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Final Update

Journeyman's Journal - 2 hours 39 min ago

This is my last post till my next plane build, I have redrawn all the planes to the exact measurements provided by Larry Williams.  After reading through the many articles with different opinions offered on Larry’s old bulletin board service, I believe that for the larger moulding planes there is no need to angle the mortise.  After reading not all but some of the findings of other readers not all moulding planes had the taper.  I have built the No.16 without the taper and did so in ignorance and not intentionally, after all plane making is new to me.  But having done so and after spending a considerable amount of time adjusting the iron, the plane works exceptionally well without a taper.  There is still a 1/8″ wall left on the blind side but I cannot say that a taper wouldn’t be necessary on smaller planes.  None the less I’m not willing to modify anything until I thoroughly learn the trade of building planes and it isn’t as easy as one might think at least not for me.  The only part I struggle with is shaping the iron, you can do everything right but if you don’t get that part right then it won’t work.  In fact, if you screw up the wedge or get a blow out on the mouth you can pretty much throw your plane in the bin.  There is definitely an art in building these plane that require your utmost attention and due care.

With the mouth opening being so large I thought there would be some issue and I reckon there will be when dealing with difficult grain but that can be said even if the iron was skewed and the mouth tightly closed.  But so far the shavings ejected out without getting clogged and I owe this to the acute angle I pared on the wedge.  Keeping the planes body clean during the test fit of the iron is another challenge as well.  Being beech a light coloured wood stains or gets black marks on it very quickly after touching metal.  A light sand will not do the trick so clean your hands regularly or use a clean rag to pick your plane up.

I’ve slapped a coat of minwax antique oil finish, they all swear by it so I might as well do as they do.  I’ll put three coats on over three days.  Lol just where am I going to store all these planes?

That’s all folks, Take care.

Categories: Hand Tools

“warts and all” workshop views

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - 2 hours 53 min ago

I had this foolish notion that at some point, my new workshop would be all organized and tidy. Presentable. Then I was going to photograph it and post a tour of the shop here on the blog. But…it keeps gathering junk in piles, only to be cleaned up so I could work – and make another mess. I guess that means my shop is “done” as much as it’s going to get. I did write a short piece in Popular Woodworking about it – but here is a short glimpse of what it looks like these days.

Might as well start at the beginning. here’s the view to the door:

Looking through the door, into the room. The carving over the door is a place-holder. there’s a new one coming.

The main workbench. 8′ long. shelves underneath for large planes, boxes of tools like chalkline, hammers, mallets, bench hook and other bench accessories. Racks in the window for marking gauges, awls, chisels, squares – etc.

Same view, but extended to the left – showing the neglected lathe. More later on that.

Looking back toward the door – showing my version of Chris Schwarz’ tool chest.  I couldn’t bear to paint it a solid color…small shelves wedged between the braces and corner posts. Auger bits, sharpening stuff, other odds n ends.

Here is that corner straight on – spoon knives and scratch stocks in boxes… random junk sitting on ledges til I figure it out. Could be years…

The view into the corner beyond the workbench. Cabinet for hatchets, chopping block below.

Patterns and story sticks. they’re everywhere.

I’ve taken this picture many times – it’s just beyond my workbench, the cabinet that houses the hatchets. Recycled wall paneling for the doors.

Half of a Connecticut River carved panel – couldn’t leave that stored in a box…

Inside the cabinet – hatchets, adze, twca cam in 2 sizes –

Like I said, the lathe has had little attention. The current plan is to make a set of shorter beds for it. Right now I can turn a 48″ chair post, but most of my turnings are under 32″ – so I’ll store these beds, make shorter ones, and save a bit of space. Right now, it is a place to pile stuff out of the way. Well, it’s not really out of the way. It’s just a mess. Books and notes to the left.

The old Ulmia workbench is not much better off than the lathe. There’s a shaving horse stuck behind the bedstead-in-progress. The oak desk box will go out of here soon. The baskets too. this junk-gathering place at least changes a lot, unlike the lathe.

that’s it mostly. A stove just after the Ulmia bench. A 12′ x 16′ building doesn’t require a lengthy tour…there is the loft, but I’m not going up there right now. It’s a rabbit hole…

What woodworking has done to me: I’m walking down a lovely...

Giant Cypress - 3 hours 47 min ago

What woodworking has done to me: I’m walking down a lovely tree-lined street in Barcelona, notice this tree, and all I can think about is veneer and bowl blanks.

where are the tums......

