Jump to Navigation

Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...


Have coffee with me

Peter Galbert - Chair Notes - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:22am
This weekend, PBS will be airing the episode of Rough Cut that I made last spring here in Sterling. Tommy and the crew did a great job and worked hard to represent the craft of chairmaking. For some, it will air on Saturday morning, so coffee up, sit back and lemme know what you think. And rest assured, even if you don't like it, my Mother will love it.

Here are a couple more teasers for the upcoming book. I am just a few days from finishing all the drawings and am finally getting the hang of it (of course). The designer is working up some samples and it should be firmly in her hands in a week or two.
 Spending 3 days drawing drill bits can make one feel a bit odd.
 There are some images, such as the variety of leg styles, where surface quality calls for a slightly more rendered appearance.

Categories: Hand Tools

A woodworker by any other name…

The Kilted Woodworker - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:10am
If you haven’t yet stumbled across Darbin Orvar, then you need to step right… over… here. If you’re more of a watcher and not a reader, then do note she has a very active YouTube channel. One of her latest videos, which covers 15 uses for bees wax, is not terribly long, but so useful […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Studley Exhibit/Cedar Rapids Logistics Day 1

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 7:50am

As I write this I’m in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for a few days of running around making arrangements for next Spring’s exhibit The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley (tickets available here).  In the company of Cedar Rapids native and vise-maker extraordinaire Jameel Abraham I made excellent progress finding the perfect shops to build the exhibit case bases and plexiglass vitrines.  Jameel took me to a plastics shop he frequents in Cedar Rapids, and the manager said, in essence, “Yes, we can make this case for you, but the guy you really need to be talking to is down in Iowa city.”  Since Jameel had other business in Iowa City, off we went.




The first stop in the Iowa City area was the cabinet shop Jameel had recommended for the base of the display cabinet and the platform for the Studley workbench.  It was the right choice.  Any shop that can do the sort of work they do is fussy enough for me.

Next we visited the plexiglass shop, and yes indeed he was the right guy.  We speced out the job and he has it on his calendar.  Another great thing is that the cabinet shop and the plexi shop guys know each other and have worked together in the past.


Our final stop int eh area was one of Jameel’s lumber dealers, and while he was doing his business I purchased some mahogany for the replica of Studley’s workbench I will be building to include as part of the exhibit.


I will be hanging a number of piano-maker’s vises from the replica, and they will be “touch-able” by the exhibit visitors.

Finding the perfect shop for the plexiglass work was one of my prime concerns, and it feels great to have it resolved.  Even though the cabinet work for the exhibit will be minimal and fairly simple, it was a real treat to visit a woodworking shop that makes exquisite cabinetry and architectural elements.

Woodworking Show This Weekend in Conroe, Texas

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 7:15am

  Come join us this weekend for the Big Woodworking Show, Friday through Sunday October 24-26 in Conroe, Texas. Some of you may have noticed that the normal woodworking show that was usually in the spring in Houston got cancelled. Well, apparently there was some problem with the venue right at the last minute. But […]

The post Woodworking Show This Weekend in Conroe, Texas appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Skip the Planes and Get a Saw

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 6:49am

It’s exciting times these days because not a day goes by that I don’t get an email from someone just starting out in woodworking looking for advice. Invariably they are all a bit confused and daunted with the universe of tools presented to them to get started. Usually I get emails like this:

I have no tools and can’t really buy more than a couple planes to start where do I begin?
Which plane should I get first?
I have this plane and that plane, which plane should I get now?

It seems everyone is focused on hand planes. Maybe that is the marketplace telling them they need planes or the fact that there are many sexy looking planes out there now. This baffles me because I can think of no better place to start than with a saw. What is woodworking but taking big pieces of wood and making them smaller? Planes do this but in a destructive manner turning the board into shavings. A saw leaves you something left over and is a much quicker way of reducing a board to size.

Yes yes, planes smooth the surface and flatten the surface and they are necessary, but you have to start somewhere and mastering sawing will serve you so much better than mastering planing. Every stage of a build involves a saw and accuracy here only speeds up other tasks and sometimes even makes them unnecessary.

Stop Sneaking Up on It and Just Saw It

start with a sawThe fastest way to flatten a board is with a saw (or maybe an axe). Got twist in your board? Crosscut it close to final dimension before shaving away all that precious wood. Big cup? Rip it closer to width to get a flatter board. Even if you plane your board first, you will be sawing it to size later. Accuracy here can save you hours of work later. Rather than marking a line and sawing away from it so you can sneak up on the size, a good sawyer will saw to the line and clean up the cut with a few passes of a plane.

