Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator


Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


Hand Tools

David Barron Bench for Sale.

David Barron Furniture - 7 hours 12 min ago

Here's a small but very sturdy little bench I made a while ago being sold by a friend of mine. It measures 42" wide x 24" deep x 37" high and would make an ideal bench for a small workshop or as a second bench. The base was made from 4" square pine (I don't remember painting it that colour!) and the top is 2 1/2" solid beech. The two bench stops can be used in the multiple holes and making it ideal for hand planning. The low stretcher and relatively high top means you can work sitting down with your knees under, great for chopping out dovetails.

The wooden leg vice has a massive 2 1/2" diameter wooden screw (also made by me) which is a pleasure to use. You can see the E Bay listing here.

Categories: Hand Tools

George’s Faux Drawers

360 WoodWorking - 8 hours 19 min ago
George’s Faux Drawers

I’ve gotten back working on my version of George Washington’s partner’s desk. (I posted about scratch-stocks used on the legs and other inexpensive shop-made tools I’ve used.) Today, take a look at the setup and process to make George’s faux drawers, which are found on the ends of the original desk. In my version the back sections are also faux – if it were a true partner’s desk it would have functioning drawers on both sides.

Continue reading George’s Faux Drawers at 360 WoodWorking.

Moved In!

Paul Sellers - 9 hours 34 min ago

This weekend we loaded up our belongings and moved onto the Science Park where our new and permanent home now is. It took over a year to complete the outside but the inside will take just a few more weeks. It was a mixed week of sad and happy emotions because we’ve made friends and […]

Read the full post Moved In! on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Miles's toolbox pt II........

Accidental Woodworker - 12 hours 8 min ago
Today's part is all about measuring and layout tools. I lumped these together because they go hand in hand. You use the two of  them together just as much as you would use them separately. This part of the herd is pretty much done but if something catches my eye I'll snag it for Miles.

square till
The toolbox, the saw, and square tills, all were painted with an exterior paint. After that I applied 4 coats of shellac. The shellac allows me to brush the boxes clean when they get covered with shop dust. If they were just painted, I would have to wash them to clean them.

good selection of squares
The big square on the left is 15" on the inside and 17" on the outside. The right one is 12" on the inside and 14" on the outside. The only quibble I have with them is they were made to be square on the inside only from the manufacturer.  The inside part of the wooden leg has a brass strip but not on the outside. However, I played with these until I got the outside to be square also. Just my opinion, but a square that only reads it on the inside is limited.

What I want to add to the square till
I've been looking for a 4" Starrett but I have only come across one in my hunting. I saw it on one of my tool sites but I lost that to someone else. Lee Valley has free shipping until Wednesday so I might buy their 4" combo square. A brand new Starrett is $74.

most of the layout/measuring stuff is in the top two tills

measuring stuff
I got him Paul Seller's marking knife of which I am a recent convert to. Other then the knife, everything else measures in imperial. The hook rule at the bottom left is imperial and metric. The black box at the top is a fractional reading caliper. I got one for him because I found mine to be a handy tool to have. It will also read decimal but I don't use that.

I got hooked on the Lee Valley sliding square and it gets a lot of use in my shop. I traded a 6" Delta jointer for it. I think I got the better part of that deal. The only thing I gave him that I don't use much myself anymore is the 24" centering rule.

6" rule
This size is handy and I use mine mostly in laying out dovetails.

3 marking gauges
I am hunting for a couple of more but Miles will be able to get by with these even if I don't add anymore to his herd. From the top to the bottom - Stanley 65 oval head, single pin marking gauge. The other two are the same style gauge - the middle one is a Stanley #72 and the bottom one is a Stanley #71.

both are single pin with dual beams
I gave him these because they can serve a dual purpose. Between the two of them they can hold 4 different settings. Or they can be used as a mortise gauge. One thing I've found with the Stanley marking gauges are the scales are dead nuts on.

the only difference
The Stanley #72 has a brass wear plate under the marking pins where the #71 doesn't.

he'll be getting one of these for sure
This marking gauge can be used to gauge a line on curved work. These have suddenly become scarcer than frog hair blankets. I used to see these offered up all the time when I didn't want one and now I can't remember the last time I saw one for sale.

3" mortise gauge
This is a Stanley #73 and I love the size of this mortise gauge. This is another gauge that I want to add to Miles's herd. This one is even scarcer then the Stanley round work gauge ( mine is marked Stanley but it has no model number).

has long length, sharp pins
If I can't find another one of these I will probably buy or give him one my mortise gauges. He will probably inherit this one.

the final part of the layout and measuring herd
Pencils and magic markers are usually overlooked but they are essential parts of a tool kit. I am not that anal to include them now but I can supply them when they are actually needed.

first drawer bottom installed
I glued it in the front groove with hide glue and screwed it to the back with 3 screws, no glue. I did this with a rabbet bit in my electric router. Plywood is too hard on plane irons. I still had to plane it to fit the groove and the slips.

