Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
Over two months ago, I lost my everyday knife. I looked everywhere and came up empty. I decided it either broke off the strap, and fell, or got dropped into a bag of shavings & went the way of all things. I have lots of slojd knives – so I could keep carving spoons without any discomfort. But usually I like wearing one for everyday use. I finally gave up looking, and ordered some new blades. I tried to be positive about it, thinking maybe someone found what would become a really good knife for them.before it was lost
I had the blade since about 1992, it was on its 2nd handle. (I split the first one using the knife like a little froe). When I replaced the handle, I made the sheath. That was about 12 years ago. A friend at the museum made the leather work. Once the new blades arrived, I made a new knife and sheath. It was OK, but not the same. This one, I tried my hand at the leather, but for one thing my model was gone! Here I am boring out the blank for the handle, to fit the knife’s tang.
Paring the new handle.
here is the end result, works fine. But doesn’t feel right one way or another. The leather I used was too thick for one thing, so it didn’t conform quite as well as I wished. Handle is the only piece of boxwood I had. Why did I try that?
Here’s the knife out of the sheath. It works, I was carving spoons yesterday with it. Clicks into the sheath like it’s supposed to do. I was thinking I’d do it over at some point, but things are getting busy around here right about now.
Today I was sorting & cleaning inside & out. In the shop, it came time to climb up & hang this year’s Greenwood Fest poster. I’m not a huge poster fan, but Greenwood Fest is a pretty special affair for me, so up it went. Right above last year’s version. While I was there, I grabbed that basket for the tools & materials in it. I made some basket rims & handles from the hickory I wrote about last time, and this week I’ll install them. Needed the clips and other bits in there.
And don’t you know – in the basket was my old knife. Made a good day a great one.
It’s always the last place you look, my father used to say.
Matthew a 17 year old student sent me these pictures of some of his recent work. He is just completing his level 3 qualification in furniture and design and the vanity mirror above is his assessment piece, as well as a present for his girlfriend.
This walnut corner cabinet has a well executed veneered panel with diamond inlay. I'm sure with this standard of work he has a long future ahead in furniture making.
It’s difficult to argue against perfection in woodworking. That’s because the counter argument is something like: “You’re a hack and can’t get it right, and so you say that your imperfections are intentional.” Or put another way, you can’t be too rich, too thin or have joinery that is too perfect. Here’s how I think about perfection: We now have the technology to abolish time zones. Each person’s phone could […]
Some people have the vague notion that when you’ve been a woodworker for decades, you know how to do everything. If only. No one knows how to do everything. Experience in a variety of techniques may be transferable to new forms, but just because a technique will work does not mean it’s especially good in structural or aesthetic terms, let alone efficient to use in specific circumstances.
When faced with a woodworking mystery–say, a look I want for a finish, or some convincing 3-D effect I’d like to produce in an 1/8-inch-deep relief carving–I like to try to answer the question for myself before I seek the answer from others. The effort of thinking a problem through will often give me deeper insight into methods others recommend, and it’s especially satisfying when I find that “my” method is the one used by other woodworkers I respect.
I’ve enjoyed a few…
View original post 885 more words
Filed under: Uncategorized
What’s saddest of all is what I said about new woodworkers picking up the saw. There is something thats true about all of us when we start any creative craft. We tend to think buying something less expensive will match our amateur-status skill level and that “it will do until we find out of we …
|there was a bench underneath all the crappola|
|trying out my 8000 grit Japanese stone|
|chisel is ready but this isn't|
|appears to be square|
|it was the small rabbets|
|chiseling away at 45°|
|I trimmed this miter with the template|
|now it is where it should be|
|a little better fitting|
|now that is a gap|
|right side is gappy|
|chewed up a little|
|new miter template stock|
|rift sawn at this end|
|got my 45 laid out|
|I've got a good feeling about this|
|the opposite face that was down|
|pretty good on the top too|
|the other face|
|the first step|
|one teeny hump in the middle to remove|
|problem with the new miter template|
|it's rolling outboard|
|sawing the 45 first|
|two strokes and I was through|
|squared the sides to the face|
|no rolling and no gaps|
|one small and one big|
|my stash of good brushes|
|roll back brushes from Wally World|
What is duende?
answer - the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm
I have finally finished all the drawings from No.18 – No.1. That’s 36 planes in total or 18 pairs. The No.18 has a radius of 1 1/2″ and so it goes down to No.1 which has a radius of 1/16″.
