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Journeyman's Journal

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This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand
Updated: 32 min 37 sec ago

Starrett 1895-1948

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 2:28am

starrett 1895

starrett 1938

starrett 1948

starrett no.16 supplement

This is the last of the catalogues I’m going to post unless I find one dated back to the 18th century which I don’t even know if they actually had toolmakers who made tools as a business. Generally woodworkers and blacksmiths made tools for themselves and the latter for woodworkers.  Anyhow, I feel the catalogues I posted is more than enough.

Categories: Hand Tools

Small Router Plane Build

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 6:32pm

I’ve finally settled on a design and finished the build, after much debate within myself and squeezing every ounce of energy out of me it’s finally done.  Working 14 hours a day in my regular job believe me this wasn’t easy, but my passion for the craft is what’s driven to complete it.

I needed to make a new router plane to aid me in completing the moulding planes, the small Veritas router plane I do have doesn’t suffice.  First the blade isn’t long enough to reach a 2 inch depth and the plane isn’t wide enough to comfortably work with it. Lastly the blade is 1/4 inch wide which makes too wide for the mouth opening.  So I decided I needed to make myself one to suit the job at hand.

Initially I started on this one below, I grabbed some scrap Walnut for the base and Rosewood for the handle from a previous clock build I did.  For the blade I used an allen key, bent it the correct angle, flattened the bottom and polished and sharpened the blade.  I also used a screw to lock the blade in it’s position.  Well it worked and to my surprise not only did the allen key sharpen really well but it’s ability to hold to an edge was really surprising.  I researched on what type of metal it is but unfortunately I don’t know because different makers use different metals which are a closely guarded secret.


I couldn’t stop there, I was now hit with the creativity bug, I needed to make a schmick looking one and it had to resemble a period looking one, so I went cracking at it.

I started drawing it up in autocad and built a prototype.  Drawing it up is one thing but actually building it is completely another kettle of fish.  The dimensions I chose didn’t actually work so I went back to cad to come up with new dimensions.  The problem with drawing on the computer is that your screen isn’t 1:1 ratio so you end up zooming in spacing things apart to what looks good to your eye but ends up being all wrong come time to the actual build.  Even though using software for drawing is awesome especially when you want to find dead centres or mirroring object and especially erasing a line is fantastic as there are no smudges on paper but hand drawing I can definitely see the benefits in that when you draw 1:1.  There are renowned woodworkers who will draw an entire piece 1:1 scale on a sheet of plywood, now I see why they would.

Anyway I went backwards and forwards with it trying to come up with a design that aesthetically looked pleasing to the eye and had that period feel to it and functioned well.

Finally I came up with one I thought would work well, I turned some knobs and did some carving on it but they ended being too small and had a clumsy feel to it.  So I went back to cad and started a new design.  After spending much time on it mostly due to work always getting in the way I finally came up with a design that would work well.

I turned  some knobs with brass inserts, I also turned blade holder and added a nice brass knurled screw.  I added a 1.5mm thick brass plate to the bottom to keep the base indefinitely flat and it looks good as well.  I didn’t use epoxy  because you don’t use epoxy for gluing metal to wood as you see it plastered all over youtube instead, I used loctite 330 which costs horrendously, ridiculously and stupidly expensive for a small tube of it.  I would like to thank Terry Gordon from HNT tools for his advice on this and my dear friend in the US, Tony Konovaloff who wrote the book Chisel, Mallet, Plane and Saw for inspiring me to push myself and to never give up.  Love you bro

The plane measures 3 1/8 x 3 9/16 x 29/32 ( 79.3mm x 90.5mm x 23mm) the iron is O1 tool steel 1/8 inch round and reaches a depth of 2 inches, it’s been heat treated to RC 62.  The body of the plane is Black Walnut with a brass plate, the tool holder for a lack of a better word is Camphor Laurel and the knobs are Beech with brass inserts.  The plate has been ground flat.


