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General Woodworking

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.

Introduction to Vacuum Veneering with Jonathan Benson

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - 6 hours 47 min ago

When I started woodworking the idea of veneering seemed like magic to me. From selecting the best materials, to the design (orienting the grain of the pieces to present the desired and impressive final result,) to cutting the pieces (to not leave ridiculous gaps!) and ultimately gluing the whole thing in place. That last task, glueing up the veneer, seemed the most daunting. The process must have constant, even pressure […]

The post Introduction to Vacuum Veneering with Jonathan Benson appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video Series: Ron Hock 8″ Kitchen Knife Kit

Highland Woodworking - 7 hours 30 min ago

If you’ve been looking for a new project to tackle, why not try making one of the Hock Kitchen Knife Kits? In the video series below, you can follow along as Mike Morton goes through the entire build process, from initial shaping to applying finish. Make some great gifts for friends and families, or get one of these kits for an aspiring woodworker you know!

Watch the videos below to find out more!

The post Product Video Series: Ron Hock 8″ Kitchen Knife Kit appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

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?

How Much is Your Log Worth?

Wunder Woods - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 6:56pm

How much is your log worth? The short answer is probably not as much as you had hoped, but you’re not here for the short answer, so I’ll give you the long one.

First off, you need a bit of background of where I come from on this subject. I mill, sell and work with lumber from mostly suburban settings with lots of yard trees salvaged from tree services and a decent number of logs from wooded settings, usually where a building is about to be erected. This means my log supply can range from barely usable to awesomely perfect and all with lots of wacky and wild in between. I normally pay nothing for my logs and only buy a couple of logs per year, which I just can’t live without. I mostly don’t pay for logs because I mostly don’t have to. There are lots of logs available to me, especially if I am willing to pick them up.

Since I work in an area with a large population (St. Louis and St. Charles, MO), I often get requests from homeowners looking to make money from their logs, especially after hearing age-old stories of walnut logs selling for thousands and thousands of dollars. These consistent requests and a recent article in the Missouri Conservationist magazine (click here to read the article) about Missouri hardwoods prompted me to put into writing what I have repeated probably hundreds of times.

  1. A log is worth as much as someone is willing to pay. This sounds like a smartass answer, but it isn’t. If you don’t know where to sell your logs or you can’t find someone in your area willing to pay, they aren’t worth much. And, if you can’t get your logs to the buyer they are worth even less. Especially, if you only have one tree, expect no excitement from someone who normally purchases logs. You won’t get a larger purchaser, like a big sawmill, to come out for less than a truckload.
  2. Your log probably isn’t as great as you think it is. You would be amazed by how many people call me and tell me about a walnut tree in their yard that is at least 40 years old or about the tree which has its first branch at 5′ from the ground. A walnut tree is a baby at 40 years old and is obviously a short, branchy yard tree with not much of a log if there are branches 5′ from the ground. A good tree, one worth really talking about, will have at least 10′ of branchless trunk, if not 14′ or 16′ or more. Just because it is a walnut tree, doesn’t mean it is a good walnut tree.

    This walnut tree was about 90 years old and produced a very nice stem. The bottom log has about 250 bf. in it and would fetch about $500 dollars delivered to a sawmill. The top log in the pile and the second log up in the tree has about 200 bf. in it and would be worth about $175.


  3. Most high-dollar logs are veneer-quality logs. Almost all of the stories of logs selling for high prices are for veneer-quality logs. And, almost all of the logs out there are not veneer-quality logs. Veneer logs look like they came from the “log factory” and are perfect in every way; no signs of knots, straight, round, good color, good growth ring spacing, centered pith, no bird peck, no shake, no metal, fresh, and hopefully, big. I only get a few veneer quality trees out of hundreds per year and they almost never come out of yards. They are usually hidden somewhere in the woods.

    White oak logs don’t get much better than this 16′ long x 30″ diameter example. Yet, the veneer buyer wasn’t interested in purchasing it because the color was not good.


  4. Yard trees have metal in them. This is no myth. Whether you remember doing it or not, there is a good chance your yard tree has metal in it. Metal, like nails, hooks, wires and chains mess up saw blades and make a mess by staining the wood. I expect trees I pick up to have metal in them, and I will work around it, but remember, I don’t pay for trees. Larger operations have no reason to buy logs with metal in them, especially if the next log truck in the gate is full of logs without metal.

