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!
Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know that Les and I tend to work slowly. And, it’s not unusual for us to put aside an unfinished project due to being distracted by some new “bright shiny object.” (One might argue that this is evidence of old men being similar, in many ways, to children.)
We started our Asian inspired hall tables quite some time ago. We’ve both gotten tired of tripping over, navigating around and moving them out of the way. So we completed them.
Les’ table is all blood wood. Mine has a blood wood top and an ebonized walnut base. Our first plan was to finish them in sprayed lacquer but the weather just never proved to be cooperative. We opted to use a variety of finishes but the common thread was the use of Waterlox Original finish for the tops. Waterlox is a marvelous finish, one of the very best wiping varnishes on the market. But a word to the wise, it is a fairly expensive product and it doesn’t have a very long shelf life. The manufacturer recommends one year after purchase. Normally I look the other was at shelf life dates. But not on Waterlox! A final word of caution: Never, never shake it! (It polymerizes and when you entrain air, especially if you’re closing in or past the “use by”, you’re in for a big surprise – a can of semi-solid goop that can’t be re-solubilized.)
Now that we’ve had our little adventure in the realm of contemporary furniture, I expect that we’ll get back to the “old lookin'” stuff.
If you’re going to build yourself a chest of drawers, what wood would you build it out of?
You’d build it out of whatever you fancy building it out of.
What you like, what’s to hand, what’s cheapest.
Who, bloody cares?
It’s the same for a workbench.
Obviously, I can’t pass that off as an article though, so I’ll make a mountain out of it.
If you’re looking for the best wood for your workbench build, then you need to decide which factors are most important to you:
- Should it be cost effective?
There are many reasons I lean heavily into hand tool woodworking. Yes I have and use several stationary power tools, but there a word hand tools free me from and I love them for it.
With primarily a power tool mentality you fall into the activity of production and arrange your workflow accordingly. I set up the tablesaw for a certain cut and I want to make all the possible cuts using the same set up, the same measurements. To redial in precise measurements can be a big time sink.
Instead with my hand tools I can skip around the process of building with no real consequences. For example I built a small run of four little dovetailed pine boxes
I milled all the parts close using my table saw. This did help ensure all the sides were the same width and length. After milling I touched all the surfaces with a hand plane and started the process of building each box.
As a result of the space I have and the use of hand tools instead of doing things in production way. Say - cutting all my dovetails for all four boxes first THEN moving on to chiseling all four boxes joints to the line THEN grabbing all four boxes and . . . you see the cycle.
Instead I was able to take a single box from dovetail cuts to glued up carcass and start over again without creating any delay or errors by changing up my machinery.
Why jump around the process like this? For me that's a couple easy answers.
1. It keeps me fresh. I don't get burned out cutting dovetail after dovetail. When I do this I can see the quality in my work degrade over time but changing out operations allows me to tackle it with fresh eyes after a bit of a break and I believe my work is better because of that.
2. It keeps me involved. It's like the difference between hanging drywall and taping/mudding drywall. When you're hanging drywall your progress is evident, a half hour ago there was bare studs now there is something that looks like a wall - satisfying, with taping and mudding you are making small incremental differences that aren't as satisfying to the whole picture. Important but not as visually impacting. This trade off works the same. Throughout the day I can see nearly finished box carcasses pile up on the moving pad. I know I'm making progress and I can consider whether the most recently finished box is better or worse than the previous and try to perfect the steps on the one to come.
3. I don't lose time changing operations because I am the limiting factor. Because I'm the machine driving the tools I can just mark a line and saw a line and I don't have to worry about losing a set up or a measurement, Changing or resetting up a jig or configuration. If I had a small space with only a six foot bench this would be different, but as it is I can saw my dovetails in a moxon vice, grab the boards and move to a chiseling station to clean up to the lines, then move to a leg vice to cut the corresponding joint side before moving back to the chisel station, checking the fit, then moving to another area by the glue pot to stick things together.
