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A Book of Probable Benches

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 6:11pm

corsica IMG_9465

My next book, “Ingenious Mechanicks: Early Workbenches & Workholding,” is about one-third designed. As with all my books, it is wrestling with me like an alligator in a vat of Crisco.

Suzanne “The Saucy Indexer” Ellison has turned up a number of new images of old workbenches recently that have reinforced and nuanced some of my findings and conclusions about early workbenches.

The image at the top of this blog entry is not one of them.

Suzanne plowed through about 8,000 images (a conservative estimate) for this book. And some of the images were dead ends, red herrings or MacGuffins.

In the image above (sorry about the low quality), we have a bench that is off the charts in the odd-o-meter. It is from Corsica, sometime between 1742-1772, and was painted by Giacomo Grandi, who was born in Milan but lived on Corsica.

Here’s what is strange:

  • It is a low workbench with the screw-driven vise perhaps in the end of the bench. Or the benchtop is square. Either way, that’s unusual.
  • The screw vise has only one screw and one vise nut.
  • The vise’s chop is weird. It is longer than the bench is wide.
  • The chop is being used in a manner that simply doesn’t work (I tried it on one of our lows benches). This arrangement offers little holding power.

So instead of saying: “Hey look we found a bench that makes you rethink end vises,” we are instead saying: “Hey I think this bench is the result of the painter trying to create a workbench to assist his composition.”

tilting IMG_9452

As I am typing this, Suzanne and I are trying to figure out if we’ve found a tilted workbench from Corsica that is similar to Japanese planing beam. Or if it’s a victim of forced perspective. Or something else.

At times such as this, I can see how a book could fail to be published. There is no end to the research, the new findings or the greasy alligators.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

What Do You Call This?

Paul Sellers - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 6:05pm

In silence they smiled. Uncommon, occasional and always silently. It was the silence somehow that spoke the most-the inaudible loudness of it that loudly spoke of an inordinate joy and the funny thing about it was this. In the silence of that occasional, uncommon smile, others around knew about it, shared in it and it […]

Read the full post What Do You Call This? on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Desk Project – The Prototype

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 4:01pm

It’s been more than four months since I last wrote about my project to interpret an early 19th century writing desk for a client, when I had the opportunity to use period appropriate technology for virtually the entire project.  Previously I had written about deriving the design templates for the project, and this post will finally get down to fashioning wood.

My first problem(?) was that I was a bit hazy on some of the internal construction details of the original.  To resolve that void, or to at least come to a workable conclusion, I needed to build a full scale prototype.  Using some left over 2x SYP from a workbench-building  project I did just that.  I rough cut each leg element with a bandsaw (this was primarily a proportion and joinery exercise) then shaped them just enough to get the gist of the idea.

Then with each individual element fashioned I dove into the joinery for the complete leg assembly, with frequent dry fittings.

Using PVA I glued up each leg.

In the end I had two leg assembles shaped and fashioned, and joined, glued, and assembled.  This was an important moment as I  exerted my full weight on each individual leg to make sure they would hold.

They did.

Issue Four T.O.C. – Vic Tesolin – “Axes in the Workshop”

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 1:14pm

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. 

Axes are often thought of as tools for firewood but I can assure you that they're not just for rough splitting. In my shop, I have three axes that get used often for shaping and material prep. The key to understanding these tools is to have a grasp on how to sharpen and maintain them. Couple this with some simple techniques and a chunk of tree to work on and you will be surprised with the level of work that can be done.

It only takes a few swipes of a jack plane to straighten out the axe work and bring the board to final size. Choosing to use this tool boils down to efficiency. Whether you are carving spoons or making furniture, I think every shop should have an axe or two. Axes may seem mysterious if you have little experience with them, but they’re nothing to be afraid of. Once you have your axes good and sharp I promise you will look at them differently.

- Vic Tesolin

You can reserve your copy of Issue Four here.


Categories: Hand Tools

Oak Writing Desk

Anne of All Trades - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:11pm
Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 3.44.35 PM.png

I'm really excited to be working with Marc Spagnuolo, the Wood Whisperer to create in-depth content for his online woodworking guild. If you've been following me or my blog for a while, you may remember an oak writing desk I built with my good friend Jonathan at Homestead Heritage in Waco, Texas. Since I will be modifying and expanding the original design for the desk over the next couple of months and documenting the process for the Guild, I thought I'd share the original article I wrote about the experience building the chest at Homestead Heritage for F&C magazine. Click here to read the whole article.  


