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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.

General Woodworking

final fitting.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 1:27am
Miters are a woodworking joint that I tend to avoid using. I haven't had much success with the fit and the glue ups in the past. That has been slowly changing for the better. First, my glue ups got easier due to me using splines. That was a boon with clamping it up and not having it explode and fall apart on me. The miter fit themselves have tightened up and I've seen a big improvement there. That kicked in when I started using a shooting board. do them. I'm still not perfect but I am thinking of using them more now.

round 3 on fitting
I can get the frame to be ok with clamp pressure.  A loose dry fit gives gappy and uneven miters on two corners. The four corners should come together and fit up dry with no clamp pressure. That is my goal with this and it starts here. I am checking to make sure that the two opposing frame parts are equal.

The top miter D is a hair longer then it's opposite mate. With miters, it doesn't take much to throw the frame OTL. And of course the longer part is on the the miter with the tenon. Which is a royal PITA to trim.

the two miters I have to trim - one easy and one to pull my hair out with

lined up the inside corner
From Paul Sellers I learned that when doing miters it is important to line up the inside corners. The outside one doesn't matter here. I can't plane or trim the inside corner but I can do the outside one.

kerfing the miter
my 30 year old craftsman miter clamp
There was a part that went where the screws are that held a couple of plates that guided the saw. I never used it and I don't have it now. At least I know what it was supposed to be used for.

closed up dry - this is what I was shooting for
back side has a gap
The front side of the miter is closed up tight with no gap. To close up this gap I have to make a kerf on the other face miter. That will close up this side. This operation took a few cycles of clamp, look, unclamp, trim, and repeat. I also had to balance not taking too much off and making it shorter than its mate.

much better
I like the look of this dry clamp of the frame. The corners aren't perfect but I won't have to exert a great deal of pressure on the clamps to close this up. Miter D on the back side is being a problem child. I couldn't close it up and make it gap free. I don't think that I will be able to close it up anymore than what it is without screwing up the rest of the frame. It's on the bottom and I'm leaving it as is.

another problem area
I over cut this end of the bottom of the mortise. I noticed that miter C tenon was bottoming out on this.  It is on the inside of the frame and won't be see once the panel is fitted. I did all four of them to eliminate this as a potential hang up.

The clamps are in the way and I can't plane out all of the unevenness. I even tried to do it with the violin plane but that didn't pan out neither. Moving the quick grip clamps, which were the ones in the way, loosened the frame too much so I couldn't plane it.

sander worked perfectly
 I was able to use this sanding block and flushed and got all the corners even.  I also decided that I am going to paint this frame. I prefer leaving the wood natural but paint hides a multitude of sins.

ready for the panel
I only have to flush and even the top of the frame. The panel doesn't come out to the back side. Once this is glued and cooked I can plane the back  and I won't have clamps in the way then.

panel stock
The width of the board is almost exactly what the width of the panel needs to be before I trim it to allow for expansion and contraction.

saw benches are spoken for

cross cutting is next
I have used this flip stop to cross cut before. It can be a huge PITA on long wide boards like this one. It's difficult to hold the board up against the stop and saw on the line because I'm just a wee bit too far away from the action.

new way to cross cut at the workbench
On a recent episode of the Woodwright's Shop I saw Roy use this setup to cross cut a board like mine.  I've probably seen this before but this time I was paying attention.  This worked much better than I thought it would. The board didn't move at all on me when I did the crosscut. I was able to concentrate on the line and not worry about holding the board and keep it from shifting or moving on me.

you can drive a truck under this
This is going to be a thin board when I get done with it. I don't need a thick panel and something from 1/2" to 5/8" will work here.

planed the wings off first
bottom is flat and the top has a belly
hump and hollow removed
One side of this is flat and twist free. Or I should say it was flat and twist free. The board is already moving on me and the thinnest part is a hair over a 1/2". I don't think that I will be getting a board in my target range.  We'll have to see. I'll set this aside and I'll check it tomorrow. If it has played stupid wood tricks, I'll making another panel.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How many islands are there in the Hawaiian Islands?
answer - 8 major islands and 137 small islands (as counted by the State of Hawaii)

Upcoming Presentation

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 5:57pm


March 14 I will be presenting “Historical Finishes” to the Tidewater Chapter of the SAPFM.  The meeting will take place at Somerton Ridge Hardwoods (http://somertonridgehardwoods.com) in Suffolk, VA.

Hope to see you there.

‘The Best of Christopher Schwarz’ e-mag

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 3:00pm

Christopher Schwarz sincerely hopes that the projects, tips and tricks in this new digital magazine are not his best work – the best, he explained, is always yet to come. “I really hope my best stuff is in the pipeline,” Schwarz noted when I sought his help identifying articles to include in this collection. It was tough deciding what to include in this collection. His dedication to the traditions of […]

The post ‘The Best of Christopher Schwarz’ e-mag appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Traveling Tool Chest with a Mind-blowing Surprise

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:55am

Christopher Schwarz and Jameel Abraham are working together on a tool chest article for the August and October issues of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Chris built the box; Jameel created a carved marquetry panel for the lid. Yes – a carved marquetry panel. The chest is built to travel, is based on the many vintage examples that Chris has studied and measured, and holds a full complement of furniture making tools, […]

The post Traveling Tool Chest with a Mind-blowing Surprise appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Norsk Skottbenk Union

The Norse Woodsmith Blog - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 8:11am

Hi everyone!