I would never trade in my hand tools because of the freedom they assist me in achieving in the shop. it is so emancipating to mark a line and be able to saw or plane to it confidently.
Ratione et Passionis
A few weeks ago we got an email from a customer who wanted to share his “Pay It Forward” story for the holidays, but wanted to remain anonymous. Here is his story about how he sold all of the tools in his shop to a military veteran for just $1:
It would be an honor to me for you to share my story of my experience (with this fine young man and my soldier friend) of talking for several hours with a returned soldier and then selling my woodworking shop’s tools, machinery, and all contents/everything to him for a dollar and a handshake.
If you don’t mind, please don’t share my name or contact information. I share my story with you to let everyone know that for me paying a little back to a young man who fought for me, and for all of us, was much better than the money I could have made by selling my shop’s contents to someone who wouldn’t have appreciated either this young man’s sacrifice and service or the tools themselves. I could have made a lot of needed cash selling everything I had (it was several truck loads, but it was worth much more to me to have made a new friend and to help a soldier whom I had never met, but will never forget.
My wife didn’t understand at first my decision to sell everything I had for so little because she knew how much time and money I had put into this shop. After she met him and got to know him, she understood my decision completely.
Behind every Chinese-American restaurant is a tale of assimilation, innovation, and survival—but the Pekin Noodle Parlor in Butte, Montana has a particularly storied past. Founded by immigrants in 1911, it claims to be the oldest continuously operating eatery of its kind in the United States.
Would not have guessed the answer to the question, “Where’s the oldest Chinese restaurant in the U.S.?” would be “Butte, Montana”.
When Glen and I started 360 WoodWorking our primary goal was to give back to the woodworking community. We said right from the start that once we reached a certain level of membership (don’t ask, I won’t tell ya), we’d do something dramatic. Well, we’ve done it with our new Fanatic Membership pricing. And some will say it’s a change for the better.
Originally, we thought it would take us three to five years to reach our initial membership goal, but you helped us get there in just two.
You Don’t Have To Stoop to Saw
This week I answer a question from Bob borne out of my Sawing class at Woodworking in America. Bob isn’t able to bend his knee or lean on it like we would while using a sawbench. He wants to know if there is an alternate method for accurate sawing that doesn’t require the use of his knee. Not only is there an alternative, sometimes the overhand method I show is the best method when working with thin or narrow boards.
I also talk briefly about my new dust collection set up and stiffening the mobile base I’m using for my Barnes lathe.
Have You Seen the Sawing Class?The sawing class I gave I Woodworking in America that spawned Bob’s question is available to watch in its entirety. So if you have nothing better to do with your life than watch a 2 hour long class on hand saw types, tooth geometry, and usage…then you might be my kind of person.
|bought a new paring knife|
I am not a professional chef nor do I get any bronwnie points from Mark on this. I have two Wusthof paring knives that pale in comparison to this one by Mark. Next to my chef's knife, the paring knife gets the most use in my kitchen. I can't wait to put this through the paces to see how it performs. If it does that 1/2 as well as it looks, it'll be awesome.
Check out what Mark has to offer. Besides the paring knife he also makes hunting knives and et al eye candy offerings to look at.
|Mark's etched signature|
|I need a scabbard|
|make a plywood pattern first|
|use the pattern to layout the R/L sides|
|knifed the profile layout lines|
|chisel and router work next|
|dry fit is good|
|my early xmas present to myself - a type nine 4 1/2|
I know that Andy blogged about thinning his herd of planes and here I'm adding to mine. I have been looking for a type 13 (or lower) 4 1/2 stanley (uncorrugated) for a couple of years now. Patrick Leach had this on his tool list for this month and I couldn't pass on it. I asked for it and he said it had sold but he had others. I told him as long as it was a type 13 or lower I would take it.
