Hand Tool Headlines
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!
I was sitting around my hotel room last night considering my options for today, Saturday. Thursday, I flew up to Boston and toured the Museum of Fine Art. Then off to Woburn to visit the new Woodcraft. Not a big deal but it got me out of Boston before the traffic got too bad. It’s always bad, before it got worse. It will be a nice store once they get it unpacked.
Friday was the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts in Beverly, the Peabody Essex Museum, The House of Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace. And then after lunch…
No, that was a full day. Since it was early, I stopped at a mall to kill time and possibly do some damage control. (See yesterday.)
For reasons I won’t go into here, I wasn’t sure if I would be cleared to make this trip until Tuesday. I hadn’t invested too much time into the planning beyond Friday. I made a trip to lobby brochure rack and checked the web and saw that Manchester, NH showed promise. Many things to do and only about an hour away.
Finally to the Currier Museum of Art. This museum currently has a spectacular M. C. Escher exhibition. Escher is more than just his transformations and optical illusions. There are many amazing woodblock prints and lithographs of Amalfi, Abruzzi, Sicily and many other European locations. And other amazing still lifes and intimate images.
But, wait! There’s more! The Currier also owns and exhibits the Zimmerman House, a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house and the only Wright house in New England open the public.
Looking for the Escher exhibit, I stumbled across a small contemporary furniture exhibit. Only five pieces but nice pieces. I don’t always like contemporary furniture but these I liked.
First is Spring Desk, 1996 by Jere Osgood:
And the True Love Blues, 2000 by Jon Brooks:
Since my stats are down, you have to go to Flickr to see the entire set HERE.
And they have period furniture as well. Soon.
One of the more annoying kitchen implements we’ve owned is a plastic soup ladle. We’ve probably had it as long as my wife and I have been married. Aside from the design being awkward, the ladle imparted a plastic-ish taste to soups and stews if we left it in the pot too long. So my wife finally commissioned a replacement.
I worked on it on and off for the last few weeks. Usually it takes me under an hour to make a spoon, but this one was special. The wood had a nice crook in it, but also quite a bit of reversing grain in the bowl. Plus, it took me some time to get the bowl deep enough. I went back and forth between my gouge and my hook knife until the bowl looked right.
The finish is still curing, so I suppose we’ll hold off on serving soup for the next couple of days. In the meantime, the old plastic ladle is being relegated to the kids’ play kitchen on the back porch.
Tagged: ladle, soup ladle, walnut
That the sound of progress. A slow, nearly silent drip in a dark room with no other sound. But it’s progress.
It’s t-minus three weeks (ish) until Christmas, and time for my son and I to get our game on if we’re going to be giving any handmade presents this year. I have really only two presents I plan to make, but one of them depends on getting the chevy finished.
My boy, on the other hand, has eight people he needs to have gifts for. So we jumped in the truck and headed to Watsonville to see what Jackel Enterprises had on sale. A lot as it turns out. All of the wood in the racks is discounted 25%, and the Claro walnut is 50% off. It took a lot of self restraint not to grab a bunch of the 8/4 Cherry with the idea of making the Frank Lloyd Wright table I just developed plans for.
But we did get some Claro and some Maple for a present Cole is going to make a chess set on the scroll saw. I found some plans online, and I helped him get started on it this afternoon.
He’s never “scrolled” before, and I think he’s doing a really great job. He’ll be an expert by the time he’s done.
Meanwhile, I made the lever-arm-thingie for the Chevy. It’s a simple piece and it was fun to play with the spokeshave and scraper shave again. With this piece done I’m down to the vise clamp and the foot pedal — those should both be quick pieces.
I’m emerging from more than a week of radio silence. I’m not apologizing for it, as I was feverishly selecting, identifying editing, and captioning somewhere close to 500 pictures for VIRTUOSO: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley. This was from an inventory of over 6,000 photos in my computer, which does not include the ton of pictures Chris took nor the ones Narayan was not happy with. I would guess that if you gathered all the files from each time we snapped a picture it would number somewhere north of 10,000. I had begun the process about the time I submitted the written manuscript a month ago, but it resumed in earnest once Chris had the manuscript edited for me to work with two weeks ago.
This does not include the glamor shots or other photographs that will be employed as galleries or visual punctuation as Chris Schwarz, Wesley Tnnner, and Narayan Nayar hammer out the final design and layout for the book. It would not surprise me in the end if the book has up to 600 illustrations. I’ll have to look it over one last time, but we have had enough conversations that I am certain they know what I want it to look like.
