Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

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

Ideas – mortise jig

June 22, 2016 3 comments

After posting about the mortise jig there were a couple of great comments. In particular the caution about ensuring that the jig is square to the board being mortised. This can be a frequent problem if your vise does not close evenly.

Posting the picture you can quickly see what can happen and imagine the effect. 

In the comments Matt quickly pointed out the potential problem. Here’s a solution I tried over the weekend that worked extremely well. The picture shows the clamps used in my moxon vise, but I also put it to work in my regular vise.


Along with this solution I also will take a close look at my bench vise and see if I can make some adjustments.

Thanks for all the comments!

Categories: Techniques, Tools

Sterling Tools

June 11, 2016 Leave a comment

I admire many of the small toolmakers that provide the tools we use. Speaking to many of them at Handworks and swapping comments on this blog and instagram, they are a tremendous group of hardworking, creative people. Analyyzing the mortises and tenons that I made previously, it became clear that I needed tto take greater care when making the joints. My mortises required sides that were at the correct angle. My biggest problem is that I had not realized it until the joints would not fit and my method for checking less than optimal. Then I remembered the dovetail square made by Chris at Sterling Tools, the “blade” was narrower than my small square and would fit into the smaller mortises allowing me to see the angle of the sides. For a few dollars more it came with a 4″ or 6″ measure that was perfect for another task I had coming up. I’ll also give it a whirl when I get to my next dovetail project.

While on the site I also took a look at the protractor. Another tool that I have been looking for but had not found the right one. When the protractor arrived I was very happy with the construction, ease of reading and that the kknow b is metal. In the pictures it is hard to tell. One of the things I like most is the  length of the ruler. In the picture you can see that I am abple to set the jig wheel on the ruler and measure the angle. Fantastic!

I’m not one to talk about the unboxing of tools but needless to say these tools are well made,, perform well and carefully packaged. I look forward to meeting Chris in person in the future, in the meantime Thanks for some great tools which I expect to use for many years to come.



Categories: Tools

Essential Hand Tools

June 8, 2016 3 comments

Many woodworking books occupy my shelves. Several have been thumbed through multiple times, others such as the Anarchist Tool Chest have been read cover to cover, there are even a couple that have yet to be read. A month ago a new book was added to the shelf or let’s say may get added if it ever leaves my side. Essential Woodworking Handtools by Paul Sellers.


There are many reasons to acquire and read woodworking books, pleasure, curiosity, historical perspective, knowledge. This book fulfills all categories. Essential Woodworking Hand Tools is no small volume. It is a hefty 480 page, hardcover bound book packed with photographs and detailed descriptions. Reading it is a pleasure, I have found myself looking up one topic and 20 pages further on into the next topic before I realize it. The photography is great but more imortantly rlevant clearly showing the reader details that the word describe.Most importantly this book has not left my side since purchase. Turning to it multiple times is the greatest testament to its value.

Today there are several grooves that must be placed in the back of the tool cabinet. Struggling last time to get a clean groove in some difficult wood,  I picked up the book and realized that in difficult grain I could use a mortise gauge to prepare the surface prior to using the plane, thought had not crossed my mind. This along with 18 more pages of information, some familiar and other new, all explained in well written text and clear photography.

Curious about router planes and how to use them when you have tenons of great length? It’s in the book! This came up in one of my blogs a couple of weeks ago and you guys gave me quick help. As an alternate it is clearly spelled out and described by Paul Sellers.

Want to know how to shargpen your router bits, saws, or drill bits? look it up. The wealth of information is amazing.

There is one essential tool missing from the book, which is the most critical item Paul taught me in his 9 day foundation class, “listen”. When I mention it today I hear in my mind his voice and the pause as the sound of the saw or chisel tells its tale. However the accompanying videos and his hard work on the web provide this as well.

This is a must buy book!

Categories: Tools

Stanley 78

May 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Tucked away in a drawer,a Stanley 78 rebate plane rested, handle worn, blade dull.Its moment now close at hand, the light spilled into the drawer absorbed by the japanned handle, but flashing from the blade. The touch of cloth across the body with life protecting camelia oil and and the coarseness of diamonds across the blade fully prepared it for a return to full duty.

