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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...

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Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase IV

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:45am

So, where was I?  That’s right, trying to sort out the details on the joinery on the Craftsman-styled bookcase I’m designing.

I had the overall structure together, and I’d just shortened the through-tenons.  Originally the tenons we about two inches narrower than the bookcase was wide, so they nearly cut the case sides in half.  That would have been an unfortunate moment in the shop when I realized that, right?

So I changed the single wide tenons into two narrower tenons, and that took care of that.  But I still had the niggling concern about the overall strength where the wide pods joined the main unit, and to a lesser extent the strength of the center unit.  Except for the through tenons, the other shelf-to-sidejoinery was just short stub tenons.  And in they configuration, most of the glue area is long grain to end grain, not ideal.  So here is where we left off:

Previous version of the Bookcase

Previous version of the Bookcase

My concern is that there isn’t enough structure to keep the side pods from pulling out of the center unit, the only thing keeping it there are the 3/8″ long stub tenons on the ends of the shelves, back splash and toe kick.  The solution, I think, is to put some mechanical strength into that joint.  The best way I can think of is to substitute a sliding dovetail joint for the stub tenons.

The decision to add this joint gives me loads more confidence in the structure of the design, but it also sets off a small panic attack because it’s not at all forgiving in terms of fit.  If it’s too tight it won’t go together — or worse will seize up during assembly.  If it’s too loose it won’t have the strength it needs.  There can be a lot more slop in a hidden tenon.

So the first thing I did was go look at how people make this joint.  It could be done with hand tools, but I doubt I’ll do it that way.  So the more common approach is to use a dovetail bit in a router to cut the slot and shape the flared tenon.  I looked at bit sizes and found a Whiteside bit that will make a large enough cavity without having to re-set the alignment to cut the groove wider.  When I do this, I’ll remove the bulk of the waste with a straight 5/8″ bit in several passes.  Then I’ll use the dovetail bit just to cut the walls and a shaving off of the floor of the groove.  I drew up a diagram of the joint in 2D to check out the router bit geometry and make sure it will work as I hope.

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I'm using

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I’m using

Once I’d figured out the process (at least the theory of the process) and finished talking myself into this change I updated the CAD model.  I removed the stub tenons on the two middle shelves in the sides and in the center unit, and added the dovetail.  I added the dovetail slot in the case sides and fixed up the model as necessary.  The top and bottom shelves on the side pods still have through twin tenons on one end and stub tenons on the other end.  I could change those to sliding dovetails too, but I don’t think it’s necessary structurally, and the setup would be slightly different because of the stopped rabbet for the back.  I might still change those, I’ve been know to reverse myself on occasion.

This is the view of the back of the unit, with the ship-lapped back removed.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

There are a couple of other “tweaks” to the design too.

The top profile on the back splashes now has an elliptical arc, I think this is a nice improvement.  Ralph (Accidental Woodworker) nudged me in this direction.  It was something I wanted to try, and I’m glad for the shove.  It sorta wakes things up.

The doors are different now too.  I made the stiles and top rail wider by a quarter of an inch, and the bottom rail wider by a full inch.  I think the wider bottom rail is an improvement.  I added hinges and pulls – although I just made these pulls up, I don’t think you can buy them.  I’ll almost certainly having something similar but different (and commercially available).

Version 3 of the Bookcase

Version 3 of the bookcase design

The arc in the top of the back splashes looks more subtle than it is in this view.  In a straight-on view is more apparent I think.  Aesthetically, I don’t think I’m missing anything by omitting the through-tenons on the middle shelves.  I’m feeling pretty good about the overall visual impact and about the structural integrity of the unit.  I don’t think I have any problematic wood movement issues, and except for the sliding dovetails there isn’t anything too concerning in the construction.  The through tenons worry me a bit I guess, that might be fussy.

What’s left in the design?  A few details, mostly.  I want to add pins through the edge of the case sides to lock in the through tenons.  I want to try adding ebony pegs to the doors at the joints.  I want to play with adding  an inlaid design in copper and pewter to the back splashes.  And I need to design the stained glass panels for the doors.  Finally, I need to develop a set of plans that I can take out to the shop too – but that fairly simple since I have the whole think in 3D CAD, it’s just plunking parts on pages and organizing the dimension callouts.

