Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator


Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


Hand Tools

A base for the travel bench

Oregon Woodworker - 2 hours 9 min ago
A while ago I made a small travel bench that contains an integrated tool chest.  I designed it to be clamped to a picnic table in order to make it compact for travel and stable in use.  While I have enjoyed using it, the downside is that you don't always have access to a picnic table and it's just too high for some tasks.  After reading about the Moravian travel bench that OK Guy made recently, I decided that I needed to have some sort of base for mine as an option.  With twenty-twenty hindsight, I might have built a Moravian bench too; I just didn't realize how compact they are when knocked down and how quickly they can be set up.  Nevertheless, my travel bench does have some advantages, as I'll describe below.

My criteria were that the base be very compact for travel and sturdy for use with hand tools.  I chose the Krenov sawhorses I made recently as a starting point.  Essentially, I just tried to create a wide, ruggedized version of one of them, not really knowing if it would work or not.  I started by making these side assemblies that transfer force directly from the sides of the bench to the ground.  They are mortised together and have a cleat on the top to attach the benchtop:

Then I added four stretchers held in place with pegs, eight of which do double duty by pinning the mortises:

One of the reasons I designed it this way is that things like suitcases fit easily within it for travel, so it takes up very little extra space.  

Recall that this is what the bench/toolbox looks like standalone:

The base is designed to allow easy access to tools during use:

Even with the vise attached, all of the tools are easily accessible:

How does it compare to a Moravian bench?  I'd say it's different. It can be used without a base, it doubles as a tool chest, it may require somewhat less space for travel and my base design sets up even faster.  I think the Moravian bench may be somewhat superior in use, particularly for larger workpieces.  
Categories: Hand Tools


Benchcrafted - 6 hours 31 min ago

This is the first in what we hope will be a series of interesting posts on various topics related to woodworking or handcrafts.

FARLEY AND LOETSCHER MANUFACTURING COMPANY. Once the largest mill working plant in the world! Dubuque, Iowa.

Farley and Loetscher began humbly on January 1, 1875 when Christian LOETSCHER, a twenty-five-year-old Swiss immigrant, opened a mill working business.

One of many expansions of the company occurred in 1882 at a cost of between $25,000 and $30,000. The saw mill was removed and that part of the business abandoned. The plans called for the buildings to extend from 8th to 7th streets. The warehouse would be on 7th street and join the business office which was to be moved to the corner of 7th street and an alley. At that time, the company's business had grown to such a degree that local lumberyards could not supply enough lumber. The problem was solved when Farley & Loetscher contracted for one million board feet of lumber from sites in Wisconsin.

Loetscher pioneered the use of west coast white pine lumber in 1900 as the company branched out to markets around St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Des Moines, Iowa. In 1903 capitalization of the company was increased to $400,000 through the sale of bonds. Farley & Loetscher then invested a small amount in McCloud River Lumber Company of California. This company was then contracted for an annual production of ten million board feet of ponderosa lumber.

Experimentation was being done by the millwork companies at this time. As the pine forests of Michigan were depleted, some millworks along the Mississippi experimented with spruce. This was discontinued when large millworks introduced ponderosa pine which was not rot resistant and needed treating. After being kiln dried, it was seasoned. Southern pine was rejected because of its high moisture content.

In 1905 the company announced the construction of a solid block of buildings in Dubuque. The firm asked the city council to vacate the alley running through the block bounded by Jackson, Washington, Seventh and Eighth streets. It also asked for the right to lay track and switch to the right of the proposed new building. Business was slowing by 1908 and Farley & Loetscher only kept the California sawmill crews busy for seven or eight months. Once the lumbermen who owned the trees in California opened their own mills, the Farley & Loetscher mills were sold with most of the employees returning to Dubuque.

In 1910 records indicated that the company annually produced 500,000 windows and 300,000 doors. In addition the company manufactured frames, mouldings, blinds, stairwork and interior finish. Between 1,200 and 1,500 carloads of lumber were used annually. The company owned and operated its own electric light company and maintained a crew of electricians to care for it and the telephone systems used in the plant. Nothing went to waste. Wooden shavings were advertised for those interested in horse bedding.

By 1927, when the company was led by J. A. Loetscher, Christian's son, the firm occupied buildings covering twenty-three acres. The company also maintained subsidiary companies. Loetscher and Burch Manufacturing Company operated in Des Moines. Another subsidiary was Roberts Sash and Door Company of Chicago.

The company in 1930 was an employer of between eight hundred and nine hundred people. The seven company buildings covered five city blocks. Each of the buildings, except for three warehouses, were connected by bridges that crossed over the streets.

