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Making an infill plane from scratch 11, rear tote and infill assembly.

Mulesaw - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 3:11pm
After a lot of sanding, the rear tote seemed OK to me. And it was time to tackle the job of getting it mounted in the rear infill.
I drew some lines to work out from, sawed on the correct side of them with my small Japanese pullsaw, and got busy using the chisel to mortise out all the wood.
This part of the project also took quite some time, but in the end I had a nice snug fit of the rear tote.
The front transition could have been better, but since it will be covered by the blade 99% of the time, I decided that I would stick with the result.

A nice epoxy glue would have been my preferred medium if I had been at home, or a good wood glue a second choice.
Out here the only glue we have it some superglue and some too old winter grade glue where most of the solvents have vaporized over time, leaving the glue with a consistency like marshmallow.

I chose the marshmallow glue, because I have never really liked superglue or cyanoacrylate that much.
I might end up regretting it, but I figure that if everything else fails, I can still pour down a bit of superglue into the glue crack.

Clamping the assembly after gluing wasn't very easy. but I managed to secure it after a couple of attempts.

I believe that this glue has passed its prime.

Clamping arrangement of infill and tote.

Categories: Hand Tools

Building Crucible Inventory for Christmas

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 2:50pm


During the last two months, John, Raney and I have been building up our inventory of dividers, holdfasts and design curves at Crucible Tool to ensure we don’t run out during the holidays.

We’ve also been working on a new product – a lump hammer – that we hope to launch before the end of the year. Details on the hammer will come in the next few weeks as we get the handles finalized (the heads are done and designed).

As a result of all this production work (plus my duties at Lost Art Press and finishing some furniture commissions), I have been lax in writing about our tools. But, on the other hand, I’ve been using the hell out of our tools in the shop.


Our iron holdfasts are as important to my work as my leg vise. They get hit dozens of times a day to secure doe’s feet or workpieces at my French workbench. These are the only holdfasts that haven’t failed me (you know, when you hit a holdfast and it only bounces in the hole). Even when I’m securing stuff 8” off the bench, these cinch down as gently or as fiercely as you like.

I also love how my holdfasts have aged during the last 18 months in my shop. They are dark grey and nicely dented. I’m glad we didn’t opt to powder coat them or attempt to block the natural aging process.

The improved pattern dividers are always on my bench. They’re in my hand when I’m thinking. They’re in my hand when I’m laying out joints. They sit on the bench as a reminder of what’s important – accuracy not precision. As these dividers have broken in, I’m glad we took the extra step to make the hinge’s tension adjustable. Some blacksmith-made dividers I have in my shop have some slop in the mechanism. When you move the tips, they adjust suddenly for about 1/16” and then move tightly. You can tighten these up with a hammer, but it’s tricky.

Ours do not have this slop. And the reason they don’t have slop is one of the reasons they cost what they do.


Interestingly, the design curves haven’t seen as much use as the other two tools. But I haven’t been doing much designing during the last few months. I’ve used them to help design the arm bow for a staked armchair I’m (still) working on. But these curves have mostly sat on my desk, waiting to be used. I can say they have remained quite flat all summer – yay for seven layers of bamboo.

So apologies for the silence on the front of Crucible Tool. You can expect more information about using our tools in the coming months – there’s lots to explore with these tools.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Crucible Tool, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Two Brands of Brass Mallets

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 8:43am

If you follow my blog, you know that I have an affinity for striking tools. Check my entries on hammers, turned mallets and carved mallets (from branches) if you haven’t had a chance to read them before. A few years ago I purchased a set of brass head mallets from Lee Valley that I use occasionally. I liked them, so last year I ordered two more brass mallets for our […]

The post Two Brands of Brass Mallets appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

POLL: Where Do You Get Your Wood?

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:00am

The dairy farm I grew up on was pretty self-sufficient.

We grew most of what we ate, from meat to grain to vegetables and, of course, milk and butter.

We grew much of what the cows ate, too.

My Uncle Sam, and his two brothers Bee and Charles, milked separately but farmed together. Their homes were within a mile of each other. Combined, their herds ran about 100 head.

There was plenty of rich, bottomland pasture to graze the cattle on grass in the spring, summer and fall. But, come winter, the only way milk production could be maintained was to supplement. That meant we spent much of the spring and summer growing corn and sorghum to turn into silage in the fall. (Uncle Sam used to love to joke that Yankees called it ensilage.)

We had two in-ground silos and three trailers to move the fresh-cut vegetation from the field to storage.

Think we bought those trailers?

Think again. Think self-sufficiency. Back in those days the only “treated lumber” was creosote-infused. Not only would creosote have been toxic to the cows, we probably couldn’t have afforded it anyway.

Thus, the wood on the trailers had to be replaced periodically. The acids and sugars in the silage took their toll. To get the lumber, the brothers would take a day off, select the best trailer, hitch it behind one of the pickups, and amble off to a sawmill in the middle Mississippi, Big Black River swamp. If I was lucky, one of my friends got to go along. On the first of these trips I made, Junior Cain, a neighbor kid from down the road came along.