#5 primed
I removed 99.99% of the japanning from the frog so I opted to prime it. I got the sole of the plane sanded to 80 grit but I still have to do the sides.

The previous owner of this saw fit to put a big back bevel on this iron. It looks like a knife edge and not a plane iron edge. It is almost a 1/16th of inch from the edge so I'll lose a lot grinding it off. I'm not sure that I'll be able to sharpen this as I have zero experience with a back bevels - ala 'ruler trick'. It is hard trying to flatten the back because of it.

another problem
The business end of the iron is flat but the back end is drunk. I'm pushing down there and the bevel is over a 1/8" off the plywood.

it's now a C bend
It was bent in a S shape at this end. I was able to kind of beat the S into a C but not flatten it. I'm not sure if the lever cap and chipbreaker will be able to flatten this out. I didn't road test it before I started rehabbing it so I don't know how or if it made shavings.

prepping the stock for the second drawer
I need to find a home for this
I have only used brown rouge on both wheels and they blacker than the edge of space. Why?

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a qubit in Quantum Computing is a two state unit of quantum information?

Correcting a New Saw

Paul Sellers - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 2:13pm

We posted this video yesterday just to help you see that it is simple to correct flawed output on new saws if the saw is resharpenablle which most push stroke back saws mad in the `uk are and most pulls stroke, Japanese-type saws are not. It takes me about 3-4 minutes to sharpen almost and […]

Read the full post Correcting a New Saw on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Processing Big Wood

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 10:23am

I was by Lesley Caudle’s sawmill last week and observed his latest Alaskan sawmill setup in action.


Lesley was our source for the workbench kit Chris and I used in Roubo Workbench: by Hand & Power. He is also the source for the materials for the Moravian workbench classes I teach. Lesley sells Roubo workbench kits and will ship them as well (lesley27011@yahoo.com).


Lesley processes a lot of big logs that most mills can’t handle; the better ones become workbench tops and parts. The lesser quality logs will be sawn into railroad ties and pallet lumber. Some are live sawn into slabs for customers.


Lesley uses a band saw mill that does most of the work but for the really big logs to fit on the band mill he has to first saw them in half with an Alaskan mill powered by two chainsaws. This ain’t a kiddy set up either, the two power heads are Stihl MS 880’s, the largest saws Stihl makes (9 hp each). A 66″ double end saw bar connects the two.

I shot this short video of mill in action on a 48″ white oak, it’s quite a trick.


— Will Myers

Categories: Hand Tools

WW18thC 2018 – The Joiner’s Gang

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 7:05am

One of the more recent additions to the WW18thC conference has been Ted Boscana’s crew from the CW housewright shop.   I never fail to learn a lot from these presentation/demonstrations and find Ted to be enjoyable company when we are together.  This year the Joiner’s Gang was reproducing some architectural-scale cornice moldings and I found their approach to be immensely engaging.

Ted divvied up the sections of the molding profile among his posse of Amanda, Peter, and Scott and they set to work.

Although the scale at which they were working lends itself to segmented work, they were also demonstrating some of the complex planes in the CW collection.

As a finale, with one of the large complex molding planes, Ted placed his full weight over the plane body and the posse pulled him along on top of the workpiece with a rope.

Miles's toolbox......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:44pm
This is an update on my grandson's toolbox. I think I am pretty close to being done with it. I know of a couple more toys I want to add to the herd before I call it done. This will be the first of 4 or maybe 5 posts I'll do on this. This one is on the toolbox and the saw till. The others will follow suit. While this is going on I'll be working on the tool cabinet and finishing the rehabbing of the #5.

Feel free to chime in on anything you think I need to add or maybe take away. I am not shooting for getting every toy available but a decent starting set for him to learn and grow with. He can add/subtract as he wants if it keeps up with it.

Miles's toolbox and tills
The big toolbox wasn't big enough to put all the tools in it. The long rectangular box is the saw till and the box on top is the till for his squares. I definitely did not want the squares to be banging around loose in the toolbox.

the big toolbox
I had made this a few years ago and I added one big till and two smaller ones. I thought of making a bigger toolbox but I am staying with this. That will keep my purchases to a minimum and hopefully just what is needed.

it's on a rolling dolly
My thanx to the Valley Woodworker (Bob) for making this suggestion. It is a huge back saver and something I will do again.

the saw till
I'll be putting the coping saw in the lid
the backsaws
From the top on down - rip tenon saw, crosscut carcass saw, and a dovetail saw. These should do for any joinery he'll do. He may have to wait a while to grow into them though.

rip and crosscut panel saws
All of these saws have been cleaned, the totes refinished, and all have been sharpened. The coping saw did not need any of this but I do have to fix the handle on it. It is loose and has an annoying habit of separating itself from the saw frame while using it. I'll epoxy it as a first fix.