One of the structures was the largest building in Dubuque until the development of the JOHN DEERE DUBUQUE WORKS. In 1904 Christian Loetscher attended the St. Louis Exposition and bought forty huge timbers, each 13 by 11 inches and up to sixty feet in length, when the exhibition buildings were being dismantled. These were shipped back to Dubuque and used in the construction of a building described as "the largest lumber shed in the world." Thirty-two timbers were placed around the perimeter of the cupola while eight were spaced at intervals along the center of the building. In 1930 this building easily stored 6 million feet of lumber.

Years before recycling became known, Farley and Loetscher gathered waste chunks of wood and all the sawdust. This was transported to the roof of one of the buildings to a funnel-shaped named "the hog." There the material was ground to fine dust which was carried to the basement. Specially designed boilers received the dust from a moving track. When burned this dust provided all the heat for the buildings.

The company's electricity was generated by a dynamo within the plant. Unlike some companies of the time, however, there was no commissary so nearby businesses benefited from the purchases of food.

A plastics division was added to the company's line in the early 1930s. This produced laminated plastics for decorative and industrial uses and once occupied three acres of floor space. (23) A newspaper article of 1930 especially praised a new product "Formica" which resisted heat, cold and water.

In 1942 the company qualified for an "Honor Flag." Issued by the Treasury Department, the flag was issued on the basis of a company's employees participating in buying United States War Savings Bonds. More than 1,100 employees were purchasing bonds through payroll deduction according to Dubuque County War Bond Committee representatives.

The end of WORLD WAR II meant that the production of doors, windows, and other supplies that had gone to the military simply shifted to civilian use. There was no need to replace equipment or retrain employees. The only problem was the need in 1944 to hire four hundred more employees due to the demand for products. In addition to new homes, surveys nationwide indicated that 34% of homeowners were planning renovations. FARLITE, a plastic sold to the government for use in signal corps radio equipment and table tops, would be provided for civilian use.

Farley & Loetscher products include the main staircase of the DUBUQUE COUNTY COURTHOUSE; display cases for the ROSHEK DEPARTMENT STORE; millwork for the U. S. Navy torpedo boat Ericsson and Revenue Cutter Windom; the interior of the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.; and the outer doors of the main chambers of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D. C.

In addition to being the first millwork in the city to utilize ponderosa pine and recycle byproducts including sawdust, Farley & Loetscher was the first factory in the city to have electric lighting and the first to be equipped with an automatic sprinkling system. Around 1903, the company was the first in the city to install a telephone switchboard.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Juncus Polissoir – I

The Barn on White Run - 6 hours 42 min ago

The polissoirs I commission from a local craft-broom-maker employ the materials with which he normally works, namely broom straw (sorghum) and nylon twine, with woven outer sheaths.  It makes perfect sense given the scale that Polissoir, Inc. has become; he needs to use materials and techniques with which he is familiar and facile, and for which he has (for the moment) a sorta-reliable supply of raw materials.

The only variance from this is the Model 296 polissoir first commissioned by Thomas Lie-Nielsen for sale through his enterprise.  In this version, made as close to the original description in L’art du Menuisier as is practicable, the outer sheath is a wrapped linen cord rather than woven sorghum.

In reviewing the sorghum polissoirs (and To Make As Perfectly As Possible) marqueteur Yannick Chastang chided me for mis-identifying the fibers used in traditional polissoirs, asserting that the genuine article used a wetlands rush rather than sorghum, and that sorghum broom straw was an inferior material for polissoirs.   The first point is certainly a fair one, the second is a judgement/preference call I will discuss in a subsequent post.  It’s like saying a Ruger 10/22 rifle is superior to a Smith and Wesson .50 caliber revolver.  It depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the tool.

In the original text, Roubo uses the term “de jonc ordinaire” (common rush; the connection of “de jonc” to “Juncus” is not a great leap) for the plant fiber used in polissoirs.  Our dealing with that term highlights the difficulties of a translation project (and explains the reason this is a very slow writing process), especially when the primary meaning of words mutates over time.  Although French was probably the first codified modern language, it has changed little in the past three or four centuries, the hierarchy of definitions for words has definitely shifted.  Words for which the first definition might be XYZ in one time period might find definition WYZ to be the second, third, or even eighth-ranked definition in an earlier or later dictionary.  This is a struggle Michele, Philippe, and I wrestle with continually as we work our way through the original treatise.  Dictionaries roughly contemporaneous to Roubo declare that the word “de jonc” can mean reed, rush, straw, grass, hay and several other definitions I cannot recall at the moment.  But Yannick’s assertion that I chose the wrong word in English based on my editorial discretion is certainly not unfair.