Accidental Woodworker - 7 hours 36 min ago
Whenever I order something that is coming from UPS, I tie myself up knots because I get so anxious waiting for it. UPS doesn't have a good track record with deliveries to my house. However, since the last screw up, they have been on the money. They don't always come at the same time nor it is always the same driver, but they have been good lately. I was concerned because there have been a rash of package deliveries being stolen in my area. It isn't only UPS, but any package delivery service. The worse one I heard was about some scumbag stealing a little girls bike. He was caught doing it on video by a neighbor but I don't know if they arrested him

UPS usually comes anywhere from 1600 to 1730 and the door bell battery is dead. I can't hear anything from upstairs when I am in the shop. I got my exercise tonight trotting my fat ass up and down the stairs every ten minutes or so checking to see if the man in brown had come. It made for a choppy night's work in the shop. Maybe I should just have the packages delivered to my wife's workplace? Just thought of that.

new pigsticker
I got this from Jim Bode and he ships via the USPS priority system. This was waiting for me in the mailbox so I don't really worry about these deliveries.

has a secondary bevel
I am still not convinced that a secondary bevel is beneficial or needed. I have other pigstickers that don't have a secondary bevel and I can't tell a difference in using one with it or one without it.

my herd
From L to R, 1/8", 1/4", 5/16", and two 3/8" pigstickers (I thought I didn't have a 3/8 already). I am looking for a 3/16" and a 1/2" and I'll be done once they join the herd. I made my first of many trips back upstairs to check on the man in brown.

sharpened the block plane iron
Andy, who writes the Oregon Woodworker blog wrote an interesting post on sharpening yesterday. It made me think of how I sharpen my tools. I sharpen each every straight bevel tool the exact same way. I do not have any special procedures for a plane iron or a spokeshave iron. I treat them all the same.

my main stones
Coarse, medium, and fine diamond stones with a Japanese 8K polishing stone (L to R). I always start on the coarse stone and go right.

I start here first to raise a burr
I am absolutely nutso about getting a burr on the back of whatever I am sharpening now. No ifs, ands, or buts. If I can't feel a burr from this stone I drop down to the next one.

this stone is second for raising a burr
This is the coarsest diamond stone I have and it is for flattening water stones. I use it for that purpose and for raising a burr too.

the last stop for raising a burr
This is my 80 grit runway which consists of a 4x48 metal sanding belt and a 36" long marble threshold. This has not failed me in raising a burr yet. Lately, I would say about 90% of my burrs on raised on the first stone. I've had to use the other two on tools I hadn't sharpened properly before this. I think I am finally done with getting all my tools sharpened the correct way now. Subsequent outings should go as fast as sharpening this block plane iron did tonight.

I strop everything I sharpen last
I am good at this routine I use now. I don't try to shave my arm hairs or attempt to trim my nails with tools I sharpen. I used to geek out on a shiny bevel but not anymore. When done sharpening on the stones and before I strop, I check the bevel. If there is no reflected light, I strop it. If I see any reflected light I look at the bevel tip with a magnifying glass to see why. And I fix it. Raising and checking for a burr at the start ensures the fix it part doesn't happen.

poly coat #2 going on
I was getting antsy at this point and I decided that I would put the second coat of poly on the shelves and bookcase and call it a night. I wanted to be upstairs when the man brown came.

he came
Or maybe it was she came. I don't know because this was on the back stoop when I came upstairs to wait.

cheaper to get it with all the blades now
I'm undecided on the metric irons because I don't foresee needing them. Lee Valley offers a wide iron set from 7/16" to 3/4" (six irons total - in 16ths). Again this is something I don't think I would use. I got this plane to make grooves in stiles and rails and I have yet to make one larger than 3/8".

upgrade for the depth stop
This was free so I checked the box to have it sent to me. Turns out I didn't need it.

the new and improved depth stop clamp is already installed
made a stopped grove out of the box
I want to replace this
I just a read a blog entry where he said that he got a replacement handle for his LV small plow. I couldn't find it on my lunch break. The handles on LV planes is the one thing on them I don't like. Although this looks kind of a like a Stanley, I don't like it.

One groove and I am sold. And this was made with the plane right out of the box. I for one believe that I shouldn't have to fettle a tool like this (or any plane). The manufacturer should sell their tools ready to use right out of the box.

the learning curve is going to be very short
still making a tapered groove
It's not the tool but me. I didn't hit the depth stop but I know if I had, I wouldn't have this taper.

Anyways it is almost 1700 and time to shut the lights out. I will have to add a box to the A+ list for this plane to be made. I'll have to reshuffle the batting line up some to fit it in.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is opprobrium?

answer - harsh criticism or censure (came across this word reading the news today)

The Son of Roy Underhill’s Mallet

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 4:49pm


During the last class I taught at The Woodwright’s School, I think Roy got a little bored or restless. And so he asked: “Would you like me to make you a mallet?”

The answer was, of course, “Heck yes, please.”

And so Roy spent an afternoon making a mallet for me out of a chunk of live oak (one of my favorite species) as I taught the 12 students to build a Dutch tool chest. After a few hours of sawing, mortising, rasping, chiseling and finishing, Roy presented the mallet to me.

