Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

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

Bandsaw gone!

January 24, 2016 2 comments

Today started out a little rough…too much work to think about. As the temperature in the shop began to warm I found myself cleaning the rust inhibitor off the band saw table, in hopes that I would be able to sell it today. Since posting my desire to sell I’ve had a few inquiries for more information, details etc., and a couple of serious conversations about location. Also had the one guy (you know the one) that came in at half my asking price and kept trying to come up in $25 increments. Needless to say that one guy did not get the saw.

Right on time my potential buyer showed up. He obviously had done his homework, asked great questions checked the saw out and had even looked into what needed to be disassembled to safely move it (along with his own tools!). We decided on a fair price some paper changed hands and we loaded it up. I don’t regret selling the saw, it was not used and I feel that it will have a much better home now. What was really great was the passion of the buyer! It’s fun seeing the excitement in someones eyes and since he brought his wife along, her support of his hobby. I was also asked some great questions about my hand tool work, how do I sharpen, what do I do if I need to re-saw (without the bandsaw) what’s my favorite project. The one question that struck me most was what forums do I go to……..not sure I provided a good answer. If forced to give an answer it would be WoodTalk, but I really don’t spend time there unless I have a specific question. So where do I go for help, support, fellowship? The Hand Tool School, Unplugged shop, your blogs, and Instagram. Seems that I have built up quite a network of people that I interact with on a regular basis that are always willing to offer a hand, show their successes and mistakes and throw in a picture of their dog or last walk.

Hopefully Daniel will read this post, I’d love to introduce him to all the great people out there. Oh and if I want to build a frame saw for re-sawing, who’s got the best kits? What blade size  do you recommend?



Categories: Tools

NEW Shooting Board

January 20, 2016 4 comments

As I mentioned previously the complexities of Left Handed vs Right Handed Shooting boards has forced me to build a new board. After considering the design for a few days I’ve decided to revert back to a flat board. The inclined board I have will continue to work well, however there are a couple of reasons for an inclined board, the first is to wear the plane blade over its entire width and decrease the initial force required for the cut by presenting a smaller portion of the blade. The Veritas plane blade is angled, unlike the Stanley I was using, so as long as I am willing to put up with wear in one area of the blade I don’t need the incline.

img_1833Experience with the prior shooting board helped me understand that a guide to maintain the plane’s distance from the item being planed would be helpful.The Veritas plane seems to be even more reliant on this since it has only one handle in the rear and limited places to grip the plane in the front.With those considerations I did something unusual; I purchased the Veritas Shooting board track. I had an old gift card and Lee Valley had free shipping. Although it seems a little pricey I’m very pleased. The instructions were clear the track well made and the adjustments simple.

Scrounging pieces of 3/4″ and 1/2″ a couple of pieces of hardwood and some screws, I had a shooting board in an hour. With the temperature in the garage at 27 degrees and a frozen glue bottle I screwed everything in place. The low friction tape works great and the plane glides effortlessly and precisely along the track. After some use I’ll give an opinion on the plane. Seems like I made a good decision…




Categories: Tools

Shooting Board

January 16, 2016 6 comments

The first couple of projects that I made for the Hand Tool School are used in most projects. One of these is a shooting board. Not satisfied with the flat board, mine has an incline and works well. There is just one thing about my shooting board. Most of you know Shannon Rogers is left handed, I’m very definately right handed. Look at the picture – it’s a left handed shooting board! When I was gluing up the board I obviously followed Shannon’s directions to a fault. I’ve worked with this board for a few years with no problems until now….


20130420-183337.jpg My christmas gift is a Veritas shooting plane, very exciting. It’s something I have put off buying for seveal years because they are expensive, but I’m now a proud owner. Even better it is right handed! Now you can see the problem, right handed plane – left handed shooting board. Two more blogs coming up…Veritas Shooting Plane and Building a new Shooting board.

Feel free to laugh, I’ve been chuckling about it all week!

Categories: Tools

Saws Come Home

January 13, 2016 2 comments

It’s hard to explain to your non-woodworking friends that you miss your saws. They can’t understand the empty feeling when you stare at that blank space in the tool chest. The back up saws are good, but not the same, they feel different in your hand, they sound different to your ear, they don’t cut the same! Driving to the post office early so that I could be first person in line, I fidgeted in excitement. Carrying the box I felt like the proud kid holding his favorite bear.

A few weeks ago I sent Mark Harrell at Bad Axe tools, three back saws, the two R. Groves I picked up a couple of years ago and my Bad Axe dovetail saw. The Bad Axe needed to be sharpened and since I was shipping the other two I added it to the box. The other saws needed to be retoothed. Taking them out of the box I lovingly held each one. The wood felt comfortable and familiar and as they sliced through a piece of oak they whispered in my ear. There was no one around to see my smile…but I know you understand!

Categories: Tools

Do I really need a power jointer?