With that idea in mind, I set out to explore the topic more fully.  One problem, though, resides in the question, “Which Juncus?”  After all, this is a huge genus consisting of several hundred species.

And, where would I find it?

Stay tuned.

prepping the 78.......

Accidental Woodworker - 14 hours 16 min ago
A recipient for the #3 has been picked. The  person getting it is in the dark about it.  I like giving surprises and I've been assured he will be. I would have liked to ship it before xmas but that isn't going to happen. A more likely shipping date is in the first week of the upcoming new year.

waiting game
I am not procrastinating on sawing the lid off. Both ends were cupped and I had to clamp them to remove it. The fit of the pins and tails is now pretty good but hide glue is what is holding it together now. I want to let this hang out for a while, relax and enjoy the heat coming off of the furnace. If the pins and tails still look the same as they do now come the weekend, I'll saw the lid off then.

see the cross scratches?
I wanted to take a before pic but my hands were dirty and I didn't want to stop to wash them. I used a file to clean up the horn of some deep scratches on the right side half.  I can still make out a few left overs by the hole.

the file I'm using
I don't even know what kind of a file this is but it is working on making the top of this horn presentable. I was just going to remove the deep scratches but I liked the shiny look so I continued filing  the entire horn.

looks 100% better
This is a highly visible part of the plane. Once this is painted it will present better than what it looked like before I filed it.

this part is done
the before pic of the front end of the bus
This was pitted probably from the casting and wasn't filed then. I'll do it now.

Used the same file and then ran a 150 grit sanding stick over it.

ridge line
The top of the plane here is the last visible spot. I started cleaning it up by filing this ridge away.

top part done
This is it for what I need to file and make pretty. There are few rust spots blooming around the plane but they should all sand off quickly. Tomorrow I hope to finish removing the remaining japanning. Then I'll clean the plane body with acetone and prime it. I think with so much bare metal now that priming it before I paint is the best way to ensure that the paint job will last. After all, it will be a few years before Miles will even be able pick this up.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the Gotthard Tunnel at 57Km/35Mi, is the longest tunnel in the world?

Picture This CXV

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 5:26pm
I have mentioned dealer sophistry before, but specious descriptions of antique furniture are sadly becoming ever more prevalent (I will save a discussion on the possible reasons for another time). The vendor of the Windsor chair in figure 1 described … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Coming in 2018: The Lost Art Press Work Jacket

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 5:24pm


I have two favorite garments: a beat-up motorcycle jacket for winter and a traditional French work jacket for the other three seasons.

The work jacket, sometimes called a bleu de travail, was popular in the late 19th century and the early 20th century among the French working classes – especially farmers, masons and woodworkers.

The jackets are simple, unlined and incredibly durable. They typically feature four roomy pockets – three on the outside and a fourth on the inside that usually is embroidered with the maker’s name. The only other evidence of the pedigree of the garment is usually found engraved on the buttons.

I wear mine in the shop and when working on our building. The pockets are great for holding tools and the jacket is designed to accommodate a wide range of motion. I can saw and plane in this jacket, and it moves nicely with me. In fact, many times I simply forget I’m wearing it. The more it gets beat up, the better it looks.

It’s also just nice enough to wear out to dinner (once I dust it off).

Most of the French work jackets you’ll find for sale are blue, which was the preferred color of farmers and all-purpose laborers. Management wore a similar jacket in a light grey or white. But French (and German) woodworkers definitely preferred black.

For many years I’ve wanted Lost Art Press to produce a work jacket that was faithful to the originals in every way, including the cotton moleskin cloth, the distinct stitching, the engraved buttons and even the embroidered inside pocket. And, because I’m a woodworker, I wanted to offer it in black.

So we’ve teamed up with designer and woodworker Tom Bonamici, who is similarly obsessed with these jackets. Tom has designed a work jacket based on a vintage one he owns. And last week, the factory (here in the United States, of course) produced the first successful prototype.

We are very excited.

In the coming weeks, Tom is going to share the history of these jackets, the details of their construction and how a garment goes from a cool idea to something you want to wear every day. And, in early 2018, we will offer these for sale.

We don’t have prices or a timeline yet. But all that is coming soon.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 11: Masons’ & Engravers’ Square

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 12:43pm

Every year with this gift guide, I recommend one tool that is just a little more expensive than the others but is definitely worth the money. This year it’s the Lee Valley Cast Masons & Engravers’ Square. This is a new item in Lee Valley’s catalog, and the minute I saw it, I ordered one. This well-made tool excels at scribing lines that are parallel to the edge of a […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 11: Masons’ & Engravers’ Square appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Line Drawings and Dimensions of Small Portable Vise...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 9:37am
Here are the drawings of the little portable vise I posted originally on November 11, 2017. All the drawings are done full size and can be used as cut-out templates. Just print them off and glue them to your wood.