For tomorrow afternoon I have a handful of photos to shoot (literally, less than a dozen) then I will let the manuscript sit unstirred for 24 hours and read it one final time before washing my hands of the whole thing as I send it to land on Chris’ desk with a plop on Monday.
Good riddance, I say. Come next week I will be free from my chair to work on the firewood pile, the new door for the root cellar, trying to impose some sort of order in the barn, continue reviewing Roubo 2, working on the preparations and marketing for the exhibit of the Studley collection…
I have made it no secret I am a big fan of Chris Schwarz's work and writing. I've even professed my undying love respect across the undying electrons of the internet. (HERE)
And while I'm not interested in being a carbon copy of anything or anyone, once I finished setting up my Winter Shop and stepped back to look, even I was surprised at the not so subtle influence Chris has had on my shop.
With the workshop items I couldn't live without in place, it looked like a interior decorator with an boner for Lost Art Press had done the job. (I guess that would be me) I mean seriously . . .
Anarchist Tool Chest
Wall hanging tool rack
Nicholson style workbench
Anarchist English Square
The OK part is that I understand my problem.
A few years ago I was having an evening meal with a small group of woodworkers, and one of them, unfamiliar with me asked what I like to build. At the time I was finishing up a version of the school box from "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker" and like the simple psychology of a word association exercise, I piped up, "I build anything Chris does."
Later on I over analyzed that conversation and that statement (as I do), and decided there was something I had to change about the truth in that. In my core I want to explore my own work, but it's uncanny how closely my workshop aesthetics and habits align with the things Chris writes. Some of it is my own proclivities, some is direct influence from his work. The chicken and the egg argument ensues.
Here's how weird it is for me. I literally had a rough draft of a measured drawing and article query for Popular Woodworking on a Medieval Aumbry Cupboard. I was a few days away from finishing it enough to send it when I read on Chris's blog that he was building and writing an article about the same piece. I was frustrated for a bit, enough to delete the work I'd done, but in perspective I have no hard feelings and I can't wait to read the article when it's published.
So I began to purposely began to steer around the projects I saw Chris doing. I did not boycott his work. I just though long and hard about things before I jumped into them.
The problem is, trying to avoid a good solution out of stubborn pride is just plain stupid. So I succumb.
Ii succumbed when it came to the wall hanging tool rack and I'm preparing to succumb again.
|Roy Underhill's Nail Cabinet (photo borrowed from Chris Schwarz and Pop Wood)|
The Winter shop needs a place to store nails, screws and bits of hardware and I have loved this nail cabinet project from the first time I recognized it for what it was. Over all I like the idea of storing hardware in this type of set up, I love apothecaries and spice cabinets, but because Chris brought it to my attention and because of that I put the brakes on.
But it's too perfect to pass up. I will build one.
|Chris's take on the cabinet hanging in his shop (This photo also stolen borrowed)|
I've got a couple boards of 1"x12" pine sitting around and only a couple of small projects in the works. I need the storage in the new shop and I guess it's time to give in, shut up, and start sawing.
Ratione et Passionis
I have several matched hollows & rounds…but I don’t have a full set. Or a half set. Poor me. (That said, I do have the two sets I knew I would use, plus a couple unusable ones inherited from my grandfather.) Anyway…I don’t think a half-set is unreasonable for anyone who pursues hand-tool woodworking. So these aren’t really be an indulgence so much as something you might just have to […]
Today I visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The main reason for going was to see the exhibit: In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould. Chuck Bender wrote about this exhibit in September on his late Popular Woodworking blog.
I went and am now in the dog house. I picked this weekend based on the fact my wife and a group of our friends were going to the beach on Emerald Isle, NC. It is a beach house that has by rented by our group for six of the past eight years. Problem is I don’t love the beach as they do. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania. We didn’t have beaches. They go to the beach, I go to Boston. Seems fair.
Now the bigger problem is that my wife’s work schedule changed and she isn’t able to go to the beach and I still went to Boston. The airplane tickets were non-refundable. At times the word conspires against you.
Back to the woodworking content of the blog. In February, I wrote the blog Bodged, it’s not what you think with a follow-up last Friday, They Did It the Hard Way, Bodged II. This is not bodging, it’s custom fitting.
Looking at this Nathaniel Gould secretary:
I took a look at the brasses and saw they were not all lying flat but some had been well fitted to the slant front and drawers.
