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Hand Tools

Historic Finishing Workshop

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 3:46pm

I recently hosted and taught a “Historic Finishes” workshop at the barn, with five attendees from around the country and my long-time friend DaveR as a teaching collaborator.  The objectives were to help the students overcome any hesitancy about finishing by learning new habits and techniques, and the results of the exercises indicate success.

Our first exercise was the one that was most time sensitive in that it required three inning of finishing over two days, which was pushing the technology  a tad.  Fortunately the weather was cooperative.  The task at hand was to take an essentially unprepared 24″ x 48″ panel of luan from Lowes to see what could be done with it, some well-prepared shellac varnish, and  good brush.  After a brief scuff sanding with 220 they began to lay down the 1-1/2 pound shellac as I have taught multitudes before them.  The purpose is of exercise to overcome the trepidation in applying shellac spirit varnish.

Next came the grain-filling of some solid mahogany panels with molten beeswax as the foundation for pad polishing.  This was how they did it in the old days, and it is still my preferred technique.  The wax was melted in using a tacking iron (I cannot believe I did not get any more of this on camera), then scraping off the excess and buffing it out with linen.

Even at this point the results are impressive and in some circumstances the finishing would be called complete.

DaveR came on stage next to introduce pad spirit-varnish polishing, sometimes known as “French” polishing,

All eyes were glued to Dave as he walked through the process of this technique which has garnered much (undeserved?) mystical reverence.

He demonstrated the process of making a good pad, or “rubber,” which can last a finisher for decades, and before long they all set to making their own.

And the padding began.

And continued.

Before long we were seeing some mighty fine sheen.

It was time to introduce the newest tool in the contemporary finisher’s kit, the polissoir.  Everyone got their own brand new one that needed to be tuned up on a piece of fine sandpaper.

And out to work, first over bare scraped wood, then in concert with beeswax that had been scrubbed on to the surface.

Again, the final results were immediate and gratifying.

Up next, brushing carvings and other undulating surfaces.

Router mortise jig, part 3: Improved wedge clamps

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 6:36am
mortise jig wedge clamps
In two earlier posts, I presented a router mortise jig. As writing is a good occasion to rethink matters, I have upgraded the clamping system on the jig. What’s more, this general design for a wedge clamp system can be applied to other shop jigs and fixtures to increase their holding range. The mechanical advantage […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

a brush box et al.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 08/25/2017 - 1:26am
I've been thinking about where to stow my shellac brushes. I had made the large drawer in the finishing cabinet specifically for them but now that it is done, I don't like that anymore. The next place that I looked at was the door until I got a comment from Nathan on how was I going to stop them from swinging? So I think I came up with a good, final solution. It fits the main criteria I had for them being in covered storage and readily accessible. But I have twist to it that I'll get to later in the blog.

out of the way
This is a good spot for my big panel gauge. It will mark out to 38" at it's maximum but it is hard to stow. I had it on the other side and moved it to here. I made this in my bigger has to be better phase.

first hanger
Too big and it is plain ugly looking. The hanger sticks out too much  and I would need something else to keep the brushes from swinging when the door is opened and closed.

they will fit in this spot on a nail
The brushes hanging on the inside of the door is dead. I have this space here because of the short width shelf but that is changing. I can stand in front of the cabinet and easily see into the bottom shelf corners with it hanging at this height. There isn't a need for the short width shelf so I'm going to make a full width shelf to replace it. I'll save this one on top of the cabinet.

next choice
I have room to hang the brushes on this side of the cabinet but they won't be covered. On the flip side of the coin I don't have to worry about them swinging.

this would work (box not to scale)
I can make a box to hang on the cabinet and put the brushes in that.

the et al.....
These are latches for a door and I thought they were a hell of lot bigger than this. The 15/64" size in the catalog didn't register and I got fooled by the 64th big number. I'll keep these for a small box and try them out on that. Maybe I can use them on the brush box?

gave in a bought a metric set
I have a 10mm bit for my clock movements and a couple of larger ones (14 & 16 mm) but not a basic set. This is a brad point set from 3mm to 10mm. I'll make a box or a caddy to put these in/on somewhere on down the road.

having no luck with this
This side isn't too bad but the other side has wider spaced and bigger ones. How did that happen?  I'm having no luck finding a machine shop that will mill this flat and square (I would separate the blade from the spine first). Trying to saw with this will be a PITA not to mention they will ruin the roller bearings it'll ride on.

