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!
Christmas gifts can cause a fair level of uncertainty, possibly even leaning towards angst, on the part of the giver. Are we sure whatever it is that we are looking at is something that will really “fit” the intended recipient? Someone on a list out there (family/friends/significant others) might even fall into the category of “extremely difficult to buy for”. So what to do?
(**Spoiler alert for family members reading beyond this point in the article before Christmas!)
We decided earlier in the year that we would make gifts for everyone on our list this Christmas, some of which will blend woodworking, leatherworking as well as metalworking. I’ve been honing my knife making skills (some may have seen a few of these on my Instagram account @LeeLairdWoodworking, or my personal blog) which is tying together woodworking and metalworking, and since a knife needs a protective sheath, the leatherworking. I created a pattern for both blade and handle that was pleasing to my eyes and felt good in the hands, and started each knife with just a blank of wood and a rectangular piece of metal.
Most of the work I performed with these different mediums was with hand tools, other than using my powered grinder for the initial bevels on the blades. As you might imagine, there is a fair amount of time and sweat involved in working these materials from the rough blanks to the finished and functional knives. Perhaps some of this time and effort will show through to each recipient, increasing the perceived value or just making it that much more special.
My wife is also making Christmas gifts this year, and they are a blend of media as well. She created chopsticks for her recipients, choosing and working with different types of woods, as well as making embroidered carry pouches. I got her a Bridge City Chopstick Master last Christmas (by her request) and this helps facilitate the process, but don’t think for a moment that you won’t need to apply your effort and sweat to have a great set of chopsticks!
We’ve imbued lots of work and love into our gifts. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas!
Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 25 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. and worked for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as a show staff member, demonstrating tools and training customers. You can email him at LeeLairdWoodworking@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LeeLairdWW
If for no other reason I would ask you watch this video to see how the Veritas Inset Vise is working out. I am surprised at what has been happening with it over the past year or so, you'll have to watch the video to find out what that is.
Hopefully this video will answer the majority of questions I get regarding this workbench.
Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any experiences regarding the Veritas Inset Vise let me know, I'd like to hear how it is working for others.
I have an affinity for the circular saw. Perhaps it comes from building the back deck at my parent’s house with my father when I was a kid (my earliest memory of really getting to build anything). Perhaps it’s from the summers I spent remodeling houses and building fences to help pay for college. There are so many uses for the circular saw, but it does have one glaring deficiency: there […]
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys talk about tips to help you sand better, quicker and smarter.
Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.
This simple shop shelf.
It's my take on a Popular Woodworking Magazine project done by Chris Schwarz. He based it on a drawing of an old woodworking shop. I built it in anticipation of my last shop and the things that hang on the pegs, sit on the shelf, and fit into the tool space behind the pegs has grown organically over time.
|Early on in the last shop. Circa summer 2013.|
Before my family started buying me stickers for my tool chest too!!
So I eased my OCD anxiety and hung the shelf, even though I had to take it down again to finish the painting, having it up just feels right.
In the end, "just feels right" is pretty important.
Ratione et Passionis
|checking the setup out|
|room for my hands|
I filed 6 teeth and was more than happy with my results. It was far easier to do than I expected and they looked damned good too. I was listening to Paul Sellers advice in the back of my head and I just kept going after that. I laid the file in the gullet and let it line up with the front and back teeth and filed two strokes. I got a shiny uniform look on the teeth after two strokes. It was almost a no brainer doing it. The only thing that slowed me down was moving the saw and the lamp.
|done with this|
|room is ok|
|done in less then ten minutes|
|got to try it out|
|nice cut that is pretty clean|
|big ass knot|
|this is the miniature bureau stock|
|this board has a big belly were the paint spot is|
|scraped the remaining paint almost as easy|
|both pieces are now relatively flat|
|clear stock to the left of the pencil line|
|clear and clean stock on the right board|
What is the diameter of a DVD?
answer - 4.72441 inches or 120mm
Part of the season 36 episodes of the Woodwright’s Shop are now online. One of them is on testing tusk tenon joints that Roy and I filmed a few months back. I made an apparatus to pull the joints apart and measure the amount of force it took to make them fail. The results are pretty impressive. The episode is called “Wedged Tusk Tenon” and is available to stream here.
I also shot a short video showing the joint smoker in action that is available here.
