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General Woodworking

Stunning Williamsburg Mother Plane Collection

Wood and Shop - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 6:17pm

By Joshua Farnsworth

In the above video you’ll see my fascinating trip to Colonial Williamsburg as part of a study of a relatively unknown type of molding plane, called “Mother Planes”.


On a grant from the Early American Industries Association, Bill Anderson, Larry Preuss, and myself studied Williamsburg’s collection of 400+ Mother Planes to see what we could learn about molding plane construction.


 What is a Mother Plane?

In the 1800’s, larger molding plane manufactures used “mother planes” to cut a particular profile to larger quantities of molding planes. An attached fence is a main characteristic of a mother plane.



The folks at Colonial Williamsburg were kind enough to host us for several days in the top floor of the historic Capitol building.


Below you’ll see our research team (from left to right) Bill Anderson (the founder of the project), Larry Preuss (an expert plane maker from Michigan), Erik Goldstein (Curator of Mechanical Arts & Numismatics at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation), and Joshua Farnsworth (I took sevaral thousand photographs & scans of the mother planes):



Our study took place over several days in October 2014 and Feburary 2015. I’ll have to admit, prior to Bill’s invitation to join this study I hadn’t even heard of Mother Planes. But I quickly fell in love with the lovely mother planes, just as I had with molding planes in general.





This is my “cave” where I spent several days photographing and scanning nearly 400 mother planes:


After removing the iron and wedge, we scanned the “toe” of each mother plane, then photographed each side. Here are some photographs of different views of some fascinating mother planes:







In addition to photographing and scanning each plane, Bill and Larry spent considerable time inspecting each mother plane for interesting characteristics such as cutting profile, dimension, size marks, and maker marks.




Details were meticulously recorded on detailed data sheets that Bill created, and each plane was assigned a number:





Erik Goldstein was kind enough to spend many hours with us to ensure that the valuable plane collection was handled properly:


Over the course of our stay, Erik gave us some amazing tours of rarely-visited parts of the capitol building, including incredible tool collections and a trek up the steep steps of the bell tower, which has only been visited by a handful of people since it’s dedication by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940’s.


Below you’ll see some fun photographs that I took of the Capital Building at Colonial Williamsburg (I highly recommend a visit to this 18th century wonderland):








Click here to Subscribe to Joshua’s future articles & blog posts about traditional woodworking.


Everything’s better with Walnut.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 5:46pm

March 1st. Spring is right around the corner. I spent the past 3 months complaining about the cold and snow and unpleasant working conditions in my garage. But with the onset of March I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, sort-of.

Yesterday I actually got to woodwork a little. I felt a good way to begin the month of March would be to start the repair of my tool chest. Of course, the snow was falling, the winds were howling, the temperatures were plummeting, and my garage was freezing. I can tell you this, our next house will have at least a two-car garage, as well as a dedicated workshop specifically set-aside for woodworking. I understand that I might have to fork out some money to make that happen, but we only live once, and life is too short for certain compromises, my happiness being one of them.

Piece of Walnut somewhat rough.

Piece of Walnut somewhat rough.

My chest needs two new parts; a new front panel and a new lid. The winter and my garage haven’t been kind, and the chest is taking a major league beating. I decided to replace those parts with some walnut that I’ve had set aside for quite some time. I started with the front panel, as I knew it would be the easier of the two parts to fix. Because it was far too cold to open my garage door for any extended period, I decided to do as much as I could by hand.

The first thing I did was cross-cut the boards to rough width using a basic STANLEY carpentry saw. I then opened the garage door, rolled the table saw over to the opening, and ripped the front panel to size. Once that was done I was able to shut the door and put away the table saw. I had the panel nearly fit to the opening, so I planed the edges to get a nice fit, then placed the panel on the workbench and used the smoothing plane to not only clean up the board, but also match the thickness of the rest of the chest, as it was just a hair wider than the boards I built the chest with. Once that was finished I used my block plane to clean up the end grain, and more importantly get a nice fit side-to-side. Now, I know that a lot of professionals, and some amateurs, like to make the claim that most woodworkers “don’t know what sharp is”. Maybe that is true, but my amateur ass managed to not only beautifully plane the front panel smooth and flat, but also take full-length end grain shavings on Walnut with a block plane that “never knew sharp”. Am I bragging? Yeah, you’re God-damned right I am.

Planed smooth, bead added, with one coat of linseed oil.

Planed smooth, bead added, with one coat of linseed oil.

I then made new hinges for the front panel, which are basically two small battens that lightly overhang the bottom, and I transferred the original catches for the latch from the old front. I glued and screwed both the hinges and the catches. Lastly, I thought a little bead would be nice, so I used my “new” ¼ inch beading plane to add one. A coat of linseed oil (I’ll add another next weekend) and the front was done.

I had a little time left so I decided to edge joint the other two boards I had set aside before I called it an afternoon. Neither had an edge that was remotely straight, so I made a mess of shavings to get them flat and level. Thankfully my jointer plane was sharp, though I can’t figure out how since I am a rank amateur that doesn’t know what sharp looks like.

Edge jointing finished.