I think I'm set on saws for Miles. He should be able to build whatever he wants with this set. A couple of things I want to add to the saw till is a saw set and some files so he can sharpen these. He can make his own saw vise as a shop project.

tote screw and a carbide bit to drill holes
One of the totes was loose and I was going to replace one of the saw nuts but both totes are now tight. And I don't remember which one was loose. There is absolutely nothing loose on either of them. I will keep these in this saw till for just in case.

the coping saw holder from my saw till
I am going to reuse this to hold the coping saw in Miles's saw till box.

corners were too tight
I had to rasp the corners back some to give a wee bit more to slip the coping on and off of this.

screws punched through
The lid panel is only 6mm plywood which is less than a 1/4" thick. I didn't want to glue the holder on to the inside of the lid but I may not have a choice. I'll leave it screwed on for now but if I have to I'll glue in on with hide glue.

room for another saw
The coping saw stayed in the holder through several open and close cycles of the lid which surprised me. I was going to put a toggle stick on the holder but I don't think I need to now.

Tomorrow I'll post about the measuring do-dads I stuffed in the toolbox.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the Great White Shark is the largest predatory fish in the world?

28 Months Later

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 1:33pm


There is a point with every new house when it finally feels like home. Today is that day at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky.

Thanks to the help of countless friends, our storefront is officially a nice place to work. The clamps hang on the walls (thanks Brendan). The garage out back holds our few machines (thanks 347 people who helped with this project). And we have a coffee maker (thanks Nespresso).

On Saturday morning, we are launching the first woodworking class here at our storefront. We are vehemently not a school – we don’t have a name for it or a formal organization. This is just one of the many small things that we hope to do to give back to the woodworking community and Covington.

Interestingly, the tipping point that made the storefront feel like home had nothing to do with restoring the building, adding electrical service or draining my savings for two new roofs. Instead, it was the arrival of Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan Gaffney as everyday co-workers.

In general, group shops can be tricky. There’s always a turd or 10 who ruin it for everyone else. Someone who clogs the dust collector and walks away. Someone who tilts the table saw blade 2° and walks away. Someone who dulls all your chisels. Or puts a cold drink on your finished project parts. Or…. I could go on.

I’ve been working with Megan for about 20 years. She’s a slob, but a thoughtful, empathetic rule-following slob. And so she is easy to work with in the shop. I’ve only been working with Brendan for about six months, and he’s an energetic woodworker who is – like Megan – simply a totally decent person.

Each of us has different way of making a living. I publish books and make furniture and tools. Megan is doing a lot of editing (for me and others), teaching and furniture making. Brendan is making furniture, tools and is working for Lost Art Press, helping with maps and technical illustrations.

In six months, this could all be different, but that’s OK. What I can say is that there will definitely be woodworking going on here, much to the bemusement of the 9th Street streetwalkers and the delight of the elementary kids who watch us everyday after school.

We’re also glad that our readers are part of this, whether they take a class, visit us on our open days (the second Saturday of every month) or commission a piece of furniture. Though furniture making is usually a solitary pursuit these days, it doesn’t have to be.

You just need the right people.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

Mortise & Tenon 2018 Schedule

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 8:50am

The following is the list of events we will be participating in this year.

Issue Four Packing Party – March 23rd - 24th

This time around we have another bunch of people joining us for the big packing party for Issue Four. Slots all filled by now but we recommend you get on the waiting list if you have genuine interest in joining us (you never know what may come up). This will be the first party in our new timber frame workshop. We will be wrapping mags, filling ourselves with delicious food, and communing over craftsmanship. Read about the previous packing parties here.

Port Townsend School of Woodworking – April 23rd - 27th: “Table From Rough Boards”

I will be teaching a five-day class as an introduction pre-industrial (hand-tool-only) table making. We will be building a taper-legged table with a breadboard top and a drawer. Last I heard there were only a few spots left. You can sign up for the class here.  

Lie-Nielsen Workshop - June 16th - 17th Workshop: “Build a Table with Hand Tools”

This is a hand tools meat-and-potatoes kind of class - an introduction to the hand-tool-only approach to building a table. I’ll bring period originals along for students to examine to help inform their working tolerances. The goal is to show how to work with pre-industrial efficiency. Sign-up for the workshop here.

Lie-Nielsen Open House – July 13th - 14th

Always a highlight of the year. Come hang out with like-minded hand tool fanatics. No cover charge. Also, join us for the Saturday evening lobster dinner. Maine, hand tools, lobster, and beer... What more could you ask for? More info here.

Pre-orders for Issue Five Open! – August 1st 

Stay tuned for more info.

Issue Five Packing Party – End of September (Date TBD)

Stay tuned for more info.

Leonard’s Mills Living History Days Event – Early October

Every year my family interprets 1790s rural Maine life. I will have my portable Nicholson bench and a full chest of tools to demonstrate 18th-century cabinetmaking all weekend. More info here.

