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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer!  Their fundraising goal was met.  Our prayers are with you, Walt!  


Let It Sit or Use It: Acclimating Wood

Wunder Woods - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 9:51pm
“Be sure to let the wood acclimate before you use it.”

That’s what every knowledgable woodworker will tell you about wood. After all, it has to be in equilibrium with its environment to ensure a good, long-lasting result. I personally preach this to everyone I meet, if they are willing to listen (and sometimes when they are not). But, it’s not as simple as just letting the wood sit before you use it. Sometimes letting the wood acclimate to its new environment is actually a bad idea.

The logic behind letting wood acclimate before you use it is to have all of the craziness of wood movement happen before it is installed. If the wood is moved to a dry environment it is going to shrink and if it is moved into a wet environment it is going to expand. This “dry” or “wet” description is relative though – wood moisture in relation to the environmental moisture (humidity).

I often think of wood trim and casework when I think of acclimating wood to its environment, with a close second being hardwood flooring. In a perfect world, I would install both of these items on the 2nd of February after the heat has been running in the house for months and everything is shrunk up as much as possible. In this shrunk up world, I want my flooring or trim to be super dry and super shrunk so everything fits nice and tight and only tightens up as summer rolls around and the humidity rises. However, the opposite is usually true. I seem to only install woodwork around July 20th, when the humidity is a billion percent and everything is fat, which means in the winter everything will shrink and gaps will appear.

“Well pal, if you weren’t such an idiot and you let that wood acclimate before you installed it, everything would be great and the gaps that open in the winter would be a thing of the past.”

Not true, I say. Remember, the dry and wet thing is relative. Letting the wood acclimate in winter to a super dry environment is good. Your wood will most likely be shrinking (it definitely won’t be expanding if the heat is running all day long). You will install everything tight and it will only get tighter as the summer rolls around. This is good – in winter.

In summer, the opposite is true. Say that you take your wood flooring that is dried to 6% to a job site in the summer. Your flooring is shrunk, it is small and ready to be installed. Yes, it will swell up in the humidity of summer, but you want it installed when the wood is shrunk so it will expand and only tighten up. Letting it acclimate in the summer only ensures that you are installing fatter wood, which is guaranteed to open up in the winter. Flooring will show gaps between boards and casework will open up at the seams.

I think the whole acclimation just-do-it, don’t-think-about-it thing started because there are so many chances in life to have wood that is a little too wet going in to an environment that could use drier wood. This, perhaps, isn’t the case in the deep south, but I would say it is the norm for much of the country. Wood has too many opportunities to pick up extraneous moisture before it makes it into its final resting place. From sawmills and distributors to retailers, lumber is stored in environments that are not climate controlled, possibly for quite a while, picking up moisture the entire time. And, even after it makes its way into your hands it may spend time in a garage, shed or job site that isn’t climate controlled.

The default in all of these cases is to get the wood inside, in a climate controlled environment and let it acclimate to the environment, but what we really mean is to let the wood dry. I have never had an issue with interior woodwork being too dry and causing a problem after it swelled up. Again, in the high humidity of the deep south this might be a problem, but for most of us wood can’t be too dry. It is almost always a little wet.

So, what to do in summer. Say you’ve got wood that just came out of the kiln and is dried to a target of 6-8%. Do you take it to the job site and let it acclimate, knowing that it is going to pick up moisture and get fatter before you install it, just to shrink again in the winter? I say, “Heck no!” It makes zero sense to let the wood acclimate in this scenario. If the wood is dry, put it in – and fast.

I have found this Wagner MMC 220 pinless moisture meter to be the most reliable and easiest to use. It gives deeper more rliable readings than a pin-type meter without damaging the wood.

I have found this Wagner MMC 220 pinless moisture meter to be the most reliable and easiest to use. It gives deeper more rliable readings than a pin-type meter without damaging the wood.

The key in any scenario is knowing the moisture level of your wood and what the acclimating environment is going to do to it. A reliable moisture meter is a good place to start. Test your wood, and if it is dry based on your area of the country, start using it. Refer to the chart at the end of this post to see what moisture content your wood should be. If you don’t have a moisture meter, assume that the wood is a little wet (since it usually is).