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Closeup showing door pull

Closeup showing door pull

 


Categories: General Woodworking

The Next Symposium!

Anthony Hay's, Cabinetmaker - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:32am

We’re excited yet saddened with our preparations for the January 2015 Working Wood Symposium. This will be the first symposium since its inception in 1999 that our director, Jay Gaynor will not be present. The Working Wood Symposium was Jay’s baby, and it’s not going to be the same without him.  Jay was excited with the theme of desks and the pieces we had chosen.

Entitled ‘Desks: The Write Stuff’, the program will feature four very different desks presented by Bill, Brian, Ted and I, as well as a Seymour ladies writing desk with tambour by guest presenter Robert Millard.

Bill will be presenting the earliest piece, a Philadelphia scriptor.  The maker, Edward Evans did us the favor of stamping his name and date, 1707, on the inside of the case. Turns out that it’s the earliest dated Philadelphia case piece!  This will be an interesting exploration.

1958-468_DS99-37[2]

Ever heard of a southern block front?  Sounds like an oxymoron to me. We’ve got a beautiful example in our collection, probably by a Norfolk, Virginia maker.  Brian has been dressing out stock for his presentation of this desk.

1951-398[2]

These two pieces are quite a contrast with some of the urban English cases being made in tidewater Virginia. I’ll be looking at the Galt desk and bookcase in detail. There are some interesting structural and aesthetic refinements that we’ll be exploring.

1978-9[2]

Finishing out this century is an exquisite Seymour ladies writing desk with tambour.  The federal period is Robert Millard’s niche.  Below is a piece from Robert’s web site, americanfederalperiod.com. We’re still canvasing museums for the particular piece to present.

sey-tam-1[1]

And finally in contrast to all of this is a utilitarian piece, a desk on frame from the Virginia Piedmont.  Ted Boscana will take a brief look at some of the idiosyncrasies of this country piece.
1968-304[1]

As always there will be a lot of action, good food, camaraderie, tools, tours and entertainment.  The full program will be posted in a couple of weeks on the Colonial Williamsburg web site.  Till then, in the words of Jay Gaynor, “keep calm and carry on”.

Kaare


Categories: Hand Tools

American Folk Marquetry

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:22am

American Folk Marquetry
English Apprentice Board c.1885

The last few days I have been thinking about geometrical designs in marquetry.  One of the reasons is that I need to prepare new samples to take to the WIA show next month in Winston Salem.  The other is that I just finished restoring a series of nice pieces which had amazing marquetry surfaces.
It seems...
Categories: Hand Tools

American Folk Marquetry

WPatrickEdwards - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:22am




English Apprentice Board c.1885

The last few days I have been thinking about geometrical designs in marquetry.  One of the reasons is that I need to prepare new samples to take to the WIA show next month in Winston Salem.  The other is that I just finished restoring a series of nice pieces which had amazing marquetry surfaces.

It seems that my work goes in stages, from one topic to the next.  Perhaps the secret of my success is that I just follow the flow as it arrives and focus my talents on the job at hand.  Early in my career I realized a pattern to the work which made it easy.  The first week, for example, I remove the hardware and finish, studying each job as to the proper approach.  I would do this with several projects at the same time.  I cannot really work well if I have only one job.  I need to juggle many jobs simultaneously, to be happy.  The next week would be spent with repairs, filling the bench with clamps and glue.  The next week after that I would focus on sanding and coloring the surfaces as needed.  Then I would spend time cleaning up the shop so I can shellac and polish everything at once.  Since the shop was then clean, I would spend a week upholstering.  This pattern would repeat itself with little variations for most of my career.

That said, there are exceptions.  Yesterday I spent the day outside the shop weaving cattails into a natural rush seat for an antique French chair.  The weather was nice, and I have a place in the shade on the North side of the shop with a gentle breeze.  It was a pleasant distraction from the routine.

However, back to the topic this morning.  American Folk Marquetry.  What is it?

In 1998 there was an exhibition at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York and a book published by Richard Muhlberger, which is in my collection.  This book "is the first volume to record the history of marquetry and the American masters who handed down the tradition from father to son.  Never before has American folk marquetry been investigated, cataloged, or recognized as a distinct body of work."  Obviously more work needs to be done in this area.