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools

How to Buy the Right Size Chore Coat

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 8:43am

I love having my photo taken! Here I’m wearing a size medium. Usually I wear a large, so that’s why it’s a little tight on my massive delts. Or are those gluts?

We’ll start taking orders for the Lost Art Press chore coat at noon (Eastern time) on Monday, Feb. 19. There are lots of important things to know about our chore coat, so we want to give you detailed information so that you can decide if this jacket is for you.

  1. We have ordered enough fabric for about 300 jackets. The price will be $185 delivered in the United States. For this first run, we are going to ship only to the United States so we can exterminate all the bugs in our system. I promise there are bugs.
  2. The price of $185 might seem high to some of you. Actually, it’s ridiculously low for this jacket. And this is the lowest price we’ll ever offer it. The fabric is soft and strong. The craftsmanship and the stitching is superb (from Portland, Ore.). And the design is 100-percent Tom Bonamici. Tom is a woodworker and designer who loves this coat form as much as I do. You’ll never find a better-tailored example.
  3. We are not a clothing company. We are making this coat the way we make furniture. Custom buttons. Custom embroidered label. Lots of handwork. So we want to discourage the unfortunate activity of customers who use clothing companies like a virtual dressing room. We will accept returns on the coat for 30 days. After that, we will accept returns only for a defect in the making.
  4. The jackets will be stitched in March 2018. We are ordering each jacket based on what you order. This is short-run, custom stuff.
  5. As a result, we can only afford to offer a limited number of sizes. If this run is a success, we might be able to expand the sizes we offer in the future.
  6. This is important: Before you order, you need to measure one of your favorite garments and compare it with our chart below to figure out what size is right for you. These jackets run a little lean, but they aren’t “mustache wax hipster lean.” I usually wear a size large, and I easily fit into a size medium for the photos for this jacket.

I know we cannot please everyone with this jacket. I also know that I do not want to run a clothing empire. As a result, we’re going to offer the sizes we can with the quality that makes us happy. I have said many times that I want to be buried with my Lie-Nielsen No. 8. Know that I’ll be wearing this jacket as I clutch my jointer plane.

So let’s get started. This is going to be fun.


Grab Your Favorite Garment
Don’t be intimidated. As a woodworker, you are eminently qualified to take a few measurements. It’s critical to measure a garment that you already own before you order your work coat. Take a heavy overshirt or light jacket (unlined, please), button or zip it up, lay it down flat on a flat surface and take the four measurements below.


SLEEVE: Measure from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff.

SHOULDER-SHOULDER: Measure from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.

PIT-PIT: Measure from the armpit to the armpit. Don’t inhale.

LENGTH: Measure from the collar seam to the bottom back hem.

Now, think critically. Do you like how your garment fits? How do you layer other clothes with it, and how do you think you’ll wear your work coat? Chris likes to fit a sweater under his work coat, while Tom usually wears it with only a light shirt underneath and layers over the top. Compare your results to the chart (below) showing the measurements of our work coat, and make an educated decision.


LAP Chore Coat Sizing

A Note on Fit
Garments have to have a base pattern of “something-or-another.” We chose a “regular” fit, akin to a pair of Levi 501s – not too tight, not too loose. If you usually buy your clothes at Walmart, this is going to feel slimmer than normal. If you usually buy from Zara, then this will feel like a circus tent. The lesson? Measure and compare! Our base pattern was taken from a vintage 1960s-era French chore coat, and we tweaked it until we liked it.

A Note on Extended Sizes
If, after measuring and comparing as described above, you learn that you’re too big or small to fit this coat, please don’t order one anyway and hope that it will magically work out. If you’re tempted to email and ask why we’re not producing a XXXL Extra Short, or a Super Tall Super Skinny size, just know that we’re a tiny company with limited bandwidth.

Any time another size is added to a garment run, it adds a disproportionate amount of cost and complexity. So we’re starting with five sizes that are in the middle of the usual spectrum. And honestly, it’s unlikely we’ll get to doing “tall” sizes or “short” sizes anytime soon – the cost of pattern adjustments and inventorying unusual sizes is just beyond our means.

— Christopher Schwarz & Tom Bonamici

Categories: Hand Tools

Installing a lock on a joined chest

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 7:31am

I installed the 2nd lock the other day. The first one was here – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/locks

This one was easier because I was fitting it in a chest, not a box. I don’t often do these so I cut an entire housing in a piece of scrap first.

After taking some measurements from the lock, I scribed a centerline and then located the keyhole. When I bored it, I used a square to help align the bit.

One step I forgot on the box lock the other day was the housing on the top edge of the rail/box front. Here I marked it out with a chisel, then chopped & pared it. This notch is quite shallow, but helps snug the lock down into place.

Next comes sawing, chopping and paring to cut the multi-tiered housing for the lock and its moving parts. I scribed the limits with an awl & square, and marking gauge.

When chopping, I braced my hip/gut against the chest front to support it while knocking against it. I wish I had cut this when the parts were un-assembled…but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

It’s easy to cut the depth of this housing un-even. I kept chopping and then paring across the grain.