In the dead of winter letting the wood acclimate is always a good idea because it can’t really cause a problem. It won’t improve your lumber if it is already dry, but it won’t hurt it, and it will only help wet lumber. Winter is by far the best time of the year to install interior woodwork.

In the spring and fall acclimating wood is likely to have little to no effect. Heat and air conditioning will be running less, windows will be open, and humidity levels will be closer to outdoor levels. Only let your wood acclimate during this time of year if you know it is wet and could benefit from some drying. If it reads as dry on a moisture meter and/or hasn’t spent awhile in an environment without any climate control, start using it.

Acclimating your wood in summer only really makes sense if you know that your wood is extra wet, either because your moisture meter told you so or because the lumber was stored in an environment that wasn’t climate controlled. If your lumber is in a condition that acclimating it during the summer makes sense, you may want to reevaluate your situation. In this case, additional drying, not just acclimating, may be necessary. Summer is the worst time to install interior woodwork.

Use common sense when deciding whether or not to acclimate wood. If the environment is extra dry, no matter the time of year, let it acclimate. If humidity levels are extra high, it probably makes sense to start using the lumber right away. Any other times, when the humidity is moderate, you are probably just kissing your sister (getting no benefit) and possibly making the wood worse by letting it acclimate.

This chart shows the high (summer) and low (winter) moisture levels for interior wood throughout the country. In a perfect world, your wood will read at the lower number when installed.

This chart shows the high (summer) and low (winter) moisture levels for interior wood throughout the country. In a perfect world, your wood will read at the lower number when installed.

Categories: General Woodworking

Chosera 10,000 update

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 9:01pm
I still think this is a great finishing stone for all the reasons discussed in an earlier post but unfortunately it developed a large crack across the lower area after drying from a sharpening session. Fortunately, the loose area cleanly separated with a light tap with a chisel. I epoxied it in place with System Three […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Inheriting Tools – Part 2 – Papers, a back saw and a brace

She Works Wood - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 8:55pm
For now here is the best picture I have of Ernest Sarjeant’s apprentice / indenture papers.  Hopefully, I’ll have a better copy soon because they’re pretty difficult to read.  You can make the picture bigger by right clicking on it and opening in a new tab. Here are two of the tools I’ve finished cleaning.  They […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Dovetail Saw Rehab

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 6:30pm

In the spring I picked up two R. Groves saws from Gary at Hackney Tools. After a quick clean up the 14″ saw was put to work. The dovetail saw needed more work and it remained in the toolchest drawer. While waiting for the organizer board to dry, I pulled out the saw and using the skills learned at the Saw Sharpening Seminar began to assess the saw condition.


For a saw built in the late 1700’s the plate is amazingly straight and will not require any work. The handle is complete with horns and is stamped with G. C. Cockburn in several locations, it is slightly loose. The saw nuts do not fit squarely in the handle and the recess for one of the screws is oblong. A little bit more concerning is the gap between the plate and the handle which will require more investigation. Measuring the depth of the saw plate it appears that it is not evenly inserted into the back.



First step is removing the handle from the plate. The split nuts break free easily and I quickly realize why the nuts do not fit well into their resources. One of the screws is bent and they appear to have been removed and reinserted into the wrong holes. Placing the bent screw into a vise it straightens quickly.

The handle comes free with no problem and apart from some dirt and grime looks great.



Placing the plate into a vise I am able to carefully remove the back with a pry bar. The back comes off relatively easily. Once off I look at the plate and it has remained straight.

You can see in the picture where the back lay on the plate. There are many differing opinions as to why the back may lay on a plate in this fashion. Dropped saw, user adjusted, etc. my intention is to set it back in place parallel to the teeth.



The blade is cleaned using a razor blade to take care of the gunk under the back and handle, followed by a fine sanding block for a general clean up.

The gap between the back and handle is a little more puzzling. The gap is too large to be absorbed by tapping the back towards the handle along the plate. It would leave leave a 1/4 inch section of plate at the toe of the saw.



