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Hand Tools

something is wrong with the blog........

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 12:58am
Over the past few days I've gotten some comments and emails about my blog. It seemed that some people aren't getting the feed from Unplugged shop. I don't know what is causing it but the blog on my end has been acting screwy for a while. I noticed it over a week ago when the numbers from the blog tanked. They had been fairly steady for the longest time and then poof, they were in the crapper. Since then the numbers have fluctuated up and down. Again, I have no idea what is causing it.

The blog at work staring acting up before the numbers went awry. At first I thought it was the work servers but now I don't think so. I can't always get the current day's blog to come up at work. I gave up looking at stats because they fail to load 99.9% of the time I try.  Sometimes I can read the comments but in the last two weeks, except one instance, I've not been able to post my comments.  I get a 'page can't be displayed' error when I try to post comments. For the most part my blog at work is only for reading, when I can get it to load, and not much more of anything else.

I found the work snafu a PITA. I write the blog at home and I would proof read it one last time each morning at work. In past two weeks I've been able to do that once. I have also been publishing the blog from my phone.  Publishing from my phone is a fun filled adventure especially so because it seems I suffer from FFS - fat finger syndrome.

So far at home, I haven't had any of the work related hiccups. The numbers are still OTL but everything else seems to be working ok. I can read, post comments, and view stats. Maybe the servers at work are the problem but I am hesitant to blame them. I would think the problem would be more consistent and iron clad. Occasionally I have been able to have full functionality and that doesn't sound like a computer problem.

handle stock

I dug this chunk of walnut out of my scrap box and used the tablesaw to get a couple of pieces to make a handle.

looks better than poplar would
I will shape this so it looks better than a chunk of wood in the middle.

finally got rid of the tear out
I used the big scraper and it worked. I was using small scrapers that were made from saw blades. I got rid of the tear out by using a corner of the big scraper. I sanded it after with 220 and it's ready for some finish.

grabbie hollows
I used the #8 round to start these but the going was tough because the iron is dull. I finished the shaping of it with a rat tail rasp. I smoothed it with some 100 grit wrapped around a dowel.

I rounded the top corners off to lighten it up. It doesn't feel to bad to grab. I'm sure the person getting this doesn't have ham hock size hands. This should be just right for her.

I am thinking about how to secure this and the cardboard bottom too. Right now I'm leaning in the direction of making a cutout in the cardboard for the handle.

more shellac work
 I think I will call the orange boxes done. They are not in great looking shape but still look like the old kitchen cabinets. The other box is not done as I plan on putting at least 3-4 more coats on it.

I ordered the plywood for the saw till. I got a 30x48 inch piece of 6mm plywood. I also bought a couple of pieces of 12mm to experiment with. When I will get it I don't know. It took 5 days for the 6mm to come from my last order but with xmas season shipping, your guess will be as good as mine. I will finish the grooves on the saw till this weekend.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that Thomas Edison (the light bulb inventor) was married twice and fathered 6 children?

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 8: Clamptite Tool

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 7:35pm

I love wooden tool handles. Their only downside is they break and need to be repaired or replaced. If you prefer to repair your tool handles, the inexpensive Clamptite tool is your best friend. The Clamptite is a bit difficult to explain to people who haven’t used it. Basically, it is a device that can pull a wire tight and then cleverly knot it around an object, such as a […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 8: Clamptite Tool appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Categories of projects

Mulesaw - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:46pm
A comment on my recent post by Jeremy of JMAW Works gave me the idea for this post.

I have for a long time been following some general rules of how to categorize a project. These categories help me decide what to do and when.

This is the first time I have tried to write them down and put actual words on the categories, but I have more or less followed them for a long time.
They are all aimed at projects I do at home.

Instead of categories based on form or building method such as chairs, cupboards, chests, turnings, dovetails etc. my categories are primarily based on the weather and secondly the time of day.

Main categories are:
1) Nice dry weather .
2) Light rain or grey weather.
3) Rain.

Off course if a job can be handled in rainy weather, it can technically be handled in fine weather as well, but not necessarily the other way around.

Sub categories:
A) Day.
B) Afternoon.
C) Evening.

Day jobs are jobs that require natural light, and perhaps other shops to be open, and also the longest continuous stretch without disturbances.
Afternoon jobs are jobs that can be done when the boys are home from school, they might like to participate in the job, or I have to be able to leave the project at very short notice to help them or to drive them to soccer practice etc.
Evening jobs are jobs are for the time left after eating supper. During the weekdays our family normally eat supper at 5:30 in the afternoon, but it can be as early as 5 PM or as late as 6:30 too.
So a couple of hours in the shop is not unheard of until our youngest needs to be tucked in.

