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Yes, a Moisture Meter is Essential Equipment

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 8:07am

A moisture meter is a device that lets you see the future. It allows you to avoid mistakes where your furniture will – literally – fall to pieces. But convincing woodworkers to buy one is like trying to push water uphill. This weekend, Brendan Gaffney and I were each working on some chair projects and got on the topic of moisture meters. Brendan has an idea for how to make […]

The post Yes, a Moisture Meter is Essential Equipment appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 6:55am

I pretend I exist in a bubble or cocoon. Each day I’m at home, I get up & have breakfast with the family, and then make my way out the back door to the workshop. Open up the windows to let in the sounds of the birds, check the river – tide in or out? Coming or going? And then sort the day’s projects – am I cutting these mortises, carving which pieces – most of my concerns are about really great quality oak, sharp tools, and learning from studies of period pieces…

And it goes like that day in & day out. Which hatchet? Are these bowls dry enough for the next step? Ah, I figured out what design to carve for that panel. Then, time to clean up the place and re-set the bench…

All the ordinary stuff is an intrusion – have to go to the dump, the bank, did I pay the bills? I just want to get back to work in the shop. All of that is just like the rest of us.

Every so often, I traipse out into the world to teach a workshop, deliver a lecture/demonstration – that sort of thing. And those audiences are pre-disposed to receive what I have to give. An interest in woodworking, furniture history, spoon carving – they’re already converts. But I know although we have woodworking interests in common, there can and will be things we don’t have in common. And that’s usually fine with me. I can get past a lot of stuff, and concentrate on our shared interests. And it has always been a great kick for me to come together with people I might otherwise not connect to…

This year, it’s been tricky, with the political climate in America and the world. I have specifically stated in many of my classes – “No politics, please.” Just to avoid the issue. Trying to be polite…and it has worked thus far. 

Like I said, I can get past a lot of stuff. But…not racism. Not Nazis marching in the streets of 21st-century America. That shit doesn’t fly. Everyone should be against that…none of this “many sides” crap.

So…in the hopefully unlikely event that some of my readers are sympathetic with the KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, etc that were on display down in Charlottesville this past weekend, – if that’s you – please un-subscribe to my blog. Please stop following me on Instagram, FB…please don’t come to my classes. Please don’t buy my book, videos, spoons, etc.

I want nothing to do with racists.

Back to oak now.

Do japanese woodworkers traditionally not use drills at all?

Giant Cypress - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 5:38am

Among the Japanese tools I’ve seen over the years, I haven’t seen much in the way of drills in the sense of the brad point/auger/twist bit drills that we’re familiar with in western woodworking. There are Japanese gimlets, small hand held tools used to make small holes. These holes would be used to make pilot holes for metal, wood, or bamboo nails. The business end of the tool has a square profile, and the four sides come to a point.

In use, you would hold the Japanese gimlet vertically between the palms of your hands, and roll your hands back and forth to make the gimlet spin clockwise and counterclockwise.

There’s also a version with a three pronged tip (sort of like a very aggressive spade bit, or a flat cross section of a brad point drill bit) that can create a slightly bigger hole for dowels, but it seems that the largest of these topped out at around 1/4″.

one drawer fitted......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 1:27am
It was hard to choose what to expend calories on in the shop tonight. I have the binder box that is mostly complete and it has a couple coats of finish on it too. I am undecided on how I want to pin the hinge arms to the box. Depending upon how that goes, it may add some days before the completion date.

The drawers for the finishing cabinet are now at the fitting stage. I have to clean them up, do the drawer runners, make a bottom, and fit a bottom in place. I kind of did a 90/10 thing tonight with the most calories going to the drawers.

two drawers
Out of the clamps and still square. I had to satisfy my urge to check these in the openings.

the front of the small doesn't fit the opening
large drawer fit
I think if the tails weren't proud of the sides, it would have fit snug this way. The top to bottom is too tight also.

large drawer
The back is tapered so it may fit once I flatten that out. Both drawers are a bit too large for their openings but that should change once I get some planing done.

the gaps are still there
I won't be able to fit this drawer tonight because I have to fill these gaps with epoxy.

the other side
A smaller gap on the opposite side. I could probably ignore this and be ok but since I doing the other side, I'll do this one too.

flushing the top of the big drawer
I had to see if this would at least go in the opening.

one side fits
The left back corner will slide into the opening. The right back corner threw a hissy fit and won't cooperate and go in.

sawing off the wild
I marked the top of the sides onto the back. I ran a line away from that and sawed it off.

flushed the bottom
The bottom won't be getting any more attention. Any trimming to fit the opening will be done on the top. It's going to be painted and I have to allow for the thickness of the paint film.

top flushed up
When I got a continuous shaving going around the entire perimeter I stopped.

cleaned up the sides and the back
I will do the front very lightly when I am done fitting this. There is only a 1/8" at the front of the dovetails and I don't want to thin down the front anymore than I have to.

in about a 1/3 of the way
2nd trimming and I'm about 1/2 way - planing just the top
third trimming and I'm done
I made the mistake of fully seating the drawer in the opening. I had a hell of a time getting it back out. On this trial run I left it proud as in lesson learned.

