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Dog Holes and Mistakes

July 23, 2019 2 comments

When choosing a new bench design the dog holes and integral dogs drew me to the Roubo. Planing boards is a pleasure except when you don’t have a great method to hold them on your bench. Paul Sellers’ is adept at using his front vice, and I admit it has worked well for narrow boards. I’ve also used boards positioned across the end of the vice as a planing stop. However the ability to use a tail vice and adjust to any board length has great appeal.

Most of you will notice that a router and template was used in this process. Before hand tool woodworking I did most of my work by machine and I still have most of them. You can’t beat machines for repetitive processes. Except when you stop paying attention and oops.

A little plug will take care of that. I routed one dog hole too far.

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

Categories: Uncategorized

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: Uncategorized

Small Gift Box

June 23, 2019 Leave a comment

It’s been a while since dovetails were part of a project. However a small gift was needed so a small box was required. A piece of cherry left over from the cabinet would become the sides and Sapele left over from the small tool chest became the top and bottom.

Cutting the cherry board such that the grain continues around the box may not be apparent to everyone, but knowing where this box is going it was important to add in the small details. Several practice cuts and muscle memory took over as the dovetails were cut.

Work with a #4 plane smoothed the edges and cleaned up the dovetails. The top and bottom cut from the Sapele have edges rounded using the same #4 plane. The bottom is simply glued onto the sides and after a night in the clamps a quick sanding allowed the finish process to begin. The top has a couple of stops glued to the bottom the keep the top in place.

Next a quick sanding and I began applying Shellac. Several coats later and the box was complete.

Categories: Uncategorized

Small Cabinet

April 7, 2018 3 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve done serious woodworking. I’ve sharpened tools, planed boards but generally accomplished little for several months. There’s a couple of big projects that I’d like to tackle but a little practice first will help get my head thinking in the right direction. I’ve always admired the work of Mike Pekovich (Fine Woodworking June 2016) so decided to make a Cabinet similar to one in an article in the magazine. Cabinets are great for teaching skills and I think this will be a good refresher.

Digging around in my scraps and off cuts there’s enough oak to make the Cabinet and maybe some cherry for a second if I modify the dimensions from those shown in the magazine.

Since purchasing my shooting plane it’s changed the way I work dramatically. I used a number 5 plane for many years but tended to skip shooting on most occasions. This usually led to less then ideal joints. The shooting plane has made it quicker and easier to be accurate. With the lumber dimensioned I sawed out the tails and carefully laid out the pins. o

which I’ll tackle next weekend. That’ll give me time to consider the shelf and back designs.

Handworks 2017

May 14, 2017 2 comments

I discovered this post in my drafts, obviously it is a year old but brought a smile to my face as I remembered a great time so I shared it despite the poor timing.

Low clouds drift across the sky, a single drop of rain strikes the windshield, followed by an ever increasing number. Reaching out, I adjust the volume of Snap Judgement as the drops become a downpour. A couple of hours later I find myself slowing in Amana, IA. The rain, now a steady drizzle, could not dampen the spirit of people huddled under umbrellas waiting to enter the barn for Roy Underhill’s presentation. Walking towards the crowd, Norway John and I exchange a handshake, a smile and enter the barn.

Knowing what to expect at Handworks greatly improved my experience,  As pointed out by Shannon Rogers on Woodtalk, Handworks can be crowded, however people are polite and will easily step aside if you want a closer look.

Handworks ebbs and flows and with a little knowledge you can get the most out of it. My plan was to enjoy the people and later in the day focus on the the specific, tools and vendors that have drawn my interest. The initial push into Festhalle for Roy Underhill’s talk and the giveaways, attracts the majority of people, so once finished I walked to the outermost buildings and worked back to the barn. By mid afternoon the crowd will thin and although tired, vendors will be relaxed and less busy.

img_2323Walking between buildings I quickly spotted Ben and the new guy from FineWoodworking Magazine. Handing them an OrePass Sticker and thanking them for ShopTalk Live, they passed me a shirt! More importantly I got a chance to talk and enjoyed a few thoughts and the advice from New Guy to try a Japanese Plane as a little relief from Hip Pain.  I’m really glad to see them here enjoying the many vendors and companionship of their audience.

Next stop was Texas Heritage Woodworks to say hello to Sara and Jason. Two of the nicest people I know and a great companion on Instagram. Their Tool Rolls and the new Saddle Bag was very tempting! Further along I stopped by Plate 11 workbench Co. Their work benches could be found throughout Handworks, these give me an opportunity to compare heights, components and styles. I did learn a trick with the Moxon Vise. Springs inserted between the jaws make quite a difference.

Lunch at Handworks has always baffled me, seems that there would be lots of options; yet again I suffered through a mediocre sandwich however I met Kent. Really enjoyed getting to know him over a few bites.

I spent a few minutes talking with the Guys from Mortise and Tenon Magazine, had some good laughs and a photograph taken by the owner of Dubuque Clamp works.

Spending time with Mark Harrell from Bad Axe Tools was entertaining and educational as always and his son made a valiant effort to sell me a new D8 saw.  Before leaving time was spent with Walke Moore Tools looking at their new Router Plane. It was fun to see and make comparison to the original Preston Plane.

Overall it was a fun day and I look forward to the Next Event.

Categories: Handworks, Uncategorized

Coming back

May 7, 2017 12 comments

As you already know my posts over the last few months have been non existent. Those of you who follow orepass on instagram already know that I had surgery on my hip at the end of the year. The recovery has gone well. In fact I began running again this week, although one minute at a time. Woodworking has taken longer and the little bit of aggravation created in my hip when sharpening and planing has faded.

The tools have sat long enough and I have been cleaning, sharpening and thinking. After six months a simple project that encompasses several joints will bring me back. Looking through magazines and blogs and finding my saw bench buried under a pile of boxes, bags and family ‘items’ a new saw bench is in order. From all the items piled on and around my bench it appears that others may have been moving into the shop area!
A bench that has caught my eye several times is the split saw bench, several people have blogged with their own version and I’ve had trouble identifying the original designer, although many people point to Billy’s Little Bench. It’s important to give credit where it’s due, but in this case I can only point you to the web. Look up split top saw bench and tell me which ones you prefer.

My original saw bench was built many years ago as a a project from Shannon Rogers’ Hand Tool School. It has served its time well but certainly is showing its age and a couple of repairs have failed to keep it rigid. The split bench should be more rigid and I like the concept of being able to saw boards down the center. Additionally, the dovetails and  mortise and tenon joints will help tune skills that have been resting.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you and thanks for all the support over the last few months.

Categories: Uncategorized