IMG_1194After some fiddling it appears that the plate was replaced at some point and the hang of the saw changed. With the back on the plate in its proper position and the plate inserted correctly onto the handle the holes of the plate and holes of the handle do not line up. Perhaps I can conclude that the position of the plate in the back along with the adjusted handle position were done together to change the position of the previous owners hand. At this point I have a difficult choice. Reinstall the plate in the existing holes with a handle and plate that do not fit correctly or re-drill the holes.


After some measuring and marking I decide that drilling new holes will provide the best support for the back and plate and will set the hang to its original design.

Admittedly I had some trepidation about drilling new holes. They will be close to the existing holes and could blow through. However with some careful drilling the job was done.  The picture shows the holes after the second set were added. Reassembled the back fits snuggly into the plate and there is no movement in the handle. The screws and screw nuts fit correctly and apart from the oblonged hole look great.


I took the saw for a quick test run prior to to sharpening and the change in hang angle feels right.

Next up sharpening.


Categories: Hand Tools

James’ Christmas Homecoming

Pegs and 'Tails - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 1:22pm
Following his exile in France, James Francis Edward Stuart (The Old Pretender – the son of James II, the deposed Catholic King of England and Ireland and James VIII of Scotland), landed at Petershead in Scotland on the 22nd of … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Help the Blog; Help Yourself

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 8:29am

I try to be transparent about my financial dealings in the woodworking world – that’s why I don’t take free tools, wood, classes or … anything. So how is this blog funded? Simple: I am paid monthly by F+W, the parent company of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Lee Valley Tools pays for advertising space – cast your eyes to the right. But my agreement with F+W is that I am free […]

The post Help the Blog; Help Yourself appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Back Saw, Part 3

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 7:16am

Yesterday I left off with pictures of the freshly slotted saw handles.  It’s always a great confidence booster when something I was worrying about goes well.  Luckily, there is always something else waiting in the wings to keep hubris and humility balanced.

After several cups of coffee I went out to the shop yesterday morning and started laying out the mortise for the saw back.  I assembled the saw plate and bronze bace and fit it to the handle so I could scribe the layout directly from the bronze back.

Transfer the location of the brass back to the handle.  Yes, that's the marking knife I made with the "surgical blade" recently.  I need to make another, I really like this one.

Transfer the location of the brass back to the handle. Yes, that’s the marking knife I made with the “surgical blade” recently. I need to make another, I really like this one.

On the first handle I decided to chop the mortise just like I would for a piece of furniture.  It was going just fine, but when I loosened the vise to reposition the handle, guess what I found?  Yes, a little bit of humility there on the Group B Bench.

First handle cracked even though it was supported in the vise.

First handle cracked even though it was supported in the vise.

Bummer, right?  I’ve had this happen before with figured Claro Walnut, there was a great bit of curly figure in this piece too (obscured by the coarse sanding).  Unfortunately that also made the grain run vertically right in this spot.  Oh well, better now than after the saw was done.

For the second attempt I decided to try sawing the sides of the mortise, sort of like you would on half-blind dovetails.  That worked OK, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t wincing with every move of the chisel.  But it worked just fine.

Sides of mortise sawn

Sides of mortise sawn

With the mortise done I clipped the back of the saw plate so it would seat against the kerf in the handle and test assembled the saw.

Test Fit

Test Fit

It’s an OK fit, I’ll give it a B+ for accuracy and class participation.  The overall look of the saw is good.  I’ll need to trim the brass back just a bit.

Decent fit around the saw back

Decent fit around the saw back

With that done I was ready to start shaping the handle.  I drew layout lines on the side as you can see in the picture, and on the edges.  The lines on the edges are parallel to the sides and about 3/16 away.  I also drew in a center line on the edges of the handle.

Layout lines for the first step in shaping

Layout lines for the first step in shaping

The first step in shaping was to rasp a bevel from the layout line on the side to the line on the edge.  I tried to get a flat chamfer and to keep an “even” edge where the shaped area meets the side of the handle.

First bevel cut on the back of the handle

First bevel cut on the back of the handle

Once I had the primary bevels cut into the handle area on both sides, and on the front and back of the handle, I was ready for the next step.  I laid out a line in the middle of each bevel and rasped a second bevel from the line to the center line of the handle edge.  From there it was simple to round over the remaining facets to have an even shape.  By cutting a series of even facets you can ensure that the shape will be even more easily than just grabbing a rasp and rounding it over from the start.