I got this from Timeless Tools and Treasures Store. I am not compensated in any way for this; it is good site to buy vintage tools from. I have been buying from this site for several years. It is one of the 3 tool sites I check every single day.

dead nuts straight
No kinks, bows , or bends. No etch or name on it but it is a clean, rust free saw with a good balance.

could use some help
The tooth line is a little funky but it is sharp with what feels like a reasonably even set.

my miter box awaits it somewhere underneath the wood
If it doesn't fit I'll use the saw to practice filing on.

the last et al......
I bought an almost complete Stanley 71 from Josh at hyperkitten. The only thing missing is the 1/4" iron but I've seen them now and again for sale. The fence has a modern screw in it that I'll have to replace.

the big iron is sharp but grungy looking
nickel plated instead of brass
depth rod is sticky
I'll sand this with 600 grit and see how that works with making it slide smoothly. As is it won't move unless I thump on it.

two problems on the spear point iron
The facets aren't even and the screw is frozen. I hit it with some PB Blaster but I couldn't budge it. I'll let it soak overnight and try it again tomorrow. If there is no joy, I'll try heat to break it free.

breaking it down to parade rest
This router is for my grandson's tool chest. It is in pretty good shape so I won't have to do much to it to get it rehabbed.

stock for the brush box
sawed the one tail on both sides together
pins chopped out

glued and setting up
I had no problems squaring the box up but it would not stay square. I clamped a square on the long corner and I'll leave this until tomorrow. The box is 14" x 7". It is going to need a long and skinny door.

I saved it from the garbage
When I was putting out the garbage on thursday, I pulled this out of the shit can. I couldn't bring myself to toss it and I'll try and use it for something else. All the pissed off feelings I had towards this are gone now.

I got the new stock gauged for thickness at 9/16". 5/8 was awfully close and there were a few spots where the knife wasn't biting on any wood. I need a continuous line 360 to guide me when planing to thickness. I'll do the thicknessing tomorrow after work.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Which US President had the oath of office administered to him by his father?
answer - Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his justice of the peace father in 1923

PS Made a mistake on the Timeless Tools and Treasure blurb. I was not (I forgot the not) paid for that nor would I accept one. I want this blog to be ad free and solely of my opinions.

Moxon Workbench Vise Giveaway & Review

Wood and Shop - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 8:00pm
Several months ago the folks at Lake Erie Toolworks sent me a "Moxon Vise" to try out. I use their other high-end workbench vise screws in my workshop, so I was eager to see how their Moxon Vise would perform. They are offering a brand new Moxon Vise as a giveaway

Oliver Sparks New Plane

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 10:56am

Oliver Sparks has made a small batch of 3/4" violin makers planes and this one is mine.

It has a beautiful boxwood wedge and the making is immaculate as usual.
The mouth is super tight.

Here it is alongside my 1/2" version.
Ollie will be at the European Woodworking show on 16th and 17th September, he will have planes to try as well as buy. http://www.europeanwoodworkingshow.eu/

Categories: Hand Tools

edging tool? do you have them?

Giant Cypress - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 9:38am

What kind of edging tool? Can you be more specific?

how I designed the finishing cabinet.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 6:53am
The first thing I decided was that I wanted a cabinet and not a shelf or a shelving unit. I am a wee bit nutso on keeping dust off of things so I prefer covered storage if possible. And a cabinet with a door I can close fits that bill.  I also wanted one that I could hang on the wall and stow all my finishing supplies in it. This cabinet project started with me wanting to find someplace to stow my shellac brushes in some kind of covered space and still have them accessible. Not that I need an excuse to make something but this time I identified a need for it.

