Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator




revisiting an old favorite

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - 58 min 39 sec ago

I’ve been trying to finish off this chest with 2 drawers lately. I’m close, but have to go to North House Folk School soon, so the last bits will be in 2 weeks. Today I spent making the last 12′ of moldings – out of a total of over 45 feet! Rabbet plane first…


…followed by hollows & rounds….


Late in the day I still had some daylight. I have been using the last 30 or 45 minutes each day to hew some spoons for evening carving…but today I split some reject joinery-oak and started shaving the rear posts for some ladderback chairs. Must be because I’ve been thinking of Drew Langsner lately…

Here you can see the chest with a couple of clamps holding the drawer’s moldings in place. Shaving the chair posts was like old times…

Here’s the inspiration – one of the last chairs from Jennie Alexander’s hand…and Drew’s book The Chairmaker’s Workshop. I had to look up a few things to remind me of what I was doing.


The last time I made these chairs was some shrunk-down versions for when the kids were small, December 2009. These chairs are put away in the loft now, outgrown…




I hope to bend the posts Friday, then leave them in the forms while I’m away. Hopefully there will be some chairmaking going on in March…




Now Taking Orders for the Deluxe ‘Roubo on Furniture’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - 6 hours 54 min ago

lap-roubo-pressmark-1Last night at dinner I laid out the finances involved in printing the deluxe “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture,” and I think I saw the blood drain out of my wife’s face – just a little bit.

It’s like sending a child to college. It’s vitally important, and so you somehow find the money to make it happen. But when you stand back and count up all the dollars involved you wonder how the heck you did it.

We are pleased, thrilled and a little anxious to offer you “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture,” the largest, most expensive and most incredibly built book we’ve yet to offer. We think the investment is worth it. Don Williams, Michele Pietryka-Pagán and Philippe Lafargue dedicated years of their lives to translate A.J. Roubo’s 18th-century masterwork “l’art du Menuisier” and have done a magnificent job. Designer Wesley Tanner has captured the experience of reading an 18th-century book. And so we have decided to put all our chips on the table.

If you approach this book with an open heart and mind, I think you will find yourself challenged to become a better woodworker in everything you do. It is the most involved piece of woodworking writing I’ve ever encountered. It is for beginners, intermediates and the advanced.

Even if you have zero interest in building French furniture, I think this book will speak to you as a maker and give you insights into how things are made “with all the precision possible.”

The book is $550 and will ship this summer. You can place your pre-publication order here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

Roman Workbench Build Day 2: All Legged-up!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - 9 hours 46 min ago

Yesterday, when we arrived back at the studio, the first order of business was to get our leg stock into shape. I hewed my riven ash pieces into rounds with my single bevel hatchet. For this rounding work, I really love the single bevel and heavy head of my Collins hatchet as I can use the flat back (unbeveled side) to establish a flat plane on the stock. After a series of relief chops up the piece, I can swipe it all away to a single plane with one swipe. 

To gauge my initial shaping, I bored a hole with the auger in scrap pine and traced it onto the end. That way I worked to the line with hatchet. For the last of the hatchet work, I pushed the head down the work, riding the flat back, using it almost like I was planing.

All the refinement of the tenons took place in the vise with a wide-mouthed spokeshave. I did most of the test fitting on a bench top offcut. By doing it this way, I could pound the tenon in without chewing up the mortises of the actual bench. Final fit was obviously done on the bench itself.

Mike spent a bit more time on his joinery than mine because he tapered his mortises the whole way through. This made fitting the tenons a bit more picky. He’s got something up his sleeve, I guess, because he left some crooks at the bottom of two of the legs. He says he’s cooking up some workholding situation. We’ll see what he comes up with. If Woodworking in Estonia is the precedent, it seems anything is fair game! 

After shaping the wedges and sawing a kerf on the tenons, we pulled out the hide glue. We decided to use our “liquid” hide glue to buy ourselves more open time. This glue is made with the salt-depressed recipe that I’ve published previously.

It was interesting to find that although I friction fit those tenons by beating them in hard with a maul, when the glue was applied, they slipped though even further. Doh. Of course that would be the case. It should have occurred to me that hide glue would be a great lubricant. It didn’t prove to cause a problem but next time I know that I can fit it a bit shy of coming out the top and trust the glue to slip it the rest of the way through.

