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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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Shooting Boards for the Veritas LA Jack Plane

Evenfall Woodworks - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 3:59pm

Hands down, My favorite plane on a shooting board is a Low Angle Jack Plane.

It isn’t that I don’t like the Shooting Board Planes, such as the Lie-Nielsen LN-51 or the Veritas Shooting Plane, because I feel they have specific strengths and forte’s on the shooting board. But the LA Jack has so much going in it’s favor, it is hard not to love it on the shooting board. Just to make the LA Jack easier to love even more on a shooting board, We now offer a Chute-Style Shooting board for the Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane.

veritaslajshooter.jpg

The Veritas LA Jack Shooter™

Some of the cool things about LA Jacks on the shooting board is that it has heft, much like the LN-51 and Veritas SP, but it is also ambidextrous, which makes it a great choice for woodworkers who favor either the right or left hand.

When shooting moldings, The LA Jacks excel, because since you’ll have to shoot each side of any molding in situ, the LA Jack is easy to use in a twin-chute, left and right shooting board, and all that is needed is to flip it over from side to side as you use it in each respective chute.

The other great thing about the LA Jack is how it handles in the cut. It is not a skewed blade, but it is presented to the cut at 37 degrees. The low angle cuts end grain easier and leaves a smoother finish.

It doesn’t stop there. LA Jacks are affordable planes that are veritable workhorses in the woodworking shop. It doesn’t matter if you favor hand tools or work wood in a hybrid way with power tools, this is a plane that can bring it for anyone. Depending on the blade you install, this plane is capable of being used as a traditional jack plane, a short jointer, even a panel smoother. Shooting Board Plane is just another job description on it’s resume.

With high bevel angle blades installed such as a 38 or 50 degree blade, and the adjustable width mouth, this plane can approach difficult grain at York Pitch or higher and reduce or eliminate tearout with as much as a 62 degree final angle.

No other hand plane in the shop has as much versatility. No plane is be all end all, but this is a plane that is useful and can earn it’s keep in any shop.

Veritas takes the LA Jack plane two steps further. First, instead of running a common 2-inch blade width like the #4 smoother and #5 jack planes, they step to the 2-1/4 inch wide iron, commonly found in the #6 try and #7 jointer planes. On the shooting board this will provide the reach to shoot 8/4 boards.

Second, and this is a real game changer, is the new steel alloy from Veritas: PM-V11®. This same model blade interchanges in several Veritas planes, sharpens slightly faster than A2 Steel, cuts almost as nice as O1 steel, and the sharpness lasts around three-plus times longer than A2. In the shooting board, this means you could shoot boards all day without needing to sharpen.

Now we offer our shooting boards, allowing the Veritas LA Jack to ride in an enclosed “Chute” just like the Veritas Shooting Plane. The added bonus is, the Veritas LA Jack does not know if it is left or right handed, because it is both handed and then some! Just use it as you see fit!

You can order the Veritas LA Jack Shooter™ in the Evenfall Studios Woodworks Store, and while you are there, please look in on our New Products page as well!

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Categories: Hand Tools

Latest Knob & Tote Set

Plane Shavings Blog - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 3:17pm
Knob and tote made out of holly.

Knob and tote made out of holly.

Just finished this knob and tote made from holly. It was for the highly skilled engraver, Catherin C. Kennedy to mount on this beautifully engraved Stanley #4. The plane is finished in black oxide after it was ground true and engraved. I am honored to have had a part in the creation of this beautiful tool.

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


Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch workbenches again

Høvelbenk - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 1:38pm
 Ernest DuboisWerkbank in the workshop of Ernest in Holland. Photo: Ernest Dubois

After my post about Dutch workbenches based on information from the book of Gerrit van der Sterre I got some comments and furter information. Ernest Dubois has the blog Working with axes and live in Holland. He has an interesting workbench in his own workshop that he sent me som photos of. He call it “werkbank” or “timmer werkbank”. It is almost 9 meters long and the work height are about 75 cm. It is built fixed to the wall in the workshop. The benchtop are two long planks of pine, about 40 mm thick. It has leg vices and “bankstooten”.

 Ernest Dubois  Ernest Dubois  Ernets Dubois  Ernest Dubois  Ernest Dubois  Ernest Dubois  Ernest Dubois

The bench could have been made to be used by two or more carpenters as it is so long and have several vices. It seems like it could be a good workshop for three men where each has his own window, vice and space for most pieces of wood. This kind of workbench looks similar to workbenches some Norwegian traditional boat builders. They could also be as long as the workshop and are fixed to the wall.

Ernest has also found an Dutch book about carpentry. I found the book on a downloading site and bought a copy. The book are very interesting and show carpenters work in Holland 100 years ago. There are some workbenches that looks similar to our Norwegian Skottbenk that I will write about later. There are also some drawings of different workbenches.

