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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...

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General Woodworking

360 WoodWorking 2014 Whirlwind Tour

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:33pm

IMG_2130Bob Lang mentioned in last week’s recap of 360 WoodWorking that Glen and I took off for parts east and north last Monday morning. I thought it might be good to fill you in on what we did and why – as much as I’m willing that is.

It began some time back with three invitations. The first invitation I got was from the Atlantic Shore Woodturners to come give a presentation on turning for furniture makers. Next, I got asked if I wanted to come to Salem, MA for a preview of the Nathaniel Gould exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. But this was no ordinary preview; it was a pre-preview party viewing of the exhibit. And the third came from the legendary Frank Klausz when he called to make sure I was alright after my departure from the magazine. The invitation from Frank went something like, “When you are in the area, you should stop by. We’ll do something in the shop and you can stay here.” Honestly, if these invitations were extended to you, would you turn them down? Yeah, neither could I.

I’m going to tackle the invitations in the same order I received them and give you a bit more insight about what went on once Glen and I arrived at each destination (which means you’ll have to wait a bit for the Frank story). So, today, I want let’s talk turning.

I'm demonstrating how to hold the skew to get a sheering cut.

I’m demonstrating how to hold the skew to get a sheering cut.

Wood turning is one of those fundamental skills I think every person that wants to make furniture needs to explore. Sure, joinery and stock prep are important, but if you want to break out of the mold of straight, square furniture you need to pick up explore two additional areas; carving and turning (a third area might be bending; I digress). Most people I’ve met tend to gravitate to the lathe before the carving tool(s). I mean, how hard can it be after all? You just chuck the wood between the centers of the lathe and jam a tool into it and you get a round shape, right? Au contraire, mon capitaine!

The biggest problem you’ve got if you use the chuck and jam method is detail. At that point your tools are scraping and, by the time you’re done sanding out the roughness, you’ve lost any definition you managed to get. The concept is simple really, if you use the chuck and jam method it’s like taking a card or cabinet scraper (and, yes, they are two different things) and scraping across the face of a board perpendicular to the grain direction only, because the wood in cylindrical in nature, there’s little support for the outermost fibers and they tend to roll off taking hunks of your turning with them. If you want to do it right learn how to cut with both the skew and gouge and you’ll leave a glass smooth surface.

And that, gentle reader, was the subject of my talk with the Atlantic Shore Woodturners in Lakewood, New Jersey. I talked about my methods for sharpening and using the skew and gouge to cut rather than scrape. Once you’ve given it a try, you’ll see it equates to the difference between prepping the surface of a board by rubbing it on your driveway versus using a sharp, properly tuned hand plane.

What follows is a short video on how I use a skew. You’ll see I make a practice piece where I turn a series of beads. It’s a great way to learn how to use a skew, or to warm up before turning if you already know how.

Next up, a seriously prolific (yet almost unknown) cabinetmaker from Salem, MA. Stay tuned.

— Chuck Bender

Collaborating on an Arts and Crafts Coffee Table - Building the Base

Combray Furniture Studio - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 1:52pm

One of the enjoyable things about building in the arts and crafts style is that you are offered a wide variety of joinery options.  As I was working with a friend who was newish to furniture building and who was interested in construction techniques, I thought we'd go through the paces with both full on machine, machine-assisted, and hand-cut joints.

The Back and Side Aprons
When I bought the Domino I was afraid that I would lean on it a bit too much when I designed a piece, but this is the only place where I broke it out,  Very straightforward using the largest size bit.

The Bottom Stretchers
Wedged through tenons give the table a solid look and feel.  I used my newly improved mortise router jig to do the bulk of the removal and squared it with a chisel.  We rough-cut the tenons on the table saw and my friend Andy used a router plane to dial in the fit.  We will wedge the tenons after the initial steps of the finish are applied.