I'm poking my head out of the rabbit hole just to send out notice of a new blog I've added to the Norse Woodsmith aggregator, called the Norsk Skottbenk Union. 

A "skottbenk" is an interesting bench/wood holding design (image courtesy of Norsk Skottbenk Union):

Dennis Laney had mentioned it in his blog earlier this month, and Roald Renmælmo, the owner of the blog, contacted me about adding it just this morning.   Being this is the "Norse" Woodsmith site, it seemed a great fit.

Much of it is in Norwegian, but Roald has added some english translations.  He voiced surpise that there would be interest in such woodworking in other parts of the world, but I've found quite the opposite - I think the global reach of the internet brings the most fascinating things to your doorstep, and this is one.   I personally know several who work in timber framing that would love to have one of these at the ready.





Turning Inspiration Into Your Own Design

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 7:00am

brynns-desk-accent-woodMy 7-year-old daughter has an art supply collection to rival most craft stores.  She decided to use these supplies to make me something for my birthday.  That morning she came into my office and asked if she could borrow one of my furniture books to get some ideas.  I gave her Great Designs from Fine Woodworking and off she went.

A few hours later, she brought back my book and her creation.  It was a desk/table thing, and most importantly, a sweet thought my little girl was proud of.  It of course didn’t look anything like one of the pieces of furniture in the book, but it did have many elements.  There where curved rails on the sides, and she even took the time to color in what I think are dovetails.

When it comes to my own designs, I go through a similar process to help me get to my end result and make it as original as I can.  I look through tons of Google images and design books, looking for elements to incorporate into my design.

When I find a piece of furniture that really speaks to me and I want to use for inspiration, I study the design.  I try to determine what parts I like and are drawn to and what parts I am not drawn to.  I keep those in mind as I work towards my final design.

Next, I go to the drawing phase. After I have studied the inspiration piece or pieces for a while, I cover up the photo and redraw it without looking at.  Several things happen as I do this.

First, I have no idea what size the piece is in the photo so I have to decide for myself what size it needs to be.  To come up with the right size for the piece, I think about where I would put it.  If it is for a client, I ask them where they plan to put it.  Often times their needs will dictate the overall size it needs to be.  Just changing the size can change the look and feel of a piece of furniture because all the proportions will end up different from the original.  Defining the overall size is the first step into making it my own style.

Second, is to change the details of the piece.  I can’t remember every aspect of the piece as it appeared in the photo.  This is when the piece really starts to take on a life of its own.  I have to fill in the blanks in my memory using my own experience of how I think things should look.  For example, if it‘s a table I am working on I most likely won’t remember what the original apron looked like.  I will have to decide how far to set the apron back from the edge.  I would have to remember if the apron was set back from the legs creating a reveal or if it was flush with the legs.  Then I have to decide how to join the legs to the apron.  Do I want to use standard mortise and tenons, or add some visual interest by using through mortise and tenon joints?

Then I would have to try to remember the shape of the legs, where they curved at the end, did they start out thick at the top and get thinner as they went to the bottom?  If the legs are one of the elements that  I didn’t like in the original photo because they were too thick, then this is the time to change them by thinning them down or by making it a more gradual curve.

This list of things to remember from the original will continue as I redraw the piece.  There are several things you can change from the original that will change the overall look and feel of a piece of furniture.  Even as simple as using different wood spices or throwing in an accent wood to add visual interest.

By deciding on how to handle all those subtle differences, and by using my own preferences and not referencing back to the original, I come up with something that is inspired by but different from the original.  All those design and construction details, as small as they are individually, add up to big changes.  I had to decide on each of them as I redrew the piece, bringing in my own design tastes and personality.

Many times, I am not 100 percent satisfied with my first redraw.  From that point, I will repeat the process and redraw it several times, tweaking this, that, and the other thing.  Each time asking myself what it is that is not speaking to me, and then changing that until I have come up with a design I am excited to build.

However, it doesn’t stop there.  Once I am in the shop, I may redraw elements of the design full size to get a feel for how the finished product is going to look.  Alternatively, if I can’t decide for sure whether or not the leg should be 2-1/2” or 3” wide, I will mill an extra leg at 2-1/2″ to get a feel for what it is going to look like.  If I like it, I will adjust the design on the fly.  When I am finished, I am always satisfied with my design that is inspired by, but not a direct copy of the original piece.


Brian Benham has made his lifelong passion for woodworking his profession. He enjoys taking his clients ideas and combining them with traditional woodworking techniques to create a unique piece of furniture.

You can find more about his furniture at http://www.benhamdesignconcepts.com/

You can Follow Brian on Google Plus


The post Turning Inspiration Into Your Own Design appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Building Bradley’s Crib Part 3 – Stopped Drilling and Hardware Finish Modification

Rainford Restorations - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 5:39am

When we last left our woodworking hero he completed the legs and was heading into the home stretch — installing the hardware. But wait….some of these things are not like the others. The bed bolts in the hardware kit were ordered in a nice antique bronze finish. The bed frame has a nice enameled finish in a similar dark brown metallic color. The threaded inserts and bolts that hold up the bed frame were a bright silver zinc finish. I worried these shiny bits would stand out like a sore thumb.