Workbench with a similar vice as the bench Ernest uses. It has also holdfast, or "klemhaak" as the term that is used in the book. It has also a slinding deadman as the bench from Vasa. From "Handboek voor Timmerlieden".  (Groot 1914)Workbench with a similar vice as the bench Ernest uses. It has also holdfast, or “klemhaak” as the term that is used in the book. It has also a slinding deadman as the bench from Vasa. From “Handboek voor Timmerlieden”. (Groot 1914)

Litterature:

H. J. de Groot, “Handboek voor timmerlieden”. Amsterdam 1914


Arkivert under:74-76 cm, Benkehake, English, Oversikt høvelbenkar

Categories: Hand Tools

Fixing a Hole

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 12:20pm

Because I had a little bit of free time on Friday night after work, I got a little bit of a jumpstart on my built in cupboard project I started last week. The first task was to place the cupboard in its soon-to-be home and mark out the portion of the wall to be sawn out. I then used a drywall saw to cut out the hole and make a huge mess in the process. The next task was installing the back of the cupboard, which was a simple piece of 1/4″ thick Baltic birch plywood, which I cut on the table saw. I installed the back piece with a little glue and some brad nails. I then installed the semi-finished cupboard in the hole. I possibly could have installed the face-frame before and then installed the cupboard in one shot, but that would have made it more difficult to shim. So I installed the case with some finish nails, added a new 2×4 header to the wall, and called it a night.

Plywood back installed

Plywood back installed

Shimmed and ready to go.

Shimmed and ready to go.

I had work yesterday morning, and things to do in the afternoon, so the face-frame portion of the project had to wait until this morning. For the face frame I once again used Pine, ripped to 3 1/4″ wide, except for the bottom piece which was only 1 3/4″. To take away the tooling marks I used the jack plane set very lightly, as I didn’t want to change the dimensions any more than necessary. I then gave the boards an overall sanding 150/220. When they looked satisfactory I double checked the boards to be sure they were square, because I used pocket holes to assemble the frame, and while pocket hole joinery may be dead simple, if the boards aren’t square then it doesn’t mean a thing. I assembled the frame on my workbench, hung it with just one nail, checked everything to make sure it was even, and then finished the installation using finish nails.

A small pile of shavings. I must not be a real woodworker.

A small pile of shavings. I must not be a real woodworker.

Face frame installed

Face frame installed

It holds stuff

It holds stuff

The last act of the day was filling the cabinet just to see what it can hold. For not being very large it holds a nice amount of stuff. I don’t really have any specific plan for the cupboard, it was really just an experiment. Because I didn’t have enough wood to make the door frame, it will have to wait until next weekend. That will be a bit more challenging, as it will involve mortise and tenon joinery, as well as fitting panels. I would also like to add a small cap of sometime to the top of the frame. I can’t be anything that sticks out very far, but I do want to differentiate between the cupboard and the rest of the wall with some type of border.

Considering that the wall isn’t very even, and covered in bumpy drywall, the cabinet fits nicely. I think it will look even better once the door is in place. One thing I probably should have done differently was leave off the adjustable shelving and just uses dadoes to hold the shelves in place. The cabinet really isn’t tall enough to need adjustable shelving, and it was a bit of a waste of time to put the holes in. Otherwise, I am happy with how it is shaping up. Next weekend I should have little problem getting the door built and installed. I will then be able to call this project finished and move on to making my smoothing plane.


Categories: General Woodworking

Fixing a Hole

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 12:20pm

Because I had a little bit of free time on Friday night after work, I got a little bit of a jumpstart on my built in cupboard project I started last week. The first task was to place the cupboard in its soon-to-be home and mark out the portion of the wall to be sawn out. I then used a drywall saw to cut out the hole and make a huge mess in the process. The next task was installing the back of the cupboard, which was a simple piece of 1/4″ thick Baltic birch plywood, which I cut on the table saw. I installed the back piece with a little glue and some brad nails. I then installed the semi-finished cupboard in the hole. I possibly could have installed the face-frame before and then installed the cupboard in one shot, but that would have made it more difficult to shim. So I installed the case with some finish nails, added a new 2×4 header to the wall, and called it a night.

Plywood back installed

Plywood back installed

Shimmed and ready to go.

Shimmed and ready to go.

I had work yesterday morning, and things to do in the afternoon, so the face-frame portion of the project had to wait until this morning. For the face frame I once again used Pine, ripped to 3 1/4″ wide, except for the bottom piece which was only 1 3/4″. To take away the tooling marks I used the jack plane set very lightly, as I didn’t want to change the dimensions any more than necessary. I then gave the boards an overall sanding 150/220. When they looked satisfactory I double checked the boards to be sure they were square, because I used pocket holes to assemble the frame, and while pocket hole joinery may be dead simple, if the boards aren’t square then it doesn’t mean a thing. I assembled the frame on my workbench, hung it with just one nail, checked everything to make sure it was even, and then finished the installation using finish nails.

