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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

How to Cut the Maloof Joint by Hand

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:11am

A Blind Rabbet and a Tenon Walk into a Bar…

When thinking about how to cut the Maloof joint by hand you need to step back and examine it for what it really is. Its a notch that has rabbets cut on opposite faces. The leg part of the joint is 3 dados. Suddenly this iconic joint becomes a lot easier. The cut a notch in the seat, we saw out the extents and fret saw or chop out the waste in between just like a dado or dovetail pin. The rabbets are blind so a bit more complicated, but really almost identical to a hinge mortise. Finally the leg dados are just sawing the extents and chopping and router planing to depth.

But as with any complex joint, the actual cutting of it is a minor aspect. In fact the success of the cutting is based upon strong layout. So I spend a fair amount of time in this demonstration laying out both parts of the joint and taking care to use dividers to transfer dimensions instead of relying upon actual measurements. Still I think some efficiency could be added into this process and that will come with time as I cut a few more of these.

On the whole, whatever your feelings for this joint, it is a great sawing and chiseling exercise.

More How to Joinery

Some of the other popular joinery suggestions I received were for the Rising Dovetail and the Blind Mitered Dovetail. Both of these I have cut in demonstrations for my Apprenticeship students at The Hand Tool School. So I have pulled these lessons from the vault and made them available for individual purchase.

how to cut a blind mitered dovetailhow to cut the rising dovetail

Categories: Hand Tools

Sanding with Festool – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2018 – Tip #1

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:00am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

I have been working on a painting project every weekend for several months. Actually, it started three years ago. Brenda said, “Since we’re taking the carpet out, before Brent gets here to start putting in the oak floors, what about if we painted the living room?” You might think the operative word here is “we.” It isn’t. I started, of course, with the ceiling. Because our house is built on pilings, it moves a lot. Or, maybe we just had a sorry Sheetrock guy, but, whatever the reason, the panel joints in the ceiling were all cracked. I wasn’t going to sand them down, tape them and apply new knockdown before I painted, but I did take the time to caulk the cracks the best I could.

From there it was on to the walls, which went fast enough. When the baseboards were first installed, they weren’t properly sanded and primed, so it was time-consuming to take them all the way down to bare wood before painting. I worked every night after work, and every Saturday after we closed at noon, for months and months.

Because we have an open floor plan between the living room and kitchen, there was no painting the living room and not painting the kitchen (I painted the kitchen ceiling at the same time as the living room).

The massiveness of the millwork on the living room windows and kitchen bay windows was overwhelming.

This bank of windows is wonderful to look through, but the convoluted millwork at the bottom is an amateur painter’s nightmare. Sore fingers were a nightly feature when I was sanding them to bare wood. And, working on the floor wasn’t this hard when I was in my 30’s.

This bay window is one of Brenda’s favorite sitting spots, so it needs to look good. Willie likes it, too.

I don’t recall what interrupted me, but, at some point in 2014 I stopped painting and, despite good intentions, couldn’t get going again.

This go-round, I took a more practical approach. Rather than unrealistically working every night, I decided to devote every Saturday until I finished.

Not surprisingly, I’m not getting much woodworking in. In fact, I wonder how long one can go between projects and still call himself a woodworker.

Now, the kitchen and living room are finished and that made the adjacent foyer look dark, so we’re (there’s that word again) painting over all of the stained wood.

Nothing beats the Festool system when it comes to a sanding project like this. The CT36 Dust Extractor with a Dust Separator has made this an almost completely dust-free project. Like Steve Johnson letting his inner woodworker creep into his barn project, I couldn’t be satisfied with the machine marks left in the millwork, so I’m sanding most of it to bare wood. The dark stain needs to come off anyway for better white paint coverage. The RO125 Festool Sander is loaded with 120 grit paper, and it doesn’t take long to get down to a smooth surface. Alan Noel recommended 220 grit for a nice, painted finish, and the Festool ETS125REQ Sander, with its shorter stroke, and fine paper, makes every flat surface paint-ready.

There are plenty of nooks and crannies in this project, and the Festool RO90 Sander, with its triangular head attachment, has made short work of those spots.

This skirtboard was the place where the RO90’s triangular head made sanding the hard-to-get-to spots really easy.

There are still areas that require hand sanding, and that’s the only dust generation there has been. Disconnect the sander from the CT, switch from AUTO to MANUAL, and the dust is gone. With the separator, there is no worry of filling up those expensive Festool Dust Extractor Bags.

