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Dubuque Clamp Works

August 13, 2017 Leave a 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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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