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My wife occasionally reminds me that my relationship with tools is outside the bell curve of normal. The following thoughts may be proof of this.
With some tools there is a learning curve. You have to figure them out before you get consistent results. I think of my Veritas plow plane this way. It wasn't immediately intuitive to a dummy like me and I had to learn her idiosyncrasies (and get an upgraded depth stop from the company) before I was happy. This isn't a deal breaker in my world, I'm happy to get to know a tool well if we're going to have a long term relationship. Many of my planes and I have had this courtship.
Occasionally tools spring into your hand ready to go. Often it's because I payed my dues with a similar tool before finding this one. I taught myself good sawing technique on a self sharpened old Disston backsaw with a slightly warped plate. So when my first Bad Axe Saw found it's way home it was amazing.
But there are a small percentage of tools that signify a paradigm shift in my shop techniques. They change the way I solve problems and even view my work in the shop. Around a year ago this Morakniv 120 arrived in the mail. I bought it to add to my spoon carving kit, but it didn't live in that tool roll for long. It doesn't even go in my tool chest, it hangs on one of the pegs over my workbench and other than my holdfasts and bench mallet, is the most quickly accessible tool in my shop.
Last fall as I was building a set of kerfing planes and it became time to shape the handle, I decided to rough out the grip with the knife before reaching for the rasps, but once I worked down to a point I came to really like the lightly faceted feel on the knife carved handle. It transfered that "touch" to the tool's feel that's so elusive. So I slowed a bit and made better, finer, smoothing cuts to finish by knofe only. Treating the handles as I might the handle of a spoon.
This knife simply answers the call of duty every time without complaint. It came to me very sharp and it holds it's edge for a long time and is still easy to maintain with a charged leather strop. The wooden handle is modifiable but honestly I found it comfortable and responsive out of the box. The only thing I don't like, that keeps me from strapping it to my belt, is the plastic sheath. I suppose I should just find someone to make one for me out of leather. All in due time I suppose.
So there you go. Even the simplest of tools can be transformative to your shop time when they are designed and crafted just right.
Ratione et Passionis
This love letter is unsolicited and unsupported. I was not asked by MoraKniv to write this nor have I recieved anything from them. I was using this knife in my shop this week and this post formulated in the joy of the shavings coming off the blade.
The shelf was cut to the correct length, and the parts were glued up. Oh yes, I made the rabbets for the shelf before I glued it up.
The lower front lip and the upper front each had a bead planed to soften the transition where each part will meet the fall front.
I mounted the parts a bit too long, and when the glue had dried I trimmed them to the correct length.
My Record combination plane has got a blade for making tongues, and I was really anxious to try it.
At first it was a complete and utter failure. I could at best take a shaving that was 7" long before the plane was blocked with shavings and I had to use a screwdriver to pry them out.
I stopped for the say and chatted a bit with Brian Eve instead. He asked about the plane and did the smart thing: He visited Patrick Leach's Blood and Gore page. I have visited that page numerous times, but I don't know why I didn't think of doing it this time.
It turns out that there is supposed to be a "shaving deflector" that has to be used while planing tongues. Patrick also states that these are very commonly lost.
A bit of Internet searching and I had found some close up pictures of what it should look like. Since it looks a bit complicated, I decided to fabricate one of my own design instead. I think it took me roughly 20 minutes work, and I had a shaving deflector ready for testing.
The deflector was installed and I sort of expected the plane to jam within 5" this time - so I started out with a very short stroke. No blocking.
I got cocky and tried to do a 10" stroke. Still no jamming, Actually it seemed to work as it should. Finally I tried taking a planing the whole length of the 25" board. Two fat shavings ejected perfectly from the plane! I could even take fairly heavy shavings, so in a very short time all the tongues were completed.
On those boards I made the grooves next, and followed with some side beads.
These boards were all installed as the back of the carcase. I used a dab ob glue in the middle of each board, and two nails. so in theory the middle of the narrow boards will be fixed by the glue, and the nails closer to the sides will allow for some wood movement.