This is the housing just about done – it needs to go lower to reach down to the scribed line.

At this point, I got the lock ready to install, but first had to extend the keyhole. I scribed about the bottom of the key, and bored & chopped the rest.

Still not installed; I get it this far – then scribe the rectangle where the staple from the lid will fall into the lock. That wood needs to be cut away.

At this stage, I’ve nailed the lock in place, and added the escutcheon too. Its nails are quite short, if they are too long, they can interfere with the lock. Once it’s done, I lock the staple in place and mark the underside of its plate with a Sharpie/felt marker – then close the chest lid. And lean on it.

That leaves some impressions in the underside of the chest lid. Two divots from the feet of the staple. And a smudgy black rectangle showing where to pare the lid to engage the plate. I took a small carving gouge to hollow out a spot for the staple’s feet.

A benefit of a pine lid is that this operation is easily done. Well, still awkward up in the air, but it’s not oak at least.

Once I had it where I wanted it, I bored pilot holes for the nails. Reamed those holes, and drove the nails.

Then, test the lock & key. If all goes well, then you clinch those nails on top of the lid.

I wanted to see how the lock worked from the inside. But it’s very dark in there. If you’re going to be locked inside for any duration, I suggest bringing a light.


The Excellence of Desi Timbers

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 5:43am

Chhattisgarh Teak Forest

The average Indian's ignorance of timbers, their type, variety and characteristics, is odd given that this country has a long tradition of using wood products. The Subcontinent's forests at one time were vast and contained innumerable species of excellent furniture grade tree species.

Writing in 1929, Hugh Trotter, forest economist at the Forest Research Institute at Dehra Dun, observed: "For high class furniture, cabinet-making and decorative panel work, there are several very ornamental and excellent woods in India. The chief characteristics required for these uses are nonliability to crack and split, retention of shape, ease of working, and good colour, figure and grain."

So important was timber and its uses in India that a forest products laboratory was set up in Dehra Dun in 1906. In the pre-WW II era it was "the largest, and probably the best equipped of any Forest Research Institute in the world, and the advice and experience of the many specialists employed there are always at the disposal of timber users and others, whether large or small, without any charge." [Trotter 1940]

The institute at Dehra Dun still exists and the use of wood is continuously rising in this country. Yet, general awareness about woods remains low. Poor quality factory made furniture, mostly of plywood disguised with layers of wood veneers, are hoisted as objects of desire. Few customers care to look beneath the superficial shine of chemical finishes or care about matters such as wood grain, figure or durability.

In the past, customers of fine furniture and cabinetry appear to have been far more discerning. This was particularly true of the country's European population They favoured a variety of local woods and much of the excellent furniture crafted here was also exported to Europe, chiefly Britain.

While some of the woods once so popular are well-known names even today, many others are long forgotten.

Of the 15 top cabinet grade woods of yesteryears listed in Trotter's invaluable handbook on common Indian timbers, only a handful continue to be well known to the public. These include Teak, Sheesham, Walnut and Mahogany. These woods continue to be commonly used for fine furniture and cabinetry.

Three of the woods in Trotter's list are now so scarce that they are either in the endangered list or are regarded as under severe threat. Chloroxylon swietenia (satin wood), for instance, a highly attractive and durable wood has virtually disappeared from world markets and is on the IUCN Red List. This unmatched wood is found in small quantities in south India and Sri Lanka.

The famous Andaman Padauk (Pterocarpus dalbergioides) too has largely disappeared although it is not officially protected.  Similarly, East Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) is on the CITES list and can only be found in the black market in small quantities.

Of the eight remaining woods, a few continue to be used and cherished by Indian cabinet makers. These include Toon (Cedrela toona) as well as the Sirish and Kokko family (Albizzia species).

The rest, including Betula alnoides (Indian birch), Chukrasia tabularis (chikrassy), Phoebe species (bonsum), Pteroearpus marsupium, Terminalia bialata (silver grey) and Terminalia tomentosa (Indian Laurel), seem to have gone off the radar, at least as far as cabinet making is concerned.

It's a pity that a number of excellent cabinet grade woods native to this country are no longer available or used. Some discerning woodworkers are, however, making a special effort to pick up and use local woods when possible.

Indranil Banerjie
16 February 2018

Some local woods used by woodworkers

Abid Ali

Abid Ali (North India)
Indian red cedar or toon. This is wonderful wood to work with, very easy to plane takes finish well. Love the colour.
Walnut. The Kashmiri walnut when you can get some is pleasure to work on, I like this wood when the project demands a bit of carving.
Teak. Yes I know you will say who doesn't like teak. Simple fact that it's a very easy to work teak and you get excellent finishing results puts it in the top 5. The put off is price.
Indian rain tree/Sirish/ monkey pod. This is a wood I came across in guitar workshop amazing grain pattern, tough to work but it's worth the effort once you see the finished product.
Deodar. This is a amazing softwood. Excellent to work with, this wood is quite resistant to decay, insect attacks can be used for outdoor projects too. Only problem is availability outside of Kashmir and Himachal.