A small pile of shavings. I must not be a real woodworker.

A small pile of shavings. I must not be a real woodworker.

Face frame installed

Face frame installed

It holds stuff

It holds stuff

The last act of the day was filling the cabinet just to see what it can hold. For not being very large it holds a nice amount of stuff. I don’t really have any specific plan for the cupboard, it was really just an experiment. Because I didn’t have enough wood to make the door frame, it will have to wait until next weekend. That will be a bit more challenging, as it will involve mortise and tenon joinery, as well as fitting panels. I would also like to add a small cap of sometime to the top of the frame. I can’t be anything that sticks out very far, but I do want to differentiate between the cupboard and the rest of the wall with some type of border.

Considering that the wall isn’t very even, and covered in bumpy drywall, the cabinet fits nicely. I think it will look even better once the door is in place. One thing I probably should have done differently was leave off the adjustable shelving and just uses dadoes to hold the shelves in place. The cabinet really isn’t tall enough to need adjustable shelving, and it was a bit of a waste of time to put the holes in. Otherwise, I am happy with how it is shaping up. Next weekend I should have little problem getting the door built and installed. I will then be able to call this project finished and move on to making my smoothing plane.


Categories: General Woodworking

The 151 Spokeshave – Where I Mastered This Unique Plane

Paul Sellers - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 10:28am

 More on spokeshaves – How I Got Started With One

Growing up in the 50s and 60s and then throughout my apprenticing years in the mid 1960s I worked considerably in restoration work on older houses that had settled more solidly through two world wars, much demolition from bomb droppage and of course normal settlement over a couple of centuries. UK houses are mostly stone or brick and not timberframed. There is no American stick-frame 2×4 construction with sandwiched dolomite between skins of thick paper as such. In fact, for the main part, everything internal and external seems to me anywhere from 12” to 2′ thick masonry of one type or another with 1/2 to 1” of plaster on the walls that is then evened out and finally surfaced with a skim coat of even finer plaster.

DSC_0005

I say all of this to say that skirting boards and floors,  architraves and doors and window frames were all suspended between fixed stone anchor points and then trimmed out with moulded wood and it’s here that the spokeshaves came into its best usage for me. When the floors curved, cupped and twisted after a bomb blast resettlement or a stone wall jumped and settled back on it’s newly situated foundation, trim and doors, window frames and so on either needed replacing or refitting and that’s where I learned to master the spokeshave the most. Replacing door and window frames with curved headers or circular frames too required the refining work that came from the spokeshave edge and although we did use the spindle moulder to shape the main frames when first made, during assembly and then when fitting the frames on the jobsite often required extensive use of the 150 or 151 spokeshave. This effective tool could refine and scribe any board or frame to an exact fit within a fraction of an inch and could remove much more material than a plane ever could and this is something few woodworkers would recognise as a need or solution to today. I cannot imagine how we would have done this work without the humble spokeshave, even though we today have jigsaws and routers and circular saws and more.

DSC_0004

Scribing wood is a simple way of fitting a piece or length of wood to an uneven surface. Most often this need occurs where a wall meets a floor or a door frame meets a wall at a 90-degree angle and because the meeting points is irregular and not straight or angled rather than square, we must fit the edge of a covering bord or trim piece to close off any gaps. Here in the UK it is a more common need because although plastering creates a flat looking and level surface, the final result is most often less than we might want. In the USA on the other hand, plasterboard (Sheetrock) is used as the finished surface with tape and plaster used on the jointed lines only to create a seamless jointline. In the UK we have a 1/2″ of plaster onto man-made blocks or bricks of some type which is then skimmed over the whole surface with about 1/16 to 1/8″ of plasterboard; a process we call floating or skimming. The end result is a super hard glass-like finish pretty much impervious to life that will last a hundred years plus and maybe another hundred years depending on the care given to the home by the owner.

Cabinets and door frames often butt up against a wall to form another situation where an internal corner needs trimming out with a bead or piece of trim and this bead is trimmed to perfect fit with a spokeshave to. In the USA it is most common to but the trim up to such surfaces and then caulk it with a seam of caulking. It’s fast and effective and gets the job done. A skilled painter can make a perfect cove to the internal corner straight of the caulk gun and a less skilled worker draws a finger along the caulk line to finish the work. All in all it’s another substitute for skill and care.

DSC_0029

So, it’s in the pre-caulking days that I learned to master using the spokeshave the most. Three strokes when heavily set takes off a good sixteenth and then a lighter set with the tweak of a setscrew refines the final shaping by a quick thou’ and you are done.

My second exposure to spokeshaves big time was working with a man named Dennis who had the job of converting an old railways sidings warehouse into offices for a man named Gunter who owned a trucking company. The new walls were timber lined and it was me who had to make the new wood fit the old floors and walls wherever the wood touched either. I was there for about four months doing this each and every day and I loved it. We only sharpened to 250 grit for this and that worked perfectly well.

