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Hand Tools

some snapshots of birds

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 5:39pm

I haven’t been out birding in ages. While I was in Virginia, I took a morning off to go to Jamestown Island for a walk. Good eagle habitat there. I saw about 6 or 8  of them during the few hours I was there. Didn’t get any great shots, but a few photo snippets. Here’s an adult taking off from its perch.

I saw several  different juveniles. One was very distinctive, either molting some wing feathers or otherwise lost some..

At one point there was about 4 juvys and an adult in the air over me at once. here’s one of the other young birds.

Out at the tip of the island, I saw this raccoon digging relentlessly in the flats. Maybe not a good sign seeing him/her out at mid-day in the bright sun. Seemed fine, but made me wonder why it was out at that time of day…

Back down the island I ran into some eastern bluebirds, including this one.

I kept seeing flocks of birds I couldn’t get a bead on, ten or twelve birds scattering around here and there. Then I finally got ’em, yellow-rump warblers.

Back home, there’s a chickadee that’s been around all fall and winter, he’s missing some pigment so he shows a lot of white feathers. Daniel dubbed him “Moby Chic”

a pair of hooded mergansers in the river one day.

I gotta try to get out some soon. So much oak to be worked, I’ve been at my bench every daylight moment…but the oak won’t go bad. So maybe tomorrow…

Bridge City Tool Works to Open Woodworking School in 2020…

Bridge City Tools - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 5:15pm

Drivel Starved Nation!

Greetings from the Cloisters! I am currently in the middle of week 2 of my annual work retreat…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my work retreats, they began about 17 years ago when I volunteered to dog sit at a friends house while they were on vacation. I took my laptop and was shocked to learn how productive I could be without distractions. It has been an annual event ever since.

How productive you ask? One year, in a two week manic period, I designed NINE new products. So far this trip, I have done one.

Besides an interruption free creative work experience, I get to make really cool, spouse free decisions, such as, “Do I need a shower?”. Or, “Am I hungry?” And if you guessed “yes” to this last question, then answer this;

“How many ants are currently on the cup that held my smoothie yesterday?”

Anyway, why the drop-off you ask?

I just came up with an idea that seems like a good idea. Actually, all of my ideas seem like really good ideas until they are not, which is most of the time.

As many of you know, I started my career as a woodworking instructor at a local high school here in Portland. That was in 1973. Here I am 45 years later pondering my very existence and have decided that the last chapter of my life I will come full circle. I am going to open a woodworking school in 2020. And get this, the tuition will be free.

Why 2020? Well, I need to remodel my garage to accommodate my students. I have to level the floor, tear out the ceiling and walls, add electrical service, add a window, add storage capacity and buy tools. When I tallied these expenses, I realized it was a bigger shock than my tally at Costco. And, it was way more money than I thought, and way more money than I have (at this stage of my life, debt is really dumb. Actually, debt is dumb most of the time). So, I will need to do this as I can afford it. HINT: Buy more tools!

Once I shared this information with close confidants, I had two prospective students ask for a course catalog which has yet to be printed, so I described the concept, and the first two courses, in a face-to-face meeting. Here is their reaction;

2020 Students

The really interested student on the left is “Speedy”, aka William, and the little guy on the right is his new little bro Henry, who came into this world last December. Their mother is my number one daughter, so you can do the math.

Kidding aside, I am really looking forward to being the Grandpa who teaches kids how to make stuff. And once I start, I will blog about it so those with young ones wont run out of ideas. Thoughts?

Back to Bridge City stuff! I was recently asked to participate in a podcast (whatever that is) and if you know what a podcast is, it is called, “It’s Wood”. Here’s the link to the site, go to the episodes tab at the top of the site and the Bridge City piece is Episode 8.

Now that I have let the cat out of the bag, I’m trying to decide how big the detention center is going to be to house these two future reprobates in my pending 400 square foot educational facility…


The post Bridge City Tool Works to Open Woodworking School in 2020… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Abracadabra, Make your own water

Design Matters - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 5:05pm

It’s not quite as magical as making your own water but it’s pretty close. Our latest book “From Truth to Tools” explores how artisan geometry was the flame that ignited the ancient builders imagination. And no less miraculous, gave them the ability to create a tool set out of thin air. That square you have in your tool box may have come from a factory but it really came from simple artisan geometry. Here’s the best part. You can make your own water, I mean tools out of thin air.

Not only will you get a great set of layout tools uniquely suited to woodworking, but also gain a deeper understanding of artisan geometry. Jim Tolpin and I  have been working on a video series  “Building Tools from Truths” to walk you through the build process for making your own tool set. Our first offering covers tools for the layout of straight lines. Here’s a link if you are interested in learning more.

George R. Walker


Building Bench #18 – I

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:33pm

Once I realized I needed to make another Roubo bench for WW18thC, my sixth or seventh such tool, I began with a selection of SYP 2×12 framing lumber stacked underneath the lathe.  (Calling it my 18th bench includes a small number f no-account benches, for honest-to-goodness furniture making or repairing workbenches the real number is probably 13).   I ripped in half as much material as I needed to make the bench and legs and loaded the ripped lumber into the truck to cart downstairs to the planer.

After running it through the 10″ Ryobi planer to get clean surfaces on both sides (although I will have to set aside some time to address the snipe issue, which seems to be getting worse.  Go figure, I’ve only been using it hard for thirty years. Or, here’s a thought, run some new wiring down to the machine room/foundry so I can hook up my Mini-Max 15″ planer/joiner that has zero snipe) and then carting back up the the main floor I set them out spaced in my barely heated shop for a few days to equilibrate.