A Primer on Scribing: How to Scribe with a Shim

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 5:05am

Scribing, like coping, is one of those seemingly magical techniques that allow you to make one piece fit another. Scribing has a variety of applications. It’s not only good for fitting trim to irregular walls, or cabinets to floors that are out of level; you can scribe almost any material – round logs, sheets of drywall, floor tiles, pieces of exterior siding … you could even, in principle, use it […]

The post A Primer on Scribing: How to Scribe with a Shim appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Take Some Ugly Pictures, Too

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 3:53am

Late in 2015, Joshua Farnsworth and I traveled to Hancock Shaker Village to film the openings of a couple videos. While there, I measured and photographed the two projects in detail with the intention of reproducing them as accurately as possible.

While I was holed up in the brick dwelling that day measuring and taking pictures of the projects, Josh wandered around the village taking pictures and video.

When we got back to the hotel that night we looked over the pictures we had taken. Josh’s stuff was great. He has a good eye, and Hancock is a beautiful place. My pictures, on the other hand, looked pretty lame in comparison. The photos were of the insides and undersides of the two projects. Mostly, tool marks of all kinds, intersections of joints, writing, mistakes (yes, the Shakers screwed up, too) nails, screws and layout lines. Most people would not even know what the pictures were of. I was trying to photograph how the pieces were made.

IMG_0849 (2)

An early 19th century Shaker chest of drawers at Hancock made of butternut and white pine that I documented in 2017.

As time goes on, I find these ugly photos provide more and more information on a project than I realized. Whenever I look back over these pictures I always see things I did not notice when measuring the actual artifact.

Today as I was reviewing the ugly pictures I had taken on my last trip to Hancock of a chest of drawers that I am preparing to build, a little tidbit of information showed up.


This is a photo of one of the drawer joints from the chest above.


Same joint as above zoomed in a bit. Look at the the two photos of the drawer joint, what do you see? Hint: Has to do with the order which the joint was cut.

I said all that to say this: Ff documenting a piece of furniture, take the time to measure accurately and take good overall photos of the piece. Most of all, take lots of high-resolution photos of the insides and undersides of the piece. When it comes time to build, you will find yourself referencing the ugly photos more than anything else.

— Will Myers


Categories: Hand Tools

I just visited Tokyo and was near Tokyo Big Sight, a large convention center in the Ariake area. In front of the building is a huge statue of a hand saw - a western saw. Any idea what is up with that?

Giant Cypress - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 3:38am

I can only conclude that this is an indication of what should be done with western saws — bury them in the dirt.


Just kidding, of course. This is a sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, titled Saw, Sawing. According to their statement:

Coosje found the saw appropriate to the cross-cut effect of the layered construction surrounding the site. Also, the teeth of the saw would continue the triangular motif of the buildings. 


Since the Western saw is not a tool used in Japan, we hoped that this common object, detached from its function, would become mysterious in its foreign context, subject to surprising new interpretations of its identity.

(Photo from Tokyo Fotos.)

tool rehab day......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:38am
I ended up doing rehab work for most of the day. I hadn't planned on that, it just happened. My hands weren't hurting too bad and all the finger work I was doing wasn't bothering me. So I went with the flow and did what I could because I never know when they will start singing arias. I also changed the rehab schedule. I was going to do the #7 and #8 after I got done with the two I have in the queue now. I switched that to the 10 1/2 and the #3 being next. Why? I use them more than I use the #7 and #8.

what is the white line?
I am not getting any jamming under the chipbreaker but I still want to know what that white line is. Is it a gap between the chipbreaker and the iron? I flattened the back of the iron and I stoned the back edge of the chipbreaker. So two flats should equal zero light, right?

back of the chipbreaker
The edge is shiny and consistent in width side to side. The white line I see I thought was light being reflected off of this but it isn't. I shined a light at the front I can see that for about half of the width. I have a gap but I still am not getting jamming? Why?

I can close it
With almost no finger pressure on the chipbreaker, I can close the gap. When I do that and shine the flashlight on the front, I see no light under the chipbreaker and no white line.

the third part
The lever cap is providing the final bit of pressure on the chipbreaker to close the gap. I checked 5 of my spares and all five of them have a gap I can see when the flashlight is shined on the front. I do not have a problem with any of these jamming or getting shavings under the chipbreaker. Some of them have questionable flattened iron backs but all have a good stoned edge on the chipbreaker (similar to the one above). So the lever cap must be what is closing it when I use them.