— Will Myers
Filed under: Uncategorized
After more than five years of freelancing and making furniture to feed my pie hole, here is the most difficult part of being free of corporate America: getting paid.
This isn’t some screed about how vendors don’t pay me. Everyone I deal with (furniture customers, publishers, etc. ) is quite nice and honest. And no one has tried to stiff me on an invoice or avoid paying me.
But paperwork is paperwork. There are times when I build, film or write something and I don’t get paid for a year. But that’s just part of the deal. I might have to pay for materials for something that could take six months to build before a check comes through. That’s part of the deal. And there are times where people have owed me as much as $12,000 when I’ve had a $10,000 college tuition bill due. But that’s just part of the deal.
Being free from the daily commute means that I also have to be able to weather almost any financial crisis without whining, selling plasma or borrowing. For me, that means I have to have $20,000 in the bank at all times. My wife and I call it (and I’m so sorry for the implied swear word): “F-you money.”
As long as that money is there, I can pay almost any bill that comes up. I can wait out any vendor that has me on 45 days. I can hold out if I need to wait for something to clear there and something to process there. It takes much of the stress out of the accounting.
As I’ve found during the last 65 months, everything works out just fine in the end. You just have to be able to hold your breath for a much longer time than when you were paid every other Friday.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
I’ve just finished writing an article on liquid hide hide glue for Popular Woodworking Magazine that takes a critical look at the adhesive compared to yellow glues. My hope is that it’s a fairly dogma-free article. While liquid hide glue will probably always be my favorite adhesive for interior work, there are some cases where another glue is a better choice. During the research for the article, I talked to […]
I was recently contacted by the Woodworkers Guild of America and asked if I would like to participate in their Blogger Awards competition. I was honored to be asked and I have entered in their “Hand Tool Blog” category. There are 5 categories, and I felt that “Hand Tool Blog” was the one that most closely matched my blog. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a category for “Quirky 4-Vise Roubo Benches and Chicken Coops”, as I think I’d have been as shoe-in for that line up.
Initially, I thought that only one nomination was needed, but I have since discovered that the number of nominations matters. The five blogs with the most nominations in each category will move on to a round in which people can then vote for their favorite.
If you like The Bench Blog, and would like to nominate it for this completion, I’d sure appreciate your nomination. It takes about a minute.
You can go to http://go.wwgoa.com/wwgoabloggerawards-1/ to make a nomination or you can click the badge image below:
I also nominated my friend Gerhard Marx at Je Ne Sais Quoi Woodworking, who’s blog is awesome. He makes fantastic stuff!
I think it is fantastic that an organization wants to promote and recognize the great variety of woodworking blogs out there. Do you have a favorite woodworking blog? Why not nominate them as well?
– Jonathan White
My clamps have been stuck here and there around the workshop, mostly on shelves. This was inconvenient and sucked up a lot of shelf space. I wanted mobile storage so I could bring all my clamps close to the bench for glue-ups.
The logical way to go about something like this is to do an internet search for "images of woodworking clamp racks." When you do, you see all sorts of creative ideas that you can adapt. Sometimes, though, I just feel like improvising on my own, sort of like a jazz musician, and am partial to making things like this with scraps on hand. That's what I did here.
Since I wanted mobile storage, I started with an old mover's dolly I had. I thought that an A frame would be best, partly because it would take advantage of gravity to keep the clamps in place, partly to make the rack stable and partly to minimize the use of floor space. I started by attaching two used studs to a scrap plywood base and bracing them. I intended to make some sort of A frame like the ones you see in the images above, but then I tried something easier and it worked. I just nailed cleats in various places based on my clamp collection. Here is the result:
I am amazed at how much space this freed up, the rack is surprisingly stable and it moves easily. This was a quick project that really paid off. I think that if you have free wall space close to your bench, a wall rack would be preferable, but if, like me, you don't, a mobile rack is a good choice. Looking at the images after mine was already built, I see all sorts of more refined ideas if I decide to go to version 2. Although my pair of uprights seems stable enough, it occurs to me that just making a tall sawhorse mounted on casters would be a good, quick and easy, approach, sort of like this one.
So, now it's time for a project.
We were honored to have a visit from renowned carver Chris Pye a few weeks ago. Chris taught a 3-hour sharpening seminar in the morning to a roomful of enthusiastic carvers, and the demonstration was filled with entertaining anecdotes and carving references. We were very impressed with Chris’s ability to make good fun out of a sharpening demo.
