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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

Back To The . . . Whatever.

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 9:40am
By most people's definitions, my wife and I are both trained artists. Our relationship started in the art room of what used to be, a progressive looking high school that paid a lot of attention to art and technology classes. (Sadly I know this is not the case any longer) Together and apart, we've taken more formal "art" classes than most people who graduate with an "art" major. 

It seeps into my woodworking some, but truthfully neither of us have made much use of this training other than raising our girls. We've consciously tried to bring them up to be imaginative creators and makers with pragmatic roots. There is a lot of drawing, painting, and sewing that goes on in my home. The sense of this has ramped up recently as I've been more visibly drawing myself Sitting at the drafting table, doing illustrations of joinery and other concepts to accompany the book I'm working on. 

You can read more about it HERE

My activity has seemed to spur more drawing activity by the girls, and some light arguing about who gets to use the Drawing Board. Our portable drawing board is 24" x 30" edge glued maple boards with oaken breadboard ends and a handle screwed to one side. It's a holdover from our art room days and we only have the one. One board and three daughters is problematic. 

The old soldier drawing board. It's been around a while.
Two of the three girls had birthdays coming up, we purchased new sketchbooks, drawing pencils, and kneaded erasers and I built some new drawing boards. One for each, including the non birthday girl. 

I picked up a section of 1/2" sanded plywood from the box store. Searching through the pile I actually found a show face that had a some curly figure to the grain. Back at the shop I cut the ply into three blanks 17 1/2" x 11 1/2", then I used the table saw to cut 1/4" x 1/2" rabbets all around the border. 

I ripped down some 1" thick black walnut into 1 1/4" wide pieces. planed them flat and smooth and plowed grooves to accept the lip of the plywood'e rabbet. 

I mitered and fitted the walnut into frames around the plywood. glue into the plowed grooves and some finishing brads to hold the frames in place. 

You may wonder why I used 1" thick frames and 1/2" ply. In essence the rabbet acts as a bare faced tenon and provides more strength to the joint, but it also leaves a slightly less than 1/2" recess in the back of the boards. With a couple of wide rubber bands,(a common accessory to drawing boards) they can easily place a sketchbook and maybe a tin of pencils in the recess and carry the whole thing by the handle where ever they want. 

I finished the boards with danish oil and a light furniture polishing wax and added a single screen door handle to one side. 

A fun little weekend style project that my girls will use for many years. How much better does it get. 

Just one more decent sized shop distraction to handle and I can get back to the medieval furniture I've immersed myself in lately. 

Ratione et Passionis.
Categories: General Woodworking

Four-squared Boards

Woodworker's Edge - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 6:25am

2M4A2095I needed a single board for a project that I’m building in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The only surface I need to look good is the front edge which faces the front of my cabinet. With no milled lumber available other than a few natural-edge cutoffs, I laid a straightedge on two of the cutoffs to remove the natural edges, made cuts at a band saw, jointed the edges and glued the two boards together to make one. A great method to stretch lumber on a project.

As I assembled the pieces, I thought back to classes in which I’ve taught woodworkers proper milling techniques using machines. Step one is to flatten a face. In my system, step two is to use a thickness planer to create a parallel face. For some woodworkers, step two is to square one of the edges while at a jointer, but I disagree. If you square an edge, does that edge remain square as you flatten the second face, especially while flipping the board end-for-end during the milling process to keep the exposed surfaces at equal moisture content? There’s a chance that it doesn’t – if your board rides up on an elevated edge of the planer bed, or if a small chunk finds its way under one of the corners as you send the piece through the planer, you could change the squareness of that edge of the workpiece. That makes step three, for me, to then create an edge that is square to both faces. It’s at this point that I often run crossways of students in the class.