After both benches were legged-up, we shimmed each leg until the top was a consistent measurement from the floor. After marking the trim line with a pencil resting on a block, we sawed the legs to final length. Mine ended up at 19.25”.

Yesterday was fun. Our friend, Richard, came by for the day and shared his insights from building this form over the years at Leonard’s Mills Living History Days. He brought his Toshio Odate toolbox full of tools and let us try out a bunch of his favorite stuff. 

Today, we’ll be cutting the tenons and wedges flush and fitting the benches out for workholding. Then we’ll play around with using them. I plan to make a small project on mine this afternoon because I’m curious to explore the viability of using this bench to complete a project. I want to know if I would like this for more than a glorified sawbench. I suspect it will be very different than working on my tall bench but I just don’t know how yet. 

You’ll be sure to hear about it when I do.


If you're interested to learn more about this bench, check out the article by Chris Schwarz in Issue Two.



Categories: Hand Tools

New in the Mail

The Barn on White Run - 10 hours 51 min ago

I’ll interrupt my jaunt through the CW confab to mention some new things in the mail.

First off is the catalog from the Marc Adams School of Woodworking which includes this page describing the two classes I will be teaching this fall, Parquetry and Historic Finishing.

Yesterday saw the arrival of the new Popular Woodworking with some intriguing contents.

In addition to an excellent article on bench chisels from The Schwarz Hisownself there is a wonderful piece by my pal Jameel Abraham on making and using plywood.  Solid.

And immediately subsequent to Jameel is my latest article, which was about the most fun writing I have ever had.

To top it all off I received a sample of some shellac wax from the producer in India.  It is excellent and I am going shortly to the bank to make the bank-to-bank transfer to order several hundred pounds.  This steady supply will allow us to begin manufacturing Mel’s Wax shortly.  Stay tuned.

Thin, Good Looking & Strong – Micro Plywood Splines, Part 2

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - 11 hours 48 min ago

It is very easy to install thin plywood splines in mitered corners of boxes and frames But, to do so successfully, you will have to design the placement pattern of the splines and spend some time carefully laying out your design on the corners. (Read part one of the micro splines story here)  Design Above (in the lead image) you can see a few optional designs that can be easily […]

The post Thin, Good Looking & Strong – Micro Plywood Splines, Part 2 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Mitre Planes and an Observation about Maker's Marks

Tools For Working Wood - 12 hours 9 min ago

This blog entry wass derailed - in a good way.

I was totally in the midst of working on a post about mitre plane geometry when I made a discovery that totally put me in another direction. In the picture above are 4 mitre planes. I had laid out four planes in what I thought was chronological order, using what I knew about the planes and their makers.

From left to right:
Spiers - Latter part of the 19th century.
I Smith - Mid 19th Century (1860's?)
??? - Very early 19th century - Unmarked, possibly by Gabriel.
Christopher Gabriel - late 18th century.

The maker's stamps on the Spiers and Smith planes are on the lever cap or bridge. This is sort of what we would expect from any iron plane after the 1820's. It was pretty easy to stamp the bridge, and it's a spot that didn't get a lot of wear.

In the very early iron planes - such as the first two on the right - the steel stamps used for stamping wooden planes weren't that hard and wouldn't last very long stamping wrought iron. They were designed for wood. So Christopher Gabriel stamped his name on the inside of the front infill. On wood. On the side of the front infill which is nearly is nearly impossible to stamp once the plane is assembled so it won't be over-stamped by owners over the years. This particular plane has some numbers stamped in the bridge, which was not unusual for a Gabriel plane, but number stamps were easier to replace than a custom-made name stamp. Why Gabriel stamped numbers on the planes has been a subject of much speculation over the years.

I pegged the second plane plane from the right as early because of its construction, and possibly by Gabriel, but it's unmarked where it should be - on the wood. There's also some discoloration on the bridge. Since the plane shared some styles with Gabriel, I thought it might have been one of his. The wedge is a replacement. The dealer who sold me the plane back in 2000 thought the same about all the dating.

Now, putting the planes in order for this blog entry shook everything up.

As I put the planes in order for the photograph, I saw a stamp that the dealer overlooked -- and I overlooked for nearly twenty years. The plane bears a stamp just under the hole in the front of the plane. The "WATER" part was pretty easy to read, but it took awhile to suss out the "BY" at the front. "BYWATER."