Kingshuk Chakraborty
Kingshuk Chakraborty (Eastern India)
Toona Ciliata:, Common name Toon Indian Mahogany etc
Pros: Takes a very good polish, very easy to work, readily available, very good texture; Costs 1200-1400 per cft. Cons: Very susceptible to borer especially sapwood. This wood cannot be stocked for long time as sapwood will attract borer inevitably; This is not a very stable wood and bows significantly during seasonal changes. Contains some characteristics of mahogany family and interlocking grains sometimes pose challenge with hand planing (tear out).
Baadam (Terminalia cantappa). Indian almond is found primarily in the north eastern forests. Heartwood is golden brown and sapwood is white to yellow. Grain and texture are very similar to teak. Pros: Takes polish very well and after polish resembles teak; price tag is relatively low around 1400 per cft; termite resistant; relatively stable wood; machining and chiselling is easy. Cons: Heavy interlocked grain; heavy contrast between sapwood and heartwood poses challenge to staining; primary source is Assam and due to transport restriction, availability is restricted.
Bhola (Merbau): This is a wonderful wood respected by local carpenters who rank this wood after teak. Bhola is a very stable wood, used for window, cot preparation. Assam Bhola is best one, although it is also imported from Indonesia and Malaysia. Heartwood is dark brown and sapwood yellowish orange in colour. Doesn't have very distinctive figure as texture is usually dark. In my house, Bhola is used in windows and doors and has survived the humid weather for more than 30 years. Pros: A very stable wood, robust and heavy; very easy to chisel and plane; gives a good lustre after finish; termite resistant. Cons: Not a heavily figured wood and price tag is on higher side 2600-2900 per cft.  
Champ (Michelia Champaca): A highly figured wood gives a fairly good competition to other figured species like teak and Sheesham. Available in north eastern provinces specially from Assam. Texture is greenish brown to yellowish brown. Used for window and doors frames and panels. Pros: Easy to work; finishes well, termite resistant and reasonably priced, Rs. 1400-1700 per cft. Cons: This wood takes a long time to season. Air drying should be carefully done to avoid twist and cups.
Black Sirish (Albizia odoratissima). This wood belongs to the Fabaceae family and should not be confused with Monkey Pod (Albizia saman). Also known as Kakur Sirish or Kakur locally. Heartwood is yellowish brown to dark brown in colour with black patterns of annual rings looks wonderful after polish. Pros: Relatively cheaper rate Rs 1000 per cft; pungent smell repels termites and other insects; Gives a very good surface; Very sturdy, durable wood used for tables, stools and benches. Cons: A very hard wood to work. Need to cover mouth, face and eye while sawing and machining, as smell is very pungent and some people may have allergic reaction to it.
Two more woods need worth mentioning, Neem and Acacia. Both are very hard to work but produces very durable furniture. People here make cots with Acacia wood, which gives decent surface polish and are economical substitutes for more expensive woods.

Vinay Oommen

Vinay Oommen (South India)
The following are the woods that I use often though I am not sure if they are local. They are available in Vellore locally, but may be sourced from central India or Abroad.
Karuvelam: (Babool wood). This is a very hard wood, with beautiful grain. So hard that it is difficult to work with. But this is used in door posts etc. It is cheap in Vellore (about Rs 1250 per cubic foot). The problem with this wood is that it sometimes has fibres that are at right angles to the main grain (I am not sure of the technical term for this) but this this makes it difficult to get a good smooth finish and uniform stain.
Neem: This is again a hard, cheap wood (Rs 1200 or so per cubic foot). Very difficult to work with, but can be used for structural work. The tree is abundant in south India.
Mango. Not so commonly available, as I think people prefer the mangoes rather than the wood. But when it is available it is a light coloured, wood, and cheap (Rs 1250). This is also very fibrous with fibres running all over the place. I think it is used in Pepperfry.com type of furniture a lot to make shelves etc. I would use it if I get my hands on it, but the trees are not so common especially I think with people now going for hybrid mango trees.
Naatu Teak (native teak). This is cheaper than the Burmese teak or Nigerian teak. I think the native teak refers to the fact that it is Indian teak. The trees are usually thinner and so one only gets thinner reapers, sometimes with the soft wood also included. It is used to make teak wood beading. But this is far cheaper than the other teak varieties, so that if a project is planned with small thin strips, this is the wood I would go for.
Country wood: This is a loose term I think that is given to other trees that have little commercial value. This is usually handled by the smaller lumber mills. One of my students got a whole small tree trunk for about 1000 rupees or so, that he used to make a martial arts dummy.
The other wood that I use a lot but is not local is Vengai. This is more expensive (about 2500-3000) per cubic foot. At this range we also get Irulai, and some imported teak varieties. Padauk is also got at this range, but I hear it is imported now.
Categories: Hand Tools

WW18thC 2018 – Kaare and the Haymakers

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 5:30am

With the challenge of interpreting a decorated 18th century tool chest, the three maestros from the Anthony Hay Shop – Kaare Loftheim, Brian Weldy, and Bill Pavlak – took stage to discuss and demonstrate the paths that they had taken individually to fulfill the task.  Soon the small stage was filled with tool chests old and new.