Edge jointing finished


I have enough walnut to do one of two things: either make a traditional frame and panel lid, or glue up a lid and make battens for it. The frame and panel is what I’m leaning towards, and it would probably look nicer, but I will decide on that next week. When I placed the finished front panel in the chest I discovered that Walnut, as usual, looks awesome on anything, and my tool chest desperately needs a coat of paint. This time, I’m going to make it shine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworking in America 2015: The Talent is Legion

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 12:08pm

More to come of course (bios, class descriptions, etc.), but because we’re on deadline for the June issue this week (and I’m dealing with roof problems), for the nonce I’m posting the list of expert woodworkers (four of whom are SAPFM Cartouche winners) we’ve lined up to present sessions at for Woodworking in America 2015, Sept. 25-27, in Kansas City, Mo. (I’ll be there, too…and I can tell a hawk […]

The post Woodworking in America 2015: The Talent is Legion appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

March – time to get going

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 7:12am

March. Hmm… it means two things to me right now. One is turn the page on the Yurt Foundation calendar, the other is to march, get going, quit fooling around. This is the month that my schedule picks up. So rather than just picking up whatever project happens to catch my fancy at any given moment, it’s time to knuckle down and get some stuff done.


oak lunette





partly done 2


ignore these spoons

I keep shifting back & forth. I have to ignore these spoons in the daylight right now, and get to work on my desk box, and the 2 chests with drawers I have underway. At least by having these spoons roughed out, I can carve them at night.

Spoons and baskets for sale today – here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-baskets-bowls-for-sale-march-2015/

Daylight is for heavier bench work…so the goal for this week is to get the desk box all cut and ready to assemble, then work on cutting joinery and laying out carving for the chest with drawer that’s the focus of my class beginning later this month.

desk box parts

Enough. Here’s details on the 2 classes coming up this month. The first is a 2-day class in spoon carving at Plymouth CRAFT – 2 spaces left they tell me. The class is March 14 & 15 – details here. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=carving-wooden-spoons-with-peter-follansbee  There’s knitting, cooking & egg decorating classes at the same time – http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events

The other class is the first entry in the 5-month “build a chest with drawer” class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. We can squeeze another joiner or two in…If all goes well, I’ll be showing you some of oak for that class tomorrow. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/534-build-a-17th-century-joined-chest-with-peter-follansbee.html

and the rest of the schedule is here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015-teaching-schedule/ including two weeks teaching in Olde England – I’ll write about that next week. 




more %$$#@**&^%&@!!)&*^white stuff.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 3:03am
I figured I would get up at 0400 and shovel out the cars, the driveway, and the front walk. Good exercise and it shouldn't take me that long. Nay, nay, I say moose breath. It is now 0551 and I just got done. What a terrific way to end a crappy weekend and start the new week. And there is more of this lovely white crap coming on thursday.

looking out my back door
 It looks like we got a good 4 " of it.

turn north and my snow covered truck is next
I shovel out the driveway and front walk first. Then I come back and brush off the cars.

added a few inches
A couple of guys climbing Mt Everest asked me if they practice climbing my snow mountains.

the end of the driveway
This takes the longest to do. I can't throw the snow (after my truck to here) anywhere but to the right. That involves a lot of shovel, walk, and toss. Repeat until done 45 minutes later. I was surprised to see the road plowed. There also wasn't a 4 foot high pile of snow left here by the plow.

Time to dry off and get ready to go to Westerly.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the first moving picture shown at the White House?
answer - The Birth of a Nation in February of 1916

not a good weekend.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 2:48am
It's snowing again as I'm writing this. I closed the blinds so I don't have to watch it fall. The forecast has 3-6 inches with higher amounts along the coast. Where am I headed tomorrow morning? I'm going to Westerly for my annual eye exam and Westerly is a couple of miles inland from the ocean. Oh  what fun awaits me there.

Minor rant upcoming with some background first. I joined Sam's Club  because it is closer than BJ's wholesale club. I joined only to get coffee K-cups there. I can get the 80 count boxes on line but with S/H it is more than Sam's club price. I tried to get K-cups twice there this weekend.

I went online and checked the hours Sam's was open and they said they opened at 0700. Great because I'm up early anyways and I'll beat the traffic on Route 2. I get there at 0700 but it's closed. I have a club membership and not the elite overpriced one. You need that one to get in at 0700. Peons like me have to wait until 0900. I'll try this again on sunday at 0900.

I get there sunday at 0900 and it is still closed. For peons like me with the lowest membership of all it is closed to me all day long. The elite membership holders can shop at 0900. I was not a happy camper again for the second day in a row.

The hours on line don't state peon and the anointed one hours. The sign at the store I couldn't quite decipher. I'm not sure what the name I have for my membership and I think it is color coded too. I was looking at it today and not a clue as to when they are open for me to shop. I threw my card in the garbage and I'll apply to BJ's at work on tuesday. BJ's is a lot further to go to but it's open on sundays and there aren't peon and special one hours. I was member there before but let it lapse.

splines set overnight
All the splines set and they are tight. There aren't any gaps on any of the corners.

sawed the waste off
ready to plane the corners flush
still square
I paid attention this time and checked each corner for square after I planed it.

sanded the corners flush
Since I'm painting this, I can sand the corners flush. I don't have to worry about cross grain sanding scratches. I sanded both sides of the lid.