Richard Bywater made planes in London from 1790-1814. Christopher Gabriel owned a large firm that was also in London.

The chances of Bywater not knowing of Gabriel's iron planes would be zero. One characteristic of Gabriel's planes is the long toe. Like the Bywater plane. But why is the maker's name stamped on the toe?

Maybe it's not a maker's stamp but an owner's? It's possible, but I don't think so. I think the random chances of an unmarked early plane being stamped with the name of a planemaker isn't zero but it's small. (Even if the stamp doesn't exactly match any of the marks included in Goodman and Rees's "British Planemakers from 1700.") And if we are talking about Bywater the planemaker, it's more than possible he didn't make the plane himself as the tools of metalwork are different than the tools of woodwork. The reason the plane would have been marked on the toe is that there are very few planes on an assembled mitre plane where you can swing a hammer enough to mark the metal deeply without running the risk of bending something. I certainly wouldn't risk it.

If Bywater didn't make the plane, who did? Craftwork in 18th century London was done by small independent Little Meisters who either worked in their own small quarters or worked in a larger shop, working on their own but buying parts from the master, all paid on piecework. Did this plane come out of the Gabriel shops, wholesale, to be retailed by Bywater? Was it made by a Little Meister working for Gabriel, made on the sly to sell to Bywater?

I don't know: it's all speculation. Do you have any ideas?

paper towel holder pt III.......

Accidental Woodworker - 15 hours 19 min ago
There is only going to be a part IV and V.  I was expecting to get all of the woodworking related tasks done tonight but I lost a bounce test. A minor hiccup that was easily fixed and it really didn't matter much. I still have to wait for the spindles for the gallery rail to come in before I can keep on going with it.

two coats on it
Last night after dinner I went back to the shop to look at this. It felt dry and not the least bit greasy. So I put another coat of the finish on the box and lid. This is what it looks like 12 hours later. Still dry and not greasy or slick, and there is no stinky odor. I can smell it in the jar but not on the box.

the bottom of the lid
Other than the color getting a bit darker, there isn't much to tell me there is a finish on this. It has a nice tactile feel with my fingertips but I'm not sure about the protection it will afford. I like shellac but side by side, I pick this new finish. I put another coat of it on tonight. I'll evaluate this tomorrow and see if it needs another one.

one of three rabbets
I need this rabbet at the bottom of the shelf for the bottom of the crest rail. I need a stopped rabbet on both of the sides for the ends of the crest rail. The three of these will provide a good glue surface for the keeping the shelf, the sides, and crest rail together.

right side stopped rabbet
I started to saw this out and stopped. I couldn't take a full stroke for the whole wall so I chiseled it out by hand. Once I got the majority of the waste removed and I was close to the gauge line, I switched over to the hand router.

closed throat router
When I put this away yesterday I didn't change the depth setting. I left it at the same setting so the rabbet depth will be same as the shelf dado.

finishing up the other side rabbet
I spent a most of my time carefully chiseling the vertical wall of the rabbet. This is what will be seen on the finished shelf. I made sure that this was as straight and clean as I could make it.

clean and tight fitting joint
the failed bounce test with Mr Concrete Floor
I knocked this off the bench and this piece broke off. I will glue this back on and let it set until tomorrow.

the gallery rail
If I hadn't broken the shelf I could have done the layout for the spindles. If I had been able to do that I would have been done with the woodworking. I could have glued this up tonight but now it'll have to wait.

layout lines
I have a center line (vertical one) and the top of the sides (horizontal line) and that is all I need to draw a design. I sketched something here to get a look see at it and I'm going with it. I like it and I don't see the need to try to make anything else.

I just have to cut this out and align the vertical and horizontal lines and trace it out onto the crest rail. This will be the last of the woodworking to be done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was Grace Hooper?
answer - she wrote the first compiler for a computer programming language

Results in on Silverline Spokeshaves

Paul Sellers - 15 hours 38 min ago

From my journal Monday 20th February 2017 Just before the weekend I picked up another spokeshave but this time it was first under £5. At first glance you would say, “This’ll work, surely.” After all, all the component parts seemed to be there. The reason I picked this one out is because someone messaged me and …

Read the full post Results in on Silverline Spokeshaves on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

How Do I Spell Filletster? C - O - O- L...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:51pm
I have always been leery of Facebook and I didn't take the plunge with it for years. Finally, I jumped and while it was great keeping up to date with friends and relatives, I still tended to go back every few months and delete whatever I could find that I had posted previously. Paranoid? Probably, but who ever said I was rational?