Then I remembered a trick I learned from my friend Chris Schwarz that he used on his Anarchist’s Tool Chest. I soaked the zinced hardware in a bath of citric acid for a couple hours, then brushed them off with a brass bristle brush, rinsed them in water and dried them off. I then applied some ‘Super Blue Liquid Gun Blue’ to the hardware with a Q-tip and rinsed the hardware in water and dried it off to complete the process. The Super Blue creates a chemical reaction that creates a nice patina on metals. In this case it made a dark brownish color that gets the threaded inserts into a color spectrum very close to the rest of the hardware. (Check out the photo below to see the before and after). I’m very happy with how that color treatment went.

Modifying the hardware's finish

Modifying the hardware’s finish

Next up I had to drill a large number of stopped holes for the various bits of hardware this project included — threaded inserts, bolts and barrel nuts. To accomplish this I made use of some of my favorite methods for drilling a fixed depth hole. The quickest and dirtiest way to drill a hole to a consistent depth out in the field is with some blue tape wrapped around your drill bit. When the excess tape wipes away all your shavings you know you reached the depth you set out to drill.

Blue tape depth stop

Blue tape depth stop

Next up is using a fixed metal stop collar. This gives a more precise stop, but if you press too hard the collar can mar the surface of the wood, so I mainly use the collar with a dowel centering jig (As the collar stops when it hits the jig) or in places where the wood rubbed by the collar will not be seen.

Metal Collar Depth Stop

Metal Collar Depth Stop

When I have the luxury of a drill press at hand I can make use of the built in quill depth stop (left side of drill press in photo below). When buying a drill press make sure you get a heavy duty depth stop and easy to use depth setting mechanism. Even with a nice stop I don’t trust the scale on it other than for macro level adjustments. For checking hold depth with a higher level of accuracy I use a depth gauge.

Drill press depth stop

Drill press depth stop

A depth gauge can be as simple as using your combo square with large holes, or a piece of dowel in smaller holes used to determine how deep the hole has been drilled. For real tiny holes or times I want a very high level of precision I use an old Starrett Machinist Depth Gauge I got at a tool show years ago. I like this gauge as it has its own macro and micro adjustment which is a very nice and completely overkill feature. :-)

Old Starrett Depth Gauge with Micro-Adjustment

Old Starrett Depth Gauge with Micro-Adjustment

I set the gauge to the depth I want as shown above. I then place the gauge in the hole, as shown below, and tweak my drilling until I reach the depth I am going for. It’s a quick and easy process.

Depth Gauge In Use

Depth Gauge In Use

With all the holes drilled I was able to install all of the threaded inserts into the posts. As the natural cherry ages it will become a golden brown color that will blend in with the brown colored hardware.

Completed Legs With Hardware Installed

Completed Legs With Hardware Installed

I’m very happy with how the hardware came out, and as you can see in the photo below, even on this freshly completed piece the hardware, and the threaded inserts and bolts in particular blend in quite well.

Mattress frame installed

Mattress frame installed

Next up in this series I’ll be talking about final assembly and finishing.

If you’d like to read some other posts related to this project as they get posted please check out this link here.

Take care,

Filed under: Children's Projects, Made In The USA, Traditional Woodworking, Woodworking Techniques Tagged: Bradley's Crib, Cherry, Cherry Crib, Crib, Full Size Bed, Toddler Bed, Wood Magazine, Wood Magazine 3 in 1 Bed
Categories: General Woodworking


Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 1:13am
Before I went into the Navy in October of 1974, I wanted to be a carpenter. I wanted to build houses. I had a burning desire to learn anything and everything there was to know about the craft. At that time apprenticeship programs were non existent. The carpenter's union had a journey man program but there was a catch to it.

The catch was I had to pony up $250 to join the union and get a union card. Then I had pay my first years dues and wait. Ponying up all those dollars (that I didn't have) was no guarantee that I would get into the program. Paying out all those dollars didn't even guarantee me a go-fer job neither. But I would be a dues paying, card carrying union man he said. Just show up at the union hall and ......

I decided to go into the US Marines and learn to be a jet engine mechanic but my cousin talked me out of the Marines (he was a Vietnam era Marine). I looked into the See Bees in the Navy but that was closed with nobody being offered admission. It never occurred to me that a 'builders' rating was offered in the army or the air force. I could have also gone into the navy and learned to be a pattern maker which was another rate I didn't know existed.  Instead I went into electronics because that is what the recruiter said I was qualified to do.

It's now been over 40 years since I first had the itch to be an apprentice. I guess you could say that I have been an apprentice the last 3 years with Paul Sellers being my You Tube master. That aside, where would someone young today go to learn woodworking? Schools have abandoned teaching woodshop or just about any other non academic class.  The trade schools in my area don't teach any hand skills at all. Everything is geared to a machine and if there isn't one, the requisite hand skill isn't taught. There are woodworking schools scattered about the country but they cost dollars. And the tuition doesn't include food or shelter, that is an another cost to be factored in.

I am not sure of this, but I think Germany is the only country that has anything even remotely resembling an apprenticeship. I read of several of their larger industries having manufacturing skill programs(machinists, etc) but I am not sure if there is a woodworking program. I am sure that in undeveloped countries, skills are still passed down father to son and mother to daughter. What skills are we passing down here in the land of milk and honey? I read the news(want ads) all the time about manufacturers lamenting there are no skilled workers but there are also no apprenticeship programs to teach them. I'm not sure the youth of today would even be interested in learning this way.

manual training arts book
I've read this book a couple of times and I mostly look through it now because of the plans it. It is a vocational training book printed in 1918 for elementary to college level training of students. What dumb founds me is what the students were expected to do. Some the joinery exercises therein I know I would have trouble executing today. 10 year olds were expected to do these without any help and on their own initiative.