I'm very happy with these miters
the back miters are just as good as the front ones
miter bridle joint frame #2
These miters are just as good as frame #3 above.

splines and bridle joint
Of the two I will do the bridle joint first again. It's a bit more work and it's time consuming trimming and fitting but it's worth it. I think it's a stronger and better joint then the miter and spline joint. I'll put a 1 lb coat of shellac on the both of these and set them aside. I still have make boxes to fit the lids before I can paint them.

box base cooked
It doesn't rock which means all four corners are the same.

miters all look ok
The outsider vertical edges of the miters are all closed up tight with no gaps. The tops of the miters are gappy.

There are round ribbing indentations on the metal corners for the band strap clamp. With this soft pine they leave their impressions on the miters.

the bottom of the miters
Nobody will look at these but me. They closed up a lot with the hide glue and the quick grips. The top left miter is the worse of the four. I am more concerned with the miters on top of the base being closed up. Something to work on.

sanding the miters
 The sanding removed the indentations on the corners. I also sanded them so that the vertical was even on both sides of it.

sanding and cleaning up the beads

lost a piece of the bead here
I sanded this bead and feathered it out going away from the corner. I'll put this at the back and make this the hinge side of the box.

off on a tangent
I had just returned from my trip to Sam's club. I also came back empty handed from Whole Foods where I went to get my coffee for the drip maker at home. I usually buy a 1/2  pound of decaf and regular coffee and mix them. That didn't happen today neither because both of the bins for that coffee were empty.

I wasn't in a good mood and I usually screw up continually in the shop when I get this way. I put the lid and the cock beading aside and decided to do some shop rearranging. The empty drawer on the left I was using to keep sandpaper scraps in. The drawer on the right I had full of scraps of small offcuts of wood. I got rid of most of the offcuts and put some in the top sliding tray. I use them for when I clamp something in the wagon vise.

 On the bottom I put the sandpaper scraps. I don't know what I'll do with the empty drawer yet. I first thought of putting some planes in it but nixed it. I wanted to put a sliding tray in it but I couldn't because of the height of the planes. The tray would have been too shallow to hold the planes I wanted to put into it.

it's cracked
I just got the hang of using this and I cracked it somehow. The wall of the screw adjuster didn't like me making all those spatulas. I'll have to look for a another spokeshave to replace this one. At least I'll have some spare parts to put in the junk drawer.

almost full
A friend of mine started blogging recently and he started with a plane till he is making now. the blog is called the "The Valley Woodworker" and he is why I'm on this rearrange kick. I just bought 4 more molders and I have a bid in on 3 lots on an upcoming auction. If I win them I will not have any room to stow them. I cleared out the bottom half of the till to make some room but I'll need another till before the year is out.

rearranging cabinet #6 - where the bottom 1/2 of the plane till will now live
I borrowed this plane till tilt shelf from Bob. This cabinet has a lot of dead space in it considering what I have stowed in it. Time to consolidate what is in here and make room for two plane shelves.

not a toy
This little 1/4" shoulder plane works very well. I have used it several times on 1/4" dadoes but it hasn't been used for a while. I'll be putting this on the 'I don't use this that often' shelf.

top shelf layout done
The plane on the top right is an AMT edge plane I bought in 1976. It isn't square but if I fiddle around with the iron I can plane square edges with it. I have in the back of my mind to add a piece of beveled wood to this to turn it into a fixed angle plane. I've had this thought since 1976 and I still haven't put it into practice.

first one done
I put the hinge mortise plane at the front because I think I will use this more than the other planes in here.  I will have to take it out to get to the other planes behind it but I don't think that will happen that frequently.

slot #13 filled
I'm not hating this nor am I loving it. I can take the 51 in and out with these two interfering with it. I would rather have them over on the right side but I'm not rearranging this for that. I might put these on the second shelf that is the next batter.

plane shelf #2
I didn't have apiece of plywood large enough so I splined and glued this piece on to get the length I wanted.

ledgers are in place just screwed not glue - in case I change my plans
quit here
The piece I glued on was proud in the middle. I sanded it flush with the old part of the shelf.  I checked the fit in the cabinet and it was ok. I made sure that the door closed and that the toys hanging on it weren't hitting the shelf. I should be able to finish shelf #2 tomorrow after the eye doctor appointment.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How many pipes are there on a typical Scottish bagpipe?
answer - 5

Two-minute hate

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 4:46pm

Today was the first day I managed to get in a few hours worth of woodworking in quite a while. I got started on the repair of my tool chest. There was a lot of repetitive work to be done, rip, cross-cut, plane etc. I didn’t mind it, I was actually pretty relaxed. It then dawned on me that I hate IKEA.

Why do I hate IKEA? Do I really need a reason? I just hate the place. I hate that people go there. Why do people have to go there?  Nobody should be allowed to go there. We should ban it!  I mean, from what I’ve heard they basically force you to go there and buy stuff. I see how it works. I see what they’re up to, and I hate it. That store is just ruining my life. I can’t really explain how, it just is.

Well, even though I hate it I probably shouldn’t. Because the one good thing about IKEA is that it gives me something to write about when I can think of absolutely nothing intelligent to say. I can just mention how crappy I think IKEA is and I have an instant woodworking article! No thought, no talent, no real opinion, no substance, no sweat!