After spreading some plastic on the bench I glued up the core laminae using yellow glue to skirt any temperature issues.  Previously with 3-3/4″ stock I assembled the bench tops in two pieces so I could run them through the planer once assembled, but since this was 5-1/2″ stock I was going to have to plane everything entirely by hand.  No, I was not going to be slinging these slabs around to feed them through a planer.


I had not yet finished fabricating Roub0’s panel clamps, which could be scaled-up to work perfectly for this process, so I wound up using practically every clamp I had of this size to get things glued.

The next day I came back to glued up the outer laminae with the mortises, using 5″ decking screws as the clamps.  The resulting slab was right at the wight limit I could handle by myself.


Northwest Woodworking - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 8:02am

Folks don’t seem to realize this. It took me a long time to figure this one out. Good flow in the shop, like a stream running downhill, makes for good work. Now I’m not saying there aren’t bumps and rocks in the way, things that deflect us for a time from our appointed goal. But I know that working at the bench is always easier when my tools are where they’re supposed to be, my jigs are handy and not taken somewheres else, when my  head is in the game and not a million miles away. I find that everything from sharpening to cutting a mortise goes more simply when there is good flow in the shop.

Flow comes from the physical placement of things. Getting things right at the bench so the work flows from your hands without thought. But flow also comes from inside. Allowing myself time at the bench to make my focus right, to slow down from the pace outside the shop, to discover the mood of the day, and direct it to the end I have in mind that day.

Flow comes then from inside and outside and some days things flow and some days I’m a rolling stone in the river. Some days are smooth. Some days I stumble along like everyone else. But I know what I’m after at least. I am after that flow. Slowing down enough at the bench to be certain and sure and productive. It’s a good feeling to have.

Taper Oak Chest Inlay




The stool class starts today. Breathe deep.


Categories: Hand Tools

Beautiful Cabinet Shop Space Available for Rent in Gowanus The pictures do not do it justice!

Tools For Working Wood - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:00am

I have written many times about how some landlords want to change the industrial zoning in Brooklyn to something friendlier to luxury housing.

Not all landlords favor this plan. My own landlord is one of them. He has a deep commitment to maintaining the industrial nature of Gowanus and supports this commitment by being a great landlord to his tenants. So when he mentioned to me that he has some vacant industrial space and asked me if I knew anyone who needed space, I was eager to help if I could. (And no, I don't get a commission or anything.)

Here's the deal:

5000 square foot space with a high ceiling. In addition it already has a built in finished mezzanine that from the pictures looks like great office space. It's on the ground floor, so loading and unloading supplies and goods is easy. It's in great shape and would probably need minimal electrical work. The previous occupant, a restoration shop, was there for 16 years. The location is near the F, G, and R subway lines on a fairly quiet block.

Bonus 1: The previous occupant and a nice spray booth that they want to sell. This is huge if you need to do finishing.

Bonus 2: Long lease. My landlord understands that unless you have a long enough lease you can't afford to invest in your own equipment and other stuff. Let's just say more than five years.

Bonus 3: Affordable. A commitment to manufacturing by a landlord doesn't just mean that he is willing to rent to you if you want to pay office rates. My landlord will offer you an affordable lease, understanding full well that everyone has be be able to make a decent living. You will also discover that he is really easy to work with. The lease is simple and there are no tricks anywhere.

Bonus 4: No brokerage fee for anyone, which saves everyone money.

This is awesome space and a rare commodity. If you are in need of shop space, and you want a place to settle down to for the next decade or so, and you really manufacture stuff, this is by far the best space in Brooklyn. And Gowanus is a great place to work, shop, and live. The shop is walking distance to a lot of great residential areas too.

Don't miss the opportunity! It will go fast. See below for more pictures.

Email me with your contact information and phone number and I will be happy to pass it on.

P.S. I understand that this blog entry might be a little unnecessary for those of you who don't live anywhere near Brooklyn or are not professionals needing space. But the single most popular question that gets asked in all Brooklyn wood shops (after "How's business?") is, "Are you going to be able to stay here?"

P.P.S. I am totally aware that I don't normally have blog entries that are basically advertisements, especially for other people, but this is an exception. My landlord supports me and what I do, so I would like to return the favor and support him and what he does. So I am.

tire saga......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:45am
The start of this blog will be a multiple rant all related to a tire. I'm sure that it will have a lot that appeal to all who read this keyboard diarrhea I output. Last week on wednesday as I was leaving for the day I couldn't because I had a flat tire. A tire that I had just bought and had less then two weeks of ownership on was sitting on the rim. I went today to get it plugged at Firestone because they have sunday hours.

I checked on line and it said they opened at 0800 so I was there waiting at 0755. Did they open at 0800? No they didn't. In fact, the place was empty with no one inside still at 0810. No lights were on but the open sign was well lit. I left at 0815 with no one there yet and went to two other tire stores. Both of them were closed on sunday so I headed back to Firestone.

I get back there at 0840 and the same guy that was there waiting the first time I was there, was still outside waiting. He told that they weren't open until 0900. There were people inside standing around drinking coffee and talking. Here's a customer service tip Firestone. If you change your hours, post them. That means change the hours on the front door. And here is a biggie, change them on the website too. One last tip, shut off the &;#@^()(%@^*#!!)&p;*$ bright red lit OPEN sign when you are closed.

I went home and called another Firestone and they were open so I went there. They told me it would be 3-4 hours before it was done. I said ok and my wife picked me up and we went grocery shopping. While we were shopping Firestone (roughly 20 minutes had passed) called and said the truck would be ready in 30 minutes. They said I needed a new air filter because the one I had was ripped. Here's another thought. I brought my truck in for a tire problem, why is my engine hood open? How did you know I needed an air filter and why did you check my battery too?