He emailed me back saying that he had made a mistake. He thought he had sold it but hadn't and did I still want it? Does a duck quack? Of course I said yes. This was a well taken care of plane and it has the mushroom front knob I like and the rear tote is the best looking rosewood I've got in my stable. I had planned to change these out for a Bill Rittner set but I'll keep these now.
|LN and Stanley 4 1/2's|
|the best rosewood I have|
The stanley has some tiny pockets of rust blooms on the right side cheek with some on the cap iron too. Other than this, the plane is looking as good as any other stanleys I have. It shouldn't have to expend too many calories to make this spiffy looking.
I am still looking for a tablet. I like what I've read about the Samsung Galaxy S tablets. Unfortunately a lot of people like it also and I can't find one in stock, anywhere. I'm willing to wait until after xmas to get one and than maybe they'll be available again. So far it has all the bells and whistles I need and want. I'll keep looking in case Santa slips one in somewhere just for me to find.
What kind of wood was used by Noah to build the Ark?
answer - gopher wood (Genesis 6:14)
I spent some time in Cincinnati earlier this year, first at Popular Woodworking in America and then a week-long class with the boys at 360 Woodworking. I am neutral. My friends call me Switzerland. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about here, be thankful.
Not being a drinking person, I anticipated having some serious time to kill in my hotel rooms at might. Not that many antiques malls stay open past 6:00 PM. For situations like this I have been trying to find some sort of woodworking project. Chip carving might work but the group scheduled their class while I was away. I was driving so I could have brought my midi lathe. Dust collection might a problem.
What I did have was a 1607 7-Drawer Kit Chest from Gerstner & Sons. I had picked this up at a Stewart-MacDonald clearance sale. Not full-fledged woodworking but woodworking lite. Sanding, gluing and clamping. It’s something.
Reading over the directions, I realized I could use another small combination square. I had one packed with the tools for the 360 Woodworking class but I didn’t want to breakup the kit. I have a marginal memory and figured I would end up leaving behind at some point inconveniencing me. I don’t like being inconvenienced especially by me.
I remembered that my dear friend Patrick Leach of The Superior Works would be there at Woodworking in America selling pre-owned tools at prices that are high enough to make you stop and consider but not high enough to make you walk away.
Patrick had a nice 6″ Brown & Sharpe combination Imperial/Metric square priced higher than I wanted to pay. But with his big smile and winning ways, I couldn’t say no. I bought it.
It did what I needed it to do while in the area. Last week I was using it at home for some relatively precise, tight layout work and something seemed wrong. Things just weren’t adding up and everything was just slightly off. Things worked correctly when I retrieved my Starrett 6″ combination square. The Brown & Sharpe, not so much.
After about a half hour of stumbling about the shop I grabbed my dial caliper and solved the mystery. I thought I bought a 6″ combination square when in fact I bought a 150 millimeter combination square. 150 mm is 5.90551 inches. 0.09449 might not seem signficant but a tenth of an inch can really muck things up when working below 1/2″.
Two lessons come from this episode:
1.Know what you bought, it helps
2.Work from the origin, the 0 end of a rule. Who knows where it ends.
The racks are nothing special, just made from half-inch white oak put together with rabbets and dadoes. The joints are pegged with those Lee Valley 1/8" dowels I use often. They are designed so that they can sit on the counter or hang on the wall.
I think handmade gifts are very special. The person who gave it to you spent time making something for you, so there a real personal connection.
It's not too late. You've still got two weeks.
7 parts. Nearly 60 segments. 12 hours of video.
I'm very pleased to announce that my 7-part course Intro To Hand Tools is now available in downloadable video form at Popular Woodworking Magazine's ShopWoodworking.com.
Each part consists of a series of segments, for a total of 12 hours of video instruction.
Learn how to use these and other hand tools.
Part 1: Welcome! is available for free on their YouTube channel. It covers general introduction, a quick summary of the tools, safety, and details about the types of handsaws and handplanes.