I have one more brass plate left, I will make one more with a 4mm O1 blade and offer it for sale, the first plane I would like to give away all I ask is that you pay the postage of $25 if it’s more I’ll wear the difference,  you can email me the first person that sends it will be the first to get it.  Send me your full address details and payment through paypal.

To send money through paypal follow the descriptions below.

  1.  Log in to your paypal account if you don’t have one then create one
  2. On the top Tab choose “money” and click on it
  3. In the left hand column you will now see “send or request money” click on that
  4. You will now see 5 boxes choose the first box that reads “send money to family or friends” this one is free if you choose the second one to the right they will charge you a fee.
  5. Enter my email address, you already know it because you sent me an email if I post it here I can get spammed.
  6. That’s it.

Almost forgot this iron in this plane reaches a depth of 1.5 inches.

Building myself a tool was a challenge but the end result was great and even though it cost me more to do it myself the experience and knowledge gained was a worthwhile investment, you could say priceless.


Categories: Hand Tools

Sargent 1911 catalogue

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 2:20am
Categories: Hand Tools

Marples tools for woodwork 1938

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 2:17am
Categories: Hand Tools

Millers Falls catalogue 1925

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 2:05am

There’s two catalogues the first one is clear to what year it is but the last one is unknown to me.

no.39 1925



Categories: Hand Tools

Millers Falls handbook for mechanics

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 1:59am

This handbook is quite interesting, it brief instructions on mixing your own stains, what saw files you should use on different point saws etc.  It’s not many pages involved in  reading but I think you learn quite a bit from it.

Millers Falls handbook for mechanics

Categories: Hand Tools

Stanley catalog no.34 1934

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 4:44pm
Categories: Hand Tools

Planter Box Build Part 9 finale

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 4:54am

I’ve finally gotten around to edit the final video of the build.  In this video I do the tongue and groove, mould a bead with a beading plane, make stopped angled chamfers and finally the glue up.  All of this is several hours work edited down to 3mins the shortest project video I have ever done.  The background music is Australian colonial folk.

Today my only day off to work wood I went ahead and blew my tendons in my leg, even with the enormous pain I’m holding true to my word what I said in my previous post of reaching Kung Fu.  I limped but still worked wood.


Categories: Hand Tools

Secrets to become a master craftsman artisan

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 5:48am

The secrets to become the master is not at all a secret, but one known to us all and reserved only for those who are prepared to undertake a journey I am to reveal or maybe I should say, remind you and myself of something we all already know.

Let’s take a brief journey into the philosophical world of martial arts to better understand ourselves and the journey we are about to embark.

Kung Fu

If we look up the definition of Kung Fu we’ll get many descriptions, but only one nails its true meaning, “to refine the body and its mind.”   Kung Fu is supreme skill that can only be attained from hard work.  You see Kung Fu doesn’t only relate to martial arts but to all that have mastered their trade.  A painter Leonardo Da Vinci can be said to have reached Kung Fu, French woodworker Andre Jacque Roubo can be said to have reached Kung Fu.   A skilled masterful musician who can move the hearts with his music can be said to have reached Kung Fu.  Even a servant who loyally serves his master flawlessly can be said to have reached Kung Fu.  Anyone who has mastered the arts be whatever that may be, whose skills have reached perfection and cannot be perfected any further has reached Kung Fu.

Kung Fu is not about fighting but about mastery of the arts.  It’s about self discipline, self sacrifice, struggle, endurance and determination.  Strong will power.

Let me give you a quote from a master of Kung Fu of what is needed to reach Kung Fu. “Preparation, endless repetition until your mind is weary and your bones ache, until you’re too tired to sweat and too wasted to breathe. That is the way, that is the only way one acquires Kung Fu.”

Would it surprise you if I said even those who have worked wood for 40, 50 or even 60 years have not reached Kung Fu, they are merely black belts who know enough to get them by.  But I personally want more than that, I don’t want just to know enough to get by.

Shaolin monks undergo severe physical training to attain true Kung Fu and it all boils down to that definition to refine the body and its mind.