The upstroke was that I was told I needed a new tire. They said the one I bought in could be plugged but it may develop a bubble. A new tire from them was $195 plus tax and a tire disposal fee. I didn't get the new tire and it cost me $59 for a new air filter and plugging one tire.

The last part of the rant is this. I asked them to put the tire they swapped on the right front back in the spare holder under the truck. The plugged tire has the sensor that will shut off the idiot light on the dashboard. Where did they put the spare tire? In the bed of the pickup. I'll make an appointment at the shop that did the tires a couple of weeks ago and get a replacement for the 'bubble' tire. At least all four tires will be the same and maybe they will figure out how to get the spare tire back into it's holder. Rant done and I will resume my regularly scheduled blog.

Air Gunnery, model AG-3  brown portable, collapsible spray booth
This is brown wrapping paper from Lee Valley and I use it to contain the over spray. I sprayed the primer on the 4 1/2 saturday night after dinner.

have some scraping to do
I put the screws in the holes and sprayed away. I meant to put some wax on the frog seats first but that didn't happen.

frog looks good
I got a tip on trying toothpaste to remove scratches and shine metal. If I remember I'll give that a try on this tomorrow.

I try to paint within the lines
large spills need a razor blade
For smudges I would just sand them off. I could also do that on these bigger ones but it clogs the sandpaper. I scrape them off first and then sand.

it should sand this without clogging
cleans up easily
This needs one more coat and tomorrow I'll repeat these dance steps and the frog will be done.

oil based Rustoleum black enamel
With all the tools I've done so far, I have only used about a 1/4 of this. A little bit goes a very long way.

small detail brush
If I am careful and take my time, I can paint all around the frog seat areas without getting paint on them. If I'm not, it is easy to scrape off but the key is to do it as soon as possible. The longer you wait and the longer it gets to set up, the harder it is to scrape off.

I can't use this one
I was toying with gluing and screwing this to the end here. I am going to put a big front on this and I need some meat to be able to attach it to.

why I'm saving this
This is perfectly sized for what the drawer front needs to be to fit between the drawer slides.

the drawer and sliding tray front stock
I am going to use this plywood to make the drawer and sliding tray fronts continuous. It is something that I don't think I have ever tried to do.

this is encouraging
It just missing the Lee Valley rabbet plane box. The tray is fully extended and it isn't tipping over. I was a little concerned about having to deal with that in the finished product.

plenty of room for a LV plane box
I will also have to make room for a brace of some king for the tray front. As of now I can only attach it at the bottom and opening and closing it would put a lot of stress on it.

made a change in plans
The blue tape is the height of the boxes plus a few inches. I did this to get an idea of the space available above the sliding tray when it is loaded up.

I have about 10 inches to play with
I decided on two drawers instead of one. I will have extra room in each drawer for future additions. It will also give me a lot more freedom with what goes where and how.

made a Lowes run after the tire rant
I bought a 20" drawer guide and some 1x8 stock for making the two drawers.

1/2" stock
This was my first choice for the drawers but I can't use it. The instructions in the drawer slides state that the sides of the drawer have to be a minimum of 5/8" thick. I'll let the 1x stock sticker for a few days before I do anything with it.

found this cleaning up
The #5 at the back will become my new Jack. The one in the front I'll give to Miles. He has a 5 1/4 right now but he'll be able to grow into this one. I had bought the Jack in the back to be a spare but I like the feel of the tote and knob on it better than the forefront one.

it has a corrugate sole
Not a deal breaker because of the knob and tote.

lots of pitting on this side
This was derusted at some point previous to me getting it. I'm not sure how this will shine up but I'll find out. I know I said that I was taking a break from rehabbing but I feel the tug for getting this done to see what it will look like.

what is the dimple for?
This plane has a drop dead gorgeous front mushroom knob. Was the dimple an errant hang hole drilled in the wrong spot?

the clincher
It has no frog adjust which I think is unnecessary for a plane. And of course, I will be replacing the tote toe screw with a brass one.

Moving this off and on the sawhorses is not easy to do. The weight of it isn't the problem, it is trying to hold it and moving it. I'll be glad when it's done and under the workbench.

planing the top
I didn't see this yesterday when I planed the bottom proud. The top is proud also but not as much as the bottom was. The jack made short work of getting it flush.

this is how Frank
Frank had asked how the cabinet was sitting on the saw horses. This spacer goes in between the ends to fill in the space. It is normally stowed on the lower rail.

a wee bit over the top of the round
I thought I had more over the top then a wee bit. The idea was to have the spacers above the round so whatever was placed on them wouldn't touch the tops of the rounds and flatten them. I'll have to put this on the shop maintenance list in column K, heading #2, subparagraph 56b, line e-1.3 so I don't forget it.

adding a nailer to the front
This is a 1/2 piece of scrap poplar that I sawed to fit underneath the tray. I had to chisel a few pockets to fit over the screws and tabs.

pocket to fit over the tab
the screwing in trio
I like this ratcheting screwdriver a lot but I'm finding that it has it's limits. It did ok on this but it wasn't a smooth operation. I should have used the bigger craftsman ratcheting driver but I don't have an adapter for it yet.

it's too snug
The poplar fills the spacer in and gives me solid wood to glue and screw into. I planed the poplar down a bit to give it some room to clear.