The remaining 6 parts are available for purchase at $4.99 each:
- Part 2: Sharpening
- Part 3: Stock Preparation
- Part 4: Simple Joinery
- Part 5: Mortise And Tenon Joinery
- Part 6: Dovetail Joinery
- Part 7: Boring Holes And Creating Curves
This brief video shows what's covered in the course:
This is Part 1:
This 7-minute video is a free sample lesson on rabbetting, showing just a few of the methods covered in the longer lesson in Part 4:
I have worked out of an 18th-century-style tool chest since 1997 or so, but I still love a good metal toolbox. They are great for moving tools to a jobsite or storing a dedicated set of wrenches or a socket set. The plastic or sheet-metal toolboxes at home centers do nothing for me. The plastic breaks and the sheet metal is thin and bends when you look at it too […]
The post Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 8: A Trusco Toolbox appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
It might seem like I am posting a lot of blogs about my teaching schedule next year, but that is only because I am posting a lot of blogs about my teaching schedule next year. I think I have almost everything nailed down for 2017 and being the coquette that I am, mentioning them one at a time.
Next October I’ll be teaching a couple of three-day workshops at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin IN. The first one is making an 18th Century parquetry panel. I hope to see you there.
This project started a few weeks ago with a trip to the local home center on the bus.
|Jonas says these wheelie bags are only for old people.|
I'm lucky that this home center has such nice plastic-wrapped laminated pine. They are glued from long pieces of wood.
|If you dig through the pile, there are often boards as nice as this!|
|Testing for square with a piece of printer paper.|
With the two side pieces picked out and the bottom cut to length, I can plane the edges. I made one edge smooth on each side, then clamped them together to gang-plane them in the hope they will all turn out the same width.
|Here is where I really miss my square, but the eye is pretty accurate when it has to be.|
|I did buy a pair of C-clamps.|
|Gratuitous Dick saw shot.|
|Chiseling out the waste after coping. BTW, I love having sun light in the shop.|
|Marking the pins.|
|Cutting the pins.|
|Once again, A4 paper to the rescue!|
|Sawing crossgrain kerfs for shelf dadoes.|
|This is how I sawed the dado.|
|Approaching the line.|
|Oops! I don't have a router plane. I guess do it all with a chisel!|
|Aren't self-timers a great invention?|
|I thought it was a booger, but it's not. (You have to say that out loud for it to be funny.)|
|Pretty, isn't it?|
|Not sure this art shot was worth it.|
I've been thinking of ways to keep the lid and the front panel flat with battens. I don't really want to use screws on this project, so I thought I would make a test to see if I could clench these Roman nails to join two pieces of this pine.
|It works brilliantly!|
That's all I have completed so far.
|Well, it holds tools!|
|A Paul Sellers tool on a Christopher Schwarz tool chest.|
This is an excerpt from “Campaign Furniture” by Christopher Schwarz.
One of the more common pieces of campaign furniture is the simple trunk, sometimes also called a “strong chest,” “traveling chest” or “barracks chest.” The one shown in this chapter, however, has some unusual details you should be aware of. More about those oddities in a few paragraphs.
Trunks typically have square ends – both the height and depth of the trunk can be roughly 15″ to 25″. In general, they are somewhere between 25″ to 40″ wide. The chests are frequently dovetailed at the corners and bound with brass corners and other brass straps. Despite the dovetails, many of the lids and bottoms of trunks were merely nailed to the carcase. It is not unusual to find a trunk with a lid or bottom that has a split.
The trunks almost always had a lock or hasp to protect the contents.
Many of the trunks were raised on some sort of foot. The foot could be as simple as a sledge (sometimes called sled) foot – just a square of wood – all the way to a complex bracket foot.
Inside, many trunks had a small till with a lid, much like a typical household chest. This till stored small items and its lid served as a stop to hold the trunk’s lid open. The chests are typically made from mahogany, oak, teak and camphorwood, which naturally repels moths.