After Donald Trump won the election, however, things very quickly changed. I'm not going to get into a political discussion here because my political affiliations and beliefs are none of your business. I do have to say, though, that after that election, I suddenly discovered that many of my friends and relatives were crazy. Many had gone completely crackers. A couple of my relatives have IQs of a gazillion or more, but it seems that their intelligence was unable to help them cope with the loss of their beloved Democrat, which made no sense to me at all, because they are Canadian, for God's sake. When I had finally had enough, I stopped going on the site, then about a week later I went on and tried to delete my page.

Did you know you can not delete your Facebook page? Nope. You can make it "Inactive", but you can't remove it. I also discovered that the content of my deactivated page suddenly became searchable on Google. Before I deactivated the page I never had my own Facebook content appear as a hit in a relative search, but after the page was deactivated, my past research postings suddenly became search hits. Crazy, no?

So I deactivated my Facebook page and three or four days later I did my usual start-off-the-week Google search for tools made by H. E. Mitchell. A hit came up for a Filletster Plane that was made by Mitchell, so I quickly hit the link and found myself on Facebook reading a flag that said, "Welcome back, Mitchell. Please sign-in to proceed." Damn! So I signed in, looked at the posting for the plane and contacted the seller to see if he would be willing to ship to Canada. He was, I paid, he shipped, I got, and I have to say, it is a pretty cool looking plane...

Filletster Planes are specifically designed to cut rabbets or half laps, and come in two styles. The first is the Standard Filletster. This style of plane has an integrated, fixed fence that is part of the plane's body. The second is the Moving Filletster, which involves some pretty specific criteria to be met if the plane is to be called this. The plane must have a skewed iron, a flat sole, a moveable fence and an adjustable depth stop. The fence can be held and adjusted using two screws that run through the fence and into the body of the plane, or an armed fence, similar to those found on a Plow Plane. My latest plane purchase, with the screw-type fence,  has all four of these features so it can properly be called a "Moving Filletster Plane".

My Filletster Plane does have some issues, the main one being a missing Nicker Blade and Wedge to hold it. I going to have to research what style of Nicker Blades Mitchell used because this example has a bit of a strange setting. The slot for it that runs down the edge of the body just in front of the iron is 1/4" by 1/2", the 1/2" dimension running front to back. The exit of this slot on the sole of the plane is 1/8" by 9/16", the longer dimension running from side to side. Weird, eh? It would make more sense to me to have those dimensions turned 90°, so it is going to take a little research to figure out what kind of blade to make.

Another problem with the plane is the Escapement. It looks like someone wanted to make the throat a little deeper so they went at it with a tool that was definitely not suitable for the job. It is going to take some real patience to get that cleaned up.

Other than those two issues, it is a damned nice plane. The grain of the body is straight and clean. The blade is completely useable, and the fence and depth stop work like a charm.

The plane was probably made around 1890 to 1900 as the maker's mark includes the Trade Mark lion, something Mitchell didn't have on his mark until that time. I am also curious about the depth stop mechanism. While there are some slight changes, the overall shapes and the way those shapes work together on my plane are very close to being the same as those shown in the photo below, especially the fact that both mine and the one in the photo have a 1/16" slice of steel covering the bottom of the depth stop foot. Was there a company out there suppling parts like these to plane makers, or did one maker blatantly steal the designs of another maker, without bothering to hide the theft?

Most importantly for me though, is that happy stamp of the nose of this thing...



Categories: Hand Tools

Roubo Workbench Class

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:26pm

Well as promised we have posted a new roubo workbench class! It is scheduled to start October 16th 2017. It will be a 10 day class and cost $3,850 including all the hardware. Here is the link to the website, Roubo Class. I am still working on developing the windsor chair class, and also hoping to have some […]

The post Roubo Workbench Class appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Video Tour of a Deluxe Roubo Book

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:21pm

If you have never seen one of our deluxe versions of “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry,” this tour will give you a small taste of the scale of the book and the quality of its components.