Whenever I have something that I would like to get done while at home, I place that project into one main category and into one or more of the sub categories.

This approach has helped me to work efficiently on multiple projects, and I like being efficient while I am at home.
Ever since I adopted the idea, I have been a lot better at not getting angry that I had to stop one project due to weather issues, because I would know exactly what other project I could switch over to.

My list of projects that I would like to get done while at home this time will get assigned to the following categories:

Bi-annular control of cars: 3)-A
This is a job that I don't plan on doing myself, and the mechanic can work on the cars inside. I just have to drive the cars to him and also later to the actual control.

Repair Volvo Valps: 2)-A
I have a machinery shed in which the Valps are parked. There is a concrete floor, so even with a bit of water I can lay on my back and work on them from beneath.
These jobs are best done without getting too distracted or disturbed.

Install panels and handrail in the small barn: 2)-A
I need to move in and out of the barn a bit with all the boards for the panels, so full rain is not nice for this job.

Make leather belts with Laura: 3)-C
This is a typical evening project. Something to be done in the shop and easy to go to and from during the process. It will most likely be a Friday or Saturday project.

Run the sawmill: 2)-AB
Dry weather is nice but not a complete requirement for running the sawmill. If it is too wet, it is simply unpleasant to go outside all the time with off-cuts and getting a new log etc. The boys like to help sawing with the sawmill, and I can stop anytime to drive and pick them up etc.

Empty the horses boxes and whitewash of  the stable: 3)-A
This is a large project,  inside save for emptying the wheelbarrow into the trailer.

In addition to these projects that were mentioned in my last post, there is also the ongoing list of perpetual projects, like:
Making and stacking firewood: 1)-AB
Cleaning and organizing the barn: 3)-ABC
Building stuff in the workshop: 3)-ABC
Garden/yard work: 1)-AB

Since the weather is generally bad From October to April, in those months it is especially important for me to have a few projects of each main category, so I won't risk wasting the single day of December without rain on doing indoor stuff.

Does anybody else categorize projects something like this?

Categories: Hand Tools

Canadian Sales Temporarily Suspended

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 11:39am


We’ve had to stop selling our products in Canada temporarily until we can find a new way to ship our goods across the border.

Our warehouse in Canada has decided to drop us as a customer to focus on other aspects of their business. John is hard at work trying to get a replacement service lined up. Because we are in the middle of the holiday season, however, it’s impossible to really get a shipping service’s attention until January.

We apologize for this and hope we can get it resolved quickly. In the meantime, Lee Valley Tools carries our full line of books.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Wraparound Support

Paul Sellers - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 10:00am

“I just wanted to congratulate with your staff for the great quality videos that are surrounding your work. During the videos I noticed many improvements in descriptions, camera captures and the quality of images. That’s very important for people that view the projects from home. Thanks.” “Thanks Giorgio, I’m a fortunate woodworker. Personally, I think […]

Read the full post Wraparound Support on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Thoughts about what to build when I get home.

Mulesaw - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 8:25am
I  haven't been very productive this time on board, mostly because the weather has been miserable, so as soon as you get off the shift you had better try to get some sleep, because no one knows when the ship will be moving so much that sleeping is impossible, and holding on to something is the best solution for staying in the same spot.

But I am looking forward to signing off in a weeks time, and I have been thinking a bot about projects that I would like to complete the next home period:

Both our regular cars will have to go through the bi-annular inspection in the beginning of 2018, so I'd better make sure they are OK.

Both Volvo Valps are down at the moment. The black one needs a new set of points and a new capacitor, possibly a new fuel hose from the tank to the pump and a new muffler. The green one needs a new set of timing gears.
These cars are "essential" to my well being. I really like to drive them, and getting one of them back in business will get a high priority.

I would like to complete the interior of the small barn, and perhaps install a hand rail for the staircase as well. But apart from that I don't think I'll work much out there this time.

Our daughter would like to make some leather belts for her friends as Christmas presents, and I am looking forward to helping her with that project. The plan is to make one belt that will look like a saddle girth for the horse interested friend, and the other friend would apparently love to get a bright red semi wide belt. As luck would have it, I have some bright cherry red shiny leather that I haven't been able to use in any project, so making a belt of some of it would be great.

I need to work the sawmill a bit too, so we can get a new load of sawdust for the horses. I am also starting to run low on regular boards, so a day or two spent re-stocking the barn at home is also pretty high up on the list.
If I manage to produce a lot of sawdust, I would like to empty the boxes of the horses for the old sawdust that has been there during the last year, and at the same time give the stable a coat of whitewash. But for that project to work out, I'll need at least one Volvo Valp to be running. I need the 4WD to haul the laden trailer onto a wet field and unload the old sawdust.