The slight gap at the top and bottom will be closed when we drive home the wedges

The Front Apron/Stretcher
Old school dovetail joint is hand cut assures that the table stays square.  It is narrower than the back apron to provide easy access to the shelf.  We also decided to eliminate the drawers in order to maximize this space.

Double sided tape hold the tail in place to mark the mortise

The Lattice Shelf
Flat-sawn white oak is cut into 1 1/2 strips and then turned ninety degrees to expose the ray pattern.  Once one is marked we gang them up on the tablesaw (equipped with a dado blade) and cut the lot.  These will trimmed to size and chamfered during our next work day.

Everything is left oversized until we look at the final proportions

All that remains are a few final steps and to begin the multi-step finishing process.
Categories: General Woodworking

Humble Pie

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:05am

In general, I like Shaker furniture. I like how it is constructed, and I like how it looks, and it is a piece of furniture that my house could really use. Before I started constructing the Enfield Cupboard, I had only made two other pieces of true Shaker furniture, so my experience in building in the Shaker style is limited.

The Enfield cupboard on the surface seemed to be an attractive project that was relatively straightforward to build. I’ve so far spent about 12 hours on the construction and I can now say that this piece is not as easy to make as it looks on the surface. Firstly, there is case construction using dado/rabbet joinery. The face frame is constructed using mortise and tenon joinery. There are some decorative arches and curves. The mouldings are shop made and require miters, and the back of the case uses tongue and groove boards. Maybe the most critical part of the construction requires making an inset, paneled door. In other words, this cupboard is by no means “easy” to build. I had gone into this project with the mistaken notion that it would only require time to make. I underestimated the project, which I honestly never do, and I was wrong.

This cupboard probably falls into the “intermediate” level of construction for the reasons I described above. As there is nothing on this project that I can’t really handle, I consider myself an intermediate level woodworker. What would I consider “advanced”? I would call advanced  any project that would require all of the major forms of joinery: dovetail, mortise and tenon, dado. An advanced project  would have moving parts such as drawers and doors. An advanced project would also require some inlay work, as well as turning or carving, or both. An advanced project would also require the milling of parts to many different thicknesses. An advanced project will likely require several different finishing techniques. Most importantly, and advanced project needs to look like a piece of fine furniture.

My point is that this project is not an advanced project, but it is still a challenge, and it’s a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. I have to admit that this cupboard is going to take twice as long to build than I thought it would. That’s a big mistake on my part, and one I’ve always prided myself on not making. The humble Shakers and a humble piece of their furniture have managed to humble me. They’ve managed to accomplish what few people alive today can do. For that, I have to give them some credit.

Categories: General Woodworking

So You Want to Be a Video Star?

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:16am

Ah, the glamor of being on camera. The trailer with your name on the door…M&Ms separated by color to meet your needs…people hustling around to keep you happy and hydrated. Fans swarming you at openings and asking for your autograph. Relaxing at the pool and waiting for the reviews to come in. Right! Tell it to Alf Sharp. Alf spent a week with us shooting “Create a Newport Tea Table” and […]

The post So You Want to Be a Video Star? appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Awesome Responsibility of Being a Woodworking Grandpa

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am

A conversation between Bob Rummer, Ken Rummer and Don Burnham

BOB: I just became a Grandpa. As I am working in my shop to complete a rocking chair, hopefully before my grandson enters pre-school, it strikes me that I have some critical Grandpa responsibilities. I am using a plane that belonged to my Grandfather, chisels that were used by my great-grandfather, and skills and methods I learned from my father. Now it is up to me to influence the next generation. What are the rules? What important lessons do I need to share? Should I get the Playskool workbench for his first birthday? Where could I go wrong? At times like this I turn to my big brother for advice–

KEN: Well, I’m still a newbie grandpa myself, with just a shim and a shaving’s head start. We may have to put our heads together on this.

CLICK HERE to read what Bob, Ken and Don think their Grandpa responsibilities ought to be:

We would love feedback from readers on this topic. How were you impacted by your grandpa in the workshop? What do you see as your responsibility to pass on the love of the craft? Add your thoughts to the comments below.