Since the release of this book (it’s long since sold out), people have come by the storefront or to shows to see a copy and it’s always a treat to see their reaction. First, they are amazed at the size – 12-1/4” wide x 17-1/4” tall. It’s uncommon to see a book of this size outside of a library’s rare book room.

But my favorite part is when they open the book. The printing and detail is so crisp that no matter how close you get, it holds up.

Oh, and the A.J. Roubo translations themselves are an incredibly important piece of woodworking history. Roubo’s “l’art d’Menuisier” is still the legal yardstick in many countries for what is good workmanship. And this is the first time his sections on furniture are being printed in English.

On Wednesday at noon we will begin taking pre-publication orders for the deluxe version of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture.” Full details on the book are available here. We are printing 1,000 copies, which will ship this summer.

Also, I neglected to mention that everyone who purchases a deluxe copy of the book will receive a pdf download of the standard edition. It will be delivered after you checkout.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Roubo Translation, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Black Dog Workshop

goatboy's woodshop - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:13pm


Like most amateurs in any craft, I rely heavily on my maestros and gurus, and for me, help comes in the form of YouTube videos more than anything else. When it comes to hand tool woodworking, I invariably turn to the likes of Paul Sellers and Tom Fidgen. When I need advice about woodturning, my ‘go to’ guys are Mike Waldt and Martin Saban-Smith.

The latter of thesimg_1591-e1481281226404e chaps is the developer of Hampshire Sheen, a woodturning finishing wax which I highly recommend, and he has recently opened a woodturning workshop at his family’s garden centre called The Black Dog Workshop. The workshop provides tuition for beginners, as well as a place to turn for those who may not have their own facilities. It is also designed to cater for people who suffer with depression and other mental health problems, focussing on the therapeutic benefits that any creative pastime can provide.

I have followed the progress of the workshop on its dedicated YouTube channel since it began, and I think it is a fantastic idea. I wanted to show my support for the project, as well as my gratitude to Mr Saban-Smith for the help his videos have given me, so I decided to make him a gift.

20151001_142921As he is an accomplished woodturner, there seemed little point in turning him something, so I decided to go down the hand tool route. In the past, I have made a fair few mallets, and I suppose they are the closest thing to a speciality that I’ve got.  And, every workshop should have a mallet. The Black Dog Workshop mallet is made from walnut and beech, and I dabbled in some pyrography and added the workshop logo.

Here are a few photos of the build (click to embiggen):

20170214_163409 20170214_170040 20170214_203636 20170214_223834 20170214_225712 20170214_234434 20170215_153437 20170215_215122 20170215_222710 20170215_230348 20170216_144721 20170216_151417 20170216_202200 20170216_230915 20170216_233439 20170217_151545 20170217_220241 20170217_223432

I finished the mallet with three coats of my home-made varnish/linseed/turps blend, and packaged it off this afternoon.


I hope it goes down well.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Hand Made Knives

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 9:49am

A friend of mine sent me some pictures of some great looking knives that he purchased from a guy called Matt Cook. They are razor sharp and were very reasonably priced for a hand made tool.

If you are interested Matt can be contacted via Instagram

Categories: Hand Tools

They Should Have Know Better…

The Furniture Record - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 5:45am

Today’s parable of the movement of wood concerns this George III Linen Press:


This lot has sold for $380. Furniture is soft right now.

Description:  Circa 1800, two-part form, high-grade burlwood mahogany veneers, mahogany, pine secondary, applied arched cornice with ebonized line inlay above a vertically veneered frieze, upper cabinet with two hinged doors, center with an applied reeded brass mount, each door featuring a rectangular panel with an inset square to each corner, interior with four pull-out linen drawers, base with two over two graduated cockbeaded drawers, raised on French bracket feet with a shaped skirt. (Thus sayeth the auction house.)

The maker of this press made an interesting choice when they made the doors. A large, wide board would have been a bad idea. The wide board would move and be highly unlikely to stay flat. A four-panel board would have been a common construction for a press in that era. Or any era. What is unusual is that they veneered over a four-panel door. A bad idea:


Just asking for trouble. And they got it.


They veneered the inside as well. Also a bad idea.