Or maybe no passes with a plane. For example, would you plane the ends and edges of a panel that was slotting into a groove for a frame and panel door? Would you plane the edges of a case back only to slip it into a rabbet then slide the case up against a wall? Would you plane the cheeks and ends of a tenon only to fit it into a mortise?

Those of you nodding ask yourself, are you planing those surfaces to fit or planing them to make them look pretty. If you saw it on the line, it fits from the saw and you can often skip the whole planing thing.

Joinery Should Be Called Sawery

When was the last time you planed a joint to fit? Was that because when you sawed it you left it a bit too wide or thick? I’m struggling to think of a joint that cannot be made with a saw and struggling to think of a joint that can only be made with a plane. Even the humble rabbet can be quickly made with 2 saw cuts vs multiple passes of a rabbet plane. The dovetail actually comes together better if you only use a saw. Same with a tenon. The nice, straight saw plate when well tuned and sharp will leave a dead straight surface that splits your line. At the heart of good joints is good sawing.

“The Rest is Just Scribbling”
-WA Mozart

I do realize that chisels and planes are necessary and joinery can be tough to make when you have a board that is rough and not flat. It would be hard to make dovetails without a chisel to remove waste between pins and tails (though good sawing with a fret saw can do it). Many will tell you that the secret to any project’s success is in the milling and stock preparation. I’m not going to argue that, but when you are starting out I think the new woodworker will gain more momentum and positive reinforcement by getting a saw and working on that technique first. One can always buy S4S lumber and relative dimensioning and fitting can joint together two board snugly even if they aren’t perfectly flat.

On the converse, being able to plane a board dead flat and square on 6 faces doesn’t mean a whole lot if you can’y use a saw to join it to another board.

So which plane should you buy?

One with sharp pointy teeth.

Which saw should you buy? I don’t think it matters, just get to sawing it will make you a better woodworker. Though if pressed, I’d buy a carcass saw

Eager to Get a Saw but Facing Sticker Shock?

Bad Axe Saw Restoration GuideDon’t overlook the thousands of vintage beauties floating around out there. Don’t be afraid of the work required to restore them. I find hand planes much more difficult to restore than a saw. Check out this outstanding guide to saw restoration that Mark Harrell at Bad Axe Toolworks put together. Truly this has everything you need to know.

Categories: Hand Tools

He is Legend…

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 6:17am

Believe it or not, but I am a fairly humble person. I think it is due to my working class (i.e. poor thug) background. Though I may be humble, I also am pretty intelligent, and I like to believe that I am rather perceptive, and I have good taste when it comes to things such as woodworking blogs.

About a year or so ago I began reading a woodworking blog (or maybe it wasn’t even technically a blog yet, I don’t exactly remember all the details) that I enjoyed immediately, and I felt had a lot of potential to be great. Maybe it’s because I could relate to the guy writing it. We’re both roughly the same age, we are both too young to have grey hair, and we both enjoy woodworking and writing about it.  Admittedly, this gentleman is a far better woodworker than I am, but that doesn’t stop me from comparing myself to him.

However, I would like to set all narcissism aside as this blog post isn’t about me, but rather about woodworker Graham Haydon, who now will be a contributor to Popular Woodworking magazine (or maybe more-I don’t know for sure). I was extremely happy to read his first contribution to the PW Editors blog this morning, and I hope to read many more. Graham is a highly talented woodworker and writer, good on camera, and though we’ve never met, he seems like a hell of a nice guy. So I would like to be one of the first to welcome my English Brethren and wish him the greatest success. If his current body of work is any indication, I think we will be seeing some great work coming from Graham Haydon, and I’m happy to say I saw it coming. Hail Britannia!

Categories: General Woodworking

RWW 186 Picnic Style Dining Table Part 4

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 5:48am

breadboard tenonsThis time I finish the top and cut the breadboard joinery for the two ends. Breadboards are a lot of fun to make but they can be fussy to fit. Making breadboards out of my own shop, without a workbench, and a limited tool set was a little daunting, but as you will see it came together great. Thus proving again that you can do great work without all the fancy stuff. Though this Bontz halfback saw is pretty fancy and seems purpose built for tasks like this.

