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Hand Tools

From An Era Of Redundancy…

Paul Sellers - Sat, 01/27/2018 - 12:41pm

…A Treasure Finds Usefulness In a New One It’s an unusual piece, scarce really, I’ve never seen one like it before. It’s a mortise gauge with a threaded adjustment visible in the stem. It’s unusual because the stem is rebated on both sides to hold it in place and it’s this that then stop it […]

Read the full post From An Era Of Redundancy… on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

#6 and #4 planes completed.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 01/27/2018 - 12:26am
Most of the #4 was done last night. I was so close that after dinner I went back to the shop and finished it using a spare tote. The #6 I did tonight after work and both are ready to join and lead the herd. This bug I have for rehabbing my planes is going to take a while to complete. Just thinking out loud, I have 9 planes waiting their turn. My 5 1/2 will be next followed by the 4 1/2. The next two after these are completed will be the #7 and #8.

finally found a pic
This is the way I received the #4. The iron had been derusted and it is badly pitted. The tote broke on me but the rest of the plane was in pretty good shape.

time to see how I did
This is my first time epoxying rosewood and I'm anxious to see how it came out. I didn't prep it in any special way like cleaning it with acetone or scraping the old glue off. I just applied the epoxy to one side and taped it together.

I think I did good
The handle hadn't shifted while it was taped and cooking away. Aside from the tape residue, it is flush according to the finger tip test.

I banged the snot out of this
I rapped this several times on the workbench trying to break it again. It didn't so I'm calling the repair 100% this time. I don't want this break again on me.

both are totes off of a #4
There is a visible difference in the sizes of these two. I know that the tote on the left is from a #4 because there isn't a screw hole in the toe. I had the left one on the #4 and it just barely fit under the lateral adjust.

it's a better fit
The heel fits just right on the small half round disc at the back of the plane. The other tote protruded past it all around.

two problems both fixed
The first one is the slot of this barrel nut is chewed up. This is the one that a big burr that I had to file off. I wasn't going to replace it but after the calorie count to get the plane to this point I might have to.

The other problem was screwing the barrel nut and stud on the plane. Usually I screw the barrel nut on the stud and then screw it into the bottom of the plane. I couldn't do that this time. I had to thread the stud into the plane first, slip the tote on and then screw the barrel nut on. The problem was the stud was pitched forward and wasn't centered in the counterbore on the top of the tote. I had to push the rod back and slip the barrel nut on and then screw it home. It took a few turns on the dance floor before I nailed it.

last step
I love this stuff. Not only does it shine up metal, it protects it too. I am liking the protection more than the shine. And it lasts for 3-4 months before I have to apply it again. Glamour shots are next.

starboard side
stern shot
port side
it's a keeper
It is making nice fluffy, see through shavings. I got it set to pass even shavings on the R and L with no fussing at all. This will serve me well at the upcoming class and I will put it to good use in the shop.

forgot the bottom shot

the #6 bow shot
I searched for a before pic but I gave up. I have bazillion pics and after slogging through them for 45 minutes I had enough.

starboard side
The original rosewood tote and knob on this plane I put on Miles's #6. I bought a replacement set made of rosewood from Doz. I can't remember where the maker said this came from but most likely it's a central America variety.

stern shot
port side
bottom shot
had to back up the frog
I had the frog too far forward and the iron wouldn't extend through the mouth. I don't change my frogs once I set them so the frog screw advance on the later types or bedrocks don't hold any magic for me. In all my years of using planes I can recall only one time that I moved the frog to change the mouth opening.

unbelievable shavings
I set it for equal R/L shavings and then I made a boatload of the fluffy things. Something magical to me when I see them effortlessly come spilling up and out.

see my dilemma
The #6 sticks out looking real pretty while it's neighbors look like junk yard wrecks. I will do the Stanleys for sure but I haven't decided what to do with the LN or LV planes.

used the original iron in the #4
I decided to try the iron that came with the #4 to see how it would work. It performed as well as any other #4 iron/chipbreaker that I have used.

