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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway! Enjoy!
Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer! Their fundraising goal was met. Our prayers are with you, Walt!
Hilla Shamia’s work is among the most arresting marriages of wood and metal I’ve seen. Her pieces are made using a casting process Shamia developed while working toward a bachelor’s degree in industrial design at the Holon Institute of Technology in Holon, Israel. (She now has her own studio.) She calls it Wood Casting, and has trademarked the process. Shamia uses whole trunks of mostly local trees; they are cut […]
When Glen, Chuck and I decided to start 360 WoodWorking we went back to basics so that we could create great woodworking content in a format that made sense in the digital age. Paper, ink, newsstand sales and an issue arriving every other month in your mailbox were no longer constraints. You can read more on the topic at our “About Us” page.
Starting tomorrow, we’ll be rolling out the first “article” of our first “issue”, and you’ll see a new article every day until the entire issue is available. This premier release will be free, and will continue to be available for free as our way of introducing our content to the woodworking world. It’s a good representation of what our subscribers can expect to see.
After January 1, 2015 this type of content will only be available to subscribers. Next year, we will release six “issues”, about every 8 weeks. But we aren’t going to make you wait two months and then dump everything in your lap. Our subscribers will enjoy a fresh presentation (we don’t mind if you call it an article), video or online class every week. When we reach the end of the cycle, subscribers will see a “major release” of several project articles. In each issue cycle, there will be loads of content; articles on techniques, visits to interesting places, information from experienced and entertaining woodworkers and great project builds.
Our first “free issue” contains eight articles and more than 100 pages of advertising free content. Plus, we thought releasing it this way would make the point that there will be a constant stream of content for our subscribers. What you’ll see each day in the next week is typical of what you’ll see each week next year.
If you’re asking yourself “Okay, how do I subscribe?” CLICK HERE
If you’re not quite ready to sign up, that’s why we’re giving away an entire issue for free. We think you’ll enjoy what we (and our contributors) produce and the format in which we present it. If you’ve enjoyed our work in print magazines, books, videos, online and in classes you’ll find our unique combination of presenting solid woodworking information in a variety of formats a refreshing change and an excellent value.
All of our articles will be presented as as online versions that you can read anywhere you have an internet connection and as PDF files you can download (most have embedded video). You’ll have to check back to see exactly what’s coming, and the best way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to sign up for our newsletter, or become a paid subscriber. The following pictures will give you some clues.
Check back tomorrow, sign up for our newsletter and subscribe today.
I have written a few blogs about bodging and being bodged. My most favorite were My Mother was a Soviet Bodger and Teenaged Mutant Ninja Bodgers. Bodging as I use it means doing what must be done to make things work the best you can. Often modifying hardware to make it work.
The last blog was mostly about using bail or pull escutcheons for keyhole escutcheons. Like this:
Last week, I saw a chest that had escutcheons that seem to be designed to work either way. This is an escutcheon used with a bail.
And the keyhole version:
It works. Keeps down your escutcheon inventory.
And it looks better than just banging in a hole.
Bob Van Dyke sent some photos of the seventeenth-century chest we’ll be working from in the “one-weekend-a-month-for-five-months” joined chest class we’re holding at his Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in 2015. The first session is in March, (these are the weekends we have booked: March 21 & 22, April 11 & 12, May 23 & 24, June 27 & 28, and August 8 & 9.)
The chest (above, peeking out of a tight spot) is at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. There will be a field trip sometime during the class to examine the chest in person; but Bob & I will go to measure and photograph it before the class begins. It’s not one I know well, but it has many relatives. Usually these chests have carved panels, and moldings and applied turnings on the framing parts, the drawer fronts are usually carved, with a surround of applied moldings. Here’s a center panel and the muntins of one of these creatures.
Here’s a two-drawer example, with applied decoration from the Yale University Art Gallery collection http://artgallery.yale.edu/
The CHS example has a vine motif all around the framing, like one that’s at Historic Deerfield, that I have copied before. Here’s my first version – I have another underway now.