We are all different in body and mind to each other, many of us are happy and content with their current status, then there are many who want more but are not willing to step forward to get it, but only a few small group want it so bad, that they’re willing to sacrifice themselves to undergo severe training of both body and mind to reach Kung Fu.  They do this not for fame nor fortune but to attain true skill, self elevation in their chosen art.

I, and I speak for myself only want to achieve Kung Fu, I want to reach a level of mastery in my craft and I’m not referring to become the best of the best because I know all too well, that there are no best of the bests in this world, only God can claim that title.  When you believe, you are the best, know that someone somewhere out there is better than you, but to become a true master among many masters is what I want to achieve.

This means going back to basics, re learning simple skills is the key to mastering them, honing with repetition until my mind is weary and my body aches beyond endurance is what I’ll have to do to master each skill in this trade.   When I saw, there can’t be good days and bad days, every day I saw to that line must be perfect in every sense of the word.  When I plane the edge to the line it must be square and perfectly parallel to the opposite edge with no severe time lost.  My tools must be an extension of my arms and all must work together harmoniously.   My knowledge must be pure and extensive with real purpose in mind.  To execute an operation it cannot be clouded with doubt but only with sheer conviction of its purpose and success.

I have built many clocks in my lifetime and many of them struck people with awe, I gained popularity due to my workmanship, honesty, integrity and generosity, so I can never say I wasn’t successful in my career as a clock maker and seller.  But had I remained content with only building clocks I would never have found myself, my true purpose in life, I would never have discovered what I truly want out of my craft.    As you all know there are many aspects of our craft and choosing only one aspect is evidently clear to me now more than ever that that is not enough for me.  So, my journey begins on a different route all over again but this time with clarity and single purpose in mind as an apprentice, and am not ashamed to demote myself in order to reach my final destination.

This blog has gone beyond my wildest expectations, it’s not about self promotion or self marketing but about a woodworker who is unknown in this world, who is of no real importance nor holds any celebrity title.  It’s about a man who has taken upon himself to take a leap of faith into himself, to undertake an enormous journey, a task of determination through self discipline and hard work to achieve his goals and objectives in life in order to better himself until that final destination of Kung Fu is reached.  And you’re all welcome to join me should you so desire.

Categories: Hand Tools


Sun, 04/02/2017 - 3:23am

by R. Bruce Hoadley

The object of clamping a joint is to press the glue line into a continuous, uniformly thin film, and to bring the wood surfaces into intimate contact with the glue and hold them undisturbed until setting or cure is complete. Since loss of solvent causes some glue shrinkage, an internal stress often develops in the glue line during setting. This stress becomes intolerably high if glue lines are too thick. Glue lines should be not more than a few thousandths of an inch thick.

If mating surfaces were perfect in terms of machining and spread, pressure wouldn’t ‘ t be necessary. The ” rubbed joint, ” skilfully done, attests to this. But unevenness of spread and irregularity of surface usually requires considerable external force to press properly. The novice commonly blunders on pressure, both in magnitude and uniformity.  Clamping pressure should be adjusted according to the density of the wood. For domestic species with a specific gravity of O. 3 to 0. 7, pressures should range from 100 psi to 250 psi. Denser tropical species may require up to 300 psi. In bonding composites, the required pressure should be determined by the lowest-density layer. In gluing woods with a specific gravity of about 0. 6, such as maple or birch, 200 psi is appropriate. Thus, gluing up one square foot of maple requires pressure of (1 2 in. x 12 in. x 200 psi) 2 8, 800 pounds.  Over 14 tons! This would require, for an optimal glue line, 1 5 or 20 cee-clamps, or about 5 0 quick-set clamps.

Conversely, the most powerful cee-clamp can press only 10 or 1 1 square inches of glue line in maple. Jackscrews and hydraulic presses can apply loads measured in tons. But since clamping pressure in the small shop is commonly on the low side, one can see the importance of good machining and uniform spread.  But pressure can be overdone, too. Especially with low-viscosity adhesives and porous woods. too much pressure may force too much adhesive into the cell structure of the wood or out at the edges, resulting in an insufficient amount remaining at the glue line, a condition termed a starved joint. Some squeeze-out is normal at the edges of an assembly.  However, if spread is well controlled, excessive squeeze-out indicates too much pressure; if pressure is well controlled, undue squeeze-out suggests too much glue. Successful glue joints depend on the right correlation of glue consistency and clamping pressure. Excessive pressure is no substitute for good machining. Panels pressed at lower pressures have less tendency to warp than those pressed at higher pressures. Additionally, excessive gluing pressure will cause extreme compression of the wood structure.