Many woodworkers feel that it’s necessary (step four) that you rip the board at the table saw. Is it? The answer is that it depends. If you’re simply joining two or more boards in a panel glue-up, it’s not important that the boards are ripped into a four-square configuration. Why waste the wood. Make your step four at the jointer. In fact, one of the best techniques for hiding seams when assembling panels is to cut a board for a better grain match, which removes the four-square measurements from your board. If however, you’re preparing a board for use in your project, then make your step four at a table saw. You need to think through operations and not simply be guided by a set of rules. We all know that rules are to be broken.

If you’re preparing your lumber using handplanes, you need to go about the work differently. You also need to answer a question for me – what the hell is wrong with you? Milling lumber is grunt work. Use a machine for the grunt work and use your handplanes for finish work. C’mon man!

Build Something Great!


Categories: General Woodworking

How to Cut a Dado Joint with Hand Tools

Wood and Shop - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 3:01am


In my above video I show how to cut a simple dado joint with basic woodworking hand tools. What is a dado joint used for? A dado joint is used for securing shelves inside cabinets or book shelves.



Even though I have a nice tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here is a list of tools that I used in this video:









In the dado video I show these basic steps:

  • Use a marking gauge to determine the distance of your dado joint from the edge of the board.
  • Hold the shelf piece against the other board, and hold the workpiece down with 1 or 2 holdfasts
  • Scribe the shelf piece onto the other board with a marking knife. This ensures a tight fit. Make a pencil mark so you’ll remember which edge goes into the joint.
  • Remove the holdfasts and shelf board then use a marking gauge to mark the desired depth of your dado joint: Approximately 1/3 – 1/2 of the way down.
  • Use a marking knife to create trenches for your backsaw
  • Use your cross cut back saw to cut close to your final depth
  • Use a bench chisel (smaller width than your dado joint) to pare out waste, but not all the way to your final depth.
  • Use a router plane (like my Stanley No. 71) to clean up the bottom of the dado joint and bring the joint down to its final depth.
  • Fit the shelf piece


This is a very simple way to make a dado joint and it’s faster (if making a couple dados) than setting up and shimming a dado stack on a table saw!




Uncupping a cupped top

McGlynn On Making - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 7:44am

I posted recently about how the top of the “Spider Table” I made 15+ years ago had developed a bad cup from the sun hitting the top surface and bleaching it out.  This caused the z-clips to pop out so the table was loose, and it was rocking on the base.  Not great.

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8" of light under the straightedge...

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8″ of light under the straightedge…

I sanded the top to remove any traces of the old finish (and stains and deep gouges), and led it face down on the garage floor for a week.  I misted it with water on both the top and the bottom once or twice during the week.

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor.  I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor. I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Yesterday I checked it, and guess what?  It’s flat (well, flat-ish).  The cup is completely gone, although there are some small waves in the surface.  But it’s hugely better, the pictures don’t do the improvement justice.  I can do a bit more sanding today to smooth out the surface and get rid of the coarse sanding scratches, then layer on more finish.  I start with linseed oil, and probably spray a shellac topcoat next weekend.

Look Ma, no more cupping!

Look Ma, no more cupping!

Categories: General Woodworking

Country Workshops

Rundell & Rundell - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 6:51am

With sadness I read Peter Follansbee's blog post on the terrible loss of Naomi Langsner's husband Teo Reha in a logging accident. Particularly as I had spent time at Country workshops only a few weeks prior myself.

Out of respect to the Langsner family I'll keep my post on Jeff and my visit to Country workshops brief.

On leaving John and Nancy's home, we merely made a right hand turn from their driveway onto the Langsner's and wound our way up to the workshop. A beautiful old two story barn style building looking squarely down a valley in the Southern Appalachian mountains 

We arrived knowing that Drew was running a class that day, but had still welcomed us to visit. We spent a little over an hour there that day. 

Drew took time from his class to talk with us, which I'm very grateful for. In that short time we covered a lot of ground, classes, shaving mules and a lot of other stuff in between. And just as I've seen previously, you can see and sense the passion Drew speaks with when talking about what happens within those walls.