January 6, 2016 6 comments

After cleaning up my shop I spent some time staring at two tools, Delta 6″ jointer and 14″ Jet Bandsaw. I mentioned that they were going out the door in my last post but have gone back and forth on what to do. Both have been with me for a while ,but the last few years I’ve done nothing but remove rust and wax their surfaces. Perhaps it’s time they had a new owner? The final deciding factor was this picture, if I can joint a board and end up with beautiful shavings, no noise and no dust what’s stopping me. You can find them for sale on craig’s list.

Categories: Tools

Back to the chisel handle

April 19, 2015 5 comments

My nemesis the chisel handle came to visit last night. After a few weeks of perfect discipline the handle loosened again. If you would like to see my previous attempt at a fix here is Big Sexy Hair followed by Water Torture. My next attempt will be following advice from my last post to see if the chisel handle is bottoming out in the socket.

Quick work with a file (4 strokes) and I banged the handle back in place. I’ll report later on the results.

Categories: Tools

Chisel Handle Fix

March 29, 2015 9 comments

lie Nielsen makes great chisels, I only have one complaint which could be true of all socket chisels. The handle on the 1/8″ chisel will not stay attached. I’ve tried and blogged about some of the remedies I have used to keep the chisel together. The latest was hair spray. Today while using the chisel to clean out mortises it again came apart.


After a few seconds I remembered a comment from someone posting on my blog to try droping the handle into hot water and reattach.


Taking a break I boiled some water for the handle and some tea. Then i dorped the end in for a few seconds and slammed it back together.


So far so good.

Categories: Tools

Texas Heritage Woodworks

December 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Like many woodworkers it is exceedingly rare to walk into another’s shop. The chance to try tools is not one to pass up. While I was a The Bad Axe Tool Works Sharpening School the chance to try out different tools was too good to pass up. Some were new, but many had been around the block several times.



One of my favorite tools was this saw vise. It is exceptionally well made, clamps with an iron fist and is very attractive. I know, we pay little attention to how our tools look, but really take a second peak.


It was only after I had used the vise multiple times that I realized it was made by Texas Heritage Woodworks.  Not sure if this is for sale or a proto-type, but it was very impressive. Contrary to my extroverted style, I went to the web site and told the owner Jason Thigpen what a great product it was. Which prompted a very quick response thanking me. While on the site I noticed some aprons and tool rolls and other products. They all looked great!

If you haven’t look around lately, there are many small businesses that are supporting our craft. These businesses often consist of one or two people following their dream. I try to support them when possible and at the very least let others know who’s out there….

Categories: Tools

The Soul of a Saw

December 13, 2014 4 comments

Walking into my shop you can see what is important. A band saw sits near the door, rust accumulates on the table, the blade wrapped around the adjustment knob and a spider seeks its next meal. Across the room is a jointer covered in dust and rust from lack of use. The metal cold, lifeless.

FullSizeRenderBefore you is a bench, not a Nicholson or Roubo, but a bench built by a teenager and his father, modified and strengthened to fit a new purpose. Looking to the right is a large chest unfinished, but inside tools stand oiled and sharp anticipating the next task. On the left a smaller chest immediately at hand. Beneath the lid sit planes needed each day wood is worked. In the first drawer, chisels, marking knives and measuring tools. The second drawer contains saws, R.Groves from the 1790’s and Bad Axe Tools from LaCrosse. Across the shop,diamond plates ready to sharpen, unfinished projects and lumber unworked.

As a new project begins I reach for specific tools, some I put to use, others give me a sense of place. The mortise gage with is curved edges fits carefully in my hand, the Stanley number 7 brings to mind the many lives it has touched over 125 years. The R. Groves saw shows the marks of several lifetimes work. These tools hold secrets that are out of my grasp, but they pull me in. As the metal passes through the wood fibers, the tools speak, the handles warm and their soul shines.

Why do certain tools have a soul, while others sit cold and lifeless?

IMG_1163.JPG Spending the weekend sharpening saws with the team at Bad Axe Tools I had time to reflect on the art and science of tool making. Years seeking knowledge past and present, months finding the best steel and components and hours of sharpening, all for the birth of a saw. Watching the team I learned the steps of assembly, the areas of caution, I saw the precise movement of hands and eyes seeking perfection. I began to realize that components are only a small part of the soul, the majority comes from the passion of the saw maker.




Walking into Bad Axe Tool works you sense that passion is in abundance. Listening to the team build saws I feel my responsibility grow. The responsibility of the saw user to assemble the last piece of soul. As the the saw is worked and furniture built. Hands wear the handle, files shape and sharpen the blade, coats of wax and oil seep into the back and handle, scratches and dings appear. The saw becomes experienced and the soul strengthens and grows. When the time is right, and the saw passed forward, the soul becomes the responsibility of another and another. My Bad Axe Tool Works 15 ppi dovetail saw….



Perhaps you should consider tools with soul……..