Blackburn Tools has a great series of articles that describes the process in more detail, including some details I’m not going to incorporate on this saw — maybe on the next one.


Both bevels cut and blended together,  Lots of sanding to go.

The rough shaping of the rounded part of the handle went really quickly.  Maybe 10 minutes.  This was followed by an hour or more of hand sanding the rounded areas to remove the rasp marks and smooth everything out.  I started with 100 grit, then 120, 150, 180, 220 and 320.  The hardest part for me are the chamfers y the saw plate.  They aren’t as uniform and flat as I’d like.  I’ll need to work on my technique.


Sanded and smooth as heck

I drilled the handle for the saw nuts, drilled the saw plate to match and started working on the saw back and saw plate.  I got one coat of shellac on the handle and left it to dry overnight.  I’ll sand it today and work a couple of more coats on.  I need to set and sharpen the saw and assemble it but I think I’m pretty close.

Oh. Nuts.

Oh. Nuts.

Categories: General Woodworking

Today’s Free Article – Compass Inlay

360 WoodWorking - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 4:10am

Inlay_Thumbnail360 WoodWorking – Premier Issue

Inlay is a great technique to add a stronger visual interest to most any woodworking project. Join Glen D. Huey as he discusses and demonstrates how to make and install a eight-point compass inlay found on an antique desk on frame from Pennsylvania.

This article is the fourth release of our first issue, and is available for free.

Click Here to Read Other Articles in the Premier Issue of 360 WoodWorking

Click Here to Read the Article Online or Download the PDF version.

This is the type of in depth content that will be available to our subscribers in 2015.


Sign up for our newsletter and come back tomorrow for our next free article.

Diamonds Are Forever – Or At Least Here to Stay

Paul Sellers - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 2:21am

There is always the challenge of changing someone’s made up mind once the mind is indeed made up or someone has already perhaps invested time and money into something or, even more, taken offence. It’s natural to defend a stance we already agree with, after all. We all do it to some greater or less degree I think. But being close-minded means much effort is often wasted.

By now you should have realised that abrasive is available to us in many different forms and that both abrasive and steel wears away.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes abrasive thus:

Abrasive, sharp, hard material used to wear away the surface of softer, less resistant materials. Included within the term are both natural and synthetic substances, ranging from the relatively soft particles used in household cleansers and jeweller’s polish to the hardest known material, the diamond. Abrasives are indispensable to the manufacture of nearly every product made today.

Of course there are then pages describing the substance of abrasive we don’t need at the bench, but what we need to know is that about 95% percent of the abrasives we use in woodworking and sharpening is man made using naturally occurring materials mostly mined and then fired into the bricks we call whetstones or sharpening stones. Some of these stones work best with water and some with oil. Natural stones are generally mined or quarried and then cut to size and graded according to quality, hardness and size. Natural stones were the standard means of sharpening for centuries. Many natural occurrences affect the quality of natural stones and this leads to higher levels of waste material that can then be used to make man-made stones and so minimise waste. Man-made stones have the least waste of all.

What happens at the purchase point results from the decision you make in choosing stones or a sharpening method or system. In fairness to catalog suppliers, the range is massive and the demand great. I would not like the job of categorising and choosing the offering although it is dead simple for me; in the name of the old Bond movie I think, “Diamonds are forever.” I think I have already said this but all abrasive stones cut steel. Because powdered abrasive doesn’t remain in position but as loose particles gets pushed around, most abrasives are formed from particulate into hard blocks and wheels. Some sharpening stones rely on a slurry from the fractured surfaces to further abrade and polish surfaces of steel.P1010386

Sharpening stones

The width of most stones and plates used by woodworkers is between 25-30mm thick by 50-75mm wide and 200-250mm long, but larger stones and plates are made and used. I use 75mm by 200mm (3” by 8”) diamond plates.

