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Archive for the ‘Techniques, Tools and Schools’ Category

A Sargent in the House!

February 16, 2020 2 comments

Admittedly, the things that bring me the most joy are simple; a smile and a wink from my wife, an excited dog when walking in the door and a fun text from the kids. My favorite food is a cheeseburger, preferably with bread and butter pickles and I prefer hand tools for woodworking.

Looking in my tool chest the majority of bench planes are Stanleys. Like most of you there are a couple of specialty planes from modern manufacturers, but if you look through my blog the constant companion is a Stanley. All that said, could I be tempted by other manufacturers?

Several years ago while wandering around a

the Sargent plane above caught my eye. There were plenty of Stanleys, Miller Falls and other manufacturers, but this was the one that stood out. It seemed to be slightly heavier than the equivalent Stanley and the sides thicker. The price seemed high and the “don’t want to discuss price” attitude of the owner made me walk away empty handed. Since then I have kept my eye out for a Sargent Plane and stumbled across one on Ebay the other day. Admittedly I do not need another bench plane! But like a good cheeseburger sometimes you have to indulge yourself!

Meet Sargent VBM 409, a new addition, welcome to the family!

More pictures to come.

As for the cheeseburgers; I allow myself one a month so no need to worry about over indulgence.

Categories: Tools

Woodworking Withdrawl

February 8, 2020 1 comment

Note to self; when moving and storing woodworking tools for an extended period of time keep a few nearby to sharpen, hold in your hand and polish.

It’s been several weeks since the tools were packed away. They are now in storage and may be there for several months. I’ve read many blogs, articles and comments that reflect on the curious need to touch and look at your tools. Clearly I have a touch of tool..itis, wood..itis and design..itis and I have no idea how to pass the time until the tools are again in their rightful place. Some of the more obvious symptoms:

Sharpening – A desire to sharpen tools. This is a very strangle affliction, sharpening is a necessity not a desire.

All Fine Woodworking Articles look like excellent projects – Any magazine must appeal to a wide audience and Fine Woodworking is no exception. Typically I look through and one article grabs my eye, currently I want to build every project.

Lee Valley Website – Admittedly Lee Valley is a favorite source of tools, however I don’t typically scroll through it endlessly looking at the tools I already own.

The infamous unfinished bed – I’m considering finishing the bed I made 20+ years ago. Why now?

Categories: other

Old Tool Chest and Layout Tools

January 10, 2020 Leave a comment

Looking through the photographs I took while wandering through antique shops and wanted to share an interesting tool chest that I came across.

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Certainly someone can do a decent job of dating the chest. It wasn’t the chest that made me take a second look, but the layout tools that were carefully stored under the lid

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Neatly stowed in the lid is a square, 45 degree (best guess), compass, metal triangle (square) and somethiing missing. Certainly the craftsman that used this tool box had a specific task that required these tools. Anyone have a thought?

 

A couple of other benches were in the store, enjoy the photos.

 

Categories: Tool Chest

Workbench History

July 12, 2019 Leave a comment

Let’s be clear in the first sentence, if you want a complete guide to workbenches, find Chris Schwarz. If you want plans and a video on how to build a simple effective bench see Paul Sellers’ series (I’ve used his bench, it is excellent). This blog is about my brief workbench history and what has worked for many years as an essential tool in my shop. It confirms that a workbench can be cheap, simple and very effective. There are no plans, but it’s simple enough that none are needed and it’s a little embarrassing how sloppy I’ve been with upgrades. It’s also a story of why I want to move on to a new bench.

The bench is built from a single sheet of 3/4 plywood and 2×4 pine. Lag bolts hold it together and screws keep the top and cross members in place. My father helped me build it when I was in my early teens. The top is a single sheet of plywood, doubled over and glued. It is screwed to a 2×4 frame with cross members.  The legs are single 2×4 and attach inside the top and bottom frames.

When Shannon Rogers began his Hand Tool School I quickly moved most of my Joinery to Hand Tools and recognized that the bench needed to be stiffened, grabbing some scrap I cut it to size a hammered it into place to stiffen the ends. I added a 2×4 to the legs at front which fit in between the upper and lower rails.

The small vise on the side was originally on front of the bench but now sits on the side and is perfect to hold my leather strop close by my work area. It also works as a planing clamp. Next I added a 2×4 under the bench to provide added depth for hold fasts. It’s a simple solution for a bench without the necessary thickness for them to work.