The post The Awesome Responsibility of Being a Woodworking Grandpa appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Twist and Shout!

She Works Wood - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 7:57pm
I bought a nice 8′ piece of quarter sawn Sapele to make picture frames.  I ripped it and put it on the shooting board to cut the rabbet for the picture to fit in.  I had to clamp in down to cut the rabbet and when I un-clamped  it, check out what happened. I’ll cut […]
Categories: General Woodworking

who knows what they’re called? Not me…

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:00pm


It becomes a funny diversion; what are these called – both today & in the 17th century. The old name is easy – we have no idea what the joiners who made ‘em called ‘em. Furniture historians often call them “glyphs” – but most architectural definitions call a glyph a vertical groove or channel. 

whatever they’re called, here’s how I made some today for the carved box with drawer. This batch is walnut. Essentially I make a run of molding that is peaked, then cut it up. I took a scrap about 15″ long, by about 9″ wide. Planed a straight edge, then marked the middle of it, (this board is just over 1″ thick.) also marked the thickness of my glyph – 3/8″. Then planed two bevels down almost to the scribed lines. I needed about 4 feet of this stuff; so I did this to both edges of the board, a couple of times. I made extra so if something went wrong in trimming I wouldn’t need to start over. 

planing edge

Here’s a close up view of the planed result. 

more detail

here’s how I held the board – the single screw is next to useless – it just pinches the board while I get a mallet to whack the holdfast. Then I sawed down both edges, I sawed in the waste area, leaving stock for planing the backs of this molding. 

holdfastSawing. simple enough. 


This is one of those rare instances when I will say to you – be careful if you do it this way. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but I’m pulling the molding to plane off the saw marks – much like a cooper will plane the edges of his staves. Need a sharp plane, set fine. And focus. One slip…and you feel real stupid. 

planing upside down

Then saw the pieces to length, and use a chisel, bevel down at first, to shave each end of the glyph. Or whatever it’s called. 



Here’s some from a chest with drawers made in Plymouth Colony, c. 1680s or so

molding detail, Plymouth Colony chest

I have mine cut and glued onto the box with drawer. so that’s the first piece built for the next joinery book. Next week I’ll apply a finish & photograph it. 

Poor Technique or Tough Environment?

360 WoodWorking - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:00pm
A dovetailed draw from 1904.

A dovetailed drawer from 1904. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

When I look at old pieces of furniture I try to put myself in the shoes of the guy who built the piece. I often chuckle at the notion that maybe things would have been done differently if the guy knew that in 100 or 200 years someone would come along scrutinizing every detail and speculating why certain things were done in certain ways. When I build, I try to make sure that what I build will survive well beyond my short time on planet Earth, but the builder can only do so much; the material itself is a large part of the equation as is the environment any old piece of furniture may find itself in. What we build today will someday be old and we have to keep in mind that a lot of things happen to furniture as it falls out of and back in to fashion.

If you’re into absolutes and think in terms of black and white you probably shouldn’t build furniture out of solid wood. The people who made things in previous centuries didn’t spend a lot of time theorizing about best practices, calculating wood movement or worrying about which joint was the strongest. They certainly did the best they good, but standards and expectations change. Dovetails today are seen as credentials for the woodworking elite; if they are perfectly proportioned and perfectly executed the guy who made them must know what he’s doing. If we were to propose such a notion to the man who built this drawer, I believe he’d be surprised. In his day, the dovetail was a good way to hold a drawer together, and one of several joints a competent cabinetmaker was expected to execute in a reasonable amount of time.  In today’s world, just about anybody can make perfect hand-cut dovetails if given enough time. In the real world, everything is a compromise; driven by the old adage that time is money.


Foot detail of the same case piece, note the water damage before you judge the cabinetmaker.