It might sound like a lot, but my experience is that I can be fairly efficient when I am at home, given that I can devote the entire day to a project. So there should hopefully still be plenty of time to enjoy the holiday season with the family and take the dog for long walks and perhaps even ride the horses if the weather permits it.

And who knows, perhaps some last minute projects will suddenly find their way onto the list.

Categories: Hand Tools

T-shirt Design

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 6:14am

I’m going to make a few t-shirts for the shop. My wife has thrown out most of shop shirts and I bought some new ones, but none of them are tax deductible and as the magazine’s name is a registered business why not make a few shirts and a mug with its name on it.  It’ll be great to show the world that there are some of us who won’t allow themselves to be replaced by robotics. The world is so eager to move in that direction and of course the sheep will always be lured by the wolves.  But anyhow here are two colours I’m going to order, not to forget the mug, we can’t have work without tea.

I’m not sure what they will cost me as I haven’t yet placed the order, but if you wish to order one shoot me an email and if you agree with whatever the price is plus shipping and I’ll place an order for you.  All proceeds would go towards buying lumber for upcoming project articles.

Categories: Hand Tools

Arched Bridge – Day Two

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 5:14am

Our task for Day Two was to complete the two structural beams of the arched bridge, so we simply continued building up the glued-and-screwed laminations until each of the curved beams got to the full 10-inch depth I wanted.

After that I affixed the cross-ribs to tie the two beams together.  The end result was something with near-zero vertical deflection under load, but a little too much lateral wiggle for my taste.  I solved that in the very end, but for now the structure was done.

Before laying on the decking I painted everything I could reach with polyurinate paint, which is actually the appropriate application for this product.

Saw Sharpening Essentials - Gramercy Tools Saw Vise (Back in Stock) + Vallorbe Saw Files (They Finally Arrived)

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:00am

I've said many time that a poorly sharpened saw is better than a dull saw. For some people, saw sharpening itself is tedious, although you can get into the zone and find your zen in sharpening. I have the additional challenge of declining vision, which translates into trouble with close work, so I use an Optivisor so that I can see the saw teeth. Overall I think doing a good job on a saw is a lot easier than sharpening a chisel.

The characteristics of a good saw vise is that it holds the saw rigid with no vibration. Vibration might not always come off as chattering noise, but it always will shorten the life of your files, and in general make the job of sharpening take longer.

If you use hand saws of any kind in the workshop, having a saw sharpening strategy is as important as a chisel or plane iron sharpening strategy. Since I hate fighting my equipment, I went from an old Disston saw vise (which was a little warn out and slipped a lot - we fixed it) to a larger Wentworth saw vise. It was the bee's knees for us, until it broke. It inspired the last stop on this line, our own Gramercy Tools Saw Vise, which is patterned after the Wentworth. Our vise is make of thick sheet steel, not a casting, so it won't break. I've never been a fan of the two-pieces-of- wood-clamped-in-a-vise substitute for a saw vise. I know it works; it's not as rigid as a steel vise, but it works fine in a pinch. I personally always figured that - just as I have upgraded by chisel sharpening over the years - a good saw vise was worth the investment. (Yes, I know I get the employee discount, but I work long hours and I've earned it!)
From top: 3-square, regular 6" saw file, needle file
While we were busy perfecting the Gramercy Tools Saw Vise, options for great saw files disappeared. First we stocked Nicholson files, but they moved offshore. Then we stocked Bahco. They were okay but they didn't have a wide enough range. Then for years we stocked Grobet. Grobet was never a manufacturer, just a brand. Their Swiss-made files were actually made for them by Vollorbe, a huge company located in Switzerland with a modest profile in the US. A couple of years ago Grobet and Vollorbe had a dispute and ended their arrangement. Grobet sourced all their files from Italy (from Corradi) and from India (from an unknown company). Corradi makes a pretty good file, and I soon realized I didn't need Grobet to sell Corradi files. If I am going to sell Corradi files they might as well say "Corradi" on them and we began to import them. We have been pretty pleased. However, in our shop we discovered that the arises - the flat bit between the sizes of a triangular file - are pretty wide on a saw file (by any maker) and to get better performance we started filing our fine toothed dovetail saw with needle files. This works great and really speeds up the performance of the saw. On our hardware store saw and also our carcase and sash saws we got so disgusted with the inconsistency of the Grobet files that we started using 3-square files - which are seriously more expensive than saw files but have beautiful tiny arrises and gave us the best results. When we could not get them anymore from Grobet we began to order direct from Vallorbe. Even after we switched to Corradi files we ended up sticking with the 3-square files. The larger saw files work fine but the narrower arrises on the 3-square makes for faster cutting. It would be a no brainer except for the cost, and I suppose now that we are importing a range of Vallorbe files we really should do a test. So now, in addition to a full range of Corradi saw files, we are stocking a small range of Vallorbe files for sharpening saws.