This is one line from the book that stuck with me, "...at the same time the student is given no aid which will rob him of his own initiative in making......". This is from an exercise where the student is given a drawing of a piece of furniture and nothing else. It has just OAL measurements. He then has to make up his own drawings, a bill of materials, and a cost projection. He was then expected to make it in accordance with his drawn plans, on cost, and on time.

I think I was born in the wrong century. What would I have had been able to become if I had the opportunity of a formal apprenticeship?  Where would I be today if  Paul Sellers hadn't decided to teach as he does. I would probably be still experimenting and learning as I tried instead of being shown how to. It is easier to practice doing it the correct way vice guessing and learning by trial and error.

Is hand tool woodworking to die out? Who will come after Paul Sellers or Tom Fidgen to teach the younger generation?  I don't think it will ever die out but the 'old' tools available now (limited) won't be around then for them.  There aren't any manufacturers producing quality hand tools in the quantities like they were during the late 1800's to early 1900's.  There has been too much change with no respect or acknowledgment of the past. My nephews and nieces have no interest in woodworking at all. I'm holding out for the grandkids wanting to learn from a grumpy old man.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Which is the only US state that grows coffee beans?
answer - Hawaii

Hate double sided tape?? New cool trick

She Works Wood - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:02pm
I’ve had times when I need to hold thin pieces for planing or temporarily attach a piece so I can see it.  Here a cool trick for doing that and it doesn’t involve double sided tape.  See the video for more ideas and a more thorough explanation.
Categories: General Woodworking

what is “green woodworking”?

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 6:02pm

Some time ago, I wrote a column for Popular Woodworking and asked the question “what is green woodworking?” (December 2014, #215) I’m not going to repeat the article here, but want to look at the subject. The column stemmed from a talk I gave at Lie-Nielsen’s Open House last summer.

I used to know pretty clearly what “green woodworking” meant. But the older I get, the more I realize the less I know.

spoon 14-109 new photo side viewMaking a carved spoon is a great example of green woodworking – you can make them from dry wood, (I wouldn’t) but the best ones come from trees, and are worked while the wood still has a high moisture content. More direct, easier to cut, exploiting the fibers of the riven/split form – all of these are hallmarks of green woodworking. Hewn bowls, and many turned ones fall into a similar category. But bowls and spoons are single pieces of wood. what about furniture, when you put stuff together?

Robin Wood's bowl

Robin Wood’s bowl

When I first learned of this method of woodworking, it was Drew Langsner’s Country Woodcraft, Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s Shop – and the book that coined the term for the modern day – Make a Chair from a Tree: An Introduction to Green Woodworking by John (now Jennie) Alexander. What puts the green in green woodworking? Is it moisture content? Is it riving the wood? Is it “country crafts” like the British books that inspired all of the authors listed above – Jenkins’ Traditional Country Craftsmen” and Edlin “Woodland Crafts in Britain”. Alexander felt left out of the “country” aspect of this traditional woodworking, living in the heart of the city. Hence her book’s subtitle has “green woodworking” – not country anything.

JA chair

The ladderback style chair Alexander learned even got a great deal of its strength from the moisture content manipulation – dry tenons in wetter mortises. the mortise shrinks, the tenon swells. Presto! You’re a chairmaker and have never been to a lumberyard. The way I remember it, in the 1980s  green woodworking was ladderback  chairs, some bowl-turning (I remember folks used to turn them green, let them dry, the re-turn them round again!) and a few other disciplines. Timber framing comes to mind.



I think about coopering – is that green woodworking? Usually riven stock, worked with a hatchet, drawkinives, shaving horses – but the critical parts are either executed or at least assembled when the stock is bone-dry. Or else.

c a chair

Windsor chairs? In America, these usually had, and have, softwood seats. Often white pine. That ain’t worked green. But the hardwood components are often riven from green stock. They’re selectively dried, like parts of Alexander’s ladderback chair, before assembly. Even the hardwood seats of British Windsors can’t be dead-green…

Some approach the “green” like the modern use of the term, renewable energy; careful use of resources, that sort of thing. Coppice crafts, are perfectly aligned with this idea. This work has long been very popular in the Old World, yet to my knowledge, never caught on here in the New World.


joined & carved chest, 2010

joined & carved chest, 2010

Starting in 1989, Alexander and I explored another furniture craft, seemingly more complex, until we got through with it & stripped it down – joiner’s work of the 17th century. It had riven stock, high moisture content – but some of it was not “country” in its format – some were very elaborate forms; with lots of decoration. This work has been my main focus since then. It does not fit the eco-groovy definition at all. I call it “Imperialist Swine” woodworking – you need a whole new forest to sustain it. The oak trees I want take 200 years to grow to size. And I will only use a small percentage of the tree. The rest goes in the fire.

In the end, I decided I don’t think of myself as a “green woodworker” although probably three-quarters of my stock is riven from green logs, and primarily worked up while it has a high moisture content. Trees are wood, I’m a woodworker. Sometimes I use stock fresh from the log, other times I need stuff that’s air-dried. I work the wood at various stages between wet & dry. Most of my furniture is a combination of the two. I think that’s a traditional approach….

Oh, no! What’s “traditional” woodworking????