It is, of course, one of my favorite objects. I have put it to good use and, thanks to a defect in the wood, I broke off a corner of the head. No matter. Tools should be used, and so I use the other face of the mallet’s head to hit things.

In case I destroy this mallet, I took some careful measurements and made a copy in maple. I call it the Son of Roy Underhill’s Mallet. It is identical in every regard except for the species of wood and the amount of use it has seen.

And because I have been too long away from this blog, I present the plans to you for Roy’s mallet. Free of charge.

Here are the sizes for the head and the handle:

Head: 2-3/8” x 3-3/8” x 5-3/8”
Handle: 1” x 1-5/8” x 14”

You can download a pdf drawing of the mallet here:

underhill Mallet

Here are a few details not discussed on the drawing.

  1. The striking faces of the mallet head are the same angle as the tapered mortise, approximately 2.1°.
  2. The chamfers on the handle are 1/4” x 1/4”.
  3. Chamfer the top and bottom of the handle. These chamfers are 1/8” x 1/8”.
  4. The grain of the handle and head should be dead straight throughout. And free of knots and defects.
  5. The mallet is finished with linseed oil.

It’s a mighty fine mallet. Balanced in the hand and to the eye. Making one takes an afternoon of pleasant work. And doing so cements your lineage to Roy.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Premiere - first

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:15am
Mein erstes "Möbel" mit richtigen Schwalbenschwänzen. Ein kleines Regal für die Garnrollen meiner Nachbarin. Mit vielen Fehlern. Die Schwalben und Zinken habe ich in Österreich gesägt. Zum Glück immer die Schwalben beider AUßenbretter zusammen. Denn als ich wieder in Kiel die Gratnuten für das Mittelbrett gesägt habe (zu tief, wie man leider auch sieht) habe ich Innen und Außen verwechselt. Aber weil die Schwalben ziemlich identisch sind, konnte ich das tauschen. Die Lücken sind dadurch nicht kleiner geworden und vor allem: die Innenseiten, die schon angeschnitzt waren, liegen jetzt außen. Muss ich noch putzen.

My first piece of "furniture" with dovetails. A small rack for my neighbor. With a hand full of mistakes. I sawed the tails in Austria. Luckily I sawed both boards together. When home in Kiel I sawed the sliding dovetail on the outside of the boards. But I could change that, because I gang sawed the tails. That didn't help with the fitting, but it can't fall apart.

Categories: Hand Tools

Music I’d Like To Hear #131

Doug Berch - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:14am

L'Accordeon a Tahiti


Categories: Luthiery

Special Price for Kitchen Remodel Resources

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 9:13am
Special Price on two books “The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker” and “SketchUp for Kitchen Design” scroll down to purchase. If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, you’re not alone. It’s a great way to make your home more enjoyable, and a new … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Sharpening and Shaving

Oregon Woodworker - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 8:39am
I remember one of the first woodworking classes I took years ago, a half-day on sharpening and using card scrapers. It began with a scintillating hour of the instructor, a graduate of a prestigious school, demonstrating his skill, in order to establish his bona fides perhaps.  Then we were told that every surface, the edges and the sides, of our scraper needed to be polished to a mirror finish.  We spent 2 hours on this highly stimulating task then, with an hour to go, we were shown how to burnish, waited our turn at trying and found that our results weren't great for some unknown reason or reasons.  As best as I can remember, none of us received any constructive criticism.  Then we were bid adieu.  Puzzled, I went back to sandpaper and I suspect most of the other students did too.

Polishing the sides of your scrapers to a mirror finish can be very useful, because that way you can use one of your finely honed plane blades to shave right in your workshop without needing a shaving mirror.  Which brings me to another subject.  I am happy if I can get my plane blades and chisels sharp enough that they will shave hair off my arm, which you don't need a mirror for.  I know that some woodworkers think this is not good enough and that the hair should "jump" or "fly" off your arm.  I once accidentally got one of my plane blades this sharp and it scared me.  I was afraid that a blade this sharp would make the shavings jump off the workpiece and hit me in the face or eye, and I don't wear a face shield when planing.  That could cause a lost time injury.

A while after the scraper class I took a class on sharpening plane blades and chisels taught by a foreman at a local high-end woodworking business.  He does all the sharpening for his crew.  One of the things he did was prepare a new chisel.  He flattened the back on a belt sander, went to a grinder to create the bevel he wanted and finished off on a diamond plate, all freehand.  The entire process took less than 5 minutes.  This class was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the scraping class; it emphasized the practical and wasted no time.   I don't recall a single jig. We all left with tools that weren't great but were usably sharp.  I do considerably better than this now, but it was a good starting point.

We all have to decide where we want to be on this spectrum.  Experiences like this turned me into a rather slovenly woodworker.  As a result, I don't flatten the backs of my chisels all the way to the handle, I use the dastardly "ruler trick" on my plane blades, I can't see my reflection in the sides of my scrapers ...  I could go on, but you get the idea.