putting one at the back
I was surprised by how stiff the tray became with just the front filler. I put on at the back and the tray feels even stiffer. This should help with keeping the tray from bowing across it's width. If it does that, it'll be hard to open and close it.

cut and fitted a diagonal brace
went with one brace
I thought of making an x brace but I only had one piece of scrap. I glued and screwed this to the bottom. It is a lot stronger and stiffer now with these 3 additions. It definitely has a more substantial feel to it now over just a plain piece of 1/2 plywood.

my springs came in on saturday
I could have bought a spool of wire (900 feet long and the same diameter as the springs) for about $8 less than what I paid for all of these.  This company has a $25 minimum order so I bought a lot of similar sized but different types of springs. A few of them I'll have to cut to get the length to match the existing springs.

new spring on the bottom - old one on top
they don't compress that much
I tried to get the three jaws to come together but it wasn't happening. All the springs I bought fit in the holes of the chuck pieces but none closed up on them. Even accounting for the springs being over length, it wasn't happening.

It dawned me after looking at the inside of the chuck that the bottom doesn't close up. It is the top that closes in and comes together. As the chuck is tightened, the jaws move upwards and close around the bit. The bottom of the jaws ride the bottom taper of the inside of the chuck which is wider then the top where the bit is being pinched. The bottom flares outward and the springs keep the jaws from falling apart.

The existing springs have little or no resistance to being compressed so I'll pick the closest spring of the ones I bought. I'll snip it to match the length of the one good existing spring I have and go from there.  I'll be rehabbing this drill later than sooner.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know Coca Cola was originally billed as an "Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage" in 1886?

Picture This CXVIII

Pegs and 'Tails - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 8:34pm
A London dealer recently attributed this bureau (unusually veneered in burr elm) as George I, circa 1715 and also stated the brasses are original. George II elm bureau, circa 1750-5. The drawer cockbeading places the bureau after 1720 at the … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Prepping for Williamsburg, a/k/a “Say Hello to Bench #18”

The Barn on White Run - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 4:06pm

Presenting a demonstration takes a lot of time, as much time as actually teaching a hands-on session on the same topic.  When I used to manage educational programs in my previous life I usually budgeted staff time of one full day of preparation for each hour of a new class.  So if a colleague came to me with an idea to develop and teach a week-long class, I knew to budget for them eight weeks of prep time.  Time-compressed demos for a conference like Working Wood in the 18th Century are even more lopsided, as a 90-minute live demo requires roughly the same preps and materiel as a two week workshop.  So, for my two sessions at this year’s conference, Roubo Rediscovered: Merging 1760s Paris with The 21st Century and The Historic Gilder’s and Finisher’s Workshops,  I began preparing aand assembling the supplies in earnest before Thanksgiving.

Things were progressing swimmingly until just before Christmas, when I corresponded with Anthiny Hay Cabinet Shop master Kaare Loftheim about the logistics of moving Colonial Williamsburg’s Roubo bench to the stage of the auditorium.  His reply, which I should have expected, was that they did not possess a Roubo bench.  I smacked my head.  Of course they would not have such a bench since Williamsburg was essentially a 17th century English town!

It was time to rethink my strategy as I would need to arrive with my own Parisian workbench.  I already had three that would serve the purpose nicely but they were so ensconced in their places that it was easier to build a new one for this demonstration.

So I did…

did some woodworking.....

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 2:29am
I sawed up some plywood so that counts as woodworking. It felt good to play with wood and not metal even though it didn't last the whole day long. In the end I went back to rehabbing the 4 1/2 but only because it is a daily user for me. The #3 will have to wait and it will probably get done next month, maybe. I ran into something that gets put at the head of the line over it. I'll get to what that is later on.

10 1/2 is redone
It took a lot of dance steps to get the frog set at the right spot. I didn't have this much trouble the first time but I also didn't take note of where the frog was on the seat. I had it set too far forward initially and I had to keep tapping it backwards. I didn't want the mouth to be tight so I did it in small increments and that is why it took so long.

I got the left, middle, right shavings set and the last step was to shoot a rabbet. This plane could also be a smoother but I use it just for rabbeting.

port side
aft, starboard quarter
This is ready to go back to the herd.

marking the proud
Working on the roll around tool cabinet. I had purposely left this proud so I could plane it after the glue set to whatever way the box ended up. I marked both sides and used a ruler to connect them.

no wonder I needed a break
There are 14 tools here and there are more but I couldn't fit them all in one pic. With the exception of 3 hand planes, all of these were done within the last 4-5 months with the bulk in last 2.

2 #4 Stanleys
Why didn't I pick up on this and do the lever caps back then? Even though the shine on them doesn't wow me, what shine there is looks better than the previous one. At least I am improving on what I am doing. And no, I'm not a patina fan.

10 1/2 on the left and #3 on the right
These two are about the same size but the 10 1/2 looks better. I did a good job on rehabbing the #3 but the new extra steps I added to my plane rehabbing shows. Rather then do the #3 under the workbench I'll be doing these first.

Two #6s
The left #6 is mine and the right one is Miles's. Re-doing the rehab on his will be quick and relatively painless. All I have to do is the lever cap to bring it up to level of mine.

the last 3
These bring the tool total up to 17. The 4 1/2 I'm doing now will make 18. I'll redo the ones from Miles's toolbox but I won't count them again. The router plane, Record 044 plow, and the Stanley 78 rabbet plane, are the only tools that I made boxes to keep them in.