Bringing a tool back to life is one of the joys of woodworking, be it a hand tool or machine. This plane sat for a number of years until there was a need and as I cleaned and learned about it on the web, I gained an appreciation for the subtleties of the tool. It also raised a few questions. Recently a couple of articles have appeared about the use of Rebate (rabbit) planes, Shannon at the Renaissance Woodworker put together a great video discussing correctly setting the cutter and blade to prevent stair stepping the rebate. Chris Schwarz had an article along similar lines.


The question that remains is the design of the edge guide. At first glance the single arm of the Stanley 78 seems flimsy and I question its ability to maintain a consistent rebate, certainly when compared to the Veritas Plane’s double arms which are stiff. Perhaps the position of the single arm at the front of the guide allows the plane to maintain a critical distance at the point of the blade such that the rear of the plane can be ignored. Maybe Veritas is too precise and holding the guide rigid exacerbates any misalignment in parallelism between the blade, cutter and guide making it a more difficult tool to use? Conversely has  Veritas improved on a 78 flaw?

Or maybe I need to put the tool to work, clear my head and make shavings…..


Categories: Tools

Veritas Plow Plane Upgrade

May 18, 2016 2 comments

A favorite plane in the tool chest is the Veritas Plow Plane. Reading this blog you may notice that many comments exist on the joy of curly shavings. Several people have commented on the inability of the depth stop to hold. I’ve not had this problem, possibly because I am super aware and monitor it constantly.


A month ago Veritas – Lee Valley came out with a modification to the stop to correct this problem. It is nice to know that Veritas monitors its tool’s performance and not only improves new tools, but is willing to modify existing tools. On top of the changes to the depth stop a change to the plane body would allow the use of beading blades. With a few clicks of the mouse a box was on its way to my address and with some clear instructions I disassembled the plane and sent the parts for modification back to Veritas. Approximately two weeks later my plane returned.


From the consumers perspective the system for disassembly packaging and shipping worked great. Over the next few months we’ll see how the depth stop works.  Below is a picture along with pictures of the new beading blades, they come in 3 sizes and work quickly and simply. A nice add on to an already great plane. I’m looking forward to trying it out over time.







Categories: Tools

Veritas Shooting Plane

April 6, 2016 1 comment

With the shooting board complete it’s time to give the shooting plane a whirl. Over the last couple of years I have been watching eBay, antique stores, and shows for the Stanley 51 shooting plane. Last fall I finally saw one in person while at the Midwest Tool Collectors meet. It, along with a fine looking #52 shooting board sat quietly in a display with a monstrous price tag; after a few moments I hesitantly asked if I could take a look and with a nod permission was granted. In my hands its weight was evident, and it looked well maintained and ready to work. However unable to overcome the price I moved on. This may not be the last time I see a #51, but It will be the last time I’m specifically looking to purchase one.

Seeking other avenues I turned to Lie Nielsen and Veritas. I like both companies and have tools from each. This past year at the hand tool show in Iowa I had looked at the Lie Nielsen #51 and the Veritas Shooting Plane.  They functioned well, felt good in my hand and appeared to be what I was looking for at a more reasonable price than the hard to find original version. Coming towards the end of the year I had to make a choice and feeling confident with the quality of each, reading every review I could find, I put in my request for the Veritas version. Am I happy with the decision absolutely! Would I have been as happy with the Lie Nieslen…most likely. So instead of a review, here’s my introduction to the Veritas Shooting plane.

The first observation of this plane is its weight, too lazy to grab a scale, I’ll just say it is surprisingly heavy. It has a very sleek  modern look like many of the Veritas tools it have similarities to the original tool but many improvements.

When purchasing the plane there is a choice of o-1 or PMV-11 steel. There have been several positive reports on the PMV-11 steel so I sprung for the extra $12. Without another blade It’s impossible to make a direct comparison, but at this point I am very pleased, it holds an edge and sharpens easily.

It took a few minutes to get the plane adjusted to plane an exact 90 degree face. but once done with the allen bolts tightened I don’t expect to do it again apart from minor adjustments.


There are many new experiences with this plane, bevel up, blade steel etc. I’ll take some time to fully understand it, but so far I like what I have.

Many of you know that my tools are stored in the garage. They live in my small tool chest or in the larger anarchist tool chest.This subjects them to all the temperature changes the midwest can offer and I have at times struggled with surface rust. With more experience (better maintenance) this has become less and less of a problem. I do keep each of my planes in a plane sock. Some of you will yawn and chuckle, but I have found them very effective and have not had to clean rust from a plane in a few years. I’d strongly recommend trying them if you are struggling with rust. There are many places to purchase them, mine happen to come from Lee Valley tools.