When pressure is released, the cells spring back and add an extra component of stress to the glue line.

The second troublesome aspect of clamping is uniformity, usually a version of what I call ” the sponge effect. ” Lay a sponge on a table and press it down in the centre; note how the edges lift up. Similarly, the force of one clamp located in the middle of a flat board will not be evenly transmitted to its edges.   It is therefore essential to use heavy wooden cover boards or rigid metal cauls to ensure proper distribution of pressure.



Clamp time must be long enough to allow the glue to set well enough so that the joint will not be disturbed by clamp removal. Full cure time, that is, for development of full bond strength, is considerably longer. If the joint will be under immediate stress, the clamp time should be extended. Manufacturer’ s specified clamp times are established for optimum or recommended shelf life, temperature, wood moisture content, etc… If any of these factors is less than optimum, cure rate may be prolonged. It’s best to leave assemblies overnight.

Most glue specifications are based on ” room temperature” (70 · F). Shelf life is shortened by storage at above-normal temperature, but may be extended by cold storage. Normal working life of three to four hours at 70· F may be reduced to less than one hour at 90· F. Closed assembly at 90· F is 20 minutes, against 50 minutes at 70· F. A curing period of 10 hours at 70· F can be accelerated to 3 – 1 / 2 hours by heating to 90· F.

Finally, cured joints need conditioning periods to allow moisture added at the glue line to be distributed evenly through the wood.  Ignoring this can result in sunken joints.

When edge-gluing pieces to make panels, moisture is added to the glue lines (1), especially at the panel surfaces where squeeze-out contributes extra moisture. clamping-2If the panel is surfaced while the glue line is still swollen (2, 3), when the moisture is finally distributed the glue line will shrink (4), leaving the sunken joint effect.

Categories: Hand Tools

Simmons 1912 catalogue

Sat, 04/01/2017 - 2:24am

This is a two part catalogue

part 1

part 2

Categories: Hand Tools

Disston 1918 – 1945 Catalogue

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 1:47am

Here is three catalogues available to you for download.  Each catalogue represents its current year of release.  Every tool displayed is mouth watering.

Disston 1918

Disston 1919 crosscut saws

Disston 1939 saw tool and file manual

Disston 1945 saw tool and file manual

Categories: Hand Tools

Stanley Tool Catalogue no.34 – 1958

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 5:00pm

I am offering for download this tool catalog from Stanley.  There are many vintage tools available on the market today and this catalog will help you identify each tool, it’s use but most importantly its parts.  Many times sellers on eBay either due to lack of knowledge or intentionally mislead their buyers by claiming all the parts are there or that’s in an antique when it’s a vintage.  I have seen a plane listed as vintage when it was actually built in the 90’s.  Unfortunately this particular seller’s response was “boohoo” yes I know it’s hard to believe that such people do exist but they’re out there.  So when you buy, do so with open eyes and arms yourselves to the teeth with knowledge about the product before you do so.

The download is through megasync, it’s my personal account where I backup all my drawings.

Don’t worry there is no copyright issues with this.  If I find anymore I’ll post it.

Stanley catalog no.34 1958

Categories: Hand Tools

Rubbed joints its success and failure

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 9:10pm

As sprung joints are great for clamping two edged boards together to make a panel, they are disastrous for non clamped rubbed joints. To avoid following the footsteps of magazine articles, I will not go into detail of what a rubbed or sprung joints are.  I believe that you are well passed the novice stage and I don’t feel it would be beneficial in re reading something you already know,  but would rather bring to your attention to something you may not have been aware of or unintentionally overlooked.