Stones today might still be generally categorised under the generic term whetstone but it’s an older term, which simply means sharpening stone. Oilstones are whetstones as are waterstones as are diamond plates. These stones are made up of solid particulate graded according to coarseness except for the diamond plates which are steel based and surface coated with diamond particles in different grades. Diamonds are the hardest of all substances and are the most wear resistant. All other stones start out flat and wear down throughout the sharpening process. This wear forms a curved or hollowed surface. The modern trend is to continually flatten the whole surface of stones and I believe that this is somewhat valid if indeed the stone is hollowing and not just curving. In a previous post I told you that it’s simply a method to combine the use of oval motions with overhanging the long edges of the stones to keep the stones flat across the narrower width throughout sharpening. This is to even out the wear, but this of course is only practical with wider blades such as bench plane irons and wider chisels 1” and up. The long curve, as distinct from hollowed or dished, doesn’t need to be flattened really, but the reason for flattening is mostly  the initial ease. You must then figure this into the equation because constant flattening then negates the initial ease.

Do all stones need to be dead flat?

P1010398A dished stone is very handy to have around P1010384Flat and straight and curved and convex – I use both

There can be no doubt at all that all stones were worn to curved and/or hollowed surfaces throughout the centuries and millennia. It was not because they couldn’t flatten stones but because for general use there  was little need to. It also meant that they knew the necessity to manipulate the steel blades they were honing or grinding to keep stones more evenly shaped or shaped how they wanted them shaping — how they ‘liked’ them. When I used oilstones I did that too, mostly because I liked to stop my stones from hollowing. I would dare to go much further than this and say that in some cases, for curved irons, gouges and such, they relied on curved surfaces customised by their individuality in the same way craftsmen and women through the millennia developed shapes to metals and clays and glass and fabrics by eye and arm movements and could replicate exact shapes over and over with barely any discernible differences. Curved surfaces along the length of a stone still facilitates a good cutting edge without compromise in any way at all, but working with narrower tools such as 1/4”, 3/8” chisels, plough plane irons and such caused gouging and hollows to the stones that they couldn’t just let go because these causes ever-deepening hollows that, left uncorrected, renders a stone unusable for wider plane irons.P1010397 Now let’s look at hollowed surfaces for a just a minute. I remember one time using a hollowed stone to sharpen my edge on a number 4 1/2 plane iron. After two strokes the man who’s stone I borrowed told me to stop as I was ruining his stone. I was holding the iron at the wrong angle or a different angle from the one he would usually use. When he honed his iron the sound was smooth but when I honed it was more a coarse grating sound. He showed me the angle he honed at, which was more elongated along the length of the stone. This meant that the cutting edge came out with his preferred gentle camber along the edge of the cutting iron. I was 16 years old. I understood then that not all stones needed to be flat. You see, for me, the question is who is it in this generation that demands flatness to every sharpening stone? It wasn’t heresy to have curved stones then and it isn’t today. P1010403A hollowed stone may vary in depth but, by adjusting the angle of presentation longitudinally and laterally, you can create diversely varied curves to the cutting edges of tools according to task. Many craftsmen used a cambered iron in those days. It was more common than we think. That said, you can create cambered irons on flat stones too. To do that I might use a figure of eight method, but I can simply roll the iron too. Scrub planes are bench planes that employ the deepest curves. The problem with hollowed stones is the effect they have on the bevel of the tools such as chisels. If the stone is hollowed then the bevel is convex in both directions and the chisel edge of say a 1” chisel or a plane iron cannot be straight. In most chisel work we rely on the edges being as close to straight as possible. That means flat becomes generally a necessity. Flipping the chisels over and using the hollowed or even curved stone for the flat face is obviously devastating because even after just a few strokes it’s a lot of work to reflatten the face to remove the now curved corners. 

P1010405Hollowed stone P1010406Flat across but curved along P1010396Flat faces curve corners on hollowed stones – not good!

Many people have restructured their thought processes. At shows about five years ago salespeople and gurus were set up with waterstones, flattening stones and baths of dirty water. No one would have set up with oilstones at that time because even though they worked fine and were clean and easy to use, they had become old fashioned and out dated. Today it’s changed all the more and the same people once selling waterstones are now set up selling diamond plates of different types because, I think, mostly people saw that flattening waterstones was messy looking, dirty wet, can be expensive and time consuming and oilstones are, well, old fashioned. Other stones like ceramic stones are options too and my choice outside of diamond plates might well be ceramic stones but they are not so easy to find. That said, my concern is getting people to the work at as low a cost as possible and especially for those who just don’t have the money for expensive stones and plates. The lowest cost start up is using stones. They cut steel effectively and they are not that expensive generally but you have to work at stopping them from dishing and especially is this so with narrow chisels and plane irons. It’s not so much the wider plane irons that cause the dishing and uneven wear issues although they do too, it’s the narrow blades that cut deeply and unevenly.

