Posts Tagged ‘Techniques, Tools and Schools’

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

Hanging Tool Cabinet – The Back

June 5, 2016 1 comment

Beginning on the back of the tool cabinet this morning, I had several clear goals. The first was to ensure that my tennon accuracy immproved and I tried out many of the ideas that you gave me for improving my router us on the tenons. The second was to improve the quality of the groves that were made in some difficult grain cherry that I have been using.

Accuracy first comes from preparation of stock and I spent quite a bit of time ensure that everything was square and of consisten size. This included sqaring all of the ends on the shooting board and a lot of careful checks. There is no sense trying to be accuracte if your board tapers fropm one end to the other.

Next came measuring and marking. the back consists of four boards tenoned together and a groove inside to accept the back. I took great care to measure from the same faces and edges to eliminate probelms cause by minor discrepencies.

Once completed the grooves neede to be ploughed into the boards. I had looked up in Essentials of hand tool Woodworking some details about using plough planes and Paul Selelrs suggested that in difficult grane to use a mortise gauge to pre cut the groove. I’ve struggled with a few pieces of this cherry and was glad for the advice. However I had to risk it all when I didn’t have a 3/16 blade for my plane and ended up have to use a 1/8 carefully from each side to make the correct width. It all worked.

Seems that I didn’t get much done but I learned alot and hopefully over the week will get a chance to shop the mortises for the Tenons.

Categories: Hanging Tool Cabinet

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

Hanging Tool Cabinet – Shelf Panel

May 25, 2016 Leave a comment

With all of the shelf parts prepared, some twice, mortise and tenons completed and fitting nicely thanks to more care and a router plane. My attention turns towards the panel I glued up last week. After trimming it to size I need to cut rebates on all of the edges. If you saw my post on the Stanley 78 Rebate plane last week you may now realize that this is what I used to cut the rebates around the edge of the shelf.

Once the rebate is complete it is glued into the frame. Which now thanks to reworking a few parts looks pretty good.

Planing the shelf and fitting the ends into the cabinet side took a little time but it is the last piece before glueing it together.

Categories: Hanging Tool Cabinet

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

Frame Rework

May 15, 2016 6 comments

The fit of the frame sides is not good and the color worse.spending time analyzing my mistakes it is clear that I ahve not cut the Tenons straight again. The mortises are fine but there needs to be more foocus when I remove the wood for the tenons. Try again.

Taking more care I measured and chiseled out knife wall for the saw cuts. The lumber already looks a better match. The preparation gives me time to consider how to make the Tenons. More care with the router plane and perhaps a longer bed on theplane would help. Roughing the tenon out with a saw, I then take the router plane to size and hopefully maintain a square tenon.

While I’m sharpening my router I also notice the angled blade which I have never used. Giving it a whirl I find it cuts well and I like the fact that I am putting less pressure into the cut. Perhaps this has been causing me to lean the router slightly and ending with an angled tenon.




Categories: Hanging Tool Cabinet

Hanging Tool Cabinet Shelf 3

May 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Paul Sellers gives you quite the work out in his projects. There are several extra steps built into this cabinet that prepare you for making the cabinet doors. One of these is a shelf that is more complex than necessary. Where a single board or glued panel  would work well, the project calls for a frame and panel; the same joints that would be required on the door. Not one to shy away from excess joinery I milled the pieces to size and set out to make a frame and panel shelf.


A couple of rough measurements and I glue together a panel for the shelf. Using the parts from my prior mistake I was able to come up with grain that matches well, hopefully the final door panels will come out as well.


Taking the shelf part previsoulsy made that was prepared to recieve the divider I set up my plow plane to groove the edges to accept the panel. It is allways a surprise how quickly this process goes and withing minutes it is completed. The groove then becomes the guide for the mortises that hold the shelf frame together. In the last couple of projects I have been successful with the mortises but struggled to keep the tenons stright. More in the next post.



Categories: Hanging Tool Cabinet

Hanging Tool Cabinet – Shelf divider

April 9, 2016 Leave a comment

I’ve never counted the number of times I assemble and disassemble a project as I build. It’s part of the process and and essential for measuring and fitting each piece.The cherry in this project is fighting me. The change in humidity and temperature is causing the parts to swell and I have had to adjust the dovetails. Unfortunately there are a couple of cracks which hopefully will disappear with some adjustment.

With the through tenons done and the case reassembled I can measure carefully for the center divider. This is another through tenon so I took care in all of the measurements. The photographs below show the shape of the divider and the final product.

Slowly the cabinet is beginning to take shape.

Categories: Hanging Tool Cabinet