One big difference that I see right off the bat is the vine’s layout. On the CHS chest it is a full-half-arc that then reverses direction every time it hits the centerline. So the centerpoints for these arcs are on the centerline. I used a compass, then wiggled when I darkened the lines with a pen. But you get the idea.
On the HD chest, the centerpoints for the arcs are not on the centerline; these are segments of arcs that flow into one another in a different way than the CHS examples. This one gives you a broader area for carving the various flowers/leaves. Either one works, no big deal. one requires a bit more thought in planning.
Here’s a detail showing this version:
The lid on the CHS chest with drawers is replaced in oak, the HD one is yellow pine if I remember right. We’re going to truncate the chest some, ours will have only one drawer below the chest instead of two. Our secondary wood will probably be white pine – floor boards, drawer bottoms, rear panel, & lid. All else is oak we’ll split from the log. Then plane each board – by hand. About 35-45 boards, somewhere in that range. Eat your wheaties. Sign up now, this is the one where you’ll learn and execute all the steps in making a joined chest from a log…
Bob has an article in the new SAPFM journal about his school’s collaboration with the Windsor Historical Society – this chest is a continuation of that collaboration. If you’re not a member, you didn’t get the journal – here’s their site: http://www.sapfm.org/
Part one of 300. (Kidding…I hope)
I saw a comment on a recent Schwarzpost about purging your excess tools, complaining about how hard it is to find vintage / used backsaws. That’s true to a certain extent, but it occurred to me that it might actually be about the same amount of effort and cash outlay to build a saw from parts as to restore a vintage saw. Sure, the fresh-built saw won’t have the same vintage appeal (or rust pits) but it ought to work every bit as well. I restored a Diston backsaw a couple of years ago, and re-shaping the teeth with a file wasn’t any picnic. I didn’t get them perfect in the end, and my saw set was too coarse to get the set quite right. I’ll go back and tune that one up as part of this post.
There are a couple of places that sell saw nuts, slotted or folder backs and pre-punched plates, both ala-cart and as “kits”. Some you might want to check out are Two Guys In A Garage, Bontz Saw Works and Blackburn Tools. There are probably others. I purchased some parts from Isaac at Blackburn, he shipped the parts out quickly and has been very responsive to my naive questions.
The goal is to make a saw in the style of the 12″ carcase saw that is listed in Smith’s Key.
Unlike a typical carcase saw with crosscut teeth, this one will have fine rip teeth for dovetailing and small tenons. It also has somewhat less saw plate under the spine. I ordered a .025″ plate with 13 tpi. It should be a really handy all-around joinery saw.
As a side note, if you haven’t downloaded a copy of Smith’s Key it worth visiting the link above and downloading the whole thing. There are a number of interesting tools shown.
I also got a bronze slotted back and saw nuts from Blackburn Tools. The actual alloy of the nuts and saw back are different – Brass/Bronze ends up being a very loose definition of Copper-based alloys, and many different alloys are sold under similar sounding names. In this case the saw back is “Architectural Bronze” (57% copper, 3% lead, 40% zinc) and has a yellowish-white cast, looking more like Brass than (say) Copper. The saw nuts have a much redder cast and are probably Commercial Bronze (90% copper and 10% zinc). The higher copper percentage in the alloy is clear in the coloring.
Finding alloys that match in color and have the right properties for machining is no easy feat. I think the reddish nuts will look good against the Walnut I’m planning on for the handle.
Isaac has handle patterns for many different saws, in different sizes, on his website. Actually, “Two Guys” has a lot of interesting handle patterns on their site tool. I’m using the pattern Isaac drew up specifically for the Smith’s Key saw. I really like that he has each pattern scaled for different size hands.
I am actually going to cary several blanks through the handle making process. In part, because I’m concerned about getting the slot for the saw plate in the right place. I’m also thinking of making more than one of this saw eventually, so ending up with two or three handles would be just fine with me.