But outside of the conversations, just being there, in a place that has been the source of inspiration for so many others before me, was quite something. I'm sure I'll be back there sometime. There's too much to learn from Drew not to.

Categories: General Woodworking

Not Quite Radio Silence…

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:23pm

… but certainly blogging quietness.

I’m in the midst of the critical phase where I am weaving the final threads and honing the organization of the VIRTUOSO manuscript.  I spent yesterday and today working into the night on the chapter on Studley himself and the winding path the ensemble took to arrive to us today.

That means I have completed the first draft of the introduction, the biography and provenance, the tool inventory with commentary (well, mostly, I have some questions to answer with the microscope in a couple of months), the chapter on the bench and vises is more than half done, the section on Studley’s Masonic heritage is due in a day or two from Spider Johnson, I have a good start on the woodworking-popular-culture chapter, and the conclusion is finished.

I hope to have the first draft complete enough in a week or so that I can send it to Narayan so we can start 1) picking out the mere multitude of pictures from the book from among the bazillion we have, and 2) outline the photographic and informational needs we have for the upcoming final trip.

Stay tuend.

SketchUp Class in Maine, September 8-12, 2014

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:21pm
In a few weeks I’ll be traveling to Maine to teach a week long SketchUp class for woodworkers at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. The class will be held September 8-12, 2014. There are still a few spots open, so … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase IV

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:45am

So, where was I?  That’s right, trying to sort out the details on the joinery on the Craftsman-styled bookcase I’m designing.

I had the overall structure together, and I’d just shortened the through-tenons.  Originally the tenons we about two inches narrower than the bookcase was wide, so they nearly cut the case sides in half.  That would have been an unfortunate moment in the shop when I realized that, right?

So I changed the single wide tenons into two narrower tenons, and that took care of that.  But I still had the niggling concern about the overall strength where the wide pods joined the main unit, and to a lesser extent the strength of the center unit.  Except for the through tenons, the other shelf-to-sidejoinery was just short stub tenons.  And in they configuration, most of the glue area is long grain to end grain, not ideal.  So here is where we left off:

Previous version of the Bookcase

Previous version of the Bookcase

My concern is that there isn’t enough structure to keep the side pods from pulling out of the center unit, the only thing keeping it there are the 3/8″ long stub tenons on the ends of the shelves, back splash and toe kick.  The solution, I think, is to put some mechanical strength into that joint.  The best way I can think of is to substitute a sliding dovetail joint for the stub tenons.

The decision to add this joint gives me loads more confidence in the structure of the design, but it also sets off a small panic attack because it’s not at all forgiving in terms of fit.  If it’s too tight it won’t go together — or worse will seize up during assembly.  If it’s too loose it won’t have the strength it needs.  There can be a lot more slop in a hidden tenon.

So the first thing I did was go look at how people make this joint.  It could be done with hand tools, but I doubt I’ll do it that way.  So the more common approach is to use a dovetail bit in a router to cut the slot and shape the flared tenon.  I looked at bit sizes and found a Whiteside bit that will make a large enough cavity without having to re-set the alignment to cut the groove wider.  When I do this, I’ll remove the bulk of the waste with a straight 5/8″ bit in several passes.  Then I’ll use the dovetail bit just to cut the walls and a shaving off of the floor of the groove.  I drew up a diagram of the joint in 2D to check out the router bit geometry and make sure it will work as I hope.

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I'm using

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I’m using

Once I’d figured out the process (at least the theory of the process) and finished talking myself into this change I updated the CAD model.  I removed the stub tenons on the two middle shelves in the sides and in the center unit, and added the dovetail.  I added the dovetail slot in the case sides and fixed up the model as necessary.  The top and bottom shelves on the side pods still have through twin tenons on one end and stub tenons on the other end.  I could change those to sliding dovetails too, but I don’t think it’s necessary structurally, and the setup would be slightly different because of the stopped rabbet for the back.  I might still change those, I’ve been know to reverse myself on occasion.