In case you're wondering, I did eventually learn to sharpen and use scrapers.  When enough time had passed after the class for my inferiority complex to die down, I spent a few minutes watching Youtube videos, gave it a shot, then another and another, each time trying to figure out why things got better, or didn't.  Eventually I got the hang of it.  I really like scrapers now.  They usually make shavings but they aren't usable as shaving mirrors.  That's the way I like it.

There are woodworkers that are really into sharpening.  For some, it seems to be almost a meditative experience.  There is nothing at all wrong with this and I am in awe of them, in fact somewhat envious.  Really.  I wish I could lose myself in sharpening the way they do.  Instead, I ask myself whether the extra sharpness results in better woodworking.  How long do these superior edges stay sharper in practice?  I suspect not very long, but I don't know.

Calculus taught me to see processes in optimization terms.  As your tools get sharper your woodworking gets better, first rapidly, then more slowly.  You reach a point where extra effort isn't worth it.  That's my mental model, which has its own limitations.

As for classes, what you learn in classes is partly a function of the skill of the instructor as a woodworker and partly a function of his or her skill as an instructor.  This will sound arrogant, but I could teach a much much better class on sharpening and using scrapers than the one I took, even though I don't have near the skill with them.

Categories: Hand Tools

My second commission – part 11

Je ne sai quoi Woodworking - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 5:51am


As promised we will look into the process of jointing, gluing, and inserting dovetail keys into the top of the table in part eleven of our journey.

The rest of this particular chronicle can be found here.

The Kershout boards in the picture below were prepared up to this point towards the end of last year and has since been kicking it with my 1969 MGB in a separate garage.

The first task is to arrange the boards as best as you can with regards to colour matching and balancing out defects. This is where you whip out your artistic licence. This is after all a tribute to the legendary George Nakashima.

I took the opportunity to see what the trapezoid leg would add to the overall look. The top looks very light in colour (in this picture), but I can assure you that it will be transformed to a very dark reddish brown once the finish is applied. The Kershout dovetail keys contrasts exquisitely with the lighter Witpeer boards that makes up the trapezoid leg. I also like the darker lines created by the defects on the leg. It was strategically place to balance out from an aesthetic point of view. We will see later in this post how the reverse of the mentioned timber combination has a similar effect with regards to the top.

As you can see here my bench really came into it’s own working on the edges of these boards during the jointing process. I first prepared the edges so that they were close to the desired configuration, which is a very slight bow in the length.

Then the boards are clamped together with the two edges that will mate (so to speak) flush with each other and folded much like book-matched pieces before opening the “book”. This nifty trick leads to a cancelling out of the minute error that might arise in squareness of these edges with regards to each other. This technique is sometimes referred to as match planing.

Didi gave me a few pointers.

The Kershout is so ridiculously hard that I had to resort to using an alternating attack with my Lie-Nielsen low angle Jack plane armed with a toothed blade and a Shaw’s Patent Sargent no. 14C armed with an aggressively cambered blade.

Once the artillery softened up the enemy, I moved on to this shop made jointer plane to finish off the job.

I find my Festool Domino to be a very useful tool to keep the edges flush during glue-up.

It has become my custom to do only one of these edge joints at any one time given the short window to get the job done in our dry climate. Each joint is then left in the clamps for at least 16 hours. In other words, I tend to leave the glue-up for my final task each day. It is usually done at around 17h00 and left over night until around 09h00 the next morning.



Ready for the final glue-up.

I had to buy a set of 1.3m long 1″ pipes for my pipe clamps in order to do this final glue-up. Of course, as you would expect, my 1.2 meter wide assembly table was too narrow to accommodated the clamps for this glue-up. The situation therefore necessitated some problem solving on my behalf.

As you can see here a piece of wood (for each of the bottom clamps) was cantilevered off the edge of the table held in place by a clamp through a dog hole. Oh! … and yes, in case you wondered, it is my daughter’s “Biscuit finds a friend”. My English is not advanced enough to indulge in such haute literate.

As I have mentioned before, a mere mortal tends to sweat like a Gypsy with a mortgage during our sweltering rainy season. Didi is the master of African Climate Control (aka toplessness).

… and Bob’s your Uncle.

I modified the strip of wood that links my trammel points to draw a curve to soften the appearance of both ends of the top.

Marking the location of the dominos like this helps to remember where they are when further shaping is done.

The waste was removed with an electric jigsaw. It is a crappy old Black & Decker that I bought many moons ago while still living in New Zealand. I do not use it very often to start with and do not recall ever calling upon it to munch through Kershout. As most things you do for the first time there were a few lesson to be learnt. These things (for lack of a better insult) cut on the pull stroke, which translates into a messy splitting out of fibres at the top edge. Therefore (in hind sight) it is desirable to have the bottom of the top facing the jigsaw when doing this job. Secondly, I realised that I used a blade that was too aggressive, which did not help either.