I have based these drawings but not entirely from Larry nor even entirely from James Celeb. These drawings were most difficult to complete, the reasons being that Larry’s dimensions are not accurate. I’ve had a friend of mine who is a doctor of engineering try to make sense of those dimensions and came to the same conclusion that they are innacurate. So I’ve had to change them to make it all work, James Celeb drawing of a single moulding plane is correct but he too had to deviate from Larry’s dimensions a little. Matt Bickford’s planes follows very closely if not identically to Larry’s planes, unfortunately those dimensions he uses are unavailable to me.
The initial base design is the same as Larry’s, Bickfords and Celeb, those base dimensions is an agreed upon consensus since the 18th century and on 18th century planes only. The issue I had was getting the blind side matching the bodies fullness while maintaining the radius profile. Believe me this was one mind boggling thing.
While I’ve stuck to the planes typical 18th century design, I’ve opted to change the finial from the typical circular to an elliptical shape with a lamb’s tongue. In the 18th century there are about 5 different designs for the wedges if I’m not mistaken and the one that appeals to me the most is Thomas Walker’s design. The elliptical shape is taken from those poxy shoes they used to wear, you know the one with the heels. To me that looks most elegant for the wedge and it’s not the same shape though but very similar to the 19th century style. The lamb’s tongue yet adds a touch of further elegance.
18th century planes are slightly longer than 19th century moulding planes, but they are in no way more functional than 19th century planes, it’s very much an aesthetic thing. To my eyes 18th century planes are a lot more pleasing in design than the 19th century style.
So here’s the thing guys and gals, I’m sure you would want to have all the working drawings for these but I won’t release them all until I have built these planes. Even though I have double and triple and quad triple checked my work, I still need to see whether or not changes could be made as an improvement. So far I’ve build one plane the No.16 based on these drawings and it works fine but I want to finish off the rest and if all goes well then I can safely offer them to you and sleep better knowing they are 100% correct.
However, I will not be offering them for free, I don’t know how much I will charge for them but it will be affordable. I’ve always had good intentions for this blog but considering how expensive this country of mine is, I’m really doing it tough. I’ve invested a considerable amount of time and knowledge to draw these up, and to offer them for free would be ludicrous. As far as I know such plans are not available anywhere on the net, I will be the first. So have a look at the sample No.15 plane, see for yourselves just how accurate and well drawn they are.
A friend asked if we would like to join them on a sailing trip watching the Windjammerparade* at the end of the Kieler Woche*.
Living in Kiel for 22 years, I've somehow managed never to have sailed here.
So no pics of saw making today (and none of sailing neither). But a very happy and refreshed saw maker.
* Windjammerparade is a parade of tall sailing ships
* Kieler Woche is the biggest sailing event of the world and the biggest folkfest in nothern europe (and I think the third biggest in Germany after Oktoberfest in Munich and Canstatter Wasn in Stuttgart)
Warning: The following is not about woodworking, so if you wish to limit your reading to that subject, you may prefer to substitute an installment of Routers I Have Loved (my personal favorite was my 1980 Elu) or wait for Chris’s next post about Roman Workbenches (which I am, in all seriousness, eagerly anticipating). This anecdote was excised from Making Things Work on the grounds that too much of a good thing is, well, sometimes too much. It will be included in a future collection. Also, you probably won’t want to read this story while eating.