I have two handles going right now, one is a bit of figured Claro Walnut and another in a piece of Marbled Claro Walnut. I started by attaching a copy of the pattern to the wood with 3M Super 77. I drilled all of the holes as indicated in the pattern, then sawed the rest of the waste off on the bandsaw. I stayed off the pattern lines, so there was some hand work to do to get the handle down to the right shape.
I think for the second blank I’ll try cutting it on the scroll saw instead — I think I’ll be able to closer to the line and save some time filing and shaping. This handle looks kind of dicey in the pictures – partly because the pattern is fuzzy and obscuring what you can see. In person the contours are smooth and crisp. I filed everything, and worked most of the edges with a scraper.
It’s worth noting that I shouldn’t have have drilled the marker holed for the saw nuts — on this blank I’m now locked into putting the saw nuts there.
Next up I’ll bring the Marbled Claro Walnut blank up to this same point — and maybe one more blank just for good measure. Once that done I’ll cut the slot for the saw plate to make sure that goes properly.
The dressing table, or lowboy (and the terms are interchangeable in my book), is the perfect piece to study design. Much like a chair, it’s a complete microcosm of the elements that make up each style (and the transitions that take place between them). You not only get the basic flavor of the style, but there’s also tons to discover about regional variation.
In this country you don’t find dressing tables come into prominence until the William & Mary period. You also don’t find the highboy, or high chest (again, interchangeable), until the same basic time period, and lowboys tend to mimic the base of a highboy. Many lowboys were made as one half of a matching pair; a high chest and dressing table. But they are much more than just a highboy without the upper chest sitting on top. In fact, they are completely different than their grander counter-parts in many ways.
To begin with, their scale is smaller. A lowboy just doesn’t need to support as much weight, both physically and visually, as the base of a highboy. When you consider that most 18th century furniture design is based on the five classic orders of architecture, designing a low, horizontal piece of furniture that has both storage and visual lift is a challenge for any craftsman. How do you balance the desire for verticality with the need for drawer space? When you look at period examples, the answer is apparent – some with success and others, not so much.
While William & Mary (may or) may not be your favorite period, but it’s hard to deny the visual success of the Yale lowboy at the right. Compared to the base of the highboy at the top of the post (if we use the design as a baseline, even though the pieces were made in different regions by different cabinetmakers), the maker of the Yale lowboy achieved a lighter, more vertical look in several ways.
First, the reduction of the two center legs to finials helps reduce the visual weight of the piece. Six legs on such a small piece would have looked cluttered and bottom heavy. Opening up the space in the middle of the lowboy allows the outer legs to draw your eye upward from the floor making the piece appear taller.
The next change that modifies the look of the piece is a change in the proportions of the outer drawers. By narrowing them in width, the cabinetmaker continues to draw the eye upward from the legs. Putting more space between the drawers also makes them appear taller and narrows the overall look of the lowboy.
The final changes that help keep the piece from becoming a bloated box are the deep cutouts in the apron and the large overhanging top. By bringing the cutouts so close to the bottom of the drawers, the cabinetmaker again pushes your eye upward, whereas the apron on the highboy has more space giving the piece extra mass (necessary on a visual level given the weight it carries above). The generous overhang on the top makes the case appear narrower than it is, accentuating the tall, narrow legs.
Contrast the lowboy above to the Massachusetts example to the left. Although the cabinetmaker eliminated the two center legs, the heft of the remaining legs pulls the eye down and gives the lowboy more bottom weight. The space below the drawers to the bottom of the apron cutout adds even more visual weight to the piece. The broader drawers and smaller overhang all contribute to a piece that is less graceful overall.
That’s not to say the lowboy at the left isn’t a beautiful, well-made piece, it’s just that one is slightly more successful as an overall design than the other. I thought for my first “Design in Practice” post here on 360, I’d try to do a little comparison to get you looking at the various elements of a piece and how cabinetmakers combine them to achieve different looks. Essentially, both lowboys are made up of the same elements – a case, four legs, some drawers and a top. When you start working on your next piece, consider how all the parts play together and tell me which direction you’d rather go.