Categories: Hand Tools

I just purchased the video you made with Shop Woodworking on Japanese tools and I am really enjoying the details that you have dealt with. GREAT JOB! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!

Giant Cypress - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 5:28am

Thanks so much for the kind words! I really happy that you liked the video.

My video on Japanese woodworking tools is available at Shop Woodworking, Popular Woodworking’s online storefront for videos, books, and more. There are shorter videos on Japanese saws, Japanese planes, Japanese chisels, and “everything you ever wanted to know about Japanese tools but were afraid to ask”. These videos are also compiled into one longer video, available as a DVD and as a download. It might make a nice holiday present for the woodworker in your life.

Why Schlep? - A Look at Tools Baskets and Bags

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 4:00am
Charles Nurse 1893
Probably the classiest thing we have in our entire catalog (Colen Clenton Tools excepted) this year is our new Gramercy Tool Bags. They're elegant solutions to the challenge of schlepping tools around - a challenge that crafts people have forever faced. I have a collection of tool sellers' catalogs from the late 19th century on, so I thought I'd check in and see how tool-carrying has evolved.
The Chas. A. Strelinger & Co. catalog* framed the issue well, way back in 1896:

When a "Yankee" carpenter has a little job to do a few squares or a few miles from the shop, he takes his toolbox with tools (about 30 lbs. of tools, 15, sometimes 25 lbs. of box ) shoulders it, and starts off to his work. Now, we do not mean to quarrel with him for doing this, but it would suggest that it was about time to do away with the box business and use a Tool Basket. The middle size weighs about 18 ounces, and while the difference in weight between box and basket (from ten to twelve pounds) is not much for single lift, it certainly makes a big difference in a walk of a mile or two.
This basket can be carried over the shoulder by a stick shoved through both handles, or piece of sash cord, but when is only a few tools used, it can be carried the same as valise. The middle size measures when round, about 21 inches in diameter and when flattened sidewise by the shape and weight of the long tools (as jointer and saws), about 33 inches. They are soft and pliable, very strong, and with fairly decent usage will last for years.

Now I love the idea of a wooden toolbox (shown here in the 1912 Rd. Melhuish catalog) but I cannot imagine carrying it on my shoulder. Another possibility: a tool basket.
Rd. Melhuish 1912
Baskets have limited space, but they are certainly a lot lighter than a big box. They don't seem to have died out until after WW II, and all the tool basket vendors (here the Charles Nurse catalog from 1893 and the 1912 Melhuish) seem to have sold similar versions in different sizes. The engravings for all these retailers look the same and could even be from the same plates.
Charles Nurse 1893 - on the last pages of the catalog it was a late addition
Rd. Melhuish 1912 - by 1912 everyone seems to be carrying them
Various trades used different sized specialty baskets or bags. (The Melhuish catalog doesn't draw much distinction between the bags and baskets - some are made of the same materials.) There are bags for Engineers - a general title for what we would call mechanics. And a bag lined with carpet for plumbers. My guess is that the lining was to absorb any water on the tools.
And the Tyzak catalog from the 1930s included a bag and basket (same material) that by its illustration was simpler than those of earlier catalogs, but might also be the same product as Melhuishs specialty Engineers bag. Melhuish might not have had Instagram, but he obviously understood marketing. )
Samuel Tyzak c. 1930's
Rd. Melhuish 1912
This large canvas bag from Melhuish 1912 is not only "improved" but in elements and structure seems to be a older cousin of a modern leather bag.
Rd. Melhuish 1912

The Strelinger catalog makes a good point when it says that the tool box itself is pretty heavy, making a lightweight basket an improvement. But a basket is also open, not protected from rain, and vulnerable to spilling when put down. What is interesting is that unlike regular baskets for regular consumers, these tool baskets (and the ones in Strelinger) are reinforced. Without reinforcement, the material and stitching of the basket or bag will inevitably be stressed by the tools, and likely even cut or punctured. Leather bags were probably made in the era of these catalogs, but by and large they were too expensive for casual use by craftsmen, which could explain their absence from the catalogs I have.** Leather of course is the most waterproof of the natural materials, and most resistant to cuts and bruises. Klein Tool Bags, an American company that has been around since 1857, continues to make a wide range of tool bags today, including a mass-produced bag similar to ours. But by and large, tool bags and baskets seem to disappear from the tool catalogs, although I have not made an exhaustive search. My guess is with the advent of the automobile, the number of tradesman lugging tools around declined sharply and the concept of the milk crate filled with tools began to make lots of sense. And - ask anyone who routinely works on-site - the art of tool transportation can either be done efficiency or chew up half the day. For moving a lot of tools the Festool Systainer system is a great approach, I am seeing more and more of them on the streets in the morning as craftsman go into buildings to work on-site. (I will write about transporting buckets of tools another time.)