There has been a strong emphasis awarded to sprung joints, many articles and videos have been written and produced stressing the benefits of such a joint. While I don’t disagree with them, sometimes the obvious tends to skip us and we continue to apply a certain technique that has been drummed into our heads by an almost hypnotic suggestion through the continual parroting of others, that would lead to disastrous results if we were to apply the same technique using a different application. This issue I feel needs not be overlooked, but addressed in any future articles written on the subject.

The success of a rubbed joint is comprised of only two things, glue and two perfectly straight no gapped edges. A sprung joint as you know has a 32nd hollow in the middle, creating a successful rubbed joint would not be possible. The other point is the type of glue that best suit a rubbed joint would be hide glue. True, you could get away with small thin pieces using ordinary PVA or other quick setting PVA glue, but for a small cabinet or bedside table or even a coffee table, only hide glue in my opinion would be better suited for a such an application ie. rubbed joint.  I have written in my previous posts on the benefits of hide glue so I won’t go into any great depth on the subject here, other than to add, only hide glue as far as I know, has the capabilities of drawing two mating edges together as it dries, forming a good solid join and for that to happen there cannot be any gaps.

Categories: Hand Tools

Emir Wooden Smoother for Sale

Sat, 03/25/2017 - 10:41pm

I’m offering my smoother for sale click on the link for more information and pictures.

From time to time I will post tools for sale, I’ll notify you when I do but it’s also a good idea to check periodically the items for sale page.


Categories: Hand Tools

Heat Treating O1

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 8:25am

What is A2 steel

“A” stands for air hardening which means you don’t quench in any liquids but set it aside and allow it to cool down on its own. It contains .95% High Carbon a 1% Molybdenum, 1% Manganese, .3% Silicon, 5% Chromium, .15% Vanadium, .03% Phosphorous and the same for Sulphur.  Excellent edge retention is possible thanks to the Chromium Carbides that are mixed during the heat treating process that makes it the most preferred cutting tool steel by tool makers.  However, the trade-off is that honing A2 steel takes longer and more effort than O1, it won’t hone an edge as sharp as O1 and the edge fractures quicker if the bevel angle is honed at 25 degrees.  To prevent the edge from fracturing Lie Nielsen recommends to hone the bevel at minimum 30 degrees but preferably to 35 degrees.  So, if you notice your blade isn’t cutting as well as it should be hone a steeper bevel.

O1 Tool Steel

O1 is a high carbon medium alloyed cold work tool steel with 1.1% manganese, 0.6 chromium, 0.6% Tungsten AND 0.10% Vanadium added to it with good hardening capacity.

The O stands for oil quenching.  Quenching in oil is recommended over water because it cools slower reducing the chance of cracking.  O1 also takes an edge better than A2 but will not stay sharp as long as A2.  So, the main difference between the two is; O1 sharpens relatively quicker than A2 and hones an edge sharper than A2 but the edge retention in A2 is better than O1.  Obviously thinner O1 blades that come with old Stanley planes will sharpen very quickly than the thicker modern A2 blades because their less steel to hone which is why they’re still a preferred choice for many old-time woodworkers who know the difference between truth from fiction.  Thicker blades do not reduce chatter as advertised, instead they are a pain in the backside to sharpen but for more information on that refer to Paul Sellers blog.  I believe he’s done a video on that.


Heat Treating Process

So now that we know all the technical jargon and we don’t want to spend an eternity on sharpening lets go with the heat treating process of O1.  Remember this is the tool steel I’m going to use on my moulding planes and the small router plane that’s been holding me back from the true build.  Maybe I should fill you in before I continue.

The small router plane I currently have which is the Veritas, the blade is ¼” wide which is too big for the mouth opening on the moulding plane which should be no bigger and smaller than 1/16” and I’m referring to the gap between the edge iron and the breast.  The mouth on the plane is 3/16” (5mm) and I’m using an iron that is 1/8” (3.175mm) thick so that should leave a precise gap of 1/16” to allow shavings to go through.  The thicker the iron the larger the mouth opening should be, so make your adjustments according to the thickness of the iron, all in all the gap should equal to 1/16”.  This I learned from Charles Hayward may he rest in peace.