In reviewing this book I notice a common thread.  All the work relies on some form of Tarsia Geometrica and Tarsia a Toppo, and the last two posts on this blog have been an effort to explain how this work is done.  One of the important facts about this work is that it is made with either a veneer saw or knife.  A chevalet is not needed, but in some small areas a hand held fret saw is used for curves.

Another fact emerges in this book.  The most important analysis of these pieces focuses on how many pieces of wood and how many species of wood was used.  No discussion of the form or overall design is really attempted.  Most of the pieces stand as a miscellaneous combination of unrelated marquetry motifs.  There is no serious relationship between the form and the decoration.

Here is Frederick Hazen's (1829-1908) secretary, made in Massachusetts between 1862 and 1869.  The  author is careful to mention that it contains 21,000 pieces of wood.



Lots of Pieces!
Another thing I note about this book and its discussion of these pieces is the terminology.  The term "Male Quilting" is promoted and a long discussion of the relationship between marquetry and sewing makes the strange claim that they are somehow connected.  "The making of quilts and marquetry is similar in that they both depend on a patient, additive progression from detail to detail, until plain cloth or naked wood is embellished with multiple designs that are also made of cloth or wood."

By this reasoning, I can easily point out that Painting in Wood and Painting in Oil are related.  Therefore, marquetry is an art and deserves to be appreciated exactly like fine art is in the market place.  Unfortunately, the real world does not support this idea.

Here is a rather standard Davenport desk form covered with Tarsia Geometrica, and featuring the cube:

Circa 1860
Here is a box on stand with drawers covered in Tarsia a Toppo:

Not made by Shakers!
I am fortunate to have a talented business partner, Patrice Lejeune, who graduated from ecole Boulle and has worked with me for nearly a decade.  He spends his "extra" time here at work picking up scraps of veneer from projects and designing modern marquetry panels.  He is not American nor is he a Folk artist.  His work is very professional, modern and high style.  That said, I think you might be able to see a relationship with his work and the American Folk Art shown above.

For example, this is one of his pieces of wall art:


"Rain on the City" by Patrice Lejeun

Here is another:


"City Map #2" by Patrice Lejeune
I think his work is wonderful and something I could never do.  I am too old fashioned.  However, when I see his designs, the first thing that comes to mind is not, "how many pieces?"

Finally, in reading the Forward to this book, American Folk Art, I find this observation:

"The craftsmen whose work is celebrated in this book did not make their livings at marquetry.  The hours of labor necessary to ornament an object with marquetry were worth far more than anyone was willing to pay for the product.  Consequently, the men who made folk marquetry always required a means of support other than selling their fancy woodwork."

That remark reminds me of the day I proudly opened my antique store in June, 1969.  Another antique dealer in the neighborhood walked in to examine my stock and the first thing he said was "What do you do for a living?"  As if being an antique dealer was a hobby and you needed a "real job" (as my father always reminded me) to survive.

Well, it has been 45 years and I still make my living as an antique dealer, furniture conservator, furniture maker and, most importantly, marquetry maker in America.

That said, Patrice's work is Art and should be worth millions!

Categories: Hand Tools

“Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far)

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:17am

legdetail1Every month in our Wood News Online publication, we feature Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, who provides a variety of woodworking project ideas, tips, and stories from his own recent experiences in the shop.

In this month’s DTEW column, Steve discusses his illegible handwriting, which started as a child and has never seemed to improve as he has grown older. Unfortunately, this has led to illegible graph paper plans for his current SawStop Outfeed Table project, in which he has ended up with table legs that are too long.

You can find out more about Steve’s SawStop Outfeed Table project, as well as read the entire Down to Earth Woodworking column for August, HERE.

The post “Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far) appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Brusso Hardware

She Works Wood - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:31am
For many of my project I use Bursso hinges/hardware.  Its quality stuff that I got turned on to by Marc at the The Wood Whisperer.  The hardward is substanical quality brass and they even include the proper size steel screws to pre-thread your brass screw holes. A couple weeks ago they sent out a call […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Leveling a Rocker

North Country Windsors - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 4:27am

“I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.” 
― Thomas Wyatt






This is a bench I built awhile back, sold to a professor and Harvard Medical School. Really have to build another one...the next one will be Tavern Green. I think. Anyway, this post will be about leveling a rocker side to side.




Unlike regular chairs, in which you level it left to right then measure the seat front and seat back, then trim the legs, rockers are, or rather can be, much harder to level.  Because the slot is cut with a router, the only real way to level the rocker left to right is to chop the bottom of the slot deeper with a chisel. This I have found is a tedious process.



So the last rocker, or one rocker anyway, I had a great idea.  What if I measured the leg length relative to the seat AFTER the legs were reamed and set in the chair.  That way, the shortest one, the shortest leg would become the baseline leg and the other legs could then be trimmed to this length on the lathe, and then the slots cut with a router.  Let me back up. The legs are trimmed in pairs, front to front, back to back.


So here you can see the difference in leg lengths after reaming and placing the legs in the seat. By using dividers, my large ones, I simply find the length of the shorter leg and then mark the longer one.


Then I turn the leg to length on the lathe with a parting tool, and viola the legs are all the same length. Well, the front two match and the back two match.  This means that once the rockers are placed in the slots, the chair will automatically be level left to right.  Ez-pz.  Below you can see the difference on the length.  Not a huge difference but enough to be a pain leveling, especially with maple as in this chair.













Categories: Hand Tools

More on My Small Joinery Workbench

Paul Sellers - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 4:13am

It’s Only 32″ by 5’0″ and it Works Well

DSC_0023

Though I use this bench because its narrower size and short length better suits filming for Woodworking Masterclasses, I certainly haven’t found the wider flat surface any great advantage at all and I sorely miss my well and two-sided benchtop work surfaces. Occasionally someone will comment that the flaw in the well stow for tools is covering the tools with a project and so blinding access to the tools. If you really think through this you will see that the concern is quite silly. 95% of work revolves directly around the vise and the immediate surface surrounding it. The mid-section of the well area is of little consequence as an actual work area until you are perhaps planing or scraping a large surface such as a tabletop or frame of some type. In such cases I think ahead and move what I might need to an accessible part of the well and get on with the work. Simple.

DSC_0020

 

On this workbench I added the well after I had made the workbench because at the time of making I only needed a smaller bench to travel with me from time to time;  to demonstrate at show venues or to teach from in other locations. Otherwise I need time to get used to lesser benches and that can be frustrating.

I find it most useful for stowing gauges and screwdrivers upright through holes in the bottom. They are ready to hand and easily stored.

DSC_0018

Some say the same for the drawer in the apron but…

DSC_0006

…the advantage of having a handy place for non-conformist tools offsets any and all occasional first-world problems. Also, you can find flaw with any design, but, working from my experience, I find that automatic forward planning, thinking ahead, making decisions as I work into my future is all part of the craftsman’s mode of constant processing and critical thinking. It’s what separates him from a world of theorising and non craft working. Without it work life is hard. The well and the drawer/s work almost all of the time. I would say about 98% for both combined. That makes it most practical compared to not having either. My tools with round handles never roll off the bench or around the bench top. My whole bench top working area is always free to work on and the mid section of well area is clear for me to span with large wood sections, frames and so on.

DSC_0001 DSC_0002

Though I almost never use bench dogs as such because of my clamp-in-the-vise systems they may as well be in the bench as an added option if needed. I retrofitted a non-dogged vise with a brass dog in the wood and it works really as well as the built in models I have used with no compromise.

DSC_0014 DSC_0013

These tills are excellent us of space as you can see. I can pull the whole till out and place it on the benchtop to work from or pull tools as needed. The only issue I have is that occasionally a student will be intrigued by them just before a lecture and pull on one. because they are so short front to back, 7” or so, they pull on them and the whole thing drops the contents to the floor. This is a more recent phenomena surrounding over familiarity, as in my day no one would ever, ever have touched anything of a craftsman’s and especially his tool chest, tool tills, drawers or whatever. Very disrespectful all around.

DSC_0012

The top is only 60mm (2 3/8”) thick, leaving the well deep enough for chisels and squares and many of my other tools. On my other bench, my big bench, the well is an inch or so deeper and that means my plane (lying on its side, heaven forbid) can be stowed in the bench if I need too. Amazingly, though the top is so thin and made from pine it is rigidly inflexible and does not bounce anywhere at all, at all. It is redwood pine from Northern Europe. Don’t be misled into believing benches must be made from hardwoods or indeed fancy woods. That’s not the case. I do like hardwood benches too. Beech, ash, oak, maple all make good benches, but pine works as well for me and most benches in Britain were indeed always made from softwoods except school benches for children that were usually made from beech.

Conclusion

This bench does everything I need as a joinery bench. It is immovably stable, rock solid to work from and though only pine is used it still takes two people to lift and move it and even then they need to be stoutly built. The added well is by no means a compromise. I can reach it easily and retrieve tools as needed. I quite like the way it feels under heavy weights and even when the vise is fully extended it will not tip in any direction. On push strokes toward the vise with a big saw or planing and scraping across the benchtop it remains put. that’s what I want from a workbench. I think the bench really does need the five foot length. Any shorter and they tend to scoot in the direction you are pushing in along=the-bench strokes.

The post More on My Small Joinery Workbench appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

529 Scrap wood magnet clips

Matt's Basement Workshop - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 4:00am

If you haven’t noticed yet there’s a bit of a theme to my videos this summer. Have you figured it out? It’s “Scrap wood projects!”

scrap wood magnet clips

Continuing along with the last couple of episodes this one is no different. For today’s project all you need are some Metal Hinge Clips, Magnet discs, and scrap wood.

What I find great about this project is that it’s an opportunity to use some of your smallest scraps and you’re truly only limited by your imagination when it comes to shape and size. Okay, maybe you’re a little limited also by the strength of the magnet, but that’s easy to fix too with the purchase of a rare earth magnet or two.

And just like all the other scrap wood projects we’ve seen over the years, this is a great opportunity to not only use material that might ordinarily get tossed or burned, but it’s an inexpensive way to familiarize yourself with a new species or two.

If after watching the video you decide to make some yourself, please feel free to share pictures. I’d love to see what you create!

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Categories: Hand Tools

A British Introduction to Japanese Planes

Giant Cypress - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 3:29am
A British Introduction to Japanese Planes:

David Savage starts a series of articles detailing his experience with rehabbing a used Japanese plane on the Lost Art Press blog. This will be a great read.

Enzian Blue

Toolerable - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 1:37am
Gentiana acaulis
The Frau and I thoroughly enjoy hiking in the German Alps.  Every once in a while, we are presented with a treat:  wild Gentian, or Enzian, as the locals call them.  Last year we hit the jackpot, and found so many on the hikes we did, I tired of taking photos of them.  Usually, they are a fairly rare sight.

Does this have anything to do with woodworking?  No.  Not really.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about an upcoming cooperative chair build (more on this later), and during my downtime in the shop, I became a bad anarchist, and started buying chair making tools like crazy.

Since I am travelling to make the chair, I need a travelling tool chest to keep them in.

I needed something lightweight, and quick to build.  The quick to build requirement reminded me of the chest that Richard McGuire from the English Woodworker.  He was in the same need when he designed his.  Since he went through the bother of designing it, that saves me a bit of time, too!

I happened to have some nice wide bits of laminated, wrapped in plastic paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa) boards.  This, I have determined, is the ultimate quick and dirty project wood.

Paulownia isn't the strongest of woods, but it is indeed wood, so automatically it is better than MDF in my book.  One huge advantage for this wood in a travelling tool chest is that it is only about half the weight of pine!

Enough blabber, here are some photos of my new chest:

Waiting for the paint to dry.
I think it turned out OK.

I have very little experience with clinched nails.  I found them fun!
My neighbors less so, I'm sure.
I just winged the dimensions.  This chest is about 24" wide, 15" deep, and about 12" tall.  No glue, only nails.  But, I suspect these clinched nails will hold up better than the paulownia.

This is a great project to do with a limited tool kit, such as my Beginner's Tool Kit.  If you'd like to see Richard's video on how to build this chest, go here.

If you are wondering, I painted the chest with some off the rack 2 in 1 paint from the local Borg.  2 in 1 paint is great, because it covers in one coat, and needs no primer.  I might try it on my ATC, which is still waiting for me to decide to paint it.