    Bottom logs have the most valuable wood and the most metal, like this electrical conduit with wires.


  5. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you are reading this, it is most likely because you don’t sell logs on a regular basis (or, you just want to see if I know what I am talking about). Without doing this consistently, you can’t know enough about your logs to properly sell them. You can’t get it in front of the right people at the right time and present them with something they can’t live without, and you definitely can’t defend your product. You will be at the mercy of the buyer. They will know after the first thing out of your mouth that you do not know what you are doing, and even if they are fair, they will never overpay.

This is a good-looking walnut log, but it has a lot of sapwood (white ring on outside), which will make it less valuable. If you don’t sell logs regularly, there is no way you would know that this could be an issue for some buyers.


You can tell from most of these points that I am pretty sure you aren’t going to get rich from your single tree or a couple of logs (especially from me) and you shouldn’t expect to. With that point made, you should know that some do have value if you have a place to sell them and you have a way to get them to a buyer. So, if I haven’t completely dissuaded you from selling your logs, below are some pricing examples that you can expect if you were to sell your logs to a larger operation in the midwest:

Average price, based on 20″ diameter inside the bark on the skinny end x 10′ long = 160 bf.

Red oak $.70 per bf. clear saw log = $112, $1.00 per bf. veneer log= $160

White oak $.85 per bf. clear saw log = $136, $1.50 per bf. veneer log= $240

Walnut $1.70 per bf. clear saw log = $272, $3.50 per bf. veneer log= $560

Cherry $.90 per bf. clear saw log = $144, $1.40 per bf. veneer log= $224

Hard Maple $.75 per bf. clear saw log = $120, $1.25 per bf. veneer log= $200


This mix of 10′ x 20″ black oak, white oak and post oak trees from a homebuilding site would sell for about $75-$100 each, delivered to a local sawmill.

Now, obviously prices will range from mill to mill, based on what wood is available in the area, what is selling well and if the mill specializes in any products or species. The above prices should just serve as a guidepost in determining if bothering to sell your logs is worthwhile. Most of the logs in the pricing example above would not cover the price of trucking on their own, so marketing one log most likely doesn’t make sense, unless you can haul it yourself.

However, you can see that if a landowner were to have a large number of trees, the money could start to add up. $112 for a red oak log doesn’t sound like much, but it starts to sound like something when there is a semi truckload of $112 logs. This is what most large timber sales are based on; a large number of logs sold at a fair price and not necessarily getting rich on one tree.

Usually, the phone calls I answer are about a single “big” walnut tree which will cost a homeowner lots of money to remove because it is large and right up against the house. They see a big log worth big money. However, the removal costs also jump up with the increase in tree size, negating any benefit of a larger tree. Their hope is that I will be excited enough about their tree to cut it down (safely, I presume) in trade for the wood, but the math doesn’t work out. A tree which costs $3,000 to remove probably won’t have $3,000 worth of logs in it, no matter if it is walnut or not.

Remember, the bottom line is that logs do have some value, but if you can’t do all of the work like cutting, hauling and selling yourself there is almost no way to make money on a single tree. Unless, of course, you just happen to have a tree like the ones below that I couldn’t live without.

This 11′ x 42″ diameter walnut took two forklifts to move and was one of only two trees which I purchased last year. I paid $950 for this log and it is the largest walnut I have personally processed. This log is potentially worth more money, but it had several obvious signs of metal, so larger mills weren’t interested.


This 15′ x 38″ diameter walnut was the second of only two trees which I purchased within the last year. I paid $700 for the tree and it is the second largest walnut I have ever cut. This tree also had metal in it, which kept the price down.

Categories: General Woodworking

Handmade Christmas turtle dove decorations

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 2:30pm
Gorgeous wooden bird decorations handmade by Steve Tomlin Crafts Beautiful, unique decorations for your tree or the perfect handmade gift. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

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.

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

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:


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

Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Darrell Peart

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 7:21am

Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]

The post Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Darrell Peart appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Coping Saw Blades

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 7:08am
Coping Saw Blades

Is there a difference in cuts of copying saw blades with higher TPI? You bet. But the best reasons to make the switch may not be for the reason you’re thinking.