5 1/2 tote
Scraped and sanded up to 320 grit. This will turn dark once the shellac goes on. I like this lighter unfinished look because I can see the grain. The shellac tends to hide that.

scraped the knob
The finish on this wasn't shellac and I'm guessing it was lacquer.

the grain runs up/down
Most of the ways I have seen this done is via the dill press. I have done them in the drill press too but I don't do that anymore. Sanding them in drill press means your are sanding across the grain. I opted to scrape and sand the knob with the grain.

scraped and sanded up to 320
The whole operation on the knob took less than 10 minutes to do. Both of these are ready for shellac. I will brush on the first two coats and then I will spray on 3-4 more after that.

problem area on the 5 1/2
This area doesn't have any japanning and it is incredibly difficult to clean and sand to bare metal in this area.

part of my Harbor Freight road trip
I got these to scrape all the areas I can't sand and get my fat fingers in.

got a buffer on sale for $45
I had a $20 off coupon and I got the upgraded warranty on this. In the first 90 days if this goes south they will give me a new one. After that she said they will fix it which means they will give me another one then too.

replenished my brushes
These were all on sale and I needed them. I go through at least one steel and one brass brush on each plane I rehab. The brass ones especially don't last too long.

filed the edge until I rolled a burr
it worked
I was able to scrape the rust away down to bare metal. The burr didn't' last too long but it worked. I had to make a fresh burr a few times to complete these two spots.

Autosol test
According to the writing on the tube this stuff cleans, shines, removes rust, and protects a lot of different kinds of metal. I don't think it shines all that much and I'm going to find out if I'm right or wrong. This is the before pic.

it definitely cleaned this
You apply this with a rag and then wipe and buff it right away.

I don't see a difference
I think for this to shine it would have to be a 'wow' moment to get my attention. It didn't say wow but I do know that this stuff protects. I had used Autosol on this about 4-5 months ago and it still looks good.

LN #4 1/2
I have never used Autosol on this before and it has some rust blooms on this side at the toe.

a few dabs of Autosol
 It doesn't take a lot and this is probably too much.

It didn't completely remove the rust blooms but it did it justice and got 95% of it. I give it a C+ on the shine and an A on cleaning. This is good stuff and worth having in the shop to put on your tools.

I don't see much of a shine raised
buffer set up
I'll try this out on the 5 1/2 rehab with the lever cap first.

first application of stripper
what I use to clean the stripper off the plane
shop apron
I have 3 of these and I can count on one hand and still have fingers free, the number of times I've worn any of them.  On the last rehab I got the dust from the sanding in my pants and it stunk worse than a pair of gym socks forgotten in a locker for ten years. I'll try to remember to wear this and keep my street clothes clean. At least when I'm rehabbing tools.

tried the scraper on the plane
The scraper worked pretty well with getting the remaining japanning off. I had 4 sizes to pick and choose from.

2nd and 3rd applications
The stripper doesn't stick and work well on vertical parts of the plane. I stripped this side first and then did the other one. The two other vertical spots are the cross brace in front of the mouth and the back of the frog seat. Extra work but I don't have a sandblaster to help out.

sanded with 80 grit paper  and cleaned with acetone before the primer gets sprayed on -
extra screws/studs to cover the holes

I had to stuff a bit of paper towel in the frog adjust screw hole because I don't have an extra one of those.

for the frog seat
I have used this before with good results. I coated the frog seat and the two bare areas at the bottom by the mouth.

 I fixed the 044
The first 044 with the new fence on it didn't work. It will plow a groove but not with the fence up against the edge. I could keep the back heel of the fence there but the toe wandered off to the left away from the edge. Nothing I tried changed that. I then ran 3 grooves with the new 044 without any hiccups.

removed the grooves from test run #1 for a second run
ran 4 more grooves
I did the first one starting at the left and working back. I did the next 3 by starting at the right and going to the left. No problems with plowing the grooves. No problem keeping the fence tight against the edge. Much joy and rejoicing in Mudville with dancing in the streets.

I did have one problem
The depth shoe slipped on me.

the last groove
I plowed it so deep it met the bottom of the other groove and planed this piece right off.

I'm happy with this
The grooves are parallel to the edge from the toe to the heel. The second plow plane is working as expected.

first one on the left, the replacement on the right
I wish this was the opposite of what I'm keeping. The first 044 has better nickel plating then the right one. I think the problem with the first 044 is definitely the front hole wasn't drilled 90° to the body. . The rods on the 2nd 044 are both square to the body once I tighten the screws on the rod.