Dust management is one of Festool’s biggest selling points for the pros, but, it’s pretty darn nice, too, for the DIY handyman with no time to waste.

One day, all of this will be finished, and I will be proud for visitors to come through the foyer, into the living room and lounge in the kitchen.

Just stay out of the parts of the house “we” haven’t gotten to yet.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Sanding with Festool – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2018 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Barn Workshop – Knotwork Banding Inlay

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 5:49am

One of my favorite aspects of working on The Roubo Translation Project has been the replication of many of the techniques he described in L’art du Menuisier.  For a long time I thought that intricate banded borders were dauntingly complex and fussy.  Then I did it the way he said and I realized that the artisans of the period had standardized the process so as to make them near idiot-proof.  Voila’, a method I can work with.

The knotwork banding  illustrated in Plate 287 is a perfect case of this.  Using a set of sawing and planing jigs to produce an infinite number of perfectly sized and fitted pieces the design pattern is a piece of cake.  But, as with most things, the set-up is crucial.  And that is what we will be doing in these three days; making the banding, laying out and creating the jig block, and making knotwork corners to your heart’s content.


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

5 1/2 done again......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:36am
I finished the 5 1/2 (again) and I blame it on my increasing skill in rehabbing planes. I was happy with what I did the first time but some things change for the better. I think that taking the 5 1/2 a couple of more steps paid off. Now, not only do I have a plane that still works like a dream, it is pretty darn good looking too. I am hoping that I don't find something else I can add to the rehabbing steps with future ones because I want these to stay done.

After I completed the 5 1/2 I started back on the 10 1/2. I thought it would have been a simple follow up rehab and it would have been done tonight too. Instead I took a left turn and upped the ante. I don't remember all that I did on the first rehab but there were a few steps that I am doing now that I didn't do then. It'll be this weekend before I will be able to put a check mark in the done column for the 10 1/2.

up to 400 grit
I'm still not getting a wow shine on the lever cap. But it is an improvement over my previous doings. I went from just cleaning and degreasing, to sanding to remove rust, to trying to shine them. Not very shiny but shinier than what I got from just a clean and degreasing.

10 1/2 on the left   5 1/2 on the right
 The 5 1/2 cleaned up pretty good with the Bar Keeps. The 10 1/2 knob will need a bit more help to bring up a 100% shine.

before and after brushes
A brand new brass brush on the left and what it looks like after cleaning two adjuster knobs with Bar Keeps.

still not a wow
I used Autosol on the lever cap and I can see a slight difference. It cleaned it some and raised a bit of a shine. I think I'll have to be content with the shine level and go with the protection it affords.

put on the frog too
I put it on mostly for the protection factor.

back together
It only took a few dance steps to get my shavings spitting out correctly. Same width and thickness on the left, the middle, and the right. The 5 1/2 is done and has rejoined the herd.

the before and after
The 5 1/2 looked similar to the 4 1/2 before I rehabbed it for the second time.

stern view comparison
this is a sweet looking daily user
the shine on the lever cap looks good on the bow shot
the before pic
I thought this looked ok for a daily user before I went down this rabbit hole. I remembered to take a before pic of this one but not the 10 1/2.

found an ugly spot - 10 1/2 frog
The sideswere bare in a few spots before I painted it yesterday. I lightly sanded it tonight to see if I could remove the bumps along the edges. I couldn't and I don't like the rough textured look on this sides. This and the other side of the frog will be visible on the finished plane. I used the file on this to smooth it out.

filed and smoothed
I didn't go nutso on this - I just wanted to remove the bumpy look along the edges.

the other side
This side was sanded and I totally forgot to snap a pic of it after I filed it smooth.

didn't forget to get a pic of it painted
It looks better than the paint job from yesterday.

the other side painted
used a small brush to paint the area around the lateral adjust
Wally World brushes
I got these in the art department at Walmart. 10 brushes for less than $10. I thought if I got one use out of each of them I got my money back on them So far I have used only 3 and the same three for all the tools I have painted. So far they are holding up with all the painting and cleanings. The third brush from the left is the one that I use 99% of the time.

knob and tote for the 10 1/2
I sprayed 3 coats on the two and they look a lot better than what I started with. Most of the 10 1/2 is rehabbed. The frog will have to get a second coat and that will hold up finishing this plane until this weekend.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know a golden set in tennis is where the score is 6-0, with the winner not losing a single point?