Before the cabinet was made I had a bazillion cans of finish and other ancillary finishing crap scattered over this corner of the shop. A real eye sore and a PITA at times trying to find something. This was the second driving force for the cabinet. Making it would free up a lot of horizontal storage real estate that I can fill up with other shop crappola. Of which I seem to be able to generate an over abundance of.

was cleared off and now slowly filling back up
The next step was locating a spot for it in my phone booth sized shop. I wanted it reasonably close to the bench so I wouldn't have to pack a lunch to go to it. This was the hardest thing to do. I don't have a lot of vacant wall space but by removing an existing shelf, I got a hole to stick it in. Once the hole was established I measured it to get a rough idea of how big I could make it. With a rough idea of how large of a cabinet I could make, I turned my limited attention span to what I wanted to put in it.

That entailed putting on the workbench all the cans, brushes, jars, boxes, etc that I wanted to put in the cabinet. Moving things around, spreading them out, and stacking them on each other gave me a visual for how tall, wide, and deep to make the cabinet. I played with this until the measurements I got were to my liking and fit the stuff I wanted in the cabinet.

This cabinet is just a big box. If you can make a small box then making this shouldn't be a problem. You can dovetail the corners, use butt joints with nails or screws, rabbet joints, finger joints, through mortise and tenons, or in my case, a rabbeted tongue joint. I have made a lot of cabinets with this joint and this time I made them by hand.

scraped off a blob of paint and I can't seem to remember to paint it again -  this is want I call a rabbeted tongue joint
The interior space is based on what is going in it. I wanted some drawers in mine and in the end I made 2. One small one and a large one about twice the size of the smaller one. I like the asymmetrical look of this. My original drawer count was 5, pared down to 3, and finally the two.

I am not a fan of adjustable shelving because I don't like the multiple holes that you see. Shelf standards aren't much better. With either one, you don't get that invisible look as to how is the shelf holding itself up? But fixed shelving would have locked me into something I wouldn't be able to change down the road. I put in two adjustable shelves with the necessary pin holes that will allow me put a shelf within 6" of the top and 8" of the bottom. One shelf is not as wide as the other to allow easier eyeballing of what is beneath it. I don't want anything to die in some dark corner of the bottom shelf because I couldn't see it.

my offset shelves

Now that I knew what size to make the cabinet it was time to do the joinery. I had already decided on a rabbeted tongue joint. But it doesn't matter and don't let the size of it intimidate you. It is just a big box. Again, if you can make a small one, you can make a big one.

If you are having problems visualizing what  21" W x 28" T x 11 1/2" D looks like hanging on the wall, make one out cardboard boxes. Duct tape pieces together until you get the size and tape it to the wall where you want to put it. Look for anything that may be in way of the door swing? Don't forget to look above for catch points. Look too to see how you have the cabinet positioned in relation to the overhead and what is beneath it.

In my case I had a floor cabinet there and my first placement left only 5" between the two. I wanted at least at foot so I had to raise the cabinet up. With raising the cabinet up, I lost the space on top of it to put my radio on. My cabinet ended up within a couple of inches of the floor joists. I had to make another shelf to hold the radio but that wasn't too bad of an issue to deal with.

Carcass figured out and now it was time to work on the door. I decided on a two panel, frame and panel door. You can put the panels in horizontally but on a door like this I think that would look funny. And I'm not a fan of ladder style doors neither. I used two vertical panels with a center stile.

Due to the width of the door I nixed using a single panel, be it a single board or a glued up one. From an aesthetic point (mine) I thought a single panel would look awkward and out of place. Then there is the strength issue. Would the frame be able to hold the panel flat over time and not distort.