why I wanted to put it aside
This is what bothered me about this setup. Looking underneath the chipbreaker hump I can see white. I can't see through the chipbreaker/iron meeting, just a white line. I planed a boatload of shavings with this and when I was done I checked this. I found absolutely nothing jammed or underneath the chipbreaker. Nothing more annoying than getting shavings jammed up in the chipbreaker. I don't know how to explain the white line but it obviously isn't effecting making shavings.

cleaned the tape residue
I got that cleaned up but there are few spots that I think are epoxy spills. I'll leave that for this weekend to fix. I am still calling this done regardless.

I found out something tonight about the blog I didn't know. If you do a double enter key stroke, that the blog gets published. How do I know this? I did it while writing this blog post.  I'll have to try and remember that quirk. I checked unplugged shop but it doesn't appear that it got published. Maybe I got lucky and reverted it back to a draft before that happened.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a lepidopterist is someone who collects or studies butterflies?

Half-blind dovetails

Oregon Woodworker - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 8:09pm
I have written about my lack of enthusiasm for through dovetails for many, certainly not all, applications.  I only use through dovetails in applications where maximum strength is the highest priority, like my travelling toolbox,  but I don't think they look that great, especially on the off-side.  My understanding is that this was the consensus historically.

However, my opinion doesn't apply to half-blind dovetails.  They seem to me like an ideal way to get both great appearance and strength in many more applications than just drawer fronts.  Half-blind dovetails block the "box joint" side of through dovetails while preserving their strength.

This appreciation of half-blind dovetails led me to see if I couldn't become more proficient in making them.  I decided to make at least one every day for a week as a start.  I don't presume to offer a guide to making them because there are plenty from experts but will instead describe my experience and offer some supplemental observations.  If you prefer tips from an expert, try this and this.

Before I get into the details, an observation.  I have always thought of half-blind dovetails as more difficult to make than their through cousins, but it doesn't seem to be the case.  They take longer, but that's about it.  Maybe it's me, but slight gaps don't seem to look as bad as they do on through dovetails.  There are probably multiple reasons, but one is that you only see one side of the tails.  It's true that you can only saw out half of the pins but that doesn't seem to be a big deal.  Chiseling out the waste in the pin board isn't much more difficult than it is for through dovetails.

There is nothing different about the tail board except that the tails are shorter, so there's no need to discuss it.  The usual considerations apply.

For some reason, marking out the pin board has been a real struggle for me and, now that my sawing has improved, this is the major source of inaccuracy in my work.  It's the reason some my first attempts this week were poor.  Perhaps it is declining eyesight, but just using a marking knife hasn't worked for me.  Pencil hasn't worked for me either.  Sawing a bit away from the line and paring to fit is extremely time consuming and tedious.

After my poor first attempts, I used the masking tape trick and it worked better, but it is time consuming.  This was the method used for the test joints you see here and, despite the improvement, I believe it is the primary cause of the remaining inaccuracy.

For some reason, sawing the pin board for a half-blind dovetail seems much more difficult to me than for a through dovetail, but it isn't.  I've puzzled about this.  It may have to do with the fact that it sort of forces you to start at the front, create a kerf across the top and then saw down the line.  The mistake I make the most is sawing a bit beyond the gauge line into the web.

Chopping out the waste isn't all that difficult.  It can be a bit challenging if the grain dives.  One thing I've done in the past if I was making a lot of joints is use a forstner bit in the drill press to remove waste down to depth, which creates a reference, but I am not doing that for this exercise.  I do think that using the drill press the way Rousseau does in the video link above speeds things up a lot if you are making a number of joints.

My first effort:

Notice the gap at the front of the tails.  On my second effort I was careful to make sure the tail board was up tight when marking out the pins and to make sure I didn't move the scribed line when chiseling out the waste:

There is one gap and I don't know why it's there.  It could be a sawing error but my guess is that it has to do with marking out and cutting to the blue tape.