The color:  Enzian Blue.
Categories: Hand Tools

How to paint a picture that will appear and disappear occasionally - by Rufus Porter

Toolemera - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:23pm
Rufus Porter was the founder of the journal, Scientific American. He was also quite the experimenter in his own right. These two interesting, but not the healthiest of tricks to practice, are from: A Select Collection of Valuable And Curious Arts, And Interesting Experiments, Which Are Well Explained And Warranted Genuine, And May Be Performed Easily, Safely, And At Little Expense. Fifth Edition. Concord: Published By Rufus Porter. William Brown, Printer. 1826 28. To make a writing appear and disappear at pleasure - Dissolve equal parts of sulphate of copper and muriate of ammonia in water, and write. When you...
Categories: Hand Tools

Lawn Mower Blades: HSS, O1, A2, or PM-V11 (No Furniture Content)

The Furniture Record - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:15pm

Before my required weekly appointment with the lawn, I had to do some deferred mower maintenance. It is a self-propelled mower that had lost the self part. It was even hard to push. The teeth on the inner rim of the wheels and been mostly ground off. The bigger problem was the the the remaining tooth stubs would bind up against the drive gear and not propel, self or otherwise. The replacements of the wheels and the dust shields was uneventful. This surprised me.

While the mower was on the bench, I decided to check on the blade. I am ashamed to admit when I removed the blade, I had to stop and try to figure out which edge was supposed to be sharp. I don’t think I had been cutting the grass as much as annoying it.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

As I was sharpening the blade, I started wondering if I would need to sharpened less often (more than two years) if the blades were made out of better steel. High speed steel (HSS) is a good material for general cutting tools but won’t hold an edge as long as other choices. A2 (air-quenched) is a very hard steel that holds an edge longer but is harder to sharpen. O1 (Oil-quenched) is easier to sharpen but doesn’t hold an edge as well. The chromium content of O1 is less than that of A2 steel and will also rust more readily. And finally Lee Valley’s PM-V11, the relatively new powdered metal alloy. Between A2 and O1 in hardness. The claim is that the powered metal is finer grained and more durable and impact resistant. Might be useful in a mower blade. In that Lee Valley already has a gardening line of products, I should be able to talk them into making the blade.

Now some of you engineer types might have issues with my proposed blade improvements. I will attempt to address them all below.

1. Expense – Rough calculations make me think that a high-speed steel blade would be around $300, A2 or O1 around $400 and a PM-V11 close to $500. If I only have to sharpen it every three years it might be worth it. One way to cut costs is to use the old method of laminating an expensive metal edge onto a cheaper blade body. Planes and chisels used to be made this way and I believe that some Japanese tools still are.

2. Brittleness – Harder steels tend to be brittle. One might think that an A2 mower blade hitting a rock at full speed might cause a catastrophic blade failure. I think after five years I have hit all the rocks that there are to hit. One solution might be to again laminate a hard edge on a softer blade. For additional safety, I might want to have a steel mower deck and not an aluminum or plastic one.

Based on the above discussion which steel would you recommend? (My first poll. How exciting!)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

For my second poll, how do you sharpen your your mower blade?

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

It is easier to see where you mowed with a sharp blade. On the other hand, it is much easier to see shat you missed with a sharp blade. Now there is that whole oil change issue. I read somewhere that you should change your oil every 3000 miles. I’ve had the mower six years and even counting the year I had to mow the lawn of the house we owned and lived in and the house we owned and didn’t live in, I don’t think I have 3000 miles on it. If you believe the Car Talk guys, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi), I should be able to get 5000 to 7500 miles between changes. It will be interesting to see if the engine fails before scheduled service.

Air filter wasn’t that bad. When I blew and banged it a bit, I could see the paper pleats.

Next, back to furniture.


Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase III

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 7:23pm

First, thanks to folks that pointed out potential issues with the previous version of the bookcase design.  The key concern so far was around the length of the through tenons.    While I’ve seen other cases built this way, I can see it seriously weakening the case sides.  So, here is the previous version for comparison first:

First complete version of the bookcase, with long through tenons

First complete version of the bookcase, with long through tenons

I decided to make some changes to address this.  First all of the through tenons were made into split tenons.  3″ wide on the main case and 2.5″ wide on the side pods.  Between the twin tenons is a 3/8″ long stub tenon that fits into a groove in the case sides.