My Best Buys of 2017

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 9:33pm

Looking back on 2017, I realized I haven’t bought a single power tool this year. This is partly because I already have a number of power tools and partly because these days I seem to prefer hand tools.
In general, my tool seeking capacity has greatly diminished. I seem to have most of what I need. Yes, there is always a secret hankering for some special, usually expensive, item but nothing I cannot shrug off.

So, what did I buy during the year? A lot of hardware, little accessories and a handful of very useful tools.

A friend brought a small Stanley pocket knife, the kind Paul Sellers uses, from the States. It cost about $10 and is well worth the price. Have a sharp edge that gets into tight corners and does the job of marking very well.

Stanley 10-049 Locking Blade Pocket Knife

The other nifty tool I bought on amazon.com was a carbide scraper. This tool is perfect for scraping glue from joints, especially a glued-up panel. I have blunted too many chisels and plane blades getting rid of hardened glue and an alternative was urgently required. This one cost me quite a bit after paying shipping and import duty - $45 or so. Seems an enormous amount for a scraper but believe me it has already proved its worth.

Bahco 665 Premium Ergonomic Carbide Scraper

I also ordered three Japanese chisels (3mm, 6mm and 25mm) from toolsfromjapan.com. In all it came to about Rs 4,800 (shipping included). The ones I got were the cheapest, called Maruya oire-nomi or regular chisels. This is an economy brand but the blades are outstanding - made of hard “white steel laminated to a soft steel main body, red oak handle and plain steel hoop.” The tips are sharp as hell and can be re-sharpened very quickly. Absolutely stupendous chisels! I got them for finer work, cleaning dovetails and so on.

Japanese economy grade chisels

I find most Japanese woodworking blades to be of the highest order. The laminated steel blades of Japanese plane irons and chisels are extraordinary: superbly sharp but relatively easy to hone.

Perhaps my best purchase was a Cabinet Scraper made by Veritas (www.leevalley.com). This tool cost me US $69 and was carried to India by a relative.  Veritas is a Canadian company that makes some of the world’s best hand tools. The precision and care that goes into the making of each of their tools is remarkable.

Veritas® Cabinet Scraper

A cabinet scraper is very much like a regular hand-held scraper except its blades are honed at a different angle. It is also much more ergonomic than regular scrapers. I purchased this because I often find complex grain almost impossible to hand plane without tear out. The alternative is sanding but that can be a tedious process. The cabinet scraper is an excellent tool for finishing surfaces.

When I looked back at my tool purchases this year, I realise they are modest. But what pleases me no end is that my needs too have become modest. Caring for a small set of good quality tools is preferable to a heap of mediocre ones most of which will lie unused.

In 2018, I will be looking for ways to procure two tools I have long set my mind on acquiring. One is a long Western style rip saw - the 24 or 26-inch beauties with shaped handles - and the other a pre-WW II Stanley number 4. Both tools are available on Ebay from time to time but shipping to India is very expensive and many sellers just don’t ship to India. 

Until then I have enough tools and a heap of timber to fashion.

Indranil Banerjie
6 December 2017
Categories: Hand Tools

Workbench Personality No. 6: The Undecider

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 5:23pm

KD Nicholson Workbench_underside

Of all the workbench personalities, only The Undecider has driven me to reconsider my career in woodworking.

Like herpes, when you encounter The Undecider, everything seems kinda normal at first. But then, inexplicably, you cannot get rid of him.

The Undecider: Hey, I LOVE that Robo workbench on your blog. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about wood movement, wood selection and anything you would change if you built it again.

Me: Sure…. And blah, blah, blah.

Six weeks pass.

The Undecider: Hey, that Nickelback Bench is amazing! It really got me rethinking my workbench plans. Do you think oak would work for this bench? Could I equip it with a quick-release vise?

Me: Sure…. And blah, blah, blah.

Seven weeks pass.

The Undecider: Hey, I just read the article on John White’s “New-Fangled Workbench.” I was wondering if you could compare the strengths and weaknesses of this bench with the Rubiot bench, the Niklesen and this Newfangled one.

Me: I’ve never even seen one of these benches from John White. I read his article, of course, and it’s very interesting. But I’m afraid you know just as much as I do.

Eight weeks pass.

The Undecider: Hey, have you seen the height-adjustable bench? Do you think that could be combined with a Robo bench and the planing platform from the Newfangled Bench? Love to get your thoughts on how this might work.

I put the email aside. I needed to think of how to answer this email without using the phrase: “How many Hot Wheels can fit up your butt?” This process takes a couple weeks and includes some guided meditation. Finally, I am ready to answer this without sounding like a pirate. Then my email dings.