More later.

Categories: Hand Tools

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, what to build.

Mulesaw - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 6:46pm
There are approximately 9 months left before the third bi-annual DCBE is scheduled to take place.

While it is still a bit too soon to start clearing out the shop and make ready for the event, it is by no means too early to start contemplating on what we should build this time.

The first DCBE was aimed at Welsh stick chairs, and the second event saw all of us making Roorkhee chairs.

All making the same kind of chair gives a possibility to make some sort of stock ready, and it is easy to help each other on the way, since all have to do the same things.
The other approach, where only the general guideline is suggested, is interesting in another way, because there are so many different ways to do things, and it will be much more up to the individual participants, what they would like to build and how to do it.
We have also discussed the option of employing steam bending as a theme, so that we could all get bit of experience in that. Then it would be up to each person if they wanted to utilize that in their design.

I think that I will try to suggest that the DCBE 2018 will be an event in which each participant can build whatever he desires. As long as it is some sort of furniture aimed at being used for sitting on.
I will try to make some chair blanks etc. made ready, so that anyone wishing to make a Windsor or welsh stick chair can do that.

A rocking chair could be fun to make, either a classic model using rockers made out of wood, or experimenting with a renewal of the platform rocker design using springs.

Ever since I saw a picture of Ray Schwanenbergers immaculate sack back nanny rocker, I have wanted to build one.
We aren't planning on getting anymore children, and given the age of our own children, grand children are still a long long way out in the future. But that would potentially give me the time to complete the piece before it is needed.

So as you can see, there are still some things that aren't quite decided yet.

I am certain however, that we will organize the food the same way as we did last time, with a catering company, as that was a great help.
We will probably have to increase the intake of pastry by visiting the local bakery a bit more, but that shouldn't be a problem given that we all work very hard - so the extra energy is needed..

Pastries named after a famous Danish children's television frog (Kaj)
Picture courtesy of Toolerable.

Categories: Hand Tools

Issue Four T.O.C. – Charles F. Hummel “The Business of Woodworking: 1700 to 1840”

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 1:56pm

Every weekday until the February 1st opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we will be announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here. 

In this issue, we are honored to publish an article written by Charles F. Hummel, one of the premiere furniture scholars in America. This piece, originally published in 1979 in an exhibition book, traces “The Business of Woodworking” in pre-industrial America. Here, Hummel relies on countless primary sources that reveal how craftsmen sourced their lumber and tools, how they interacted with clients, and even how much time they recorded spending on given projects.

We are so excited to publish this essay because, frankly, we’ve never read anything quite like it. The amount of details Hummel has unearthed from countless archives of documents gives three-dimensionality to these long-gone artists. He even provides vivid anecdotes like this one from a clock case:

“A sketch of cabinetmaker George Adam Gosler wielding an axe on a tall clockcase includes a notation that in the 1770s one of Gosler’s customers had “scrupled” about the price, claiming that it was too high. They argued, and Gosler, claiming that his work was good and that he would not let it go from his shop under his price, “took his hatchet and cut the Case all in Splinters.” This outburst of pride, a telling incident about the kinds of pressures to which many woodworkers were subject, was indirectly the subject of part of an essay by Felix Dominy in 1825. Among his observations of the things that he liked to see were "A Carpenter keep his saw in good order & not stand out too often for higher wages.”

The way that Hummel connects these personal (and very real) tidbits about the craftsmen with the work they accomplished is compelling and worth paying close attention to. We think you will love this essay.

You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here.


Categories: Hand Tools

If I buy a plan and chisel set what sizes do I need to get basic projects done?

Giant Cypress - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:28pm

The standard answer is, “It depends on the exact projects you’re planning on making.” But I’ll go out on a limb and say that you can do a lot with a set of 6mm, 12mm, and 24mm Japanese chisels. For planes, the standard Japanese plane has a 70mm blade. But the plane I use most often has a 65mm blade, and the 65mm planes tend to be a bit cheaper than the 70mm planes on eBay.