But sometimes you don't need a warehouse full of tools. Sometimes - oftentimes if you live in NYC - youre taking public transportation. Sometimes you are going to a class or an office. Sometimes you not only have to earn a living but you have to impress a client at the same time. Plaster and paint coated milk crates don't leave the reassuring competence than a nice bag does with a client. They just don't want the mess tracked into their apartments.

This need inspires a return to the basics. Yes, if I have a couple of tools to cart, I just dump everything in my backpack and hope for the best. Anything with a sharp edge gets carefully wrapped. My backpack is tall enough for a dovetail or carcase saw but a sash is too long and risky and I worry about the handles getting busted if I put down the bag too roughly. I just brought back two valuable short saws home in my backpack and I wrapped them in cardboard for safety. I can't imagine doing that every day. As I have gotten older, my tools have gotten better, and so is the care I take.

So that brings me to our new Gramercy Tools Leather Tool bags. We also stock Leather bags by Occidental - here and here. Occidental bags are wonderfully made, but too short for a hardware store saw, or a longer plane. One thing I like about tools bags in general is that they have a bottom, designed to have a place for heavier tools so that jostling wont cause something to shift. I don't wrap edge tools other than in a rag so that the cutting edges are both protected and can't do damage. We made sure in designing the Gramercy bags that the hardware and straps are robust (a Klein bag that I loved years ago had strap issues) and the cover really covers. The straps are anchored inside the cover which looks cool but more importantly prevents the leather straps from catching and wearing over the years. I live in fear of a collectible tool falling out. The traditional hand stitching of the Gramercy Bag will wear better than machine stitching and that with the heavy leather should mean that the stitches won't be the first thing to go (the source of my Klein bags strap problems). We use vegetable tanned leather because I discovered that I have a tendency to leave tools in my bag for ages without special oiling or waxing and I don't want to worry about rust caused by the leather.
The Gramercy Tool Bag in dark brown. We also stock a lighter Whisky brown version

.* Note: While I quote from the 1896 Chas. A. Strelinger & Co, I don't show any engravings from their catalog because I don't own an original and the reproduction I have isn't at high enough resolution to do justice to the original.
** I have other American catalogs of the period but they are currently in storage.

Geometry in Time for the Holidays

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 3:15am

Christ the Geometer

In the spirit of the holidays, let’s perform some simple, ancient geometry to create the iconic symbols of the two religions celebrating major holidays this month. You’ll need only a compass, a straightedge, a piece of paper and a couple of candles to illuminate your work. In chronological order (in more ways than one) let’s start with Judaism’s Star of David:


Begin with a circle and mark the focal point. We have actually started with the symbol for Ra, the ancient Egyptian sun god for whom winter solstice was celebrated for thousands of years prior to Judaism – but that may or may not be another story.

Scan_20171212 (2)

Now draw a line vertically through the focal point (i.e. a diameter) and mark its intersection points at the rim.

Scan_20171212 (3)

Next set the compass to span from one of the rim intersection points to the focal point and swing an arc through the rim as shown. Mark the arc’s intersection points.

Scan_20171212 (4)

Repeat from the other rim intersection and mark two more rim points.

Scan_20171212 (5)

Connect all the rim points across the circle.

Scan_20171212 (6)


Erase the circle rim, diameter line and interior arcs and you are left with the Star of David. Now let’s create the Christian cross–also from the intersection of line and circle:

Scan_20171212 (7)

Again we’ll start with a circle (which came to represent the heavens), but this time we’ll draw the diameter line at about a 45° angle.

Scan_20171212 (8)

Construct another diameter line at a right angle to the first. Use the intersecting arcs method (or just fudge it, I won’t tell).

Scan_20171212 (9)

Connect the rim intersection points to create a square (which traditionally represents the four directions, the four seasons and the earth itself).


Scan_20171212 (10)

Now bisect the lower horizontal line and extend the bisection line from the focal point down past the lower rim of the circle.


Scan_20171212 (11)

We’ll set our compass to the span between the rim intersection point and focal point and swing a second circle. (A second of a pair of circles traditionally represented the Dyad…the reflection, the knowing of the first circle called the Monad (all one/alone)).