I make my stiles, top rail, and center stiles, all the same size. The bottom rail I make at least a 1/2" wider the others. This is something that is open to a lot interpretation based on personal tastes.  I  make the stile width over twice the length of the tenon going into it as a minimum. I usually make blind mortises and I don't use stub tenons. I think that they are too small and aren't anywhere near as strong as the former.

On my door I used 1x4 stock so I based my stiles and rails off of that.  The door is a fairly large one so the scale of stiles fit the scale of the door. I used through tenons on the rails and the center stile. I used through tenons because I chopped them by hand because I thought those would be easier to do than a blind mortise (my first chopping of mortises by hand). I used through tenons on the center stile for strength and to help keep the door frame flat.

I made my door a 1/4" wider than the width and 1 1/4" longer than the top to bottom length. The width was planed off flush after the door was hung. I left the overhang on the bottom because that is my 'handle'. I didn't use a knob or handle on the front of this door. If I hadn't done this, then I would have made the door over sized the same as the width. That would have allowed wiggle room for fitting the door to the actual opening.

my door 'handle'

The width of the stile and riles vary with me according to the size of the opening the door will cover. I do it strictly by eye. I don't use any Fibonacci ratios or Pythagorean formulas.  If it looks good and I mean not too skinny nor too fat (wide), I'm good. There are lot of design books available on line and most are based on ancient design forms. They have lots of rules and regulations on stiles and rails and the sizing of most other things. I say that is nice but if it looks good to you, go with it. Why should someone else tell me what I think looks good?

The last decision I made on the door were the panels. There are a lot of different choices that can be made here. First one I thought of was a flat panel of solid wood sized to fit the grooves. Another choice is a 3/4" thick solid wood panel with a rabbet that fits the groove (plywood would also work too). The rabbet could face in or out depending upon your preference. Of the two, I think the rabbeted panel is a better choice. It is thicker and stronger than a 1/4" thick panel.

A raised panel is a traditional choice and it was what I used. I have a molding plane to make raised panels and that is what I used. There are a lot of hand or machine made panel making options to pick and choose from. One panel choice at the top of my to do list is a oval or circular panel in place of flat bevels. I like this one much more than the beveled panels and I have made them in the past with a horizontal router table with a special panel raising bit. And the circular ones can be made to fit the grooves exactly with out having to rabbet the back.

With all the decisions made on what and how, I went to the shop and  made it. Although making it was spread out over a week or two, I don't think the total time to make it was much more than 14-16 hours.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first president to have the oath of office administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
answer - our second president, John Adams

Bradley McCalister Talks Wood & Tools Used When Turning – 360w360 E.246

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 3:38am
Bradley McCalister Talks Wood & Tools Used When Turning – 360w360 E.246

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, Bradley McCalister is back to talk about his favorite woods to work with on the lathe, and we discuss various tools used when turning, including scroll chucks, traditional turning tools and turning tools that have interchangeable cutters.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic.

Continue reading Bradley McCalister Talks Wood & Tools Used When Turning – 360w360 E.246 at 360 WoodWorking.

Gaining Experience

Paul Sellers - Thu, 08/24/2017 - 1:04am

Question: Hi Paul, I’ve invested financially and time wise in gaining training for joinery and bench work but need the ongoing experiencer to carry me through to become an experienced craftsman. I have tried to find a place I can work with a qualified craftsman but no one seems willing to take me on, even …

Read the full post Gaining Experience on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Furniture Styles

Northwest Woodworking - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 4:14pm

I had a Mastery student write me recently and ask this question.

“Do you know of any resources or books that would be a good source to study different furniture styles and what defines the style?  (ie. Greene and Greene, Chippendale, classic styles, etc.)”

A loaded question. Here’s my answer.