Recently three people e-mailed me to ask the same question, so it seemed like a worthy topic for a blog post. In essence there are two questions. Question number one is “why don’t the walnut pieces in the Gamble house bedroom look like walnut?” And the follow-up is “how can I get a piece I build out of walnut to look like that?”
Here is a snippet from Larry in North Carolina:
I recently purchased a bundle of books that included your book, Shop Drawings for Greene and Greene Furniture. I want to make a piece from black walnut and would like to achieve the color of the Gamble Chiffonier and Gamble bed, both shown in your book. These are described as black walnut, but with a very different color from the black walnut that I am accustomed to. I have a bunch of black walnut rescued from a barn in West Virginia, but it is very dark, almost black as the name implies. So, the first question is – can I achieve the color that I am looking for and if so, how? Did they use the process that you describe in your book for achieving the desired look for the mahogany pieces – the potassium dichromate and stain process – or some other process? Or, is the walnut used in the Gamble pieces different and I just will not be able to get there using the wood I have on hand?
My answer: The Gamble bedroom is 106 years old, and in my opinion that accounts for the color of the walnut. Where lighter woods tend to get darker over time, walnut tends to lighten in color. With old pieces it can be difficult to tell the exact species of wood as the colors tend to become similar. The primary wood in the Gamble bedroom is walnut and to the best of my knowledge, the finish on those pieces was either oil or shellac, possibly a combination, but I don’t think a stain was used.
So what can you do if you want the lighter color, other than wait a century for the wood to lighten up? Don’t use the potassium dichromate, it’s a strong oxidizer and will make the walnut darker. You could possibly bleach the walnut to make it lighter. With any of these chemical treatments you are rolling the dice as the color changes depend on a reaction with the bleach (or oxidizer) and the chemical composition of the wood. That’s the wild card as there is a lot of variation from tree to tree.
You might consider using butternut instead of walnut if you can find it. The grain is similar to walnut, but the color is lighter. Larry got back to me, and he decided to use cherry instead.
If you like Greene & Greene furniture, check out the online Greene & Greene Virtual Archives. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you don’t get anything done for the rest of the day. Maintained by USC the archives contain thousands of images (both period and contemporary) of Greene & Greene projects. If you click “Search” from the home page, you can browse all the images project by project. This link leads to the Gamble house images.
About a month after I joined the Popular Woodworking staff (so three weeks after I learned to spell “rabbet”), I traveled to New Jersey with then Senior Editor David Thiel (he’s now in charge of our videos) for a woodworking show. I remember three things about that 2005 trip: I’ve never been so ill yet still ambulatory than I was that weekend; Harrelson Stanley taught me his side-sharpening method; and […]
Especially when it’s the same table.
We hosted a party for my wife’s staff Friday night. With proper protections, Ellen was using the Thomas Day game table for the wine station. 24 wine glasses and 8-10 bottles of wine. Nothing too heavy. 20 minute before guests arrived, Ellen asked me to open the white wine. While opening the last white, the table suddenly tipped back and to the left. Things fell over. I grabbed the table and Ellen started the salvage operation. With all her Jenga®-like decisions, we lost only one wine glass (broken) and three bottles of red wine (spilled).
A foot had broken off. Martin O’Brien and I had examined the table in detail a few weeks back and noticed many bad repairs. This was one of them.
I took some pictures of the foot and uploaded them to HERE.
Best practices are to add yellow glue over hide glue, aren’t they?
Ellen feels enormous guilt and I keep reassuring her no harm was done. Chris Schwarz, Martin O’Brien and I all explained she did us favor. The leg had to come off and we weren’t sure how to do it. Paralysis by analysis. Now we know the answer to pull lightly on them.
This is the failed glue joint:
And dowels are less useful than most people assume. They maybe good for alignment but offer very little to joint strength and only slightly more to glue strength.
The table is being documented as it being disassembled. Soon it will be dealt with somewhere in the restoration/preservation/conservation spectrum.
Earlier Ellen asked me what my three-year goals were. She’s one of those but I love her anyway. After some consideration I believe that one goal is to have the skills to build a reproduction of this table in three years. I might make it. I already made a foot and will show you an interesting veneering technique I learned examining the Day foot shortly.