I'll plug this after I get the bottom and slips installed
flushing the tails
I used to plane the tails flush but I now flush them first with a chisel. Doing that gives me a level starting point for the toe of the plane. I noticed that I was slightly rounding over and not getting the front to back straight. I was planing a slight hump on the drawer sides.

epoxy and filler
It surprises how the white filler turns a beige/pine color when it is mixed with the epoxy.

the compromise
A better fit of the tail and pins would have been the best choice but epoxy saves this from being toast.

4 coats of shellac
I still haven't sanded this back yet. I want to get a good film build up before I steel wool it due to the high pine pitch content of this. This will probably end up with 4 more coats followed by some wax.

squared up one end of the slips
the back of the slips
Doing some trial and error work with the slips trying to figure out the best way to glue them in place.  On problem I'm trying to figure out is whether to glue the slips in place and then fit the bottom, or glue the slips and bottom in all at once. I can see advantages and heartaches with both.

the front look
I cut two pieces of the bottom to act as spacers to keep the slips positioned correctly at the front and back.

the way I'm leaning
I like the idea of the two spacers at the front and back and gluing the slips to the side. Without the bottom in place, I can apply clamps to the slips while the glue sets up. Potential problem - the slips might slip and the bottom won't lay flat side to side.

slips aren't as proud this way
works better than this way
The slip in the middle is the way I was originally going to put them on the drawer. That way about a 1/4" would need to be flushed off. The way they are clamped in the box now I will only have to shave a strong 32nd. And the size of the rabbet for gluing the bottom didn't change at all.
another problem
Since the groove and the plywood aren't a good fit but rather a loose one, with the slips clamped at the front, the plywood spacer is cocked upwards. I think I will position the bottom of the slips to be even with the bottom of the groove. I'll deal with the gap, if any, after the slips are set and the bottom is glued in place. That fun will commence tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
In what Baseball World Series was the Star Spangled Banner first played?
answer -  the 1918 series

Re: I need your help

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 12:21am

Right off the bat thanks to everyone who responded.

Matt offered some really great ones and two stood out the most.

Planes, Chisel and Saw


At The Workbench

The first one is a title from a book my friend Tony Konovaloff wrote so I can’t use that, but it’s great and definitely complements what this magazine’s about

But I equally like At the Workbench and I’ve secured it pending payment which means no one gets it till I make a payment.

I’m still open to suggestions but so far this one seems to be the winner.

It’s a pity ASIC isn’t flexible in these things as HANDWORK is by far the most suitable title but we also work at the bench so it is what it is, but i know it will create some confusion for some people who are not in the know.

This post I’ve written on my phone at work so I’m sure there are some missing commas and periods which my friend Matt will pick up on. But I’m not a text addict like my daughters and if my life depended on it, it would be short lived.

Btw the second issue it’s title will remain unchanged. I’ve already begun work on the third issue.

Categories: Hand Tools

Uses of jointer-planer combo and benchtop planer

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:32pm
Byrd Shelix on the DW735
Commenting on a recent post, a reader asked: Do you typically use your DeWalt 735 for planing, and your Hammer A3-31 for jointing? I am starting to look at combo jointer-planer units, and would be interested in knowing if you typically use separate machines for these two functions. You mentioned in a previous article you […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Soft Wax: Not Just for Furniture

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 5:30pm


While Katy’s soft wax is great for furniture surfaces – especially interiors – she has a new devoted customer: Crucible Tool. Unbeknownst to me, Raney and John have been using the soft wax on our improved-pattern dividers as the final finishing step.

In fact, Raney asked me to make a big batch for him so we didn’t waste so many little 4 oz. tins.

If you’d like to give soft wax a try, Katy has a batch in her etsy store that is ready for shipment. The wax is $12 per 4 oz. tin. I use it on drawers, turnings, chairs and even as a final topcoat on oil finishes.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. We hope to have a new black soft wax soon. Oh, and about the photo of the cat: The wax had nothing to do with the hair loss.