Categories: General Woodworking

How I Sharpen

The Literary Workshop Blog - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 2:23pm

There is no “right” way to sharpen hand tools, but there are a lot of wrong ways.  My own sharpening regimen has developed serendipitously, but it fulfills the essential requirements of a good sharpening routine:

  1. It is simple.
  2. It is fast.
  3. It is easily repeatable.
  4. It results in a keen edge.

I offer the following not as a tutorial on how you should sharpen, but as an example of the essential elements of a good sharpening routine.  I’ve tried to keep my explanations very simple, but I’ve added some footnotes for anybody who really wants the nit-picky details.

Mixed Media


Aside from my bench grinder, which I use only for repairing damaged edges, I have three pieces of sharpening equipment: a DMT coarse diamond stone, a soft Arkansas stone, and a strop.  I’ve been using the diamond stone for about eight years now, and it still cuts quickly.(1)  The strop is a piece of leather glued to a flat piece of hardwood and rubbed with honing compound.(2)


Let’s begin with this chisel, whose edge I chipped the last time I used it.  Here is the edge as it came from the bench grinder.  I ground it at about 25 degrees.  Most of the time, I’m sharpening tools that are merely dull from use, but either way, I take the edge through three essential steps.(3)



Beginning on the coarse diamond stone lubricated with mineral spirits,(4) I rub the bevel side to side.  Normally I use two hands, but I needed one of my hands to hold the camera.


The coarse stone has removed metal all the way to the edge.  You can see where the stone was cutting at both the top and bottom of the bevel.  Because the grinder leaves a hollow, it will take several more sharpenings before the entire bevel is flat.(5)

More important is the part you can’t see, but that my finger can feel.  There is a substantial burr on the back of the edge.(6)  This burr tells me that it’s time to move on to the next stage.(7)



I now move to a finer abrasive, this time a soft Arkansas stone, also lubricated with mineral spirits.(8)  I rub the bevel on it side to side, just enough to remove the scratches left by the previous, coarser abrasive.


The burr is still there on the back, but the bevel is shinier now.


Now I flip the blade over and rub the back over the stone.  This flips the burr over to the bevel side of the edge.  Just a few circular strokes is all I need before moving on to the final stage.(9)



I now strop the bevel (only pull, never push!), taking perhaps 30-40 quick strokes.  This flips the burr over again, and it also polishes the cutting edge.


Finally, I turn it over once more and strop the back.  Usually this removes the burr entirely, leaving a very keen edge.(10)  Sometimes with a really stubborn burr, I have to go back and forth between bevel and back a couple of times until the burr is completely gone and the edge is brightly polished.

The Test

There are as many ways to test the sharpness of an edge as there are ways to sharpen it.(11)  I like to test on wood.


An edge that will easily pare the end-grain of soft pine and leave a smooth surface will cut other woods just fine.

This whole process doesn’t take long–two or three minutes from start to finish.(12)  A bigger cutting edge, such as a hewing hatchet or a drawknife, might take a little longer, but not much.


  1. Diamond stones have a reputation for wearing out quickly. I have had one diamond stone, a cheap off-brand, wear out very quickly, but good ones do not. They do, however, lose their initial aggressiveness quickly. (It says so in the instructions that come with the stone, but who reads those?) Don’t be shocked when this happens. A diamond stone isn’t really dull until the nickel matrix holding the diamonds on the steel plate has worn off. It’s pretty obvious when it happens.
  2. I use the green honing compound from Lee Valley. You don’t need much. I still have most of the bar I bought eight years ago.
  3. I have Chris Schwarz to thank for the “coarse-medium-fine” phrase, though he applies it primarily to hand planes.  It applies to a lot of processes in woodworking.
  4. Diamond stones can be used without lubrication, but I prefer some liquid. It prevents the swarf from building up under the surface being abraded, and I think the stone works more smoothly with lubrication. I prefer mineral spirits over water because it won’t rust the tool if I neglect to wipe it perfectly clean.
  5. Some woodworkers prefer to maintain a hollow grind on their edge tools, so they must grind more frequently. It may be helpful, but it’s not necessary. In an ideal world, an edge tool of mine would be ground only once in its lifetime–before it leaves the factory–and I wouldn’t need a grinder. But the world is not ideal, and edges get chipped or otherwise damaged. Therefore, I own a grinder.
  6. Some people call this a “wire edge,” while others call it a “feather edge,” even though we’re all talking about the same “burr.” If you hate nomenclature that is confusing, please choose a hobby other than woodworking.
  7. This applies only to single-beveled tools, such as chisels, gouges, and plane irons. Double-beveled tools are sharpened on the coarse abrasive on both sides alternately until a burr develops. I then proceed as follows.
  8. I’ve tried several lubricants on my natural Arkansas stones, and mineral spirits work well. They prevent the stone from clogging better than anything else I’ve tried.
  9. Some tools, such as carving gouges, require a more polished edge, so usually I insert a second “Medium” step here: a hard Arkansas stone, also lubricated with mineral spirits.  I hone the concave backs of carving gouges with a black Arkansas slip stone, which takes the place of a strop.
  10. Sometimes, if you watch closely, the burr will detach all in one piece, and suddenly you’ll see what looks like a bit of extremely fine wire laying on the strop. Do let the strop remove the burr. Never break it off with your fingers, or it will leave a jagged edge that won’t cut as well as it should.
  11. Thanks to the Internet, the “arm hair test” has now become the ultimate test of sharpness–if your edge tool can pop hairs off the back of your hand or arm, it’s sharp. That may well be true, but it doesn’t tell me what I really want to know: will it cut wood? Besides, by the time I’ve sharpened a few chisels, usually the back of my hand is a bit sweaty, not to mention gummed up with sawdust, so the arm hair test is usually impractical for me.
  12. When I was first learning to sharpen, I took longer, but once I established an effective routine, I sped up a lot. If your standard sharpening routine takes more than five minutes per edge on the average, then you probably need to simplify somewhere.