“The Randall Mackinson book on Greene and Greene is fantastic. But more have come out in the past few years. The Franz Karg book on Solid Wood Cabinets is great. The Soul of a Tree by Nakashima is a classic as are the Krenov books but especially, A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook.
Look for books by period and not just for furniture. For instance the books on Art Nouveau and Art Deco by Alastair Duncan are fantastic. Other periods then would be Arts & Crafts, the Bauhaus Movement, Dutch Expressionism, de Stijl, Victorian, Edwardian. The list goes on. Empire, Louis XIVth, Biedermeier Furniture.
And that’s just European. There is Chinese Furniture. The Gustav Ecke book is a classic. Look at African art, Japanese temple construction and garden design. Start reading it all. You will start to see how design is universal and individual and everyone is stealing everyone else’s ideas and using them for their own purposes.
Have fun.”

Simple questions always seem to beget long answers.
Taper Oak Chest Inlay

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Step 3: Draw a Chair

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 12:59pm

After removing the big chunk of wood that was to become the front of the chair, the next steps on the dugout chair are the tricky parts that require more thinking than straining. I needed to chainsaw the bottom of the stump level to get the thing so it had the stance of a chair. This is tricky because the stump is an irregular cone with no right angles. So […]

The post Dugout Chair Step 3: Draw a Chair appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

New Home for Chair Notes

Peter Galbert - Chair Notes - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 10:18am

I have finally built a new website to have all my projects in on place! You can find it at www.petergalbert.com and you can go directly to the new Chair Notes page here. I hope that you will take a moment to subscribe to the email list to get notified when I add a new post.
I will of course be leaving all the post here that I've written since 2007 and include a link on the new page to bring you back if you care to relive old times!
Categories: Hand Tools

Bowls and spoons for sale, Aug 23 2017

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 9:25am


Some items finished up lately. The first two in a series of bird bowls. I had some very large crooks recently, made some large spoons then dedicated some of these oversized crooks to bowls. And, a small run of straight-grained serving/cooking spoons.

I got some questions about the bowls, what does the blank look like? – here is a roughed-out bowl superimposed on top of its other half of the crook – had to cradle the crook in a notched block so it would stand for its photo. Gives some idea of where you can find these in a tree. They can be trouble to split. This one was 5″ in diameter, and 24″ tip to tip. Cherry.


and here is that roughed-out bowl grabbed between two wooden bench dogs – this is how I get at it to do the gouge work. If I keep getting crooks like this, I’m going to make a larger more robust set of these dogs. Note the notches in the inside faces.

If you would like to order a spoon or bowl, just leave a comment here about which one you’d like. Then I can send a paypal invoice,  or you can mail a check the old fashioned way. Either one is fine with me. Prices include shipping in the US – further afield and I’ll figure an additional shipping charge. Thanks as always for the support.

All these items are finished with food-grade flax oil.


cherry bird bowl –

L: 15″  H: (at front) 7 1/4″


Birch bowl – SOLD
L: 10 3/4″ H: (at front) 7 1/4″


Aug spoon 1 – cherry, crook. This spoon blank left me with a very long, narrow bowl. Overall a long spoon. Great crook shape, I couldn’t resist.

L: 13 7/8″   W:  2 1/8″
$125 includes shipping in US


Large cherry crook #3

L: 13″  W: 3 1/2″
$150 includes shipping in US


Large cherry crook #2

L: 13″  W:  4″
$150 includes shipping in US.



Now, a series of straight-grained spoons for cooking or serving.


Aug spoon #1; birch

L: 11″  W: 2 5/8″


Aug spoon #2; birch

L: 10 1/2″  W: 2 1/2″



Aug spoon #3; birch

L: 10 1/2″  W: 2 5/8″


Aug spoon #4; birch  SOLD

L: 9 1/2″  W: 2 1/2″


Aug spoon #5; birch

L: 8 1/2″  W:  2 3/4″


Aug spoon #6; walnut   – SOLD

L:  10 1/2″ W: 2 3/4″

Ze Whale, She Been Birthed! (repost from LAP)

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 4:36am

First Look: Deluxe ‘Roubo on Furniture’


After an astonishing amount of work from people on two continents – not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment – a surprise showed up at the front door today.