I’m beginning a new project that involves using my coping saw. Whenever I use this tool I immediately think back to my days building houses and installing the trim, especially baseboards. Each corner was coped for a better fit. (You cannot get away with simply butting to 45° cuts.)

Back then we worked primarily in pine.

Continue reading Coping Saw Blades at 360 WoodWorking.

Product Video: How to Use a Card Scraper

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 7:00am

If you’ve been looking for a better way to finish your work, look no further than the humble card scraper. Card Scrapers can cut finishing time in half, removing glue squeeze-out, leveling across joints and eliminating tearout, while providing a great surface for applying finish.

In the video below, Matt Cremona takes a closer look at Card Scrapers, the unsung heroes in the workshop. Watch the video below to learn the basics for adding a card scraper or two to your own tool kit.

The post Product Video: How to Use a Card Scraper appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

the batting line up.......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:42am
The lead off was the glue up of the saw till box and I'll continue to work on that. Batting next is one tool rehab of which I have a lot waiting to be done. In the on deck circle is the chisel roll around cabinet. I decided to start work on it despite saying I was going to concentrate on doing tool rehabs. I am looking forward to having all my chisels in one place. And having that place readily accessible right by the workbench.

As it is now I have 5 sets of chisels stowed in boxes, scattered around the shop. My bench chisels are kept in a box on a shelf under the right end of my bench. These are the ones that I use 99.99% of the time. The others don't get much use because it is too much of a PITA to hunt them down, clear all the crappola burying them, to use them. The roll around will solve that problem.

out of the clamps
All of the half pins were cupped away before the glue up. They  are all tight and good looking now 24 hours later.

the opposite end
The half pins on this end were cupped too but not as bad. Or it could have been the other end. I know now that all the joints are closed up tight with no gaps. One end cap was cupped more than the other but that is a moot point now.

a wee bit proud
I will have to flush the pins and tails before I saw the lid off. There is a bit of proud here and there due to the pieces not being all the same thickness.

not twisted
I have clamped dovetailed boxes with cauls in the past and clamped twist into them. There isn't any twist on this side. I need this to be twist free for when I use the tablesaw to cut off the lid.

other side is twist free too
this side is square
opposite side is off a strong 32nd
I checked this side with the same diagonal from the other side. With that setting I was off on this diagonal and snug on the other. I changed the sticks to measure this side and it came out square.

This is going to be a gift card card box.

the tray
I spray 4 coats of shellac from a rattle can on the handle. I glued it with hide glue.

the red felt dresses up the box some
the next tool rehab
got my parts
much better than eBay
This 78 will be a user plane and I have no qualms with using a new part. Most of the prices on eBay for a fence rod started at around $20. I would have bought one of them but I was leery about buying a bent one.

new fence rod is dead nuts square
It was a bit stiff and hard to thread at first but after a couple of cycles of in/out, I could thread it all the way down and off with my fingers.

very snug fit
I saw some crud and rust(?) in the hole in the fence that slides up/down on the rod so that may be the cause of that.

new rod on the left   old on the right
A couple of notable differences between the two. The new one is slightly longer, the end opposite the threaded end has a larger chamfer, and the turn hole is smaller and closer to the end. The last difference is the threaded end. On the original there is a small space that is unthreaded and it is a smaller diameter than the rod. On the new one, it is threaded right to the rod. There is no small unthreaded portion. I would think that would make the replacement rod stronger than the original and less prone to bending.

definitely out of square ( original fence rod)
original fence rod
You can see that the threaded portion is bent. That small unthreaded portion is the Achilles heel and I think it is the reason why these are found bent so often.

road testing it
I never did a road test on this because the fence rod was bent. I put it back together with my iron instead of the one this came with. I got the fence on the rod but it was a struggle. I had to gently tap it on and off. This is also my before pic to compare to the ooh and ah rehab pics.

nice feel and easy to use
No particular problems making this quick, shallow rabbet. The iron wasn't as sharp as I thought it was. It will definitely need some love from the stones.

not canted and appears to be straight, end to end
depth stop
This is a robust stop. I applied only finger pressure to it and it held for making this rabbet. It will definitely need further testing to see how it holds up for doing a lot of rabbets.

quick clean and degreasing of the fence
There is a lot of crud stuck in the nooks and crannies. I got all of it removed with the help of the wire brush.

light sanding
Most of the japanning came off with a few strokes of the 150 grit stick. I kind of thought I would repaint this and now there is no doubt. I'll try stripper on this tomorrow and see what that does.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a hemidemisemiquaver is a musical 64th note?