Tonight is wednesday and I did a repeat of my garbage day post from last wednesday. I managed to cut up a few more pieces of the old counter top and get it in the shitcan. I couldn't get much because there was a lot of garbage already in there. I should be able to get most it in there for next week if I do it this weekend.
|honey do project|
|the drawer and pencil tray have gone south|
|left is for hardwoods and the right for softwoods|
|two drill bits|
|13" up from the bottom|
I have been thinking about making a shelf pin drilling jig for the drill press. I think I got the spacer part figured out so it'll be repeatable but the distance from the edges is going to take some overtime with the brain power. I want to come in 2" from the front and the rear so I have a lot of holes to line up when I flip the sides to the opposite holes.
|the box is done|
|left rear quarter glamour shot|
|back of the lid|
What four states voted against the 16th amendment (the income tax amendment)?
answer - Connecticut, Rhode Island, Utah, and Florida
It’s been months since I posted here, the longest gap since I started my blog. I have continued working on the rabbit hutch as time allowed, but after looking back at some of my earlier posts, realized that I have been on this project for over six months now. Yikes! I have continued to photograph the build as I progressed, but I haven’t had time until recently to edit photos or try to put them into a blog post format. I now have about five posts in the pipeline, so hopefully you should see more from me soon.
I doubt that any of you can remember what I had already done (I had to go look at my earlier posts myself), so I will add links for you to re-acquaint yourselves if you so wish.
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 1 (Front frames and doors)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 2 (Sidewalls)
- The Rabbit Hutch – Part 3 (Carcase assembly)
The last post ended with the main carcase of the rabbit hutch glued up into a single unit. It’s nice to see the plan coming together. The hutch is divided into an upper and a lower section. Both of these sections will have a wire floor, and the wire will need to be supported by a wooden frame. So, the two floor frames will be the next part of my build.
Generally, I’ve stop taking photographs of me milling stock. It’s the same in every post so I’ll just skip to the end result. I wanted frames that are both light and strong, and Douglas Fir will be just fine for that.
I could have just assembled these with pocket hole screws, but why not practice good furniture building skills while making this project? Bring on the dovetails.
The top frame needs to have an open section for a ramp to connect the two levels of the hutch. The bottom frame is a simpler design, so I’ll start with that one.
With all four corners fitted, I had to decide where to place the cross rails.
After being left for a day to dry, I flushed all the joints.
Now for that upper frame. This one will be a little bit trickier.
Cutting the pins proved to be a bit of a challenge. They are on the end of pieces that are five feet long. There’s no easy way to do this without having a 60″ hight on the workbench top.
The layout of the upper frame was different and I ended up needing three cross rails instead of two. I chose my design and then cut all the mortise and tenons.
It is much easier to paint all of these sub-assemblies now rather than at the end. Also, this allows me to paint surfaces that will be covered or inaccessible later. I want all wooden surfaces of this project to be painted, with no bare wood exposed anywhere. I did not use a timber known for rot resistance as it was really expensive. Several coats of good paint should add some rot resistance and longevity to the project.
The frames will screw into the main carcase of the hutch from inside. I added some countersunk pilot holes before adding the wire to make the job a little easier later.
In the next post, I’ll install the two floor frames and do some more work on the hutch carcase.
– Jonathan White
Last blog, I featured some of the workbenches from a local antiques shop renowned for their primitives. Renowned might be a bit strong but it’s late and I want to get this done.
As I wrote, they have more than a few workbenches:
They are more than workbenches. They have lots of pie safes:
with a very odd latch:
And chairs. Lots of chairs:
Lots of trunks and chests:
Chinas and cupboards:
No antiques store is complete without dressers:
And a smattering of painted pieces:
To check out the full set, click HERE.