We rode in the bed of the pickup. No one thought that was dangerous then, and we never got hurt. On the back roads we sat on the lowered tailgate, big clay gravel rocks banging into our feet. We thought it was great. And completely normal.

The brothers would negotiate their best price for a certain amount of wood, load it into the trailer, and back home we would go.

But, what are you going to do with two little kids while the negotiating and sawing were going on? Why, do what grownups did with kids in those days: cut them loose to their own devices.

And, by “devices,” I don’t mean iPads.

The swamp sawmills had massive six-foot diameter circular saw blades and conveyor belts that piled the sawdust into mountains. And, what kid doesn’t like to climb a mountain?

Junior and I climbed to the top, rolled to the bottom and repeated dozens of times. We had sawdust chips in body parts where the sun didn’t shine. We were a mess, but the grownups didn’t care. We were in the bed of the truck, remember?

All that fun was a fond memory until, a couple of days later, I began to scratch. I was itchy on my head. I was itchy on my toes. And, I was itchy everywhere in between.


Imagine the embarrassment of a just-prepubescent boy having his Aunt Polly put calamine lotion on every part of his body.

All that swamp sawmill lumber had been gift-wrapped in poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, and maybe some poisonous plants that hadn’t been named yet. Everything went into the sawdust, of course. And inside our clothes and shoes.

However, an interesting thing happened. I became hyposensitized to all those plants. I could go into the backyard right now, pull poison ivy off the trees with my bare hands and never react.

There’s another thing I remember about that sawmill lumber. It was hard! Even in later years, when I had good coordination and experience driving nails, I would still bend half of the spikes I hammered. I never knew what species went into those trailers, but I’m guessing the sawyers cut whatever got in their way: oak, hickory, cypress.

Whatever it was, it was sturdy, and lasted for years, even under the heavy use of farm life.

What would we furniture builders give to have some of that wide, old-growth lumber today?

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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 POLL: Where Do You Get Your Wood? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips on Working with Construction Lumber

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 2:14am

In my last article, I discussed big box store construction lumber (SYP – Southern yellow pine) and its use in furniture. I’ve found that it’s cheap, high in moisture and needs consideration in selection and prep. Working with construction lumber is a unique experience and a great learning material. Southern yellow pine typically has wide growth rings (which means it grows fast) and has some of the hardest and the […]

The post Tips on Working with Construction Lumber appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

draw boring......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 1:16am
It was cold this morning when I left for work. It wasn't the 45°F forecasted but a toasty 50°F which necessitated me wearing a light jacket. No problem with that as it is that time of the year. The temp when I left work to come home was 75°F. Did I remember to take my jacket with me? Nay, nay, I say moose breath. I left it hanging on the hook which means I either go to work tomorrow without a jacket or risk having my only two jackets left at work. The temp tomorrow is supposed to be higher than today's was. I'll see how cool it is tomorrow morning and decide then.

step one of making the draw bore pins
I found a piece of scrap oak about 3/8" thick that I sawed the pin stock from. I was hoping to get two pins from each piece.

I got lucky
I was able to rive each piece into two. All of them came out pretty straight and none of them wandered.

3/8 hole first then the 5/16 one
I picked the size of the pin strictly by eye. 1/4" looked too thin and 3/8 too wide so that left 5/16".

I need 8 and I made 12
I like having a few extras. You never what will happen when it comes time to put it together. Looking around for an extra pin because you dropped one and it rolled to parts unknown and the glue is dripping out of the hole.....

just got an ugly sinking feeling
These pins are too small. They look long enough but they aren't.

new pin stock
I only had one pin come out like this. All the rest are like the first short ones I did. I have eleven I can use to make new pins with. (I need 8)

tenon is too long
I marked the tenon and sawed it off on the inboard side of the pencil line. That way it will be a frog hair or two less then the length of the mortise depth.

first holes drilled for draw boring

why the first pins were too short
Because the holes in the mortise and tenon are offset, having a quasi pencil point on the entry end helps a lot. It allows the pin to get into the offset hole and then slide by it as it pulls the tenon down as you drive it all the way through. The short pin would have done that but I wouldn't have had a sufficient amount of the pin sticking out on both sides of the foot. The pencil end side hole would not have been fully closed because of the point on it.

I noticed this after I completed the mortises for the top bearer and the stretcher. I filled it with my gel glue and maybe that will stop it from spreading. I doubt it but it's worth a try.

front side
I didn't want to put the pins in line because of the grain direction on the foot. It would put a lot stress on that and maybe cause it to split. Putting them close to the shoulder would help pull the tenon down tight but I also wanted some meat between the shoulder and the top of the mortise too. I think that this was a good compromise.

the back side
show first and then tell how
I put this spacer in here to stop drill blowout.

marked the drill point on the tenon
used an awl to make a dimple above the drill point
drilled on my dimples
driving the pins home
I got glue on the tenon and some in the mortise. I could see the offset between the two holes. I put the pins in the holes and tapped them until I felt resistance. I didn't drive one pin all the way home and the do the other. I drove them home equally, a few taps on one and then a few taps on the other. I kept at this until the pins were proud on this side about a 1/4".