I say all of this to show that the spokeshave is as much or more a plane than a tool used only for shaping spikes, spokes, rails and rungs yet I rarely if ever see anything written on this today. The basis for the restoration of a spokeshave comes from decades of finding them, fixing them and of course using them. This is my next blog on this.

 

The post The 151 Spokeshave – Where I Mastered This Unique Plane appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Stuff I like, part 1

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 9:08am

The internet is a pretty wonderful thing when it comes to publishing information.  I remember when I was first trying to learn about metal shaping in the 1980′s.  I had a handful of books and magazine articles (and was glad to have them) but going beyond that wasn’t easy.  I met people, took some courses and learned what I could.  Then in the early 1990′s I attended a talk about “Mosaic” and the “World Wide Web”, when I got back to my office at work I figured out how to download Mosaic (which was, of course, the first web browser) and started trying to search the internet.  I found something called “ArtMetal.com” and was immediately networked with a bunch of people around the country who shared similar interests.  Sadly, it looks like the original ArtMetal site archives at Washington University are gone and the current site has loads of broken links.

Chris Ray

One of the first internet buddies I made was Chris Ray, a blacksmith and sculptor in Philadelphia.  I had a business trip to the east coast once where I managed to add in a side trip to visit Chris and stayed with him for a couple of days.  He had an interesting live/work space in a scary area, and we got to play in his shop raising abstract shapes from thick copper and forging iron.  I have two original Chris Ray pieces, one from his “Flotsam” series and another that is a house number that I commissioned, and the plant hanger I made at Chris’ shop around 1995 still hangs on my front porch.

"Nomad" by Chris Ray, wrought copper

“Nomad” by Chris Ray, wrought copper

Street number forged/fabricated by Chris Ray for my house

Street number forged/fabricated by Chris Ray for my house

Plant hanger forged by your truly under Chris' watchful eye.  I was trying to get a plowing, plastic shape like taffy melting.

Plant hanger forged by your truly under Chris’ watchful eye. I was trying to get a plowing, plastic shape like taffy melting.

But I digress.  I’m just pointing out the obvious; the internet makes access to information on art, craft and processes easily available where previously it was difficult to find information and artists had little chance of broad recognition outside of a lucky few individuals.

Theodore Ellison

I found Theodore Ellison’s web site through a posting on a G&G mail list about some beautiful wood doors that had these stunning stained glass panels in them.  I’ve spent hours browsing through the pictures on theodoreellison.com.  I really like his compositions, use of color and decorative soldering.  Do yourself a favor and take a look at his work.

Detail of a cabinet door designed to match nearby windows

Detail of a cabinet door designed to match nearby windows

Having done a few simple stained glass projects, I really appreciate the details in his work.  The decorative soldering is something that I want to pay particular attention to in the future.  Take a look at the details on the glass panels in this door from his blog, the solder seams become realistic branches in the tree.

wood and glass detail of Dunsmuir Door by Theodore Ellison Designs and the Craftsman Door Company

wood and glass detail of Dunsmuir Door by Theodore Ellison Designs and the Craftsman Door Company

Debey Zito

In the same way I discovered Ellison’s work through the Craftsman Door Company, I discovered Debey Zito through Ellison’s blog.  Both are members of Artistic License, a local San Francisco organization of craftspeople involved in historical architectural work.  Zito and Ellison collaborated with other local artisans, including coppersmith Audel Davis, to create this stunning room — an homage to the work of CF Voysey.

zito_07

Ravens (a popular motif) recall the lively birds in a fireplace grille by Voysey. The oak trees are all about California. Photo: Nathanael Bennett

There were pictures of several of Debey Zito’s pieces, but this is my favorite by far.  Interestingly, she has made several pieces of furniture for the owners of the Blacker House, including this one.  I like the lines of the cabinet, the decorative (inlay?) on the upper panels and the sculpted metal handles.  Really, really nice.

 David Ramsey.

Aesthetic Cabinet. 70″H, 60″W, 23″D. Black walnut. We have made this piece several times. One is in the Greene and Greene Blacker House with water lilies carved on it. Photo: David Ramsey.

 David Ramsey.

Voysey Desk and Chair by Debey Zito. Desk: 53″H, 44″W, 17″D. Chair: 45″H, 23″W, 22″D. Black walnut. Photo: David Ramsey.

Christopher Vickers

Since several of Debey Zito’s pieces are inspired by CFA Voysey, I decided look more into his work.  Which lead me to Vickers’ website.  He is a craftsman in the UK, and he produces both wood and metal items, but it’s his metal lighting fixtures that really are stunning in my opinion.  There is a lot to look at here, primarily English Arts & Crafts styled work.  Some, like the Voysey items, tend toward the abstract.  I haven’t looked at everything on his site yet, and need to stop if I have any hope of getting work done in my shop today, so I’ll leave you with this simple but elegant hanging light.  I think it’s just spectacular.