The pie in the sky keeps on turning.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 3:06pm

Every so often I read a comment, or comments, on a woodworking forum that are so stupid that I have to bring it up on this blog. Before I go any further, let me state that I have nothing against your everyday stupid comment. But there are levels of stupid comment, and at the top of the list (or bottom depending on how you look at it) are the stupid comments that think they are really smart. So what is a “stupid comment that thinks it is smart”? Broadly speaking, it is any definitive statement made without one shred of evidence or real facts to back it up. Often, these stupid comments have been made before, and like many lies, if they are told enough people eventually begin to believe them.

The origin of the stupid comments I read just yesterday was the origin of many a stupid comment made on a woodworking forum: IKEA. For the record, I do not shop at IKEA nor do I own furniture from the store. I may likely never enter an IKEA. I have no strong feelings either for or against the place. But it does bother me when I read about the professed “hatred” of a store. Why? Because that so-called hatred leads to comments like “IKEA drives down the prices of real craftsman and makes it harder for them to earn a living!” What?

Let me tell you a story. It was a crisp, lovely Autumn morning roughly 12 years ago. My wife and I had just purchased our house and we were looking to furnish it. I thought it would be nice to go a furniture shop and have a nice bedroom set made. I had in mind a dresser, two side tables, and an armoire; oak was my wood of choice. The shop I went to had a book where I could choose a style I liked, or if I was ambitious enough I could bring in my own photos or even my own concept drawings. We picked from the book because there was a set my wife liked, and it was close enough to what we had originally had in mind. The person at the shop said they would work up a quote and mail it to us. Less than a week later the quote showed up. While I can’t remember the exact number, I do remember that it was more than the car I was driving at the time. Even more to the point, I could have gone to a place like IKEA, or Raymour and Flanigan, and furnished my entire house for what that guy wanted to charge us for a small bedroom set. So my question to the geniuses on the woodworking forum is: What the hell would have been my quote had IKEA not been around to “drive down the costs”?

For the sake of full disclosure, I have priced out custom furniture since then, I even purchased some of it. There wasn’t one instance where I thought to myself “That was less expensive than I thought it would be!” There also wasn’t one instance where I couldn’t have gone to a furniture chain store and gotten something comparable, or something that would have done the same job, for less money. Would the custom furniture have been made better? Probably. Would it have looked nicer? Probably. Could I afford it? For the most part, no.

I am not using this post to knock the costs of custom furniture, I am only saying that many people cannot afford to own it. IKEA has not affected the cost of custom furniture one way or the other; custom furniture was expensive, is expensive, and always will be expensive. “But IKEA contributes to the ‘throw-away society’ mentality!” Here is another story. I have a computer desk and chair I purchased at Staples at least 15 years ago. I paid $99 and change for the set. That desk, made of plywood, particle board, and veneer, would be considered a throw-away item to certain people on a woodworking forum. Well, it probably is a throw-away item in the sense that when I die it won’t be willed to anybody, nor will relatives fight over it. But, considering that at this point in my life it has cost me less than $7 per year to own, and it still works just fine, I would hardly consider it a piece of junk. A similarly sized custom-made desk, built from maple, oak, or cherry would likely cost in the neighborhood of $6000 if I know anything about furniture. That is 60 times the cost of the very serviceable desk that I own. Of course the custom-made desk would look far nicer and would definitely be of better construction; I just don’t know if those features are worth 60 times more to me. But that is just my opinion.

In conclusion, this amounts to nothing more than me ranting. But when people make stupid statements it makes me want to rant. Places like IKEA exist because they fill a need. Mass-produced furniture exists because it fills a need. At the end of World War 2 when entire continents were displaced, people needed mass produced furniture that was affordable; people still need it to this day. Today, maybe one person in one hundred can actually afford to purchase high end piece of custom furniture. Maybe one in ten thousand can afford to furnish their house that way. Now, I will freely admit that I have no real facts or figures to back up that claim, I am only using my knowledge of the cost of custom furniture and my knowledge of what the average person earns. Or to put it another way, nobody I’m friends with could afford to purchase more than one custom piece of furniture, let alone furnish their entire homes with the same. Yet I am supposed to believe that private furniture makers would be thriving if IKEA didn’t exist?

I’m going to say this for the tenth (and hopefully last) time on this blog: the golden age of heirloom furniture is a myth; it’s pie in the sky. I’m not sure where this notion of every home containing masterpieces came from, but it needs to stay off the woodworking forums. If almost nobody can afford custom furniture today, why would it have been any different in 1750? As I said, maybe one percent of the population will ever be able to afford to own a piece of custom furniture. Now, even half of one percent is still a lot of high end furniture, but what about the rest? Should furniture businesses stop manufacturing inexpensive furniture for the masses so as not to upset the sensibilities of a few people on a woodworking forum? Is that what the forum geniuses want? Or maybe, just maybe, should these people develop some sort of an informed opinion, shut up, and get back to woodworking?

Categories: General Woodworking

The Highland Woodturner, Issue No. 47, February 2015

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 10:56am

hwtfebruaryThis month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner has some great woodturning project ideas, tips, and brand new products!

Our February issue includes:

Grinder Bushings: Curtis shares his recent project idea of turning custom bushings out of plastic for his grinder.

Turning a Bangle Bar: Ray Bissonette shares his project idea of turning a wooden jewelry holder for bracelet bangles, which he was inspired to turn after seeing one made out of a paper towel roll.

A Drill Depth Gauge for the Tailstock: Rick Morris discusses his process of creating a drill depth gauge to attach to his tailstock.