The trunk shown here is typical in many of its attributes except for the joinery at the corners. Instead of dovetails, I have chosen an uncommon (but definitely reliable) type of joinery found on trunks from the West Indies.
That’s a Rivet?
I first encountered this joint while haunting antique stores on King Street in Charleston, S.C. One of the trunks there had a series of brass circles that ran in a line up each corner. At first it looked like brass inlay, which is a common feature of some Anglo-Indian campaign pieces.
Instead of decoration, the brass circles turned out to be the joinery.
The dealer, who had imported campaign furniture from the West Indies for decades, explained that some collectors referred to that joint as a “rivet.” He explained that the rivet was nothing more than a brass screw that had been driven in so its head was still proud. Then the screw head was filed flush to the carcase, eliminating the slot.
It’s a surprisingly simple and (I think) attractive way to make a strong joint that looks a lot better than having 12 wooden screw plugs lined up on the corners.
This approach shows up in other applications in the woodworking field. Sometimes, screw heads are filed flush with a piece of hardware. And if you’ve ever seen infill handplanes, you know it was common for the maker to screw in the wooden infills and the lever cap then file off the heads – making for a clean sidewall of the tool.
This trunk is based on several smaller English examples I’ve studied that were dovetailed. But instead of the dovetails, I substituted “rivets” as the joinery to make the trunk look more like one from the West Indies. If you want a more English look, cut through- or full-blind dovetails at the corners. The other decorative details, such as the brass corners and bracket feet, pretty much remain the same.
Almost a Butt Joint
The joinery of the trunk is as simple as a modern kitchen cabinet. The ends are captured by 5/16″-deep x 5/8″-wide rabbets cut on the ends of the front and back pieces. This corner joint is first glued then later screwed. The bottom is captured in a groove plowed in the ends, front and back.
The lid is built a lot like the case below. The ends are glued into rabbets in the front and back pieces. The lid is then nailed on top of that assembly.
When building the carcase, there are two basic paths you can follow. You can build the entire chest and lid as one unit then saw the lid free from the carcase. Or you can build the lid and carcase separately.
I took a path between these extremes. I cut the joints on all the parts. Then I ripped the lid parts free from the carcase parts. I assembled the lid and carcase separately. Why? I don’t like pushing a big assembled carcase over a table saw. But all three approaches work. Choose one you like.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Yes, we’re dumb enough. Last year, during Plymouth CRAFT’s first-ever Greenwood Fest, the question we got more than any other (except “Is there more coffee?”) was “Are you going to do this next year?” – and our catch phrase became “If we’re dumb enough to do this again…”
We’re thrilled to be so stupid! We can’t wait. The dates for Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2017 are Friday June 9-Sunday June 11, 2017 at the Pinewoods Dance Camp in Plymouth Massachusetts. There will be several 2-day classes ahead of the festival, from lunchtime on Tues June 6th through lunchtime Thursday June 8th.
Paula Marcoux & I are working on the lineup, classes, descriptions and all that jazz. We are terribly sorry that our festival is in direct conflict, time-wise, with the Spoon Gathering in Milan, MN., but the dates are out of our hands pretty much. The Pinewoods Dance Camp is usually booked years ahead – that’s not an exaggeration. So we have to take the dates they have for us; and the best dates they have in terms of weather are early June. We apologize for not getting the dates out sooner.
Instructors include many returning from last year; Jögge Sundqvist, Dave Fisher, JoJo Wood – and others too. I’ll do some blog posts about them soon. Spoons, bowls, furniture, hewing – many aspects of green woodworking to explore.
Soon Paula will have the website up & running. It’s going to be posted with the classes offered, some (most?) of the schedule, etc before registration opens. That way, you’ll have time to decide about classes, etc. before panic sets in…
The best way to keep abreast of it all is to sign up for the newsletter from Plymouth CRAFT, http://www.plymouthcraft.org/contact but I’ll post updates here too of course.
here’s a video from last year –
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys talk about divider sharpening.
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.
If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.