Scan_20171212 (12)

When we erase most of the lines we are left with a cross…a symbol of the melding of heaven with earth. Or for the math geeks: a pairing of a diameter line with the non-terminating (i.e. irrational) square root of two.

Note: This geometric construction of the cross is not historical but rather the product of my imagination.

— Jim Tolpin, one of the authors of “From Truths to Tools





Filed under: From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

I Think You’ll Like Making T̶h̶e̶s̶e̶ Trees

Paul Sellers - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 2:50am

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I try to have a simple Christmas project that isn’t too complex to make, is inexpensive and doesn’t tie up too much time. In making these you make four (or more) at once so I think making them hits the mark for me. I wanted something […]

Read the full post I Think You’ll Like Making T̶h̶e̶s̶e̶ Trees on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

stripping the 78........

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 1:07am
It appears that I am going to get lucky with the rehabbing of the 78. I knew I would have to paint it but I wasn't sure how easy it would be. After tonight I know it is going to be easy. My past experiences with japanning have run in two directions - easy off and a bitch to get off. It was easy off tonight only because this japanning didn't seem to have the thicker coating  I seen on hand planes.

liquid wrench and WD40
I got a comment from Matt that this wooden handle should turn and spin as I crank it. I think what happened is the metal insert rusted the handle to it. I soaked it with liquid wrench overnight without freeing it and I hit it WD40 before I went to work this morning. When I got home from work, it still would not turn.

the handle wood is soft
Even with a rag wrapped around the handle, I still left imprints in the handle from the jaws of the pliers. And I still could not turn the handle.

spinning now
I had to heat from a blow torch to get it free. It turns ok but it is a bit rough. I also toasted both ends of the wooden handle. The handle split on me which I'll have to glue it back together somehow. I don't think there was any way to avoid that because this handle is very dry and brittle.

cleaning and degreasing
Before I apply the stripper, I need to get this as clean and grease free as I can. The stripper acts much better that way.

forgot to do the depth stop
95% of the japanning is gone
I was able to scrap off most of the japanning and I will still apply stripper to see if it will remove the last bits.

cleaned and no japanning came off
back of the lever cap looks the best
I would expect this to be this way as it is mostly protected all the time.

this stripper burns
The stripper bled through the glove on my left hand. This is the one I held the parts with as I brushed the stripper on with my right hand.

big hump on the back
While the stripper was working, I sharpened and honed the iron for the 78.

the look after 1200
back done up to 8K
The back is done and I repeated it going up to 8K and stropped it.

the iron fits in the guide
I wasn't expecting it to fit in these jaws. I thought that I would have to use the long jaws to sharpen this.

stropped and shiny

shiny back too
I think this will give much better results when I road test the 78 again once the rehab is complete.

stripper on, rinsed off, and blown dry
This is very encouraging. The japanning came off very easily and what little is left I think I can scrape or sand off.

the other side
nothing left on this side of the plane

almost all gone on this side too
I was very happy to see how well the stripper worked on this side. There are a lot of nooks and crannies that the stripper removed the japanning from. I would estimate that 95% or better of the japanning has been removed. I might be able to paint this before the weekend.

I can hear a little better now. My hearing aids have been broken for a while and I got them fixed on monday. Some things I can hear again - my turn signals in the truck, key clicks opening a lock, my pants making a noise as I walk, and taking a whiz. One thing I heard for the first time is the shutter on my camera as I snap pics.

My current hearing aids are obsolete and I will be getting a new set in january. My current set is 6 years old and a few things have changed with the new ones. The new set is a lot more powerful in it's ability to process sound much quicker which will help with my hearing loss. And the biggie improvement is there are no ear molds anymore. Ear molds are custom fitted inserts for the ear canal. These can be uncomfortable at times and especially so for me in hot humid weather. They are not a panacea for my hearing loss but they help me to hear a little of what is going on around me.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the goat is the source of true Moroccan leather?

The Rabbit Hutch – Part 9

The Bench Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 1:00am

This is the final post of my rabbit hutch project.  With the project fully built, I needed to find a spot on our property to place the hutch and prepare the ground.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

I picked out a spot that was close to the house and well positioned.  There was a small rock wall that I had built there some years ago that would have to be removed and reinstalled.

This is where I chose to install the hutch.

This is where I chose to install the hutch.

Time to go to work with the pick axe and rake.  Once the ground was more-or-less level, I tamped it down.

Clearing the ground.

Clearing the ground.

The one setback to the site I selected, was that it was on a slight slope.  Since the hutch has drawers that pull out forwards, this means that the hutch needed to be lifted up enough to clear the rock wall and the slightly sloping ground.