A few days after Thanksgiving, my phone rang. “Oh, hello, Nancy.” It was Andrew, my client at the time. His tone was suspiciously cheerful considering our recent contretemps over the installation of his 1.6 gallon per flush toilet.*
“Look, I hate to ask you, but there’s no one else I can call. I had…
View original post 697 more words
Filed under: Uncategorized
If workbenches were like automobiles, then I’d consider the tail vise to be like the heated seats in a car. They’re an option, of course, but they are by no means standard equipment, like tires. Out of economic necessity, my first three workbenches didn’t have tail vises, and so I was thrilled when I was assigned to review a full-size European workbench with all the bells and whistles, including a […]
I do have some good news. Amazon shot an email to me saying I'll be getting my camera on July 3rd. They haven't taken the money yet so I'm not sure that they haven't gotten them yet neither. I am having it delivered to my wife's work place. There is always someone there to sign for it. And if they won't sign for it, they can call my wife to come do it. This way I don't have to worry about someone stealing it if it is left on the stoop.
|prepping some practice stock|
|two long pieces of practice stock|
|slight rabbet on the side|
|the iron needs work|
|what are the odds?|
|the 3 practice pieces|
|quick outing on the shooting board|
|back up practice stock for just in case|
|marking the miters on the side frame|
|marking gauge line|
|miter laid out on the face|
|the vise action is still working|
|the top one is easy to do|
|one easy and one not so easy|
|second marking gauge line|
|most of the waste is sawn off|
|I need to spend some calories on the sharpening stones|
|I should have waited|
|this miter is dead nuts 45°|
|why this miter is toast|
|this is must|
|got the flat done good|
|flush at the top|
|I won these|
How are seedless oranges propagated?
answer - by grafting because the original seedless orange was a mutant
This week I picked up a brand new gent’s saw straight from the pack made by the famous German tool makers Two Cherries. I noticed the unusual tooth shape, which strangely resembled the edge of a tin can when we used to open it with a multipurpose survival knife. I wondered how it would work …
I have decided to take a break from taking advance orders for custom dulcimers.
Five years ago about half my dulcimers were sold before I made them. Someone would choose from various options I offer and give me a deposit to begin making their dulcimer. I prioritized these custom orders and built them in the order they were received.
While building these custom dulcimers I also had time to build dulcimers that were not already sold. I usually had three to five dulcimers on hand for sale.
Five years ago I suddenly had to deal with some serious lower back issues that added unexpected flavor and color to my life. It has been an interesting journey and it is not yet over.
I am currently able to work in the shop about one-third the amount of time I would prefer to be working. Some days or weeks I am able to work more, some less, some not at all, but it averages out to working about a third of the time I used to.
During this time I have also had a surprising increase in custom orders. All but one dulcimer I have sold in the past 3 years was ordered in advance.
My time in the shop has become completely focused on custom work. I keep thinking I will have time to build some dulcimers to put up for sale but it just hasn’t happened.
Most of the custom dulcimers I build are pretty much the same as dulcimers I would ordinarily build but the new owner chooses particular wood, string length, number of strings, fret patterns, and other options that I offer. Occasionally someone asked for a unique feature that had to do with playability for their particular style and when I felt it worked with my sense of instrument design then I would do that as well.
The tricky part of this is that when I do have dulcimers on hand for sale they are sometimes not exactly what someone wants. If it has no dots in the fingerboard someone will want dots in the fingerboard. If it has 3 strings someone wants one just like it with 4 strings or vice-versa.
In the near future I will be offering dulcimers for sale and I am thinking there will usually be something available that will appeal to someone. If someone wants something specific I will keep a list and contact them if I make something like what they want. I’ll also be happy to contact people and let them know when I have more dulcimers available.
In the long run I think this will work better for everyone. When I put a dulcimer up for sale people can try it and know exactly what they are getting. I can ship it and you can return it if you decide you don’t care for it. I have sold many dulcimers this way and so far no one has decided not to keep it.
With a custom order the dulcimer is yours. Unless there is a problem with it covered by my warranty the dulcimer is not returnable. Again, I have sold many dulcimers this way and almost everyone was 100% happy. One person was less than 100% happy but still liked the dulcimer.
I think this is a good track record.
So in the near future I will be only selling dulcimers that exist.
If you are on my waiting list please don’t freak out! I am happily working on your dulcimer and you will get it on schedule.
I feel better already.
I like to study the everday objects on display in museums and my favorites are the small boxes and containers used to hold all manner of things: keepsakes, love letters, poison, cosmetics and so on.