Bedlam in the Workshop

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:25pm

“Sacra Famiglia” by Andrea Polinori (1623), Chiesa di San Giuseppe, Todi, Umbria, Italy.

This is one image you won’t see in Chris’ new book “Ingenious Mechanicks: Early Workbenches & Workholding.”

Suzanne Ellison

Categories: Hand Tools

Back in the shop

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 6:34pm

First off – my holdfast is bigger than yours. Being back at Colonial Williamsburg last week reminded me of my previous visit there 11 years ago. I was using the 18th-century style holdfasts, and made an off-hand comment along the lines of “boy, these high holdfasts get in the way…” Ken Schwartz, the head blacksmith offered to make me a low one like I use at home…but I said “No – don’t go to all that trouble..”  – then I guess I made another comment about the height of the holdfast. So after lunch, Ken came on stage and presented me with a custom-made holdfast.

He & I met up again last week, both remembering that event. Seems we’ve both told the story many times – but I’ve never posted the holdfast before. I find it a couple times every year during deep cleaning of the shop.

I finished a carved box for a customer today. One of my “usual” boxes; oak with a pine lid & bottom. Wooden hinges.

I have a number of custom pieces to build this year, so I’ll be doing a lot of furniture work. I get questions sometimes about “do you take commissions?” – and the answer is yes. I have a list right now that will take me through the first half of the year, but this box is an example of something that can jump the queue – I can usually work one of these into my schedule pretty easily. As it happened in this case, the box was made, I just had to finish the lid & bottom.

Finished this walnut book stand today too – which was just the finish; linseed oil. This one is spoken for, but there’s another right behind it.

One of the custom pieces I’m working on now is a chest of drawers. This one is not based on any particular period example, it will be carved and have moldings between the four drawers. I don’t want to use applied moldings in this case (it’s going to a very dry climate, compared to here by the ocean) so I have opted to adapt this “lipped tenon” seen in Plymouth Colony work of the 17th century. In this shot, you see the joint halfway home, leaving a piece about 7/8″ thick riding over the stile’s face. That section will get the molding cut in it.

Here’s how I cut it. Pencil layout for the camera’s benefit. This blank is laying on its face, that will be the molding.

I’ve made the rip cut that sets off the molding, and cut the tenon to length. Now I’m cutting the rear shoulder.

Splitting the waste off. 

Sawing the other cheek of the tenon.

Then chopping the end grain between the tenon and the molding.

The joint once it’s cut & pared.

Fitted into the mortise. There’s 3 rails like this, the other two will have scratched moldings. I’ll shoot more of this project soon.

The Strength of a Chair Comes from Imperfection

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 4:12pm

If you’ve ever used a hand-cut rasp or a hand-filed saw you know how their tiny imperfections from handwork make the tool cut smoother. When it comes to making chairs, the small handmade imperfections are what give it its strength. If you build a lot of casework, I am sure you are grunting in displeasure. Accuracy makes all your pieces go together easily and tightly, right? Well in chairmaking, that […]

The post The Strength of a Chair Comes from Imperfection appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Interview with Core77, Part 2

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 3:40pm


The second half of my interview with Core77 was posted today (here’s the link), and I am deeply jealous of the lede that Rain Noe wrote at the top of the piece. It’s a nice piece of work, and it’s a connection – between Frankfort, Ky., and Frankfurt, Germany – that I wish I had made.

In the second installment, we discuss Crucible Tool, American anarchism and how to design outside the world of trends.

I am sincerely grateful to Rain and Core77 for showing an interest in my work, which at times feels like the drunken uncle to real and honest industrial design.

And while you are at Core77, check out Joel Moskowitz’s new piece on saws. And this crazy piece on a foldable wheel.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

Extrude This

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:43am


This is an excerpt from “The Anarchist’s Design Book” by Christopher Schwarz. 

There is a three-step process for how people – woodworkers or not – approach a typical table.

1. They run their hands over the top to feel how smooth the finish is.

2. They run their fingers on the underside of the tabletop, right at the front, to see if it is also smooth.

3. If there is a drawer, they pull it out to see if it opens smoothly, and to look for dovetails – the mark of quality mid-priced factory furniture.

What annoys me about this ritual – and I’ve witnessed it 100 times – is not the people who look for dovetails. Heck, I want dovetails, too. Instead, what bugs the bejebus out of me is how people are looking for plastic textures and plastic drawer motion in a piece of handmade wooden furniture.