The Undecider: Hey, me again. I’ve actually been thinking I should just buy a workbench and “get to the good part” – you know, making furniture. But I can’t decide if the Lie-Nielsen bench is really worth the money compared to the Sjoberg. Do you think you could do a side-by-side comparison for me? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Me: Dude, my thoughts would get me arrested in 22 states.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Uncategorized, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

lost one, won one........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 3:58pm
This past weekend I did a dry fit of the portable saw till and I wasn't too happy with it. The sides were cupped as were the ends but the long sides were worse. I got the box partially clamped but I didn't remove all of the cupping and seat the joints. The problem I was facing was flushing the top and bottom so I could then run my 6mm grooves.

If I couldn't do the flushing, I would have to come up with an alternative top and bottom. I have way too many calories invested in this to call it quits. What I came up with was gluing the till up as best I could without plowing any grooves in it. Once the joints had set I would glue and screw a piece of 6mm plywood on the top and bottom.

To hide the piles of the plywood edges I would plane a shallow rabbet all around the top and bottom edges. Gluing a piece of thin pine in the rabbet would hide the plywood edges and dress it up a bit.

the loss
This side doesn't look too bad. I could probably scrape and sand the proud areas even.

this side is ugly
Both the top and bottom pieces shifted on me. The horn also has a big divot that I hadn't noticed when I glued this. I don't want to use this on my #6 and I'll toss this in with my other spare plane parts. I ordered another knob and tote and I should have it by this weekend. Fingers are crossed on that.

cleaning up the inside of the till
this looks damn good as is
Almost all of the cup is clamped out and I didn't even use any cauls. I also didn't clamp the short sides.

the other end looks good too
This is very encouraging and I think I can skip gluing the panels on the outside top and bottom.

within a 16th of being square

figured it out
I put a caul on both ends on both ends so that the top was free. I had to put a clamp across the short side on the far end because I had to close up the half pin on the left side. The first check for twist showed a wee bit of it.

knocking the corners down
Before I can work on the twist I have flush the corners. Flushing the corners and getting them level will allow the plane to turn the corners without hanging up.

clamping the clamps
I got a scrap at each end and it held the box while I ran the plane around the edges.

I worked the two high corners first and then went 360 with the plane. Once I got a continuous shaving from the starting point to it's return, I was done.

twist is gone
gap in the half pin
This was worse than what I see here when I started this. The gap was larger and the pin was curled up and out. I'll repeat the clamping setup when I do the bottom.

very happy with this
I was moving the knife wall with my chopping.

the other side
I still plan on using the 140 to make shallow rabbets in the tail boards. I wanted to see if what I thought I was doing was the cause of my gappy inside joints. On this chopping I made sure I had a deep 'knife wall' before I started to whack the chisel with any oomph.

bottom had the same amount of twist as the top had
I didn't forget this time
One rather annoying habit I have is planing the bottom and removing my marked corners.  Not so this time and I remembered to label the inside top corners before I planed the top. After the bottom was flushed, I labeled the corners again on the top.

plowing stopped grooves
I plowed as much of the groove as I could. I will finish the remaining parts with a chisel. I can't use a router here because I only have a 1/4" iron and that is too wide for a 6mm groove.

almost came through at this end
I didn't realize that I was this far back. If it shows on the finished joint I'll fill it with putty because this till is getting painted.

my first chisel set was metric
I never realized or checked my first chisel set and assumed that it was imperial. It wasn't and this 6mm chisel is a good fit for the groove. I'll have to spend some time at the stones getting it ready before I can use it.

just enough room to clear the tail on both ends
the Record 044 irons
These are imperial which also means the plane was made before the 1960's switch to metric. The irons go from 1/8" up to 9/16" by 16ths.

Not a big deal for this application because I am painting the till. I used this as a practice to see if I could do it without nicking anything. 3 out 4 isn't that bad for a first try.

wee bit of a problem
My 6mm panel is 24x30 and I need another 3 inches. Looks like I'll be ordering another panel.

a quarter sheet will do
A 24x48 sheet of plywood will give up the two needed panels and I'll have half the sheet left over.

flushed up the box tray
got tear out on both ends
sanding got most of the test out
There is still a little patch of the tear left. I tried to scrape it out and that wasn't working too well. This is a narrow piece and I was having problems flexing the scraper so it would take a bite. I hand sanded 90 % of out and I'll get the remaining 10% tomorrow.

sanded a slip fit in the tray
There is enough wiggle room for the tray to fit inside the box. When I let it go it slowly sunk down.

cardboard liners
I am going to cut the cardboard to fit the bottom of the tray and box. Once I find my blue velvet cloth, I'll glue that to the cardboard and insert them into their respective spots.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that Commodore Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa which opened up Japan to western trade?