It was a FedEx driver in a big truck. Sign this, he said. And then five boxes were sitting on the front step. Inside were the first copies of the deluxe version of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture.” It’s the biggest (physical and mental) thing we’ve ever published at Lost Art Press. It’s also the most expensive book we’ve ever made (and probably ever will make).

The book is now sitting in front of me, and I’m still a bit bewildered. It’s like our deluxe edition of “Roubo on Marquetry” (now sold out) but more than twice as thick.

I’ll have more to report on the book as we get it into the mail to all the customers who ordered pre-publication copies. And we’ll definitely have copies to show off at the next open day on Saturday, Sept. 9.

— Christopher Schwarz, christophermschwarz.com

P.S. FYI, this book is available for worldwide delivery. Choose “Outside USA” when checking out and we’ll contact you about the actual delivery charges to your address.

Dovetailing Classes: a New Approach

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 4:00am

Traditionally, professional joiners and cabinet makers weren't trained the same way we train adults in woodworking nowadays. First of all, joiners and cabinetmakers began their training at much younger ages. Training consisted of a combination of observation and practice and lasted several years. "Practice," of course, sounds a lot less boring than "repetition," but the two are the same thing. Certain tools that are pretty common today didn't exist. Dovetail gauges, honing guides, and magnetic saw guides, commonly used for joinery nowadays, are all inventions for the amatuer market.

There is nothing wrong with contemporary methods. There is no reason for anyone to suggest that there is only one true way, but I personally have always been interested in pre-industrial professional practice. I'm sort of like the amateur golfer who wants to be able to hold my own on a pro course. I know the idea is laughable - I will never be able to compete with the pros - but I want to at least be in the ballpark (or golf course).

When I studied years ago I did it the old fashioned way. very slowly, trying for perfection, and intellectualizing every move. Then after I read the Joiner and Cabinetmaker I started thinking about professional training. Trusting yourself, not trying for perfection the first day out - which can be paralying for many, but just trying to do decent apprentice work. Learn how to saw straight. Learn how to do very accurate and consistent layout. What shocked me was how possible it was to get good via planning and practice. I wanted to teach this method of instruction and see its effects on other students. So I developed a multi-part class, Mastering Dovetails, which is finishing up this week. The only tools we use in the class are a dovetail saw, marking gauge, a few chisels, layout knife, and a pencil, with the optional use of a coping saw. Waste on the tail board was done by sawing into the waste with a dovetail saw and making chiseling a little easier. I demonstrated using a coping saw for waste, and some students opted to use that for their tails.

For the first three hours of the class, students were instructed in how to saw straight and use a marking gauge. This was all about hand-eye-body coordination, and how to work with your entire posture so that sawing straight is a natural and expected phenomenon. Then we spent the next three hours cutting a simple through dovetail without marking anything, except waste and where to cut the pins from the tails. The square was used after the fact to check our work, not to lay it out. With the dovetail done, the students took six sets of wood home to work on a daily dovetail homework. For the final three hour session, the students add did a blind dovetail.

I was really impressed by how easily the students learned to saw square. Not perfectly square, but absolutely decent. Their initial dovetails mostly went together without trouble. Everyone came in with pretty well done homework. The blind dovetail (which is exactly like a through dovetail except you have to mark out the top of the tails too, and borrow the teachers skew chisels for the corners) went together for all the students far more easily than I thought. When I studied woodworking, it took ages to get to this point. My students had no trouble. So I am really pleased with the approach and I think it is worth pursuing.

What students liked best about the class is the attention to body movement. One commented that understanding that attention to accurate layout and learning how to saw straight and consistently raises the mist on all joinery, of any complexity and makes it accessible. Where I fell short was I should have written a cheat sheet for the steps in doing the homework. I will for next time (this fall). I also left out some tidbits of information that I ended up sharing a little belatedly. So a cheat sheet would be good.