Well, I got a blog out of it.
Here’s a little something that kicked off my crazy over the last year: Wanting a home that has space for a nice shop. For those of you who are new to this blog, I had my house on the market for six months in 2013, because though I do like the place (and have a put a lot of work and money into making it a nice home), when I […]
I had little time to woodwork this past weekend, but as it were, I did manage to get a few things accomplished on my cupboard.
First thing I had to do was simple, and that was to saw off the protruding pieces of the top moulding. For that task, I turned to a tool that I rarely use, a Japanese Ryoba saw. I’m not such a fan of Japanese style tools. I have nothing against them, but I’ve failed to discover any of the mystical qualities that some woodworkers claim they have. That being said, my experience with Japanese woodworking tools is very limited, so I could be wrong. My Ryoba saw is a Marples, a cheap one, that was given to me as a gift. It’s definitely sharp, but I don’t find it any more accurate than a backsaw. In fact, I think it is less accurate. I do, however, like it for flush cutting because of its flexible blade and thin kerf. I’ll say this, if the Marples handle was better and more comfortable, as in made from wood rather than the licorice like plastic handle that it does have, I may just think more highly of the tool. In any event, the saw did a nice job and made a clean cut.
As I said, my time was very limited, but I wanted to at least get the door parts started, so I ripped the stiles to width and finish length, and then cut the rails to length, adding 2 inches to each to account for the tenons. For the rail widths I once again followed the measurements from the original cupboard: a 4 inch wide bottom rail, a 5 inch wide middle rail, and a 3 inch wide top. Before I put the table saw away I got out the dado stack and ripped a ¼ inch wide x ¼ inch deep groove down the center of each stile. I would have loved to also finish up the mortises, but I didn’t have the time. Even had I finished the mortises, I’m going to need to pick up the board to make the two panels before I go any farther, and I would actually like to make them first.
With next weekend being my wedding anniversary, as well as being the weekend before Christmas, I’m not sure how much more work I will get done. Thankfully I have a few days off after Christmas, and if I can managed to get the board for the panels between now and then, I should be able to finish the door construction in around 2 hours if I can maintain a good pace. I’m hoping that to get the construction finished by the last weekend of December, and the paint applied the weekend after the New Year. With that, I can start on my next project, which I’ve been mapping out in my spare time, and should be a simple but very useful piece of furniture that I probably should have made a long time ago.
I have another chair to make, like this one. I thought I photographed this one with its rush seat, but I can’t find it.
People often ask “where can I get green wood?” – one thing I tell them is for short lengths/small projects, check with firewood dealers/tree cutters…we’re home-schooling our kids this year, but they attend a 2-day program about a 15-minute drive from here. On the way is a yard where some tree folks cut & split their firewood. I stopped today, needing some maple for the next chair. Maple doesn’t store well as a log, you gotta use it up quickly, so I never have it on hand. I found a very helpful fellow in this yard, explained what I needed & why, we looked over the newest pile, picked one out, he crosscut it to about 3 1/2 feet, loaded it in the car & away I went.
I hate shopping. Avoid it like the plague. But this was a great shopping experience – 10 minutes, 20 dollars – we both were happy. I saw lots of other nice wood for small stuff – bowls, spoons & more. I’m all set for much of that sort of thing right now…but I’ll be back when things run low.
But before I get to have fun like that, it’s boxing & shipping – for me & Maureen. She still has stuff on her site; even on sale! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts
I have a couple of things left, if you want to send me back to the post office – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-december-2014/
Since taking my hobby woodworking more seriously I’ve tried a few different honing mediums, but I always seem to come back to the venerable India combination stone that’s used by all the joiners in our workshop. It’s always had a dash of oil when in use and think no more about it. However, most of my hobby projects are much smaller than the general joinery products I’m involved with and […]
A conversation between Bob Rummer, Ken Rummer, Don Burnham and Cousin Jane
Bob: Every year at Christmas time our Grandpas were busy in the shop.