When you first look at the foot of this same case piece, the immediate reaction is that the cabinetmaker blew it. The evidence for that is the open miter joints. This isn’t a common way to make this detail, but it is an elegant solution to the drawbacks of the usually seen single piece. The grain flows nicely around the corner between the leg and the horizontal rails. I bet it looked really good when it was new.

So is this leg detail one we should avoid because it is obviously doomed to failure? I don’t think so. I think the real culprit is the person that decided to move this piece down to a damp basement and let it sit directly on the floor. You can see where water has soaked into the bottoms of the legs. The guy who made it never imagined that someone would do that. A lot of old furniture sees extreme conditions; “we shouldn’t toss that out, let’s take it down to the basement, up to the attic, or out to the barn.” The fact that pieces survive those things at all says a lot about the integrity of the construction as well as the skill and judgment of the builder. I used to stay away from techniques that I had seen fail in antiques, but that attitude closes a lot of doors that lead to interesting and attractive furniture. Now I take my chances, and hope for a pleasant environment after I’m gone.

–Bob Lang

MVFlaim Toolrestorer

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 5:28pm

A few weeks have gone by since my last post and I’ve loaded up on some more tools that I’ve gotten at area auctions. I have so many tools that I need to clean and restore that I should just rename my blog MVFlaim Toolrestorer.  As you can see, I have a fetish for hand planes.

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I’ve been spending so much of my free time cleaning all these tools that I haven’t really had anything to blog about woodworking wise. However, my wife wants me to build some cabinets in our dining room, so I should have something new in the coming weeks. That, and my friend and I have been talking about building a CNC machine during the winter. Stay tuned.

A Look into the Future

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 8:49am

I had the pleasure of chatting with Daniel Carter and Lance Granum a few weeks ago for a  This Old Workshop podcast; it seems I talk too much, because they’ve broken the conversation into two sections, and they’re now live on the site. Click on the link above to hear about some upcoming articles in the magazine, what we look for in queries, favorite tools (both mine and the guys’) […]

The post A Look into the Future appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Chevy – Nearing the finish line

McGlynn On Making - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 7:09am

I had a good couple of hours in the shop yesterday and nearly finished the seat assembly for the Chevalet.

In my previous post I was on the fence about whether to use hand or poser tools for the joinery.  This is not a philosophical debate for me, it’s more about pragmatics.  What approach is going to get the job done most efficiently with the best result?  For example, on tenons I’ve done bunches of them using a dado stack on my table saw with the tenon face horizontal.  The fence controls the height of the tenon and the blade height controls the depth.  With a bit of scrap wood I can dial the tenons in to a very precise measurement.  The downside is that I have to change over to the dado set and set up for each unique tenon face.

In a similar way, my mortiser is very handy and I love it.  But changing over to a different chisel requires a bit of setting up and making test cuts to ensure it’s cutting parallel to the fence.  I’m also not 100% happy with the finish on the mortise walls (I recently read about some tune up procedures that are supposed to help with that, something to do on a rainy ray this winter!)

So I decided to use as many hand tools as I could yesterday.

First the mortises, I had two blind mortises and two through mortises to do.  They are large enough that I didn’t want to try to chop them alone, so I drilled out the bulk of the waste and pared the remaining material in little bits until I got to the wall.  For mortises up to probably 1/2″ wide I’d probably have just chopped them directly, but the smallest of these was 1″ wide.

This is the blind mortise for the toggle arm that actuates the clamp.  The clamp assembly is bolted from below.  I used a 1" bit to clear most of the material, being careful to hit the same depth each time.

This is the blind mortise for the toggle arm that actuates the clamp. The clamp assembly is bolted from below. I used a 1″ bit to clear most of the material, being careful to hit the same depth each time.

After paring the waste back to 1/16″ or less from the walls I set the chisel in the knife lines and chopped straight down.  I’m really pleased with the results, it took very little time and didn’t require any special jigs or tools.  I know there was a stage where I would have done this by making a jig and using a router, which would have been time consuming and noisy.  And I’d still have to square the corners.