Show Us Your Woodturning: This month we’re sharing the beautiful woodturning projects turned by Denis Ciesielski, who often incorporates bronze, brass, or copper castings into his turnings.

Phil’s Tip: Phil has a tip on how he utilizes a discarded sheetrock bucket to make his wood cuts in his driveway.

We are also featuring 2 new woodturning products that we are now selling at Highland Woodworking:

The Rikon 70-220VSR 12-1/2 inch Midi Lathe: Rikon has hit a home run with their new model 70-220VSR midi-lathe. Featuring 12-1/2″ swing over the ways and 20″ between centers, as well as a 24-position index head, this lathe is designed to handle a wide variety of projects.

Getting Started in Woodturning: This new title from The American Association of Woodturners is all about getting started in woodturning with tips and ideas from woodturners for woodturners.

The post The Highland Woodturner, Issue No. 47, February 2015 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Yoav Liberman, Artist & Furniture Designer

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 10:53am

Don’t miss tonight’s webinar at 8:30 p.m. EST with Yoav Liberman, Designing One-of-a-Kind Furniture. Yoav is a talented artist and furniture designer in New York. He’s been involved in woodworking for more than 13 years, and much of his work is inspired by discarded materials and found objects. His pieces have been exhibited at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass., The Center […]

The post Yoav Liberman, Artist & Furniture Designer appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

James Brown Is Not In My Shop

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 7:23am

Regular readers of my blog, who already deserve sympathy for wading through endless drivel here, will have noticed I haven’t posted anything in the past couple of weekends.  Truth be told, I’ve been in a bit of a funk and it’s had me stalled.  Hopefully I’m moving past that, because it’s time to Get Up Offa That Thing.

I’ve been stalled on what seems like the simplest of projects, making a press for marquetry.  Maybe it’s too simple, just three square frames put together with mortise and tenon joints.  I got stuck on the wood.  I don’t like the though of spending $7+ per board foot when I need probably 25 to 30 board feet total for a simple shop appliance.  I thought about using green construction lumber, but every time I looked at 4 x 6 fir beams with splits, knots and oozing sap I lost my enthusiasm.  I thought about just making a simple welded steel frame, and probably should have done that, but I wanted wood on this.  And my TIG welder has a leak in the water hose.  Gotta fix that.

Long story made interminable, I finally bought some salvage 4 x 6 fir beams from a 100 year old barn that had been dissembled.  It was still too much money, but I’m over the hump.

Two 4" x 6" beams from an old barn.  I think I paid extra for the peeling paint and nails.

Two 4″ x 6″ beams from an old barn. I think I paid extra for the peeling paint and nails.

I spent the better part of a day wire brushing off dirt and loose paint, digging out rusted nails and laying out cuts to avoid the knots (there weren’t many) and nails (there were a ton).  Yeah, it was a pain in the butt, but Papa Don’t Take No Mess.

The number of nails in these was sort of unbelievable.   I tried to avoid using the heavily nailed sections where the Boy Scouts held their Jamboree practicing for their Nailing Merit Badge, but geez…

I laid out my rough cuts, six at 30″ and six at 19″.  A couple of these look a little dicy and I don’t think their will be enough slid wood left.  One of the short pieces is on the bench for open-nail surgery when I took this picture.

Rough cut to length

Rough cut to length

I dug out the nails I could see, then used my #6 to take off the skin and make sure I had all of the nail bits out (I didn’t).  It’s a lot easier to resharpen the hand plane than the power tool.

Pretty, but probably not enough strength left in this part.

Pretty, but probably not enough strength left in this part.

After a lot of sweat and dust I got the crust off of the boards, and established my reference edge and face on all of them.  Amazingly, there is a lot of really pretty old growth vertical grain fir here.  Unfortunately, I’m short at least two of the short pieces for the uprights.  Not sure what to do about that yet, although I’m pretty sure I’m not going to go buy more of this reclaimed fir.  It’s a crazy amount of work to get to usable material.

Stock cleaned  and squared on two faces, ready for final dimensioning.

Stock cleaned and squared on two faces, ready for final dimensioning.

The next goal (besides taking pictures that are in focus) will be to re-saw these to the right width and thickness, then plane them smooth and square.  I’m waiting for the replacement blade for my bandsaw to arrive, because the last one had an unfortunate encounter with several nails.  I’m probably going to skip the arched top in my design, I just want to get this built and put it to work.

Categories: General Woodworking

Building Bradley’s Crib Part 2 – Tapered Legs

Rainford Restorations - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 4:50am

Today I’ll be talking about what it took to build the legs — 3 pairs — for Bradley’s crib and cover some of the more interesting techniques employed. This project was more of a ‘modern woodworking’ project compared to the period furniture and architectural details I am normally working on, but as I’ll show below there is a place for both styles of woodworking and they complement each other well.

Milling stock for 3 pairs of legs

Milling stock for 3 pairs of legs

Rather than having massive posts from a solid piece of cherry that needs to be mortised, this set of plans called for laminating up the stock from 4/4 pieces that were milled down to 3/4″ thick. For this project I tried to mill as many pieces as I could at a time, so for quite a while in the shop there were a lot of small piles of wood that would migrate around the shop as they were ripped, jointed and planed. I’m pretty sure my wife thought I was just moving the wood around like a child moving vegetables around on a plate to make it look like they are eating them. I’d mill things a bit heavy and let them sit stickered for a few days to acclimate further to the shop and mill to final size just before I’d use each piece.