Another learning experience was the discovery that students didn't all have sharp chisels. So in October, the next time I teach this class I will add in an initial segment on grinding and sharpening. We do offer these classes for free - we have a free grinding class coming up on September 9th - but in the limited-enrollment Dovetail class, the students will be able to grind and sharpen up their own chisels too.

Overall I am really proud on how well everyone did. What's really cool for a teacher is seeing students who never even owned tools before, who are doing the homework on a kitchen table to a couple of clamps, do great work.

planing to thickness, round III.....

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 08/23/2017 - 1:21am
I thought that the problems I was having with flattening my boards to thickness was because it is now the 21st century. The boards were twisted, full of pitch, and a had patches of swirly grain. After planing the twist out of one board 5 times and having it come back on me, I tossed it. I would have bet the ranch the old guys never had these headaches to deal with.

Well I was wrong on that. The old  masters dealt with the same problems I had to. They had to work around stock that wasn't straight, full of pitch, and twisted just like me. Getting wide boards wasn't that easy back then neither. Although I think they did have widths beyond 12" that were common then and the width of most stock was 7/8" not the 3/4" I have to work with.

I read a whole litany of complaints from a woodworker from the 1870's. The author was not a happy camper for sure. He mostly wrote about the quality of the boards and the sellers passing off bad stock as premium. The only thing he didn't mention was case hardened boards. I don't think that they kiln dried wood back then?

another mess to clean
The 5 1/2 is the worse one that I have to clean up.

this is the absolute best thing to use to clean the pitch off the planes
This works effortlessly cleaning the pitch off the planes but this stuff gives me a wicked headache. This is kind of old so the odor wasn't that bad and I survived the clean up without any pain in the brain bucket.

wiped clean
I dampened a rag with the turps and wiped the sole of the 5 1/2 clean. I didn't have to scrape it or hit it with a blue scrubbie.

checking my lid board for twist
There is a bit of twist on the non reference face. It is slight and I'll remove it tomorrow. Tonight I wanted to concentrate on the two new box boards. It is muggy and I want to get one reference face done on both.

where the twist shows up
With the sticks on the ends there is a bit of twist. From the 1/2 way point to the near end there is none. The twist only shows up from the 1/2 point to the far end. I think I have a bit of a hump or a high edge here.

first batter
This board is a huge difference from the first round boards. This is straight grained and has no pitch on either side. It does have a bit of twist on both sides. I picked the one with the smallest amount and planed that until the board didn't rock anymore. I placed that side down and commenced working the opposite one to be the reference face.

flat enough now that I can plane the other face
broke out the #6
This is the way I flatten stock. I go straight across the board and then I criss cross the board from both ends. This usually gets me close to flat. I make one more run going straight across the board and then I plane end to end. This is it for the #6 and I switch to the #5 to plane the humps out left by the #6.

I'm a frog hair past 5/8"
I checked the board for twist after the using the #5 and I had some that I planed out. I may have to settle for 9/16" or less for my final thickness.

5 1/2 with the Ray Iles iron
So far I haven't run across anything with this iron to not like. I can't tell any difference between it or the Stanley iron that came with the plane. The only thing left is to see how long it stays sharp and usable.

I'm done
I know that I am very close here now. I have gotten full width shavings from end to end and across the full width of the board.

far corner is bit high still
I seem to chase my tail on this a bit more than I want to. I check for twist and have none so I check for flat across the width with the plane. Any daylight areas I see under the sole, I plane. Then I check for twist again and I have some again. I go with twist free and live with daylight under the sole.

this is getting better
One thing I found that is helping to reduce the amount of daylight I see is planing straight across the board. I used to be a bit timid doing this but now I do it until I get a full width shaving across the full width and end to end. I tended to be more concerned with maintaining thickness than getting dead flat.