In ancient Egypt many of the little boxes recovered from tombs were used to hold various cosmetic pastes used by women and men (aka guyliner).
Boxes were often carved into animal forms with decorated swivel tops secured with wooden pins. The incised wings of this duck-shaped box swing out to reveal the interior.
Plant life was also an inspiration for the shape of these boxes.
The cucumber still has green pigment in the groove providing another detail on the amount of work that went into these boxes. The dimensions are: H-3.5 cm x D-7 cm x W-3.5 cm (1-3/8″ x 6.9″ x 1-3/8″).
Not all the boxes were carved or extremely small. This joined box has a sliding lid and is one of the larger ancient Egyptian boxes in this line-up. The interior has three holders probably for glass vials. The dimensions are: H-18 cm x L-24.5 cm x W-15.5 cm (7-1/16″ x 9-5/8″ x 6-1/8″).
As noted above the boxes from Ancient Egypt were found in tombs and were made to accompany the deceased into the afterlife. They were also items of luxury made of imported woods, ivory and faience.
Two boxes of similar design: wood on the left, ivory on the on the right. Both with pinned swivel lids and compass-incised designs. The dimensions of the wooden box, including the tabs, are: H-5 cm x W-12.2 cm, base diameter-4.8 cm (1-15/16″ x 4-13/16 cm, base diameter 1-7/8″).
The last ancient box before springing into not-as-ancient times is titled the Trussed Duck. I prefer Resting Duck. It is an extraordinary shape. If I were to order a duck box to hold my mascara, or rather kohl, I would not think to order it in the shape of an entree for dinner. For such a small package it has incredible detail. Dimensions are: L-10.8 cm x W-5 cm (4-1/4″ x 2″).
Another joined (and very petite) box with a sliding lid. Dimensions are: H-5.5 cm x D-4cm x W-4.5 cm (2-3/8″ x 1-9/16″ x 1-1/2″).
The Met Museum does not identify this as a turtle box, but that what it is. The box is carved with both top and sides incised. Here again, the lid swivels to the side but we have the addition of the turtle’s head acting as the closing mechanism. Dimensions are: H-5.4 cm x W-14.9 cm x D-7.3 cm (2-1/8″ x 5-7/8″ x 2-7/8″).
If, like Chris, you might have inadvertently squashed a brother turtle on the roadway you should probably make this turtle box.
Moving on to India and a very traditional box for the kitchen. Although the box is not dated it is likely 19th- or 20th-century. The box is carved in the shape of a leaf and the pin for the swivel lid is topped with a bud.
Another box for the kitchen from India, dated 20th-century. The interior is divided to separate the various spices used on a daily basis in Indian cuisine. I’m telling you, that swivel lid has worked for thousands of years.
This is a Micmac box from Ontario, Canada with etched birchbark sides and cedar base and lid. The bark is sewn with reeds. The Micmac are an Algonquin-speaking people.
Keeping a pocket-sized nutmeg box was the thing to have in the 19th century. A small dusting of nutmeg was added to any dish needing just a bit of spicey sweetness. One nutmeg was stored in the bottom section, the grater was the middle portion, then the top went on. Some people (my mother) sneak nutmeg into a dish (eggplant parmigiana) and then laugh when others (me) can’t figure out why my dish tastes different. The dimensions are (the box, not my mother): L-7 cm, diameter at top-2.5 cm (2-3/4″, top diameter-1″).
Whomever made this pallet for the artist was a very good friend indeed.
Earlier in the year I wrote about a 2,400-year-old heart-shaped box recovered from a shipwreck. One of the archaeologist involved in the research figured out how the box was made. You can read about it here.
Filed under: Historical Images, Personal Favorites
It’s time for another book giveaway! This week I’m giving away a book on making wooden toys: “Making Classic Wooden Toys: 21 Step-by-Step Projects.” Who hasn’t at some point been inspired by a kindly yet mischievous woodworker who gave them a mysterious wooden puzzle and challenged them to figure it out? These days I have my suspicions whether some of the “puzzles” my own grandfather handed me actually could be solved […]