Raising it up on some paving slabs.

Raising it up on some paving slabs.

Not what you might think of as “checking for wind” on a woodworking blog.

Checking for level.

Checking for level.

The hutch is really heavy thanks to me and my every expanding projects…  Why can’t I ever build small stuff?  You may remember waaaay back when I made the carcass sides, I used long galvanized lag bolts to serve as the feet of the hutch.  These can be screwed in or out to adjust the level, but their main purpose it to keep the wood away from the ground and hopefully prevent rot.  They are screwed into the end grain of the legs and I was careful not to stress them laterally as I didn’t want to split out the bottom of the legs.

Moving this heavy ass hutch outside.

Moving this heavy ass hutch outside.

My neighbor gave me a hand lifting the hutch up onto the paving slab platform.  We then lifted the roof (which is nearly as heavy as the hutch) and placed it on top.

Once it was in place, I rebuilt the rock wall using all the rocks I removed earlier.

So, with everything done, here’s a bunch of final photos:

In place, and the roof installed.

In place, and the roof installed.

From behind.

From behind.

Viewed from further back.

Viewed from further back.

I'm guessing it won't stay looking this nice for long.

I’m guessing it won’t stay looking this nice for long.

The upper ramp.

The upper ramp.

Upper area.

Upper area.

Lower area.

Lower area.

I'm happy with how this turned out.

I’m happy with how this turned out.

Feeder and water installed.

Feeder and water installed.

Is it just me, or does that rabbit look pissed off?

Is it just me, or does that rabbit look pissed off?

Thanks for reading and bearing with me.  I finished this project in April and it has taken me until now (December) to get these remaining posts written.

I hope to have some other posts in the near future, we’ll see.


– Jonathan White

Coming Soon: More Classes at Our Storefront

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 3:21pm


When I purchased my shop building in Covington, Ky., I swore I wasn’t going to open a woodworking school. And, in all honesty, I still don’t want to run a school or return to teaching.

I will, however, allow my friends to use the space to teach classes.

So, in the coming weeks you can look for Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan Gaffney to offer additional classes at our storefront. Brendan is especially keen on offering low-cost, one-day workshops for locals to introduce them to woodworking, sharpening and woodworking tools. Why? Almost every day people stop by the storefront asking if we will teach them how to build things. (Today, a plumber and a barber asked for classes.)

Megan has a full roster of classes that we have been planning for many months, including a Morris chair design that was made here in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In conjunction with these classes, we also plan to open the mechanical library up for the public to use. The library is still under heavy construction – Megan and I need to build a 12’-long run of shelves to house part of the collection.

So things are changing here – for the better. By the end of the year the Horse Garage will be a fully functional shop with a few good machines. We’ll have space for me to continue my research and build commissions. We’ll have space for Megan and Brendan to offer instruction. Plus rare old books to blow your mind.

One final note: All of our projects begin incredibly small in nature. Lost Art Press sold about 2,000 books its first year in 2007 (we’re up to about 40,000 a year now. That’s a pathetic growth curve for corporate America, but I have only two words for corporate America). Crucible is still in its infancy, as are our plans for the storefront. I want things to grow organically and be bulletproof. No debt. No reaching for things beyond our grasp.

I hope you’ll join us on our slow journey.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Beach walking; late fall

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 2:51pm

I try to not go out in December. Certainly when I do, I try to only go to places without Christmas music, chaos, traffic and the other trappings of the “season.” The actual season; late fall/early winter, is one of my favorites. Marie & I went to the beach yesterday. I shot a few photos, and when I uploaded them, found some from a beach walk about two weeks ago. (click the photos to enlarge)

Marie & I saw a few scattered sanderlings (Calidris alba) – but this photo of mine is from the earlier walk.

We couldn’t find any loons yesterday; I got this one earlier. I think it’s a red-throated loon (Gavia stellata) – we’ll see.

There were many, many eiders out on the water. Hundreds of them…this photo is a fraction of the flock.  (Somateria mollissima)

What we came for was this figure in the dunes:

The first snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) of the season for us:

Marie’s shot:

snowy owl by Marie Pelletier

While I’m raiding her photo stash, here’s her sanderling shot of the day:

Sanderling by Marie Pelletier

Time to turn around and head back;


The sun was going down as we made our way back down the beach. I turned & got a shot of the clouds over the Gurnet:




A rare view of Marie – she’s usually behind the camera at Plymouth CRAFT:


One last one, from the earlier trip, Daniel drawing in the sand:


Project-Shipwrecked Pen Box

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 2:06pm

My friend William’s 50th was coming up, and he was also celebrating his graduation. Huh, graduate at 50? Yup. He has several degrees and among them masters. Now he can add a law degree to that list.

