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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 Midwest Tool Collectors meet 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

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

Dubuque Clamp Works

August 13, 2017 1 comment

Chance meetings abound at Handworks, while talking with Jim and Mike at Mortise and Tenon Magazine, I took the opportunity to grab a photograph.

Jim and I were laughing about asking someone to grab a photo of the three of us and we asked the first person wandering up to the table. After the picture was taken we continued talking and the  conversation moved to clamps and quickly a business card appeared in my hand. Our photographer, Keith Clark was the owner of Dubuque Clamp Works. 

Readers of my blog surely know that I am a huge fan of Dubuque Calmp Works. Learning more about the clamps I left the conversation even more impressed by their commitment to materials and quality. I purchased my clamps through Lee Valley Tools and have been extremely happy. There are many other places they can be purchased as well.


Categories: Tools

High Desert Saw Mill

July 30, 2017 1 comment

While in Bend Oregon I wandered out to the High Desert Museum to see what could be learned. Stumbling across a saw mill I thought about all the work Matt Cremona was doing with his homemade bandsaw. Missed them operating by a few days which would have given me more insight as to the mills operation. Following are a few pictures.


It appears to be a nice set up, complete with wooden idlers to move the wood and a chop saw to cut everything to length.

Categories: Tools

Looking for a Router Plane?

May 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Walke-Moore Tools – Hanging on Paul Sellers’ tool cabinet are a couple of Preston router planes. They can be found in Paul’s hand when there is a tenon to be refined or a wide lap joint to be made. Occasionally they show up on EBay, and with a flurry disappear. Such is the world of used hand tools, discovery of a tool from others, seeking knowledge of its character and either purchasing or passing.

Wandering the buildings of Handworks, I came to Walke-Moore Tools and had the opportunity to look at an original Preston plane and their upgraded equivalent. Looking at the plane on their website I failed to understand why this plane was so special. The elongated bed is great, but what pushes this plane over the top is the ability to reposition the cutter to the end.


There is one downside to the Walke-Moore Plane, approximately 30 are made each month, so I’ll have to wait my turn before I handle another one. The best part, was a lengthy conversation I had about the planes manufacture and design. This is what makes Handworks special, talking and learning from the tool makers themselves.

Categories: Handworks, Tools