This is the view of the back of the unit, with the ship-lapped back removed.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

There are a couple of other “tweaks” to the design too.

The top profile on the back splashes now has an elliptical arc, I think this is a nice improvement.  Ralph (Accidental Woodworker) nudged me in this direction.  It was something I wanted to try, and I’m glad for the shove.  It sorta wakes things up.

The doors are different now too.  I made the stiles and top rail wider by a quarter of an inch, and the bottom rail wider by a full inch.  I think the wider bottom rail is an improvement.  I added hinges and pulls – although I just made these pulls up, I don’t think you can buy them.  I’ll almost certainly having something similar but different (and commercially available).

Version 3 of the Bookcase

Version 3 of the bookcase design

The arc in the top of the back splashes looks more subtle than it is in this view.  In a straight-on view is more apparent I think.  Aesthetically, I don’t think I’m missing anything by omitting the through-tenons on the middle shelves.  I’m feeling pretty good about the overall visual impact and about the structural integrity of the unit.  I don’t think I have any problematic wood movement issues, and except for the sliding dovetails there isn’t anything too concerning in the construction.  The through tenons worry me a bit I guess, that might be fussy.

What’s left in the design?  A few details, mostly.  I want to add pins through the edge of the case sides to lock in the through tenons.  I want to try adding ebony pegs to the doors at the joints.  I want to play with adding  an inlaid design in copper and pewter to the back splashes.  And I need to design the stained glass panels for the doors.  Finally, I need to develop a set of plans that I can take out to the shop too – but that fairly simple since I have the whole think in 3D CAD, it’s just plunking parts on pages and organizing the dimension callouts.

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Closeup showing door pull

Closeup showing door pull


Categories: General Woodworking

“Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far)

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:17am

legdetail1Every month in our Wood News Online publication, we feature Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, who provides a variety of woodworking project ideas, tips, and stories from his own recent experiences in the shop.

In this month’s DTEW column, Steve discusses his illegible handwriting, which started as a child and has never seemed to improve as he has grown older. Unfortunately, this has led to illegible graph paper plans for his current SawStop Outfeed Table project, in which he has ended up with table legs that are too long.

You can find out more about Steve’s SawStop Outfeed Table project, as well as read the entire Down to Earth Woodworking column for August, HERE.

The post “Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far) appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Brusso Hardware

She Works Wood - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:31am
For many of my project I use Bursso hinges/hardware.  Its quality stuff that I got turned on to by Marc at the The Wood Whisperer.  The hardward is substanical quality brass and they even include the proper size steel screws to pre-thread your brass screw holes. A couple weeks ago they sent out a call […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Lawn Mower Blades: HSS, O1, A2, or PM-V11 (No Furniture Content)

The Furniture Record - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:15pm

Before my required weekly appointment with the lawn, I had to do some deferred mower maintenance. It is a self-propelled mower that had lost the self part. It was even hard to push. The teeth on the inner rim of the wheels and been mostly ground off. The bigger problem was the the the remaining tooth stubs would bind up against the drive gear and not propel, self or otherwise. The replacements of the wheels and the dust shields was uneventful. This surprised me.

While the mower was on the bench, I decided to check on the blade. I am ashamed to admit when I removed the blade, I had to stop and try to figure out which edge was supposed to be sharp. I don’t think I had been cutting the grass as much as annoying it.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

As I was sharpening the blade, I started wondering if I would need to sharpened less often (more than two years) if the blades were made out of better steel. High speed steel (HSS) is a good material for general cutting tools but won’t hold an edge as long as other choices. A2 (air-quenched) is a very hard steel that holds an edge longer but is harder to sharpen. O1 (Oil-quenched) is easier to sharpen but doesn’t hold an edge as well. The chromium content of O1 is less than that of A2 steel and will also rust more readily. And finally Lee Valley’s PM-V11, the relatively new powdered metal alloy. Between A2 and O1 in hardness. The claim is that the powered metal is finer grained and more durable and impact resistant. Might be useful in a mower blade. In that Lee Valley already has a gardening line of products, I should be able to talk them into making the blade.