If you have ever read about, seen a video about or (God forbid) actually made a panelled door, you know that if you are using real wood for the panel, you don’t glue the panel to the frame. With our 20th/21st century sensibilities we know that the panels will move, expand across the width of the board. If glued, the frame may crack or glue joints may fail.

I have to believe that a 19th century cabinetmaker would have known about wood movement and the perils therein. Yet they choose to glue veneer to a panel that is guaranteed to (and did) move. With the expected results. To their credit, they did a really good job gluing the veneer down. No glue failures here. And the doors still exist in one plane, no warps. Impossible to say how long the veneer held it together.

Now, on to the drawers. I do like the pulls. They seem to be original:


An original pull? How unique.

The dovetails again are unique:


The nails don’t look original.

They seem to have left a pin off. Then again, symmetry is so overrated.


Well-known Japanese saw aficionado Ron Herman, at the...

Giant Cypress - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 4:28am

Well-known Japanese saw aficionado Ron Herman, at the Woodworking Show in New Jersey last weekend, explaining how he sets up saws and scrapers (!) differently for softwood and hardwood species, with an example of some of his crosscut saws. 

And you thought only crazy Japanese woodworkers would go to that much trouble tweaking the setup of their tools.

towel holder pt II..........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:42am
I took another 'take it easy' day.  It was a day off from work for me and I did nothing on the cabinet installation except to call a few plumbers. None were interested in doing a little piddly job like move some pipes. One did say that he was free at the end of March and could I wait that long? By the time I got done doing this I was ready for something else so I went on a road trip.

I went to three different craft stores to get some gallery rail spindles. All three of the craft stores didn't have any and none of them knew what they were. One had an assembled gallery rail that I showed to him so he now knows what they are.

There is a wood item store in Greenville that sells them so I headed out to see them. But before I stopped there I went a wee bit further up the road to Stillwater Antique Mall. It's been a while since I've been there and they must be undergoing a inventory turnover. Pickings were sparse but there were two humongous 90° picture framers clamps. They must have had a 8-10 inch clamping width. I've never seen any that big before. For $45, I was tempted to take one home but I didn't.

On the way home I stopped at the wood store but it was closed. The sign said they would be closed from Feb 12th to the 21th. Today is the 20th and I was left standing at the door. Since I had no intention of driving back here, when I got home I ordered some on line.

I bought 20 maple spindles for $3.85 with $7.90 S/H. Ouch, I dislike paying more for shipping then the merchandise. The first site I looked at was selling one spindle for $2.35. I hope no one bought any of these from them and looked further.

30 minutes past oh dark 45
Overslept again this morning and I can't do that tomorrow.. I went to the shop and before I started to work on the towel holder I did one last check for the ID and OD. I hope that paper towels all come in a standard length. I have seen them with different diameters but this holder can handle that. It can also handle about an extra inch in the length if need be.

artist linseed oil
Chris Schwartz recently put up an article on making a homemade finish of linseed oil and wax. He wrote that buying this type of linseed oil was expensive and he wasn't woofing Dixie. I think that this is Italian and I couldn't find how much is in the bottle. It's probably there but I can read Italian as well as I can mandarin chinese.

using the 4:1 ration
I am assuming that Chris did the formula based on weight ounces and not fluid ounces. The weight of the linseed oil was 2 3/8 ounces which made the beeswax to be added about 0.6 ounces. I put 7/8 of an ounce of beeswax in this. I am sure that this formula isn't carved in stone so I should be alright if I'm a little off on the ratio.

brought it to a boil
After it came to a boil I lowered the heat until all the boiling bubbles went away. Then I put the jar of linseed oil and beeswax in the water.

5 minutes
The wax is still in chunks in the linseed oil. The bigger pieces of wax don't seem to want to melt.

ten minutes
There are 3 pieces of wax that still haven't melted. The mixture has gone from a clear looking liquid to a honey color here.

took about 15 minutes to melt the wax into the linseed oil
I kept the heat on medium low and I didn't allow it to boil again once the jar went in the water.

about 10 minutes after taking it out the water
It is starting to solidify.

wasn't sure
This is the stir stick I used on the mixture. I'm sure that this probably isn't like linseed oil soaked rags but this gives me a warm and fuzzy. I broke up the whole stick into little pieces and put them in water.

used two shooting boards
I need to make another smaller shooting board. The one I have now is made of MDF and it's getting wonky. It doesn't like shooting boards over 5-6 inches wide.

all 3 dead nuts even in length
marked the shelf width
I think I've finally turned the corner on this. I wasn't looking at this to saw plumb. What I was concentrating on was staying a few frog hairs off the gauge line in the waste side.

left the line end to end
using the gauge line again
Planing down to this will make this edge square and parallel to the other edge.