Perfectly Imperfect Furniture

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 9:44am

I’ve long been fascinated by handmade utility furniture: the kind of stuff made to be used, not admired for the craftsmanship invested in its production. In the early 1980s, I bought an old chest of drawers from an antique shop in Reading, a large industrial town southwest of London, where I lived at the time. It was made of a nondescript softwood known as deal and had originally been painted. […]

The post Perfectly Imperfect Furniture appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Straightening Up

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 6:10am





With the shed roof line as straight as we could get it (there was still a tiny bit of dip but I was fearful of literally tearing the building apart if we went any farther based on the screeching coming from the building itself) we began the steady process of assembling in-place the laminated post-and-beam to replace the sagging wall.

We started by assembling the posts complete from three laminae of 2x8s with the center board being off set the width of the beam dimension and notched a couple of inches to serve as the tenons so that the beams could be assembled in-place fairly simply.  This also provided good purchase for the concrete we were using as the footer ex poste.

Since the rear corner being the highest, we shot for everything eventually becoming level with it.  So as the posts were constructed moving forward, we had to dig out holes in order to make all of them the same length.   Once the structure was complete I began the gentle lifting of the front corner with a post and hydraulic bottle jack.  Even I was astounded to recognize that the front corner needed almost 16-inches of raising to get everything level-ish.

With that I filled each footer hole with dry concrete mix, and old trick I learned from a deck-builder friend of mine, who said that you could use dry concrete in holes like this and it would absorb moisture from the ground and set in fairly short order.  I have used this method numerous times in the past and it turns out he was right.

The following week I dismantled the original wall and salvaged almost all of the material to use as the new 3/4 wall.  That new configuration, along with the new structure, has transformed the space from a sagging, foreboding cavern into a robust and airy storage space for the tools and machines necessary for maintaining the homestead.  For the moment I have left the rear section of the wall un-built as we are debating the desirability of a door opening there.

survived another glue up.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:54am
The plan today had two parts. The first was to finish my xmas shopping which I got done by 0830. Getting two gift cards completed my list for 2017. The second item on the hit parade was to glue up the saw till box. Happy to report all went well in Mudville but saying it's 100% will have to wait until tomorrow.

One thing I forgot to get was a piano hinge for the saw till.  I drove right by Home Depot not once, but 4 times, and I still didn't stop and get it. I remembered it after I got home and was feeling a bit smug with myself for being done with my xmas shopping.  I'll have to make a pit stop at Lowes sometime this week. That will be a 'dear diary...' entry for sure.

quiet work
I need a couple of supports for the tray and I'm using walnut. This is too wide and I'm ripping it to a 1/2" wide.

putting them on the short ends

The tray is light weight and stiff enough to span between the ends without sagging. Besides I doubt a chevy small block would fit in it anyways.

checking the fit of the cardboard bottom
I checked to see whether or not I could fit the cardboard in with the tray supports in place.  I could so I can glue the felt on this and install it after it has set up.

the tray fits
This definitely needs a handle to take it out and put it back in. It isn't a piston fit but there also isn't a lot of wiggle room neither.

had to drop the tray down because of the lid stops
I have less then a 16th of clearance between the lid stops and the top of the tray. I did it to maximize the storage under the tray. The lid is seated on the top of the box all the way around.

supports just glued in
No clamps are needed because I got a snug fit. I don't think it is necessary to add screws or nails to the supports.

the knob nut
Nothing more annoying in life then a knob that won't stay tight. A couple of drops of locktite should help remedy that.

marking the ends of the groove
The depth of the groove is 5/16" and I marked the end of the groove to be 1/4".

first one done, 7 to go
sliding square set to the depth of the groove
I used this check my progress as I chopped the groove.

where it rises
This is how far back from the ends that the groove starts to rise above 5/16" deep. This is pine and it was easy to level the groove out to the end.