And it goes both ways:
And this last picture is neither fitted nor bodged but it is a nice carved shell:
Oh, what the heck, the top shell and finial are interesting, too.
Only time will tell how much trouble I’m in. Probably not all that much. I have a truly understanding and tolerant wife. I do. Really.
The other day on the Popular Woodworking web page I noticed that the editors are accepting submittals for the “End Grain” article which is published in each issue. I thought about submitting this post, which I wrote some time ago and never published on the blog. Then I thought the better of it, because it has virtually no chance of making it. So, rather than deleting it, I decided to share it with all of you….
My wife hates when I woodwork.
That sentiment isn’t something you will generally find in a “feel good” article meant to imbibe the good virtues of hobby woodworking to the prospective hobby woodworker. Many human interest stories concerning the hobby woodworker will paint a picture of a loving family, proud of the furniture the newest woodworker in the brood made. Or maybe you will read a nostalgic piece describing the bond between father and son that was nurtured in the workshop on Saturday mornings. Quite possibly the article will be about a piece of furniture or tool set that was passed down from grandfather to father, father to son, which connects many generations of woodworkers.
Well, my wife hates when I woodwork; my dad never woodworked, and the next tool or piece of furniture I inherit will be my first.
Currently there are twelve pieces of furniture gracing our house that came straight from my little garage workshop. My wife could not care less. I’ve managed to build up a respectable tool kit over the past five years, saving money, restoring old tools, and selling off my music instruments to help pay for them. Those tools mean nothing to my wife. I’ve built the workbench and shop storage items that most hobby woodworkers construct; I’ve even made several hand planes. My wife is barely aware of their existence. But this doesn’t mean I’m not proud of what I’ve accomplished. It just means that my wife is not.
Why does my wife hate when I woodwork? Maybe the costs of tools and materials put her off. Maybe being 30 feet away in the garage is too great a distance for her to bear. Maybe she just hates woodworking in general. Maybe I don’t know why.
My wife hates this blog. She hates that I write it. She hates what’s in it. She hates just about everything about it.
So what is the point of my telling you all this? There isn’t one. I’m just complaining. I’m not here to inspire you. I’m not here to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. I’m just telling you all that sometimes my life sucks. Sometimes my life sucks because I enjoy woodworking. The ironic part is the fact that when I feel my life sucking, woodworking makes me feel better. Hair of the dog? Perhaps. Either way it’s a paradox. I’m not trying to figure it out. I’m not a psychologist. I’m a half-assed woodworker, and sometimes it all just sucks.
Over on his blog, Christopher Schwarz has been writing the 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide since Dec, 1. I’m starting a little late with my 2014 Sybarite’s Gift Guide…because too much self-indulgence leads to blackouts (apparently), and causes one to not realize it’s already a new month. Like Chris’s, the woodworking-related gift ideas I’ll be presenting are 100-percent unsponsored. But unlike Chris’s, these are not items likely to be found in […]
This about where we left off on the legs.
Cutting this bridal joint is fun and exacting all at the same time. You can see the kerfs I use to relieve the waste. The final removal can be done via chisel or a bandsaw. Layout marks indicate orientation. Cross grain cuts are all knifed to score fibers.
The leg assemblies are joined via a centrally located stretcher that sits in a thru tenon cut into the upright of each leg. Here is the layout,
The corresponding tenon is cut using a router and router board, here we are sizing the tenon:
Its easy to resolve to beating this joint together but far more productive to slowly work on the fit, there is no hiding a sloppy fit on a thru tenon:
Watching videos or reading books and magazines is certainly one way to learn about woodworking, but nothing substitutes for experience. A few weeks ago, right before the 360 Whirlwind Tour began, I spent two days teaching classes at Ron Herman’s school in Columbus, Ohio, and the students in attendance I think would agree. The classes I taught were dovetail basics and advanced dovetailing. In both cases, the students had limited or no experience at all. By the end of each day’s class, however, they had their feet firmly set upon the path to woodworking success.
No matter how we try to intellectualize the craft, it’s a physical activity. You need to practice and, if you want to get better, you need instruction. When I started learning how to play golf (and I’m still learning…some days slower than others) it was hard to figure out what I was doing right and what was going (so horribly) wrong until I took a few lessons from a pro. Sure, my dad tried to give me pointers, but he was only marginally better than me. And while I loved and respected him, I wasn’t going to really learn how to be a better golfer from him – enter the professional.