sawed the pins
 I will trim these flush tomorrow. I could probably do it now but I want to wait and give the glue a chance to set first.

bought a new molding plane
This is a center bead plane. I have a project stewing that I want to make a pilaster with beads on it. If I don't use it on that I'm sure I can find another use for it.

no fence
This needs something to run against to keep it straight. With a fence,  I could use this right and left handed. That would make planing with the grain easy.

look at how tight that boxing is
I did pretty good considering I didn't use a fence
I didn't get a nice bead like Josh did but I will play with it some more and get it to produce.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Where is the oldest US  State Capitol in continuous use located?
answer - Annapolis, Maryland (since 1772)

Making an infill plane from scratch 10, rear tote.

Mulesaw - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:45pm
My original plan called for a closed rear tote. During this project I have searched the Internet a lot, looking at all kinds of pictures of infill planes and their handles. I suppose that I could design my own, but one search (I think it "closed rear tote plane") revealed a picture of a classic closed rear tote from an old jointer plane. The good thing was that once I visited the homepage, I found that there was even a pdf of a full sized handle.
I downloaded the pdf and intend to use it as a muster for my tote. I will need to make some alterations to the front to get it to blend in with the rest of the plane, but it greatly help to have a starting point.

Now if I could just hope to make a handle that looks 1/10th as good as those handles that Pedder turns out.

An interesting thing about the closed rear tote is that it is described as being non symmetrical in the aft most part, where the palm of your hand will push your plane. Tee idea behind this is supposedly that it will make the plane more comfortable to use for someone who is right handed compared to a symmetrical tote. On the other hand it will make the plane more of a pain to use for anyone who is left handed.
At first I was  a bit undecided if I should go with symmetrical or asymmetrical. I was afraid that if I made it asymmetrical, most people would probably think that I did a crappy job in shaping the rear part of the tote.
But once I started I decided that I could always something else that was symmetrical, and this project is about making a plane that will be a joy to use, so I ended up doing it the way it was suggested.

I sawed out a piece of wood and tried to flatten it a bit with my plane, in order to get it close to the thickness I wanted (1" 1/16).
There was a lot of tear out, and in the end I had to traverse it with the scrub plane in order to get it to look reasonably OK.

The outline of the handle was traced onto the wood, and I drilled  a series of holes to remove the hole for the fingers, and also in the upper curve just beneath the end of the tote.
The trusty hacksaw helped removing the rest of the wood.
Since I haven't got a rasp, I needed to figure out another way to remove a lot of wood with a bit of precision, and at a decent speed.

My solution was to clamp the handle to a block of wood that was held in the vice, and then using the 1/4" chisel removing small chips along the edges. This method worked way better than I had expected. It was fast, efficient, fun and the handle very quickly took on the desired shape.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done with a file and with sandpaper, but at least I got the job started out in a good way.

A thing that didn't turn out very well was the placement of the holes that I drilled back in post No 5 in this series. The upper hole for the rear infill was placed in a way that it just missed the surface of the bed for the blade by 1/16" or so. Since my plane is to use bushings inside the wood it meant that the bushing would protrude on the bed of the blade which would effectively ruing the plane.
That left me with two options, making a new rear infill with a bed angle of 70 degrees or so, or trying to stuff the holes.
I went for the stuffing job.

I used some sort of tapered reamer/router bit that I found in order to flare out the holes on the inside of the sole.
The real mistake happened when I tried to use the same bit in the drill press. It caught the hole and dug itself heavily into the metal before I manged to turn of the power.
So instead of a nice lightly flared symmetrical hole, I had a much too large asymmetrical ugly flared hole.
To make matters even worse, I started out by riveting the nice hole in the other side. That went really well, but it left me with a much more difficult job to peen the inside of the rivet in the ugly hole. Since I could no longer get the drift pin in from the other side (as I had just closed that hole with a rivet).
I hammered til I was afraid that I'd might hit the side itself, and then I stopped. The heads of the rivets on the inside were filed level, so that I could insert the rear infill again.
The outside was left after a couple of strokes of a file, because I figured that it was better to file all the rivets once I have assembled the entire plane.
At some point I need to drill another set of holes in that region of the plane. but I think I'll wait with that until I have the rear tote and infill glued together and ready for assembly.

Raw rear tote.

Using a chisel to shape the grip.

1/6" piece of iron to be used as a rivet.

Peening the first rivet on the inside.

Categories: Hand Tools

‘Roman Workbenches’ Isn’t Quite Right

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:20pm


Today I glued up my recreation of the Roman workbench from the Saalburg fort and museum outside Frankfurt, Germany. The Saalburg bench is, as far as I know, the oldest surviving workbench from about 187 A.D. And as I pounded home the maple wedges, I pondered how the title of my book – “Roman Workbenches” – isn’t quite correct.

While two of the benches I’ve built for this book are definitely Roman, with a third from the Holy Roman Empire, the thrust of the book isn’t about Rome or the workbenches that came from there. It’s about the workholding on early benches.