Birmingham Guild of Handicraft Pendant Light.

Birmingham Guild of Handicraft Pendant Light.


Categories: General Woodworking

Taking Traditional Woodworking to the Modern World, Shannon Rogers

The Craftsman's Road - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 9:00am

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Shannon Rogers, creator of the Hand Tool School, joins us today for an in-depth look into what it takes to bring your skills and passion onto the world wide web.

The Hand Tool School

The Renaissance Woodworker

 

I found this interview with Shannon to be very enlightening, as someone trying to create something on the web for the woodworking community this gives me hope. In this interview Shannon and I discuss what it was like for Shannon in the beginning, the time and effort he put into creating an authority site within the hand tool niche, and what it was like for him when he went from a free online site to a paid membership site.  Shannon, being an online content marketer for his day job, tells us what is and is not working in online marketing, and what he is doing to drive new students to the Hand Tool School. We learn how the Hand Tool School has progressed financially and today is exceeding his 9-5 day job, and Shannon’s plans for possibly going full-time with the Hand Tool School ( this should be very exciting for any of you looking to create something on the web, as we now have multiple people who have proven that doing content driven educational media online is working, just look at The Woodwhisperer, and The Hand Tool School, this is an exciting time for woodworkers, take advantage of it!).  To wrap up this show Shannon gives us all some advice and guidance to help us along on our own path in this craft. Hope you enjoy the show, please leave any questions or comments below.

Categories: General Woodworking

Lie-Nielsen Open House 2014

The Workbench Diary - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 4:02am


I spent much of yesterday at Lie-Nielsen's Open House. It was such a wonderful time. Woodworking is great but woodworkers are even better. These are all real down to earth great people. Thanks for hosting the event, Tom!





















Categories: Hand Tools

Lignum quod sit eadem numero scientia.

Toolerable - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 3:47am
The title makes me sound smart, doesn't it?

It is how Google translates the phrase, "Wood should be scientifically identified" into Latin.  Google translate can be a tricky thing, so I actually have no idea if the translation is in any way accurate. 

Perhaps Ben knows.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (often a quite dangerous thing!), and it dawned on me that I read blog posts by woodworking authors all over the world.  Also, according to my Blogger stats, this blog is read by people in many different countries and regions.

While we all may be able to follow different tools and techniques based on the photos and descriptions posted, sometimes really knowing what a woodworker is going through is difficult for the simple reason that the wood that is being used may only be identified by the author as "oak," or "maple."

Sometimes this is not so important to the story, but it can be.  Take, for instance, a friend who recently told me that birch is the perfect wood to learn spooncarving, because it is so soft.

Naturally I was surprised, because my only experience with birch was a board that was so heavy and hard, that I couldn't imagine it being great for beginning anything!

It turns out that my birch board was a hunk of flame, yellow birch, Betula alleghaniensis, from the US, and the birch my friend was thinking of was likely downy birch, Betula pubescens, common here in Europe.

Just looking at the Latin, it doesn't mean much.  However, it turns out that yellow birch, B. alleghaneinsis, is about 35% harder than downy birch, B. pubescens.

We woodworkers refer to  a whole lot of different trees by only the common name of the genus.  For example, there are some 125 species of maple worldwide, and some 600 species of oak.

Lots of different maples.  Photo courtesy LoveToKnow Garden.
The only way for someone living in Ohio to really know what wood I am talking about (assuming he or she cares) is to use the scientific name.

A brilliant resource for woodworkers is the website The Wood Database.  This website lists photos of lots of different woods we as woodworkers are likely to come across.  There are technical specifications for each kind of wood, and photos of these woods both finished and unfinished.  Plus, there are some fantastic articles about identifying wood.

From now on, I will try to remember to include the genus and species of the woods I discuss here on my blog.  If you want to do the same, those of us who are interested in the different species of wood will thank you.

Guidelines on proper usage of the genus and species are spelled out on National Geographic's website.  Essentially, genus and species are in italics, with the genus term capitalized and the species beginning with lowercase.  If you know the genus but not the species, you can substitute "spp." or "sp." to indicate it.  For example, if you know a sample of wood is oak, but knot which kind, you would list it as Quercus spp.

A final word is to echo Eric Meier of the wood database, and state that it may not be possible to always be correct in identifying wood to the species, but knowing a little about where it came from may help narrow the list of possibilities down.

I'll get myself a jeweler's loupe to make identifying the wood on my rack a bit more accurate.