Here was a person who dedicated a huge part of his life to honing his craft. He saw the gross mistakes (and believe me for most “gross” is an understatement) and the (few) things I was doing right. Based on those observations and his experience he had me shooting straighter and more consistently in just a few lessons. He gave me pointers on what to look for when things went wrong (“Look at your stance at the end of the swing, the position of the club, where the ball went.”) and gave me insight into how to tweak what I was doing to start getting better results (“Move your body this way or change your grip and this will happen.”). All of that came from years of daily practice and a massive amount of natural talent (two things I obviously lack when it comes to golf). Without his help I would be (even more) clueless as to how to begin getting better.
So, how does all this golf talk relate to woodworking? Saturday morning I walked into Ron’s shop and greeting a handful of newbie woodworkers who had never cut dovetails in their lives. By the end of the day, without exception, each was turning out perfectly respectable dovetails (I said “perfectly respectable”, not perfect – though a few were incredibly close…you know who you are) that were not only serviceable but something they could each be proud of making. This happened because it was easy for me to look at what they were doing and give them those little personal tips (“Move your body this way or change your grip and this will happen.”) that put them on the path. They still did the cutting and removed the waste; I had nothing to do with that. I merely showed them the basics, then tweaked their technique and the rest is up to them. They have to practice what I showed them. Watching me cut dovetails or reading about it over and over isn’t going to make them better dovetailers – that is why we practice.
And because 360 Woodworking is all about making you a better woodworker, and using a variety of delivery systems to do it, I want to announce that within the next week we will be opening registration for a limited number of hands-on classes here at the 360 WoodWorking shop and offices. The classes will take place throughout 2015 and will cover a variety of projects and techniques for woodworkers of various levels. Stay tuned for more information.
A couple of years ago I became curious about an original piece of furniture from the Arts & Crafts period, and decided to track it down. The next thing I knew I was planning a weekend getaway with my lovely and charming wife. She’s also an incredibly good sport because our destination, while a cool place to visit, involved measuring, photographing and documenting a single piece of old furniture.
Most pieces of furniture have a story behind them, as do most magazine articles. Up until now, there hasn’t been the space available to tell the story in great detail. You just can’t do it when there is a limit of 6 or 8 pages squeezed between ads, so a lot of the good stuff never gets published. In the first issue of 360 WoodWorking, I’m going to indulge myself, and you’ll be able to read the first article (of several planned) about building a reproduction of a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture.
The unsung hero of this story is the little square you see at the left. It’s also in the photo above, and it’s the reason I’m sprawled out on the floor and making an ugly face after driving 750 miles. The square is from Lee Valley. It’s basically a 6″ precision rule with a second leg. I like it for layout work because you can park it on the corner of something and get accurate distances in two directions, and with one edge seated against the work, you know that you’re really measuring from the surface of the wood, not the fleshy end of your thumb. For measuring pieces in the field, it’s great to be able to include the precision square in the photo. If you’re careful about how you aim the camera – the reason for the ugly face – you can read measurements when you get back home.
I’m excited about building this piece, and looking forward to sharing the experience here on 360 Woodworking. Glen, Chuck and I hope that you’ll enjoy this fresh approach to reporting about woodworking that incorporates video, lots of images and enough space to tell a story thoroughly. Our first issue (due to be released very soon) will be free, so that everyone can see exactly the type of content we produce.
If you want to get excited too (and show your support for our efforts) you can subscribe right now. Your subscription will run through 2015 (if you sign up for the yearly option), or you can sign up an a monthly basis. Either way, we won’t charge your credit card until after the new year. We also would appreciate it if you tell your friends, family and neighbors about what we’re doing.
The holiday season is here and with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Thankful Tuesday now past us…it is now time for our brand new December 2014 Issue of Wood News Online.
Every December we publish our Holiday Gift Guide within Wood News! This month we’ve got some great gift ideas from books to tools and everything in between. Take a look and don’t forget to get your order in before Friday, December 19th to get it under the tree for Christmas!
Hockey season is upon us and we came across a really cool project submitted by Dan Zehner who creates sitting benches out of broken hockey sticks. Read how Dan collects the sticks and then gets them prepped and ready for bench making material!
We’ve also got updates on a few other projects we’ve been tracking. Scott Stahl has finally finished building his Sawbo Workbench. And Lee Laird is just about to finish up the build of his Electric Bass Guitar with the addition of the frets, bridge, and saddles.