Thanks to the paintings dug up by Suzanne Ellison and the addition of my active imagination, the book is becoming a treatise on: “Look, you don’t need a lot of complex devices on your bench to build fine furniture. You just need to be smarter than physics.”

For about 1,500 years, these forgotten workbench appliances were common on both low benches and high ones. Then we became a mechanical people. We tried to make our lives easier by inventing devices that would assist us in our work. I’m sure there’s some formal name for this idea. Until someone tells it to me, I’m going to call it “Arthur’s Law.”

(W. Brian Arthur was an economics professor at Stanford University and is now at the Santa Fe Institute. He wrote in 1993: “Complexity tends to increase as functions and modifications are added to a system to break through limitations, handle exceptional circumstances or adapt to a world itself more complex.”)


I’m not saying complexity itself is a bad thing. Some systems are complicated. But many times we attempt to overcome a problem with additional complexity when the answer might actually be simplicity.

So while the glue dries on this bench I’m going to give the title of this book some more thought. Likely I’m going to stick with “Roman Workbenches” because that’s where the historical record of these benches begins.

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

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Sharp is King.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:16pm

Over the weekend I finished up the weather station project I’ve been working on as well as made a small “wallet” for some combination plane blades. Though, I’m happy to have finished those projects, I’d like to share with you a very minor (but oh so major) change I made to my sharpening system.

First things first, a few weeks back I made a weather station for the instrument kit I purchased from Lee Valley some time ago. Those of you who read the post may recall that I used walnut for the base and a piece of scrap pine to hold the weather instruments. The scrap pine was just an experiment to test the appearance of the piece; I liked what I saw, so I decided to go ahead and use cherry as the contrasting wood. Because I already had the pine template, cutting the cherry to size and boring out the dowel holes was a matter of minutes. The only time consuming part was planing the board smooth from its rough state, which took around 10 minutes to complete both sides.

IMG_2701 (002)

The weather station with its scrap pine ‘template’

Otherwise, it may be worth noting that I attempted to bore out the 2 1/2″ diameter hole with an adjustable boring bit and brace, but it was simply too much material for me to hog out. Instead, I once again used a hole saw, but with an electric drill rather than a drill press, as my drill press has been having issues. I did not want to use the hole saw again because I felt the holes were a touch too large for a snug fit, but in the end it worked out just fine.

To complete the finish I coated it with linseed oil, wiped off the excess and let it dry overnight. I added a second coat in the morning and let it dry for around 4 hours or so, then added two coats of wax. I have to admit that it turned out fairly nice, and my wife actually wants to hang it in the living room, so I’m happy with the end result.

weather station

The finished weather station. I will take another photo when it is hanging in its future home.

The other project I completed was a basic wallet to hold the smaller blades for a Record combination plane. The project was basically a way to pass the time while the second coat of linseed oil was drying. I used a scrap piece of 1/4 inch plywood and a couple of pine cut offs. It was really a very basic, down and dirty project. I’m happy to report that the fit is nice, and I coated the inside of the wallet with wax to not only smooth it out, but also for added protection.

blade wallet

But the real revelation has been my sharpening “system”.

On paper, my sharpening system may seem complicated. It’s not. I have two water stones, a DMT duosharp diamond stone, a leather strop, sandpaper, a hand cranked grinder, and a low-speed power grinder. For nearly all of my sharpening, the water stones and a leather strop are the only requirements.

If I have to do any heavy grinding I use sand paper and/or the DMT stone. If it’s real bad I will use the power grinder (or if I am trying to reset the bevel). As an added note, I personally don’t believe that power grinders are completely necessary. They certainly save time, but you can work without one. In fact, I admit that the only reason I have one is because it was purchased using a gift card that I received through my work, where our vendors offer those cards as incentives to take their online training modules. As far as the hand cranked grinder is concerned, it was given to me by a friend, but it does work rather well if need be.

The reason I bring up my sharpening method is because I’ve been making an effort to sharpen a few tools every time I woodwork. In this case, I sharpened a 3/8 in chisel, the iron from my block plane, and the 1/4″ plow iron from the combination plane. What has been remarkable lately are my results. For the past few months I’ve been getting beyond razor sharp tools. Perhaps I’ve just become a better sharpener through experience, but I don’t think that is entirely the case.

Going back to the water stones. For many years I’ve used a 1000g and an 8000g Norton. I’ve always had good results with the 8000g stone, but the 1000g stone always seemed to give me trouble. I felt that it was slower than it should have been, and it seemed to wear unevenly no matter how carefully I tried to keep that from happening. So a few months ago I happened to drop the 1000g stone (a Freudian slip?) and it broke in 3 pieces. Rather than try to epoxy it back together, I purchased an 800g King stone.


800g King water stone. This is an internet stock photo and not a photo of mine, which is bathing in a plastic container.