Oh and sorry for the cliffhanger ending. Part 5 is coming but not until the earth tilts the other way.

Categories: Hand Tools

Design Under Duress

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 5:09am


Building a project in front of an audience is one thing. Designing it and building it on the fly is enough to drive me to drink.

Earlier this year I did a two-day seminar for the Alabama Woodworkers Guild where I designed and built a six-board chest. While I usually do a lot work beforehand for classes, I was in the final stages of editing “Campaign Furniture” and was a bit task-saturated. Here was my prep work for that class: I threw some boards and tools into my truck and drove south.

Luckily, I’ve built a lot of six-board chests, and the resulting piece turned out well. In fact, I like this particular chest so much that I’m using it in “Furniture of Necessity.” As a result, I had to create a SketchUp drawing and cutting list after building the project.

As I was drawing the chest yesterday, I was amused to see that I had fallen into using some typical ratios while designing the project, even though I didn’t use dividers or a tape measure. I just looked, marked and cut. It really was “By Hand & Eye.

The elevation of the case is 3:5, one of my favorite ratios. And the ends of the carcase – minus the legs – are 1:1, which is what I almost always use for my tool chests.

While these ratios make the chest’s appearance simple, they complicate the cutting list. If you have ever developed a cutting list from an antique piece of furniture, you probably asked yourself: “Why did they use these odd measurements?” You can chalk up the weird measurements to wood movement or the metric system, or you can realize that perhaps they weren’t measuring as much as we measure.

Here, for example, is the cutting list for the chest as built:

Six-board Chest Cutting List, Furniture of Necessity

No.    Name        T  x  W  x  L
1    Lid        3/4  x  14-3/4  x  35-1/8
2    Battens    3/4  x  1-5/8  x  14-3/4
2    Front/back    3/4  x  14-1/4  x  33-3/8
2    Ends        3/4  x  14-1/4  x 19-1/4
1    Bottom        3/4  x  12-7/8  x  32-3/8
1    Moulding    5/8  x  1-1/4  x  33-3/8
4    Feet        5/8  x  5  x  7-3/8

Yeah, I know. This cutting list could be simplified to use some rounder numbers. Or you could make this metal leap: There is no difference between hitting 35-1/8” or 35” or 35-7/64”. They are all numbers that are available to us.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Kerfing Plane & Frame Saw in Costa Rica

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 4:24am
  I received a letter from Mark in Costa Rica this week and wanted to share it with you. Mark recently made a Kerfing Plane and Frame Saw following the plans from my book, The Unplugged Woodshop. I loved the fact that although he wasn’t...
Categories: Hand Tools

532 H.O. Studley Tool Chest

Matt's Basement Workshop - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 4:13am

The H.O. Studley Tool Chest is considered by many to be THE “Iconic Tool Chest,” the very tool chest that all others are compared to, and the envy of every woodworker who set their eyes upon it.

Image courtesy Don's Barn blog

Image courtesy Don’s Barn blog

On the outside it’s constructed of a gorgeous Cuban Mahogany, but it’s the meticulousness of the organization on the inside that sets it apart from everything.

When opened, it reveals the breathtaking layout and arrangement of the 240+ tools contained within. All of which add to the beauty and awe-inspiring effect the tool chest has on those who’ve seen it. But who was H.O. Studley?

Truthfully, we know more about the chest than the man who built it. And what about the lesser known Studley workbench? Have you ever seen it up close or even knew it existed (“Chortle”-level Patrons of Matt’s Basement Workshop will get a look at it in the bonus footage accompanying this video, join today by clicking here?) Those, and many more questions were what Don Williams set out to answer in his upcoming book about H.O. Studley and his tool chest, due out in early 2015.

Don, along with photographer Narayan Nayar, and Christopher Schwarz of Lost Art Press are painstakingly documenting the man, his tools, and of course his tool chest, so the rest of us can understand who he was and what’s so amazing about this iconic piece of woodworking history.

Along the journey to write the book and document the tool chest, Don made arrangements with the current owner to set up an exhibit for the general public to come in and see it up close.

The H.O. Studley Tool Chest and Workbench Exhibit is happening May 15-17, 2015 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It’s occurring the same weekend as Handworks in nearby Amana, Iowa and will be offering visitors a full 360º view of the tool chest and workbench.

Tickets are currently on sale, but there is a limited number available. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the Studley Tool Chest in person. For more information visit www.studleytoolchest.com.