I actually thought that a gap opening of 1/32” was ideal but that would only allow very thin wispy shavings through and that isn’t ideal for a moulding plane.  So, this router plane once I actually get it done will have a longer blade to do 2” or more depth and I’m yet to find out if it can handle that depth and also have a 1/8” width blade.  This will be the only tool of its kind in the world as far as I know and I’ve looked everywhere for one.  What’s holding me back you might ask, I’m trying to make it look pretty.

Ok now with process of heat treating O1.  O1 comes annealed so we can skip this part.  Grind your bevel and shape first, then whatever process you like to use as heat go with that, I used 2 blow torches.  You heat the cutting iron to about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (815deg. Celsius) you will know you’ve reached that temperature when it reaches a bright cherry red colour.  In my opinion, I think that a bright orange colour is a more correct description of it but that’s the word that’s been in use for a few hundred years now so I won’t rock the boat.

Once that critical temperature has been reached you plunge the iron into an oil bath.  I used peanut oil over motor oil as it has less tendency to flame up and apparently, it smells better but I couldn’t smell squat.  I even stuck my nose into it and still couldn’t smell any peanuts.  You can use a metal container or a glass jar, I used a glass jar that was fairly thick.  I think the thickness is important due to the heat build-up of the oil, you don’t want the glass shattering and spilling oil all over your bench so a Nescafe jar is ideal.

When you plunge the iron into the oil, plunge it in vertically and keep it upright vertically while you continue to plunge.  If you angle it in and stir it you could induce warpage, I’ve seen Tod Herrli stir it gently but it was still held vertically.

Now take it out and let it sit for ½-1 hr to cool down, be careful though as it is still quite hot so don’t touch it and don’t ask me how I know that.   This is the confusing part though, some technical websites say cool it in the oil until you can touch it with your bare hands and temper it immediately, others say let it sit depending on its thickness, so 1 hr for 1” thickness and then temper it.   Up to you on this one, I don’t know who is right or wrong here but as for me personally on the next one I will choose to let it cool in the oil and then temper it.


Tempering is the process of reducing the steels brittleness, if you didn’t temper it, the steel would shatter like glass if dropped on the ground.  You also wouldn’t be able to shape the edge nor sharpen it, your file would just skate over it.

Ever wonder how those martial arts experts were able to karate chop an iron in two, well you too can do that in its brittle state and that’s why we need to temper.

The temperature may vary according to the desired hardness and the hardness scale we are working to is the Rockwell C scale.  You see in every tool sellers’ description hardened to Rockwell C 60 or 62.  To reach that Rockwell C scale we need to heat up the iron in an oven to about 325 deg. F (162deg. C) for about an hour.  The iron will reach a light straw colour, you don’t want any other colour but that.  If you were tempering a knife then your Rockwell C should be about 55 -57 which is about 500-600 deg. F (260deg. C).  My oven only goes up to 260 degrees and there is no guarantee your oven is accurate.

If you can’t use your oven here’s the way I did it.  I held the flame back from the cutting edge and observed the colour change.  I withdrew the iron from the flame and watched the heat travel up the iron until it reached the edge during which a colour change was occurring.  Once the light straw colour was reached I immediately plunged it into the oil and then left it to cool in air.

I did skip an important part, after hardening clean and flatten the back to take out any potential warpage and clean the black oxidation around the cutting area up to the beginning of the tang.  It’s important to do that so you can observe the colour change during the tempering process.  Also get yourself a good magnet so you know you’ve reached the correct hardness and either glue it on wood or get one big enough you can hold by hand.  If you your burn fingers in the process you’ll live, don’t be pussies about it you won’t burn them second time round.


Categories: Hand Tools

The Principles of Design

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 2:23am

There are three fundamental rules in designing furniture:  Rhythm, Balance and Harmony, according to Fred D. Crawshaw who has based his theory on E. A. Batchelder’s book “The principles of design.