Tagged: Arkansas stone, chisel sharpening, diamond stone, how to sharpen, plane sharpening, sharpening, strop

Tilting Fretsaw Fixture

The Barn on White Run - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 2:17pm

My friend BillF asked me to post the image and plan of the tilting saw bench I use for cutting marquetry with a jeweler’s fret saw.

tilting bench pin copy

Okay Bill, here they are.  I’ll see if we can get the PDF of the plan on the Writings page.

tilting sawing bench

I think I first saw this tool in a c.1900 book on fretwork, and have since seen it many other places and books.  I made a passel of these at one time, and have used and gifted them for years.

Lie Nielsen event at Goosebay Sawmill & Lumber

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 1:12pm

I’ve spent a chunk of today unpacking from the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event I did at Goosebay Lumber & Sawmill, in Chichester, NH this weekend. It was a small show by some standards, but very nice venue. here’s some photos I got.

goosebay sign

Both days were bright & sunny. Didn’t snow. Goosebay is a very nice place. Lots of sawn lumber, both local and otherwise. http://goosebaylumber.net/index.php

I saw many logs there, red oak, ash, maple, pine and more.  Both Carl and young Carl assured my that if you are looking to buy a green log for riving, they can help you. You just need to give them some advance warning.



Sawn stuff too.



Here’s the Lie-Nielsen crates – these things have a lot of miles on them…


crates going in


When you go to the upper level to look for wood, you can view down where the action was/is. I was carving spoons off to the right in the 2nd photo. But not while I was shooting these…


aeriel view

aeriel view 2


spoons & stuff


Thanks to Carl, Carl, Ted, Kirsten & Danielle – and to the folks who came out to see us. Next time, the rest of you can come too! We had a great time.

I almost forgot – this one’s for Chris, made by “Down to Earth” = I forget the whole story… I’ve made several, but never a paneled one. Ahh, another project. picture it carved.

down to earth

Tomorrow some spoons, baskets and hewn bowls for sale. About 10AM my time, east coast US.

swing handle


Logarithmic Spiral Holdfast

I'm a OK guy - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 8:52am
Some time ago I read about using a logarithmic spiral to hold work on the bench top. I can't remember where so as to give credit but whatever this isn't new just new to me. Anyway when I read about it I kinda filed it away as one of those ideas that might work but would not be life changing.

Last night a pinched nerve in my right arm woke me in the middle of the night. When that happens about the only thing that relieves the pain is to get up and sometimes a little use of the arm helps. OK Bubba enough back story cut to the chase.

With nothing better to do I made one to try. It works. I don't think it would replace a holdfast with a doe's foot on my bench but it works and I expect if the bench dog holes were placed with using a logarithmic spiral in mind it would work very well.

Here is a photo:

As you should be able to see, the arm from the pivot point gets progressive longer which pinches the work against a baton/stop as it is moved from right to left and releases as the work is moved left to right.  Actually it is pretty slick and with correctly placed dog holes could work very well.

more glue ups and ........

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 2:27am
I knocked off in the shop earlier than I normally do on saturdays. My peepers failed open this morning at 0300 and I had to recharge my batteries by taking a nap. I still think I got a lot done in the shop and maybe tomorrow I'll be able to finish up a couple of the projects I have going on.

oh dark 15
One good thing about hand tool woodworking is that I can work without waking my wife up. It was time to see if the hide glue cooked and if it will keep the miters together.

miters are still together and strong
I tried as best I could to break this miter apart and I couldn't. I don't remember if the last miter I tried to do with hide glue I did it with the glue warmed up. I used warm hide glue on these and I sized the miters too.  Something to remember for the next time.

a spot of hide glue
This panel was loose and was rattling a bit too much for my liking. When I glued up the miters I put a dab of hide glue underneath the panel groove here to lock it down and stop the rattle.

box base is next
I wanted to put feet at the corners but with the plywood edge showing 360 that isn't happening. I need to put a continuous base on in order to hide the plywood.

cut off off a piece to make the base
The pile of scrap pine I had yesterday wasn't enough. I usually end up having problems finding stock for the longest pieces. This time I didn't have enough for the short sides. The piece I had for the short sides was exactly the length I needed. There was absolutely no extra for trimming or fitting. And I'm not sure that there was even enough to allow for the saw kerfs.