The first 044 is stowed away on top of the finishing cabinet.  I will use the rods from it with the new 044. The 2nd 044 has two different sized diameter fence rods whereas on the first 044 the two are the same. I will use the plane as it is and hold off on getting replacement rods. I am leaning in the direction now that the rods are designed this way. Maybe it was done this way because of manufacturing practices at that time.

both planes have the same Record design number
On the heel of the skate is a Record design number but the iron clamps are different. Everything else on the two plows are the same except for this and what follows.

why it slipped
The rods on the depth shoes are different diameters. I would expect these having the same design number that they would be identical. Maybe this is why it slipped but it also could have slipped because I didn't tighten down the screw enough.

cleaned, degreased, and rinsed
I will give these small parts an EvapoRust bath. I stopped at Home Depot to get some Rem oil but I couldn't find it. The Plane Collector uses that on his small parts and he said he gets it from HD. I asked the tool guy there and he said he never heard of the stuff. I'll stick with my oil regimen for now.

something odd
I just noticed this about the lever cap for locking the iron. See it?

just the rounded end is nickel plated
It is looking like I'll have a couple of tools rehabbed this upcoming week. The 5 1/2 will be ready for paint tomorrow and the Record 044 should be ready too. I just have to rinse the small parts, buff the ones I can, and put it together. The 4 1/2 should go as quick as the 5 1/2 is but we'll see.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know in the original story of Cinderella, her slippers were made of fur and not glass? (It was a translation error from the story's original french to english)

Tenon shoulder trimming jig, revised

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 6:34pm
tenon shoulder jig
Tenon shoulders must meet stringent standards to produce a good joint – straight, at the correct angle to the length of the rail (usually 90°), accurately paired on both sides of the joint to meet the surface around the mortise, and in position to make the length of the rail fit the overall structure. Thus, […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Upcoming Simple Cove Guild Build: Cherry Wall Cabinet

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 6:57am

This is a guest post by Sean Walker. He is the founder of Simple Cove, a website for sharing project builds. He is gearing up to release a new build from the pages of Popular Woodworking Magazine.  A post shared by Sean Walker (@simplecove) on Jan 22, 2018 at 6:28am PST Hi guys, I’m a new face that you’ve not seen on this blog before. My name is Sean Walker […]

The post Upcoming Simple Cove Guild Build: Cherry Wall Cabinet appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Podcast: The Afterlife of Trees

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 6:54am

Popular Woodworking Magazine has just a launch a new podcast that…. Wait, wait. Where are you going? Give me a few moments to explain. Look, we know the woodworking world has enough podcasts. So when Scott Francis decided to create “The Afterlife of Trees,” a lot of the discussion was about what the podcast wouldn’t be about. It’s not shop talk. It’s not answering the questions of listeners. It’s not […]

The post Podcast: The Afterlife of Trees appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Podcast: The Afterlife of Trees

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 6:51am


Popular Woodworking Magazine has just a launch a new podcast that….

Wait, wait. Where are you going? Give me a few moments to explain. Look, we know the woodworking world has enough podcasts. So when Scott Francis decided to create “The Afterlife of Trees,” a lot of the discussion was about what the podcast wouldn’t be about.

It’s not shop talk. It’s not answering the questions of listeners. It’s not about the projects we’re working on or discussion of our favorite tools. All those are great topics for podcasts that already exist. But the world doesn’t need another one of those.

AoT_logoSo what is “The Afterlife of Trees” about? It’s about stories.

Of you like shows such as “Radio Lab,” “This American Life,” “Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History” or “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” you might like this podcast. We want to tell the stories behind the craft. And if they’re a little odd, then all the better.

In the first episode we tell the story of Eugene Sexton and our efforts to publish an article about his miracle process called ESP-90. This process allowed Sexton to (among other things) dry wood quickly without it checking. In other words: It didn’t matter of the pith of a tree was in the board – it wouldn’t crack.

Many people have dismissed Sexton. But perhaps there is something to ESP-90. We have some wood treated with the process that are puzzling and seem to defy the rules of wood movement. Oh, and we discuss the “green bean of immortality.”

You can download the podcast for free via iTunes.

I’m not sure when the next episode will be. But we’ll let you know here when it’s up.