I found this to be a fascinating discourse on not only the organization of tools within the chest but the selection and availability of the tools themselves.  Three makers, three approaches to the problem.

I think this was Kaare’s earlier replica of the Seaton tool chest.


Happy Chinese New Year! Hello Kitty and Giant Cypress wish you a...

Giant Cypress - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 3:48am

Happy Chinese New Year! Hello Kitty and Giant Cypress wish you a prosperous Year of the Dog.

jack rehab.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 12:40am
I did quick look up for the type of jack I have. It has a corrugated sole but that really doesn't have anything to do with the type. It has two patent dates in front of the tote but not the arched doo hickey thing between the two circular screw holes for the frog. The type ten ushered in the adjustable frog and the screw which is absent from my plane. I think it is a type 9 or maybe a type ten that didn't get the frog adjustment treatment. I read Patrick's plane study and it kind of fits inbetween the 9 and 10. It has some of the DNA from both. No matter, I'm rehabbing a corrugated sole #5.

starting to rust on the back

two patent dates and a rusting frog area
I will wire brush this tomorrow and clean it with acetone. Once I'm satisfied the rust is gone I'll apply the stripper.

small parts out of the EvapoRust
rinsed and blown dry
I have done my derusting with a few different agents. The last one I tried was citric acid and I've made the circle back to EvapoRust. This stuff works the best. It is safe to touch and dump down the household drain and it works at derusting.  I also like the finish on the parts after they come out of the bath. It is also reusable a boatload of times. What's not to like about it?

buffer work
 I was able to raise a decent shine on the barrel nuts. I was going to buy a replacement set but I think I'll use these. The slots aren't chewed up and I do like shiny things.

came pretty clean with Krud Kutter and a blue scrubbie
inside doesn't look the same
I haven't been able to clean the inside of any knob I've done with any cleaner. Even Bar Keeps needs help with a wire brush to get clean and shiny.

sandpaper always works
Even using sandpaper is still tough, especially getting my fat fingers in there to work it.

this knob has had the snot beat out of it
I had a hard time turning this off of the stud around the half way point. Maybe the previous owner didn't think to clean the threads and instead used a pipe wrench to turn it.

shined on the buffer
It didn't look like this when I got done buffing it. It was black and I had to wipe the knob with a rag to get the shine. The buffing wheel is black too but I had cleaned the knob before I buffed it. I'll have to read up on this and see if there is something I'm doing wrong.

Lee Valley sent another one
fits, but.......
I don't want to sound ungrateful but I think that this should sit down a wee bit more. It works and holds the bit securely so maybe I'm quibbling about nothing.

road tested my chamfer brace bit
I could only get the chamfer to work to about the 1/3 point. I leaned on the brace and pressed down on it but I could not get the chamfer any larger than this.

filed it some

easier to make the chamfers
 Still couldn't go past the half way point but they appear to be a bit cleaner looking.

did a better job of filing it
far left hole is toast
The bit didn't want to make the left one any larger than what it is. The other two holes weren't a problem. What I can't understand is why it won't go any deeper. The cutting edge is sharp and shiny from the top to the bottom so it should a make a chamfer right up to the top.

tried it in pine
Easier to do than the DF but still only to about half way. It looks like this will be good for #6 screws and maybe #8's.

sticky 80 grit
It is wide enough to do the jack and I don't have any clamps to get in the way.

it's pretty close to flat
I like using the PSA sandpaper over the 6x48 sanding belts. The biggie is no clamps in the way leaving the whole runway open. I can go from one end to the other and overshoot .

Krud Kutter cut the crud
that is some nasty looking grunge
This is ten strokes on 80 grit. This side was pitted, not deeply, but still pitted. This quick dance step removed most of them. I don't think I'll have any problems getting the cheeks shiny.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a kazoo is classified as a membranophone?

Sandpaper upgrades

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:29pm
3M sandpaper
Sanding doesn’t get a lot of respect in the woodworking world, perhaps because it is a rather boring job, and hand planing seems, by contrast, so refined. Nonetheless, sanding is an important step in building many projects, so it pays to take advantage of technological advancements. 3M’s Pro Grade Precision sanding sheets seem to cut […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Update on Issue IV

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 3:42pm

It’s been a while since I’ve made any posts. I’ve been busy writing articles and working to earn a crust.

I’m relieved to say the final article has been written and sent off for edit. Once that’s finalised, the compilation forms the magazine.