Fixing a Mistake on an Assembled Case

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:40am

Where this Chisel is Going, It Won’t Need Roads

As posturepedic as having the leg tenons poking an inch out of the seat, I think it will feel better and look better once I have pared them flush to the seat. On the center leg this isn’t a major deal because the pommel creates a convex curve, but the back tenons fall into the scooped out area. Certainly if you have some carving gouges you can tackle them with those, but I find that a regular old bench chisel used bevel down and quickly and precisely pare them flush and beautiful.

RWW Live Next Week

Tune in to my YouTube channel next Wednesday, February 1st at 6 PM EST for a special Joinery Roulette. I will cut a joint of your choice and discuss how I do it and anything you want about it. Suggest a joint in the comments below, feel free to try to stump me or just suggest something that might actually get used in a future project.

Joinery Roulettte

Categories: Hand Tools

new toys.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:31am
Got two in the mail, one for me and one for Miles. My toy is a replacement Record 044 and Miles got a 1/4" pigsticker. Can't honestly say that I'm thrilled to pieces with either one. That is the luck of the draw when you buy old tools. Both will need a bit of fettling to give the warm and fuzzy feeling.

1/4" pigsticker
I decided that I am going to get a 1/4" and 3/8" pigsticker for Miles's toolbox for now. These are the two most common size mortises and should get him going. I'm sure that before he gets to use either of these, I'll have added a couple of more to the herd.

funny shaped handle
It doesn't feel too bad in my hands but I think it will be way too big for Miles.  I may thin this down a bit and keep the oval shape.

my new 044
The rods from my first 044 with what I now think are hang holes. The new 044 rods don't have them.

first rods fit the new 044
The fit of the rods is still sloppy. And the sloppy fit is consistent in all four holes.

the fence works
The fence will cock itself on the rods but I can also make it parallel. Far away or in close, I was able to duplicate cocking and making it parallel. Once I tightened down the fence screws, it was tight and maintained the setting.

plowed a long groove
I started at the front and worked back taking full length strokes when I got there. I had no problems with the fence and it maintained it self up tight against the edge.

first one on the bottom, new one on the top
The new one has more nickel loss and the handle is showing rust on it. The screws from the first one are in better shape looks and rust wise over the new one. I can swap these out with each other.

10mm rods
They fit snugly in the new plane body and they fit only in the front holes on the fence. They barely go in 1/8" and no more.

eyeball for parallel looks good
it was off 32nd
It was easy to correct but this will prove to be a PITA with each use. Maybe with new rods I won't have to do these dance steps. For now it is an improvement over the first 044.

both rods wiggle in the holes
The back rod wiggles much more then the front one does. I really had to crank the screws to tighten them down and remove all movement in them.

done with all the sanding
I won't be able to get these put together tonight. I'll be tomorrow before I can show the glamour pics.

the tote broke again
I am not impressed with the gorilla glue at all. This is my third time using it and it is the third time it has failed on me. I put water on side and applied the glue to the other side. I got some foaming so this should not have broken again on the same line again.

I'm using epoxy this time
clamped with electrician's tape
I am doing one last check to make sure it is flush before I set it by the furnace to set up overnight.

10mm rods
McMaster said the rods would be .02 less then 10mm.

new fence rod
second fence rod is thinner
This is why one rod is looser in the holes than the others. This time I'll take Steve's advice and buy the 9.9mm rods. They are less the 6 inches long but I haven't had to make a groove more than an inch in from an edge yet. The rods that came with the 044 are about a 1/2" longer so I'm not losing much.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the longest refueled plane flight was made in a Cessna 172 and it lasted for 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes, and 5 seconds?  (Bob Timm and John Cook were the two pilots who did this in 1959)

Not a Good Businessman

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 11:03am
I really don't like the cheap Chinese fiddles being sold these days.  A heads-up: if you are thinking of buying a violin, bow, and case on-line for $100, just buy beer and pizza instead.  You'll be better off.