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

I need your help

Journeyman's Journal - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:56pm

I chose HANDWORK as the title of our magazine as it best describes what we do, but as I tried to register the name yesterday through ASIC they tell me a little old lady has taken this name.  Not only did she take this name she registered multiple spellings of handwork.  So, now I need another title for the magazine and I tried several others;

  • Handcraft – taken
  • Handkraft – taken
  • Handcraftd – taken
  • woodworking with hand tools – too long
  • woodspeak – available pending my payment

I personally like WOODSPEAK as a title, I think it's unique and we are speaking about wood and when we work our wood speaks back to us.

So what do you think?

Do you like it?

Do you have any other names that would be a better suited title?

Lets brainstorm together, I only have a few days to register that name.

One more has been added to the pending payment list and I think this one is pretty good also

"BenchWork". That title pretty much covers everything we do.


Categories: Hand Tools

Scything tough weeds on slopes

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:47pm
Some old-school time lapse photography of mowing rougher vegetation. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

No Surprises

Paul Sellers - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:38am

Your responses to the last blog came as no surprise. As people accept the ever more mundane of mass making, skills automatically become dumbed down. Manufacturers that once had loyalty on a more local level have gradually sold out and what we thought was still being made domestically by local skills was hidden behind bland …

Read the full post No Surprises on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Back Story on Our Latest “Different” Tool…

Bridge City Tools - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:42am

Drivel Starved Nation;

It seems that whenever we introduce a tool that is not “traditional” factions of the woodworking community, using their internet bullhorn, feel compelled to condemn the effort as heresy, an egregious assault on our “woodworking heritage”. These anachronistic views to me, and to us as a company, are about as much fun as pre-chewed food. Ideas evolve and so do tools — at least I like to think so.

New ideas are almost always the result of a changing perspective. And this is what I believe we do best, we rattle the cage of conventional woodworking wisdom with tool ideas that either attack or improve functionality deficiencies, inconvenience and work-flow efficiency, all with an underlying passion for aesthetics. Ironically, nobody needs any of these tool ideas… except me.

When I started my furniture making career back in the mid-1970′s, my small basement shop evolved into a 2,000 sq.ft. woodworking studio located in an old defunct furniture factory which still resides in a huge Portland gully. My view was Interstate 84, which was about 75 yards away. That shop contained all the “traditional” purchased hand tools you can imagine, and I despised many of them.

Back then, I had no idea I would eventually become a tool maker, but I do remember cussing under my breath about squares that were not square, block planes that needed half of a day of work to be functional (maybe more), and particularly my Record shoulder plane — that plane could not be used for more than 10 minutes without causing hand pain.

I remember being acutely aware how my store bought tools shared a collective ugliness which I surmised was the result from pragmatic cost compromises. Little did I know I was littering my brain with seeds that would eventually become Bridge City Tool Works.

Fast forward some 40 years later and I now have two shops — and it is not as luxurious as it sounds. In the skunk lab at Bridge City I work primarily at a stand-up bench I built in 1977 (it is from my original basement shop). This shop is full of Bridge City stuff and working space is small and precious. There really is not much room except for one little tool prototype project at a time. We are so cramped here that the table saw has to be moved to utilize the entry door cavity for ripping long boards. I suspect you understand what I am talking about.

My home shop is a back bedroom of my house which houses my Jointmaker Pro. There is another stand-up bench in the garage, but it quickly attracks clutter with important items like dog food, light bulbs and currently, window washing paraphernalia. The garage is also home to our dogs “Hyatt Suite”. In other words, working in my garage is next to impossible.

With this in mind, my tool design perspective has changed and you can see it in our latest design, the UG-1 Universal gage (which, by the way is a stupid name — I lost the vote here). Currently I am interested in working with as few tools as possible to accomplish my needs because I don’t have the space, nor the patience to find, then put away what I need for whatever project I am working on.

UG_R.8 700

To be sure, I am rarely a fan of multi-tools and I own several, the most important of the bunch is the one I carry on my bicycle. That said, it seems multi-tools are full of compromises so when I set out to design one, it is not out of ignorance, I really want to solve my space constraints and simplify my work-flow in the most uncompromising way I can conjure.

In my next post I will explain all of the uses I have planned for this tool and will objectively (as much as possible anyway) grade each of the functions of this cool little tool! You will be able to agree or disagree, but I think the dialog might be enlightening.


The post The Back Story on Our Latest “Different” Tool… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Poppy Smallwood

Finely Strung - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:16am

It’s always a pleasure to hear what one’s instruments are doing and I recently caught up with this small steel-string guitar that I made nearly 5 years ago for Poppy Smallwood. Based on a Martin OO model with 12 frets to neck, it’s made of English walnut and has a sitka spruce soundboard.