After attending Paul Sellers’ fundamentals of woodworking class I recognized the value of a larger vice so set about making modifications to the bench. This consisted of a board at the front, a couple of cross members and the vise became part of my tool set.

Many years later I admit that there is little that my current bench does not provide. The desire for a new work bench is purely for the challenge of the bench. So I began a journey to build a new bench and you will see it in the next several blogs.

Stanley #7 Blade Change

June 26, 2019 5 comments

Using my Stanley #7 plane last weekend to clean up the face frame for the new workbench, it became apparent that the blade must be chipped. This is not the first time that this has happened with this blade and it’s becoming clear that it must be something in the metallurgy.

A year ago I tucked away a Veritas PM11 blade and chip breaker and the time has arrived to install it. First, the plane bed needs to be modified to accept the larger width blade. A quick line with a straight edge and work with a file and in 10 minutes its ready to go.

Some of you will be asking my opinion of the PM 11 blades, and having them in one other plane for a couple of years I can say I have been happy with their performance. I have not used any blades apart form the original Stanley and the PM 11 so I cannot compare them to other newer manufacturers.

Categories: Tools

Diamond Bits

April 6, 2018 Leave a comment

A few years ago I was given a set of Craftsman Diamond Tipped screw drivers for Christmas. Whenever I strip a screw head and struggle to remove a screw I’ve found them invaluable. Lately I don’t wait until I make a mess of a screw head and use them for installing hardware from the start.

Before Christmas I noticed that Lee Valley offers a set of diamond tipped driver bits. They magically appeared under the tree and I’ve used them ever since. If you have a driver these are perfect to pair with the likes of Blue Spruce or others. Yeah I’m dreaming a little, but for now the current driver seems to work fine.

Categories: Tools

Bad Axe Tool Works D8 – Simply “WOW”

October 8, 2017 1 comment

Many of my tools have been found in auctions, garage sales and by family members. The most difficult tools to find have been saws. Back saws, hand saws, panel saws, turning saws,  all lie hidden away in garages, barns and local restaurants. It took several months to find the 26” crosscut and rip saw and careful straightening and sharpening to make them perform. After such a struggle I asked Mark Harrell at Bad Axe Tool Works about the chance of Bad Axe manufacturing a saw equivalent to the Disston D8. Not one to shy from a challenge, Mark smiled and discussed the intricacies of producing a hand saw, clearly he had been thinking about it.  Over several years this discussion has continued and I understood that the challenges of producing a large handsaw were being conquered one by one. When the announcement of the Bad Axe Tool Works D8 came out on Instagram and Facebook (you are a Bad Axe Tool Works follower, Right?) I scrambled to place an order…

Bad Axe Tool Works 24″ D8, Walnut handle, brass slotted nuts, 9PPI, xcut.

The saw arrived a couple of weeks ago and before writing it seemed appropriate to put it to work. Here’s my thoughts…..

Wow!

Grabbing an Oak board, a line was struck and with saw in hand I sliced off a few inches, next I found a piece of Cherry, that too became smaller, leaning against the wall some Sapele left over from my tool chest, then Walnut. Looking around I noticed a longer piece of Oak and “don’t tell anyone” ripped it in half with my new crosscut!

Suddenly I realized that the Cherry board that I was saving for drawer fronts may not be long enough and that Oak board…Oh well, I was having fun crosscutting and ripping if I had to buy new lumber so be it!

Taking a closer look at the saw, the finish on the handle is excellent and what a beautiful piece of Walnut! One of the things about Bad Axe saws is the ability to choose the size of the handle. I happen to be average, but I know others who have smaller hands and they are able to get a saw that fits. The clocking of the saw nuts is noted, I’m sure Chris Schwarz will see it.

At 9PPI I anticipated a rougher cut, but was surprised with a relatively clean cut, the saw started easily and the cuts were quick and smooth. Mark Harrell obviously put a little magic in the saw sharpening. I’m very impressed with the saw and know that it will give years of great service.

Mark Harrell and the team at Bad Axe Toolworks are passionate about the products they make. If you visit them at one of their saw sharpening seminars or talk to Mark at Hand Works you will become enamored with his knowledge and willingness to share. Great products from great people!

Now where’s that small panel saw and the turning saw?

Categories: Tools