Like most things in hand work, no amount of reading or watching of videos can teach you to turn wood on a lathe. At some point you have to start putting tool to wood. Only then can your hand and mind begin to build the connections that are need to actually use a lathe efficiently. I don’t know about you, but there is only so much random turning I can as practice before it becomes boring and thus less conducive to learning. I need to have something at stake. I need to have the risk of failure or the lure of success in order to fully engage in the process.
Knowing that I would be teaching myself to use the lathe I started looking for lathe projects that would help me along the way. Magazine articles and videos are great, but without actual interaction you are still on your own. So I searched for projects that would progressively challenge my burgeoning skills. Abject failure sucks and can be discouraging, especially when your on your own. Therefore, the beginning projects needed low risk of failure and a high probability of success. One other wrinkle is that I wanted projects that would be useful. This brings me to my first project, the Garden Dibber.
The Garden Dibber is essentially a fancy sharpened stick of a known length with additional indicating marks of distance. It can be used to establish the spacing of plantings and also create a hole for planting at the desired depth. According to some sources the history of the dibber traces back to Roman times.
The Garden Dibber is a great beginner project. It requires roughing out, tapering, incising lines at exact locations. The surface needs to be smoothed and the handle portion can made simple or as complex as you want. None of the steps are critical to its function (a graduated pointy stick), so risk of failure is low.
I started by roughly shaping a billet octagonal at the shavehorse with my drawknife. I could also have done the same at the workbench with a plane. You can turn square stock directly on the pole lathe, but the sharp corners are hard on the drive cord.
One of the quirks of this lathe is that the drive cord wants to run at the end of the workpiece only. I can move it slightly over by angling the treadle, but it is much more efficient to simple flip the workpiece end for end to work the entire length. I could also use a longer blank and designate one end to be the pulley. I have done this, but it generates a waste piece. Since I’m frugal, I’ll use a smaller blank and flip it. Anyway, here is the blank roughed round.
Next, a little layout to delineate the overall length, the handle and where to start the taper.
After the taper is turned, I laid out the 1″ graduations.
The lines were cut in with a skew chisel.
Then I flipped the workpiece and shaped the handle.
I used a piece of MIG welding wire with toggle handles installed on it to burn (it’s not a Hillbilly Daiku project without wood burning) in the lines that I had incised with the skew. Pressure and friction does the trick.
The lathe work is done. All that is remains is to saw off the waste and shape the ends with chisel, file and sandpaper.
I wiped on a coat of BLO and called it done. This was my third (middle) attempt at this project. My first try is on the left and the second run is on the right. I can see some improvement and I’m becoming more comfortable with the tools.
I think the Garden Dibber was a good first project on the lathe. Heck, I can see cranking these out every now and again for practice and gift giving. It’s a relaxing way to spend an hour in the shop and there is almost no way to fail.
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.
- Log in to your paypal account if you don’t have one then create one
- On the top Tab choose “money” and click on it
- In the left hand column you will now see “send or request money” click on that
- 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.
- Enter my email address, you already know it because you sent me an email if I post it here I can get spammed.
- 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.
The pole lathe takes a little getting used too. Even more so since I’m trying to learn to use it and learn to turn simultaneously. It took me a couple of hours to develop a rhythm and feel for the pumping action. It proved to be a much more relaxed rhythm than I had imagined it would be and there is a good bit of feedback from the lathe and the work to guide you. One element of this lathe that has proven quite useful is the adjustable double spring pole configuration. I quickly took to adjusting the tension on the springs to match the type of turning I was trying to do. Heavier tension for roughing out and lighter tension for more detailed work. It takes only seconds to reach down and slide the connecting strap to change the spring tension.
On the subject of spring poles. The plans call for 1″ diameter spring poles, but since I made my lathe a little longer I bumped my spring poles to 1-1/4″ diameter. At first I thought that they were still too slight, but once I developed a feel for the lathe, I find that they are more than adequately sized for the task.