In the afternoon, Chris opened up the classroom and welcomed all carvers to come in to discuss all things woodcarving in an open house forum. Attendees were urged to bring in their own work to show off or ask technique questions, and a wonderful afternoon was had by all.
Thank you to Chris and Carrie Pye for making the journey to Highland – sharing talent like yours to our woodworking community is a very special opportunity for us and we always appreciate it.
Keep an eye out for our in-depth interview with Chris Pye, coming to this blog very soon!
In the meantime, you can learn more about Chris Pye and even sign up for online carving lessons at his website: www.chrispye-woodcarving.com
Ages ago, I posted a blog on mortising tips, but I failed to mention the absolutely best technique for cleaning out mortises. (Check here to find out how to overcome improper bit and chisel setup that can build twist into your doors.) The process is dirt simple, of course. Plus, you let gravity do most of the work.
The Simple Secret
Turn the stile over so that the mortised edge is facing the floor (that’s where gravity comes in).
These are the longest planes I own. I don't actually use any of them although I have tried. The longest planes I use are in my shop, these planes are in my tool collection.
Long planes, "Jointer Planes" as they are called exist for two reasons:
The first reason is for accurately milling wood. The second reason is for making the soles of other shorter planes accurate.
The first reason is the usual reason we are all taught that when milling wood by hand (which I do) the longer the plane you use the more accurate the final result will be. The standard way of planing anything flat is to first intentionally plane it hollow and then with the longest plane you own go from end to end until the high ends disappear into one long continuous shaving. If you use a short plane the concavity under a shorter plane will be less and therefore you will get that continuous shaving over a shorter distance than a longer plane and it is less accurate. It's beyond the scope of this blog entry to go into all the geometry but that's why in the days when people did all their milling by hand a long plane was pretty useful. This is especially true because in the 18th century, when wood was sawn by hand it was sawn pretty accurately and to final thickness and by the time it got to the joiner ideally only a few passes with a jointer plane were needed to finish the job. Smooth planes were used to take care of low spots the jointer missed.
The second reason comes from shops that used wooden planes regularly. The beech soles of hard used wooden planes wore and the occasional pass over by a long accurate jointer plane easily got their soles back to flat. Shops would keep a long plane especially for this purpose and use shorter planes for most things. Milling wood was done with long but not your longest plane - so that the longest plane would stay flat and could be used to fix all the other planes in the shop.
The long wooden plane 26" (second from the back) is a late 18th century jointer plane by Gabriel. It's in very poor condition, but the main reason it probably survived was because unlike short, more useful planes this plane was initially used as a reference and was taken very good care of for at least the first part of it's working life. Long wooden planes are the lightest of the genre and with their high sides by far the easiest to hold square. I learned this from Larry Williams many years ago and put it into practice. When you hold a plane with a high center of gravity vertically, it feels square, much like holding a glass of water and walking across a room. You get this effect with all planes but with woodies the effect is most pronounced. It because far easier to joint something free hand because once you get used to the sensation you can feel when you are out of square.
The long Stanley 28" transitional plane (no. 33) at the back is a rarity, Mimicking the long wooden planes that were readily available Stanley, offered transitional planes with a wooden sole and a metal mechanism in lengths up to 30". By the time this plane was available however almost every cabinet shop in the US of any size would have used powered machinery to do basic jointing and planing, and there wasn't really much of a call for long planes. In use compared to a regular iron Stanley they are at best mediocre.
Thomas Norris & Son - the great ((mostly) 20th century) infill plane maker listed jointers from 13 1/2" to 28 1/2" long in their catalogs and longer one on special order. I included three (that I don't use) here. The 22 1/2" A1 (the "A" is for adjuster) Norris jointer in the picture (middle) is on the rare side, but once you try using it for any length of time you understand why. It's just too heavy for regular use. The 17 1/2" plane plane I have in the shop (not in the picture) is far, far more common because it was far more useful. Of course by the 1930's there was less and less call for long planes and production was never very high.
Behind the Norris jointer is a 1930's Norris A72 22" wooden jointer plane. This is a collectible rather than a working plane. They suck. Norris in a depression era bid to lower the cost of their tools grafted the Norris mechanism onto a fairly random Beech body. The mouths are wide and it's not uncommon for the cheeks to be cracked. You find them in good cosmetic condition because they weren't used much.