I have found one place, however, where inexpensive instruments, not bottom-of-the-bucket VSOs, are useful, and that is in the fractional violins that go out on rentals.  Even then, I don't just pull them out of the box and send them on their way.  Typically, new (real) violin strings, work over the pegs, adjust or replace the bridge.  Throw the bow away, substitute in a Glasser or something similar that has a chance of surviving.

And my rentals are rent-to-own, so I move the kids up through various sizes as they grow.  If the kids stick with it, the parents are well into paying for a decent full-size fiddle by the time the child has grown to that size, and has learned, through various mistakes, how to take care of a fiddle.

The other day, this poor 1/4-size violin came in, brand new, from a reputable supplier.  The fingerboard was a ski-jump.  I debated sending it back, but didn't want that hassle.  I debated asking the supplier for a new fingerboard.  That just seemed too demeaning to all of us.  So I decided to waste more time.

Here's the old fingerboard --

And here is the new one --

After all my reading and work with Hardanger fiddle design, I started to get a little interested in the inlay process, something I haven't done much of.  So I found a piece of bone, a cut-off from a guitar-nut blank, cut it quickly to a rough diamond shape, laid it out on the center of the fingerboard in a random spot, and started the inlay.

I didn't notice at the time, but I drifted a bit to one side during the inlay process, something to be on the look-out for if I do more of these things.

I also did a little bit of simple engraving, which is a bit crude, but I think it looks better than just the bone diamond.

Also cut a new bridge, installed new Prelude strings and a Wittner tailpiece.  For a cheap little fiddle, it ought to work well for someone.

On a sad note, my long-time friend, Stephen Shepherd, passed away yesterday.  He had suffered a stroke a few years back, and went from being a vital historic cabinetmaker and author to a semi-paralyzed invalid.  Early on, it looked like he might come out of it.  He didn't.  When I visited him in Salt Lake this past Thanksgiving, he was basically bedridden and bored, starving himself to death.

I will miss him.

Here we are, the Three Musketeers, at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, in 1974.  Stephen is center, I am to the left, and George Stapleford to the right.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Issue Four T.O.C. – Peter Follansbee Recommends “The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay”

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:46am

Every weekday until the February 1st opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we will be announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here. 

We at M&T have found that, although there are many new books that cover the topic of historic craftsmanship, there is a nearly inexhaustible and often untapped well of knowledge to be found in older titles. We want to reopen these pages for our readers and bring this information back into the light so that it can become a part of the conversation again and inform us more deeply about the handcraft heritage we are passionate about. As such, rather than regularly reviewing only new books, this space will now be used to recommend works both new and old that our contributors believe are worth another look.

Peter Follansbee got his start in traditional woodworking in the 1970s. Starting with ladderback chairs, coopering, and basket making, he found himself inexorably drawn to the world of timber framing. In those days, handcraft resources and information could be hard to come by, but Follansbee pieced together everything that he could find in his study of this trade. Eventually, his hunt led to the discovery of The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 by Abbot Lowell Cummings, first published in 1979. Such a geographically-specific title may lead a reader to question the practicality of this book, but Follansbee was immediately drawn in. Broken into 10 chapters and organized much like a house-building project, the book lays out a thorough historical context before diving into plans, tools, and raising timbers. The chapter on “Interior Finish”, Follansbee notes, contains the most information directly useful for the furniture maker: baluster turnings, molding edges on timbers, even painted decoration. The images and diagrams throughout are large and full of detail.

Follansbee writes, “The author’s multi-disciplinary approach, studying the artifacts (the houses) and the documents pertaining to them, fleshes out what could be a dry study [but] Cummings shows us the life of old houses.”

You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here.