On the movable puppet I opted for a fixed dead center over an adjustable screw configuration. I struggled over this fearing that it would be cumbersome to adjust the pinch between the two centers without the aid of the screw feed. However, I find the puppet quite easy and intuitive to adjust with light taps from a mallet or tool handle. I’m happy that I didn’t go to the extra work of fabricating a screw-fed center point.
Another element that I needlessly worried about during construction was the wire linkage between the pivot arm and the spring pole. The wire is looped at each end and simply slid over the respective member and rests in a shallow groove. I was convinced that it would constantly slide off during use. It doesn’t. It hasn’t even moved from its installed location.
My first couple of pieces through the lathe were just to get a feel for the lathe and the tools.
Practice has its place, but I find that my skills improve much quicker when I’m tackling actual projects. I’ve come up with a couple of projects that seem to be geared for the beginner, a Garden Dibber and Peter Follansbee’s Ratcheting Book Stand. The Garden Dibber is a basic shaping exercise, but can be made as elaborate as you want. The same holds true for the Ratcheting Book Stand with the added wrinkle of needing to duplicate parts. We shall see if my choices for my first projects was wise or not.
Noets-1 Greg Merritt
This was a short work session as it totaled only a couple of hours removing all the clamping screws from the half slabs and legs, running them through the planer, and clamping the slabs up (using standard bar clamps for this step).
The last half-day will be sawing the dovetailed tenons and removing the excess tenon-like protuberance from the bottom of the legs, truing the tops and trimming the ends, and driving home the legs in the double mortises.
Gluing up narrow boards into big panels stresses out many beginning woodworkers. Sorry to say it, but I have another stressor to put on your shoulders: Don’t tarry. Schnell. Andele. Large panels are like manicured lawns. Right after you mow and trim your yard, it looks like a golf course or a military haircut. But within minutes or hours, the blades of grass and weeds begin to move and grow, […]
I have been doing some carving lately…I have a number of half-finished (some 7/8 finished) stuff around. The oak I’ve been carving lately is intentionally half-finished, so I have stuff to demonstrate at the Fine Woodworking Live event this coming weekend.
In the 7/8 finished department, there is this – what’s different? It’s maple. Slated to be a cutting board (the blank side, of course). I’ll cut out a handle at one end, with a hole for hanging it, carving-facing-out, when it’s not in use. Here’s one from before – (I thought it was pretty new. But 1 1/2 years have gone by since I made that one.)https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/why-did-this-take-so-long/
As I was sorting & organizing this shop, I squirreled away some walnut scraps leftover from a joint stool…and last week I started making this book stand. Just a little trimming here & there (the finials for instance), and pinning the joints left.
This chair frame is mostly done – maybe it’s less than 7/8s there, but it’s close. There’s a crest rail all carved, but it doesn’t go on until after assembly. I just have to cut the rear stretcher, then add two figures that get attached to the rear stiles, and the crest. Oh, and the seat. But that’s plain…
The past couple of days I’ve been cutting parts for the headboard of a bedstead I’m making for a very patient customer (thanks, Wendy!) This is what I will demonstrate on at FWW Live. I have 2 long rails cut, one is all carved. The other has enough of its pattern for people to see what it’s headed toward…so I’ll have some of that carving to do, and some mortises & tenons to cut. I fitted one muntin today, and planed & laid out another.
Closer view of the same grouping.
Here’s the muntin. All this work is in oak, as it should be.
A detail of the patterns on the two long rails.
some more prep work tomorrow. Then off to Southbridge MA on Friday for the event.
From my Journal Saturday 15th April 2017 I left for Portsmouth, which sits but 1 ½ hours from my home, for some private study and rest time bathing in the history of woodworking. Portsmouth is a port city and naval base on England’s south coast, mostly spread across Portsea Island. It’s best known for its maritime …
The Frau has complained that I always decided to do woodworking while wearing my best clothes. I don't know why, but I've always avoided wearing a shop apron. I guess I'm just too cheap to buy a nice one, and the cheap ones tend to be a distraction.