I can’t tell you exactly why I purchased the King brand, probably because it was inexpensive, but I can tell you that since I’ve been using that stone for the initial honing the sharpness of my tools has improved beyond dramatically. The King stone cuts very quickly, and builds up slurry far faster than the Norton ever did, it has worn evenly and it seems much easier to flatten ( I use the DMT stone to true up my water stones) That all being said, I still use the Norton 8000g stone and it has always worked well.

The first tool I sharpened using the King stone was my marking knife. I’ve never been a great knife sharpener, but I can tell you that after 5 minutes with my regular method (800g, 8000g, strop) I was using that knife to fruit ninja paper out of mid air. When I say I could have shaved my face with it I am not exaggerating.

Since, I’ve been going down the line, sharpening a few chisels and/or plane irons at a time, as well as other tools like my router plane and coffin smoother. In fact, I believe the only I have left to finish using the King stone are the jack plane iron and my 1 1/4 in chisel. That being said, I’ve only sharpened 2 of the combination plane blades thus far, but my 8 chisels and 4 bench planes are basically finished up, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

So maybe it’s the stone, or maybe I’ve improved and the actual stone has nothing to do with it, but I don’t think that is completely the case. Nonetheless, since I’ve been using the King stone, sharpening has been faster and easier, and the results speak for themselves. Some people treat sharpening as some sort of religious experience; I’ve never felt that way about it. Sharpening has always been a means to an end for me, and for once getting to that end has been far faster and more enjoyable than it ever has been.

****As sort of a post-disclaimer, I was not paid or compensated in any way to write this post. I am just doing it because I’ve found the King stone to be an excellent value****

Categories: General Woodworking

Essential Tools for Dovetailing.

David Barron Furniture - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:23am

If you can't see what you are doing then you can't cut accurate dovetails. A good task light and reading glasses are essential for me. Even if you don't use reading glasses you should try some, the weakest lens no1 will give a small magnification which is very helpful.

Of course having good quality sharp tools is also very helpful!

Categories: Hand Tools

A Chair Worth Crossing the Atlantic – English Arts and Crafts Furniture

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 8:04am

  A recent post about my visit to The Wilson (formerly known as the Cheltenham Museum) last winter sparked special interest in a chair designed by architect Charles Frances Annesley Voysey in 1898 – the chair that was the primary reason for my trip to England. It seems a few people are champing at the bit for a deeper peek into the contents of Popular Woodworking’s forthcoming book on English Arts […]

The post A Chair Worth Crossing the Atlantic – English Arts and Crafts Furniture appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Cleaning Paint Brushes – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – October 2017 – Tip #2

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:00am

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.

Years ago a painter gave me some really good advice. We were discussing cleaning paint brushes and I asked him about water temperature. His advice was, “warm is fine, but never let hot water hit the bristles.” I have been amazed ever since at the difference it makes using warm water to clean brushes, compared to cold water. A gentle stroking with a hand scrubber is good for persistent, dried paint.

Stubborn, dried paint comes off easily with soap, warm water, and a few strokes of a semi-stiff brush, but always go with the bristles.

Another tip: Make that final rinse with an outdoor garden hose. It will blast away any remaining soap.

If you have used an oil-based finish, and have cleaned the brush in solvent, wash it at least two more times with soap and warm water. Alan Noel says “lather it up, rinse and repeat until the lather is absolutely snow white.”

Then hit it with the hose, always in the direction of the bristles, never against them. I like to use the highest volume setting on the wand head. On the wand pictured, that’s shown as “bucket filler.” That setting provides a lot of water without the blasting action of one of the jet settings.

This wand’s maximum volume setting is called “bucket filler.” A jet-like setting will provide more force, but you want a lot of water flow to wash the soap away and still be gentle.

After your last rinse, slap the brush against your fanned-open fingers to dislodge as much remaining water as possible.

Spread your fingers as far as you can, then slap the brush back and forth, removing as much water as possible. Afterward, gently shape the bristles again.

Brush manufacturers advise us to save the packaging our fine brushes come in. Storing them in the original packaging helps them retain their proper shape and keeps the edge bristles from developing “flyaway hair.” Heaven forbid!

Original packaging will always be a perfect fit for storing good paint brushes.

To make their storage a little tighter and enforce the shape, I first wrap a little used paper towel around the brush. It helps with absorption and drying, also.

If you don’t have the original package, wrap the paper towel around, then keep the towel closed with painter’s tape. Always store brushes vertically, business end down. Standing a brush on its head sends water into the ferrule, where it will eventually cause corrosion and brush failure.

This older brush still needs help keeping its shape, but it didn’t come in a nice package. We’ve supplemented its support with some paper towel and blue tape

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 Cleaning Paint Brushes – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – October 2017 – Tip #2 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Evolution of a Space and Project Concept

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 5:59am

The finished fourth floor was fairly late addition to the spatial configuration of the barn.  Originally I was content to leave it open all the way to the roof peak, providing almost 30 feet of soaring space from the main floor.

About 3-1/2 years ago Mrs. Barn suggested that I go ahead and finish off the entirety of the fourth floor instead of leaving it as some cobbled together staging for high work.  She being the smartest woman I know, I followed that advice.