I forgot about a #3 I rehabbed around christmas. Ken Hatch sent me a #3 for Miles's toolbox but I already had #3 for Miles. So with Ken's blessing, I rehabbed it and sent it across the big pond to someone else. The revised total is 19.

no room to hang it from here, my first choice
The #6 plane gets stowed here and the tote would be in the way.

hanging spot #2
This would have worked here. It's below the ledge for the tool trays and it fits. However, I had to rearrange how the planes were stowed and this free space went away. A #4 plane now lays up against this end taking away the hanging space.

back to planing to the knife line
had a hump on the first check

I'm still square at the front and back
a frog hair off on the side to side
It is ever so slightly tighter at the front then the back. It is maybe the thickness of a piece of paper.

the same here too
Drawers slides need to be 0 to + 1/32" off front to back on parallel. Before I sawed out the plywood tray I wanted to see what I was up against. I'm good and within specs.

3rd time was the charm
I started with the plywood tray being a strong 16th over in the width. It was too tight and the slides wouldn't operate. The 2nd trim helped some but it was too stiff going in/out for my liking. On the third shave I got the fit just right. It slides in/out smoothly with no binding or hold ups along the length of travel.

why did we stop using this?
I like the positive control I have with this. I have found it (so far) to be impossible to over drive a screw. That is very easy to do with a hand drill (battery type).

still working nicely
I have the tray screwed to the drawer slide and it still works in/out smoothly. I don't have a lot of experience with installing these and I tend to be over cautious and double triple check myself throughout the installation.

I have in past installs got the tray screwed on and that made it tight. It is usually because a screw(s) is throwing the slides out of parallel. Now that the tray is ok I will screw the slides to sides of the cabinet. I only put in two screws, one at the front and one at the rear, and check the operation.

still working smoothly with two screws
still working - drawer front or a door?
I got full extension slides and with it fully extended, the cabinet is still laying on the saw horses. I don't know how it will be once I have the tool boxes loaded in here.

I need to push the slides back
allowance for adjustment
I put the screws in the elongated slots first for this purpose. It is a simple matter of loosening the screws and pushing the slide back. If I didn't have enough backwards movement, I would put the screw in the next elongated slot and start over.

I have the tray extended a little past 1/2 way and it isn't causing the cabinet to trip forward. Maybe I will be able to fully extend it when the cabinet is done. I haven't forgotten that I need to make a new box for the LV rabbet plane.

time to use your imagination
The area to the left within the blue tape is the interior of the top drawer. I thought of making two drawers but I think I'll go with one. I don't have that many chisels that I need two drawers for them. I'm using this to figure out the layout for chisels going in the drawer.

a lot of chisels to be stowed
I have 6 sets of chisels spread out around the shop. This is the main purpose of the tool cabinet - to give all my chisels one place to call home.

I have an idea - I know this because I have a headache
One big deep drawer. Chisels that I use most of the time on top and the infrequent use ones in the bottom. Now I have flesh that out and see if it is feasible.

first bottom layout
top layout
I was thinking of reusing the box for the AI chisels and the board for the LN chisels. In order to get access to the bottom stuff I will have to lift either one of these out first. That would be a bit of a PITA to do. I think a better choice is two sliding tills that I can move R/L to get access to what is underneath.

I wanted to use these because I wouldn't have to make anything. I might be able to use the AI box and make something similar for the LN chisels. Either way, just the AI and LN chisels will be topside.

it will slide
I will put dividers on the bottom to not only separate the chisels but also to give the topside tills something to slide on.

possible storage for the big AI chisels
layout #2
The AI and Buck paring chisels are dictating how and what goes where.

proposed dividers
I am now thinking of putting all the chisels in place with dividers. No other holding gadgets for  any of the chisels, even the big AI ones.

I may keep the angled thing for AI chisels
I don't want the bottom drawer dividers to be higher than 2". That is the width of the largest AI chisel and with a holder the OAH (over all height) will exceed that. Something to sleep on as nothing is carved in stone yet.

back to the 4 1/2 to finish the shop day
I want to get this stripped, cleaned, and the primer sprayed on. I also wanted to paint the yoke and the frog.

I don't have any shavings to clean up the stripper so I used the sawdust generated by the tablesaw.

stripper box
The sawdust worked a lot better than the shavings. I did it in this box so it wouldn't get all over the workbench and the shop. The sawdust acted like a sponge soaking up water. It got almost all of the stripper and clumped up like kitty litter. The shavings are history and the lead off batter from now on will be sawdust.

almost ready for primer
Almost every bit of the japanning came off with the first application of the stripper. After the sawdust soaked up the stripper, I washed and rinsed the plane and blew it dry. I sanded the heel with 100 grit sandpaper and this is what I ended up with. I did the rest of the plane and cleaned it with acetone.  After dinner I came back to the shop, cleaned it again with acetone and sprayed the primer on.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know on the Professional Golf Association tour that a player is only allotted 45 seconds for each shot?

Whiskey Barrel Coffee Table

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 5:48pm

My cousin had been asking me to make a whiskey barrel coffee table for her for over a year. I put it off for months because I didn’t know where to buy a whiskey or wine barrel until I ran across a guy on Craigslist who sells them out of his house. Even better, he sells half barrels which was perfect for me as I really didn’t feel like cutting a barrel in half.


When I got the barrel home, I let it acclimate in my shop for a few weeks. As the barrel dried out, the staves started to fall apart, so I clamped them together using band clamps until I was able to screw fasteners into each stave to hold it in place. While the band clamps were holding the whole barrel together, I laid it on top of white oak boards I bought at a sawmill to see how big I wanted to make the top of the coffee table.


To keep the barrel together, I screwed hex bolts through the bands into the wood to hold each stave in place. I also leveled the top of the barrel by sanding the edges straight with my belt sander. The barrel came with a stand for it to be used as an outside planter which was helpful in holding it in place while I worked on it.