Megan has Left the Magazine

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 3:06pm

One of my favorite bas-a#% people.

You might have heard: Megan Fitzpatrick is no longer the editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

While readers might be wringing their hands or wondering how the magazine will fare without her (hint: it will be just fine), I am personally and selfishly pleased at the news.

Megan was, hands down, the best employee I ever had (followed closely behind by Kara Gebhart). As my managing editor, Megan worked her butt off. She was both passionate and professional. Intensely curious about the craft. Willing to do whatever it took to get the magazine to the printer while refusing to sacrifice quality.

And now, with her days free, she can work for Lost Art Press even more – both editing and writing. As many of you know, nearly every book at Lost Art Press has benefitted from Megan’s careful eye and deadly red pen. And, if I get my way, she’ll allow us to publish a book of hers that’s been percolating for many years.

The community of woodworking editors is small – maybe 30 or 40 people at most. And when someone leaves a publication, one of two things happen. Most editors disappear. They return to their lives as commercial woodworkers or move on to edit a magazine about drones or hospital hand sanitizers. A few (and I can name them on one hand) refuse to leave the world of woodworking and carve out their own place. On their own terms. And they improve the craft (and their own lives).

The smart money says that Megan will do the latter.

So please welcome Megan to the ranks of the Woodworking Editorial Hobo Society (of which I am lifetime member). There’s a warm chair and a cold beverage waiting for you at our next meeting.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Holiday Shout Out – New Tool From Bridge City Tool Works!

Bridge City Tools - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 12:23pm

Drivel Starved Nation-

I am please to share the latest edition to the HP-10 Convertible Plane, which will allow you to cut coves/flutes and cores in four sizes.

Cutting flutes is an essential element of decorative woodworking. The Greeks and Romans were masters at employing flutes in both their architecture and furniture. Why you ask?

Texture typically adds depth and shadows–both create visual interest. Here’s a pic of some of the cuts you can make with our Cove/Core kits, they include a corner cove, flutes and a core cut;

HP10 Cove Cuts 700

We have never offered soles and irons that are commonly referred to as “hollows” to the traditionalists. I actually do not know why other than something else must have been bugging to get made first. We now will be making the following diameters in four sizes: 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ and 3/4″. All four of these sizes will allow you to make core cuts which is all the way to the diameter line.

The most common use for core cuts is the ability to create a cylindrical half diameter cut in two boards, regardless of length. When they are glued together, you have hole that would be impossible to drill. Projects that benefit from this technique include musical instruments, lamp making, and any other project where you need a hollow that cannot be drilled.

When combined with a guide fence, you can create 90 degree corner cove cuts which are a nice alternative to a square corner, which is often visually boring. I like corner cove cuts on simple picture frames, there is a cove on the inside corner and small chamfer on the outside edges of the frames below. (The little boy is now an executive expat in Mexico City and that little girl is about to bear her second child…)
Wall Array 700

Here’s a pic of the complete 4 size kit (you will be able to purchase singles too);
Cove_Core 700

The irons are really cool, you simply hone the entire beveled face. Fast, easy and the larger two sizes have been cored so you you only need to hone the periphery of the face.

The many uses of these profiles include;
Ornamentation where a round bottom is desired
Drawer pulls
Musical instruments,
and whatever your imagination can conjure!

I’m going to do something with the smallest size that I can’t tell you about but I think you will find it fascinating… and yes, it involves electricity, maybe magnets too.

The pre-order window will open later this week – time to plant a holiday gift idea with your partner!


The post Holiday Shout Out – New Tool From Bridge City Tool Works! appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Drawer Tape

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 5:35am

If you build traditional drawers without metal slides, then “drawer tape” is something you should probably become acquainted with. Sometimes sold under the brand Nylo-Tape, this stuff is great for fixing drawers or any other sliding assembly that has become worn from use. My tool chest, for example, has three sliding tills that get moved a dozen times a day. After five years of this activity, the sides of the […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Drawer Tape appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Arched Bridge – Day One

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 5:22am

The root cellar on the homestead is just across the creek from the cabin, about 100-feet from the back door.  Well, technically, it is across two creeks, one coming from a series of springs way up the hill and the other emanating from the spring that is about halfway between the root cellar and the cabin, and used to provide the drinking water for the cabin until the artesian spring was discovered 350 feet up the mountain in the 1980s.  For the past dozen years or so the access to the root cellar was across two increasingly rickety plank bridges, and I had become increasingly concerned about the footing there as Mrs. Barn is usually the one retrieving vittles from the cellar.