We have been ruined by plastic and its inhumane smoothness. I’ve watched people on a train rub their smartphones like they were rosary beads or worry stones. I’ve seen people pull drawers out of a dresser and feel the underside.

The message is that “smooth” equals “quality.”

That is so wrong.

I refuse to equate quality with smoothness in a universal manner. The “show surfaces” of a piece should be smooth, though they don’t have to feel like a piece of melamine or Corian. Subtle ripples left by a smoothing plane are far more interesting than robotic flatness.

Secondary surfaces that can be touched – think the underside of a tabletop, the insides of drawers or the underside of shelves – can have a different and entirely wonderful texture.

When I dress these surfaces, I flatten them by traversing them with my jack plane, which has a significantly curved iron (an 8″ to 10″ radius, if you must know). This iron leaves scallops – what were called “dawks” in the 17th century – that are as interesting as a honeycomb and as delightful to touch as handmade paper.

That is what old furniture – real handmade furniture – feels like. I refuse to call it “sloppy” or “indifferent.” It’s correct and it adds to the experience of the curious observer.

But what about the surfaces that will almost never be touched? Historically, these surfaces were left with an even rougher texture than dawks left by a builder’s handplane. I’ve seen cabinet backs that had ugly reciprocating-saw marks left from the mill – even bark. To be honest, parts with saw marks and bark look to me more like firewood than furniture.


Typical insides. This is what high-style furniture looks like on the inside. Unfinished. Tear-out. Knots. This is a late 18th-century North Carolina piece.

What should we do with these surfaces?

Here’s my approach: When these parts come out of a modern machine, they are covered in marks left from the jointer and the thickness planer. The boards are usually free of tear-out, bark and the nastiness you’ll see on the backs of historical pieces.

Should I rough these up with an adze and hatchet to imitate the look of the old pieces? Or perhaps just leave the machine marks?

Personally, I find machine marks ugly in all cases. I don’t ever want to see them. So I remove them with my jack plane or a coarsely set jointer plane. The result is that all the surfaces are touched with a plane of some sort – jack, jointer or smooth.

Those, I have decided, are the three textures I want to leave behind.

And none feel like my iPhone.

Meghan Bates

Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworking Workshop for Parents and Fall Fair 2017 – Part 2: How Build a Gnome house

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:29am

When our School’s Fall fair is over, we have the opportunity to pick up some of the leftover forest decor materials and store them for future use in our Manhattan-based woodshop. One find from past years’ Fall Fair was a hollow branch of about 8 inches in diameter. A week after the Fair ended, a volunteer parent mentioned to me that she wanted to build a Gnome house for her […]

The post Woodworking Workshop for Parents and Fall Fair 2017 – Part 2: How Build a Gnome house appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Throwback Thursday: Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 9:16am

Today we wanted to share a special #ThrowbackThursday to a blog written by Chris Schwarz exactly 5 years ago about Highland Woodworking, calling us the ‘Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South.

We also wanted to give a special thanks to Chris Schwarz, Megan Fitzpatrick and Lost Art Press for being some of our biggest advocates and supporters! If you haven’t read any of the beautiful books published by Lost Art Press, we suggest you get your hands on one (or a few). The quality, craftsmanship, and words that their books express about woodworking is bar none.

Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South

The post Throwback Thursday: Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Half-blind dovetails, part 2

Oregon Woodworker - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 8:42am
My test joints turned out well enough that I decided to go ahead and finish the drawer, which I will find a use for at some point.  I did find that very careful fine-tuning made a difference but some small gaps remained.  I used a filler of glue and sawdust to fill the gaps and this is what I ended up with:

Pretty good, could be better. The best way I have found to fill small gaps in dovetails is sawdust and shellac and that's what I will go back to in the future.

Here's how I think I can improve:
  1. I need to make further progress on precise, crisp marking out of the pin board but in a way that produces a line I can follow;
  2. Although I have made significant strides, there is always room for further improvement in sawing technique.  
I decided that I would try to use a marking knife but then find some way to highlight the knife line so I can see it.  After a number of unsuccessful experiments, I settled on putting a chisel in the knife line and drawing a line with a .5 mm mechanical pencil along the back of it.  Here's what it looks like under magnification:

After all of the fumbling around marking out dovetail pins that I have done, this simple and obvious solution seems like it is going to work.  I think it is better than the masking tape trick or any other method I know of.  Quicker too.

Here's the result:

This is dry fit off the saw and chisel and is a significant improvement.  Further improvement depends on sawing accuracy, so this is what I am focused on.  