Concluding preference

Personally I concluded long ago that flat diamond plates are the simplest and most effective long term solution to almost all of my sharpening edge tools. Long term they prove the cheapest too. I prefer non mechanical methods because in general it’s faster and more effective and very convenient. Every chisel and plane iron in the New Legacy woodworking school is still sharpened using diamond plates only and they (both tool and plates) do last and last well. I value what our forebears developed using stones alone and want to respect that their work was exemplary using dished stones and often stones unequal in quality to their ambitions. Stone makers have given us a vast array of water stones to work with and solutions to flatness and we can indeed keep one side curved and the other flat to reduce sharpening time or have separate stones for different tasks and tools. It’s still confusing to thumb through a tool catalog be that paper copy or online. Too much info’ creates a dearth of what it takes to understand it and that’s attention.  Not many of us working people have the time to ‘pay‘ attention. I’m not sure if that’s going to change.

The post Diamonds Are Forever – Or At Least Here to Stay appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

And even more mouldings

Kees - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 1:18am
Sometimes I'm such a coward. When confronted with a new technique I can postpone the difficult bits indefinitely. Looking for odd jobs around it to avoid the real thing. So I had to give myself a kick in the back, grab the cherry boards and just get going with the job at hand.

First the front edge of the bottom board with the peculiar medieval moulding. After scribing all the lines on the board, I cut a rabbet with my trusty moving filister plane. That thing is grand! It easilly removes 1mm thick ribbons of wood per pass, so I was down to the bottom of the rabbet in no time. Cleaned up the cut with a normal rabbet plane, and relieved the sidewall a bit to make room for the side round plane. (Looks like I nicked the bottom of the rabbet a bit with the corner of the plane).

Then I cut a groove with the Record 044 plow plane. That's also a wonderfull little plane, I like it better then the Stanley #50 which didn't work in this case anyway because it doesn't reach deep enough.

That was the starting point for the side round plane. That caused a lot more struggling then on the practice piece last week. Maybe I didn't relief enough to the side? I took it in small steps, fearing that I removed too much wood, using the rabet plane to make space and the side round to cut deeper and more to the side. After the side round plane came the 1/2" hollow to round over the rest of the profile which worked as advertised. And here is the result after planing. Not really perfect, there is still a ridge inside that hollow part, but I managed to clean that up with sandpaper on a profiled wooden stick.

And this is how it looks like on the cabinet:

I think that looks a lot better then the first itteration with the modern square profile:

That being a succes I took courage and continued with the crown moulding. I won't bother you with all the steps. It's just a matter of cutting rabbets to remove the bulk of the wood and to make guiding channels for the hollow and round planes. I learned all this from the blog from Bickford for example here: musingsfrombigpink.

The moulding came out perfectly well, with just a few spots of tearout needing a bit of sandpaper.

I'll call my new set of hollow and rounds a succes, despite their less then perfect posture. I even cleared out a shelf for them.

Categories: General Woodworking

Plane ole videos

ZK Project Notebook - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 8:07pm
Some videos of my small planes. First up, a round up of some of a bunch of mitres. There is a mix of peined and brazed bodies. All have a welded ramp. This video shows a wedged infill [style] mitre … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Now Taking Commissions...

The Workbench Diary - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 7:56pm

Categories: Hand Tools

Dressing Up My Drawers

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 7:54pm
I've been working hard in the shop on a wonderful distraction. Honestly the Underhill nail cabinet is a fantastic project, just challenging enough yet straight forward enough. It hits that intangible Goldilocks's zone of "just right."  I'm very happy I decided to build one.

I'd spent some time building the carcass, filling it with some egg crate dividers, and attaching battens around the outside. Last Sunday I started the day in the garage at the table saw hacking up every piece of pine I had in my possession to make the drawer parts. I attached the back and fashioned a french cleat to hang the cabinet from.

