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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?
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.
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.
|see the cross scratches?|
|the file I'm using|
|looks 100% better|
|this part is done|
|the before pic of the front end of the bus|
|top part done|
Did you know that the Gotthard Tunnel at 57Km/35Mi, is the longest tunnel in the world?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
|liquid wrench and WD40|
|the handle wood is soft|
|cleaning and degreasing|
|forgot to do the depth stop|
|95% of the japanning is gone|
|cleaned and no japanning came off|
|back of the lever cap looks the best|
|this stripper burns|
|big hump on the back|
|the look after 1200|
|back done up to 8K|
|the iron fits in the guide|
|stropped and shiny|
|shiny back too|
|stripper on, rinsed off, and blown dry|
|the other side|
|nothing left on this side of the plane|
|almost all gone on this side too|
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.
Did you know that the goat is the source of true Moroccan leather?
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:
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 1 (Front frames and doors)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 2 (Sidewalls)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 3 (Carcase assembly)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 4 (Floor frames)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 5 (General Assembly)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 6 (Poop Drawers)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 7 (The Roof)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 8 (Insulated Box)
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.
Time to go to work with the pick axe and rake. Once the ground was more-or-less level, I tamped it down.
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.
Not what you might think of as “checking for wind” on a woodworking blog.
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.
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:
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
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:
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 […]
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.
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.
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|
|the opposite end|
|a wee bit proud|
|other side is twist free too|
|this side is square|
|opposite side is off a strong 32nd|
|the red felt dresses up the box some|
|the next tool rehab|
|got my parts|
|much better than eBay|
|new fence rod is dead nuts square|
|very snug fit|
|new rod on the left old on the right|
|definitely out of square ( original fence rod)|
|original fence rod|
|road testing it|
|nice feel and easy to use|
|not canted and appears to be straight, end to end|
|quick clean and degreasing of the fence|
Did you know that a hemidemisemiquaver is a musical 64th note?
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. […]
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.
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.
|putting them on the short ends|
|checking the fit of the cardboard bottom|
|the tray fits|
|had to drop the tray down because of the lid stops|
|supports just glued in|
|the knob nut|
|marking the ends of the groove|
|first one done, 7 to go|
|sliding square set to the depth of the groove|
|where it rises|
|missing a piece from the end of the groove|
|can you see it in the pile|
|how to best cut out the panels|
|width is too fat|
|figuring out how to glue this up|
|I'll have to wait a few hours for this to set up|
|the width is a bit too tight|
|sawed some clamping cauls|
|length is too long|
|rehearsing the glue up|
|second dry fit looks good|
|it wasn't as stressful as it looks|
|I added two more clamps after this|
|grinding my big chipped chisel|
|it looks to be square|
|and it is|
|blurry pic of a big flat at the end|
|got a blister to remind of the today's grinding exercise|
|the blister maker|
|a smaller chip to remove|
|winter wonderland at1500|
|Fiskar paper cutter|
|working the #3|
|slight hollow at the heel|
|an hour later|
|the sides need work|
|metric plywood from Woodcraft|
|120 grit batting next|
|done up to 400 grit - it's shiny|
|degreasing and cleaning the interior|
|sharpened by Ken Hatch|
|fettling the chipbreaker|
|brass is shiny and the small parts are cleaned and oiled|
|the last step in the rehab|
|this took a while|
|it's ready to go to work|
|glamour shot #1|
Did you know that Gene Autry is the only person to have 5 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
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 […]