both boards done
The thickness on the two boards is pretty close but I have one more check to do with these before I sticker them. The reference face on both is flat and twist free.

it passed the test
Both reference faces are laying flat on each other with no rocking on any of the corners. It is gap free 360° too. I checked the thickness again and it is looking like I'll have box with 1/2" thick sides.

stickered the boards and shut the lights out early
I wasn't sweating too much but the shop is clammy feeling and I just wanted to veg out in the A/C. Barring these boards from doing anything stupid overnight, I'll plane them to thickness tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was Robert R Livingston? (hint he was the Chancellor of New York)
answer - he administrated the oath of office at George Washington's first inauguration

DeWalt XL Trigger clamps

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 9:45pm
DeWalt XL trigger clamp
Of all the squeezy clamps that I have tried out in a store or used in the shop, this is the first one that I can reach for with confidence. The tightening handle is big and comfortable, making it pleasant to apply the rated 600 pounds of force. The bar is a sturdy I beam. […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Charming Vid About Handworks 2017

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 8:20pm

Jameel and Fr. John and crew posted a superb video summarizing 2017 Handworks, where I gathered with several thousand of my closest friends to celebrate hand tool woodworking.  If you were there, this is a sweet taste of remembrance.  If you were not there, it is a bitter taste of regret.

Harold White Lumber Company

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 7:22pm

Earlier this year my territory changed for my job and I acquired the Lowe’s in Morehead, KY as one of my accounts. Whenever I would drive down to that Lowe’s, I would always drive by the Harold White Lumber Co. I was always impressed by the amount of logs the mill had on its lot, but I saw no showroom or retail office, so I always kept driving. That was until a few weeks ago, when I decided to pull in and see what the place was all about. I figured the worse thing that could happen is they would tell me they only sell to wholesale accounts and kick me out.


I stopped at the mill work office and asked if they sold to retail customers. They said they did, but I would have to drive over to the lumber office so, I got back into my car and headed down the driveway to another office. There I met the office manager who asked what type of wood I was looking for. I said “nothing at the moment, just wondered if you sell to retail customers”. She gave me their price list and asked the plant manager to show me around the mill. He took me where they keep the short stacks of lumber with loads of cherry, oak, wormy maple and poplar. He told me that the 4/4 poplar was only $.80 board foot. I usually pay $2.20 for 4/4 poplar at my current lumber yard in Cincinnati. I would have bought some that day, but I didn’t bring any cash with me plus, I was just looking for info at the time and had no intention of buying anything anyway.


The mill is huge with thousands of logs on their land. I looked at their price list and they carry all the major domestic species, but they also have basswood, sycamore, sassafras, hemlock, and coffee tree. I was told by the office manager that they don’t always have the rare species in stock, but if you call ahead, they may be able to mill some up. You can even buy a whole log if you want to mill the wood yourself.


So today, I went back and I told the same office manager I was interested in the four-foot shorts. She had an employee follow me back to the area they keep them so they could load it in my car. The last time I was here, this whole area was stacked with bundles of lumber. The guy told me that the shorts don’t last long. They even have a big dumpster where people can dumpster dive for one to two foot long boards.


I came home with 20 board feet of 4/4 FAS White Oak for $30.00 for a whiskey barrel coffee table my cousin wants me to make for her. The wood should be enough to make the base and top of the table as I already bought a halved whiskey barrel last weekend. The next time I go back, I’m going to stock up on poplar, maple, cherry, and walnut. It’s nice to have place where I can buy hardwood lumber dirt cheap.


Modern Gateleg Table – Free on the Website

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 08/22/2017 - 3:58pm

The cover story for the October 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – a Swedish gateleg table – can be read and downloaded for free here. No catch. No gimmicks. No registration. Just click it and read it. I built this gateleg table earlier this year and based my version on dozens of examples I dug up from the historical record. From looking at the table, you might think that the […]

The post Modern Gateleg Table – Free on the Website appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


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