click here if you'd like to contribute.
The goal of the funding is to cover rent and expenses, and add improved equipment to increase membership. Ultimately the goal is for the makerspace to be self-sustaining from membership. For now, the membership isn't large enough. It takes up-front investment to establish the space and bring in equipment and programs that will attract people.
Some of the antique tools I use for teaching, with a few fun curls of wood.
A makerspace is a shared community resource that makes tools, equipment, and workspace available to people who wouldn't normally have acceess to them. This includes tools for working metal, plastic, wood, and other materials, from antique woodworking hand tools to high-tech CNC and 3D printers, laser cutters, electronics, and robotics. It's all hands-on, learning how to apply skills and make things yourself.
It's also a collaborative space, where people share knowledge and techniques. The multi-disciplinary, cross-functional environment stimulates all kinds of creative energy.
See this page for more information and please help keep LCM open!
|Neeem Wood Table Top|
Some people may be of the opinion that it is quite unnecessary to achieve a silky smooth surface on wooden boards that will be used in furniture assembly. I am no expert but for me the feel of the wood in furniture is a very primal instinct. I like to touch wood, run my fingers over it and nothing feels better frankly than a silky smooth finish.
The key of course lies in properly sharpening the blade iron of a hand plane. I am not aware if planing machines can impart a similarly smooth surface; perhaps they can but that is something beyond my experience.
What I do know is that hand planing can produce an extremely desirable surface of great sensuous appeal.
For the past few weeks, I have been joining and planing 4 inch wide White Oak planks to make the sides of a smallish chest. Much of the timber was wet when I procured it and over the Monsoons it warped and twisted more than a little.
This forced me to rip the pieces, straighten them somewhat and rejoin them painstakingly. The process was further slowed by a paucity of clamps.
At any rate, once I put together the six pieces required, it was clear I would have to do a fair amount of planing to perfectly flatten at least one side in each piece in order to produce a datum surface. The other side would also have to be planed but not to the same precision.
The problem as always was my lack of a sharpening habit. Most of my planes simply bounced off the hard Oak.
I consulted my little grey notebook where I jot down details of each of the hand planes I possess, including when and at what angle they were last sharpened. It was evident I had neglected sharpening all through the Monsoons. It was remarkable that they were working at all.
|A polished bevel|
After a day of sharpening, the blades were razor sharp again; some of them had beautifully polished bevels. The thicker blades look prettier with polished bevels.
Flattening the Oak pieces became a pleasure instead of a tedious chore. The Oak seemed to purr in pleasure as the shavings flew.
Ah! The satisfaction of feeling a smooth board. A source of recondite pleasure.
I will not sand these boards even though some believe that would be a mistake. Finish and stain, they claim, requires a sanded surface.
|Planed Oak Board|
Pigments might have a problem with a fine surface but dyes do not. A light dye and a coat of Shellac works perfectly.
Shellac will stick to the smoothest of surfaces. I have tried it on plastic and it works. This is one way of painting over plastic laminates.
With Shellac in place, I could shift to polyurethane or some sort of varnish. But I usually lay on more coats of Shellac. The resulting finish is of a very high sheen. For a more matt finish, rubbing down with 600, 800 and 1,000 grit wet/dry sandpaper helps.
25 September 2016
By Friday afternoon some of the guys in for our class had packed it in. A few were still hard at it, and one left Thursday after a lunch at Dewey’s (a regional pizza joint) and ice cream at Graeter’s. (If you don’t know Graeter’s, find it and give it a try.)