Download Video
Download HD 720 Video
Download Audio

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

WORK No. 136 - Published October 24, 1891

Work Magazine Reprint Project - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 4:00am











Disclaimer: Articles in Work describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.

• Click to Download Vol.3 - No. 136 •

Categories: Hand Tools

Superior Marking Gauge

Philsville: Philip Edwards - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 1:30am
Hi Folks
A project I've been working on over the last couple of years has been a traditional marking gauge, one that incorporates all the details that I like in a gauge. I've made numerous prototypes and have dragged them round the woodwork shows and shown them to many people for feedback. I'm pleased to say that I am finally completely happy with the design (and manufacturing!) and can finally reveal the beasty in all its true glory - the Superior Marking Gauge!

The initial batch has been made from my stash of Rosewood - combined with brass and steel it looks timeless and glorious and hits all the woodworking "ooh" spots. It has a few tricks up its sleeve. It comes with a pin for everyday marking out, the wide face of the gauge giving plenty of bearing surface to work against. I also like a knife or cutting gauge when working across the grain and when working with veneered pieces so you can swap the pin out for the supplied knife. And finally, a pencil gauge is great for when you want a legible mark without actually damaging the surface - swap ends on the shaft of the gauge and it becomes a pencil gauge.

One other detail that has annoyed me on other gauges I own and have tried is the locking mechanism. You want to be able to lock the gauge off firmly but also to be able to adjust it easily and accurately. My patent pending mechanism makes this a pleasure to do and there is no separate "foot" to loose if you dissemble the gauge.

As a special introductory offer we are offering the gauge at £75 plus shipping - drop me an email at phillyplanes@gmail.com to place an order.


Categories: Hand Tools

Hello, from an English Joiner!

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:59pm

As a new name here it seemed wise to make my first post a brief introduction. My name is Graham Haydon and I’m a woodworker in England. By day I have the good fortune of making a living as a joiner within our family business. Being a joiner from a small town in the rural South West means we cover a wide range of work – the core being windows, […]

The post Hello, from an English Joiner! appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Ultraviolet Light for Safe Adhesive Removal

The Workbench Diary - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:06pm

Ultraviolet light is routinely used by conservators as an aid in examination of objects. UV light causes the materials of the object to fluoresce differently giving the viewer a whole new perspective on the object.  Glue squeeze out turns bright green or white, fresh shellac is neon orange, deteriorated natural resin varnishes are green, waxes, oils, and raw wood don’t fluoresce at all. (Think trippy blacklight posters.) This can be helpful for quickly finding previous repairs or to facilitate surface cleaning.

Adhesive fluorescence

The other situation I have found this handy in is when I need to scrape a thermoset (indissoluble) adhesive from a joint. Because these glues need to be removed in order to get good adhesion for new glue, the UV light causes the otherwise transparent glue film to fluoresce a bright whitish green. Once you can see what is glue and what is wood, you can safely proceed with mechanical scraping without tearing up the wood beneath.

Note the raw wood does not fluoresce when adhesive is scraped away

Surface scraped completely clean

There are high powered conservation UV lights available for a few hundred dollars but I have always just used a blacklight bulb from the Halloween store. (There are online sources too.) With the studio’s windows covered and the lights off, you can see fine enough to get the job done. For $10.00 you can’t go wrong.
Categories: Hand Tools

MikeM’s Vise

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 4:19pm


During last month’s foray into the alien planet known as Newengland I stopped in South Portland to visit MikeM, who had emailed me about a wheel-handled vise he found at a flea market up there.


Since I have been on the hunt for piano makers’ vises for several years, and since he was literally less than a mile off the interstate, stopping to check it out was a no-brainer.  The vise itself was a head-scratcher.


It is definitely in the same vein as all the others I have seen, and no two have been identical thus far, this one was a real outlier.


The general configuration certainly conformed to the style, but the travel of the face was quite short, and where in the world did that five-spoke wheel come from?


One thing that definitely made me smile was the factt hat he had taken my advice and made some polissoirs himself from whisk brooms.  I was honored to add to his collection with a genuine Roubo Polissoir from Don’s Barn.

Thanks Mike for sharing this peculiar tool with me.  I will look fine alongside all the others in the book.

New in the Store: ‘The Book of Plates’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 11:30am

BOP_1000To ensure you can receive “l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” in time for Christmas, we are taking pre-publication orders for this book and offering free domestic shipping until Nov. 19, 2014.