This split on me when I tapped the chisel to deepen the wall on the outside of the groove. It was a clean break and I glued it back on and set it aside.

missing a piece from the end of the groove
The small missing piece I had and blowing that out happened before I did the big split dance step.

can you see it in the pile
I dropped the small piece on the deck and I couldn't find it. I will glue in a scrap after the box is glued up. I am painting this so putty and paint will hide all my sins.

how to best cut out the panels
I need a chunk of this that is roughly 1/2 of the sheet width but only 3/4 of the length. Is it best to crosscut the end first or make a long rip cut and then do the cross cut. I opted for the long rip cut only because it was the safer cut to make first.

width is too fat
I used a story stick for this and I didn't understand how I was off. I checked the stick and I added an extra 1/4" for some reason. That is how much this cut is off.

figuring out how to glue this up
The way I'll glue this up is to put the sides in the grooves first on the long sides. Then I'll put on the ends. There really isn't any other way to do it.

I'll have to wait a few hours for this to set up
the width is a bit too tight
I am just barely touching the pin with the square. I trimmed a 16th off for a bit of wiggle room.

sawed some clamping cauls
The two ends are slightly cupped and I couldn't remove it with clamps. I need these to help pull the pins and tails in tight.

bottom in
I'll have to replace this because the lower left corner had glue bleed through it.

length is too long
On the dry fit I couldn't fully seat the ends and this is why. I trimmed an strong 16th off and the dry fit closed up nicely then.

rehearsing the glue up
I'll glue the sides into the long grooves and then glue the ends on. I'll be using hide glue for this.

second dry fit looks good
Houston we have a green light for glue up.

it wasn't as stressful as it looks
The trickiest part was taping the cauls in place before I put the clamps on them. I did the long clamps first and then the short ones.

I added two more clamps after this
I couldn't check this for square and I'm relying on the plywood panels to square up the box. It really doesn't matter that much if this is a little bit out of square. I will let this cook here until tomorrow.

grinding my big chipped chisel
This is virgin territory for me. I have never ground anything before be it by hand or with an electron munching machine. The experience was an eye opener. It wasn't the onerous outing I thought it would be. One biggie that really surprised me was that I hogged off a lot of metal and the chisel never got too hot to touch. I didn't have any problems with drawing the temper out of the chisel which was a big concern for me going into this. I still dipped the chisel in water as I ground it.

it looks to be square
and it is
Seeing and maintaining square was ridiculously easy to do. I basically didn't even try to do it. I was mainly trying to remove metal. The square just happened as a by product.

blurry pic of a big flat at the end
I did the removal of the chip first without trying to maintain the bevel. Once I got the chip removed, I switched to establishing the bevel again. Another surprise was the time it took to do this. It took me 8 minutes to grind the flat down to the bottom of the chip. After that I tried to get my 25° bevel.

rounded bevel
The bevel proved to be a little more problematic to grind. When I checked the bevel it was between 30 and 35 degrees. I don't know how I got a rounded one as I was expecting a hollow one.

partial 25
I think I can finish this up on the 80 grit runway. This grinding adventure overall went pretty well. I didn't have a warm and fuzzy about grinding one handed but that turned out to be a non issue. The biggest hiccup I had was how to hold the chisel when grinding the bevel. Which direction to turn the grinder was another issue. I think I tried every combination possible of holding and turning without any one of them saying," pick me, pick me". One important aid I will be making is a tool rest for grinding a 25° bevel.

got a blister to remind of the today's grinding exercise

the blister maker

It's wood and it is fixed. As in it doesn't turn as you crank the grinder. I'll have to look at it and see if it does because it doesn't make sense for it not to.

a smaller chip to remove
After my bevel grinding of the big chisel, I will try to remove this one on the 80 grit runway first. If that doesn't work out I'll try grinding it.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that there are 5 categories that stars are awarded for on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? (Motion Pictures, Television, Radio, Recording, Live Performance/Theater)

#3 rehabbed.....

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 2:10am
winter wonderland at1500
My wife and I were talking about the white stuff today. Neither one of us could recall the last time snow was on the ground before xmas. I remember a much different climate and time when I was a young boy compared to now. Back then there was usually snow before thanksgiving and it was unheard of not to have lots of snow on xmas day. Everything changes, including the weather.

