Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

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

Workbench Confessions

June 1, 2016 8 comments

A couple of confessions – My workbench is ugly; I’m envious of all those beautiful benches out there!


Not quite what you go to the confessional to admit, but for a woodworker it was tough. It’s been hidden away in my photos so let me introduce you. The bench is made up of one sheet of plywood cut in half and glued together creating a 24″ wide, 8′ long bench. The length is awesome although a few more inches of width would be nice. Given a makeover I would go to thirty or thirty two inches including a tray at the back.
A few years ago as I increased hand tool use, I began using a front vise and had to make several modifications. A 10″ wide board was added to the front along with doubling the leg width. Some cross bracing on the sides and the bench became very solid. My old vise stays on the side holding the strop for easy access. I made this bench as a teenager working with my father. It is a design from an old friend of his and has served well. Starting out, I certainly wouldn’t shy away from this bench. It’s cheap and works well.

But all of those other benches they sure have the looks!

Categories: other

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

Hanging Tool Cabinet – Shelf

April 2, 2016 Leave a comment

The bottom of the cabinet consists of two drawers topped with a shelf. The shelf is carefully fitted using dados and through mortises.

The dados come first, one on each side. Laying them out carefully, I placed both pieces together marked with a knife and then began work with a chisel followed by the router plane. The router plane is the most used plane I own beside my number 4. If you are new to hand tool woodworking it is a must have tool. I use a Veritas model, but there are many others out there.

In a short period of time the dados were complete.


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