(More photographs here, if you want to know about its construction.)


Poppy has been playing the guitar in all sorts of places, making a reputation for herself as a singer and songwriter. Here she is performing one of her own songs for BalconyTV against the background of St Petersburg.




You can hear several more of her songs on Soundcloud.


SketchUp Class Philadelphia Furniture Workshop – Nov. 11-12, 2017

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 8:40am
I’m delighted to announce a SketchUp Class to be held the weekend of November 11-12, 2017 at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop in Philadelphia, PA. You can get detailed information and register for this class at the PFW website. While this Continue reading →
Categories: General Woodworking

The ‘Dugout Chair’ Begins With a Rotted Stump

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 8:33am

For as long as I have been writing about woodworking, I have wanted to build a dugout chair. I first encountered the form in one of the many furniture books we had a Popular Woodworking Magazine. Soon after I started working at the magazine in 1996 I began poring through the books whenever I had a spare moment – attempting to get up to speed with all the different furniture […]

The post The ‘Dugout Chair’ Begins With a Rotted Stump appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

How to Install Blum Tandem Slides with 2 Jigs

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:33am
Blum Tandem slides being installed with jig

Blum Tandem slides are a fabulous innovation for built-in cabinetry with drawers and pantry pull-outs. They’re smooth, silent, invisible and they come with a little person inside who pulls the drawer shut for you. (OK, not really, but there might as well be someone in there considering how well they shut themselves.) As with most innovative hardware, there’s a range of accessories you can buy to ease installation. When I […]

The post How to Install Blum Tandem Slides with 2 Jigs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Big Savings for Pembroke Table Hands-on Class

360 WoodWorking - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:11am
Big Savings for Pembroke Table Hands-on Class

If you have a week free beginning September
18th – yes I know it’s barely a month away – 360Woodworking has the perfect woodworking vacation for you. There is one bench open for a hands-on class building a Pembroke table, a furniture form that spanned over a century and was interpreted differently by the tastes and styles of the various designers of the age.

In the class as you build your table, you’ll learn multiple methods to taper legs, how to work with stack-lamination techniques for the curved parts, basic veneer work, how to lay out and cut the oval top complete with drop-leaf joinery and inlay and how to make knuckle joints for the fly rail – come ready to work to build this iconic piece of period furniture.

Continue reading Big Savings for Pembroke Table Hands-on Class at 360 WoodWorking.

Dying Crafts. What to Do?

Paul Sellers - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:32am

I listened to a BBC Radio 4 programme with a presenter named Jenny Murray talking about 17 crafts on the ‘Red Endangered List’, where certain crafts are in danger of disappearing. Of course we have seen crafts disappear because there was no use for them anymore. John Seymour wrote a book about the Forgotten Crafts …

Read the full post Dying Crafts. What to Do? on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

two drawers and a box.....

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:20am
It was a very productive weekend for me. Saturday was cloudy and overcast with a few periods of rain. Sunday was sunny but the humidity was back. It wasn't as bad as it was last month and with the fan going in the shop, it was tolerable. It didn't slow me down too much and I met my goal of getting both drawers glued up. I was hoping the box would be done and ready to go to work but maybe by tuesday or wednesday it'll be ready.

quiet work
An hour after oh dark thirty I was in the shop working on the binder clip box. I usually work on things like this that don't make noise as I don't want to risk waking up the wife. I flushed the top and bottom and cleaned up the sides. I used this piece of walnut to make some glue blocks for the bottom. I normally wouldn't use them on a box this small but I made the bottom too narrow in the width. I centered it as best I could and the glue blocks will keep it there.

plugged the groove holes
 I was going to put a base on this that would have hid these but I changed my mind. Only me and another woodworker will ever know what the real purpose of the plugs are for. If anyone asks at work (which I doubt), I'll tell them it's a decoration.

didn't get 100%
Three of the corners closed up with no gaps. This corner has a wee bit showing but I'll take it. This is a big improvement over my past results. I may be chasing the wind on this but I want a gap free interior on a  dovetailed box. I'm closing in on it slowly.

there is a lid in there
I don't want a glued up lid so I cut off a piece from this 1x10. I'll thin it down to a 1/2"

both sides have some twist
 The board looked straight and flat before I sawed it off but it rocked on the corners when I put it on the bench.

got one face flat
Getting this board flat and twist free was a PITA. I went back and forth several times between checking and planing before I got it. I was shooting for a 1/2" thickness and I ended up a frog hair under 7/16".