The long plane in front of the Norris jointer is a C. 1920's Stanley Bedrock 608. The 608 being the premium line of Stanley No. 8's. The Number 8 and 608 were the longest iron planes Stanley made and is 24" long with a 2 5/8" wide iron. I find the tool way to heavy for regular use. In my toolbox I have a Bedrock 607 ( 22" long - the same length as a regular No 7) which I like a lot, use, and is long but a lot lighter than the #8. Lie-Nielsen and Clifton make long planes, we have a Clifton no.7 in our showroom and it's a wonderful plane, better in many respects than my 607, but both Clifton and Lie-Nielsen use far heavier castings than the original Stanleys. I find the modern 8's and 7's planes unwieldy for a long sessions of planing.
The English use the term "Panel Plane" to describe planes that are too long to be smoothers and too short to be very accurate jointers. 13"-18" long or thereabouts. These planes are a wonderful size and perfect for dressing timber in most cases.
In the front on the left is a C. 1830-18400 panel plane by Robert Towell This is one of the earliest iron panel planes in existence and it might have even been an experiment by Towell. It predates the typical construction of a panel plane and internally it is more like a mitre plane, with the bevel down but a mouth cut in and the sides wrapped around. Next to it on the right is a 13 1/2" A1 Norris panel plane. C. 1920's This is a very very nice plane to have for planing boards when accuracy isn't the primary concern (although it is more accurate than a smooth plane and usually has a wider blade). As mentioned earlier I mostly use a 17 1/2" panel plane, but you can use a longer and less wieldly longer plane to give you your accuracy and do the bulk of your work with this plane. As antique tools go these shorter infills are far more common, although it's important to get one in good original shape, and too much "restoring" can lessen the very properties that make these planes desirable in the first place. Stanley make a panel plane sized number 5 1/2, but I find the balance off and it has never had much appeal for me.
Now that I have a planer (I didn't use to) I find myself reaching for long planes less and less. If you really want to work unplugged even for milling timber a No 7 or better yet a wooden long jointer is a wonderful thing to have. The other options are IMHO too heavy (please don't write me if you love your No. 8 - that's fine but this blog is about what I fine useful).
If you mostly use machines for planing wood really all you need is a smoother you can count on, but a panel plane is really nice to have.
|The Mulesaw house with a couple of the young 'uns running around.|
It should be a great time. Hopefully at least as good as last time, which was an amazing experience. Jonas has two lumber mills in his shop, and woodworking using as much wood in whatever dimensions you want is not something that most people get to experience.
This time we have some celebrity attendees. Alex the Austrian will be joining us. He teaches woodworking in Austria. I first met him and Jonas both when we all were in Christopher Schwarz's first ever ATC class at Dictum back in 2011.
|Brian, Jonas, and Alex, along with Jonas' son Asger at Dictum last winter.|
|Me, Pedder and Alex earlier this year.|
Finally, we are expecting our special guest superstar celebrity, Olav the Magnificent.
|Jonas and Olav.|
Jonas' place is perfect for Widnsor chair making. He has access to huge elm logs that are perfect chair seat blanks. With that in mind, Jonas, Alex and I have decided to build Roorkees instead.
|Two of my Roorkee chairs.|
Alex has a nice burgundy side of Latigo leather and wants a pair of chairs. Jonas has a beautiful chestnut colored double shoulder, and I have a buttload of black, alligator skin pattered leather. And I need to fix my black chair in the above photo.
|Jonas with his mom and dad. I hope to see them, too!|
|Lots of fun was had last time.|
|Bent. He likes apples.|
|Some elm logs out back. The big one is a monster.|
All that great planning got flushed down the toilet along with the brown boats. I was in La La land thinking that not this coming sunday but the following one was the baby shower. It is now crunch time on the cradle build and I have four days to be 100 % done.
|how I got the rods in place|
|better clearance this time|
|how much I have to shave on the left shaft|
|a little less to do on the right one|
|can't avoid this any longer|
|there is joy in Mudville|
|scribed the cut off line|
|I could see it (barely) under the mag light - highlighted it with a sharpie|
|used the dremel to cut them to length|
|more than a wee bit off square|
|did better on the second one|
I won't know if this works until I get to work after publishing this first thing in the AM. I don't think that I'll try this again. It stretched my patience way too thin. Even my wife couldn't help me.