The time had come for an updated structure to (re?)establish ease and safety for the trek.  Since I’ve made a number of curved beam structures before, both bridges and arbors, this was the route I chose to take here.  The total span of the space being covered was 25-feet, and one of the issues for the logistics was rendered irrelevant by the choice of an arched structure; the two end points were not level with each other.

With my long time pal Tom visiting for a few days, I decided that the time had come.  I ordered some sweet 1x6x16′ pressure treated lumber, and it turned out to be nearly “Select” grade.  We ripped each of the 1x6s in half, then used them to build the laminated arch in place.

With each end point determined by the site of the creek banks, I used concrete blocks in the center of the span to define the apex of the gentle curve and establish the form of the arch itself.  Placing dead weights on each end of the laminae as we built them up, a near perfect arch was formed and replicated with each new layer.  By off-setting the 1x3x16′ pieces when we glued and screwed them together, the arch was well accomplished.

Each lamina was attached to the preceding one with decking screws @ 6-inch spacing, and excess Titebond III weatherproof glue.

The result was right on target.

The goal for the first day was to finish each beam to a bit more than half height, which we did.

A Dutch Workbench

Toolemera - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 5:14am

You'll have to run translate on this page if you want to read the text. The images do speak for themselves.



Categories: Hand Tools

Hello, I read your article on buying Japanese saws and have a question. What set of saws would you recommend for a budget/utilitarian buyer?

Giant Cypress - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 3:48am

If you’re talking about this article, that is my budget recommendation. A set of saws like those I describe can be had for around $200. That’s a really good deal for a set of saws that will allow you to make almost any saw cut needed for furniture making.

Workbench Personality No. 5: Frank Sinatra

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 6:05pm


I call this type of workbench builder the “Frank Sinatra” because they always do it “My Way.” In other words, a Frank Sinatra workbench is entirely disconnected from tradition and – at times – human reason.

Is this bad? Shouldn’t workbenches be a “I’m OK and You’re OK” kinda thing? If it works for you it’s right, right?

While I don’t seek to poo on anyone’s parade, there are certain guidelines for building things that are related to the human form and the work. If someone came to you and said: I’ve just rethought the idea of the chair – I’ve made the seat 24” deep so there’s more room to relax! Isn’t that great? More, more, more!

Me: Doesn’t that cut off the circulation of blood to the legs?

Designer: Hey, it works for me.

The following descriptions of my encounters with the Frank Sinatras are not an effort to quash innovation in workbench design. Instead, this is a look at what happens if you build a bench without knowing how benches are used.

How it Begins
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever met a Frank Sinatra in person. Instead, they are the people who read my blog entries and then send me photos of their workbenches with a note that says something like:

“Saw your Rubio bench. Thought I’d show you what a REAL bench looks like. I designed this one myself – an ORIGINAL design. Want to do a story on my bench? It’s awesome.”

The first Frank Sinatra I encountered had made a U-shaped bench that was 12’ wide and 16’ long (yes, 12 feet x 16 feet). It was comprised entirely of kitchen cabinets that were bolted together and then covered in 4×8 sheets of plywood. Imagine a giant “U” covered in plywood. And there were vises every 3’ or so.

Me: Do you run a school? Is this for your employees? Or are you Catholic like my wife and have a lot of kids?

Frank Sinatra: Nope. It’s just me. But it’s the best damn bench I’ve ever seen. Better than your Robo bench for sure.


Your Bench is for Pansies
Like many bench builders of the last 2,000 years, I like a bench to have some mass. You can work with a lightweight bench – we’ve all had to do it – but mass makes things easier.

Some people, however, take mass to a ridiculous level. One day I received an email from Frank Sinatra with photos of a bench “that makes your benches look like church picnic tables.”

I opened the attached photos. It was a French-style bench that was made entirely out of 2x12s. The top was all 2x12s that were face-glued (the top was 11” thick). The legs? 2x12s that finished out at 11” x 11”. (Elephants would be jealous.) The stretchers? 2x12s.

In all honesty, it looked like a cartoon sketch of a bench. But I wanted to be diplomatic. After reading the stats provided by the Frank Sinatra (it weighs 575 lbs.!), I asked a simple question.

Me: Bench looks beefy. How do the holdfasts work?

Frank Sinatra: Don’t know. Haven’t used the bench yet. Just finished it last weekend.


Suckier Workholding
It’s a simple note via email: You don’t need vises. No one needs vises. Take a look!

The bench in the photos is a 4x4x8 box made of plywood. Every foot or so is a vacuum port. They are on the benchtop. On the end of the box. On the front face. The bench is powered by two large compressors, which, through a venturi nozzle, provide the vacuum power.