Categories: Tools

Hearing Protection

February 3, 2016 1 comment

There are a couple of safety items that I am adamant about, hearing and eye protection. Damaging either could be devastating to quality of life not only affecting yourself, but those around you. When using power tools these items are no brainers but over the last couple of years I’ve also noticed that while chopping with chisels, by the end of the day I can have some ringing in my ears. Admittedly I have sensitive hearing and wear ear plugs in movie theaters because I find them uncomfortably loud. Putting ear plugs in is a simple solution, however I also enjoy listening to podcasts while in the garage. Turning up the volume slightly I can listen with the plugs in my ears, but it is not ideal.

Listening to WoodTalk several months ago I remember a discussion about hearing protection and bluetooth speakers, I’ve also seen modifications made to ear muffs. Digging back through the Wood Whisperer’s site I was able to find the discussion and links to the earmuffs and accessories. After a little more research which resulted in stunned disbelief at the cost of alternatives, I used the Wood Whisperer link to Amazon and purchased the components. If I have heard about a product on WoodTalk and decide to purchase I tend to link through the sites of the hosts, after all if they are going through the trouble of reviewing and assembling the componets they might as well get credit.

After the Christmas crunch the package arrived. There are three components to make this work. Earmuffs, a bluetooth link, and a dooley whopper. With everything ready to go I linked the components to my Ipad using bluetooth and amazingly it all worked. A couple of hours later I took them off very happy with their functionality. I get my podcasts, keep my hearing and no more fumbling with earplugs.




Categories: Tools


January 30, 2016 15 comments

Sharpening – There is a myriad of techniques and to each technique every woodworker adds their own idiosyncracies. I’ve tried several and I believe they all work. After talking with someone the other day I realized that it’s something I’ve never really discussed on the blog.

DSC_0027Here’s mine… hand sharpening, three diamond plates , one strop; occasional use of jig when my hand sharpening gets a little out of hand. Simple right! Didn’t satisfy you did it?

EZ Lap diamond plates in 250, 600, 1200 grit. Why these plates? Found them on Amazon had a good price. I’ve been using them for a few years now.

DSC_0018Jig for holding plates – Found this simple jig for holding the plates on Paul Sellers’ blog. It was quick to build and works great. Hard to tell in the picture, but I used a table saw to cut all the edges of the cut outs for the plates. Then a hand router to cut to depth. Although not the most lovely appearance after a few years, it continues to serve me well. I use auto glass cleaner on the plates. It contains very little water, therefore eliminating the rust component.

DSC_0014Strop – Piece of wood, leather from local craft store, green stuff from harbor freight tools glued to an 8″x 4″ board. I keep it in a vice on the side of my bench and use it constantly. I have no idea what grit the green sharpening compound is, but it works.

Still need more?

25 strokes on 250, check burr, two strokes on back to remove burr.

25 strokes on 600, check burr, two strokes on back to remove burr.

25 strokes on 1200, check burr, two strokes on back to remove burr.

30 hard strokes on strop, two strokes on back to remove burr.

DSC_0016I do have a flaw in my technique. I tend to push a little harder on the right side when sharpening thus over time my chisel and irons are not square. When I reach the point of no return I grab a jig and straighten out the iron. I purchased this jig for about $14.00 for Lie Nieslen, I see they now sell their own version for $125. I’m sure they have made modifications and improvements, but I’m perfectly happy with this jig. It is similar to the earlier eclipse models and handles all of the chisels and irons I have. Look around, I’m sure someone is selling them.

Last but not least, I use camelia oil on the exposed metal. The final picture are the water stones that sit idle. Maybe I’ll need 8000 + grit one day…..



Categories: Tools

Midwest Tool Collectors Association 

January 29, 2016 1 comment

Last August the Midwest Tool Coolectors had one of their meets nearby. Fortunately this one is open to the public for a small fee and each year.It’s always fun to poke through the piles of old chisels and look for bargains. Didn’t find many that were cheap but following are a few pictures of items that caught my eye. Click on the saw photographs. The blade has been divided into demonstration of correct and incorrect sharpening techniques

Categories: Tools