Now some of you engineer types might have issues with my proposed blade improvements. I will attempt to address them all below.

1. Expense – Rough calculations make me think that a high-speed steel blade would be around $300, A2 or O1 around $400 and a PM-V11 close to $500. If I only have to sharpen it every three years it might be worth it. One way to cut costs is to use the old method of laminating an expensive metal edge onto a cheaper blade body. Planes and chisels used to be made this way and I believe that some Japanese tools still are.

2. Brittleness – Harder steels tend to be brittle. One might think that an A2 mower blade hitting a rock at full speed might cause a catastrophic blade failure. I think after five years I have hit all the rocks that there are to hit. One solution might be to again laminate a hard edge on a softer blade. For additional safety, I might want to have a steel mower deck and not an aluminum or plastic one.

Based on the above discussion which steel would you recommend? (My first poll. How exciting!)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

For my second poll, how do you sharpen your your mower blade?

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It is easier to see where you mowed with a sharp blade. On the other hand, it is much easier to see shat you missed with a sharp blade. Now there is that whole oil change issue. I read somewhere that you should change your oil every 3000 miles. I’ve had the mower six years and even counting the year I had to mow the lawn of the house we owned and lived in and the house we owned and didn’t live in, I don’t think I have 3000 miles on it. If you believe the Car Talk guys, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi), I should be able to get 5000 to 7500 miles between changes. It will be interesting to see if the engine fails before scheduled service.

Air filter wasn’t that bad. When I blew and banged it a bit, I could see the paper pleats.

Next, back to furniture.

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase III

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 7:23pm

First, thanks to folks that pointed out potential issues with the previous version of the bookcase design.  The key concern so far was around the length of the through tenons.    While I’ve seen other cases built this way, I can see it seriously weakening the case sides.  So, here is the previous version for comparison first:

First complete version of the bookcase, with long through tenons

First complete version of the bookcase, with long through tenons

I decided to make some changes to address this.  First all of the through tenons were made into split tenons.  3″ wide on the main case and 2.5″ wide on the side pods.  Between the twin tenons is a 3/8″ long stub tenon that fits into a groove in the case sides.

Twin through tenons with a stub tenon and shallow dado

Twin through tenons with a stub tenon and shallow dado

On the opposite side of the through tenons there is just a wide stub tenon and matching dado in the inner case side.  This means less of the sides is removed for the joinery.  I’m on the fence about whether 3/8″ is long enough for the stub tenon on the sides without a though tenon.  Maybe that should be a half inch or even 5/8″?  It’s a balance I guess, between glue surface and side strength.  My gut feel is to increase in on the inner sides to a half inch.

3/8" stub tenons join to the inner case sides.  The same from the long shelves into the sides.

3/8″ stub tenons join to the inner case sides. The same from the long shelves into the sides.

I also made the back splashes taller, I like that better than the shorter version.  And I removed the through tenons on those parts.  I don’t think it added anything visually, and it’s one less visible joint that could show problems.

So, here is the second version.  It’s better I think.  The back splashes might be a tiny bit too tall, but I could go either way.  I’m concerned about the strength of the stub tenons into the case sides — in particular the short side shelves into the center case sides.  There isn’t much glue area there, and it’s mostly end grain on one side of the joint.  I might need to think about that a little more.  I could make it deeper, maybe with twin tenons that went quite deep into the sides.  I could thing about a sliding dovetail joint (but that seems like it would really complicate matters).  I’m open to suggestions on that joint.  Pocket screws? (kidding).

The more I think about it, the more I’m convincing myself that I should change the joinery once more.  Through tenons on the top and bottom shelves, and sliding dovetails on the middle two shelves in each unit.  That will lock the units together mechanically and there won’t be any reliance on glue strength for the overall structural integrity of the piece.

Version 2 of the Bookcase, with improved joinery and some small refinements

Version 2 of the Bookcase, with improved joinery and some small refinements

Categories: General Woodworking

a debt

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:14am

CW 3


I spend a lot of time thinking about connections and chronologies. If you have read my blog much, you know that most of my woodworking connections came through one place, and in that place one family; Country Workshops, and Drew & Louise Langsner. I have been made to feel a part of their family since the early-to-mid-1980s, when I became a regular student at the workshops there. In 1988, I spent several months living with them and their daughter Naomi, who was then about the age my kids are now, 8-9 years old. We’ve been connected ever since.


A big shock came through last weekend, when Drew & Louise’s new son-in-law, 32-year-old Teo Reha was killed in a logging accident in western North Carolina. It’s heartbreaking news; Naomi & Teo had just moved back to the Langsner farm last fall, and set up the old cabin there as their home. They got married on the farm in June. I saw Naomi last summer for the first time in many, many years, and we chatted about when she was a kid, how much she was looking forward to coming back home – that sort of thing.

Louise sent a couple of notes about the burial – it sounded amazing.

“Hello, Peter. We had a very beautiful burial today, up on our pasture looking out over the mountains. All of our friends have been super supportive and giving. Teo’s friends dug the grave and were here to tell stories and make us laugh. Naomi is surrounded by her women friends. Her [biological] mother Kay has been here with her constantly to give guidance and ceremony. It is an incredible feeling to know we are part of such a strong web of friendship and community. It is a terribly painful time. We all had so many dreams of how we would grow old together. It has been especially wonderful to get to know both Naomi and Teo’s friends better and to know they will continue to be part of our lives. Curtis [Buchanan] came and pulled weeds in the garden and returned to build the coffin. It meant so much to us. ..There are no words.

I have never met Teo, so again I’ll let Louise’s words do the job:

“about Teo. He loved his job and was very good at it. He and his boss Joe had a dream of helping people log sustainably and helping the forest be more healthy. He loved poetry and explosives, hunting and animals. He was dedicated to the land and forests, family, community, and most of all Naomi. We only knew the tip of the iceberg of this young man, and even that was larger than life. Our friends are carrying us through this, but it is unbelievably painful. Love to you and your dear family. Louise”

I asked the Langsners if I could write something here on the blog; and Louise said yes. They have given so much to our woodworking community over the years, if you were ever there, then you know how much of themselves they put into Country Workshops. I’m back here in Massachusetts right now, but my thoughts are with my friends back on that North Carolina mountain.

Beyond that, all of us are in debt to a logger somewhere. Every stick of wood that hits our benches, lathes, shaving horses or laps; a logger, either amatuer or professional, felled the tree. Let’s all keep them in mind, and hope for their safety as they carry out this very dangerous occupation which we all rely on so much. To us, they are all but invisible, but they have names, families and loved ones out there.

Love to Naomi, Drew & Louise, from Peter, Maureen. Rose & Daniel

Updating my Logo

She Works Wood - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:16am
I’m updating my logo from my hand drawn logo to a logo done by a graphic designer.  What ya think? Better?  Is it easy to tell tha the tool in the picutue is a rasp?
Categories: General Woodworking

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase II

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:38am

A couple of days ago I start working on designing a bookcase for for the guest room in our house.  I’ve done a couple of other projects for that room and we really just need this bookcase to finish it off.

The design brief looks like this:  The finished bookcase has to be wider than it is tall, roughly five feet wide by maybe three and a half feet tall.  It will be made from Quartersawn White Oak and finished with the same regimen as the cabinet and sconces I made so it matches in color.  The style should tend toward “mission” or “craftsman” within the Arts & Crafts genre.  I’m generally fixated on Greene & Greene these days, but this works too.  For myself I want to incorporate some stained glass work, and it’s important to me that this be more than a rectangle with shelves and mission-y details.

In the previous post I started by laying out a 2D drawing of the rough proportions first, then building up the initial components and assembling them in SolidWorks.  I ran into a couple of problems, neither were insurmountable, but I ran out of time to go through the model and make all of the requisite changes.  I won’t rehash all of the specifics, but the main problems were around how to fit the back and clearance issues with the side pods and not having enough room to fit everything.

I’ve solved both problems.  For the back — for now — I’m going with a solid wood ship-lapped back.  I changed the width of the staves for a little more visual interest.  They will be screwed into a rebate on the back of the case and into each shelf, which should lock everything together reasonably well.

For the side pods I made them deeper by an inch and shortened the length of the mortises, moving them further back from the edges of the case sides.  This gave me (barely) enough room to inset the middle shelves and door.  I also chased down several other “bugs” in the model, so this is probably close enough to reality that I could build it.

Version one of the bookcase

Now that I have the basic “bones” in place I can start playing with the details to develop a better feel for it.  I’ve already tweaked a few things, for example I removed the through tenons on the toe kicks, I decided that didn’t add anything and it felt inconstant to have them on the side pods but not the center unit.  And adding through tenons on the ends of the toe kick on the center unit would be visually messy with the side pods.

I want to play with the height and shape of the backsplash components, explore different options for the case back, add hinges, door pulls and of course figure out the stained glass design for the doors.  I’ve got another several hours of CAD-hackery to go before I’m ready to decide it’s ready for construction — and then the real work begins.

I’m worried about getting the wide Quaretrsawn White Oak for the project though.  Usually when I see this material it’s in narrower widths.  I can certainly glue up narrow bits to make wider pieces, but for the sides and top shelves at least I really want solid wide boards with some dramatic ray fleck figure.

Realistically I’m at least a week from being able to start on it as I need to finish the Thorsen House Cabinet first.  The woodwork on that cabinet is 99% done, there are just a few details to complete, finishing and making the stained glass for the door.  I’m really eager to see that one come together.

Categories: General Woodworking

New Shop Toy

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:07am

Got a new toy in the shop and no, it’s not Festool.  Let me tell you about it.

Twenty five years or so ago, I designed sewage lift stations for land developers. One day a salesperson came by with a demonstration pump on a small trailer behind his truck.  All the trailer sides rolled up so we could walk around the pump and get a feel for size and installation issues.  I remember standing there with the distinct impression the pump was running, but there was no electrical connection or generator.  I could hear it running and feel the vibration through the floor of the trailer.  No sewage either, thank goodness.  (It may be sewage to you, but it’s bread and butter to me!)  I searched for a minute to see where the noise and vibration was coming from, and finally realized it was from a Bose radio down in the front of the  trailer playing a recording of a pump running.  I have wanted a Bose radio ever since.

Bose Shop Radio

Bose Shop Radio

Finally sprung for one for my birthday last week.  I ordered the attachment for Bluetooth to go with it.  What that means for you Luddites out there, is that I can play music off my phone and my iPad and it comes through the radio.  It is a radio of course, but it will also play CD’s.  The sound is nothing short of fantastic and will rattle the walls of the shop.  It will drown out almost any power tool in the shop and it may drive bugs out of the sawdust pile, depending on what kind of music I play and how loud I make it.

I spend many hours at the lathe and I can hear my new radio while I am working.  I also listen to podcasts, (look on iTunes — ask your grandchildren to help you! )  and there is one particular podcast I really like called “Stuff You Missed in History Class”.  Excellent discussions on some really arcane subjects (did you know that only five people actually died at the Boston Massacre?), but very well done.  Podcasts typically download automatically once you subscribe and there are thousands out there on hundreds of subjects including many on woodworking.

Get yourself set up with a good radio or a Bluetooth speaker and enjoy music and a whole bunch of other good stuff while you work in the shop.

While you are out there, by the way, go look up Bluetooth and the connection with Hedy Lamar, the famous actress.  What a remarkable woman.