“The Book of Plates” goes on press tomorrow, Oct. 24, but because the book is oversized, the pages have to be trucked to a separate bindery, which is experiencing delays. Because of this unforeseen event, the book will not ship to our warehouse until Nov. 19.

To make sure all Christmas orders go out as quickly as possible, we are now taking orders for the “Book of Plates.” This will give us time to prepare all the shipping labels and custom boxes for the books beforehand. All orders will be shipped in the order they are received.

Pre-publication orders will receive free domestic shipping. After Nov. 19, shipping will increase to approximately $10.

You can place your order here.

If you haven’t heard about the “Book of Plates,” here are the details:

“The Book of Plates” contains every single gorgeous illustration from all of the volumes of André-Jacob Roubo’s “l’Art du Menuisier,” the most important woodworking book of the 18th century. All the plates are printed full size on #100 Mohawk Superfine paper – the best paper available today.

The book itself is 472 pages long and measures 10” wide, 14-1/4” tall and 2” thick – a sizable chunk. It will ship in a custom-made box. The price is $100.

As with all Lost Art Press books, “The Book of Plates” is produced entirely in the United States. It is hardbound, casebound, with sewn signatures and a cloth cover. The book is designed to outlast us all. The plates were scanned from 18th-century originals at the highest resolution available and are printed at a linescreen that will produce the maximum detail possible for the paper and press technology.

“The Book of Plates” is an intoxicating look at 18th-century work, everything from furniture to architectural woodwork, carriage-making, marquetry and garden woodwork. Roubo’s volumes are still the legal standard when it comes to the craft of woodworking in most of the world.

Even if you never buy one of our translations of Roubo’s text, “The Book of Plates” will inspire you (for many years we owned two copies of Roubo with only a passing knowledge of French). And if you read Roubo in the original French, German or one of our English translations, having the full-size plates in front of you makes a huge difference.

In addition to containing all 383 plates from “l’Art du menuisier,” we have included the first English translation of the table of contents for the books, which serve as a guide to the plates. This table of contents is 11 pages long and is a roadmap to the contents of every plate. There also are short essays from Don Williams, our partner in translating the text, and Christopher Schwarz, the publisher.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

Hooded Sweatshirts Back in Stock

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 11:26am


Lost Art Press sweatshirts with the hand-lettered logo are back in stock and ready to ship immediately.

These midweight American Apparel sweatshirts are available in sizes small to XXL. The price is $45 (XXLs are $1 more). Some customers have reported the sweatshirts are a bit snug. So before you order, check out this sizing chart for this particular sweatshirt. If in doubt, order one size larger than you typically wear.

In my personal experience, American Apparel sweatshirts loosen up over time, becoming a little more baggy than when new (just like me!).

We’re going to keep this sweatshirt in stock as best we can through the winter months. Order early, however, to avoid delays and disappointment.

See the sweatshirt in the store here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Products We Sell
Categories: Hand Tools

WIA 2015 Location: More Hints

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:44am

In the comments on my post from yesterday, all possibilities were eventually correctly postulated for the location for Woodworking in America 2015. But which of the four possible cities is it? (I’m now wishing my hints had been less narrow…I have to string this out for a few more days until the conference team says I can reveal the location.) So, more hints: • I can drive there in one […]

The post WIA 2015 Location: More Hints appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – Tip #42 – Using carpet underlayment as router pads

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:14am

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift.  Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip.  It’s OK if you call me “cheap.”  

You can buy a non-slip “router pad” from any number of suppliers.  It’s great stuff and will grip your work on one side and the table surface on the other side with amazing tenacity.  Cheapsters like me, though, look for folks who have changed out their carpet with new underlayment (pad).  Just keep your eyes open on garbage day and you can find a gold mine like the one pictured.


You can pay a fortune per square foot for a “router pad,” or you can have this for free. All it costs you is your pride! And, if it’s wintertime, just wear your ski mask and your neighbors will never know it’s you!

Take more than you need and store the excess in your attic or share it with your woodworking buddies.  Cut a variety of sizes to accommodate jobs small to large.  When rolled up, it stores in a small area.


I keep some “router pad,” used carpet underlayment, stashed in various places around the shop.


Some here, some there.


Even if I’m not routing, it makes a terrific scratch-free surface to work on.

The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – Tip #42 – Using carpet underlayment as router pads appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator

by Dr. Radut