Nice looking mortise, if I say so myself!

Nice looking mortise, if I say so myself!

What makes this work for me is taking small bites with the chisel, and having the work oriented so I’m always looking at the side of the chisel to ensure it’s plumb.  I work my way around the mortise nibbling away until I’m about 1/32″ to 1/16″ from my knife lines everywhere.  Taking small cuts is more controllable and easier to keep the chisel vertical.  I never let the walls get out of control.

Small cuts are the key, this is typical of what I'm pulling off the walls.

Small cuts are the key, this is typical of what I’m pulling off the walls.

On the through mortises I followed the same approach.  I knifed in the layout on both sides as accurately as I could, drilled though to remove the waste, and pared back to the line evenly before cutting directly on the knife line.  The only difference was that I worked from both sides towards the middle of the board.  I got one side to within 1/32 of the line, flipped it over and did the same on the reverse.  Finally I dropped the chisel in the knife line and finished it from both sides.  There is a tiny bit of unevenness in the middle (the board is 1.75″ thick), but it’s tiny and won’t affect the fit or strength in any significant way.  Again, happy, happy.

Through mortises on the bottoms of the legs

Through mortises on the bottoms of the legs

I mentioned yesterday that there was a problem with the big dovetail joint not reaching the surface of the seat.  Sure enough, when I measured the seat blank I discovered that I’d left it over-thick.  It was supposed to be 1.75″, but I’d left it at something like 1.860″.  Before I could thickness it to correct that I had to finish with my layout lines on the top, so I cut out the profile, rough cutting it on the bandsaw and finishing the radius with my spokeshave.  I used a rasp and scraper on the front transition sections.

Seat base shaped, the top edge will get a generous rounder later.

Seat base shaped, the top edge will get a generous round over later.

Which just left the tenons and maybe a few details.  I wanted to cut the tenons my hand, but you’ll recall the problem I was having with my Bad Axe tenon saw (the saw plate was getting floppy in the cut).  Mark at Bad Axe said that can happen if the saw gets torqued in a difficult cut, and that his use of a folded back on the saw is an advantage.  Here is something I didn’t know: on saws with folded backs the blade doesn’t seat all the way to the depth of the back.  The back only grips 3/16″ to 1/4″ of the saw plate.  You can read his re-tensioning procedure on his web site,

The gist of “re-tensioning” is to tap the saw plate a tiny bit further into the folded back at both the heel and toe.  Honestly, any problem I can solve by whacking it with a great huge hammer, I’m all for.  So two taps of the hammer later and my tenon saw is magically healed.  Who knew?

So I laid out the first tenon, that goes into the seat bottom and checked it against the mortise.  Thank God, because I mad my mortise gauge set to the wrong dimension.  Take two; I laid out the tenon.  Again.

I sawed the tenon down to the shoulder lines.  I think the tenon saw is a little coarse for shat I’m doing, or maybe I’m just not used to it.  I need a bigger handle too (or smaller hands), this one pinches my hands.  On one of the tenon edges I angled waaaaay off the mark, likely it was into the waste.  I pared the mistake away and then planed the tenon faces to fit.  I intentionally cut the tenon oversize to give myself room to screw up.  I sawed the shoulders on my knife line without cutting a “V” like I usually do, and was left with a whisper of excess all around that I could chisel away,  I ended up with a snug fit and a decent shoulder in the one place on the project that no one will ever see!  Two more tenons and a couple of holes to go and the seat will be done.  I’d better start on the CAD layout for the toggle arm and foot clamp mechanism.

One tenon done, two to go.

One tenon done, two to go.

Categories: General Woodworking

want to see something funny?

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:49am

This ain’t wainscot by any stretch of the imagination.

PF settee 1992

We saw this windsor settee when we were at Michael Burrey’s a couple of weeks ago. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/plymouth-craft/ He bought it from a fellow who was downsizing, moving – life-changing somehow. 