Here is an excerpt from a book I’m reading dated 1912 for teachers of woodworking, I feel that many of you may find this beneficial in understanding the fundamental laws of furniture design which you may consider when drawing up your own furniture designs.  Even if you don’t design one yourselves you will at the very least have a better understanding of furniture design concepts and be able to differentiate between a good design and a bad one.

Steps to take in designing a piece of furniture

  1. In response to a need for a piece of furniture consider carefully it’s detailed use.


  1. Determine the material to be used in construction. In general, close grained and fine textured woods are most suitable for furniture which has a limited use such as parlour and bedroom pieces.  The courser grained woods have their principle use in living and dining room furniture.  Again, the close grained and hardwoods are best suited to pieces of furniture having many curved lines formed either by modelling or turning.  The courser grained woods should be used principally in furniture of severe design.


  1. Determine, if possible, the place a piece of furniture will occupy in a room. This will fix some of the definite dimensions and will enable one to make a wise selection of the kind of lines to be used that the piece may be harmoniously associated with its companion pieces.


  1. “Block in” the design so as to make the piece of furniture harmonise with the general “makeup” of the room. Secure the harmony by having a re-echo of the line.


  1. Consider now the indefinite or detailed dimensions to make all parts of the piece members of one family. This will result in unity.  All details such as the modelling of top and bottom rails, the use of curves in stiles and legs, the modelling of feet and top of legs or posts, and the making of metal fittings, etc., will affect this element – an all important one – in the design.


  1. Make good constructions and proportion serve as an important factor in the decoration of the piece.


  1. Before considering the design complete, give careful attention to the three fundamental elements of design: viz.: rhythm, balance and harmony. If the several parts are so arranged and formed that there is movement as the eye passes from one part to another in the design, then rhythm has been secured.  If, by having the whole arranged symmetrically with respect to an axis or by a judicious arrangement of parts, the whole seems to stand or hang truly, there is balance.  If the design as a whole does not “jar” upon one; if all parts seem to belong together, then there is harmony.  The design is a unit.


Correlation in Design


It is believed that no better line of work can be introduced in conjunction with woodwork than that commonly called “Decorative Metal.”  Many woodwork constructions are enriched by the addition of some escutcheon – a strap, a hinge, a pull or a corner plate.  The making of these metal fittings may be considered a legitimate part of a course of study in woodwork, especially one in which emphasis is laid upon the design and construction of furniture.  It is believed there is no line of work which offers a greater opportunity for the teachings of the principles of design and for their application than this.  There is, too, not only an opportunity but a demand for close and natural correlation between furniture making and its associate, decorative metalwork.


General lines and Proportions


The general character of the lines will be largely dependent upon the lines in the pieces of furniture with which the one you are designing is to be associated; there should be a general harmony of line, a re-echo of line, in the room as well as in the single piece of furniture.  The general proportions will be determined by the space your piece of furniture is to fill and its use.  In case it has no particular place in the home or there is not a decided need for it, a design is not called for.  It is believed that much of the furniture of either poor or mediocre design is the result of a misdirected effort due to a misconceived or purely mercenary demand.




The shape of the piece of furniture will generally determine its construction.  One will hardly make a mistake in the selection of joints to be used, but there are many forms of some of the principle joints, such as the tenon and mortise joint, from which to select.  Here, again, one must be governed by that fundamental law of design, viz., there must by harmony.

If the general design is a severe one, then the protruding form of joint will be appropriate, such as, for example, the open or pinned tenon and mortise joint instead of the closed one or the screwed construction instead of the nailed butt joint, etc.

Construction is no less an important factor in the ultimate beauty of a piece of furniture than is its design.  The best designed article may be ruined by poor constructions.  Makeshifts such as glued on parts to represent protruding tenons and pins are deprecated.  The butt joint fastened by means of screws or lag bolts may be an appropriate form of construction and decoration, but it should not be used as a general substitute for the tenon and mortise.

It is a false interpretation of honest construction and is one of the many things in manual training which helps to swell the number of those who condemn the subject for its insufficiency and impractical methods.