Our Show Us columns include:
- Mike Lawrence’s Out-Building workshop
- Adrian Burleigh’s woodworking tools that he built himself
- Wilson Lee’s beautiful carvings that are “inspirations that penetrate the consciousness so much that they are manifested in art.”
Our woodworking tip contributors have some great ideas that will help you save time and money on your next shop or project:
- Alan Noel’s Cold Weather Finishing Tip
- Jim Randolph’s Dust Tips
- Ralph Lombardo’s reader-contributed tip on “quitting while you’re ahead”
Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker shares a variety of woodworking knowledge this month with several projects he has going, as well as a head to head product showdown between two types of paper towels.
And as a bonus we’ve got TWO episodes of our web TV show The Highland Woodworker, including a special Holiday Tool Show featuring several of our Highland Woodworking employees discussing their favorite products.
Take a break and read all of this and more in our latest issue of Wood News Online!
Most of you might not realize that I have a more than a passing interest in dovetails. I consider myself a collector or perhaps a connoisseur. I have seen many, many of them (and so have some of you). Most of the time they are fairly regular. Like on this desk:
Even drawers don’t display much creativity:
But the bill/document drawers are art:
I call them jazz and not free-form because the angles are (mostly) the same. It’s just the tempo, the timing that changes.
Can you feel it?
Posted the 2015 teaching schedule, as far as I stands now. I have one or two more to add that I know of…
here’s the link, or the top of the page http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015-teaching-schedule/
I once jokingly said that I would die for woodworking. Then I thought, if my death somehow would greatly benefit the hobby and profession of woodworking, would I be willing to make the sacrifice?
So here is my question: If you were placed in a position where your untimely death would usher in a renaissance of woodworking prosperity never before seen in recorded history, would you be willing to make that sacrifice? Would you be willing to give your life to insure that both the hobby and profession of woodworking (along with all of the corollary industries) forever thrived until the end of time? Would you?
Finished building a box the other day; red oak, white pine. The original this is mostly based on had no till, but I’m shooting this one for the joinery book, so added a till. This box has a wooden hinge; a small extension is made on the rear board, so that it overhangs beyond the sides. Then this “pintle” is shaved round, and fits in a hole bored in the lid’s cleats to form the hinging action. Some shots of the process:
Here, the rear board’s rabbet is double-long. Much of this excess length will be cut away, leaving the pintle. This shows the saw cuts that define the pintle.
Then I split the waste off. Red oak splits very well.
The result. Next is just gets whittled to roughly round.
I jumped ahead and here I am nailing and clinching the cleat to the underside of the box’s lid. You can see the extended and rounded end of the cleat; with a hole bored in it.
There’s a little fumbling around to get the lid in place and nailed on. But here is the side view of the end result.
This box is a custom order, complete with initials. You can tell it’s modern, because the period way to render a “J” is to make it as an “I”. But the customer was leery of having this box read “IT” – so I made up a modern-ish “J”.
Then I went back to my carving
Thanks for the feedback on the Frank Lloyd Wright plant stand I posted yesterday. I made some tweaks to the design to try to closer to the reproduction photograph, and I think I’m as close as I’m going to push it.I think the design is reasonably well balanced, taken on it’s own. If I build it or read more about FLW’s aesthetics my view could change on that.
So what’s different from yesterday’s version? Glad you asked! I made the legs thicker, going tom 1 9/16″ to 1 3/4″. I also added tapers on all four faces of the legs, where previously is was only on the two inner faces. The inner legs are nudged outward toward the outer legs. And I rendered it in a darker wood color. I’m not happy with the rendering – on some faces the color looks like dark stained Pine rather than Oak. That’s a weak spot in the CAD software, it takes a crazy amount of fussing around to get calms wood projects to render in a photorealistic way — but if you can ignore the weird grain and look at the proportions I think it’s OK. The tim might be something to reduce in scale, but I’ve left that as an exercise for whoever wants to build this project. If you do build it, send me a pic so I can foster a sense of justifiable jealousy. Read on to get the plans to download.
I spent a couple of hours preparing the plans once I had the CAD model done. Sometimes I find errors in the model who I’m building the plans – and that’s a good thing. Sometimes I find a way to improve the design. All of which to say, drawing up the plans is time well spent for me. My only concern when I post plans is reading stories about unscrupulous people who steal other people’s work and then sell it. So, please do download the plans. Enjoy them. Use them to build this table, or as a tool to coerce a friend to build it (ehm, Rob?). Of use them in the fireplace to start a nice comfy fire on a sold winter night and cuddle up with your family. But please, don’t sell them.