Categories: Hand Tools

Poor Ol' Keyhole Didn't Get No Respect...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:01am
Awe, the lowly Keyhole Saw. Tossed into the bottom of our toolboxes, lost in the back of a closet, this poor category of saw rarely garners any respect. The only time their needed it seems, is when you have to whack a hole for a light fixture in a sheet of drywall. Until then, though, they just seem to be things that get in our way when we are going through our toolboxes looking for a tool that we really need. After a few short years of being disrespected, their tips get broken off, their blades become bent and some of their teeth somehow go missing, but its a Keyhole Saw, so its no big deal. No respect.

In fact, we treat these "saws of last resort" so badly, we don't even call them by their proper name. We call them Keyhole Saws or Pad Saws, but in most cases, they aren't Keyhole Saws at all. Keyhole Saws have a very fine blade, both in thickness and in height, being only 3/8" to 1/2" high, with a length of about 10" to 14". Because the blade is so thin, the ideal Keyhole Saw has a handle that will allow the blade to pass through its entire length, allowing the blade length to be adjustable.

I bought a Keyhole Saw, the seller called it a Keyhole Saw, and everyone that I have shown it to since getting it has called it a Keyhole Saw. It isn't. It's a "Compass Saw".

A Compass Saw is similar to what you see below in the photos. Compass Saws have a 10" to 18" blade that are normally about 1 1/2" in height at the heel, tapering to a definite point at the toe. The blade can be fixed to the handle or removable, and is made from thicker steel than most saws, due to its shallow blade being unsupported for its entire length.

So here is my £31, 150 year old Keyhole Saw that is really a Compass Saw...

Pretty flash-looking little saw.
As with most saws of this nature, it is missing a few teeth,
the result of getting no respect. Its filed 6TPI.
Nice looking handle from any angle.
The handle has a couple of strange cracks that must be
attended to.
Pretty handle design, Mr. Mitchell.
Opps! It seems to be missing the point.

So now I need to find someone who can bring this find back to life. I am still looking for an experienced saw technician in Canada. I found one two years ago, but he quit offering the service and shipping back and forth to a sharpener in the United States is more expensive than ever. If you know someone, or are that guy or girl with all the patience needed for saws, please let me know. I have four saws now that are waiting for you.

This Mitchell Badger Plane was made in 1865 - 1867

And on another note, I got email the other day from a gentleman in Leeds, UK, who sent me a bunch of photos of an H. E. Mitchell plane that he produced in his first two years of business. It's a Badger plane with a skewed blade that is flush with one side and set back on the other. I was really pleased to get the photos as the plane has multiple maker's stamps on the toe, a mark that I haven't seen before on a Mitchell plane. I have seen the "H. E. Mitchell, Eastbourne", but never with the added line, "Saw & Tool Maker". In fact, this is the first time I have seen any mark for Mitchell that says he is anything other than a Saw Maker. I have also seen his planes marked with the Elms Building address before, but not separated like they are on this particular example. I get the feeling that this particular plane is either a very early one in Mitchell's career, or he made it for some type of exhibition where he wanted his business location information in everyone's face. The plane is a bit beaten up, but I have asked if I could purchase it and I'm waiting for a "Yay" or "Nay".

In all these years of messing with H. E. Mitchell planes, I
have never seen one marked with this type
of maker's mark before.
Great Stuff!
That's all I got today...



Categories: Hand Tools

Folding Bookstand Made with Rivets

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 4:45am

For the June 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve built a folding and adjustable bookstand that is assembled with copper rivets and folds up to a neat package about the size of smartphone. It’s a quick and fun project that uses shop scraps and regular shop equipment. The result is great for reading, cookbooks or even holding your iPad while watching movies. It can be scaled up or down […]

The post Folding Bookstand Made with Rivets appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Close Encounter With Albrecht Dürer

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 3:59am


Step into Roy Underhill’s bathroom at The Woodwright’s School, and you’ll encounter a poster of Albrecht Dürer’s “Melencolia I,” a puzzling image filled with mysterious symbols and woodworking tools.

Whenever a student goes missing in the bathroom during the classes at Roy’s, it is for one of two reasons: the pork chop sandwich from lunch is troubling their innards, or they are studying “Melencolia I” and have lost track of time in the loo.