My wife didn’t like the look of the hex bolts I used so, I replaced them with #14 stainless steel pan head screws. She was right, the pan head screws look much nicer.


I designed the shape of the legs by using the stand that came with the barrel to shape the curves. Each leg had an angle to the top that fit the angle of the barrel as it laid flat. I chamfered the edges of the feet to mimic the chamfers on the top and bottom of the barrel.


You can see how I used the compass to figure out the gap that I needed to shave off the other side of the leg in order for the barrel to fit tight.


Once I was happy with the legs, I focused on the frame of the barrel. I traced the shape of the barrel onto a piece of wood and cut it out on my band saw. I then trimmed the end of the sides 90 degrees to the edge and double-stick taped it to the other side. This allowed me to clamp the whole frame while it was screwed and glued together.


After carefully measuring all the pieces, I test fitted the frame together to make sure it would fit nicely on top of the barrel.


I was more aggressive with the clamps when it came time for the actual glue up. I let this set in place for 24 hours.


As the base was setting up, I turned my attention to the top. I glued up several white oak boards together and flattened them with my hand planes because the panel was too wide to fit through planer.


I wanted the top to have a bread board edge so I plowed a groove into the ends that was the same width as my 3/8″ mortising chisel. I would later chop three mortises into the groove to fit tenons I would make.


To make the tenons, I used both power and hand tools to get the job done. I routed most of the material away with my plunge router, then finalized the fit with my Stanley No 10 1/2 rabbet plane.


I made sure the panel would fit into to the groove before I cut the tenons


Cutting out the tenons, I drilled holes through the middle for pins. The middle hole I left round while the tenons on the outside I elongated for the expansion and contraction of the wood.


Once the joints fit well, I drove pins into the holes and added a dab of glue so the pins wouldn’t fall out.


I shaped the sides of the top to match the curve of the barrel and lightly rounded over the sides with my hollow molding plane.


The final shape of the coffee table top came out nicely. Now I needed to find away to attach it to the frame.


After days of pondering, I decided to attach hinges to the top so that the lid could open and close. The inside of the barrel was charred from the brewing of the whiskey so, it’s not very useful as it will leave ash on your finger if you touch it, but I thought it was cool enough to show off. I clamped my level to the middle of the frame to determine where in proximity the hinges would need to be installed.


Because the lid overhangs the side by an inch, the barrel of the hinges lay underneath the top when closed. I had to rout out a recess on the underneath of the lid so the top could properly close.


Even with all my calculating, I ran into a problem. The top would hit the middle of the barrel when I tried opening it. I had to route a recess in the middle of the lid so that there would be enough room for the lid to open. It took several hours of trial and error to make it work, but I finally made it work.


Once everything worked, I sanded the entire coffee table to 220 grit sand paper and applied a weathered wood enhancer to blend the old barrel to the new white oak. This turned the coffee table a bit purplish gray.


Next, I stained it Minwax Espresso stain and applied three coats of water based polyurethane for a protective finish. I think the coffee table turned out really nice. Luckily, my work has me going to Detroit next week, so I can deliver the coffee table to my cousin.



Now THAT’S A Book

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 4:07pm

Recently I was back in Mordor for a couple of days and dropped in to visit my friends and colleagues at the Library of Congress Book Conservation Lab.  I was delighted to see them again, and can happily report that the work bench I custom made for them last year is suiting their needs perfectly.

There is clear evidence of use of the bench, and there is universal acclaim of its suitability for their needs.  They are especially appreciative of the stepped riser blocks so it can be fitted for everyone in the group.  As you can see there is a wide range of statures represented in the group.

The purpose of the bench is to serve in the re-binding of ancient books, a process that is typical every few centuries for books of the pre-16th century type, which were bound with solid wood cover boards.  In preparation for an upcoming rebinding of an important book (14th century?) they undertook a practice run of creating a completely new book that replicated the projected treatment for the old book.

Much to my surprise and delight they gifted this practice book to me, and it has become a treasured keepsake.  The workmanship and artistry are simply breathtaking.  They urged me to use it as a note book but thus far I have not been able to force myself to do that (although I did already ding one edge).  Time will tell if I ever can.


I'm reaching my limit.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 12:17am
I lost count on how many tools I've rehabbed in the past few months. It is about all I've done with very little woodworking happening.  I think I've rehabbed 8 and I have 4 more that I'm doing. Two of them are definite with the third being 50-50 and the 4th one ain't happening anytime soon. I've had enough of rehabbing and I want to get back to woodworking before I forget how to do it.

2nd coat of paint on
This is close to the distance I saw the bumpy edges yesterday before I filed them. Today the sides look pretty good. Smooth, shiny, and flat looking along all the edges. I will be checking and doing all my future frogs this way.

I said wow this time
I can't put the frog on until tomorrow but I could sand and Autosol some parts. I said wow this time when I got done with the lever cap. The plane body isn't too shabby looking neither.