Thinking about that, how does a Grandpa approach Christmas time and presents? How can you try to treat all your grandkids fairly? Do you just make multiple copies of everything? Do you try and knock it out of the park with an heirloom every Christmas?
Over time, Grandpa R came up with some creative ways to deal with this. Ken and I think there are some tips here as we all approach Christmas.
We would love feedback from you, our readers, on this topic. What handmade gifts did you get from your woodworking grandparents as kids? Do you make gifts for your own kids and grandkids? Add your thoughts to the comments below.
The post Grandpa’s Workshop: Woodworking Gifts from our Grandpas appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
After probably two months of part time tinkering I’ve finished building the french marquetry saw I’ve been piddling with. It looks nice, it seems to clamp parts properly and it saws. I’m going to stick to simple projects for a little while.
This wasn’t hard, it was just a lot of pieces to make. It needed to be accurate so that it cuts properly (exactly perpendicular to the real vise jaw). I probably will need to adjust the carriage for the saw frame to dial this in — that’s why it has the adjusters built in. But for today there are no more parts to make. And with the Chevy assembled there are no more stacks of parts to be shuffled from one place to another.
I’m going to do a simple practice marquetry project soonish, but I have one or two quick things I want to build first. The first is a tool from Smith’s Key, this should be a lot of fun. Now where did I leave my box of triangular files?
In a shameful attempt to get published in Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve begun my own fictional woodworking tale. I’ve just finished a few paragraphs; so this is what I have thus far…
When I recently returned from a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon I noticed my cat ‘Puck’ lying atop the Othello board in my dining room. My cat greeted me knavishly, and as I reached to pet the barmy beast I pricked my thumb upon the buggered board. Old Puck had mischievously scratched the table, and by the pricking of my thumb I knew that it needed to be replaced.
My penchant for woodworking and cats lead me to devise a contraption that couldst both function as an Othello table and a place for kitty litter.
I talk dovetails with a lot of woodworkers. When I teach this subject, I notice that almost everyone makes the same common mistake. In the shop this week, I made the same mistake. As a result, I thought I’d write a “what to look for when your dovetails don’t fit as you planned” blog post. If you have this show up when you’re dovetailing, you’ll know what to check.
Far and away, I think the no. 1 problem in half-blind dovetails is the small gap where the tails fit into the sockets. In the pair of photos above, you see exactly what I mean. There’s a small gap at the top and that gap also shows at the front where the tails meet the socket. We know that this is not a layout problem because when the pins are transferred to the tail board, the drawer front (pin board) sits on or at the scribed line of the tail board. Also, if layout were wrong, the gap should be even along the entire front. Why, then, is there a gap?
In the left hand photo, you see where the problem is found – in the socket that the gap appears. The problem is the floor of the gap, as it’s seen laying on the bench, is not level from front to back. The floor actually slopes upward. What happens then is that you start the tails into the sockets and the fit is great, but as you drive the tail board farther in, the slope takes over and the board begins to push out away from the front of the socket. That also produces the small gap at the top.
If you’re sockets both had floors that were not level, then the entire tail board would be pushed back. Because the lower socket correctly fits, you know the problem is in the one socket.
The fix to bring this socket into shape is to pair away a bit of the floor so it slopes level to downward – I aim for downward, which is easier to hit than dead-level when working. Plus, it’s OK to have a downward-sloping socket because the glue surface at that point is end grain (tail board) to flat grain (pin board). While there is a small amount of strength at that spot, it’s not where the dovetail gains its best holding power.
Of course, it’s better to make sure you have the floors sloping prior to putting together the joint. The easiest way to do that is to hold the workpiece up to your eyes and level the piece looking down the board’s upper face. When that surface is level, check the floor for the proper slope. The reason you want to make sure of your floor prior to assembling the joint is that when the joint goes together with an ill-fitting socket, the tails board and socket are slightly misshapen as the two halves are driven tight. After that, the dovetail joint will never look as good (see below) as it would when the fit is perfect.
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