Decorative features


Simple carving, upholstering or textile or leather panelling is often the thing needed to give a piece completeness in appearance, but, ordinarily, good lines, good proportions and good finish are quite sufficient to fulfil all aesthetic requirements.  The simple modelling of the top or bottom of a post and the introduction of broken or curved lines in some of the rails and stiles is sufficient decoration.

In addition to these three considerations, it is desired to call attention to two others dependent upon one or all of these three:

  1. There will constantly arise as one works over a design the question of widths and lengths of certain parts.  Some of these will be definite because of the use to which the piece of furniture will be put, but many may be determined with some degree of accuracy if one will carefully consider the three following laws governing arrangement.
  • Uniform spacing of similar parts is usually unsatisfactory.
  • Wide masses and narrow openings should be made near the bottom of a piece instead of near the top to give the feeling of stability.
  • The centre of weight in a design should be directly below the centre of gravity.
  1. The satisfactory of filling of space areas is often difficult.  This is largely a problem in decoration although it may be one in construction when the strength of the piece of furniture is an important factor in the design.  As an aid toward a satisfactory of arrangement of parts in a given area the designer should become familiar with the term “measure” and the principles in design affecting it, viz., rhythm, balance and harmony, as set forth in E.A. Batchelder’s book, “The Principles of Design.”










Categories: Hand Tools

Tip of the day – Splines

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 1:37pm


When reinforcing mitres place the splines as close as possible to the inside surface.   If they are too close to the outside surfaces, the mitered ends of the adjoining surfaces will be weak.  It’s not the splines that make it weak but the grooves made for the splines that make it weak.


Btw I haven’t given up on the moulding planes, I’m just a little busy designing a small router plane that will help in the build of the moulding planes.


Categories: Hand Tools

Guitar build video that’s gone viral!

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 1:27pm

In a remote dusty sunburnt village an old man produces a guitar with nothing more than a handful of basic hand tools.  One would think the build would turn out to be a blocky piece of chopped up wood that resembles nothing more than a cigar box  guitar, don’t get me wrong I like those guitars.  But the results were quite the opposite, instead he produces a guitar that is pair shaped with inlays.

This video has been a humbling experience, it reminds me just how lucky we really are. We enjoy the comforts of a multiple bedroom home with swimming pools, double lock up garages, front and back yards, multiple bathrooms, remote lights and doors, windows, air con, internet, iPads, playstations, entertainments of all sorts and still we crave for more.

We all want to be craftsmen and women but never take the first step towards it, we all want more tools yet we struggle with space to store the ones we have.  Mans continual struggle for more is a never ending pit hole he continues to dig for himself.

If this video sends any kind of message it’s this – Get up off your arse and do it.  If you want to be a craftsman then stop being curious about it, stop dreaming and wishing and endlessly looking through tool catalogues and other magazines.  Stop making up excuses of how little time you have, guess what you also have little time on this earth but your still living it so why not make the best of it while you can.  This old man had a vision on how to provide for his family utilising the skills with minimal amount of tools he has on hand in a most inhospitable environment, with zero tourist traffic flow with no etsy or facebook social media marketing going against all odds and he did it.   He is providing for his family and doing what he loves to do.  He is experiencing true freedom and isn’t this what we all really want.

We all makes choices in life based on this most stupid ridiculous statement “oh well it’s the way of the world, there’s not much we can do about it.”  The world does not and cannot make choices for you, you are the one who has made your choice, the world is there to tempt you off your path to true inner freedom and happiness but the world has no ward over you.  It likes to think it does but it doesn’t.  There is one positive lesson you can learn from the corporate world, if you want something then go and get it other than that there is nothing decent you can learn from them..

If you want to become a craftsman then make the effort and put in the hours, if you want to live from your craft then just do it.  Make something no matter what it is, even if it’s a pencil case, make it and go to the markets and sell it.  Then go home and make some more and do it all over again.  Stop counting the hours on how long it took to make, speed will come with repetition but don’t compromise quality for speed.  Start somewhere, do something, start living.


Categories: Hand Tools