I made it in about 1992. Had forgotten all about it. I think I made a couple something like it; all under the guidance of Curtis Buchanan. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/go-see-curtis-stuff/ I have two or three of the chairs here at the house. We still use them all the time. Much lighter than a wainscot chair, but no carving…so where’s the fun in that? 

Making Wooden Spoons (Quickly)

The Literary Workshop Blog - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 3:00pm

Our local art museum, the Mobile Museum of Art, is hosting an arts-and-crafts fair next month.  I don’t usually sell my work at craft shows, but the table fee was reasonable, so I signed up.

The problem is that I don’t have a lot of surplus spoons on hand, so I’ve been in production mode this weekend. That means I’ve had to streamline my workflow.  Because–let’s be honest–I enjoy the process as much as the product, so I don’t usually work as quickly as I can.

First, I pulled out some stock that I had been saving for spoons: these boards have some bad end-checking, and they were cut to a very uneven thickness (a casualty of my ineptitude at the bandsaw).  The figure isn’t spectacular enough for use in furniture, but it should make great spoons.

Pecan Spoon Spalted Stock 11-2014

Usually, I select stock to minimize waste, but this time I’m working to maximize the appearance of each spoon.  I’m also not bothering to work right up close to defects like knots and splits.  I don’t want any surprises after I’ve roughed out each blank.  My templates help me plan out exactly what parts of the board will become spoons.

If I’m making one spoon at a time, I cut out everything by hand, but this time I cut each blank to rough shape on the bandsaw.  Normally, I find that the whole ordeal of taking a single blank down to the bandsaw, turning everything on, putting on my dust mask, tensioning the blade, making the cuts, de-tensioning the blade… oh, shoot–it’s just not worth it for two cuts!  But when I’m cutting out seven spoons all at once, the machine is faster.

I still shape the spoons by hand with a large gouge, drawknife, and spokeshave, but I do contract out some of the finishing work.

Pecan Spoon Making Helpers 11-2014

My wife is pretty quick with the card scrapers, and I even taught her how to resharpen them!  I can sometimes get one or two of the kids to do a little sanding.  Other times, they just keep my company as they crack pecans.  (It was a pecan-sort-of-an-afternoon.)

By the end of the evening, I had seven pecan spoons ready for final sanding.

Pecan Spoons 11-2014 - - 2

Nearly all of them have at least a little spalting in them.

Pecan Spoons 11-2014 - - 1

I need to do a lot more, in both pecan and walnut.  But a few more afternoons like this, and I’ll have a good stock of spoons ready for the show.

Tagged: band saw, bandsaw, craft fair, craft show, Mobile Art Museum, Mobile Museum of Art, pecan, stock selection

Sliding dovetails

Kees - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 9:09am
To make things as difficult as possible I decided not to use normal dado's for the shelves, but a sliding dovetail joint. Never done that before, so I had to ask around what the best method is to make these with handtools. Luckily someone replied that the fit isn't too critical, because there is plenty of glueing surface and éverything is hidden from sight.

First I had to prep the wood. Most of this was done with powertools. Cutting a piece of wood from the last cherry plank, planing, resawing it on the table saw, and more planing and thicknessing, They ended up at the 10mm thickness I wanted them to be, It was a squeeze though, the thick tablesaw blade eats up a lot of wood. I really need a bandsaw!

Then I marked out the exact position of all the cutlines. I don't really measure at all, every mark is taken from the other parts, like here, the inside width of the cabinet. This method is much more precise then measuring with a rule.

For the sliding dovetail I first chop a small mortise at the end and mark the sides with a deep knife wall.

And then it's a matter of sawing the sides of the sliding dovetail socket. It';s going to be a half dovetail, so one side is straight, just keep the saw vertical, the other side is at an angle. To give myself an idea about this angle while sawing I set a sliding bevel in front of the board.