I used the space for a subsequent Groopstock gathering but ever since it had served only as a place to put junk for which I could not find another home.  Ironically the completion of the floor deck made the space inside the barn seem even larger than before.

With the evolving ideas for undertaking video as a teaching tool, completing the space became a priority whose fulfillment was fairly straightforward.  One day with John and another by myself was all it took.

The video enterprise is less simple from a business perspective.  My very tight content model provides for professional production at a comparatively modest cost, but it is not free.  Even though I do not necessarily need to derive substantial revenue from video, it’s just a bit too expensive for me to treat it as a hobby to create any more than an occasional clip, and my vision of providing substantive learning resources was a fair bit more than that.  I am still mulling over a number of models for how to move forward with the project from a financial perspective.  They are by no means an exhaustive survey, mostly because my perspective on this is so limited.

The first option, and the one apparently favored by some woodworkers posting video on line, is to create product with essentially no production value or scripting, and simply give it all away via Youtube or Vimeo.  In some cases this works magnificently, but others, not so much.  Since I am committed to doing this first-rate if I do it at all, this was not something I gave any real consideration.  I might create short videos on occasion as free content that is not the route for fulfilling the objectives I have in mind.

Second is the option of trying to find advertisers or sponsors for the web site as a whole and/or the videos in particular.  I find advertising footprints on the web to be aggravating, and since my subject matter is so arcane it is probably not a likely avenue for me.

Third might be the option of placing the videos behind a subscription paywall available for members only.  Frankly I do not know enough about the technology and psychology involved, and need to converse with video bloggers who have trod this path.  I suspect that having a subscriber base renders one a complete slave to those subscribers who want more and more and more content.  Yesterday.  I subscribe to (and pay for) a couple news-ish podcasts, and while I appreciate and value the content it still sorta rubs me the wrong way for reasons I cannot fully identify.  I only hope it is not some incipient residue from living in an entitlement society.

Fourth, given the structure and content I am noodling for the videos, I am finding the Pay Per View concept to resonate most strongly with me.  I am envisioning a series of periodic videos produced at my own pace — about a dozen topics thus far — that are perhaps 90 to 120 minutes long, divided into quarter-hour-ish chapters.  Perhaps each chapter could be downloaded for 99 cents and the entire continuous video for $6.99-$9.99.  I’m pretty certain that this model would require teasers to be on Youtube and Vimeo.

Given my unfamiliarity with a lot of the attendant technology and marketing for these types of ventures, I am sure there are a multitude of creative ideas along these lines and I look forward to pushing back the boundaries of my own ignorance.

If you have any productive morsels to threw into the stew pot, let me know here to start the conversation.

As Aequus as Aqua

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 4:55am

Earth curve

Or, translated from the Latin: “As Level as Water.” As we explored ancient layout tools at length in “From Truths to Tools,” it became quite clear that the artisans of antiquity were no dummies. For example, we see from their tools and works that they understood that there was a difference between the curved “level” of a horizontal line and the straight “level” of a sight line. In fact, when they used the term “horizontal” to name the latter they were alluding to “horos,” the horizon, the boundary between water and sky.

How did they know that the earth they stood on was a sphere? Two things for starters, according to source documents: They observed the arc-line shadow of the earth falling on the moon during a lunar eclipse, and they watched ships disappearing on the horizon from the hull to the top of the mast (as opposed to the ship simply getting smaller and smaller). Why is this so important? Try building an aqueduct so it works properly or digging a tunnel accurately through a mountain without accounting for this difference.


If the trough of the aqueduct were constructed to a sight (or laser!) line level, the water would flow toward the center because the center, relative to the earth’s surface, is downhill from either end. Another problem that could arise if the support columns were constructed to meet the trough at right angles, is that the columns would only be plumb in one location. They would all be parallel, but that doesn’t make them right! (Literally: the forces on the un-plumb columns would have some amount of shear in them, leading eventually to distortion and ultimately failure.)


In tunnel work, the opposite problem arises: if they relied solely on horizontal level as the digging progressed from start points established by sight lines shot around the mountain from surrounding benchmarks, the tunnel would not exit at the predicted opposing point. Digging from either end, one tunnel would travel above the other and they would never meet. Note that the gradient drop of the earth’s curve is about 8′ per mile – and it’s not an additive (linear) increase, but exponential to infinity. To grasp this intuitively, picture the earth constantly curving away from the sight line. Eventually, at a point just past a quarter of the way around the sphere, a line dropped down square from the sight line would never reach the earth’s surface.

The more George and I immersed ourselves in research for this book, the more we gleaned about the tools and works of the artisans of antiquity and the smarter they started looking to us. The corollary was the dumber the guys in the mirror looking back at us each morning started to look! Obviously, not only is there is still so much more to learn, there is so much more to relearn!