On the flip side, this indiscretion coerced me into a design tweak that might (or might not) add an interesting twist. You will have to wait and see just like me.

Another reason I chose this shape for the ends of the top, is to enhance the appearance of it being sliced from a massive tree trunk. The idea is that this shape resembles the end of a trunk that was chopped off by axe. If you imagine a board cut from a trunk like the one in the first photo below, it would probably resemble the top of my table as seen in the picture below. That is in my mind anyway, you might feel different.

Then it became time to fashion a few dovetail keys to stabilise the obvious cracks in the top.

I worked out how many is needed of each size.

Here I tried to work out where to place the keys with regards to my sense of (randomly planned) artistic balance. The picture below was not the final version that was decided on, but somewhere towards getting there.

For the design of the keys I chose an angle of 9º, which repeats all through the design of the table. This is an idea you might want to consider. You draw only one key, chopped off at different lengths, and write on the template the number of keys needed of each length. It is then cut out, traced onto the wood as many times as the key tells you and then you chop off the ends and repeat on the next sized key. This way they all have the same shape, but of different lengths in an attempt to add visual interest.

As so.

The keys were liberated from the above Witpeer board by means of a bandsaw.


Another useful trick is illustrated below. Clamping a piece of scrap wood across the top to hold the dovetail key firmly in place while it’s exact configuration gets marked out on the top.

Drilling out the waste by hand in such hard wood is no joke. “Trust you me”, as they say around these parts.

Enter: Lie-Nielsen merchandise in tandem with my trusty shop made Assegaai mallet. I chose the mallet as I needed a bit more heft than what the so-called Je ne sais quoi Persuader can deliver. When working “stone”, the extra heft is a must.

The lazy winter sun give us a better idea of the warm colours of the Kershout as it infiltrates my shop during the late afternoon.

It seems as if this post is riddled with tips, so here is another one. In order to see the scribe line better, one can have a small torch lying on the top to cast a shadow into the line. On my bench this is usually accomplished by positioning the bench light in a similar fashion, but clearly this top is too big to take to the bench.

Once the key enter it’s mortise like this I stop refining the fit. The key is then clobbered home after a frugal application of Epoxy, which acts as lubricant as well as an adhesive. The clobbering is done with a heavy mallet furnished with a thick sealskin face (not pictured).

As you can see here (minus the heavy mallet).

One week later the keys were planed flush using the two planes pictured.

As you can see the Witpeer keys contrasts nicely with the Kershout, much in the same way as the opposite combination works splendidly in the trapeziod leg.

We will get into preparation of the top for finishing in our next riveting edition of this series.

Make a Traditional Rabbeted Door Frame

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 5:45am

Today it’s easy to make glazed doors and mirror frames by using a router to rabbet a mortise-and-tenon frame after assembly: Cut your joints, glue the frame together, rout the inside edges on the back using a special rabbeting bit, then chop the corners square with a chisel and mallet. Before the invention of the electric router, frames for glazed doors (which include doors with mirrors) were built from rabbeted stock, […]

The post Make a Traditional Rabbeted Door Frame appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

met my goals.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 1:44am
My wife left this morning to go to a week long meeting for genealogists in Pittsburgh at 0500.  I'll be doing the solo act until friday which means I can spend as much or as little time as I want in the shop. Today is only getting to a high of 83°F (28°C) and without the humidity that was forecasted. Before I got to the shop, I made a pit stop to do some yard work.

I do not like doing yard work. We pay to have the lawn mowed and just about any other yard related chore. My wife plants flowers and bushes and I will prune and take care of the lilac bushes. Other than this you couldn't get me do any yard work even if you put a gun to my head. Today I broke that golden rule and trimmed the brushes in the driveway.

before the haircut
Most of the high growth upwards and spilling out onto my truck is some kind of thorny bush. It doesn't flower and I have been bit numerous times with the thorns. I have to park this far over into it so I can open my door to get in/out of the truck. There is a small knee wall on the driver's side of the truck.

90 minutes later
I filled 3 shitcans with all the stuff I cut off. Cutting it off wasn't a problem but the cleanup was. Not only did my fingers ache, my forearms decided to sing harmony with them. I could barely pick up and hold my coffee cup after I got done. I took an Aleve and waited for it take effect before I went to the shop.

this is easy stuff to do
These are my two original cordless drills. The top one is a Stanley Yankee No. 41 which was made by North Bros who were owned my Stanley. The bottom one is a Millers Falls 185A. The Miller Falls I bought first and the Yankee after. I bought that one because I had lost the 5/32 bit from the Millers Falls. I couldn't find any replacement bits, so I bought the Yankee because it had all the bits. Last week I bought a 50 year old package of drill bits for Stanley drills.

Miller Falls on the left and Stanley replacement on the right
The Miller Falls is shorter than the Stanley replacement bit I got from Josh. The notches on the barrel are close to similar and the small rabbets at the top aren't the same, but they are close.