I am lucky to be near a lumber yard that sells wood from all over the world, and it always has a large stockpile of North American woods.  Some of the woods I have discussed on this blog  (or will soon):

Categories: Hand Tools

Jointer-planer combination machines, part 2

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 12:07am
In the previous post in this series, I recounted my stock preparation history culminating with the Hammer A3-31. Prior to discussing the ins and outs of the Hammer machine, let’s look at the rationale for a combination jointer-planer in the small shop. I’m guessing most of us share the following woodworking profile. We have: A […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Easy Sign, Difficult Customer

Wunder Woods - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 10:51pm

At the end of May, my daughter and pickiest customer Mira, turned eight and planned to have a mermaid swimming party at Grandma’s house. Grandma has a swimming pool and we knew that she would be willing to heat it for an early-season swim, so it was an easy choice. The difficult part was finding mermaid themed items that met with Mira’s approval and weren’t for little girls (Ariel, A.K.A. The Little Mermaid, is not cool when you are eight).

While searching for party decorations, my wife, Chris, came across a little sign that she thought was cute and asked if I could make one for the party. It said, “Mermaid Lagoon” and it was pretty simple, and since it was right up my alley, being made of wood and all, I said “Yes”.

I dug out some cypress that had lots of knots and a good rustic look and started cutting. I wanted the sign to be bigger (who wouldn’t) than the one in the photo, so I cut the boards about two feet long to make the height. I trimmed the ends at random lengths, some at a slight angle, until I had enough to make the sign about three feet wide. It went quick, especially since I had no formal plan. If a board didn’t look right, I just trimmed it more or flipped it around or just grabbed another board. I love that kind of woodworking; no tape measure, no pencil, no worries.

After I nailed the boards together, I painted them with a wash of blue/green paint. I already had some bright blue paint in the shop and added green Transtint to get the color right. I thinned the paint down with water and brushed it on as quick as possible. While it was still wet, I wiped it off like it was a stain to show the wood below.

Once the paint was dry, I did the lettering, which I laid out and printed from the computer. I cut out the words with an X-acto knife and used a light coat of Super 77 spray adhesive to hold it in place while I painted it. A light mist of white spray paint did the trick, making the words legible but not too pronounced.

After the sign panel was assembled and painted, I needed to come up with a post. My first attempt was a weathered piece of oak 2″x4″. It had the right look and feel since it was old and gray, but I thought that Mira might not approve since it just looked like an old board, so I continued to search for a better way to display it.

A quick walk to the other end of the shop revealed a piece of driftwood that was perfect. It was the right size and height, and with just a little block added to the bottom, it sat up beautifully crooked. Plus, I wouldn’t have to pound it in the concrete-like ground since it would stand up on its own. That piece of white oak driftwood couldn’t have worked out better.

All that was left to do was screw the sign to the post, which took a grand total of 30 seconds. If it was going to be for long-term use I would have been more serious about it, but two 3″ deck screws worked just fine and quickly put this job to bed.

The perfect piece of white oak driftwood and cypress lumber teamed up to make this sign for my daughter Mira's swimming party.

The perfect piece of white oak driftwood and cypress lumber teamed up to make this sign for my daughter Mira’s swimming party.

I was pleased as punch. I showed it to everyone within shouting distance of the shop and couldn’t wait to bring it home and show the girls. They were pleasantly surprised at how it turned out and I was pleasantly surprised that Mira quickly approved it (I was still a bit worried that my unauthorized driftwood addition might have been a bit aggressive in her mind (even though it was perfect)). We capped the whole thing off with hot glue, a few seashells and then perfect weather for a “Mermaid Lagoon” swimming party.

The sign now resides in my shop, where it generates many inquiries, but as of today, no more official orders for driftwood mermaid signs.

 


Categories: General Woodworking

Making it work

ZK Project Notebook - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 8:12pm
The not-always-so-fun part: getting the desired results. The blade has been hardened but I probably didn’t draw the temper far enough (new oven), it is pretty hard, which made sharpening the profile a tedious pain. Since I’ve only done this … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Practicing using a scroll saw

McGlynn On Making - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 5:55pm

I never imagined I’d own a scroll saw, much less find myself watching videos about “scrolling” and practicing with a scroll saw.  But that’s what I’ve been up to today.

Whaaaat?

Original Thorsen Plant Stand

Original Thorsen Plant Stand

Yeah, the next step on the little Thorsen table is to cut out these abstract designs in the skirts.  I don’t know how the Halls did it, but my thought was to use the scroll saw I got when I was making the Gamble Inglenook sconce.  I learned that sawing accurately on a scroll saw isn’t as easy as I’d hoped.  On the sconces it was mostly straight lines, I sawed as best I could then spent a lot of time cleaning up the piercings with sandpaper stuck to a piece of sheet metal to make a thin file (of sorts).

Piercing for the Inglenook Sconce

Piercing (pattern) for the Inglenook Sconce

My concern of course is that any little screw up in the piercing is going to show up like a nose wart on a beauty queen.  If I can cut them accurately the sawn edge won’t need much attention to be “finished”.  If it’s wavy and over cut, all of the sanding in the world won’t help.

I found a close up view of the piercing in the “taboret” from the Thorsen house, which has the same design.  Take a look at how nice those shapes are.