— Christopher Schwarz

Categories: Hand Tools

slow saturday.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 1:51am
My arthritis has been acting up more lately and today it curtailed my saturday doings. It doesn't hurt much unless I bang or jam a finger. I especially see stars when I hit either of my thumbs. I can deal with the ping and work through it. What I'm having difficulty working with and around is the lost of strength. For some  woodworking tasks it doesn't matter but when you have trouble picking up your coffee mug.....and I drink coffee 24/7/365.

got my drawer slides
Both the drawer and the bottom tray are on the large side so wooden guides are out. I got 75lb, full extension drawer slides. I doubt that I will come close to this rating on the bottom tray with all the tool boxes that will be in it. And I know I won't even get to a 1/3 of the weight rating on the drawer.

for the top drawer
for the bottom sliding tray
I still haven't realized that these aren't what I think they are.

how are these tabs used on a sliding tray?
when in doubt read the instructions
What I called bottom mount drawer slides is this. I thought that what I ordered were drawer slides that mounted underneath the slide out tray. These slides still mount to the sides of the cabinet and I lose 2 plus inches side to side that I don't want to. I wanted under mount slides so I maximize my side to side to allow the toolboxes to fit. I'll have to figure out what I want, is called.

These slides are meant to be used in a vertical application. I could put them horizontally underneath the tray but I lose the benefit of the ball bearing action. The weight and force will be downwards where as the ball bearings will be acting horizontally on air basically.

how it is attached
I will use this one for the drawer and I'll save the one I bought for that for something else. Now I'll have to search for tray slides(?).

#4 tote
I scraped the epoxy spills off. Almost all of them were around the glue line.

first coat of shellac
It already looks like I never scraped this down to bare wood. I will put on 3 more and this will be done.

thinning the handle
I like the semi oval, tapered handle on this pigsticker. However, it is just too fat front to back. I have big hands and I didn't like the grip I had with it. It was hard to hold securely and chisel with it. I will keep the shape of the handle as it is but I will concentrate on removing wood at the front and rear and minimize removal on the sides.

my cue
The handle overhangs the bolster all around. I will even the bottom of the handle with that and taper it back up to the top of the handle.

feels a lot better
My thumb reaches and touches my fingers now.

getting closer
I think this improved the sighting of the chisel. BTW I think the handle is made out of beech. It looks like the beech I have in my stash.

made another quick mortise
The business end of the chisel has been sharpened with a rounded bevel. I prefer a straight one so it'll be a while before I get that.  I did a quick run on the stones to raise a burr and then I chopped this. I didn't do any layout lines, I just chopped it free hand. Doing this mortise with the thinned handle felt better then the one I did first with the fat handle.

changed the barrel nut twice
I don't like this being recessed this far down.

used my last Bill Rittner barrel nut - not much better
5 1/2 is in the batting circle
I have already rehabbed this plane. I have done everything on this one I did on the previous two with the exception of painting the frog and plane interior and refinishing the knob and tote.

the sole
I don't remember when I did this but it still looks good. Sanding and polishing the sides and the bottom is the hardest part of the rehab work. I shouldn't have to do anything more than touch it up with 400 and 600 grit after the stripping and painting is done.

the state of the japanning
It has some loss at the heel and toe with a few spots on both cheeks too. The frog is worse than I remember it being.

clean and degreaser action first then stripper
need some more sanding sticks
Paul Seller has used these but I made some only after seeing the Plane Collector make and use them. They are handy little gizmos to have when sanding the various plane parts.

made a pile
I made most of these with one free edge mostly because I was having problems with holding the sandpaper in place as the glue set on four edges. Two of the longer ones on the left I will cut in half. I tried to make dowel sanding stick but I'm not sure about it. I didn't get the sandpaper to go 360 so it may turn to burnt toast on my first use with it.

This is where I packed it in for the day. I went upstairs and caught up on the Hall Table video series that Richard Maguire is doing . After that I put in Joshua Kleins's DVD on building a table.  I'll have to watch that one again because I fell asleep while it was running and woke up when it was done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that Uncle Tom's Cabin (published in 1852) was the first American novel to sell over a million copies?

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

PopWood Playback #4 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 01/27/2018 - 3:04am

  🚨 NOTICE: No Davids were harmed in the making of this episode.🚨 Episode #4 is live on YouTube! Thank you all so much for your submissions – we have six great videos to share with you this week. Look out for more PopWood Playback episodes every Saturday morning on our Youtube channel. I’ll be hijacking Playback next week, so I’ll see you then! – Jake Motz Here are the […]

The post PopWood Playback #4 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

#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


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