Miller Falls on the left and a bit from the Yankee
The bit from the Yankee is a closer match to the Miller Falls than the replacement ones I bought.

Miller Falls in the middle
The new Stanley replacement bit on the left and the Yankee drill bit on the right. Can't hurt to see if the replacement bit will fit.

it fits and it is secure in the chuck
drilled a hole in the side ok
The bit didn't slip or stall and it is still tight and secure in the chuck. I could feel the bit settle into the chuck - you have to turn the bit in the chuck at the bottom and you can feel it being 'keyed' in place.

ok drilling in the face
end grain not a problem neither
5/32" bit
I tried the 5/32" inch bit to make sure a larger bit wouldn't be a problem. It wasn't. Both of the replacement bits keyed and fit in the Miller Falls without any hiccups.

it fit in the holder portion of the Miller Falls drill
I was very happy when I dropped the 5/32 bit into the holder and I was able to rotate and close the cover. Garrett Wade sells not only a 'Yankee 41' style drill but bit sets also. They say that they will fit all Stanley drills. I may have to buy a set of them to have one complete set of bits as a backup.

how I lost the first bit
I'm sure that I took the bit out of the chuck and put it down on the bench rather than putting it back in the holder. I'm also sure that the bench had a lot more debris on it than what is in this pic. I cleaned the bench off and the drill bit ended up in the shitcan. Note to self: put the bits back in the magazine holder when done using them.

cleaned #2 handle and knob
I cleaned these first with Murphy's Oil Soap and then with orange cleaner. The two cleaned off a lot grime and grunge but they didn't pop. There isn't a lot of any finish on either of these two. It looks like I will be refinishing these.

damage free
Usually the tops, and especially the handle, has some damage. The only flaws on neither of these two is on the knob at the base. There is a small chip missing there. There is a white spot on the knob to right of the stud hole too. I lightly scraped that and nothing. I would think it was a spot of paint but I'm not sure now. I put these aside for now and I'll pick them back up later. Sanding these will be finger intensive and it isn't something I want to do today.

met the first goal
The humidity in the shop was hovering around 77% but I still applied the first coat of poly to the shelves and the bookcase. If I get any blushing, I doubt that I'll see it against the white of the shelves and the bookcase. Two hours after I did this I touched them and what a difference. Not even a hint of clammy and it felt bone dry. I'll put on the second coat tomorrow.

4th batter sharpened today
I could raise a burr on this iron on either end but not in the middle. I flattened the back again and started the sharpening again on my coarsest diamond stone. I got a consistent burr then across the whole edge. I went up through the stones and stropped it.

I had to run all three of these chisels on my 80 runway. The butt chisel still needs works because the right corner tip is chipped (dropped in on the concrete floor). I got most of it but I didn't want to spend anymore time trying to remove it. This is the chisel I keep on my bench as my grab and use chisel. I'm sure that with the next 2-3 sharpenings it'll be gone.

my new big 8K polishing stone
my old 8K polishing stone
This iron is the second widest one I have and I have about a 1/4" on either side of it. It wasn't easy sharpening this iron on the smaller 8K stone. I really had to pay attention to what I was doing when I did this iron.

side by side
This is my third time using this new 8K stone and I like it. I like the larger width and the longer length. The bigger base I can take or leave. It wasn't a factor when I was looking for a replacement.

flattened after each use
After each tool was sharpened I flattened the 8K stone. I was looking to get a feel for how long it would stay flat. I sharpened the two big bench chisels before flattening, and it was pretty flat. My old 8K I would flatten whenever I thought it needed it. It is much harder than this new 8K. I think it is too early to tell, but I don't think I will have to flatten after every single tool I sharpen.

finally done
This is the first time since I got these chisels that all 3 are sharp and ready to use. I tested all three by shaving the miters on the beaded frames. What a eureka moment this was. Sharp does cure and fix a lot of things. This is the level of sharpness I will need to maintain whenever I use the miter template jig I made.

block plane iron
I looks like a serrated edge. I used to flush a few painted surfaces and I should have used the block plane that Matt gave to me.

had to use the 80 grit runway
My coarsest diamond stone wasn't touching these chips. About 3 minutes of up and down on the runway and they were gone. As soon as I felt heat on my fingertips, I would dip the iron in the water. I know it wasn't hot enough to lose it's temper but I didn't want to take any chances.

couldn't squeeze it in
My fingers were begging me to stop here. This is my number #2 plane. I reach first for the 4 1/2 and this one second. Not having it to grab will hasten it getting sharpened. I will try to do it after work tomorrow. This is where I shut the lights off and went upstairs.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was Alexander Bain?
answer - a scottish clockmaker who invented the 'fax' machine in 1843

‘Making Things Work’ (A Review)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 9:05pm


I read most of Nancy R. Hiller’s “Making Things Work: Tales From a Cabinetmaker’s Life” in the laundromat. Our washing machine was broken, parts strewn all over our basement floor while we tried to figure out the problem. Forgive me, as I realize what I’m about to say next is very much a first-world problem, but I missed having a working washing machine. I have three children and we’re thick into the stains of summer: dirt, grass and popsicles. Suddenly, lugging overflowing laundry baskets down our tight basement steps (oh the dreams I have of a first-floor laundry room!) seemed downright luxurious.