Taboret detail from the Thorsen house.  A little wider and 3.75" shorter than the "plant stand".

Taboret detail from the Thorsen house. A little wider and 3.75″ shorter than the “plant stand”.

So, what else could I do but spend some time practicing.  I’ll give away the surprise ending: I still need more practice.

I started by watching a couple of YouTube videos on scroll saw techniques.  This one seemed to have most of ht basics:

I downloaded the practice  pattern and headed out to the shop where I glued it to a scrap of 1/4″ pine, fit a blade in the saw and proceeded to embarrass myself.

Practice pattern glued to some pine

Practice pattern glued to some pine

The straight lines aren’t too bad.  That is to say, I didn’t totally screw those up.  The right angle turns are going to take some more practice, although I can do “ok” on those.  Curves, those are going to take a lot more work before I’m comfortable with them.  I did all of the practice elements, then decided I was tired of practicing and wanted to do the real project.  Luckily I didn’t give in to that impulse.

Practice circle

Practice circle

Instead I decided to practice on the same type of wood (Sapele) in the same thickness (3/4″) as the skirts.  I glued a pattern to the wood and drilled access holes for the blade.

Sample pattern

Sample pattern

I fitted a fresh “Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse #5″ blade, set the tension, slowed the speed way down, and went to town.  The results?  Not horrible, but no where near good enough for the table.  The long arcs are OK, the tight turns on the ends are tricky, you have to rotate the piece a lot factor than you would imagine.  The moon lander shaped arc on the end detail came out pretty sloppy in particular.

 MEH.  Almost, but no cigar.

One word: MEH. Almost, but no cigar.

The finish from the cut is very nice, if the cut is fair then it probably won’t need any sanding.  I tried some scroll saw sanding files to try to smooth out some of the undulations.  It helps, but the files are kind of a joke.  Using light pressure it would take several files to get the job done, and they really only work well on gradual curves.  They are marginal on tight turns, and useless on tight areas.  A spindle sander with a tiny drum might work in some areas, but I don’t have one of those.

I want to get this figured out though, I can see being able to cut accurately with this saw being a real asset for some of the furniture that I want to make.  Eventually I want to try doing “Greene & Greene style inlay” or Bolection Inlay.  More practice tomorrow.

Some detail sanding done, but this is certainly not going to fly (except into the kindling pile)

Some detail sanding done, but this is certainly not going to fly (except into the kindling pile)


Categories: General Woodworking

Welcomed Guests

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 4:36pm

cIMG_6147

Yesterday I had the unmitigated delight of hosting Charles Brock (aka Mr. Highland Woodworker), Mrs. Brock, and Charles’ videographer colleague Stephen Price.  They were up to film a segment for an upcoming HW episode, talking to me about my passion for finishing, which does make me a bit of an oddball in the woodworking world (which just confirms my oddball-ness in relation to just about every facet of the human endeavor) and my upcoming production of Gragg chairs.  Being a chair maker himself, Chuck and I got into pretty deep weeds about the minutiae of curvilinear chair construction.

cIMG_6150

Thank you Chuck (and Mrs. Brock) and Steve for a day of invigorating conversation, and giving me the opportunity to show off The Barn to you.

 

Tools to Make the Anarchist’s Tool Chest

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 3:55pm

ATC14_Chest

The following is a list I should have made four years ago when I first started teaching people how to build the full-size tool chest in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”

Apologies for the delay.

Here are the tools you need.

Dovetailing Equipment
Dovetail saw (15 point or coarser)
Cutting gauge, such as the Tite-Mark
Mechanical pencil
Dovetail layout square (Or a bevel gauge and smallish try square)
Coping saw with several blades (coarse blades, 12 tpi or so)
1/2” bevel-edge chisel
Mallet (I like a 16 oz. model)
Two pair of small dividers

Planes
One bench plane, such as a jack, jointer or smoother
Block plane
Rabbet plane or shoulder plane (if you have one)
If you have a tongue-and-groove plane (or match planes), use them
Beading plane (1/8”, 3/16” or 1/4”)
Plow plane with 1/4” cutter

Nailing equipment
Hand drill
Variety of small bits (1/16” up to 1/8”)
16 oz. hammer
Nail set
Nippers (if you have them)

General Marking/Measuring
12” combination square
12’ tape measure
Spear-point marking knife

Additional Tools
Crosscut handsaw (7 or 8 ppi)
Rip saw (4 to 7 ppi)
Your personal sharpening kit
Clamps (48” bars)

Hardware Installation Tools
Small router plane
Centerpunch
Birdcage awl
Screwdrivers

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Categories: Hand Tools

Repairing Woodworking Chisels with Blacksmith Bruce Dembling

Wood and Shop - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 11:46am

My friend Dr. Bruce Dembling recently invited me to his small blacksmith shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the above video you’ll see how he repaired several problems on my old antique woodworking chisels.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

These blacksmith chisel repairs included:

1. Fusing a broken chisel blade:

woodandshop-blacksmith-chisel-repair-bruce-dembling-fuse

2. Removing the “mushroom” from a socket chisel:

woodandshop-blacksmith-chisel-repair-bruce-dembling-socket

3. Cutting off the end of an irreparable chisel fracture:

woodandshop-blacksmith-chisel-repair-bruce-dembling-cut-off

This video isn’t meant to be a full tutorial of blacksmith work, but an enjoyable tour and a tutorial for those already familiar with the basics of blacksmith techniques…so don’t get mad if some details are left out!