The male part is cut likewise. I didn't shoot a picture (sorry), but it is a matter of sawing the baseline and cutting the sloping part with a chisel. Only a little bit of material needs to be removed, so this is quick work.

And here is the result. Not perfect, but not too bad for the first time either.

Categories: General Woodworking

‘Is It Genuine?’

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 8:58am

One of the things I enjoy in life is the experience of the under promise and the over delivery. I bought “Is It Genuine” (1971) while searching for good information about 18th-century furniture. I don’t worship what the 18th century has to offer but at its core it represents what I feel is the pinnacle of hand-powered woodworking. It’s a unique period of the pre-Industrial Revolution world that relied on […]

The post ‘Is It Genuine?’ appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

First seat joint done

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 8:01am

It doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, but I got the dovetail joint for the seat cut and fit yesterday afternoon.

I spent some time sawing practice joints first on a tick scrap of Sapele.  My LN dovetail saw didn’t quite reach deep enough, and it was a lot of sawing — but the cut was crisp and arrow straight.  I decided on using my nearly-new Bad Axe 16″ tenon saw and made a bunch of practice cuts to get my arm tuned up.

Practice cuts.  The micro-thin cut labeled "DT" was done with my LN dovetail saw.  The cut on the far right was done with the sun in my eyes and is nowhere near the pencil line.  I probably made 15 or 20 warmup cuts before I cut the actual joint

Practice cuts. The micro-thin cut labeled “DT” was done with my LN dovetail saw. The cut on the far right was done with the sun in my eyes and is nowhere near the pencil line. I probably made 15 or 20 warmup cuts before I cut the actual joint

While I was sawing the cuts I noticed that the saw seemed to want to wobble in the kerf.  When I checked the saw the plate was “loose” or “floppy” along the toothline.  Not good.  I set it aside while I laid out more practice lines, and then noticed that the wobble was gone.  Almost like it was heat related.  I made another cut and it came back.  Crud.  I bought this saw a couple of years ago, but I’ve hardly used it at all.  I emailed Mark at Bad Axe and he suggested that the saw plate needed to be reseated in the folded back, so I’m going to try that today.

//www.badaxetoolworks.com/retension-a-backsaw.php) advice will resolve the issue.

Beautiful saw, hopefully Mark’s retensioning (http://www.badaxetoolworks.com/retension-a-backsaw.php) advice will resolve the issue.

I sawed out the tails and checked them for accuracy.  There were a few spots where they weren’t flat and a couple of areas where they were slightly out of square with the face of the board.  I pared out all of the problem spots and jury rigged this setup to transfer the tail layout.

Transfering the tail layout to the pin board

Transfering the tail layout to the pin board

If you are particularly observant you’ll have noticed the scraper between the end of the tail board and the plywood alignment stop.  Somehow I had the baseline for the dovetails about 1/16″ too shallow.  That means the end of the tails won’t reach the face of the seat.  Not a structural problem, but a little annoying.  I’ll have to check the thickness of the seat, maybe I didn’t finish it to the right thickness, that would be an easy fix.

I sawed and chopped out the pins, and got the joint mostly fit up in time for dinner.  There is a little tweaking left as one side isn’t seating completely yet.  I’ll deal with that after I get some coffee.

The beginnings of the seat

The beginnings of the seat

The rest of the joinery on the seat should go more quickly.  I’m on the fence about whether to do the work by hand or use power tools.  I’m leaning towards hand tools, if I can re-tension the saw plate on my tenon saw I can practice sawing the tenons, and if they are not perfect it isn’t a huge deal as I haven’t yet convinced my wife to put the Chevy in the living room.  We’ll see.


Categories: General Woodworking

Enfield Cupbboard day 2.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 6:46am

I continued work on my Enfield Cupboard yesterday afternoon. I had planned on getting the face frame finished, as well as the case side arches sawn so I could glue up the carcase today. Unfortunately, I ran out of time, but I did manage to get the face frame ready to go.