So far the magazine has been free and posting it has been rather simple. This time it won’t be free and posting it has got me stumped. WordPress is expensive, I don’t have $1200 in pocket change to splurge because they feel they need 1 year payment in advance and the plugin needed to sell on the blog. Amazon staff are offshore, they copy/paste pre written script, so it’s like talking to a recording. I know little about eBay, but it seems like it’s the last place to try.

If I knew for a certainty I would get as many purchases as I did downloads on the previous issues then I would make the investment with WordPress. Unfortunately, I don’t know and I am just as poor as the next bloke so I can’t risk it.

The price will be only US$5.00, cheap as chips considering how much work goes into it. If all goes well  I can quit my day job and do this full time, I won’t be as stressed and drained as I am. On the flip side my back is further degenerating, and it’s getting harder and harder to push the plane. Nonetheless, I’m still soldiering on and will continue to work the craft the only way I know how with my hands. There is nothing sweeter and more soul satisfying/gratifying than when you build something by hand.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Lost Art Press Chore Coat

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 3:17pm

I met Chris in person during the Young Anarchist class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in 2015. Most of the week was spent in sharpening donated tools, hammering cut nails and trying not to drink too many of the Old Rasputins that a fellow student kept buying by the case. But at some point, Chris and I walked into the shop wearing matching blue French chore coats. After the requisite double-take, we geeked out for a while about the utility of these garments.


This guy liked to kill snakes. 

Chris and I like chore coats for a few reasons. They’re simple, affordable, comfortable and practical. It’s a light jacket or a heavy shirt, making it great for wearing in all but the hottest weather. They’re made in sturdy, straightforward natural materials. They look about the same they did 100 years ago. All this adds up to the clothing equivalent of the Furniture of Necessity.


This kind of coat has been found throughout Europe for the past 200 years, with lots of tweaks and variation in different times and places. But the basics are the same: square hem, three outside patch pockets, one inside pocket with a logo, a point collar and heavy fabric. The color means a great deal: A French compagnon friend told me that painters and masons wore white, farmers and general laborers (and Bill Cunningham) wore blue, and carpenters – after becoming journeymen – wore black. Yes, I’m sure that there were lots of variations on that, but it seems like the woodworkers always wore black.


When Chris mentioned interest in making a Lost Art Press version, I just about fell over. Hell yeah! I wanted to keep it simple, avoiding the pitfall of “new twists on a classic,” which usually means taking a classic and making it dated. I wasn’t about to add an iPhone pocket, a hammer loop, or make the whole thing out of Cordura – nothing against those features, but you can get that stuff elsewhere. We needed good fabric more than anything else, and so I called my source for the best Japanese fabrics. She found a gorgeous double-woven cotton sateen from a mill in Osaka, and comparing it to the old French stuff, I think ours comes out on top. It’s thick, sturdy and comfortable, and it’ll contour to its wearer over the long years of its life.


The only other tweak I made was to add a double layer of fabric to the bottom of the front pockets – that’ll help reinforce against the handfuls of Clouterie Rivierre nails that get tossed in there. You see this on some of the nicer vintage jackets, but it’s not common. Similar reinforcements used to be put on the back pockets of blue jeans, which is the origin of the decorative stitch lines on the back of your 501s.


We’re proud to be working with Dehen Jacket, a garment factory in Portland, Ore. They’ve been around for almost 100 years, and have their own line of incredible outwear (as well as a roaring business in cheerleading uniforms). They’re not cheap, but the quality is impeccable and their sewers are paid well. To get a lower sewing price in the USA, we’d have to cut worker pay or garment quality. Not gonna happen.


There’s the background. The fabric has made it to the U.S. from Japan. The tags are done. The buttons are on their way. We’ll have a pre-sale going up soon. Complaints about pricing and sizing can be directed to our customer service line.

— Tom Bonamici

Categories: Hand Tools

A small tweak to my Moxon vise

Oregon Woodworker - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 1:09pm
I've written why I regard having a Moxon vise as indispensable even though I view a bench vise as optional.  Mine lives on the end of my 8' bench.  It stays there most of the time but I do sometimes need to take it off and want to be able to do so quickly.

Traditionally, Moxons were held in place with holdfasts and that is what I have been doing, though that hasn't been entirely satisfactory to me.  Besides tying up two holdfasts, the vise does rock slightly and the less steel I have around my saw teeth the better I like it.  It suddenly struck me that I have a split top on my bench that I could take advantage of.  I found a large carriage bolt, drilled a hole in my vise and, voila:

I have two bench dogs in place that keep the vise from twisting.  Those and the bolt keep the vise rock solid.  To remove it, you loosen the bolt and slide the vise off.  Although I need a wrench to remove it, that doesn't bother me and I could buy a large wing nut if I wanted to.  A wooden screw would be nice.

I am still bothered by the fact that I am using the version I made with bar clamps as opposed to my "nice one" with acme screws that sits on the shelf.

Categories: Hand Tools


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator - Hand Tools