But, I was making things work.

I love a good memoir. I tend to overshare (sometimes rather unfortunately) so I deeply respect gritty honesty. We currently live in a world of filtered Instagram posts, our lives made beautiful, easy, golden even, with a few clicks. None of the essays in Nancy’s collection are filtered. She strips away the gloss, highlighting the truths of furniture making. She writes:

“We may do what we love every day, to paraphrase the marketing pitch of a well-known school, but as with most long-term love, ours deepens from the passion of new romance to the mature familiarity of marriage: sometimes tedious, occasionally exasperating, as much taskmaster as muse. Passion, after all, is equally about what we bear as what we embrace.”

Nancy’s tales of jobs, clients (oh, the clients!), living conditions, working conditions, employees, the minutiae of (solo) business-owning and business-running, romance, learning, personal growth, worry and problem-solving allow you to immerse yourself into the life of a talented cabinetmaker who has managed to make a living—and life—out of bettering and beautifying client’s homes with her hands, her skill, her craft.

I thought of Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” while reading Nancy’s book, everything I’ve read by David Sedaris, and Nick Offerman was exactly right when noting the predicament in how one should shelve Nancy’s book: fine woodworking? Philosophy? Self-help? Etiquette? Religion? For “Making Things Work” is one of those rare reads that could easily be found in anyone’s bookshelf. Woodworker? Must-read. Small-business owner? Must-read. Graduate? Must-read. Artist? Must-read. Feminist? Must-read. Collector of fine, handmade furniture? Must-read.

Maybe it’s because I’m currently immersed in the philosophical writings of the late Charles Hayward, but Nancy manages to do what I believe many woodworkers, in particular, feel but sometimes can’t quite express: the way we work, the way we make things work, speaks greatly about who we are and how we live. Nancy’s anecdotes of a cabinetmaker’s life, her life, speaks to all of that. Because behind all the humor, flaws, talent and grit in each of her essays lies a simple truth: “It’s all problems.” How we approach our problems speaks much more about one’s self than ingenuity. And when problems do arise, we should only be so lucky to have a Nancy at our side during something as small as a tricky installation or as big as a leap of faith—if not in person, then in spirit, in the form of mantras extracted from this book.

Filed under: Making Things Work, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

June 21, 2017

NCW Woodworking Guild - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 8:24pm

If you missed the June meeting, you missed a lot: a drive into the mountains and seeing more walnut slabs than you’ll see in a lifetime. Guild member Steve Noyes has the vision to look at a tree and know what forms it can take. After our visit to Steve’s place, we left with an understanding of what is involved in obtaining trees, processing them, converting them into usable lumber and, finally, turning that lumber into beautiful furniture.

Steve sees the potential of a log like thisWalnut log to be milled

becoming this

the Clockum Desk

The Clockum Desk, named after the original location of the  tree

Steve “harvests” trees before they meet the fate of the chipper, often scouting them out in and around the valley. When he spots one he knows will not be long in this life, he waits – sometime years – for that moment when a new home owner or a contractor decides it needs to go. During our meeting, we learned about Steve’s process in a reverse order: first, seeing his shop, then learning how he designs and makes furniture, and finally the process of harvesting and processing the wood.

The Wow Factor

The first thing evident to anyone walking into Steve’s 2,206 sq. ft. shop is that he loves wood, especially walnut. Seeing the lumber and slabs he’s processed is stunning to those accustomed to lumberyard fare.


Taking up almost two-stories of wall space, this slab will likely become a bar counter.


And there’s more …






and more …







Tools of the trade

12-inch jointer with spiral cutter head

Spiral-head jointer


A sander wide enough to handle massive slabs



Dust collection system


dust collection

Spray room

Spray room

Inside the kiln

Inside the kiln (yes, he has a kiln!)


From logs to luxury

Whether it’s making desks, counter tops, or chairs, Steve considers all aspects of a piece of wood – the curve of an edge, the nuance of the grain, the color – and seeks to blend those characteristics into an eye-pleasing piece of handmade furniture. While at his shop, we studied the first two of the following forms:


Bar stool, Maloof-inspired rocker, chair

While everybody else was talking slabs, Chris Church and Jeff Dilks were scrutinizing the Maloof joints in the rocker.




Maloof joint

Using an unfinished rocker, Steve explained how he created and shaped the joint.