I started out by laying out the mortises for the top rail. I decided to chop them out by hand because there are only two. That part went fairly quickly, but the poplar I’m working with is stringy, and it wasn’t easy to get the mortises cleaned out. I then made the tenons on the rail by using the table saw jig I built a few weeks back. It worked well, but I did have to wax the runners of both the jig and the table saw fence to get it to slide more freely. Before I go on I will admit that I hate making mortise and tenon joints. Firstly, I’ll say that I’m not all that great at fitting them from the get go, and I always have to spend the extra time getting them fit properly. In this case it was about 15 minutes of added work with a router plane. I would much rather make ship lap joints, which I’m good at and are much of the time just as strong. In any event, it was finished and I moved on to sawing the arches at the bottom of the stiles.

Mortises laid out

Mortises laid out                         

Mortises chopped

Mortises chopped

To lay out the arches on the stiles I followed the measurements on the original Enfield plan. I marked some guidelines, and used a French curve to draw the arch. I sawed the first arch with a jigsaw, used it to mark the second arch, and did the same. I then clamped both together and cleaned up the cut with a spokeshave and some light sanding. Before I glued up the face frame I planed the edges, just a few passes, with a smooth plane and gave it a very light sanding. I then glued it, clamped it, and let it dry overnight. Today, I hope to get the case sides finished, though I’m not necessarily sure about gluing it up yet. It’s quite cold right now, and the temperature isn’t expected to rise much above freezing. The case is too large to bring inside to dry, so I’m going to play it by ear.

Face frame fit

Face frame fit


On another note, last winter I built a Dutch Tool Chest. I felt it would be both useful and fun to build. It does a nice job of holding tools, but I have to say that it is really getting on my last nerve. What is the problem? I have nowhere to put it. The chest always seems to be in the way, and I’m constantly moving it whenever I woodwork. Considering that the chest weighs around 120 lbs, this part isn’t fun. One solution I’ve seen is to attach a French cleat and hang it on the wall, which I might do, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose? It is too deep to be a wall cabinet, at least in my garage, and too large to be unobtrusive on the floor. If I had the time and money, I would make a proper wall cabinet for tools and be done with it. Live and learn I guess.

Categories: General Woodworking

Simple Dividers For Your Glass Doors

360 WoodWorking - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 6:39am

Video-Glass Divides.00_04_33_01.Still001There is no reason to turn away from building true divided-light glass doors in your projects. While some techniques to get the dividers made and installed are involved, this is a simple technique sure to work.

After building your door frame complete with rabbets to hold the glass, dividing the opening is done using two different sized parts. The pieces that show to the front of the door are 1/4″ thick and 3/4″ wide. The pieces used to separate the glass are 1/4″ thick and 1/2″ wide. Installation uses glue and small spring clamps – and your abilities to cut to the lines.

Build Something Great!



American Field Show At Industry City Nov 22 - 23, 2014

Tools For Working Wood - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 4:00am
Come to American Field
Next weekend we will be taking a lot of our American made tools and clothing and setting up two blocks away so we can participate in the American Field All American Pop-up Market. This show highlights American Manufacturing from all over the country. Click on the picture to take a look at the list of exhibitors - everyone from old line companies to new companies with a single product. IT's going to be tons of fun.

At the same time - next door - will be The Brooklyn Holiday Market featuring Brooklyn makers and hosted by Wanted Design. A lot of our friends are exhibiting there. Both shows are free I think you will have a great time!

See You There!

Spring Cleaning (6 Months Late)

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 6:47pm

The shop at Popular Woodworking has been a bit of an embarrassment for the, oh, last year or so. We’ve made a desultory effort now and again to whip things into shape, but ever since our garage door was moved to the far end of the shop (as far away from as possible and around two corners and a fence from the dumpster and recycling bin*), we’ve been less apt […]

The post Spring Cleaning (6 Months Late) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut