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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Do you have a suggestion for a hand-tool woodworking blog you would like to see here?  Tell me via the CONTACT page.  Thanks!


Metal’s in Some plane making to come.

time tested tools - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 5:58am


Don @ http:\\timetestedtools.com

Categories: Hand Tools

Hands-on Workshops With Paul

Paul Sellers - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 4:54am

P1030512The next hands-on nine-day workshop filled straightaway and the next one will begin June 19-27 2015. That’s a Friday start date with no days off throughout the nine days of class.


I’ve taught this workshop since I first developed it in the 1990’s. I cannot tell you how many lives it’s changed and continuous to change. When I began my work training others and passing on skills it was from the direct relationship to my craft, an extension of my life as a furniture maker and crafting artisan and never as a teacher. I’m still a maker and always have been even though our outreach as teachers and apprenticers is bigger and more wide reaching than ever before.


The first two classes of the year filled more quickly than ever before which shows the demand for real woodworking is continuing to grow. This is no surprise to me at all, people are looking deeper into their lives in search of meaning and fulfilment. Woodworking has a way of transforming people’s lives and that’s my main goal. Aldo, unfortunately we’ve cut back a little on the number of courses we can offer this year too. Please book your bench-space early if you are planning on coming to North Wales.

Month-long Intensive this year


Many of you asked if we would be holding a month-long intensive again and we ware holding one this year in September. If you are interested in a more intense multi-project furniture making course concluding with the Craftsman-style Rocking Chair or an armed dining chair this course will prove of great value to you. PICT8761In this course we will be building a large chest to my design. The chest is more cabinet making course for learning the art of raised panel door making by hand, drawer making and making large scaled dovetailed boxes as cabinets. DSC_0025This is a hybrid of my traditional joiner’s tool chest and the cabinet maker’s tool chest you may have seen around my shop or in some the other  month-long workshops held here and in the USA. I have changed the design to become a rock solid foundation course in this type of construction. The drawer making has both through and half lap dovetails and sliding dovetailed dividers too. Quite an interesting project throughout.


The coffee table is a trestle-type table made from solid oak. It has a dovetailed apron, my design and very unusual, through tenons and a series of blind tenons to create the pedestal end frames. The techniques used to build this table are transferable to full sized dining tables of the same or similar design.P1030502

To ensure all students are similarly skilled and prepared, students must have attended our foundational course or a preparation five-day course planned a few days before the month-long.PICT0205

Places for this class are limited to eight students only. Please contact the school as early as possible to avoid disappointment and also for additional details if this course is of interest to you. I will gladly answer any questions you might have.


The post Hands-on Workshops With Paul appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

could it be better........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 04/11/2015 - 2:49am
Have you ever made something and in using it, thought of a way to make it better? I have gone in the other direction with making changes and ended up with toast. As I was proof reading yesterdays post I thought of a way to make my molding iron jig better. My immediate impulse was to call in sick and go to the shop and make it.

Cooler heads prevailed and I went to work. Once there I doodled a bit with a couple of ideas. I couldn't quite put my thoughts onto a piece of paper in 2D because I suck at drawing. But it involved trunnions, pins, and all kinds of other neat stuff. It was a fun day at work trying to think of ways to do it with hand tools.

didn't need the trunnions and such
Yesterday when I first got done with this I had an inkling that something wasn't quite right. I was happy with this as I had made it but in the morning that changed. While proof reading my post it came to me that working on this at 90 was/is a bit awkward. Having it tilted slightly downward was much better. My view of the iron being worked improved a lot. I think being able to look down on it rather than straight in allowed me to see the whole profile.

By lunchtime I had ruminated a couple of hundred different designs in the brain bucket. Everything from double trunnions to single ones to using wedges and a hinge. I had finally decided that I only needed the jig tilt down about 20-30 degrees. I didn't need trunnions. Then it dawned me that I could put it in the wagon vise like this. Voilá. I didn't need to change anything.

If I couldn't get this work in the wagon vise It would work in the leg vise. But I like working at the bench on the right side and that is where the wagon vise is. I was happy to get it to tilt without having to saw anything off.

better of view of the iron
it's flatter this way
I played with this iron by honing the edge with it tilted and with it flat like this. Because of the bevel it was definitely easier for me to hone and polish with it tilted. I'll keep the trunnion and other ideas I came up with other projects. This one is staying as it is.

couple of strops coming
I ordered some 3M micro-abrasive paper from Lee Valley today. They show it being used to make "honing sticks", both round and flat. From that I got the idea to make my own flat and round leather honing strops. I intend to use the micro-abrasives to sharpen the molding irons.

this wasn't easy
 The flat strop was very easy to glue up. The left over piece of leather from that I glued to this dowel.

gappy at the top outside edges
This isn't giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling.  This looks like at this point this will unravel. Maybe a thinner piece of leather would a be better choice on these small dowels. We'll see what shakes out with this tomorrow.

This is it for shop time today. My wife wants to go out to eat tonight and she said she told me she would be leaving work early. Translation - it's friday and I want to get out of here now. Tomorrow I will start on the table. Now I'm going out for fish and chips.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How many time zones are there in China?
answer - only one   the government requires all clocks to set to the same time as the clocks in the capital of Beijing

Music I’d Like To Hear #90

Doug Berch - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 8:49pm

The post "Music I’d Like To Hear #90" appeared first on "Doug Berch."

Categories: Luthiery

HB Tansu #3-Progress 13

Greg Merritt - By My Own Hands - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 5:59pm

Let the drawer making commence!

Last evening I started with the drawer construction.  I would have liked to cut at least one practice joint in the walnut before diving into the real deal so that I could get a feel for the compression rate.  But since I used absolutely all of my walnut, save a few small cutoffs, I had no choice but to just jump in.  I knew that the walnut would have little compression and just guessed at how tight to shoot for erring on the tight side.  This first round of dovetails fit pretty good.  There are a couple of hairline gaps but I thinks those will closeup when the glue is added and swells the wood.

The joinery for these drawers is my standard fare.  Lapped (half-blind) dovetails at the front, finger joint at the rear, the bottom installs in a groove and everything gets bamboo pegs.  A little unconventional, but stout.



I’ll post more about the process in the following days.  So be prepared to be bored beyond belief.

Greg Merritt

Skottbenk i Norsk Folkeminnesamling, del 1

Norsk Skottbenk Union - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 4:01pm
 Siv K. HolminSkottbenken frå Kverndal i Målselv er ein av mange gamle skottbenkar som vi har presentert her på bloggen. Eigarane av denne hadde ikkje kjennskap til namnet eller bruken av denne. Slik informasjon må vi då hente frå andre kjelder. Foto: Siv K. Holmin

Sidan skottbenken ikkje er ein del av pensum i formalisert fagutdanning i snikkarfaget og ikkje med i faglitteraturen i faget er det ikkje så lett å finne felles, eller gode, nemningar på benken, delar av benken og arbeidsmåten. Vi har nokre spreidde kjelder som er med i oversikta over litteratur om skottbenk i menyen over. Vi har også presentert nokre bloggpostar om både nemningar og om ulike skriftlege kjelder. Med søkefunksjonen i bloggen kan ein enkelt spore opp alt som er skrive. Det er eit materiale som har vore nemnd ved nokre høve men som ikkje er skikkelig forklart; svara på spørjelista om snikkarhandverket i Ord og Sed i Norsk Folkeminnesamling. Spørjelista vart sendt ut til snikkarar i heile Noreg i 1934. Det kom inn 168 svar, nokre er særs omfattande og detaljerte og andre har lite informasjon som er nyttig for oss. Eg har skrive ein artikkel med utgangspunkt i noko av dette materialet, Kjellingfot og ronghake – nemningar i snikkarhandverket omsett til handverkspraksis. Artikelen har utgangspunkt i svara på spørsmålet om høvelbenken.  Spørsmålet var formulert slik:

“Høvelbenken. Brukte dei andre måtar å festa arbeidsstykket enn i høvelbenk? Kann nokon hugsa ei tid dei ikkje nytta høvelbenk? Gjorde ein skilnad mellom hjulmakarbenk og snikkarbenk, og kva var skilnaden? Gjer greie for namni på dei ymse delane av høvelbenken. Var det t. d. tilsvarande eller andre nemningar på det som nemnest her: framtange, baktange, tangeskruve, platerom, benkehakar o. s. b. Uttrykk for å feste lange stykke som ikkje fekk rom på sjølve benken.”

Spørsmåla er godt formulert og grundig gjennomarbeidde. Det er tydeleg at dei som har laga spørsmåla har god kjennskap til snikkarhandverket. Likevel er nok spørjelista i stor grad basert på faglitteraturen i snikkarfaget. Denne er for det meste omsett frå tilsvarande utanlandske bøker og avspeglar i liten grad det tradisjonelle snikkarhandverket på bygdene i Noreg. Døme på dette er spørsmålet om skilnaden på hjulmakarbenk og snikkarbenk. Det baserer seg på ei feilaktig omsetjing frå terminologi på Dansk der ein snakkar om karetmagerbænk som ein høvelbenk som var populær blant vognmakarar og som hadde ein spesiell baktange. Det ser ut til at det berre var eitt av dei 168 svara som hadde forstått dette og svart på dette. Tilsvarande var det også med nemninga benkehakar som var misforstått av dei aller fleste som har svart.

I innleiinga til spørsmåla er det forklart at det er dei lokale nemningane ein er ute etter og at det er bra om dei kan skrive orda slik dei vert uttala. Soleis er det stor variasjon i skrivemåtar i svara. Når det gjeld skottbenken spesielt så gjer fråværet av han i litteraturen at snikkarane ikkje har noko referanse til korleis ein skal skrive namnet.

Eg tvilar på at dei som formulerte spørsmålet “Brukte dei andre måtar å festa arbeidsstykket enn i høvelbenk?” tenkte på skottbenken? Eg har likevel tatt meg tid til å gå gjennom alle dei 168 svara, nærare 2000 handskrivne sider, for å sjå etter om skottbenken er med. Eg går gjennom svara fylkesvis og startar lengst nord i landet. I Finnmark er ikkje skottbenken med i det eine svaret som kom inn frå fylket. Eg startar difor med Troms.


Snikkaren Jens Solvang i Hillesøy kommune var erfaren snikkar og hadde fleire svar som  var illustrerte. Om skottbenken skriv han: Den tid ein sjølv høvla og pløydde golv- og loftbord bruka dei “skottbenk” og “skotthøvel” til å høvle rett kant og pløye i. Han har og teikna ei skisse av ein skottbenk som har langbord på 8 alen. Han skil mellom golvbord og loftbord sjølv om desse kan sjå ganske like ut. Med loftbord meiner han nok bord som fungerer som golvbord på loftet men som også er synleg himling i etasjen under. Slike er det vanleg å høvle flate på margsida og pløye dei etter denne. Så legg ein borda med margsida ned. Baksida som vender opp kan vere meir eller mindre høvla.

Skisse av skottbenk teikna av Jens Solvang, Hillesøy i 1934. Skisse av skottbenk teikna av Jens Solvang, Hillesøy i 1934.

Henri Reiersen på Skjervøy skriv: Ja, jamnt brukte dei skottbenken, fem alner lang, tvo “bokker“, støttestativ i endene og eit “sagbord” 6 tummar breid, tvo tjukk, fast i bukkane på kant (upp ned) og eit av same slag attmed og det kunde stillast tett inntil det faste eller frå ved kiler som vart slegne millom ein vinkelkloss og denne lause bordfjøla. Når snikkaren skulde kanthøvle eller pløye var det godt å kunne ha denne innretning. Og når snikkaren skulle høvle lange bord so la han nokre bord ovanpå bokkane og desse to kantståande borda hvis øverste kant svarte til øverste ende av bokken.

I Troms var det til saman 8 svar som kom inn. Dei to som har med skottbenken i svaret har også svart utfyllande på dei andre spørsmåla. Sjølv om det verkar som om skottbenken var vanleg og utbreidd i Troms på denne tida så har både Jens og Henri ei inngåande forklaring av benken og bruken. Eg tolkar det som at dei rekna med at dei som skulle lese svara trong denne innføringa for å forstå? Sidan skottbenken ikkje er nemnt i spørsmåla så skulle det tyde på at han var ukjent for dei som har laga spørsmåla? Skottbenk er den gjennomgåande nemninga i Troms. Det er døme på både skruvar og kile til stramming. Jens nemner og skotthøvel som namnet på høvelen til skyting av bord.


Olav Engen i Sør – Rana skriv: Til å retta (“skjota“) lange emne, golvplankar t.d. hadde dei sokalla skotbenk – 2 lange plankar nøgje beinka i yvekanten, festa i kvar sine to føter i passeleg lengd frå båe endar, kvart fotpar standande på ein tung tverrklamp, den eine litt lauseleg – rørleg – so dei med ein skruv eller eit drev kunde persa plankane saman um emnet, eller losna på dei og ta det ut att – det settast fast millom plankane med passeleg kant uppum til å høvla av med ein mei-okse, ein oksehøvel med to listor – meiar – fest under som gjekk på benkjeplankane på kvar si sida av emneplanken og sa frå når det var høvla nokk: kanten på emnet vart då retta, beint, som benkjekanten var. 

J. Fondal i Meløy nemner: Høvelbenkens høide er i skrittmålet på snikkarane. Skottbenken.

Fridtjov Wahl i Lurøy nemner: Høvelbenk var kjent, men dei nytta og skottbenk som dei nytta når dei pløgde bord. 

Ragnvald Mo i Saltdal nemner: Til å retta opp lange trestykke hadde dei skåttbenken

Også i Nordland er nemninga skottbenk gjennomgåande i dei 4 av totalt 14 svar som har nemnt skottbenken. Skrivemåten varierer mellom “skottbenk”, “skåttbenken” og “skotbenk”. Olav Engen nemner “mei-okse” som nemning på høvelen. Han nemner og “benkjeplankane” som nemning på langborda.

Nord – Trøndelag

Hans Vold i Frosta skriv: (først om høvelbenken) Dessutan har vi endno : oksbenk – lang planke – som lange bord okshøvles paa. Ataat disse har vi ogsaa: skottbænk for samanskjoting og pløining av gulvbord.

Olav Urstad i Harran skriv: Naar dei pløgde saman golvbord brukte dei skottbenk d. v. s. to plankar sette på kant  og imellom desse feste ein golvplanken ved å kile plankane saman med bløygar

H. O. Naem i Kvam skriv: Ein annan slags benk som bruktes naar der skulde høvles lange bord  og plankar t. d. til golv og loft, var “skotbenken“. Den måtte helst vere noko lengre enn det som skulde høvles. Den var laget av to 2″ x 6″  eller bredere planker som stod på kant i to stativer, den fremste festet til disse og den andre bevegelig. Millom desse plankar vart saa det som skulde pløiast sat fast  med kilar, saamykje høgare enn skotbenken som “fjera” (plognaden). 

Ingolv Svinset i Ogndal skriv: Uframt høvelbenk brukte dei og skotbenk (lengre type). Lange stykke vart festa i skotbenk

I Nord-Trøndelag er skottbenken med i 4 av 11 svar. Skrivemåten varierer mellom “skotbenk” og “skottbenk”. Hans Vold nemner oksbenk bruka til å høvle flask på borda.

I dei fire nordlegaste fylka var det til saman 34 svar på spørjelista om snikkarhandverket. 10 av svara hadde med skottbenk men ein eller anna variant av skrivemåten. Dei fleste har også gitt ei ganske detaljert forklaring av korleis benken ser ut og korleis han vert brukt. Når ein ser det opp mot at det ikkje var spurt spesielt om skottbenk eller pløying av bord så er det stort for oss i Norsk Skottbenk Union at så mange likevel har tatt med skottbenken i svaret. Dei fire nordlegaste fylka sør til Trondheimsfjorden er omlag halve Noreg. Eg vel då å stoppe med dei i denne fyrste delen av gjennomgangen av svarmaterialet i Ord og Sed. Resten av Noreg får kome i 2 eller 3 postar til kring same tema.

Categories: Hand Tools

French Moulding Plane

Toolerable - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 2:35pm
French eBay strikes again!
French plane.
I picked up a pretty little moulding plane from French eBay the other day.  The construction of this plane is a bit different than the English tradition, and I thought it might be worth a five Euro bid to find out if it might be worth building one.

As is typical with purchases from eBay, you never quite know what you are going to get.  I tried to bid on one that didn't look too ratty.  Not too much rust or too many worm holes.

This one has a worn out sole.  The bit on an English plane that normally would be boxed is practically worn off in the front.
The sharp part of the profile on this plane's sole is worn away.
There are some interesting tidbits of French plane construction that one can learn from this plane.  First of all, it doesn't appear that the planemakers were too overly concerned about perfectly straight grain on their planes.  Looking at other planes on eBay, this plane is typical with a big swirly bit of grain right down by the sole.
Nasty tear out on the sole itself!
Here is another view of the sole from the rear.  The back of the plane took a bit less wear than the front.
One can see the profile on the sole from the back.

Here is another view of the swirling grain near the sole.
The wedge is a bit different in shape.  It actually looks practical and easy to make.
I was pleased to see the tapered iron was made by the Peugeot firm.  This should be good steel.  I look forward to sharpening it up.
Peugeot blade.

Here you can see the blade is tapered.  Curiously, it is full width the whole way back.
The big reason I bought this plane, is I wanted to see how the mortise for the blade was constructed.  I was right when I suspected that it was sawn out and another strip of wood was attached to the side.
This construction method for the mortise looks simpler to construct.
Indeed, looking at the end of the plane, you can clearly see where the strip was attached.
The side strip that is glued on is one wall of the blade's mortise.
Another view of the sole including the inserted blade.

Here is a view of the blade cavity with the blade removed.
I think the side escapement looks funny, but I imagine it is practical and works.  It looks like the end of the wedge fits seamlessly with the escapement.
The plane's escapement.
I couldn't see any spring lines on the end of the plane, however the plane's fence was canted a bit.  Could this be the angle that the plane should be sprung?
The fence looks sprung.
Here is a close-up of the maker's mark. It looks like, "8 VRAI CORMIER GARANTI" with a P. G. in the center of the star.
Maker's mark.
The over all length was 22 cm with a height of 7 cm for the body. (8 5/8" x 2 3/4")
Fairly short.
I think there is no question looking at this style of plane that the English style is superior.  However, construction of this plane looks far simpler than the English one.  One can not say that the French made inferior furniture using tools such as this.  Perhaps they viewed these tools with the thought of them being a bit more disposable than the English did.

In any case, here is a construction method of a plane that could perhaps be relevant today in the view of a more entry-level plane, or perhaps a tool one would buy for a single use.

I look forward to trying this plane out to see if it will still cut a moulding.  If so, it might be worth rehabbing and fixing the sole.

In any case, I might try and build one using principles seen on this plane to see if I can come up with a plane that is easy to build.
Categories: Hand Tools

Hound’s Tooth Dovetail Series 3 of 3

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 2:16pm

In this final installment, Frank goes over the layout and cutting of the pins and then assembles the finished joint.

The post Hound’s Tooth Dovetail Series 3 of 3 appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Amana Equation

Fair Woodworking - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 12:45pm
Is there such a thing as an e-social disorder? I don’t think I have one, but then what is up with my apparent need to be anonymous on my blog, twitter, and Instagram? Well despite recurring dreams that I can fly but only when wearing nothing but a pancake on my head, I think I’m […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Tooling up with estate sales #1-How to equip your hand-tool shop for pennies on the dollar

Hand Tool Journey - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 11:56am

When I first started in woodworking my biggest challenge was putting together a tool kit comprehensive enough to build something. And while the “minimum” tools necessary for a kit would depend to some extent on the types of things you’re building, there is a basic assemblage for most projects.

And while I’ve turned to eBay, Craig’s List, antique shops, garage sales and flea markets to buy good tools, I’ve had great financial success with estate sales.

Estate Sale Benefits
The biggest benefit to picking up tools at an estate sale is that you usually, not always, pay pennies on the dollar for items compared to other sources. Moreover, you can negotiate down prices if you buy multiple items. Frequently, I find good items with occasional gems, including wood.

Here’s a sampling of some nice finds on my estate sale hunts.

PS& W Compass Divider-$1.00 on a garage shop table.


Stanley #80 Cabinet Scraper-$3.00 buried under rusty braces in a vintage wood tool box.

P2-Stanley-No-80-cabinet scraper-estate-sale-find

Stanley Sweetheart 6” combination square-$2.00 sitting on a table in garage.


SB #18 HA block plane-$10.00 on a garage shelf.


Hand Brace-12″-Millers Falls No. 321-$10.00 on a garage table. 12” size gives great torque.



Another advantage to estate sales is that you can pick up a heavy item, like say a miter box and accompanying saw, locally for a good price. Oh sure. You can get them sometimes for a good price online too, but the shipping adds considerably to the total cost.

Still another benefit is that you can see what you’re buying before plopping down money for it. That goes a long way toward assessing a tool’s condition. It also puts the odds of avoiding broken, missing and jiggered parts greatly in your favor.

But my favorite part of estate sale rust shopping is the thrill of the hunt. There’s a serendipity element to it. Like the time when I picked up a Type 11 Stanley #5 corrugated jack plane for $8.00.


I didn’t see it in the pictures online. Nor did I see it in my first sweep of the tools. I was there to look over the handsaws—in poor condition and overpriced. That’s when the plane caught my eye. Hello my pretty…

That said, there are drawbacks to estate sales. You have to take what’s there and often, there will be nothing that interests you at all. In my area (Denver,) hand planes are scarce. And the ones I do come across are either:

late model planes I have no interest in

  1. off-name brands I have no interest in
  2. beaten and battered specimens that I have no interest in, or
  3. horribly overpriced whatevers that I have no interest in.

Consequently, all but one plane in my collection have come from eBay or the modern manufacturers.

Another thing you have to take into account is that your hunting will cost you both time and fuel.

So to help you make the most of your precious time and reduce the number of times you have to reach into the cookie jar for gas money, I’ve put together 10 Tips for Successful Estate Sale Tool Hunting. In the next installment, I’ll share Tips 1 through 6.

© 2015, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

### End Part 1

Categories: Hand Tools

The Japanese Toolbox (Finally)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 11:00am


When I got the privilege to measure an antique Japanese toolbox in 2013, I knew I had to build a reproduction. I just didn’t know it was going to take me two years to get around to making this simple but beguiling box.

The first problem was the hardware. I spent entirely too much time searching all over the world for manufactured dome-head nails to secure the toolbox’s finger joints. I came very close to finding the right nails in France and then again somewhere out in the desert. But there was always something fouling the works – the size of the head, the length of the shaft or the raw material (silver is probably a poor choice).

So I conned John Switzer at Black Bear Forge to make the nails and pulls. Note to self: Start with a blacksmith next time.

The wood was the next hurdle. Logically, I should build the toolbox using pine or cypress – a lightweight and strong wood that is easy to get. But I want the venti experience, so I started looking for Port Orford cedar. A fair amount of this stuff is exported to Japan for woodworking and building temples, so that would be a nice wood to use.

As I’m in the Pacific Northwest this week, I decided to spend a morning hunting up some Chamaecyparis lawsoniana in the Portland, Ore., area. After about 10 phone calls, I found a yard that had some. When I got there, I found they had three short boards. Three short boards that were split, warped and pecked with loose knots. I call this stuff: firewood.

Luckily, the yard had some gorgeous, dry-as-a-popcorn-fart vertical-grain Douglas fir. So I purchased an 16’-long clear stick of this wood as a backup plan. The antique toolbox I measured was quite possibly made from Douglas fir, according to the people who studied the box along with me.

The employees at the lumberyard were nice enough to cut the stock up into manageable chunks for my rental car so I could ship it back to Kentucky.

Mission accomplished. Or perhaps not. More on this story on Monday.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

On the keep-it-simple theme

Paul Sellers - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 7:05am
DSC_0003To make it real I bought the wood and carried it the garden in my hatchback.

Had I at fifteen been told to make my workbench I know it would have been intensely gratifying. I know too that I could have done it. But waiting a few years and allowing the process of work to change me did something to me. I matured, grew in knowledge and strength. The men had stopped their mocking and jealousies ceased. Today I see how that learning phase equipped me and stood me in better stead. I picked out my wood differently and knew what to look for on my own. My hands and arms were calloused and harder and the tools obeyed each stroke and demand. Building a workbench like mine is simple enough and yet it’s far from simplistic or over simplified. I have made it in different forms but always followed the same basic patterns because others seemed to counter my quest for simplicity.

DSC_0240When done I dismantled it and put it back in the hatchback.

I’m glad we filmed the one I made for YouTube in the back garden a few short summers back. It was so real working from two saw horses that way and now we’ve had millions of views as a result of it. Emails each week tell me that my bench now stands on every continent around the world and hundreds if not thousands have been made by men and women and even young children. That’s what makes much of my work simpler without being simplistic and it’s what the real woodworking campaign was all about a few years back. You know what? It’s worked.

DSC_0001Now Phil uses the bench as well as students who are 6’2″ tall or over.

Watching Sam make his bench at the bench as it were has been fun for me. Perhaps he too was supposed to wait a few years too but I think not. In a few years he may want to make another, better, more sophisticated one, but this period of mentoring is about him learning through each project to skill-build rapidly in a way no other enterprise or education system offers. I work at my bench, take pics as he works and get on with my work. The shame is I could take ten people like Sam and watch them from my bench in the same way. It’s an easy enough task for me to do that. I’ve done it on and off for decades.

PICT0017Laminated tops work best and you can use almost any wood too

Here’s what I want to say. Building a workbench is a rite of passage for every woodworker. The YouTube series worked to that end. Ut was of course free and it was a strategic quest to expand woodworking knowledge to a massive audience. It was advantaged by the digital age and yet was not at all difficult. the bench wasn’t complex, fancy, made from exotic hardwoods or anything like that, far from it. For me, workbenches need to be dead real. As Sam shapes the parts and fits them, planes, them hand routs them and cuts wedges and stuff like that I have a sense of something happening in the spirit as it were.

P1050591Sam testing his leg frames into the aprons and fitting the stress wedges. P1050598Sam’s bench stands on all fours for the first time. Now he can lay out for the drawer and vise recesses.

Take a piece of iron and tumble it between the anvil and the hammer and make a simple nail can be a reward in itself. Leather worked with an awl, some waxed thread and a skiving head has the same effect, but when you make a tool or a bench and you see the square nail becomes a square awl and the leather a bit roll for you augers something shifts. Clay on the wheel remains clay until it’s fired. Glaze it and it changes all the more. Vitrified, it now holds the content of all that’s poured into it. A rite of passage challenges you and that’s what an apprenticeship should do. Something that transforms a being from one thing into another. The bench is a small portion of it. My apprenticing people is radically different. it’s high-demand in a different way. when a man or a woman chooses this path I give them all I can for a year or so. This parallels five years in a commercial setting. They become changed in tangible ways. This then becomes the foundational stone of their future.Everyone needs a foundation on which to build. Not any foundation but a solid and sure one. Otherwise what you build often crumples under the subsequent stresses and strains that always follow growth. You can’t get this in college or university because the dynamic is different. The rhythms are different and the goals are different. Living craftsmanship isn’t selling work for approval but resting in a secure knowledge that you are a craftsman whether you sell or not. Money never measures success in any real way. Contentment  becomes a reality when your work is your calling. Discovering this is critical to wellbeing. You stop chasing pipe dreams and the illusions that brings. Work is a most honourable reality when you know its your calling and there is no substitute for it. You can’t buy it with weekends off, vacations rarely work that well or at least the way we think they should and though rest is important it’s more important to find the right rest which isn’t a concept but a reality. So relational work is not abstract but tangibly held and felt and sensed. You can own it in the sense of possessing it. This is what work is for me. I know, I’m privileged, that’s true, but it also means I had the vision for what work should be and mean to everyone. I held on to it and still hold on to it. I worked for it, when I feel challenged about the future I go back to the foundation of calling I found and feel settled again. It’s not necessarily easy at all, but it’s contenting for me now. So I write not as a writer but as a furniture maker, unskilled in making films but as a furniture maker and I train not as a teacher but as a woodworking furniture making man. Now it’s my turn in my time of life to help others to work for it, find it and live it.

The post On the keep-it-simple theme appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Alan Lacer on His New Book, Woodturning and More

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 5:00am

Alan Lacer has been involved in the field of woodturning for almost four decades. He’s done almost anything and everything you can think involving the craft from turning to teaching to writing, and is a past president of the American Association of Woodturners. His latest book, “Alan Lacer’s Woodturning Projects & Techniques” is a collection of his writings for American Woodworker Magazine, presenting 15 years worth of his articles in one volume. In the following […]

The post Alan Lacer on His New Book, Woodturning and More appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Water vs. Oil Stones: An Observation

Musings from Big Pink - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 4:56am
Many people will not carve because they feel that their hands are not artistic.

Many also feel that their hands have not reached a level of competency for sharpening the profiles of gouges, let alone profiled planes.

My response to these craftsmen is always the same: don't let the sharpening of these tools intimidate you. Learn to sharpen a chisel without a jig, then a carving gouge, then a single and simple moulding plane iron (not 20 off of eBay). Teach your hands the process because the sharpening medium is the same. If you tried unsuccessfully a few years ago then try again today. Your hands are naturally better if they've been used more.

Many users of antique planes have seen widely varying levels of success due to the same. I discuss this process in my book and demonstrate it in my dvd. Larry Williams of Old Street Tool, Inc. goes much further into the subject using a different method with his dvds.

One aspect of both of our demonstrations that is the same is the use of oilstones. These hard, natural stones are ideal for anybody addressing profiled edges because they don't distort nearly to the extent of  water stones.

I have been using a water stone in my work for about 12-18 months for the final polish. It's messy, yes. But more concerning is the amount that needs to be removed.

The number of times I flatten both stones illustrated below is similar. However, an Arkansas stone has a new, flat surface after a few passes on a diamond plate. A water stone may take a few minutes, especially if there has been an errant stroke that has left a mark. An oilstone leaves a discolored slurry on my plate. A waterstone leaves visible build up that could be brushed away and collected once dry.

Both of these stones started at a thickness of 1". My waterstone, again, may be a year and a half old. My oilstone, which sees 10 times the amount of work, is probably 12 years old.

The amount of use your stones see in your work environment may be drastically different than mine. On Average, I spend a full day on my stones each week. The result, though less exaggerated, will be the same. Oilstones are the proper choice of stone for profiled edges, whether moulding planes or carving gouges.

Note: I have used a DMT slip which was rendered useless. I have only used sandpaper for the initial flattening of the back if necessary (60 grit).

On a seemingly different note, one of our children likes to draw and we have spent many nights at the kitchen table doing just that. 

My latest project with my wide arrange of #3 Ticonderogas:

All work with your hands will make you a better woodworker. Any woodwork will make you better with your hands. Draw a better curve and carve a smoother volute. Know what a sharp chisel feels like and you'll essentially know how to sharpen a profiled iron. It's all relevant and you're getting better at each.

Just remember that oil stones are ideal for profiled irons and #3 pencils are terrible for shading and filling in large areas in solid black. But you can make both work.

Do not preclude yourself from making mouldings by hand due to the sharpening.

Categories: Hand Tools

Guide Bushings Can Open Your Woodworking World

360 WoodWorking - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 4:30am
What do you know about guide bushings besides they’re the small tubes that attach to your router baseplate through which router bits extend? Are they the same as template guides, or is there a difference? What are the standard sizes? Are these router accessories sold by the outside diameter or the inside diameter? If you […]

Pennsylvania Spice Cabinet – Part 10

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 4:08am
  Now that the drawers have had all the joinery cut, the next step was to fully complete them. Because I did all the dimensioning by hand, the drawer fronts are still a little too thick. So I needed to size them all and make...
Categories: Hand Tools

544 Madison’s Dresser Pt 8 “Drawer Construction”

Matt's Basement Workshop - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 3:30am

The end of the tall dresser build is almost here. One of the final things left to do, other than apply the paint, is to build the drawers. So that’s what we’re doing in today’s episode, it’s all about drawer construction.

pinned rabbet joint

We’ll discuss dimensioning the Baltic Birch plywood for the drawer box sides. Fabricating the drawer runners that the boxes will ride on to keep them centered in their openings, not to mention how they’ll help to make opening and closing them much smoother.

Then we’ll follow that all up with the construction and fitting of the pinned rabbet joinery we’ll use to assemble the sides to the solid wood drawer fronts.

After today’s episode we have only one more to go and the entire construction of the 8 drawer tall dresser will be wrapped up and ready for the paint room.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here.

Episode available for download in the following formats:
|SD Video||720HD Video||Audio only|

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Categories: Hand Tools

molding iron jig........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 1:14am
What I should have been doing was working on the dinning room table. But this jig is something that has been rattling around in the brain bucket for a few days. In order to stop that clatter I gave in to it and whipped up this jig. It is a single purpose jig for holding my molding plane irons so I can sharpen and hone them.

the old way of doing it
This method of holding the iron was working. With two clamps holding the iron there wasn't any undue movement fore/aft or laterally. The only downside is putting the clamps on by maneuvering them through the wagon vise. The front clamp isn't in the way that much but it does effect how some of the stroking of the sharpening holder is done. If it wasn't there it would be ideal.

common point
All of the molding planes have this in common. The left side of the iron is a continuous straight line from the bottom all the way to the top of the tang. I haven't seen any molding plane irons that don't share this one trait. Rabbet planes have a tang with shoulders on either side of it. Those irons won't work in this jig but these are easy to do by hand.

groove is too small
I made a 3/8" wide by 1/8" deep groove and it's too small. This one iron here is not quite 7/16" wide. I measured all my 'fat' looking tangs and this is the widest one. The depth isn't a problem and I'll make it deeper than I need and plane it down after. The width needs to be made wider to accommodate this iron.

I made the first groove with my record 043 and I wasn't going to make the groove wider with the record 405.  I did that on the tablesaw.

need a recess for the business end of the iron
I measured all of my complex molders and they were all within a fat 1/32" of each other.  This here is one of the fatter ones.

recess for the iron done
cart before the horse
I should have posted this first but better late then never. This is left over from a bench hook that I had used up. I cut this part of it off and tossed it in the black hole. It's a piece of 3/4" thick quarter sawn red oak which should make it good jig material. I'm not sure if I'll use the hook but for I'll leave it on for now.

clamp dry fit
 The tangs varied in thickness from one being almost 3/16 thick to 1/8" thick.Most all of them are tapered too. None were less than and 1/8" thick so when I planed this I made the groove 3 hairs shy of 1/8" deep. The clamp is exerting more than enough force on the tang to hold it in place. I can't pull on the business end and dislodge it.

dry run with sandpaper
This is working ok. What is helping is the groove isn't much bigger than the tang and that is restricting lateral movement of the business end of it. I used the sandpaper and dowel and there wasn't any appreciable movement as I sharpened.  The jig is working on big profile irons ok.

different set of problems here
The tang being smaller than the groove didn't present any problems. The clamp held it down and secure. One potential problem was the back of the business end of the molding iron doesn't butt up against the back of the platform. This turned out to be inconsequential and not a problem because I think so much of the tang is the groove.