How many US states were created from the Louisiana Purchase in 1803?
answer - 13, in whole (4) partially (9)
I have recently started posting photos of dulcimers in progress and snapshots from my fascinating life on Instagram.
Instagram will provide a more immediate experience of what I have been covering in my “What’s On The Bench” posts. It will almost be like you are there!
You can follow me on Instagram by clicking here. You can also click on the Instagram widget on my pages and posts.
There will still be lots of Thrill-Packed Entertainment right here at DougBerch.com so stay tuned!
Last Sunday I went to see my mate Rod at the top of Bingley Five Rise, a staircase of locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal which is celebrating its 200th anniversary of fully opening. Rod’s been blacksmithing for quite a while and has some great stories. He was there with his bucket forge and a great improvement over his usual foot pump blower, a customised VW heater fan and a car battery. Orders to Mr David Wadsworth.
No working pictures, sorry, I was in old fashioned mode with a swill basket of iron, so a camera was a bit if a no no.
As a change from the hooks and candle holders he’d been knocking out all morning, I’d taken him some real work, a stock knife to hook and a pair of tongs to adjust. I’ve had this clog maker’s knife for some years, puzzled by how it was supposed to be mounted with the 3/4 inch thread on the end in place of a hook. With several heats in the tiny forge Rod transformed the thread into a regular hook. I sharpened the hollower, as it is called, and gave it a test run on some ash. Some adjustments needed, bit of slimming on the neck of the hook, and investigating why the edge leaves one if the raggedest finishes I’ve made for a long time.
I’ve turned a new carving mallet, my old one was starting to delaminate. I’m not used to exotic timber so I’ve no idea what this is, but it’s got a good weight to it. I’m using the mallet rather a lot, making the decorations on my new carved oak grain ark.
More coppicing tomorrow.
Next chance was her birthday this year, but the building of the barn sort of got in the way - so I failed that too.. (I am kind of a shitty father in that respect).
But with the upcoming DCBE (Danish Chair Building Extravaganza) I figured that I had to get the project in gear so I had something to show to the people coming up here.
I actually know pretty precise when the project halted to a stop. That was when I had to make the rabbets for the shelves, and I found out that it was quite a big job to do that with a backsaw.
I made the rabbets for one side of one bookcase, which meant that I had seven more sides to go.
By chance I invested in a hand held router of a decent quality, because I needed one for making the grooves in the floor boards for the barn. Suddenly it dawned upon me that theoretically I could cross over to the dark side and for once attempt to incorporate a router in one of my projects.
So that is what I did. Though it isn't handwork it sure was easy - and it got the project rolling again.
I already had the panels glued up and the dovetails cut (half blind) for the carcases, so once I had the dados routed out, the project took a great leap forward.
The glue up was remarkably easy, using liquid hide glue sure helps to give some extra time for clamping and making sure all is square.
After the glue up, I have made the recesses for the hinges on both sets and installed the half mortise chest lock on one of the bookcases. That bookcase has had the hinges temporarily installed to test how it looks, and also to help establish the positions for the strike plate for the lock.
My plan is to install the lock in the second bookcase next, and then I plan on moving on to the shelves and drawers etc.
|Dave Sawyer Windsor High Chair |
Photo by Joshua Klein of Mortise & Tenon Magazine
Thought you all might like to hear that Curtis Buchanan has released his Windsor highchair plans. This chair seems to capture the affection of every Windsor chairmaker I know. Honestly many of them use it as a high stool for setting in. It's just perfect for squeezing into. Almost like a high perch when you don't really feel like lounging. A place to set when you feel alert and want your mind to actively wonder and plan your next project. I think I'm talking myself into making one of these for my own personal use. Anyhow now I have no excuse not to.
If you want to know more, hop over to curtisbuchananchairmaker.com and check them out. Also Mortise & Tenon magazine will be featuring an article on Dave Sawyer who made the high chair in the opening picture. Dave was a huge influence on the windsor chair world. His designs and mentoring were felt by makers like Curtis and Peter Galbert. If you have Pete's Chairmakers Note Book then you'll note the drawing of Dave's high chair in the introduction (page xiii). He's a big fan.
Whatever you're doing in the shop today have fun and stay safe!