Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Work

Just a quick note to let you know that I have finally got my work up on the site instead of sending you to a Picasa page. Just click on 'THE WORK' and the top of the site and look away. The goal is to see more stuff being added to this page ... now if I could only get in the shop to make said stuff.

In order to understand you must do. V

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cross-cut stops

It's always nice to be able to add a bit of efficiency into the shop, especially if you work mostly with hand tools. I was working on a set of shelves the other day and I needing to cut eight, small nailing strips. I wanted them to be the same length so I set up this little stop to help me out.

Locked down with a couple of holdfasts and the set up stays put
Just like a power saw, you put the wood up against the stop and make your cut. Then a couple of quick passes on the shoot board and I was off to the races. Not to mention that I look good sporting my Copperhead Killer! Well....the saw looks good at any rate, not to mention saws like a boss.

Acuracy and good can you go wrong?

I order to understand, you must do. V

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How many routers does one guy need?

Just when I thought that I had enough hand routers I found a need for another. The other day I was teaching a class on making a saw bench at the Ottawa Lee Valley. One of the T-lap joints that needed mucking out was just a bit to wide for my router causing one side of it to float in the air which isn't ideal. A woodworking buddy of mine had a Stanley 71-1/2 router that was a full 2-inches wider than mine.

So of course I needed to have one.

My new 71 after some light cleaning

I called my local tool pusher and told him what I was after.

Like many vintage tools that originally game with many parts, the router is no exception. The type 11 Stanley 71 has a fence, depth stop and auxiliary foot that are all typically missing. Combination planes tend to be one of the few planes that you can find complete mostly because they were bought and seldom used. If you have ever tried to get a combination plane set up for use you will understand why.

Combination depth stop and auxiliary foot

This plane was quite clean and only needed a bit of oil to get it into service. 30 minutes of work and the plane was ready to go. The best part about this plane is that they take the cutters from my Veritas large router so I don't have to give up any versatility.

Veritas blades work just fine

Now that it's ready to go, I'm looking forward to get it earning its keep.

In order to understand, you must to do. V

Monday, December 2, 2013


Sorry for that last post folks. The pictures didn't show up because I decided to try something different while uploading and it clearly didn't work. I won't be doing that again! V

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We've got a piper down....

Today in my shop started like it normally does. Tidy up the bench, put away stuff that I was too lazy to put away the last time I was in there and find a safe place for my coffee cup so I don't knock it onto the floor. This morning's task was to hone and polish the four new PMV 11 blades that I picked up this week as replacements for my old reliable O1 irons. As I reached for the blades sitting on the shelf beside my plane rack my hand came into contact with the handle of  my BU smoother and the unthinkable happened. The plane slid arse-first off of the rack and plummeted five feet to the concrete floor.

This all happened in slow motion or so it seemed as I stood by, unable to move, paralized by what I was seeing. It hit the floor and exploded. The lever cap, blade and adjuster scattered across the floor making a sound that made me feel sick. Not only did I not make an attempt to catch it before it hit the floor but I then stood there frozen, staring at the carnage for what was probably seconds but felt like hours.
Once I got my breath back I stooped over and picked up the parts, inspecting each component and preparing for the worst. The blade had a small nick in it - no problem there, I can fix that. The adjuster and lever cap were also okay so I turned my attention to the body. Everything metal was fine but the tote was cracked lengthwise. (I didn't think to take picture because I was in the zone similar to a fireman arriving to a nasty car crash - I needed to triage the damage and get started with the first-aid)

Three clamps to hold it all together
I got out the PVA and went to work. Thankfully the crack was clean and it went back together seamlessly. It appears that the tote took the brunt of the hit because it sits proud of the metal casting.

All the metal is good
The only mark left behind is the crushed fibers from the impact. I thought about taking those marks out with a spokeshave or rasp but thought better of it. I will leave that mark there as a reminder to be more careful with my tools. They deserve better than to hit the floor.

With everything reassembled, I'm happy to report that the plane works just fine. I on the other hand will need some time....

In order to understand you must do. V

Monday, September 2, 2013

Time For A New Bench

I've been thinking about building a new bench for about a year and a half now. My first bench was built early on in my woodworking journey and I hadn't really developed my method of work yet. At that time I just needed to get a bench to work on so I picked a style and went for it. Now that I have some time under my belt, I need something different. I work with hand tools a lot more than I used to so that is a definite consideration. I also have had an opportunity to work on many different benches with all sorts of vise configurations so I've been able to do a lot of comparison.

I've decided on a Nicholson-style bench with straight legs with a 12" Veritas twin screw vise. At the moment I don't think I'm going to put a tail-type vise. I found that I didn't use the one I have all that often so why bother. If you've ever seen Paul Sellers' bench you will get the idea. I spent a few weekends down at the wood shows in the US last year sharing a lecture stage with Paul and I got a chance to work on his bench. As far as benches go, it is pretty modest but I really like it. It's plenty stout despite being made of SPF and the size is perfect for my tiny shop. The most impressive part of this type of bench is how rock solid it is thanks in part to the legs being let in to the aprons with a dado.
Lots of glue was spread for these laminations
Now that I've got the lathe up and out of the way it's on to building this bench. This is the most important tool in my shop so I'm looking forward to getting it done. Today I laminated up the many 2 x 3's for the legs and the top. An soon as the glue dries I will start laying out the joinery to get the legs joined.

In order to understand you must do.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A New Look

You have no doubt noticed that my website has changed around a bit. My old site was a paid site that cost me money every month to host. When I was making furniture for a living I had no problem justifying the cost but now that I'm a hobbyist, there isn't much sense in laying out money for nothing.

This new site is being hosted by Blogger and it meshes up nicely with all the other Google products that I use so it just made sense. It doesn't have as much functionality as the old site but I'm learning new things about it everyday. If you have any cool Blogger tricks that you would like to share, please send them along.

As for woodworking, in my last post I talked about selling my table saw and how liberating that was. I haven't missed it yet and I'm having no problem ripping on the bandsaw and cross-cutting at the bench. Lately I've been looking pretty hard at the jointer sitting across the way. It's an eight incher with very short beds (it's an Inca) and is somewhat limited in it's use. Anything wider and I have to flatten a face with a hand plane - anything narrower and I couldn't be bothered to connect the dust collection so again I just do it at the bench.

Next on the chopping block
So what's the big deal. It gets used once in a blue moon and to be honest, a little extra room would be nice. I know what your thinking, what's next? Well if I ditch the jointer that will leave me with three machines: the bandsaw, thickness planer and drill press. I don't see me getting rid of any of those any time soon. The bandsaw is just to useful; the thickness planer saves a metric ton of work; and the drill press is great for ... well ... drilling stuff. The drill press is also great for cutting mortises as well so it's safe.

The other cool opportunity this brings me is the chance to use my specialtiy planes more often. I spend a lot of time at work and wood shows testing and demonstrating the tools but I haven't often put them to use in my own shop. Up till now I've always described my woodworking style as 60/40 - that's 60% power tools and 40% hand tools. It would appear that those numbers are going to change.

In order to understand, you must do.