What proved to be a problem was the shape of the profile of the iron when sharpening it. I was putting lateral force to the right and it was moving. It wasn't a floppy left and right annoying I'll rip your face off movement. It was more of I was able to compensate for it as I sharpened movement. I can't move it back anymore because the profile would be up on the platform and I wouldn't be able to sharpen it there.  However, that would put more of the tang in the groove and make it even less prone to lateral movement.

What would negate the lateral movement is a clamp or something that I could butt up against the right side of the iron. Then any lateral force I applied during sharpening wouldn't matter.

my lateral movement stopper
This is a part of a 90degree mending plate. It's about an 1/8" thick and I made this slot here to be big enough to allow a 1/4-20 screw/bolt to fit in it. I used a dremel and it took 5 cutoff wheels to get to this point here. The remaining tab I broke off with two pairs of slip joint pliers. I then filed the slot to knock of the burrs.

part one of the lateral stop is done
I have had these mending plates for years. I'm not sure if I bought them or if I salvaged them. It  worked rather well making this part of the jig. This part is about 6-7 hairs less thick then the irons.

had to go
I drilled a pilot hole for where I wanted the 1/4-20 screw to be and that was almost in the middle of the hook so the hook had to go. I band sawed this off and planed it flush and smooth with a #4.

counter bore for the threaded insert
With the pilot hole drilled it was a simple matter of lining up the center nib on the forstner bit with it. The threaded insert has a spiral barb on it that holds in place without spinning. I don't anticipate having to crank down on this 1/4-20 so I'm hoping the barb will do it's job. If not I'll punch it out and put it back in with epoxy.

measuring for the shaft diameter
 This diameter is 5/16" and I drilled that hole down through the top. I used the pilot hole to line up the 5/16" drill bit. I did all of this on the drill press to ensure that I got perpendicular holes.

I think this washer is overkill but I may be wrong
no lateral movement at all
I could pivot the lateral stop so that it caught the corner of the iron.  I hadn't anticipated this. When I laid this out I did it so that the outside edge of the lateral stop would be up against the the back wall of the platform. I got lucky here and it is doing it's job.

got a gap
This is as far over as the lateral stop will go and it has to go a wee bit more. And this isn't the smallest width iron I have neither.

a little work with a rat tail file
I may have to make a new lateral stop and I'll do it the same way I made this one. I'll make that one out of 1 1/2" wide 1/8" thick flat steel bar stock. (it's way cheaper then brass) I'm going to wait and see how well of a compromise this is with working rest of the herd of irons I have now.

I'm putting it on a pedestal
I'm going to stick this on a piece of 2 x 4 so I can raise up. This way I won't be bent over like a troll working on the irons. My back hasn't been hurting doing it down at the wagon vise level but at my age I think it's better to get it so I don't have to bend over. Especially so if I do several of these a day.

3 of these will hold it in place
I have used these screws for years and I have yet to drill and snap a head off of one. They coated with some type of ceramic (?) to stop rusting, they don't need a pilot hole, and the hold pretty good in end grain too.

this is better
It's closer to me and much easier to see what I am doing.  Maybe it'll afford me better control too.

I can still do it at wagon vise height if I want
it's new home for now
I'll stow this here for the time being. Here it's out of the way but accessible.

my lunch time doodling
I stayed pretty faithful to what I doodled at noontime. The only thing I changed was using a lateral stop. On the drawing I was thinking of a slotted bar that I would have used as to clamp down on the iron.

I don't have any bar stock other then some 3/4" aluminum and that isn't stiff enough to use as a clamp finger. I thought of using a slotted piece of wood but the more I thought of that idea the less I liked it. I couldn't see that being strong enough or being able to make one small in scale so it wouldn't be in the way.  And not breaking the first time I tightened down on it. The lateral stop is a better choice here.

Now I'm ready to finish up my molding plane irons. And that includes re-doing the ones I thought I had done a good job on already.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How tall was the French Chef, Julia Child?
answer - 6 feet 2 inches

My Next Project – A Chippendale Style Looking Glass

The Alaska Woodworker - Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:16pm
I’ve had a hankering to build a Chippendale style Looking glass for some time now, so I think Its time to tackle it.  I was planning on Following the Steve Latta plans in Fine Woodworking, but have changed my mind.  The scroll work is a bit fancy for my taste, and more importantly for my […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Summer Time in Maine!

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Thu, 04/09/2015 - 9:31pm

    Have you considered escaping the Texas heat this coming August? Why not come up to Maine for a weekend workshop. There are many different ones to choose from but I might be biased in in telling you about a particular one! I am delighted to get the opportunity to teach a 2 day […]

The post Summer Time in Maine! appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools


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