LN66 beader
The beader doesn't like playing with pine. (The bit is set deep to show the profile) I wanted to put this on the top edge of the base but I'll have to move on to plan #2.

use a beading plane
this one is too big
3/16" bead from my newest beader
sharp usually fixes all
I touched up the back some, sharpened, and honed the bevel on the 1/4" beading iron. It's profile looked like crap. I could barely tell it was a bead.

fine ceramic round stone to hone the round
 got my obligatory blood letting done
The bead on the right is 1/4" and the one to the left of it is 3/16". The 3/16" bead looks too small and I'm going with the 1/4" one.

checking my rabbet for square
To get the molding up off the workbench so that the fence of rabbet plane would have clearance, I placed one molding on top of the other one.

fence slipped
I usually have a problem with the depth shoe slipping on me. This is the first time I've had a problem with the fence.  I don't think that I tightened it down enough after I set it.

cut another piece
This sash saw leaves a smooth cut. With my cross cut saw I have to knife the layout on both sides to minimize the tear out from the saw.

rabbeting the second set with the fence tightened down
checking my progress
After I get the shoulder established and a bit of depth I like to stop and check myself. I sight down the molding from both ends to see how square I'm planing. I also look at it from the side to make sure I'm not tapering neither. It is easier to correct any problems now before you get to final depth. Once you get there correcting for out of square etc is too late.

out of square on the exit end
entry end is a little better
 shoulder plane
I'm not quite down to final depth yet. I used the Record 073 to square up the rabbet and get to final depth.

I find this plane to be too small for this
You could use the bullnose plane to square up the rabbet but the Record plane I think is a better choice. It's bigger and has a longer sole which makes truing/squaring easier.

 beading done
test miter
I am going to miter the base moldings on my donkey ear jig. I am playing with a test piece and slowing closing in on square.

shimming the front
The last time I used this jig one piece of scrap was sufficient to get me square. This time I had to add 4 layers of tape before I got 45 on both test pieces giving me 90 degrees.

this miter used to challenge me spatially
not anymore
I cut one 45 and put the box in the rabbet and mark for the other 45. I sawed the other miter about a 16th long so I can trim and fit it later.

poor man's miter box
It's just a bit too small to saw the miters on the moldings. I don't want to make another miter box so on to plan #2.

how I cut them
I marked a 45 the top as a visual and I used the corner to saw down on. On the opposite miter cut, I used a square line.

came out just right
I sized the rabbet on the molding so that it would be even with the bottom of the tail on the front. It covers most of the half pin on the side. I would have liked to have covered it all but it would have had also covered part of the tail on the front. I thought it was better to make the front look balanced by having the molding at the bottom of the tail.

the fun starts now
Now I have to trim and fit each piece of molding. I started with the front and went around  the box to the left.

dry fit is good
other side
The miter on this corner isn't perfect but I am going with them all as they are.

the bottom
Two miters are tight, one if iffy, and one with a gap. It's the bottom and I'll wait and see how well they look after they have been glued and cooked.

layout for the base done
allowing for the miter
The first line from the left is the heel of the miter and the second one is a 1/2" away from that. I wanted to leave this meat there and not weaken the miter by having the circular cut out too far over towards the miter.

saw cuts down to the layout line - used a chisel to remove most of the waste

even did the circular part with the chisel
I used rasps to do the final clean up of the cutout.

base moldings are done
toys used to make the molding cutout
base is stable and doesn't rock or wobble
The blowout on the panel didn't heal as well as I hoped for. I'm putting this at the back (hinge side) so that it'll be less noticeable.

struck out again
I tried the beader again and again it doesn't like playing with pine. I'm not sure if it's me or if it's the wood. Pine may be too soft to use a beading plane on. I'll check the irons later as I'm assuming that they came from LN sharp and ready to go. I'll also watch some  LN You Tube videos to make sure I'm using the tool correctly.

I wanted to use the LN 66 here to put a round over on the tops of these pieces of pine. I got a comment from Joe M to cock bead the lid and make them and the base moldings out of cherry. I liked both of his suggestions but I had already made the base by the time I read his comment. I really liked the thought of using cherry for the cock beading around the lid but opted for pine. I didn't have any scrap cherry to make this molding but I have lots of pine strips.

violin plane did the round overs

I like Joe's idea
This will not only size the lid so it's bigger then the box, it will also hide the bridle joints at the corners.

I have a round over plane
I took this apart  many moons ago and sharpened the irons and never put it back together. I know now why I waited because it took me 40 minutes to get it back together. I had to fiddle and dance a lot to get these two irons set to cut correctly. The front one has to be set shallow with the one behind it just a wee bit deeper. Then there are two set screws on either side of the iron that center them between openings in the brass sole plate. Now that it's set up I won't have to do this dance step until the next sharpening.

the rounding plane did the round over better and easier than the violin plane
spline stock
I made slots in the miters on the tablesaw. I found this piece of pine when I went searching for scraps to use for the cock bead moldings. I glued these with hide glue and it'll cook until tomorrow by the furnace.

cock bead moldings ready to go
 The miters on these are small and I think I can get away with sawing them out on the poor man's miter box.

