Author Archive

Box Making – Bottom

August 25, 2021 Leave a comment

The sides of the box completed, I begin to look at the bottom design. the previous boxes that I completed had a bottom glued to it, simple and looked great but since this box will actually be turned on its side, it needed something different. Insetting the bottom into a groove will make the best use of space and provide a great look.

There are several ways to inset the bottom, I used my plough plane and set it to make a groove just inside the edge.

A couple of the rabbits ended in a dovetail so I had to use a chisel and router plane for these rabbits.

The actual bottom also was trimmed around the edges to fit but I did not get a photograph. on to the next step.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Marking up Dovetails

August 18, 2021 1 comment

Looking through the posts on my site it’s been a while since I made a dovetail joint. The last appears to be the Roubo End Cap that I completed in 2019 and even longer ago since I made a box. Needless to say, I am rusty in my layout skills. Taking a few minutes to brush up on the use of dividers and dig out various tools I remembered the article that Mike Pekovich wrote about using blue tape and decided that this would be great time to give it a try.

Planing everthing smooth and square, I dug through the Fine WoodWorking articles until I found one that described the use of Blue tape. There are many articles, dig around and find the one that works for you.

After grabbing the essential layout tools, I marked out the tails on one board and then placed blue tape on the board that will have the matching pins. After cutting out the tails I laid the tails board on top of the board to be marked out for the pins and using a sharp marking knife cut the tape. Then peelsd out the areas that need to be removed. Please read the article. I don’t intend this to be a blog on how to use the blue tape but the effectiveness of the method.

I then followed my method for sawing the doovetails and removing the waste. We have all seen the articles and comments about the blue tape method and indeed it work and extremely well. In fact I only had to adjust one pin which I actually over trimmed. Everything else fit right off the saw! The tape is easy to see and provides just enough edge to provide a guide for the saw. Definately an excellent technique.

Woodworking and Gardening

August 15, 2021 Leave a comment

We all have multiple hobbies and quite often there are subtle links that tell a story of our personalities. Clearly in my case there is a very reasonable link between woodworking and white water kayaking. We all have those two base hobbies. Another likely hobby that we share is gardening. Since moving to Texas a couple of years ago we bounced between aprtments and renal homes until finally moving into a home of our own. While in those other properties I never had the chance to get a garden growing. This year I managed to get some basic vegetables. Unfortunately the tomato plants have struggled and not been overly productive. I attribute this to a lack of nutients and will be proceeding to a local farm to pick up some manure. In the mean time one of the easiest ways to improve soil is to add compost and since we all love woodworking and grass cutting we have some of the basic ingredients. Add some of the boxes and waste paper from our many incoming tools and we have the makings of some fine soil.

I placed a layer of grass clippings, followed by a layer of wood chips, then some scrap paper and a few shovelfulls of dirt. Next a little water and repeat for several layers.

After it is built I will turn it every coupe of days and occasionally add moisture. Hopefully I will turn these two waste products into more productive soil.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Wood Prep

August 11, 2021 Leave a comment

Local hardware stores provide great service and often have greater service then the big box stores. The 4MM bolt that I needed to fix the planer took me to three stores before it was found. I realize that everyone needs to make a profit and that it is costly to keep inventory that has low turnover but three stores to find two screws?

With he planer fixed and adjusted I proceeded to prepare the pieces for the walls of the box. The piece of lumber that I had was 25% pith so I ran it through the bandsaw and planer to get it down to the 1/2” thickness.

Careful with the order of the boards to maintain some congruity with the grain direction I could envision the dovetails and final look. Next I grabbed boards to glue up for the back and carefully laid them out to keep the grain looking similar.

After many years of woodworking its only in the last couple that I have made more effort to watch the grain and it certainly pays of in the finished project. Next dovetails and rabbits.

Categories: Cherry Box

Case Miter Jig

August 8, 2021 Leave a comment

The Dovetailed Box Project has mitered sides on the case inserts. I thought of several methods to do this but with the visibility of these mitered corners realized that I had to try something different, my sawing skills may not be up to the task. searching through Fine Woodworking magazine I came across an article from May/June of 2017 which built a simple jig to ‘shoot’ these miters with a plane.

I guess that a table saw could be another alternative but I think using a shooting board will provide me with he results that I want without all the noise and dust.

The jig is fairly simple and I managed to use mostly scrpas to make it. All good jigs are made from scraps!

I used my shooting plane but you could easily use a number 5. And after a couple of test runs I had it tuned in and perfectly. mitered corners. This will let me try out inserts in the box that I’m making.

Powermatic 719A Mortiser Assembly

August 4, 2021 Leave a comment

After the dramatic loading and unloading of the mortiser the cleanup and reassembly was fortunately very bland.