If you’re interested in learning more about blacksmithing for woodworkers, then buy these DVDs by Peter Ross (master blacksmith). I’ve loved them!

 

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A Small Taste of Winterthur

The Furniture Record - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 8:28am

Living in Kennett Square, PA my wife and I were spoiled. The magnificent Longwood Gardens became a place that we could get a quick dinner and take a long walk all summer. Henry Francis du Pont’s Winterthur was where we took our Sunday morning walks. We were members of both places and visited them both as often as we could. No house guest could avoid a trip and no one ever complained. Both have Yuletide displays that we have visited at least 18 times in the past 21 years.

Both are former du Pont estates that have become non-profits to allow the public to come and see what these families had built and loved. And if you can avoid some taxes, that’s nice too.

There are two other du Pont properties of note in the area, The Hagley, E.I. du Pont’s orignal gunpowder mill and mansion that now also houses a research library and the Nemours Mansion and Gardens, a 300 acre estate with formal gardens and a classical French mansion. Also on the property is the renowned Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. A really good use of their money.

But we’re here to talk about Winterthur, Henry Francis du Pont’s obsession. As copied from their website we learn: Founded by Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the premier museum of American decorative arts, reflecting both early America and the du Pont family’s life here. Its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among the country’s best, and its research library serves scholars from around the world. We invite you to visit and explore this place of beauty, history, and learning.

The largest portion of the museum is the over 170 period room displays featuring over 85,000 objects. Mr. du Pont collected primarily Americana from 1640 to 1860. Period rooms are only available through one of their several standard tours or by arranging a private special interest tour.

A small view of one of the 175 period rooms.

A small view of one of the 175 period rooms.

In the 1990′s they built a more formal museum that features permanent and rotating displays. Much to my dismay, they are now featuring the Costumes of Downton Abbey. That ain’t Americana although it might be good business.

On the second floor of the museum is reconstructions of the Dominy clock and woodworking shops used by the Dominy family’s four generations of craftsmen working in East Hampton, New York, from the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s.

One view of the Dominy woodworking shop.

One view of the Dominy woodworking shop.

Chris Schwarz (Popular Woodworking, Lost Art Press, Goetta Illustrated) wrote a blog about the Dominy workbench back in 2007.

The first floor displays highlights of the collections including furniture, glass, ceramics and textiles. When I was there last they were displaying some of Philadelphia’s finest.

IMG_9528

To view a small portion of the Winterthur collection, click HERE.

If you are in the area (north of Wilmington, DE and west of Philadelphia) you might also consider the Brandywine River Museum. It is: Renowned for its holdings of the Wyeth family of artists, the museum features galleries dedicated to the work of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. And others. (I stole this, too.)


The Small Things

Hackney Tools - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 7:40am

Today, whilst going through a large batch of tools I’ve recently purchased, I was struck by the amount of handmade tools and tools with good repairs. The gentleman who owned these tools lived in the Midlands and was a master carpenter. Three of the smallest tools jumped out at me and I just had to share them, they are exquisite.

Hand scraper1
Hand scraper2
Hand scraper3
I think these small hand scrapers were commercially available, but I’m not 100% sure about that. In any case, this particular one look like it could be craftsman-made. The quality of the wood is superb and looks to be two different types. Can anyone please tell me what the wood might be? It’s very dense and hard, with the tightest grain. The surfaces almost feel french polished. To use it, you would have inserted your scraper blade into the gap and this would have helped take away the aching fingers and the heat generated by the scraping blade.

Tiny square1
A tiny square with a bevelled blade. I haven’t check it yet, but I bet it’s dead on.

Small side rebate 1
Small side rebate 2
The loveliest little side-rebate plane with adjustable fence. Again, made by the craftsman, probably for one particular job. The wedge tightens easily and well, but is obviously sitting very low in these photos as it needs a blade. I’ve hunted through the box to no avail. I’ll try a small plough plane blade and see if that sits well. Other than that, might have to see if someone could make one for me, I’d love to see this in use.

Categories: Hand Tools

Campaign Birdhouse (And a Movie)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 6:57am

campaign_birdhouse_open_IMG_9941

Campaign birdhouse. It is real. Check it out on my blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine.


Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Categories: Hand Tools

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by Dr. Radut