— Jim Tolpin, byhandandeye.com

Filed under: From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Scything a wildflower meadow for beekeeping

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:53am
Scything a riot of colours in wildflower meadow especially for bees. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Period-accurate Joinery: Three Ways to Cut Rabbet Joints

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 2:00am
Mannerist dresser

While rabbet joints are used commonly to attach case fronts and backs in period work, they show up in other places too. In pieces from the 17th century and earlier, such as the Mannerist dresser shown above, drawer fronts often are rabbeted and the drawer sides simply nailed into that rabbet. Later, in the early 18th century, drawer sides were rabbeted to hold the drawer bottoms. The bottoms are typically […]

The post Period-accurate Joinery: Three Ways to Cut Rabbet Joints appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

I got side tracked.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 1:13am
When I woke up this morning, the heat was on. It is October 1st and for the first time I can remember, the heat kicked in this early. I shut it off because the water in the boiler was low. I hadn't gotten around to prepping the furnace for the upcoming heating season yet. Maybe it's a good thing I caught this as the temps tonight are supposed to dip down into middle 40'sF (7°C). And I'm not alone with the swings in the temps as a few others have commented on it too.

The weirdness continues with the daytime temps. Tomorrow temps will be in the high 60's F (20ish C) and tuesday it will climb to 74°F (23° C). As long as it cycles like this I don't care. As long as I am still working, I don't want it to snow. The cold I can handle, but snow sucks. Especially on work days.

this prompted a change
This is another annoying trait of these 4x4 donkeys. They rock like crazy and it is very hard to find a spot on the deck that these feet will lay flat on. I could kind of fix that by gluing a pad on the ends and I might do that if I remember it. On the new saw donkeys I am going to saw a relief.

step one
 Clamp two feet together using the marked detail to ensure the bottoms of each are touching.  Mark where the start of the hole will be. I used the inboard start of circle on the tops for mine.

drill your hole
 I am going for a 1/2" so I'm using a 1" forstner bit. The point of the bit in right on the joint line.

drill a through hole
mark a line from the top of one semi-circle to the other and saw it out
all the details sawn out
I'm starting the clean up with the uprights. I am going to do the majority of the cleanup with the two of them clamped together. The final smoothing and finessing I'll do individually.

most of the shaping was done with this rasp
followed by this finger sander
These are great little sanders. The sandpaper is hook & loop and it lasts forever seemingly. The yellow holder is soft and squishy and will conform to bumps and hollows. My fingers still hurt after using this but nowhere like they hurt when I hold the sandpaper with my fingers.

The small circular flare outs on the sides I cleaned up with 60/150/220 grit wrapped around a 5/16" dowel.

I have three grits 80,120, and 220
drawer for the sandpaper
the big boy
I liked the small ones so much I got the big one too. It only has one holder and it is H&L too. It comes with the same 3 grits also (as far as I know). I got the both of these at Lowes and if my memory is still intact, I think they are made by Shopsmith(?).

worked on the feet in pairs too
 I started at the top and worked down to the bottom. The angle at the very bottom I did in the vise with a block plane.

the other end needs more work
When I laid these out I did it on the same side but when it came time to bandsaw them I got a hiccup. I could the do the left side but on the right side I had to flip it over but I hadn't marked that side. My bandsaw has a 14" throat and the legs are 21".  Corrected that and now I have to even out these two with the inboard one being proud.

japanese straight line rasp
The Auriou rasp isn't meant for hogging this much wood off so I tried the japansese one. I got nowhere trying to remove wood from the high foot with this rasp.. It would not bite at all no matter how I held or pushed it. Swearing and threatening it did nothing neither.

this one worked
This is a very rough rasp and it will hog off a lot of wood in a hurry.

downside of this rasp
Using this on DF isn't helping the home team because this rasp loves to rip out and cause massive blowouts on the exit side. DF doesn't need any help with splintering or blowing out on the edges. I was aware of this and I was being careful but before I could even think of saying 'aw shit', it had already happened. I managed to knock down quite a bit of the high but I still had a wee bit more to do. Before I could do that I had to address the blowout first.

had one on the other side I didn't notice that I superglued too
This is a gel type instant glue that isn't instant. It takes a few minutes to set and harden. It also doesn't grab and hold on it's own and needs help from the blue tape. In spite of all the hiccups, I like this glue and I accept these as part of using it. I haven't had anything fail on me since I've been using it.

worked on the bottom of the other foot
I used a dowel  wrapped with sandpaper to clean up the round parts. In spite of using a forstner bit, the drilled hole wasn't as smooth as I expected. Another fun part of working with DF. I cleaned up the area between the rounds with a spokeshave and a small block plane. I didn't go nutso on this, I just smoothed it and got rid of the bandsaw marks.

a special celebration dance will be held in Mudville tonight
I had to make a sandpaper run because I didn't have anymore so I decided to go to Ocean State Job Lot. As soon as I walked in the front door I saw these LED workshop lights. BFD I thought to myself,  another ripoff. But then I saw the price which was $14.99 per fixture. Now this is the what these should cost and these are 5000K which is almost like daylight.

I went off quickly and checked on the sandpaper and they didn't have any 80 or 60.  So I grabbed 4 of the LED lights and headed back to the barn. This was a very serendipitous errand for me. I've been searching for a reasonably priced LED light and I stumbled onto these. The closest priced ones to these that I've been eye balling are in the 30-40 dollar range.