sawed the last one two hairs short
I didn't have a 5th piece of molding and trying to make one this thin would be a chore. I planed  shavings off of each short side until I made up the two hair shortfall. I sawed the miter on the opposite long side to match the other one.

dry fit is ok - ready to glue
waiting on the glue up
I glued the splines in frame #3 and I also glued the base on the box but I stopped here. I'm not sure how I want to glue this up but nailing it isn't in the top ten ways to do it. I am leaning in the direction of gluing on one piece at a time. I want to be able to ensure that I get the miters on this glue up tight. This is the lid and they will be highly visible. I'll pick this back up tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the last film made by Cary Grant?
answer - Walk, Don't Run in 1966

Tru Oil

I'm a OK guy - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 8:16pm
Finished the little box today along with taking care of MsOK and shop maintenance. The box was 'because", mostly because I hadn't cut a set of dove tails in awhile.

I picked up a small bottle of Tru Oil several weeks ago and because this box is a "What scraps can I find to saw some dovetails and maybe if there are enough put a lid on a box" box. I tried the Tru Oil, it's OK. I expect if I used several coats with rubbing out after each coat set it would look very nice. As this is a because box one coat is about it and with just one coat Tru Oil is nothing to get excited about.

I did some tool maintenance along with the shop maintenance, got careless with the 4 1/2's iron and took a slice off the end of my left thumb right after it was sharpened. Nice thing about sharp iron, you do not know you're cut until you see the blood flowing. I still had the glue pot hot. A little hot hide glue and a paper towel stopped the flow fairly quickly.

A Thrilling Day!

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 2:22pm

This morning Chris Schwarz emailed me the complete set of page proofs from VIRTUOSO: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley for my review.  I am nearly lightheaded with delight.

page proof

Forgive me while I crawl into my easy chair and spend the evening ogling the book with a red pen in hand.


Spoon carving in Northumberland

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 11:33am
Spoons! Last weekend I was invited up to Northumberland to teach a group how to carve wooden spoons. We had a lot of fun. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Today’s Article – Framed for Figure

360 WoodWorking - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 4:10am
Spice boxes have been a Chester County, Penn., favorite for more than 300 years. Long after these little chests had gone out of fashion in other parts of the country, they continued to captivate the residents of this Philadelphia suburb. But their appeal would spread throughout the country once more. With the growth in popularity […]

miter glue up and........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 1:22am
I got my miters figured out (famous last words) so today's post isn't about that. I did try something new and I got frame #3 glued up without any hiccups. I had a few minor ones but nothing that warranted giving anything flying lessons.

woodpecker miter clamps
I got a comment from Sylvain about these clamps I got from Woodpecker. Just like their write up states, these are dead nuts 90 degrees. I checked all four of them.

four mating pieces are dead nuts also
Sylvain pointed out that maybe my frame pieces were too large for these clamps. The woodpecker site shows thinner width stock being clamped in them.

so while the hide glue warmed up....
cut a couple small pieces to miter and shoot on the shooting board
roughly 1/2 as wide as frame #3
dry clamped is looking pretty good
clamped tight and it's still closed up and not open at the toe or heel
frame#3 dry fitted and it's tight
This is a huge improvement over yesterday's clamp up. These are the ones I re-shot on the shooting board at 45 again for the last time. The heel is a wee bit open but that may swell shut on glue up.

dead nuts 90 according to Mr Starrett
My conclusion is that this is nothing to worry about. These clamps are precision made to clamp at 90 degrees. Frame #3 is made up of stock I 6 squared and shot 45s on. The frame parts are not perfect matches. There are slight differences and I think those are what are causing the slight open toes and heels. The pieces that are 1/2 the width of frame #3 are almost perfect with almost no variances and they clamped up pretty tight. In order to get a perfect 90 with these clamps the two pieces must be as perfect as possible. If they aren't, due to the precision of the clamps the toe or heel will open some.

a bit loose
I wanted to leave this natural and apply shellac to it. However, I still have to clean this up and remove all the pencil marks and that will thin the frame a bit. Along with the frame, the panel will shed some thickness too. The two combined will make this panel too loose and it will rattle around in the frame. Not to mention an unsightly gap around the edge of the panel and frame. I won't be planing and cleaning this up. Instead I'll be painting it like I am doing frame #2.

waxed the frame and panel before glue up
hide glue
I am not sure if sizing is necessary with hide glue but I did it anyways. The end grain of the 45 absorbed the first coat of glue and I definitely needed a second application. I have glued up bare faced 45s with just hide glue before and not one stayed together once the clamps were removed. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

the PITA glue up
The frame is doing what I thought it would do. As I was applying any pressure the other corners were slipping by each other and opening. There aren't any splines to help hold it's shape.  I was hoping that the hide glue would grab and hold so I could get this clamped up. I had this band clamped once but had to start over again because the band slipped off a corner.

finally clamped up
I first got the band clamp on and tightened. I checked the four corners on the top and bottom of the frame for flush, tight, etc. Once I was happy with that and satisfied that the band clamp had the frame securely held, I put on the quick grips to even out the pressure on the miters.

