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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.

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 Leave a 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

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!

Sharpening Angle Settting Jig

July 7, 2021 Leave a comment

It always amazes me how long I can put off making a simple jig that can make things so much easier. The Angle setting jig that I made this week is the perfect example. If you use any of the Eclipse, Veritas, or Lie Nielsen jigs for sharpening you know that the repeatability of the sharpening angle is critical to the speed of sharpening let alone the performance of the plane or chisel. Many companies provide an angle setting jig with the sharpening jig. There are other systems that people use and it appears the simplest is to set the distance from the end of the blade to the edge of the jig

These distances don’t change as long as you are sharpening similar blades in the same jig and in this case the perfect angle is not as important as the consistency of the angle. Again THE SAME SHARPENING JIG. Notice the difference In length between the Veritas and the Lie Nielsen.

The jig I made this week is a basic copy of one built by Denab Puchalski of Lie Nielsen. I found scraps in the bins cut them to size and after a few measurements glued and screwed each to the board. Most went well, one I had to plane to make it exactly parallel to the board edge. Once finished I drilled a hole so I could hang the jig on a wall. This has made sharpening easier and more consistent and that’s always a good thing.

Categories: Techniques

Sargent 409: A brief look

June 30, 2021 Leave a comment

The Sargent plane admired for many years and mentioned in the post A Sargent in the House, is resting comfortably in a cardboard box by my side. Buying tools on EBay often seems to be risky, but generally I have had a great experience. Purchasing this plane was no exception and it arrived well packed and exactly as described.

Sargent 409

The plane has been cared for, cleaned and appears to be sharpened. It also appears that the sole has been flattened. Learning about the Sargent bench planes has been enjoyable and there are some great websites providing lots of information. Time Tested Tools is one of these sites.

There are certainly fewer Sargent planes in people’s tool boxes and the majority of mine are Stanleys. However I’m rather fond of this plane and find myself reaching for it over its Stanley cousin.

There are a few subtle differences and one major one that I discovered. Let’s take a closer look. If you are new to Stanley and Sargent Planes people typically make comparisons to the Stanley numbering system, the Stanley #4 and Sargent #409 and equivalent. The great thing about the Sargent system is that the 9 in the 409 is the length of the bed.

Taking the blades out of the planes The Sargent weighs 2lb 13.21oz, 2 lb 13.7 oz. not a large difference. With blades in there is a greater difference. I’ve a Veritas blade in the Stanley3 lb 12.7 ozone jand original in the Sargent 3lb 10ozSo if it’s not weight that drives preference what is it?

The front knobs are different . The Stanley having a higher profile and slightly narrower.

The totes are also different with the Sargent taller and at a slightly different angle although not significant.

All seem like subtle differences. The one change that takes a little getting used to is the adjustment of depth. The Stanley gets deep with a clockwise motion, while the Sargent is counter clockwise! Yes it has caught me once!

Sargent adjustment is opposite the Stanley

Overall there is nothing obvious that drives me to prefer one over the other, it’s just an observation that I tend to reach for the Sargent first.

Sharpening Jig failure

June 6, 2021 4 comments

I sharpen planes and chisels both free hand and with a jig. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why I choose one method over the other , it just happens. Last week when I had 4 planes to sharpen I used a jig. They were in poor shape and I knew they would need extra effort.

The first three were sharpened with an Eclipse style jig. They are inexpensive and work well. I failed to notice that the wheel in the jig was not turning and managed to flatten it.

The final plane was sharpened by hand……..I imagine this is a very low cost part, but impossible to get. May have to reconsider my sharpening methods.

Plane Aid – Flattening and Sharpening

May 31, 2021 Leave a comment

Finished up the four planes this morning after using the 5th for parts. I hope that everyone is satisied with the results. The two Stanleys turned out to be a little more difficult than normal due to the blades not being particularly flat. I’ve never had that problem before but spent more time sharpening then has been typical. I also took the time to print out a couple of links that will hopefully help in the future showing the sharpening tools that I use etc.

After taking the #4 apart and repairing the front knob I disassembled and got all of the rust and gunk off the plane. Flattening the sole wasn’t a problem and I made sure that all of the bolts and frog were clean and fiunctioned correctly. The problem sarted with the blade which did not clean up easily and took quite a bit of elbow grease along with some 800 grit sand paper and wd-40. Once clean I sharpened it and noticed that the back was nowhere near flat. This may be why the ownwer had problems sharpening. Eventually I put it on a 400 grit stone and worked it flat. I’ve had blades that were concave in the middle but this had a side that put up a fight. I sued my basic sharpening system, diamond stones strop sand an eclipse style guide. Next I had to spend a little time with the cap iron making sure its leading edge fit snugly to the blade. All in all it is a nice plane and should be a great add to the tool chest.

The block plane is a craftsman with aluminum cap. I tidied it up flattened the sole and sharpened the blade. This took very little time and will make a great little plane. The small plane also took only a little work after getting the rust off. This was another plane where the high grit paper and wd-40 came in handy. Sometimes these tools have all kinds of spill on them and using a degreaser makes the difference

The final plane I worked on, fought me all the way and I think that it could still use a little polishing. There were two #5 planes in the box and after some thought I decided to use the newer plane for parts. I like the older style frogs. The handle from the plane was broken and although not too difficult to fix I did not have an old broken handle to source the rosewood from and felt that maple would be a poor choice. Thus I used the handle from the newer plane. The only downside being the use of a non brass screw to attach it. I placed all of the parts in a plastic bag so that the owner would have them for later repairs. The sole and blade needed quite a bit of work. Once cleaned and flat everything was sharpened and lubed. I also put quite a bit of wax on the sole and took it for a test run. Hopefully the owner is happy with the result.

Supermax Air Filter from Laguna

October 14, 2020 Leave a comment

Packing up my shop over a year ago revealed a lot about my woodworking. The most noticeable is the amount of fine dust coating everything. Although most of my work is done with hand tools I do use a planer and tablesaw to speed up stock preparation. It’s safe to say that most of the dust comes from these operations and in spite of using a dust collector, more needed to be done.

After a small amount of research, a Supermax Air Filter arrived at my front door and after some planning and help I mounted it to the ceiling joists. If you want to see the unboxing video, there isn’t one, but I’ll provide a brief description. Grabbing my pocket knife, I slit the tape closing the cardboard box, flipped the box over, slid the box over the styrofoam and gently removed the air cleaner. After checking that all the parts were there I stared at the 60+ pound machine for a couple of weeks until I figured out a safe way to install it.

I’m looking forward to trying it out and if you want to know more shoot me an email.

Categories: Tools