sizing the overhang on the ends
got a ton of tear out
When I ran my gauge line around the board I saw that I had over an 1/8" to hog off. So I used the scrub plane going straight across the board first. I got a lot of tear out but I thought I was ok because I had so much to remove. It didn't all plane out and disappear when I got it down to the gauge lines.

another headache
The the board is full of pitch on both sides. All the orange colored grain lines are pitch pockets.

made mess of this
I had to stop and clean the sole of this several times while scraping this board.

my 5 1/2
I'll have to break this down to parade rest and clean it up. Turpentine works the best at cleaning this but mineral spirits works too.

washers for clearance
There is about a 32nd on the outboard side of the hinge arms. The washers will keep the arms spaced correctly while the glue sets up.

only gluing about 1/2 way
I put the arms on the lid and held them in place for a few minutes and then set it aside to set up.

working on the big drawer front
cleaning out the sockets
first one fitted
the ugly gap
This is my fault because I set the marking gauge a hair shorter than it should have been. For some reason I thought this would give me some wiggle room when it came to fitting it. Well sports fans, it doesn't. What is does is this. Half blinds can't be proud or short in this cut but only dead nuts. Tomorrow after this has set I'll fill itwith epoxy and filler.

making my blind groove
sizing the back to match the front
dry fitlooks good
I am not doing the finger hole until the bottom is in. Once that is done, it would be impossible for me to screw it up again.

drawer slip overhang
I knew that this would go pass the bottom but not this much. Still not a problem as after the glue has set on it, I'll plane it flush.

a look see
Slips are a good alternative to grooving the sides. The bottom is captured at the front in a groove and can be nailed or screwed into the back. The sides aren't weakened by grooving for the bottom.

new look for me
The interior is flush across the bottom going up to the sides. Nothing sticking out into the drawer box interfering with putting things up against the sides.

small drawer parts sized and ready to dovetail
front done and ready to do the back
No hiccups with the front half blinds having gaps. I was a good boy and set the gauge to the exact distance.

I said oops
I made two runs with the plow to layout my blind groove. I was making one more and when I got to this end the plane stalled. I pushed and won. And the plane went right on through the end. Since I would have to plug this one I made it a through groove.

way too tight
The bottom half pin on this side was too tight to fit. It took a few trim and fit dance steps before I got it to seat.

ready for glue up
The back top is wild on both drawers. After the glue has set I'll saw off most of it and plane what is left flush. I glued this up and clamped the tails to close them up and set it aside with the big drawer.

lid ready for finish
The lid has a small chamfer on the sides and the front. I clipped the front corners at a slight angle. I have done round corners and corners clipped at a 45 and I wanted to try something different. I think the chamfer and the corner clips dresses up the lid over a plain Jane rectangle.

The back top edge of the box has to be rounded over to allow the lid to open and close. That is what is delaying getting this out the door today or even tomorrow.

one coat on the box and lid
If I get around to it, I'll come back after supper and put a second coat on the lid. The box will be getting just one because I have to still do some planing on it.

A good day in the shop and it was a wee bit difficult getting myself out of my chair when the wife said dinner was ready. I felt like things had rusted in place and I needed to oil the joints to free them. i think my age is catching up with me.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
This federal holiday was first observed in 1894. What is it?
answer - Labor Day, celebrated on the first monday in September. Canada's Labor day is celebrated on the same day too.

Bargain Planes on E Bay

David Barron Furniture - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:10am

I'm clearing out some old planes, all have faults that would be easy to fix. First up an unhandled Spiers smoother, a good user.

Next a Norris A 71 missing its rear handle.

And lastly a Spiers parallel smoother again a good user
All start at 99p so bargains to be had. Due to the weights I'm afraid it's only postage (or collection) in the UK
Categories: Hand Tools

Dubuque Clamp Works

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 4:34pm

Chance meetings abound at Handworks, while talking with Jim and Mike at Mortise and Tenon Magazine, I took the opportunity to grab a photograph.

Jim and I were laughing about asking someone to grab a photo of the three of us and we asked the first person wandering up to the table. After the picture was taken we continued talking and the  conversation moved to clamps and quickly a business card appeared in my hand. Our photographer, Keith Clark was the owner of Dubuque Clamp Works. 

Readers of my blog surely know that I am a huge fan of Dubuque Calmp Works. Learning more about the clamps I left the conversation even more impressed by their commitment to materials and quality. I purchased my clamps through Lee Valley Tools and have been extremely happy. There are many other places they can be purchased as well.

Categories: Hand Tools


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