Unlike this project...
I've never done very much sewing before, and didn't quite know how to go about it, so I did some googling, and came across a post from a sewing blog. It's good to have a place to start. The other place I looked was the shop apron page on Texas Heritage Woodworks site. Jason seems to be making the best shop aprons out there at the moment.
This project seems to be a good one for someone who has never sewn before. It's not too complicated, and has enough hems to make you want to never do another one again.
A sewing machine would make this project very quick and easy, except for the fact that I am using #8 duck canvas (18 oz.) requiring a heavy-duty sewing machine, and I don't have one.
I do have a Speedy Stitcher. I haven't ever really used it, so I suppose it's a great time to learn.
|Working on making some hems with the Speedy Stitcher.|
Next is about two days worth of sewing hems. A professional seamstress I am not.
|After a while, I could finally sort of do it straight.|
|Finished with the hems!|
|Straps soaked in BLO.|
But I hope I don't.
When the messages to firstname.lastname@example.org start to get a little on the “Where’s my book you Nigerian scammer?” side, it’s time to do an update on the blog.
The plan was to mail this book in early April. Like all complicated projects, we hit a couple snags (a premature baby, wrong grain direction on the end sheets, toads). The bindery is assembling the book now and it should be finished any day now. Then it will be trucked to Indianapolis, boxed and mailed. Let’s say early May.
Briony Morrow-Cribbs, the copperplate artist, has all the raw materials and orders from customers. Kara has ordered the special packing materials and backing boards to protect the prints in transit. And Ohio Book is making the boxes for those of you who ordered an entire set. We hope the process – excepting a toad storm – will take a month.
Deluxe Roubo on Furniture
Designer Wesley Tanner and I reviewed the color proofs for the book yesterday and found only a few images that needed corrections by the printer. We’re still on track for a June release. But, as always, this is a complex project using companies all over the map. It’s more likely things will go wrong than right.
‘Carve the Acanthus’ by Mary May
Meghan Bates is designing the book and is working on chapter 10. I suspect the book is giving her fits (though she won’t say so) because there are an enormous number of photos and drawings. At this rate, the book should be out in August or September.
As always, thanks for your patience. We try to set realistic timelines, but manufacturing things is difficult. If you ever change your mind on a book that you’ve pre-ordered, simply send a message to email@example.com and we will immediately cancel your order and cheerfully refund your money. No questions asked.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized
It’s a shame customers don’t know as much about woodworking as woodworkers. They run their hands over your work and if it’s smooth they think it’s good – whereas you know that’s just the temporary wax on top. It shows the customer nothing about the weeks you spent oiling it daily or the high number of light coats of shellac used to create a deep and repairable finish. Customers can also […]
Moving into warmer Spring and Summer breezes causes many to think about taking woodworking classes – who wants to bet on the weather in January and February, unless you’re south of Cancun? Plus, it’s often the best time to steal away a few days to pump up your woodworking skills.
Classes at 360 Woodworking are often geared toward projects – you learn techniques throughout the week-long class as you build a project such as a Mission desk or oxbow chest.
|second of wax|
|one of four cherry bases I have|
|I was right|
|made a test drawer side in pine|
|another test pattern in 1/4" plywood|
|height done, length is next|
|if I go to the back slats|
|it doesn't look good extended past the back of the vertical end|
|this is the right length|
|made it about a 1/2" on each side|
|went in the opposite direction|
|cut to length and squared the ends|
|wish I had a larger round|
|using a gouge too|
|needs to be a wee bit deeper|
|sanding out some of the ridges|
|pretty smooth to the touch but not perfect - planed the mistake off|
|needs to be deeper but the arc looks pretty good|
|the other end is a pretty close match|
|I'm satisfied with this|
|maybe I should make this tapered too?|
|bought a new catalog|
|the Stanley 55 in color|
|new book and a problem|
Who was Kathrine Switzer?
answer - she was the first officially numbered female runner (261) to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967