Twin through tenons with a stub tenon and shallow dado

Twin through tenons with a stub tenon and shallow dado

On the opposite side of the through tenons there is just a wide stub tenon and matching dado in the inner case side.  This means less of the sides is removed for the joinery.  I’m on the fence about whether 3/8″ is long enough for the stub tenon on the sides without a though tenon.  Maybe that should be a half inch or even 5/8″?  It’s a balance I guess, between glue surface and side strength.  My gut feel is to increase in on the inner sides to a half inch.

3/8" stub tenons join to the inner case sides.  The same from the long shelves into the sides.

3/8″ stub tenons join to the inner case sides. The same from the long shelves into the sides.

I also made the back splashes taller, I like that better than the shorter version.  And I removed the through tenons on those parts.  I don’t think it added anything visually, and it’s one less visible joint that could show problems.

So, here is the second version.  It’s better I think.  The back splashes might be a tiny bit too tall, but I could go either way.  I’m concerned about the strength of the stub tenons into the case sides — in particular the short side shelves into the center case sides.  There isn’t much glue area there, and it’s mostly end grain on one side of the joint.  I might need to think about that a little more.  I could make it deeper, maybe with twin tenons that went quite deep into the sides.  I could thing about a sliding dovetail joint (but that seems like it would really complicate matters).  I’m open to suggestions on that joint.  Pocket screws? (kidding).

The more I think about it, the more I’m convincing myself that I should change the joinery once more.  Through tenons on the top and bottom shelves, and sliding dovetails on the middle two shelves in each unit.  That will lock the units together mechanically and there won’t be any reliance on glue strength for the overall structural integrity of the piece.

Version 2 of the Bookcase, with improved joinery and some small refinements

Version 2 of the Bookcase, with improved joinery and some small refinements


Categories: General Woodworking

Tables: The Specification of Form

The Workbench Diary - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 7:14pm


"The basic utility of a table goes without saying. Flat, hard, moveable surfaces for working or eating are at the most basic core of furniture needs. In the 18th and 19th centuries different task specific table forms were developed for dining, sewing, taking tea, playing card games, etc. This specification of form naturally coincided with the wealth of the patron. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution and the use of steam powered wood working machinery that opulent forms and extensive ornamentation (albeit mundane) were affordable for the majority of citizens." 

-from A Comfortable House: Furnishing the Maine Frontier

Categories: Hand Tools

New Handle for a Turning Tool

Plane Shavings Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 1:09pm
The original style handle above the new handle below.

The original style handle above the new handle below.

I just finished re-handling a 1/4″ spindle gouge. It is like new even though I have had it for years. I never used it because I didn’t like the handle. It had the same handle as the skew chisel above it in the photo above. It was too long and an awkward shape. So I found a chunk of hickory and fashioned a new handle in a shape and length that I find comfortable. I finished it in a mix of oil and bees wax with a coat of hard wax over that and a good buffing on a wheel.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.


Categories: Hand Tools

The Knives In My Shop

Doug Berch - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:36pm

I was sharpening all the knives I regularly use and they told me this was a good photo opportunity. Yes, they told me. I was as surprised as you are. From top to bottom: My pocket knife is almost always in my pocket. Where else would it be? I have recently discovered Opinel knives and […]

The post The Knives In My Shop appeared first on Doug Berch.

Categories: Luthiery

On Logging and Woodworking

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:26am

The first time I visited the hardwood forests of Pennsylvania I was handed a hardhat. At first I thought the loggers were just trying to get me to wear a stupid hat, but within about three minutes, I realized I was wrong. Logging is incredibly dangerous. And while I marveled at the beautiful forests and huge kilns during that visit, I was mostly astounded by how easy it is to […]

The post On Logging and Woodworking appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:26am
Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?
The Cube Design "inlay" around the Drawers is Tarsia a Toppo

Charles Montgomery was one of the most important men in my life, even though I only met him once.  Isn't it amazing how someone can have such an impact in such a short time?  Of course, I had followed Mr. Montgomery and his work for nearly a decade before I met him.  During...
Categories: Hand Tools

Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:26am
Tarsia a Toppo or Inlay?
The Cube Design "inlay" around the Drawers is Tarsia a Toppo

Charles Montgomery was one of the most important men in my life, even though I only met him once.  Isn't it amazing how someone can have such an impact in such a short time?  Of course, I had followed Mr. Montgomery and his work for nearly a decade before I met him.  During...
Categories: Hand Tools

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