So, as we all do I “Binged” the net for inspiration. I looked for boxes and a judges hammer and Gavel. I wish I had of taken photos of the hammer, next time when I go around I’ll take it and post it on Instagram. Anyway, I stumbled upon none other than the wood whisperer’s jewellery box. He took this design from someone else while he was still learning the craft. I thought this is great and settled on that. I didn’t make too many changes as I was pretty happy with it.

I have plenty of scrap lying around as I’ve recently become a hoarder of wood due to increasing costs. I used Silky Oak for the lid and base and American Black Walnut for the sides. This Walnut hasn’t been Kiln dried properly and is the biggest SOB to work with. But since I have it and paid through my backside for it, I might as well use it despite all the difficulties of working with it.

The box measures 9 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. The lid’s thickness ranges from 3/4” to 1″ and this is dependant on whether you want a curved lid or flat. The sides of the box are mortised and the inside of the base routed or in this case chopped out.

Mark used machinery to make his box while I, as always, will only use hand tools. I had to make only one slight adjustment to make up for any hand inaccuracies. Mark would use a table saw to cut a large dado where the item would rest and he would then clean up the bottom with a straight bit router. This meant that the floor of the dado would be flush with the tenon. So, what I did after sawing the sides and chopping out the bulk of the waste was to stop short about 1/16 above the tenon to create a small shoulder with my router plane. As long as the shoulders are crisp and square this would eliminate any unsightly gaps that would have been sticking out like a saw thumb had I followed Mark’s machine methods.

Mark used barrel hinges I had none and used in its stead brass 1/8″ rods I have plenty of and inserted them both in either side.

I finished the box off with Antique Oil, I’ve become very fond of this oil recently.   All in all I enjoyed the project thoroughly and am currently making more. One for my mum, my little one, then my niece, my brother in law, friends and so forth.

So in the few past days I’ve taken an interest in box making. You don’t need a lot of materials on hand to work with, which means it’s not cost prohibitive. You work with various exotic pieces learning and understanding the temperament of each species. You also don’t need a lot of tools nor shop space to make boxes. You most definitely don’t need machinery to make them either.  However, besides all those materialistic things, for me the biggest draw I have towards them is the challenge. You may look at a box and say wow that looks beautiful and simple to make, but looks are deceiving. The challenge is, there is high levels of accuracy involved, one mistake and that’s basically it, it’s over, you’ve ruined your box.  The pieces are small, so some clamping can be challenging. Your tools must be super sharp as it should be with any project, but in this case you need to keep them super sharp, so there is no mishaps when working with your joinery.

I think making boxes is a teacher and a test of skill. Without a doubt you will learn to hone them to much higher levels. Imagine taking those newly honed skills on every project irrespective of what the project size is. Imagine this new high level of accuracy and insane cleanliness you have developed in your work becomes second nature and all this gained just from making boxes.  I think I will explore this some more. This may be the training I have been looking for.


Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 10: O’Keefe’s Working Hands

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:01pm

If were being honest, woodworking would be a lot more difficult in the winter months without O’Keefe’s Working Hands. I have a container of this at my workbench and by my computer. It is the only thing that keeps my fingers moving smoothly over my tools and the keyboard. I know there are a lot of other hand-care products out there. I’ve tried many of them. But I keep coming […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 10: O’Keefe’s Working Hands appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Vintage stickers

Benchcrafted - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:50am

This is our first run of a planned several set series of vintage themed stickers.  Some of you may recognize at least one of these from a set of cards we issued years ago as a promotion for one of the wood shows we exhibited at.  We had mostly forgotten about those neat cards were it not for seeing a set at our brother from another mother's house, Narayan Nayar.

So here they are, the first set of three.  These are reprints from 19th and early 20th century cigarette cards, once included with a pack of cigs to stiffen the pack and provide a little amusement.  We had considered including a stick of pink gum too but alas no one does those anymore.

These should be ready to ship on our website Thursday morning.  Price will be $6.00 for all three.  Get a set, stick em' on your tool chest or anywhere you want to add some character.  2"x4".
Categories: Hand Tools

How to Darken Oak Furniture with Ammonia Fuming

Wood and Shop - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:31am
In this video I show a historical method for darkening white oak furniture with industrial strength Ammonia, inside a makeshift plastic fuming tent, and I do it on a pair of Shaker style quartersawn white oak end tables. My most recent video & article showed how these end tables fit together (here) and


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator - Hand Tools