3/8 longer than the dado
I didn't measure this but laid it out by eye.  I like a stopped dado over a through dado. I think the stopped dado is cleaner looking. Of course that depends on how well you saw the notch too.

I have my finish
I don't know at what time this set up and solidified. I was busy playing with the towel holder. I would guess it's been about 45 minutes since I brought this down to the shop. It's still a little warm but not so warm that I can't hold it.

it's solid looking and it feels solid too
left knife line
Since I looked at my marking knife with a magnifying glass and fixed it, I've been getting clean, ragged out free knife lines.

right one is just as clean
bottom back stretcher
I am not liking this layout. This is a weak connection due to not much meat making the connection. I'm changing this to a blind dovetail.

I like this better already
scraper chisel
This scraper is the same thickness as my dovetail kerf  and it fits it like a glove. What it isn't doing is chiseling down the corner. I have only used this scraper for the corners on pine and it sails through that. It isn't working on the poplar at all. I had to chisel out the tail socket slowly and carefully.

left side done
right side had some hiccups
I had a gap on the shoulders here and at the back top of the tail. The sides of the dovetail were tight against the socket walls. My first attempts at correcting the fit were off the mark. I thought because it was tight on the outside walls that was the problem. I trimmed in very small shavings and that saved my bacon. The reason why I had a gap at the shoulders was because the back wall of the tail socket wasn't plumb. It was tapered with the bottom wider than the top. I shaved the wall plumb and the back gap disappeared. The shoulder one closed up some but not completely. This was another area I trimmed that I shouldn't have. After I glue these I will also put a screw in each tail into the side.

rubbed on one coat of  the linseed oil and wax finish
This finish is hard. I was expecting this to be a little softer and kind like a paste. Maybe my overage on the wax ratio made it harder. It doesn't smell and it doesn't feel greasy even after I apply it.

the lid
It's hard for me to tell there is a finish on this. The lid does slide in and out easier after this one coat.

unfinished big box
Both of these boxes are made from the same boards. The bigger box is lighter in color (no finish) than the smaller box with the finish on it. I'll put another coat on the small box tomorrow. Before I put any on the bigger one I'll let the small one hang out for while first. I think this will be a good finish to put on shop projects.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Al Capone, the gangster, had an older brother who used the name Richard "two gun" Hart. What did he do for a living?
answer - he was lawman in Nebraska serving as a marshal and a state sheriff

Williamsburg Snapshot – Watching A Rock Star At Work

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 5:28pm

Of all the thing I learned at the recent Working Wood in the 18th Century shindig, two come into clear focus: 1) Peter Galbert is a rock star, and 2) even though I am not a Windsor chair sorta guy I somehow have to figure out a way to budget the time and finances to attend a workshop he is teaching.

While I am not even a chair builder per se, Samuel Gragg chairs notwithstanding, I had been awaiting this presentation with great anticipation since I learned of it.  Pete’s book on chair building was a thing of great beauty and erudition; the highest compliment I can give it is that I wish I had written a book this good.  When reading it I found myself smacking my forehead with every new nugget of enlightenment, which meant every couple of minutes or so.  In much the same way as Krenov’s original trilogy,  Chairmaker’s Notebook is a snapshot of the craftsman’s soul.

And here he was on stage, unfolding his methods of work.  As my friend MikeM remarked, Pete’s performance was perhaps the most amazing example of cogent non-stop talking and non-stop working either of us had witnessed.  Next to both “peripatetic” and “loquacious” in the dictionary is a picture of Pete, and with great elan he walked us through the processes he uses to build his chairs, and his reasoning behind them.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

Beginning with the splitting of the green stock needed for the fashioning of the steam bent pieces and finishing with the assembly of the chair’s elements, I found this to be as grand a learning experience as any I have encountered in furniture making.