It says on the tube this does brass and the adjuster knob is brass. I put  some on and I will definitely keep an eye on this to see how well it keeps the brass shiny. If it works, I'll go back and Autosol all the other adjuster knobs.

the 4 1/2 before pic
This is the definite rehab one and it could be the last one for a while. The lever cap is what I was doing with them back then. I cleaned it with degreaser and that was it. I'll try to sand a shine up on it. I tried to buff the barrel nuts on the buffer after putting some Autosol on them. It kind of shined them up but I know I can raise a better shine sanding them with 400 grit sandpaper.

the Autosol protection
Not quite as shiny but the Autosol on the 4 1/2 was last applied about 3-4 months ago. In that time the 4 1/2 has been my daily user along with the 5 1/2. I keep the both of them on the bench at the top left corner ready to go.

first time I've noticed this writing
I scratched the bald spot for a few minutes but it didn't help. I still don't have a clue as to what the writing means. And I won't be preserving it for future generations to look at.

filed the side
This wasn't as bumpy as the 10 1/2 frog but it is now smoother than what it was. Repeated it for the other side.

filed the lateral adjust lever edge
This was pitted and I had sanded it but it didn't do much for it. The file knocked off 99% of it and I sanded it again to remove the filing marks.

I'll be flattening the 10 1/2 iron again
I have a couple of low spots and I don't have a consistent look side to side. Not getting anything up under the chipbreaker but I'm still going to flatten it again.

consistent side to side after a few minutes on 100 grit sandpaper
I'll finish working up through my stones but I'll do that tomorrow. My fingers started protesting half way through th100 grit.

the #3 that has a 50-50 chance
I did this plane  couple of years ago. The body had been sanded up to 600 grit but it has had no Autosol applied at all.

I think I sprayed painted the body
After I take this apart I'll check out the body. If it has been done, I might finish this to my new standards. The hardest part is done and what is left isn't that difficult to complete.

#7 - this was the first or second plane I rehabbed
Sanded up to ??? - I don't remember. I know that this have never seen Autosol and this what the plane has weathered to since I rehabbed it. Cherry knob and tote made by Bill Rittner.

the sole
I don't use this plane anywhere near how much I use the 4 1/2 or the 5 1/2. This is what it looks like after being sanded post 3+ years and with out ever having Autosol. This one will take a bit more rehab calories to get it up to the new standards. One biggie on this plane will be stripping and painting the body and the frog.

my #8

This plane got the body sanded and a Bill Rittner cherry knob and tote to replace a painted hardwood set. My favorite Stanleys are the type 11's on down. This #8 is a type 15-16 if I remember right. I decided that I'm not going to invest the calories in rehabbing a plane type I don't like. I will sell this one and buy a #8 type that I like.

So this is what is going on in my world. I will finish the 10 1/2 and do the 4 1/2. The #3 may or may not get done. It may because the #3 is a plane that I use a lot more than the #7 and the #8. The rest of the planes in the herd will be done as I feel like doing them.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that St Louis, Missouri, was the first US city to host the Olympics in 1904?

Wooden Handplane Maintenance (That Most People Forget)

Fair Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:28pm
Wooden-bodied planes require so little maintenance (aside from sharpening) that it’s easy to forget that they do need some love every year to work smoothly. Recently I borrowed a friend’s smoothing plane to demonstrate a cut and was struck by how easily her iron adjusted. It was like silk. I thought my plane was in […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Chester Cornett at the Kentucky Folk Art Center

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 4:51pm


For many years, I have been an undying fan of the work of Chester Cornett (1913-1981), a traditional Eastern Kentucky chairmaker who crossed over to become an artist who lived out his last years in Cincinnati, just a few miles from where I am right now.

Cornett’s story is long, tragic and documented in the book “Craftsman of the Cumberlands” (University Press of Kentucky) by Michael Owen Jones. My personal copy of the book is dog-eared and always within grasp.


For years I’ve known that the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, Ky., had some of Cornett’s work, which it acquired for an exhibition and its permanent collection. But despite my long love of folk art and woodworking, I’d never made it down to the Folk Art Center until Wednesday.

It was a bittersweet journey.

Kentucky’s state budget is in turmoil. And though I try to steer clear of politics, I am deeply saddened and angered at our governor’s proposed budget cuts, which would shutter both the Kentucky Folk Art Center and the University Press of Kentucky, which published the book on Cornett. (And has a 75-year history of publishing fantastic books about the Commonwealth.)

If you dislike funding for cultural institutions, don’t bother leaving a comment. I don’t want to hear it. We’re talking about pennies.

Anyway, we arrived at the Kentucky Folk Art Center on Wednesday and spent a couple hours with the director, Matt Collingsworth. We arrived unannounced and unheralded. But Collingsworth enthusiastically gave us full access to all the pieces and all the paperwork the museum owns on Cornett – including the only known drawings and descriptions Cornett made of his pieces.

Side note: Some of you know that I have been collecting folk art/outsider art for as long as I have been a woodworker. My home is full of it. The Kentucky Folk Art Center is – hands down – the best folk art museum I’ve ever visited. (Yes, I spent a day at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. I went to the Garden of Earthly Delights in Georgia while Howard Finster was still alive. I’ve been to every folk art museum in every town I’ve ever visited.)

In fact, when I arrived home on Wednesday night I spent the next hour showing my family all the photos from my trip, and I cannot wait to take them there as soon as possible.

OK, back to the woodworking.



The Kentucky Folk Art Center has three of Cornett’s pieces on display: an early side chair that resembles a heavier version of Jennie Alexander’s chair from “Make a Chair from a Tree” (Taunton). There’s a standard rocking chair that looked to be a “sample” chair because the slats were scrawled with Cornett’s sales pitch on the slats.


And there was one of Cornett’s “chair-and-a-half” rockers in walnut, ash and hickory bark. This chair, which Cornett also called his “fat man’s rocker,” was stunning. Octagonal seat. Four rockers. An astounding amount of drawknife work. Pictures do not do the piece justice.

Brendan Gaffney and I were stunned by it. Brendan took lots of measurements and vowed to produce a version of it. I tried to capture its essence in photos (and failed).