None of the pier tables were fully assembled because most of them had more inlay work needed, including the small bits of banding around the legs that align with the bottom edge of the aprons.
|there is a table saw under there|
To all the readers who live locally and admit to reading this daily dribble, I'm offering up the saw for $150. I want to get 4 more 4 foot aluminum clamps and $150 is what that costs. I also have a D handle and rabbit ear PC690 router for sale. The rabbit ear router is in a Woodhaven horizontal router table. I have an 3HP Ryobi plunge router and a Hitachi plunge router in a router table. Lastly I have an older Black and Decker metal housing 1/4" shank router with an edge guide and a metal case. This router is about 40 years old and works perfectly with tons of power for such a small router. Email me at rjb37 at cox dot net if you are interested in anything.
|for the wedges|
I popped off another scab and I had to glue that back on. I tossed the hide glue that I used to glue them on. Out of the four rails I had to glue the scab back on 3 of them. This one I glued back on with the hide glue I made up last night. I turned it on to cook at 0600 and when I glued this back on the glue was reading a toasty 142°F (61°C).
|I forgot the how to|
|cleaning the edges|
|clean rag is next|
This is all I got done on the cradle today. I spent most of the day applying the shellac and letting it dry before I put on another coat.
|Lie Neilsen depth stop|
|this doubly sucks|
|marked the stop|
|not quite, it is hanging on the outside edge of the threads|
|I do like shiny|
|I've to got preserve this|
|the end of the shop day|
Clocks in the 14th century only had one hand to tell the hour. When did the minute and second hand come?
answer - the minute hand came in the 16th century and the 17th century the second hand
Two things are the impetus for me to get off my dead butt and to start doing this. The first is I'm getting rid of the tablesaw. That means all of my stock break down etc. will be done with hand saws. Hand saws get dull and need to be sharpened. Matt Cianci lives 20 minutes from me but his turn around time is too long. Issac at Blackburn tools doesn't sharpen saws anymore. Bob at Logan's Cabinet Shoppe the last I knew said he would start doing them again. I don't know of anyone else offering saw doctoring. Even same day service for sharpening would be too long for me. This second reason is what is really driving me learning to sharpen my saws.
I can't be without my saws for however long it takes to get them done. This is a skill I'm going to have to pony up to bar and find the time to learn how to do it. A friend mentioned that I should get two saws, one in the shop and one out being sharpened. I did entertain that thought but nixed it. I don't want to get used to using multiple saws.
Paul Sellers just did a blog post where at the end of the day he sharpened some chisels and plane irons and 3 hand saws. That is what I would like to be able to do. The chisels and plane irons I can do and I'll have to learn how to do the saws. I started with a rip saw because they are the easiest to do.
|saw filing crappola|
|what I'm starting with|
|the worse teeth|
|jointed the tops of the teeth|
|I'm going to use this|
I have DVDs on saw sharpening by 4 different people. The info in them is basically the same but the techniques between them differ a bit. Having 5 different voices in the brain bucket talking to me will just confuse me. And I got confused down pat without any help from anyone else. So I am picking Paul Sellers and sticking with his methods and teachings. Once I get proficient with this, then I can look at what the others are saying.
|3/8" weld rod from Lowes|
|the bearings all fit on it|
|all set and ready to go|
|got light so I can see|
|this is not rocket science|
|the after pic of the heel|
|this light sucks|
|this I didn't like|
|it saws ok|
|not quite like a hot knife through butter|
|I just sawed away|
|flipped the board 180|
I'm going to have to go on a rust hunt for some rip saws that I can practice on. This child's saw is the only one I have that I can and want to practice on. I'm not ready yet to file my good rip saws.
What is protanopia?
answer - reg-green color blindness
A good customer from Barcelona sent me these pictures of his latest project. This really was built by hand as German has no machinery in his workshop. It took 200 hours to complete.
The drawers are a piston fit, it's always best if possible to design drawers to be longer than they are wide as this makes it easier to achieve.
A nicely fitted panel and some very clean dovetails. I can see he has left the baseline showing which may offend some, but I'm happy either way especially in an open grained timber such as this white oak.
The legs for the stand have been beautifully shaped in black walnut.
A workshop essential, a non marring dead blow mallet, great for encouraging dovetails to seat.
The HNT Gordon spoke shave in action, a great tools and the best spoke shave on the market for working hard woods.
.........and if you were wondering it's purpose, it's a sewing chest.
A nice video showing the process of hakone marquetry. I love the jigs used for this process.