If you like Dürer’s work and live in the Midwest, I suggest you close your laptop, get in your car and drive to Cincinnati before Feb. 11, 2018, to visit the Cincinnati Art Museum’s exhibit ”Albrecht Dürer: The Age of Reformation and Renaissance.” Admission is free. Parking is free.

The exhibit tracks the progression of Dürer’s work using dozens of original prints he created using engraving, etching and drypoint. And the museum supplies magnifying glasses so you can view every stroke and get within about 1” of the original works.

This was the first time I ever got to see an actual print of “Melencolia I.” Like always, seeing the original is much different than seeing it on screen. The texture of the paper, the resolution of each line, even the physical edges of the image stir up a wilder set of feelings than pixels.

It was great to see the square and straightedge, both of which I’ve built many times for myself and customers. (Free plans for the square are here.)


I also spent some time hunting down other woodworking and tool images in the prints. One of the prints, “Sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt” (1501-1502), depicts a sawbench much like the one recovered from the Mary Rose shipwreck. And it features a birdsmouth or ripping notch. That might be the earliest depiction of the birdsmouth I am aware of.


On the more gruesome side of things, there’s “Martyrdom of the 10,000” (1496-1497) in which someone is boring out the eye of a bishop with an auger. This image sent me scurrying to my archive of images. Somewhere in there is an image that Jeff Burks dug up that shows the eyeworker alone, separate from the chaotic scene.

My favorite part of the exhibit was an excerpt from the colaphon of the book “Life of the Virgin.” I wish we could print this inside all our books, instead of the dry copyright notice.

Woe to thee, fraudster and thief
of someone else’s labors and
invention, let thou not even think
of laying thy impertinent hands
on this work. For let me tell thee
that Maximilian, the most glorious
emperor of the Holy Roman Empire,
granted us the privilege that no one
might print copies of these pictures,
and that no such prints might be sold
within the imperial domains. But
should thou still transgress, whether
out of disregard or criminal avarice,
be assured that after confiscation
of thy property the severest penalties
shall follow.

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


Categories: Hand Tools

Lay Out a Bank of Drawers Using Progressive Extension

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 3:36am

This is what we are going to arrive at.

This is an excerpt from “By Hound and Eye” by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Tolpin; illustrated by Andrea Love.


The height of the face changes in a progression equal to the size of the blades, which are called “shadows” when included in the face height.


Start by stepping out the two intervening blades plus three shadow blades.


Divide the remaining space into three parts – the primary drawer height.


Lay out the first face plus one intervening blade.


Lay out the second face increased in height by a blade. The space left over is the third face.

Meghan Bates


Categories: Hand Tools

"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust..."

Giant Cypress - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 3:08am
“I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.”

- Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018), in the introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness. I wonder if Christopher Schwarz had this percolating in his subconscious when he wrote “Disobey me.”

I'm this close......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 12:26am
......mental pic of thumb and forefinger being squished together. I still have neither the #4 or the #6 done. I am oh so close, but still no dancing in the streets. It is looking like it will be a few more days before they are done.  Sanding both planes with 400 and 600 grit is taking longer than I anticipated. But that is all that is needed to be completed on the #6.

The #4 needs that, and the finish applied to the tote and knob, and some more sanding action on the lever cap followed by buffing. The iron for the #4 is toast. I spent a little time trying to get the chipbreaker to lay flat on the back of it and I couldn't get it. The chipbreaker is good and I can use that but I'll have to use one of my spare #4 irons on this plane.