We also got to see one of Cornett’s tables, which is eight-sided and has octagonal legs with a most unusual taper. And the table broke down into two pieces.

As I made the drive back home up the AA highway, my head spun with the joy of seeing Cornett’s pieces (and getting to sit in one of his rockers) and the foreboding feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to make many more of these visits in the future.

If you have a free weekend, please make the trip to the Kentucky Folk Art Center, which is deep in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, before the axe falls. And know that we’ll do our best to keep writing about Chester Cornett and his unusual and incredibly well-made chairs.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

No loitering!

Mulesaw - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 4:41pm
I got inspired by this post by Bob the Valley woodworker who is organizing his shop.

At a point in my life I would actually feel kind of frustrated after being in the shop, because I felt I didn't get anything done at all.
I would go out there, look a bit around, maybe try to take a couple of stokes with a plane, perhaps move some tools away and try something else etc. But I rarely started a new regular project, and I never completed anything.

After being unproductive in the shop for some time, I would go inside the house disillusioned, and have a cup of tea and feel sorry for myself.

I wasn't getting anywhere at all.

Someplace I then read about another guy who had experienced the same thing, and his mean to  overcome it was that he could only stay in the shop, if he did some actual work or actual cleaning of the place.

I decided to try out that approach. So I put a mental sign up in my head when I entered the shop where it said:

The minute that I started procrastinating or dreaming about future projects or looking at this and that, I had to leave the shop.
It worked great!

Clearing out the shop and organizing all the tools suddenly went really fast, because I would not loaf around - wasting my own time.
When all the tools were in place, I swept the floor and vacuum cleaned the machines. Then stopped for the day, leaving the shop with a feeling of accomplishment instead of frustration.

The next day I opened the door and looked inside. the shop was inviting. But I didn't have any actual plan for what I wanted to do in there, so I remember just looking around and then leaving again.

I can't remember what my first actual project was after my new shop practice, but I remember that it went a lot faster than normally, because I stayed focused all the way.
And due to being focused, I never have the same feeling that I "waste" my time by being in the shop, because I try my best to always be productive out there.

Despite my best efforts, I still experience that horizontal flats will eventually become crowded with stuff, and suddenly there are old pieces of glass in a corner of the shop, scraps on the floor and some surplus wood from the last five or six projects occupying space along one wall. But it doesn't scare me anymore, or get me in a bad mood, because I still keep my imaginary sign hanging in the shop, so as soon as I am out there, I try my best to be efficient, either in building or in cleaning.
Categories: Hand Tools

Setting Up a Hand-Tool Workshop – M&T Podcast 06

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 2:05pm
Listen to our new episode above.
We had lots to talk about today. On the magazine front, pre-orders for Issue Four opened yesterday, and we’ve been releasing the Table of Contents for the past two weeks leading up to the big event. We talk about our soon-to-be-released t-shirt design, commissioned from artist Jessica Roux. In our discussion, we go over the ins and outs of setting up a workshop specifically based around the use of hand tools. We consider decisions to be made around lighting, heat, and tool storage, along with details from period shops that might inform the way we approach this task today.


Notable Links from this Podcast:


Categories: Hand Tools

Remarkable Things

Paul Sellers - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 1:11pm

It is a remarkable thing to me, an older man, an old man, seeing where everyone is around the world that reads my blog. People watching my videos afar, looking at what I type up and then sending me messages. I post a blog one day in the morning and by midnight 18,000 people might […]

Read the full post Remarkable Things on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Handplane Maintenance (That Most People Forget)

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:00pm

Metal-bodied planes require so little maintenance (aside from sharpening) that it’s easy to forget that they do need some love every year to work smoothly. Recently I borrowed a friend’s smoothing plane to demonstrate a cut and was struck by how easily her iron adjusted. It was like silk. I thought my plane was in good shape, but I was way off the mark. So as soon as I delivered […]

The post Handplane Maintenance (That Most People Forget) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


Northwest Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 9:45am

1-Dovetail corner1

Dovetails. This symbol of woodworking excellence. What a pain in the butt.

They’re fussy. They require concentration and skill and enormous patience. At least if you want to do them halfway well. I do have students who after trying tail and pain by hand, turn to the router and dovetail jig. I get this. I never had clients who could afford hand cut work. This was out of everyone’s price range. I used sliding dovetails for their pieces instead cut with a router and bit.

But I understand as well the dovetail joint’s virtue in teaching accuracy and slowing down. This helps me at the band saw and the router table. In the end, I advocate my 5 minute dovetail as a means of getting our heads to the bench, slowing down, and training our focus to get tight. Because the work we do at the bench has a tight focus to it.

It depends entirely upon one’s intention while at the bench. If it is to build good work at a pace, then finding methods that work whether by hand or with a machine seems to me a fine choice. Check out the furniture of Greene & Greene and the Hall Brothers building for them. No dovetails used. All finger jointed drawers and cases.

If on the other hand, one’s intention is simply to be at the bench then hand cutting everything makes good sense too. Pace doesn’t matter then.

Simply answer this question: does it feel good to get work completed that you can feel proud of? Then use all the tools in your kit. {Note: I stop short of programming a CNC to cut mine, if I had a CNC.} If product isn’t your goal but process is, then mill your wood by hand too. But always ask yourself before you dive in: What do I want from this project?

If it’s a gift, get ‘er done. If it’s a gift for you, take your time and enjoy the ride. Either way you’re at the bench and that’s a good thing.

Dovetail chest Matthew DMP #12 013

Distance Mastery Student Matthew Kanomata’s Dovetail Chest







Categories: Hand Tools


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