Getting in on the wall and off my bench was important to clear up space to work on the drawers.

I sorted out the parts into the drawer spaces and called it a weekend.

Throughout the week I'd spend an hour here and there fitting each drawer to it's opening. I'd plane the pieces to fit side to side and then mark them to length. I'd size the bottom to the opening and use that to dictate the rest of the drawer.

When I'd finish fitting all the pieces in a vertical column, I'd build those drawers before I moved on. No highfalutin dovetails or trick joinery here. On the original the drawers are put together with butt joints, glue and brad nails. I sought to replicate that. Until I had an issue.

I've had a little electric staple gun / brad nailer for around fifteen years. I've had a package of 5/8" brads for it for nearly as long, I knew I was running low but after two drawers I had run out. I took off to the home store to find more and thought I was successful. I brought home several packages of 5/8" brads that listed the make and model number of my little nailer on the box.

Unfortunately I was swindled. The brads were all 1/16th too long to fit into the gun. Though it occurred to me I could file or grind down each group of brads to fit that seemed like needless fussing as well. I returned the brads and resolved myself to use staples instead.

I was disappointed at first. I mean what self respecting woodworker uses staples? After a bit I remembered not to take myself so seriously. After all the original was built from a packing box, in the end, staples seems fitting while in this phase of mass drawer construction. Though they are decidedly less dynamic a fastener.

If repairs come up in the future I'm sure to use whatever odd and end I have on hand.

By Friday night I had finished all the drawers.

Now to play a little.

Shop furniture is the perfect place to experiment, I've wanted to do some work with veneers for a while and here was the perfect place to jump in and learn to swim in the current. I wasn't going to be satisfied with just a straight piece of veneer covering the drawer front. Nope, I had to do some pieces and assembly.

I don't own most of the typical tool kit associated with veneering. I've been collecting it slowly, but there are big pieces missing yet. After taking stock of my options I decided, why should that stop me.

My mother is a quilter, I've watched her do it all my life. Parquetry and marquetry remind me very much of her quilts, Different pieces fitting together for a whole. I know a common quilter trick for repetitive pieces is to make (or buy) a Plexiglas template. I decided to do the same, making two templates for the two drawer sizes.

The templates offered support and rigidity to the veneer, allowing me to cut it to size with a rip and crosscut backsaw.

I cut enough so the outside vertical lines of drawer could have dark colored back grounds and the middle line would be light in color. Several years ago I picked up a couple multi-sample packs of commercial veneer at a woodworking show. There was too much variety to do much significant with so I've just held on to them. but the variety is fun to play with here.

A little while ago I managed to get my hands on the Veritas string inlay system. I have plans for a chest with large line and berry string inlays. I lightly hacked the tool to remove circles from the center of every drawer front by using the string cutting blade and the compass point together.

This allowed me to swap the center dot around and get the same fit repeated over and over. No toothing plane in my repertoire, but I do have a fine toothed gentleman's saw I dislike so I held that at 90 degrees to the surface of the drawer front and used it much like a card scraper and achieving a similar surface effect, (I'd almost forgot this part, a shout out to Freddy Roman who reminded me via Facebook. Thanks man!)

A little warmed Old Brown Glue and into the press vise for a few hours.

Out of the press vise. A little trim and work with a card scraper. I think that will do nicely.

It's an odd pairing, stapled drawer joints and veneer. Let's see what else I can do to mess with this concept and get away with it.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Music I’d Like To Hear #85

Doug Berch - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 3:40pm

The post "Music I’d Like To Hear #85" appeared first on "Doug Berch."

Categories: Luthiery

A small box

ZK Project Notebook - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 1:39pm
A  small box to hold a sine bar. I made this out of a white oak branch, used the milling machine to cut the mortise, glued on a bottom (because I liked the “real” bottom better as the top) and … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

A type 14 Stanley #5C restored.

time tested tools - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 11:39am

I don’t have any before pictures, because this beauty came with a type 20/21 frog with the folded lateral, so I wasn’t even going to do anything with it. I changed my mind more just to see how much work it would take, since it was a jack anyhow, I figured it would be ok. I thought it was strange that it had rosewood, but I didn’t think to hard on it.