Then it went by the furnace to cook until tomorrow. I'll have to wait until then to see how well the hide glue is holding the miters together. If that is ok I can cut and add the splines and those will help to beef up the miters.

the bridle joint lid is too small
I cleaned up the lid on the corners with a block plane. It's shy of the edge by a 32nd on this side.

almost a 1/16 on the opposite side
slight skew in the lid with the back flush
the box is square on all 4 corners
the lid is slightly out of square
The lid is over sized side to side by about 1/16" strong and short front to back by about the same. I think I have sufficient stock that I can square the sides to the back. I am making the back of the box my reference edge because I will be hinging this lid to the box. I want that edge to be square and straight so the hinges work freely.

add a filler to the back?
I'm leaning in the direction of gluing a strip to the back so the front of the lid will be at the least, be flush with the front edge of the box. Since I have a cherry panel, the filler strip will be cherry too. I can use it as a design element of the overall box.

base stock
I'm not sure but I think I have enough scrap pine here to make a base. I'm going out to dinner with my wife tonight so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if I have enough stock here. This will give me something to talk to my wife about and see how quickly I can get her eyes glaze over.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
In the United States a Red Cap is a baggage porter and a Redcap in England is?
answer - a Military Policeman

If Only I Could Show You the Dovetails…

The Furniture Record - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 7:24pm

We live about and hour away from the self-proclaimed Furniture Capital of the World, High Point, NC. This claim is based partially on being what was the major furniture manufacturing center of North Carolina and partially on the twice-yearly furniture market (open to the trade), one of the largest around. Furniture making has moved away (some of it very far away) and Las Vegas is gunning for the furniture market. Yet they soldier on.

In the nearby town of Jamestown (metro High Point?) is the self-proclaimed largest furniture store. (Lots of self-proclamations in North Carolina.) At 1.3 million square feet, who am I to argue? My wife and I tend to view it as 1.3 million square feet of ugly furniture.

Ugly is a bit of a strong word. Not meeting our sense of aesthetics might be a more appropriate way to phrase it. There is some Shaker-esque furniture we almost like. What we have found is that for the money one can buy antiques or have something built by one of the area custom furniture makers. Let’s keep the money local.

There is one piece of furniture there that has continued to impress me (favorably) over the years. But like many things that impress, I have no desire to own it. I’m not sure where I’d put it.

Not your average chest on chest.

Not your average chest on chest.

At 85′, it needs just the right room.

Easy to dust under, though.

Easy to dust under, though.

And I think the hardware has been replaced. I don't think it's original.

And I think the hardware has been replaced. I don’t believe it’s original.

That’s the second largest claw and ball foot I’ve ever seen (with apologies to Buck Henry and Mel Brooks (extra credit if you get the reference)):

It's bigger than it looks.

It’s bigger than it looks.

Can you imagine Mary May (or Chuck Bender) out there with a chainsaw carving this one.

Of course, the drawers are all dovetailed. I would love to show you but their JLG lift was unavailable.

You can read an article about it HERE.

Somewhere in High Point is the 42′, world’s largest (freestanding) dresser. When I find it, I’ll let you know.


Grinding Station

I'm a OK guy - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:10pm
I set up a new Grinding station today. Picked up a CBN wheel the other day, Amazon delivered a Tormek grinder jig, I added a couple of hunks of ply and I have a new faster way to grind the bevel. Is it better than the T-7, we will see but one thing is for sure....It's faster.

The Tormek BGM-100 kit is worth the money, it has everything you need except the ply:


Parquetry Tutorial – Trimming and Banding

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 4:16pm

I am earnestly trying to wrap up some frayed threads in the blog posts, and this one and two more will complete the tutorial on simple parquetry, which I will combine, edit, and post as a downloadable document.



Once the parquetry composition has been assembled such that the area completed is larger than the field of the composition as it will be presented on the panel, the time has come to trim it to the exact size you want.  But before that, you have to decide exactly how large you want the central field of the parquetry panel.  I tend to work my way in from the edges of the panel as determined by the sizes and proportions of the furniture on which it will reside, then subtract a symmetrical border and a symmetrical banding.



Once I have done that, I simply re-establish the center lines of the parquetry assemblage and precisely mark out its perimeter, and saw it with any of the veneer saws mentioned earlier.  The desired end result is a rectangular and symmetrical composition.  Once I have the field trimmed to the proper size, I re-mount the unit on a second, larger sheet of kraft paper using hot glue.  It need be adhered only at the perimeter.


I tend to make my own banding, frequently making a simple stack of veneer faces with slightly thicker centers, assembled and glued between two cauls until they are set.  Then I just rip of as many pieces of banding as the assembled block can yield.



Once the banding is available, I cut them then trim the ends with a plane and miter shooting jig.  Once the first piece is ready to apply, I place the entire composition on a large board with a corked surface.  Then just like Roubo, I glue the banding  down on top of this second piece of kraft paper, tight against the cut edge of the field, and “clamp” it in place with push pins, similar to those illustrated by Roubo.  By the time I get all the way around the perimeter of the field, cutting then trimming each of the banding pieces, the piece is ready to set aside for a bit.


For the outer border, I tend to use a simple approach, often employing some of the original veneer stock in either the long-grain or cross grain orientation.

Once the banding is set I remove the pins then hammer veneer the borders in place, and the assembling of the parquetry panel is complete.

Up next – Gluing Down the Parquetry


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