Along the way he showed how he lays out the geometry of the chair spindles and legs, steam bent the continuous arm/crest rail (I was too engrossed in watching to remember to take pictures), and even turning the green wood legs on a treadle lathe, he did not miss a single note.

His assembled base with the arm attached was a great hit with the attendees as it was on display out in the vestibule of the auditorium.

Well done, and thanks Pete.

Beaver Sticks and Firewood

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 4:54pm
When contemplating materials for any project, I always first assess what I have on hand and use it if possible. I feel that this is an historically accurate way to think about vernacular projects. "Making do" is an art form that has been preserved in many pieces that we've seen, including workbenches. We've come across some pretty funky workholding devices lately, whether looking over Jonathan Fisher creations, digging through the Old Sturbridge Village collection, or flipping through Woodworking in Estonia. It is wonderful to see natural crooks, bent knobby knees, or giant hewn slabs incorporated organically into useful and (yes) beautiful forms.
We have a pile of tree-length firewood at home that is currently sitting under several feet of snow, but before it became entombed in lustrous wintry cement I cut a 5' length of 12"-diameter ash and split it in half with wedges. I had in mind a shaving horse or some such project for it, but I think it'll be particularly suited for a Roman bench because it has quite a bit of mass. I envision using this bench to hew and carve, and ash should take this abuse reasonably well.
For legs, I turned to our resident beavers to do some work for me. I have nothing personally against beavers, until they attempt to flood the woods around our kids' treehouse or take down our nicest oak and yellow birch trees. These rodents (North America's largest) can do an unbelievable amount of work in a single night, and we've started incorporating beaver-processed materials into projects around the house. And why not? Trees are cut, peeled, and often forgotten in the woods to season. A handrail in our house, for example, is a polished beaver stick. We've seen many stake-leg workbenches that use rounds for legs, either as original construction or as later replacements (some still with the bark attached). Having a near-endless supply of downed saplings made this an easy choice - I simply dug out a good dry maple of the desired diameter (3" or so). Besides, how many people can say that a large rodent helped them with stock prep?

Categories: Hand Tools

My Lucky Scars

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 4:32pm

When I was about 11, my parents took a trip to Cancun and left us with Hazel, a Nurse Ratched type with a beehive hairdo, a messed-up back and a matching disposition. It was Halloween, and so we were carving pumpkins in the garage. I was using my Cub Scout knife – improperly. The knife slipped and slashed the web between the thumb and index finger on my left hand. […]

The post My Lucky Scars appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Roman Bench Build-along Day 1

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 1:59pm


The Roman bench build is underway! Mike and I met this morning, gathered our tools and material (read: planks and firewood) and discussed features on period examples. We were primarily looking through Woodworking in Estonia for inspiration and design guidance. There are so many creative workholding solutions in there that we haven’t seen anywhere else. We can’t resist trying some of them out. If you haven’t ordered a copy of that book yet, what are you waiting for? Go order it now.


We each chose different versions based on our intended uses and materials available. I have a 200-year-old 2.75” thick pine plank that I am using for a benchtop. It’s 10.5” wide and cut to 5.5’ long. The top only had the slightest amount of twist so it needed little more than planing away the roughness. For the legs, I rived some ash firewood that has fully seasoned outdoors most of the year.

Mike’s bench is a half round of ash that he split, hewed, and planed flat. For the legs, he dug up a beaver-felled maple sapling from his woods. He will be using the sapling in the round as seen on many of these benches. Sure saves a lot of shaping! Come to think of it… why am I hewing a larger log into smaller pieces and then rounding them? Mike might be onto something here!

So after planing our tops, we got at boring the mortises. I have a t-handled auger just shy of 2” in diameter that I tuned up for my bench. Mike bored his mortises first with a 1” Irwin bit in a brace and tapered it with an awesome taper reamer that came out of some guy’s barn. It’s an all in one deal, bores the hole and reams along the way. Because Mike has a half round bottom, he had to bore his holes from the top so he couldn’t utilize the bore-and-ream-in-one feature. Too bad. That thing is cool.

Tomorrow, Richard Dort, our good friend from Leonard’s Mills Living History Days is coming over to help out. He’s been making staked benches for years so we should be in good hands.

Tomorrow we’ll start with fitting the legs into their mortises…


Categories: Hand Tools


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator