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The English Woodworker
I’ve said it many times (though I’m sure I’m on the wrong page).
I believe that hand tools are the most efficient set up for the individual maker.
And not just the hobbiest.
If you’re building one-off pieces for clients then hand tools are still where it’s at.
Most that would disagree lack a thorough knowledge of using hand tools.
I have various reasons, and many exceptions.
I came in to furniture making as a very young man.
Basically I started at the bottom of the food chain.
As a result I didn’t get to start with perfect.
My workshops have been a constant slow evolution.
There have been many, from sheds to simply outside, right up to industrial units.
As long as I had my bag of tools I made them work.
The good thing about this I suppose, is the experience gained.
This is a short extract from our Hall Table Build.
For the context – read below.
I was in the process of cutting tenons, and at this point deliberately aiming at a joint that was too tight.
We would then show the process of truing the fit.
Not to sound obnoxious, but I came in to a problem.
I couldn’t cut a joint wrong.
If you’ve seen anything from us then you’ll know it’s not exactly text book stuff.
Our approach comes from a heap of passed down knowledge finely blended with many hours of doing at the bench.
Then there’s the dash of weirdness that my mind adds in.
I like to understand stuff. How it works.
I’m obsessive like that.
But it’s a simpleton’s way of thinking.
I don’t pour over books or know fancy words.
A video version of this post has been added to our sharpening series.
All ‘Get Sharp’ customers can LOGIN to watch now.
Or You can Learn More about the Series here.
We’ve all done it.
Turned a smashing chisel into a left-handed skew.
Getting a 90 degree edge on narrow chisels can be troublesome.
Particularly if you’re free handing the job.
So I thought I’d give you a couple of tips that may help with sharpening narrow chisels squarely, (ish) freehand….
Our latest video series is the build of a classic Hall Table.
As you’ll expect, we build the whole piece with basic hand tools.
That’s apart from an optional approach that we cover at the prepping stage; this is the first time that I use my bandsaw.
(We cover the same bit of prepping with hand tools, in case you don’t have one).
The Series is now available to Pre-Order!
We’ll be adding more details of the Series over the coming weeks.
I don’t know if this is just me.
Whenever I have a jolly good tidy up, I find there’s the same old handful of tools, and odds and sods that I don’t bother to put away.
This is because if I put them away, I’d get them straight back out… again.
Off the top of my head, these are things like my trusty Stanley No. 5 with an iron or two.
All my tools are fairly rough and basic.
I’ve never had much bother finding tools that work, although two things have always troubled me.
The first; finding drill bits that don’t rag out the work in slow hand powered drills.
And finding a good marking knife.
The drill bit hunt is still on, but I have finally got on top of the iron dagger.
My favourite knife for many years was a bit of old hacksaw blade, sharpened to a spear like point, so it could be used right or left-handed.
Slightly harder twat…
…And the iron’s sticking half inch out of the sole of the plane.
Wooden planes look good.
They are good.
But they ain’t half got awkward sod written all over them.
Since hand tools became a thing again, folk have been really struggling with the setting of wooden planes.
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So… Why Build Your Own Wooden Plane?
When you can get a smashing Stanley No 5 for about thirty five quid, why hassle yourself making a wooden plane?
The thing is, No 4s are naff.
And metal jointers get expensive (for the good ones). And they often will need a fair bit of awkward work to make serviceable.
If you want some good news then just scroll to the bottom…
The last few lines or so.
If you want a jolly good moan, then read on.
There’s that old saying about knowledge being power, or the force is strong with you, or something along those lines.
That doesn’t really work now.
With the internet, every bugger is an expert…at everything.
This makes it pretty hard to find good, reliable knowledge.