Now there is no need for vises. Place your work on the vacuum port and it is immobilized. Cutting dovetails? No problem! The work is held immediately upright, ready for sawing? Planing? Put it on the benchtop and the vacuum ports hold it fast. No planing stops. No tail vises. No nothing.

I ask a question: How does it hold rough stock? Stuff that is fresh off the sawmill?

To this day, I still haven’t heard a reply.

Torsion or Tension?
Many times the Frank Sinatras come at me with their torsion box designs – “The T-Box Rules!”

So instead of a simple slab of wood, the T-box designer wants to make a benchtop from thin skins of plywood that cover a baffle system of thin components. This is a great way to make a lightweight tabletop that has a lot of visual presence. But a workbench top?

Me: How will you get holdfasts to hold in a torsion box?

Frank Sinatra: Those areas will be solid wood, surrounded by air.

Me. What about the dog holes?

Frank Sinatra: Same answer. Solid wood in the areas for the dogs.

Me: Don’t you want some mass? This benchtop weighs only 17 lbs.

Frank Sinatra: I’m going to fill all the cavities between the baffles with sand.

It’s Not a Bench. It’s the World
A common Frank Sinatra affliction is to add endless functionality to the bench. A table saw is integrated into the benchtop. A planer is in the base. There is tool storage galore. A fridge. A router table. And Bluetooth.

But does it work? Outside of your mind? Outside of a piece of paper?

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Next up: Workbench Personality No. 6: The Undecider

Filed under: Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

20 days to go......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 4:23pm
I was taking pics of Miles's toolbox and doing a mental inventory of what tools he has and what he lacks. I used Paul Seller's essential tool list as a guide to get me started. Once I had a head of steam up I stepped back and evaluated the list and what I use tool wise. Paul's list is a good starting point but I decided to go in a different direction. Since I will be the one teaching him, I am picking the tools he will need to follow along with me. He should be able to make just about anything he wants with his kit.

The pics are so I can show them to him at christmas so he knows grandpa didn't short him in the present department. I noticed something lacking when I was snapping the pics. He doesn't have any pigstickers to make mortises. I'm not a fan of using bench chisels to make mortises so........  I looked for mortise chisels today and saw nothing. I will get him a 1/4, 5/16, and 3/8 to start with or maybe I'll forgo the 5/16 size.

Miles's plow plane
I consider being able to plow grooves to be important for woodworking. I also wanted to get Miles a plow plane and not a 'plane' that does everything else too. This fits that bill and it looks decent. There aren't any rust spots on the plane nor is there any pitting on the fence rods. I don't know how many irons came with this but they all appear to be there. Each and everyone of them has been sharpened by hand too. I can tell because all the bevels on the irons are rounded.

Record 044
I could have sworn I had bought a Record 050 but this is just as good.

can't woodwork without a good set of chisels
This is a set of six Ashley Iles bench chisels and they are the same ones I have. The added bonus is these came with the tool roll. These are for Miles.

my AI on the right
My chisels are about 4-5 years old. I'm not exactly sure how old but I seem to remember the person I bought them from said that he had them for over a year without using them. It looks like AI changed the design of them and eliminated most of the flat on the top and increased the bevels.

the backs
There is a rough grinding on the back of the new AI chisel. I recall flattening my chisels was not easy and all of them needed a lot of work. I wonder how much work will be required to flatten these new ones? I have plenty of time to do it either way I go.

I really like the tool roll for the chisels
glue has set up
I am impressed by how strong the bond is. I used the rapid fuse glue on this. It didn't swell the joints but it does appeared to have filled the gaps. The pins and tails don't look too bad as they are. I tried to twist this and break it and I couldn't. I am going to use this for the box based on what I found out tonight.

it's a snug fit both ways
It will take very little sanding to get a slip fit. I don't want to plane the long sides to do that. I can sand it without breaking it apart but I don't have a warm and fuzzy about planing it.

planed the twist out
I did risk flushing the top and bottom and then planing the twist out. Both the top and bottom was twisted and I removed it without any problems.

it's too short
I think that she said the same thing. The width is perfect with just a frog hair extra on both sides.

bandsawed a new piece
I took my eye medicine just before I went down to the shop which precluded me doing anything. Just making two quick, short cuts on the bandsaw was an adventure. Your perception of depth is severely reduced with just one peeper. I didn't do anything else tool wise in the shop tonight because of that.

I managed to get this glued and set by the furnace. I'll plane the bottom flush tomorrow

this I could do
Not much I can screw up even with one eye putting shellac on some boxes. The orange colored boxes I made from the old kitchen cabinets, one for each of the girls. I made them back in Feb of this year and never got around to giving them to the girls. I'll try to do it for xmas. I came back to shop after dinner and put on the second coat. 3-4 more and I can call these done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the latin word 'veto' means, I forbid?


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