Fiskar paper cutter
I got this from amazon earlier this year. I use it at work to trim and cut paper down to 8 1/2 x 11. It didn't have any problems cutting the cardboard inserts for the box and tray. It wasn't as easy as cutting paper but it did it. It didn't stall in the cut but it did take a bit of oomph to push the cutter through it. All the cuts were came out smooth with no ragged out edges.

working the #3
Since I had the 80 grit runway out, I decided to finish the #3 I got from Ken Hatch. It is in pretty good shape as is and shouldn't take long to get it to the ooh and ah stage.

slight hollow at the heel
 This hollow runs from the heel, almost down the center of the sole up to the toe. It doesn't show up that well in this pic but I can see it. The hollow at the heel is proving to be a PITA to remove. This is considerably smaller than what I first saw almost an hour ago. I want it gone and have the sole dead nuts flat from toe to heel.

an hour later
I finally got it. I didn't work on this for an hour straight but in 10 minutes bursts followed by 10 minutes (or more) of rest. When I got consistent scratches from toe to heel and from side to side, I went on to 120 grit.

the sides need work
 Both sides are going to need a bit of time to flatten out based on the scratch patterns I see in them.

metric plywood from Woodcraft
UPS said that this was on the truck for delivery on friday by 2000. 2000 came and went and I didn't have my plywood. This morning when I checked the UPS site, it said it would be delivered on monday by 2000.  When I left to get chinese for lunch I saw the package on the front steps. I'll be working on the saw till tomorrow.

120 grit batting next
After 80 grit, going up through the other grits doesn't take much time. The 80 grit is for removing metal and making things flat. It takes a while to get through it. The successive grits are mostly for scratch removal and it takes very little time on each one.

done up to 400 grit - it's shiny
I go up to 600 grit and stop there. I don't have a 600 grit belt and I do it wrapped around a block of wood.

degreasing and cleaning the interior
Cleaned and degreased.  The japanning looks to be 99% intact. What I am not sure of is whether or not this is the original japanning. Either way this is the best japanning I've seen on any plane that I have rehabbed to date.

sharpened by Ken Hatch
I will leave this as is. I would normally round the corners of the iron because this is a smoother. I do that so I won't leave tracks in the wood. Since I am passing this on to someone else I'll forgo that. Whoever gets this can do that if they desire to and they can touch up the iron if they want to also.

fettling the chipbreaker
I stone the inside bottom edge of the chipbreaker. This allows the chipbreaker to lay on the back of the iron with no gaps between them. This way no shavings can get underneath the chipbreaker. This doesn't have to be overly large and I strive to get it gap free first.

leading edge
I stone this up to the 1200 stone and then I strop it. I do this so the shavings will readily pass up and over this.

brass is shiny and the small parts are cleaned and oiled
600 grit
This is the last step to be done before I put the plane back together.

the last step in the rehab
I love this stuff. Not only does it shine up the planes, it protects them too. The shine does fade a bit, but not much, over time. But what I am really liking more is this will keep the planes clean looking for 3-4 months depending upon how much I use them.

this took a while
Getting even shavings from both sides kicked my butt this time. The hardest part was setting the iron/chipbreaker so the lateral adjust wasn't shoved all the way over to one side. I finally sorted that out and the reward was this.

it's ready to go to work
I thought I had a before pic of the #3 but I couldn't find one. Ken Hatch had given it to me and it had a broken lever cap. I had one in my spare parts and that is the only part I had to replace. Now it's ready to start another chapter in it's woodworking life with a new owner.

glamour shot #1
If I was keeping this plane I wouldn't do anything else to it (other then touch up the iron and round the corners) and would put it to work. I didn't type it but I will bet donut holes against dollars that it is a WWII vintage plane. I'm basing that on the one piece studs holding the tote and knob in and the thick walls of the plane.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that Gene Autry is the only person to have 5 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

5 Inexpensive Gifts a Woodworker Will Use

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 12/09/2017 - 2:01am

This year when people ask me what they should get their woodworking family and friends for the holidays, my first answer is always a board of hardwood. But if they have a tool in mind, things get harder to suggest. Below are items I recommend because they work for most types of woodworking and if they already have one, then having another is welcome. 1) Sloyd Woodworking Knife – On […]

The post 5 Inexpensive Gifts a Woodworker Will Use appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


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