Editor’s Note: Some great woodworking podcasts include: Wood Talk and The Modern Woodworkers Association

The post New Shop Toy appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Best Traditional Woodworking Books & DVDs: “The Handplane Book”

Wood and Shop - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 3:01am


In the above video I share another one of my absolute favorite books about traditional woodworking: “The Handplane Book” by Garrett Hack.


I hesitated to buy this book because I thought it would just be a small book about someone’s handplane collection, but I finally decided to order it online. I was wrong about this book being slim on information. This book is exceptional and very helpful.


Not only does the book have beautiful photographs of historical and modern handplanes, but it also shares the history of handplanes, and more importantly how to refurbish, sharpen, tune, and use handplanes.


It’s also a fantastic reference book to help you identify plane types and characteristics. There are approximately 250 pages of very useful information on handplanes. I know, I know. I sound like a tool geek recommending a 250 page book on handplanes. But when you get interested in traditional woodworking, you devour anything you can get on hand tools. And this book is well written and keeps my attention. It’s hard to put this book down!


You can purchase this title here:





Veritas Planing Stop (Or, Some Tasty Crow)

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 5:56pm

I scoffed a few months back when I opened a box from Lee Valley Tools in which was enclosed a 17-1/2″ Veritas Planing Stop. It’s a thin stick of aluminum with two steel posts that drop into dog holes. I could see how it would be handy, but hey – we’ve got garbage cans full of offcuts (the dumpster is sooooo far away); an offcut clamped across the bench (or […]

The post Veritas Planing Stop (Or, Some Tasty Crow) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

New “Favorite Project”: Greene & Greene Sconce

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:41am

I’ve been meaning to add all of my completed projects to my “Favorite Projects” archive, and I finally got around to adding the “Blacker House Sconce” today.

You can find this under the “Favorite Projects” menu at the top of the page.

Stained Glass for G&G Sconces

Stained Glass for G&G Sconces

Categories: General Woodworking

Solar Beeswax Melter Processing

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:43am

I’ve been able to build up my inventory of raw beeswax enough to begin planning for processing it by the boat load for sale as 1/4 lb blocks, and to use in the making of Mel’s Wax.  In the past I’ve done processing with a variety of electrical cookers, CrockPots and the like, but I wanted to try something else.


Following the copious information on the internet — and if it is on the internet it MUST be true — early last week I built a fairly typical solar oven to give it a try.  Using some of the scrap 3″ XPS rigid foam insulation I’ve got laying around along with a glass panel from a long-dead storm door and some construction adhesive, I built a prototype to give it a try and see if it worked.

Boy howdy, did it ever work.

I took my remote sensor for the thermometer (it’s the unit I place out in the unheated part of the barn to tell me when I am inside the heated part how cold it is “out there”) and placed it inside the solar oven.  Before long the interior temperatures were 130F, 140F, 150F.  I set up a wax batch and it melted in less than 90 minutes, not a whole lot slower than I would get starting from cold with a Crock Pot.  Plus, since the entire volume is at the same temperature the wax flows through the filter much more easily.

I filtered the raw wax through metal window screen to get out the bug parts then a disposable shop towel for tiny particulates, and let it drip into a pan of water to dissolve out any remaining honey or propolis.  The resulting wax is beautiful, ready for remelting and casting into rubber molds.


Last Tuesday the sun was bright and mostly uninterrupted.  My peak temp was 162F, which was hot enough to not only melt the wax easily but also melt the case of the sensor unit and actually the solar oven began to melt itself!  Clearly the XPS was not the ultimate answer.


I grabbed some 2″ foil faced polyurethane sheet insulation and built another one.  That should do it.  If not, I’ll switch to foil faced fiberboard insulation, but the idea is definitely solid.  From now on I expect that every bright sunny day will find the solar wax purifier hard at work.

Now I just have to wait for a warm sunny day.  It’s been grey and cold(!) the last several days, but I have hope for this afternoon.

Stay tuned.


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by Dr. Radut