On closer inspection though, I found this wonderful type 14. Based on the broken tote tip, I would say it was dropped and the original frog busted.

I had the correct frog, so its all back to normal now.

I didn’t do the tote repair, its an old repair which seems very solid. I just sanded it out and refinished, leaving the history intact.


Check out my tools for sale…..

Categories: Hand Tools

Lesson No. 3

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 11:19am


The Tale of the Foul-mouthed Countertop Guy can be viewed through a lot of filters: that of the artisan, the customer, macroeconomics and on and on.

However the lesson embedded in the story has nothing directly to do with haggling, the value of craft or Socialism.

Instead, it is about the word “no.”

Run your business so you always, always have the power to say “no.” No to a supplier, a customer, a request for proposal (RFP), an employee. Never overextend yourself or your business so you are powerless and must say “yes” to the customer who demands an unreasonable price, the supplier who treats you like a gnat, a piece of work that is dangerous, an employee who does not pull his or her weight.

Take away whatever you like from the story, but that was the intended lesson, like it or no. And I do like no (though I’m quite polite when I use the word).

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Inheriting Tools

She Works Wood - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 10:11am
In 1980, I was in college and I met Peggy Sarjeant.  Peggy and her family very quickly became  and continue to be my second family.  Matter of fact, all these year later, she lives down the street and her parents (Bill and Faye) live a couple of hours north.  So on Friday, she sent me […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Wonderful Hand Made Box!

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 9:51am

A customer from Pennsylvania in the US sent me these pictures of a box he's just completed. On the face of it, it's just a standard veneered, rectangular box. But when you open the lid the whole box opens up, fantastic!

The design was inspired by the 19th C craftsman John Betjemann and sons ltd of London. Even the drawer opens by a spring loaded mechanism. All the mechanisms were made totally by hand and completely hidden within the structure of the box.

The mirror inside the lid is removable.

 The lining seems to have been very well executed as does the |French polish finish.

Here's the hand made rear hinge and detail of the edging.
Brice's next project is a four drawer chest with six automatically opening compartments as well as a 72 note musical movement. I will post the pictures when they come through although it may be some while off yet!

Categories: Hand Tools

Stuff in the Store (and in Store)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 12/20/2014 - 8:32am

BHAE_detail2_500_IMG_7428We have sold out of “By Hand & Eye” but are working on getting that title back to the printer immediately. If you need the book, check out some of our retailers; many still have the book in stock. We should have the title back in stock – the fourth printing! – by early February.

In other “By Hand & Eye” news, authors Jim Tolpin and George Walker are working on a fascinating “workbook” supplement to “By Hand & Eye.” Written and illustrated like your grammar-school workbooks, it will take you through the exercises to open up your designer’s eye. The authors have been sharing the early drafts with me, and it’s going to be fun. Look for that in 2015.

We are down to our last box of Christian Becksvoort’s “With the Grain.” A third, revised edition is at the printer and should be in stock in early February. For the third printing, Becksvoort added 10 species of trees to the chapter on identifying the different North American commercial species, including the most important Western trees.

If you have the current edition, you can download the pages of the 10 species for free here:


The revised edition will be slightly more expensive because we had to add a signature to the book block.

And in sweatshirt news: We are sold out of 2XL and Large sizes. We are almost out of all the other sizes. We will restock in January with a new brand of USA-made sweatshirt – same color and same logo. These will be about $4 more – a significant increase.

John and I are juggling about a dozen new books right now. Here is what is on the front burner this minute. I don’t have any details on prices on these products, I’m afraid:

“Chairmaker’s Notebook” by Peter Galbert is being designed by Linda Watts. She has the first 10 chapters designed and the book will go to press in January for a February 2015 release.

“Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of H.O. Studley” by Don Williams is written, edited and headed to design in early January. It will be released in March or April – right before Handworks.

“Roubo on Furniture” is translated, edited and awaiting design. Look for it this summer.

Lots more in the works, of course.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: By Hand & Eye, Chairmaker's Notebook by Peter Galbert, Products We Sell, Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley, With the Grain
Categories: Hand Tools


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by Dr. Radut