Graceful touches on a finished rocker:



The headrest made out of a beautifully grained piece of walnut root:


And we tried one out:




Steve’s tractor-seat bar stool


And a new version he is working on:


Bent laminations

bent laminations

Acquisition and milling

Before darkness settled in, we went outside, and Steve showed us his two mills – the Lucas Mill and the Brand X. We talked about how he acquires trees and the process and expenses involved in taking a tree from its place of origin to a completed piece of furniture.

Brand X

Brand X

Lucas mill

Lucas mill

All in all, a great meeting. Thank you, Steve, for hosting us.


If you happen to be in the vicinity of

Pegs and 'Tails - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 7:08pm
If you happen to be in the vicinity of Edinburgh between now and the second week of November, you might consider dropping in to see the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.   … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Ripple Finale

The Barn on White Run - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 6:29pm

Our last two days of Ripplemania 1 were spent in trying to fine tune the older machine into a real working tool, and tinkering with the design for the new one into a working device.

While John and Travis and I were fiddling with the new machine, Sharon was trying out the new cutter on the old machine.  She was able to raise a huge pile of shavings, but the wear between the pattern rail and the follower bar (the rod protruding from the cutter head in order to allow the latter to rise up and down, cutting the ripple pattern in the work piece) was getting too bad to bring about a satisfactory result.

Meanwhile we were trying to perfect the carriage and cutter head for the new machine.  In the end we got to within an eyelash of getting a ripple molding to completion, but we definitely had “proof of concept.”

John and Travis fabricated a carriage that was compatible with ripple patterns (up and down), wave patterns (sideways motion), and even a simultaneous ripple/wave action.

In order to test the carriage and cutterhead, we had to have a pattern to work with, so I dove into that undertaking.  I was rethinking the need for a metal pattern rail in favor of a wooden one, so I began by assembling a long rail sandwich consisting of southern yellow pine on its length as the outer laminae to serve as the backing for the pattern and bearing surface, with end grain black cherry as the contact surface.

With the pattern rail sandwich assembled it was time to cut the ripple chatter pattern into the rail.  Using half round rasps, floats, and carving gouges we were able to create several feet of pattern on the blank sandwich.

I ripped the sandwich on the table saw, resulting in a matched pair  to install on either side of the box to induce the pattern on the workpiece via the undulating cutter head.  (I will certainly give it a try to have a CNC machine create any new pattern rails).

With the pattern installed, we gave it a try.  It sure looked like it was working, but still we had some hurdles to jump in order to make it a reliable high-function machine.  Cranking it by hand was interminably slow even though the movement at the point of cutting was fine.  We decided to motorize the device to take it to the next level so we attached a motor to a stool and hung a belt around the motor shaft and the pulley we made for the drive screw on the machine.  The motion was certainly accelerated without any obvious loss of performance, although there was the issue of an unprotected motor and belt drive.

Travis demanded a protective cowl for the drive unit, so he installed one.  We found this to be much safer.

Like I said earlier, in the end we came within an eyelash (or a half day) of getting the new machine to operate with efficacy.  Given my continued and growing interest in the capacity to produce ripple moldings for clients I will certainly expend more energy to make it happen.

Picture This CX – Redux

Pegs and 'Tails - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 5:32pm
To a comment in Picture This CX, I replied that warped Windsor seats were not uncommon. A few minutes flicking through the archives returned the following additional examples of warpiness. (That is a word. Now.) Fig. 1. Fig. 2. Fig. … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Scrap my previous post

Journeyman's Journal - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 4:38pm

Many thanks to Phil Sylvester for his suggestion and referral to Larry’s old articles.  Larry Williams went through the same dilemma as I have until he saw the lean and that’s why I said his measurements are wrong.  I didn’t know about the lean, yes I did view the video several times but somehow the subject of lean passed me by.  Now this has opened up a pathway to a successful build, this means that I will have to change all my drawings so I’ll be taking taking those links I posted offline.  However, should you wish to use them they will still work as I’ve built a no.16 and it works well.  The issue is when you go down in size it gets frustrating.  Now I’ve got it finally.

Categories: Hand Tools

How I “Met” John Brown

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 2:44pm

Over the Wireless


I never got to meet John Brown. Truth be told, I didn’t hear of his name until several years after his death. But I’m starting to feel like I know the man.

My first introduction to John Brown, and to Welsh Stick Chairs, was as I imagine it was for many woodworkers, a blog post Chris wrote. These unusual chairs were nothing like I’d ever seen before – theirs was a dynamic form, suggesting a feral energy coiled within the sticks, waiting to spring out. I was intrigued, but at that time focusing on lutherie, so I mentally filed the chair away for another day. A little over a year later and John Brown was again mentioned on the Lost Art Press blog, this time in the context of his influential, if hard to find, book Welsh Stick Chairs. Then I bought a copy of The Anarchist’s Tool…

View original post 732 more words

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools


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