Lowes sells T8 replacement LED lights for $12 which is reasonable (barely) but all my fixtures are T12s and they are not interchangeable. I even looked on eBay for T8 fixtures thinking I could buy a few cheap and then buy the T8 LEDs from Lowes. I don't have to do that anymore.

another blowout to deal with
While this one is setting up I decided to install one of the LED lights to see what kind of light that they would throw out.

the before pic
I am doing the one in front of the cabinet I just made because it is the easiest one to swap out in the shop. The 4 LED lights I bought will do the bench area of the shop. These weren't in the budget for this week but I couldn't pass up this deal.

the after pic
Only one LED light installed and WOW.  WOW again and again. I can not believe how much light this one fixture puts out.

two LED lamps installed
This is an unbelievable amount of light. My cataract, eye glass wearing peepers are thanking me profusely. Have I said, WOW again and again, yet?  The intensity of the lights is very welcomed and it may take a while for me to get used to it. The 4 fluorescent lamps I would say that they put out maybe 1/2 of the light the LED lights do. Everything is lot clearer and in focus and I still have two more to install.

look at the dust on the top of this florescent fixture
I'm firing this housekeeper.  For now I'm putting the LED lights where I had the fluorescents. I may change and move them around after I have had a chance to work under them for a while.

3 down and one to go
they have an unneeded pull chain
All my shop lights are turned on/off with a switch. I pulled this and then taped it up on the top out of the way.

WOWIE - all four lamps
My shop is flooded with light now. It's hard for me to fathom what a huge difference these LED lamps make. By the way, buying and installing these was my side track.

made another road trip and got two more
I had two LED lamps installed previously in the shop, one over the tablesaw and one over the sharpening bench. There are only two fluorescent lights on this side of the shop so I bought and installed two more. Maybe I'll be able to see see what I'm sawing on the bandsaw now.

 I trashed the shop installing all these new lights. I didn't finish the new saw donkeys and I didn't get my dolly made neither.  But hey, I got new lights that will help me when hold field day on the shop next week.

LEDs done and it was back to the saw donkeys
This set is ready for glue up. I've planed off all the labels and pencil marks. I also relabeled the parts on the ends so I can glue it up in the right order. The back foot has some blowout being glued so I'll have sand that part up a bit before glue up. It has blue tape on it so I can't miss it.

forgot to bandsaw this vertical cut
I chopped it off with a chisel. I started by out lining the top.

came in from the bottom next
It took a while going back and forth but I eventually got it. I took my time because I did not want to make another foot if this went south on me.

I like this profile
Most of the profiles I see on feet consist of a round with two flats like I have on my sharpening bench. I wanted something different for the donkeys and it gives me a visual for planing the detail on my new workbench.

second set ready to glue up
I stayed in the shop long enough to whack out the second set. Installing the lamps ate up a fair bit of time and all the clean up on the donkeys made my fingers start singing arias. On a brighter note, cleaning up the second set of donkeys under the new LED lights was a huge improvement.

I will have to clean up the shop and that will take precedent over the donkey glue up most likely. We'll see what shakes out when I start that fun adventure. The glue up of the donkeys didn't happen today sports fans.

two left
This is payday week and I hope that Job Lot has two more of these left come friday. These two lamps are to the rear of the tablesaw  and I consider it part of the workshop. The laundry table in front of the washer and dryer has a lot of my hand tools on the bottom shelf. I may put a third one in by the furnace. According to the directions with the lamps you can string up to four of them together.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the original host of the game show Jeopardy (before Alex Trebek)?
answer - Art Fleming

Editor’s Journal: Summer is Over

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:37pm


On Friday – I think it was Friday – I had my first normal day since June 7, which is the day I left for Germany to see the Saalburg workbench and teach at Dictum GmbH.

Since that trip I’ve been on a nonstop schedule of traveling, taking care of unexpected (and important) family business and trying to keep up with all my publishing obligations. I failed spectacularly. Everything got so crazy that I had to do something very unusual: I canceled my trip last month to the UK and the European Woodworking Show.

While I regret missing that trip, those seven days were a gift and helped me get back on my feet. I was able to take care of some pressing family stuff, finish up some furniture commissions, complete a magazine article I was two months late on and get “From Truths to Tools” and “Carving the Acanthus Leaf” on a fast track to the printer.

So on Friday, I woke up and drank two cups of coffee. I opened my calendar and saw the day was empty. Absolutely clear. I decided to turn off my phone, leave my laptop closed and focus on building my reproduction of the Saalburg workbench for a forthcoming book. Thanks to that day of bliss, the bench now needs just a little cleaning up before I assemble it.

I just opened my calendar for the coming week. Monday is clear. So I think it’s going to be finished by Tuesday.

This post is a reminder (to myself) that somethings have to fall apart. And it’s an apology to all the people I owe phone calls and emails to. I’ll get to them in the next week or so. Just as soon as I have just a few more empty days of healing handwork. I wish I could bottle that stuff.

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


Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools


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