Now I have two drawers and nothing to put them in.

Categories: Hand Tools

Barn Workshop – Boulle Marquetry

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:47am

Since seeing my first piece of antique furniture decorated with tarsia a incastro, or “Boulle work,” I have been captivated by both the art form and the technique.

This ancient method of  using a minuscule blade in a frame saw, usually a jeweler’s saw in our time, for cutting patterns in two or three layers of material comprised of the shell of a sea turtle, a sheet of brass, and sometimes a sheet of pewter, remains captivating to this day.   The result is the same number of completed compositions as the original number of layers in the stack.

Due to the prohibition of trade in turtle shells I invented my own very convincing replacement material I call Tordonshell.

So these three days will comprise of making your own piece of Tordonshell (I will have some pieces made in advance for the workshop) and sawing patterns from packets we will assemble for cutting.

Though we will be cutting them vertically to begin, there is a chevalet in the classroom and anyone who wants to give it  try is welcome to do so.


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

Twisted Bandsaw Blade Culprit

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:05am

Today I changed the tyres on both wheels of my bandsaw and it was an all day event. I had to travel 70km to buy it, then I had a friend show me how to put one on, got home couldn’t get the bottom wheel off, posted a help request on a forum, told I needed a wheel puller or heat the rubber and wheel to 100° C and put it on that way.

I did neither of that and just slapped it on. I will write an article on this as it is a pain in the backside to put it on, but the way my friend showed me today it makes it a little less frustrating.

When I placed the tyre on there were a few bumps which I levelled out.  So when I installed a brand new blade and saw it twisting like chubby checker I went back to re levelling any spots I may have missed on the tyre. Backwards and forwards for an hour until I was satisfied it wasn’t the tyre.  Then I had a thought and reinstalled the old blade and presto she was running true again. So now I knew that the new blade was twisted. Luckily I had one brand new blade left and installed that one, I must admit I was a bit nervous that it too may be twisted but it wasn’t and ran true.

twisted blade

Btw that picture isn’t my twisted blade, but it had half the twist of that.  There you go I learned two new things today; How to replace a tyre and bandsaw blades can have a twist in it.

Machinery absolutely without a shadow of a doubt SUCK. They are a pain in the pocket and in the backside.  Most machinery and that’s not including Hammer or Laguna are made cheaply and carelessly made in China. You all know that you don’t need me to tell you this but what you may not probably know is it’s not China’s fault. They will make to the standards companies are willing to pay for and that’s not very much.

I use that bandsaw maybe twice a week for re sawing thicker stock into thinner ones and no more than 5mins for those two times combined. Both tyres snapped from wear and tear and I have to express my disappointment in that. Imagine I had a machine only wood shop. Imagine I relied on that machine to work all day everyday. Imagine I had to buy new tyres every month because they’re so poorly made under the direct instruction of companies to keep their costs down.  I worked it out for the length of time I had to an average time I used it and it came 40mins.  I used that bandsaw over the years of a total of 40mins and let’s be gracious and add another 20 mins to that in case I made a mistake. I think enough is enough and it really is time to fight back.  If it’s made in China piss it off, walk away. Rather be without it than throw your money away.

As for me I will be in the near future building myself a Roubo saw. She will last as long as I last and will continue to work when the next person picks it up. Bugger machinery, they may work faster for a moment and then something will break down and she’ll go on strike bringing production to a grinding halt and put you out of pocket for a month. Remember it was the tortuous that won the race and not the hare.

Categories: Hand Tools

Issue Four Now Open For Pre-Orders!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:00am
The moment has finally come: Issue Four is available for pre-order!

As always, all subscription and pre-order copies ordered in our store will be wrapped in brown kraft paper affixed with the official Issue Four wax-sealed trade card (which just arrived from the printer today) and will be packed into mailers accompanied by pine plane shavings. 

The pre-order window will be open through March 21st. After that window closes, the trade cards and wrapping will no longer be available.

Issue Four ships out March 23rd and 24th. (Stay tuned for packing party details very soon.)

This issue is full of incredible authors: Jim Tolpin, Vic Tesolin, Charles Hummel, Jarrod Dahl, Will Lisak, Peter Follansbee, as well as several of the M&T crew: Mike, Jim, and Joshua. You can read a blog post about each of these upcoming articles here.

Thank you again for your support! We’re ecstatic to bring you this newest issue!


Categories: Hand Tools


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