Laying out in bulk

Laying out in bulk

By ganging blanks of the same type together I was able to mark them all at once saving layout time and helping to ensure they are all consistent.

Used a dado set and miter gauge with sacrificial fence to cut dadoes

Used a dado set and miter gauge with sacrificial fence to cut dadoes

By using a dado head cutter in my table saw with a zero clearance insert and a heavy duty miter gauge with a sacrificial block to help limit tear-out I am able to quickly create what will become the mortises in the laminated post. This not only saves some time, but produces a nice clean mortise bottom. Make sure you make your mortises a tiny bit deeper to allow room for glue, any crumbs and a tiny bit of wood movement in the post. Given that the panel is cherry veneer plywood it will not move much.

Making sure the rails have a nice tight fit

Making sure the rails have a nice tight fit

The goal is a nice square fit, and since the panels were already sized during the earlier ripping operations — see Part 1 – you could test fit them as you go.

Laminating the legs

Laminating the legs

With the mortises all cut, it was time to laminate up each leg. In picking the stock for the legs I was careful to choose the best grain orientations for the faces you’ll see. The pieces are all a little bit long and a little bit wide so the excess could be cut off after the glue dries. You want to be careful with your glue application, I applied warm hide glue to the both sides of the center piece of the lamination to make sure I didn’t get glue in any of the mortises.  I also shot a couple of finish nails into the inch or so of waste on each end as that helps stop the pieces from sliding around when clamping up the lamination and it will be cut off later.

You can never have too many clamps...if I had more I would have had more baking at the same time

You can never have too many clamps…if I had more I would have had more baking at the same time

I glued up as many legs as my clamps would allow. You want to use nice strong clamps like the Bessy K Body clamps shown above to eliminate any voids in the laminated pieces. After the glue cured overnight I cut the legs to length — thus getting rid of the nails that helped keep things aligned. Next up I jointed and planed each leg to thickness and laid out the tapers on each leg — the two inner faces were tapered to give the legs a slightly lighter look.

Legs after tapering the bottoms

Legs after tapering the bottoms

I tapered the legs on the band-saw and then cleaned up the mill marks with a hand plane. The plane made quick work of that task and yielded better results than a disc sander would be able to produce.  Then using a palm router I rounded over all the appropriate edges using a 1/8″ round-over bit and cleaned up any mill marks from the router with 220 grit sand paper.

Completed Legs

Completed Legs

Next up in this series I’ll be talking about modifying and installing the hardware, followed by final assembly and finishing.

If you’d like to read some other posts related to this project as they get posted please check out this link here.

Take care,

Filed under: Children's Projects, Made In The USA, Traditional Woodworking, Woodworking Techniques Tagged: Bradley's Crib, Cherry, Cherry Crib, Crib, Full Size Bed, Toddler Bed, Wood Magazine, Wood Magazine 3 in 1 Bed
Categories: General Woodworking

Festool Vacuums and the Changing Jobsite

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 4:00am
This weekend I will be at the Somerset Woodworking Show in New Jersey along with our crew and a fair range of Gramercy Tools, Flexcut carving tools, DMT, Blaklader workwear, and of course Festool. We will be demoing the new Festool Conturo, an exciting new edge-bander from Festool that brings to the smaller shop the power of a professional edge-bander. The Conturo does curved as well as straight edges, perfectly fitting into the requirements of modern furniture design. We will also have (we hope) the first BT&C Festool accessory product - Spots.

In addition to us, Lee Valley will be there, along with many other top notch vendors. 360woodworking is giving free seminars all three days and I am told Frank Klausz will be stopping in their booth too. Very valuable paid seminars will be taught by Marc Adams and others.

This is our busy season and I spend a lot of time with customer, old and new, trying to understand their needs, concerns, and desires. What's really interesting to me about the modern professional woodworking market in NYC is how standards have changed. It's true that in 1900 a bandsaw would have had naked blade spinning and we know from contemporary documentation of the time that lots of people thought the guards unnecessary. Now they all have blade guards. When I was younger and we argued about guards on table saws, guards on bandsaws were taken as a given. I think the reason was that I grew up in an age when a bandsaw guard was pretty obvious. It just didn't seem weird to us. It was how you built a bandsaw. Tables saws on the other hand were a different matter.

Table saw safety perceptions are changing. Many people who are used to a bare blades and really poorly designed table saw guards consider the entire debate is about the nanny state and not being careful. People who have seen well designed guards and what happens when you don't have a guard, are probably as a group, younger. But we no longer find it odd, or non-professional, for someone to have a table saw tricked out with guards, or a saw stop. And in fact it's increasingly the standard.

The same this is happening to vacuums. When I first started selling tools dust collection was an afterthought and it was generally thought that there was nothing wrong with a jobsite covered in a haze of dust. This has drastically changed. Leaving a film of dust all over a home isn't nearly as acceptable as it was, and cabinetmakers and finishers, especially younger ones, are more and more aware of, and take preventive measurements against, dust and noise. This is all good.

It's really interesting how the idea of having a HEPA rated vacuum at a job site, not leaving a mess at the end of the day, not having to breath dust, have all become normal for contractors, not a "nice to have". I am of course appalled when I see people use demolition hammers without ear protection, sand without dust collection or masks, and abrasive cutoff wheels without goggles. But I can also say in the past ten years I see this less and less, and usually the demonstration is accompanied by a lack of skill, one step above day labor (N.B. please don't write me and tell me proudly that you never wear goggles or ear protection - I've seen or heard of too many accidents to think that's smart to do, and too many craftsman I know have permanent hearing loss from not wearing ear protection when they were younger.) Younger craftspeople are more aware than ever of the need to protect eyes, lungs, and hearing for the long-term. I think it's great.