Categories: Tools

Powermatic 719A Mortiser

July 28, 2021 1 comment

The air, heavy with moisture was like a blanket draped across my shoulders, the breeze bore the distinct scent of rain, a mix of soil, water and electricity, pausing with knees burning on the hot rubber I accepted fate and slowed down. Rushing would only result in an injury or damage to the tool. Stowing the straps and placing smaller parts in a box I sought the bolts that would allow a single person to do what required four and hour ago. There on the base were four 1/2” bolts and at the base of the column four Allen head bolts. Careful that the tool would not roll on my hand I removed the bolts and the 300lb tool became three manageable parts.

Positioning my table saw next to the truck, the two upper pieces slide easily out of the bed and I was able to wheel them into the shop, the base was light enough to be lifted to the floor. Closing the shop door I could feel the breeze increasing but now I was in the clear.

Moving heavy tools is no joke and there is a lot at stake. Frequently as woodworkers we rely on friends and neighbors to help. Today I was lucky, to have help loading and everything at exactly the right height to unload. Make a plan, adjust as needed and stop when its not making sense.

Categories: Tools

Box Making halted by a 4mm Screw!

July 21, 2021 Leave a comment

Warm water splashed my face as the river’s rumble passed into the darkness, it is warm, very warm. With a jerk I find myself awake, a thunderstorm rumbling overhead and Scout licking my face looking for comfort.

Admittedly it has been a long time since I jumped headlong into a project. The shop is all but complete and my excuses no longer hold sway. Grabbing a piece of cherry left over from another project I began sizing it up for a couple of boxes I noticed in Mike Pekovich’s book ‘The Why and How of Woodworking’ not sure I’ll make the exact box, but its a simple way to get back into the swing of woodworking.

Bad Axe Tool Works D8 Cross Cut Saw

The cherry board that I have on hand is 5/4 and I need to get it down to approximately 1/2”. It’ll work great because approximately half the board is the pith. I used my Bad Axe Tool Works D8 saw to break the board down and there was a big smile on my face the entire time. The saw was singing and dust dropped quickly onto I the floor. There is something very satisfying about cutting cherry with a hand saw. If you’ve never used a Bad Axe Saw try one, the filing is magnificent. Even if you don’t get the chance visit the web site its full of great information about saws, saw sharpening etc.

Grabbing the Sargent 409 I flattened one side of each board in preparation for running it through the planer. My jointer sits in its box by the door and I can’t recall the last time I sued it. Just seems quicker to use a hand plane and a lot more pleasant! Turning to my planer I check the bed to make sure I eliminate as much snipe as possible and notice that one corner is sagging. A quick peak and the problem becomes clear a small screw 6mm to be exact is missing and there is no doubt that if it’s in my shop I long since swept it up! Stumped for the lack of a tiny screw!

Categories: Cherry Box

Humidity in the shop

July 17, 2021 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I noticed on my weatherstation that the humidty outside was 97%, definately on the high side of comfortable and certainly high enough to begin having an effect on everyday life. I am very fortunate to have a shop that is climate controlled and living in TX it gives me the ability to woodwork comfortably year round. Most of my shop furniture however was built much further North often in cold dry winters. I’m see the impact of the lower humidity and have made several adjustments.

My tool cabinet which has hung on the wall for many years needed extensive changes to the doors to enable them to close. Seems like I just did work on it but a couple weeks of high humidity and the plane had to come out and make some changes. Next it was of to the drawers on my small tool chest. I had not been able to close the lower drawer for a couple of weeks so I planed the top of the drawer and got it closed.

The last piece was the movable portion of the tail vise. Although I could use it it was very tight and I actually had to drive it out with a rubber hammer. a few swipes of the plane and all is good.

Categories: Uncategorized

New Sharpening Jig

July 14, 2021 6 comments

It didn’t take long to realize that I needed to replace the old jig, a couple of crooked chisels and I opened the IPad and began to peruse the usual spots for tools. Deciding against a like for like replacement, I looked at the Veritas Jigs, after all my friend John at WoodworksbyJohn uses a Veritas MK II sharpening jig.

Several years ago I had the Veritas Honing guide, it worked ok and came with he angle setting jig shown below. I did however have one frustration and it may be just me but The chisel or plane blade frequently shifted. Unlike the Eclipse style jig this one does not have anything to rest the side of the tool against to ensure it sits perpendicular to the stone. I still use it for angled blades etc, but this minor frustration was what led me to the eclipse jig in the first place. THe newer Veritas MK II jig may have resolved this problem and John noted it was the one he used however I couldn’t quite tell if it had fully eliminated this problem.

There are a couple more jigs out there and I looked at the one made by Woodpeckers, It was a one time tool and no longer in production but looked like a possibility. I have never owned a Woodpeckers Tool but perhaps one day. Finally I looked at the product produced by Lie Nielsen and after a little research decided that this is the investment I would make. I liked the Eclipse Style guide and it functioned well and the Lie-Nielsen Honing Guide is similar although pricier and appears to be better made.

After a week and sharpening chisels and planes it works really well and apart from being expensive I like it a lot. I certainly could have gone the cheaper route and purchased another Eclipse style knock off, but so far I’m very satisfied. I for those of you saying just sharpen Jigless, I hear you but sometime I’m not going to listen!