#4 tote
I got 3 coats brushed on this last night before supper and before I finally hit the rack. The crack didn't disappear but the shellac toned down the whiteness of the line.

more noticeable on this side
Not perfect but acceptable. I just may have to elevate the status of this plane to a user vice a parts plane.

putting the yoke back on the #4
I read a blog on restoring  planes where they removed the lateral adjust lever.  He filed the back side of the pin that is peened. The installation just said to peen the pin again. No pics or any verbiage in explanation of removing or putting it back. For now I'll stick with just removing the yoke. That is easy for me to do both ways. But having the lateral adjust off would make sanding the frog face easier to do.

the ubiquitous blurry pic
I tried to sand this but the paper ripped because there is a big burr. This being brass, I thought I could sand it out but that didn't happen with 320 grit.

tried out my new files
I used 3 flat files and all 3 filed ok. I bought these mostly for the non flat ones for shaping in my upcoming class.

trimmed my 3 new sanding blocks
my biggest sanding block
I am thinking of putting this tote and a front spare tall knob on this. I also think it would benefit from some kind of holding thing to secure the sandpaper too. I won't put any cork on this until I make up mind on how to do this.

ready to start sanding
The plan is to use the big one on the #6 and the smaller on the #4.

gave me the willies
I tried sanding this on the bench but that wasn't working. I couldn't maintain control of the sanding block and the plane at the same time. Clamping this in the vice was giving me cold sweats. There is an incredibly super fine line between clamping this and saying 'aw shit, I broke it'. I sanded the sole with 400 and 600 grit and took it out of the vise.

smaller sanding block on the sides
 This is was how I spent the majority of my time in the shop tonight. Sanding can't be made glamorous with the written word nor can it be enhanced with pics. Doing the sides is easier than doing the sole but I'm thinking of making a jig for this. It's something to think about that would make the sanding easier and a bit more secure.

2 sprayed coats of shellac
I have a couple of cans of shellac and before they go bad I want use them up as I can. I will spray two more coats on theses and call it done.

knob is looking real good
The plane collector uses lacquer because he said that is what Stanley used. I like shellac as being friendlier to use. I don't have a lot of experience with lacquer. They last time I used spray lacquer in the basement it stunk up the whole house.  Shellac smells medicinal.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a standard credit card is 3 3/8 inches by 2 1/8 inches?

Issue Four T.O.C. – Examination of an English Walnut Kneehole Desk

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 2:25pm

Every weekday until the February 1st opening of Issue Four pre-orders, we will be announcing one article from the table of contents here on the blog. If you have yet to sign up for a yearly subscription, you can do so here.

Every issue we are committed to providing a thorough close-up insider view into a piece of pre-industrial furniture. These photo essays focus on showing tool marks and construction evidence because we believe seeing typical hand tool surfaces is one the most valuable ways we can learn about period craftsmanship.

We’re excited to share this English walnut kneehole desk with you readers in Issue Four because it is so unbelievably rife with the artisan’s fingerprints. While it has an elegant face, the interior reveals that this piece was made with practicality at foremost importance. Did you ever hear anyone say that English cabinetwork was more refined than American work? While there may be truth in that statement, this piece disagrees. But don’t take my word for it… look for yourself.


You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here.


Categories: Hand Tools

Barn Workshop – Historic Finishing

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 5:13am

April 26-28 Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings.  Each participant may bring a small finishing project with them, but I have found that invitation to have erratic responses so the workshop will focus on creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections.  Tuition $375.


The complete 2018 Barn workshop schedule:

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

Making A Petite Dovetail Saw June 8-10, $400

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950


If any of these interest you, contact me here.

"I think it is incumbent on all human beings to oppose injustice in every form."

Giant Cypress - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 5:08am
“I think it is incumbent on all human beings to oppose injustice in every form.”


Hugh Masekela, 1939-2018

Yellow Glue & its Weird Superpowers

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 4:31am

A friend in Utah needed a new kitchen and interviewed some cabinetmakers to do the job. My friend wanted dovetailed drawers, but one cabinetmaker said he had “something better.” What could be better? “It’s glue and super-high clamp pressure,” the cabinetmaker said. If you apply enough pressure, he said, the joint will be so strong that the wood will fail before the glue. So no joinery. Just glue and clamp […]

The post Yellow Glue & its Weird Superpowers appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


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