What has happened in NYC is that as more and more crafts-people work with great dust collection, customers have started demanding a cleaner job site, so other contractors are forced to upgrade, and in workshops (especially with all those bearded Brooklynites who can't use dust masks effectively) people are demanding cleaner environments, which is not only safer, but also makes finishing easier.

See you in this weekend in Somerset. Along with the crew I'll be there Friday and Saturday. The show runs through Sunday.

Fire, Ice & the Popular Woodworking April Issue

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 4:00pm

As I write this, it is a balmy -7°F outside, with traffic snarled by crashes and icy roads. Right now, it is warmer in Anchorage, Moscow, Oslo, Copenhagen, Reykyavik, Stalingrad, Stockholm, McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and the high today on Mars (as measured by the Curiosity rover) will be 12° warmer than the predicted high outside our offices. But I know spring is on the way — as is the April Popular Woodworking, […]

The post Fire, Ice & the Popular Woodworking April Issue appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

trimming and fitting the bridle joints.......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 2:13pm
It was a frustrating day at work. One of those days where you can't pinpoint a cause that you can squash like stepping  on a bug. Rather it was an edgy day that wasn't being made any better by all the white stuff falling down. When it was time to go home, I had to first clean off 3 inches of snow and my brush/scraper broke. At least the traffic wasn't bad.

All I wanted to do after getting home was go into the shop and make sawdust. Or anything else that didn't involve me dealing with paperwork or shovels. Did I forget to mention that I had to shovel when I got home? It was very fluffy and powdery stuff so it didn't take much to clear the driveway and front walk. And there is supposed to be snow falling every night and or day until next week. Can we say "oh what fun", together?

started with A
In retrospect maybe I should not have done this tonight. I was wound up tighter then a cheap $2 pocket watch but I had been thinking of this all day. I thought I would start with A and see how it went. If I felt like I was being aggravated in any way doing this I would stop. I am way too close on this being done to get pissed off at it and give it its wings.

I only used two chisels (1/8" and 1") and my bullnose plane to trim and fit these joints. I probably could have used a file or a rasp but I managed with the chisels alone.  I made one error in that I made the tenon my best sawn joint and the bridle slot was what I would have to trim. I wanted this to be the opposite of how this came out. It is easier to get the tenon to fit the bridle slot then the other way around. I made this same boo-boo on frame #1.

the heel needs works
The face of the miter on the money side is pretty good. The only trimming I should need to do is remove the proud at the heel. the left side piece is up and the groove is off the same amount. I first checked the tenon cheek to make sure it was flat and nothing needed to be trimmed on the shoulder cheek corner.

back of A
This miter face is making good contact on the heel and it's open on the toe a smidgen. I can close this up with hand pressure so I'm calling A done. This one took maybe 3-4 minutes to trim and fit.

As you can see the tenon(s) are not that thick. I think that they will work ok for helping to hold this miter together. I don't want to trim anything off the cheeks and make them any thinner. I'll concentrate any of my efforts on the shoulders.

trimming the face of the A miter
A is done
The miter is good on this side and closes up on itself with no pressure. This one is the best of the four.

groove lines up better now
I couldn't get rid of all of the proud at the heel but I managed to get rid of a lot of it. Before I install the panel I'll have to smooth and level the four corners.

miter B was quicker to do than A
miter C
No pressure here and the money side miter is pretty good. The back I had to trim a bit to close up. I did all of the trimming on the bridle slot miter. This miter C was open when I did the dry clamp yesterday. The tenon side miter face had a slight hump in it. I had to trim and fit the 45 from both sides a couple of time before I got this.

D is a bit gappy
I had to trim some off of both miter on the front to get the back to close up.

back side of D done
dry clamp is ok
Miter C which was open yesterday, today it has closed up nicely. Jonas who made this same frame used a saw to sweeten his miters. I am not sure how to do that or if I want to try it on my frame. I would think the frame would have to clamped at least lightly before sawing. I have some time to think on this as I still have to make the panel insert.

it's square
my test panel fits in all four corners
I'm going to bevel my panel
marked the depth of the groove on the top

story stick for the panel size
The panel for my frame is 10 5/8 by 9 1/4. I plan on putting the end grain of the panel on the short sides of the frame, so the 9 1/4 measurement will the my expansion/contraction side. I'll have to remember that when I make the panel for this.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
The latitude of the north pole is 90 degrees north. What is it's longitude?
answer - none all degrees of longitude pass through the north pole

Over 300 Followers

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 1:55pm

I just noticed a couple of days ago that my blog has surpassed 300 followers. I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to “like” me. I don’t blog that often as my life is really not that interesting, but when I do, I try to make it worth reading. Maybe some year I’ll have 3000 folowers. haha

 photo ty204-new.jpg

Campaign Chair Finish Questions

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 9:50am

I am building my first campaign chair with hard maple. Can you recommend a finish to make a darker look to the light color of the maple? Also, Christopher recommended ‘black wax’ in the video.  Will that work on my maple and where can you buy black wax? Ken FWIW, I like the look of maple with a clear finish – why not let the beauty of the wood shine […]

The post Campaign Chair Finish Questions appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


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