Back to it

So I haven’t written anything much in 2015 since creating this blog. There are several reasons but the biggest one is time constraints. I want to get back to contributing to the few people who subscribed to this and potentially attract new subscribers.

I think my overall desire is just to put thoughts to electric paper and write down my own personal successes and failures as I work to get better at creating things (I won’t say furniture).

In 2016 I have a few goals I think are achievable. The first is to make the Nicholson Knock Down bench using Chris Schwarz’s recent article in Popular Woodworking and in his revised Workbenches book. This will allow me to accomplish a few other goals, make a successful mortise and tenon joint, create a smooth and level table top, and improve my use of hand and powered tools (I’m sure this is a goal for every woodworker out there).

I’ll begin posting more pictures of successful projects as well as my failures. I want to this blog to serve as a repository of lessons learned and I plan on using a logbook to capture the time spent on projects and then transfer those items to this blog.


Poor Man’s Moxon Vise

Yesterday I was able to take some construction grade 2 x 10’s spare 4′ sections, along with a piece of poplar I had and create what I call the Poor Man’s Moxon Vise. I simply found two pieces that mated well, they were not from the same original board and added the poplar clamping beam. Once that was completed I simply clamped the poplar to my folding top and then use two additional cheap-o clamps to pinch my work. It worked really well. In due time I’ll upgrade, but until then I have something to train on how to cut dovetails.

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Back to trying

Two weekends ago it was too cold to work so I purchased a Veritas Mk II honing guide and spent that Saturday morning sharpening plane blades and chisels. I am now looking forward to using them on new projects. I also received as a gift a new Bosch jigsaw and I am looking forward to using that as well. This past weekend we were on vacation and got a look at dovetailed chest that is very old and a stool that is relatively new as inspiration for future projects. More to follow.

He Thumbs a Book of Photographs and Says,

Interesting and thought provoking. After some initial research George is a little to spiritual for me, but further reading is required.

Lost Art Press


“Fast modern contemporary furniture, I want no part of it. People wanting to express themselves, it’s just simply crap. That’s what’s causing all the ills of our society, individualism with nothing to express. You tear your guts out to express yourself and it ends up in frustration and a terrible environment…. (Wood is) a gift we should treasure and use in the most logical and beautiful way, and personal expression is quite illegitimate. It’s an arrogant conceit, and we have too much conceit in our society.”

— George Nakashima interviewed by John Kelsey for the January/February 1979 issue of Fine Woodworking (Issue No. 14).

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School of Hardknots

Maple, potentially Bird’s Eye Maple is a hardwood, both scientifically from the species and on Janka hardness scale and experienced that first hand this weekend.

I am trying to make a better version of a jewelery shadow box based on two that my wife has. First I tried using some scrap wood picked up on the cheap at a local lumber store. These pieces were two thick and the box ended up not being square as I tried using a simple half lap joint at the corners. It now holds my dual marking gauge, sanding block and a chip breaker from the wooden plane I purchased a recently.

This weekend I purchased some 1/4″-3/8″ thick oak and maple stock from a different woodworking store. These dimensions are closer to the originals I am using as a guide. The first attempt was made and the plan was to use finger joints. On Friday I tried a 1/2″ joint which was much to large for these thin pieces. Saturday I tried 1/4″ joints and while these look right my cuts were all wrong nothing was square and the joints would not go together. So later that day I tried a simple 45 degree miter. These will work as the pieces align and should make for square corners. This time however I struggled with getting the box clamped well enough for gluing. So as it stands now I have the pieces cut and standing by.

On Sunday I glued my first two pieces together for my workbench top and have 9 more to go. Since I have today (President’s Day) off I am going to try to glue up three more. This is going to be slow going.

Other upsides were I got to use my planes and I continue to impress myself with the shavings and smooth surfaces these leave behind.

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The 7 P’s

As a beginning woodworker I’m often thinking do I plan a project or do I just wing it. The 7 P’s: prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance, has stayed with me for quite some time. But trying new things out and learning from mistakes is where I am at right now. I did plan out my kitchen island project that I completed successfully and I did that based on the amount of money I put into it. I started tonight to plan out my next attempt at the shave brush and razor holder and I think that’ll help, but I also have the experience from the last two to fall back on as well, which were only planned in my mind’s eye. I think going forward I’ll at least sketch out my plans.
This weekend I plan to true up my pieces for the workbench top and possibly glue the first section together. I have high level plans drawn out, a few Sketchup drawings to reference, as well as Schwarz’s book on work benches to guide me in this project.
I’ll also work on the shaving stand and hopefully get to inspect my “new” Stanley No.5 jack plane I bought off of eBay, this week.

Success one failure at a time

I tried something new as I was working the second shave brush holder, I began to add a hole for the razor as well. I successfully added a 7/16″ hole but failed when I tried to expand it. I clamped a piece in the cavity I created to prevent tear out as I enlarged the hole but as I clamped down the extra piece moved up and cracked the top. There was some good that came out of all this. Prior to cutting the cavity I used my recently purchased smoothing plane to remove some tool marks and the rough edges on the basswood and I learned that if your final piece is going to have a thin top pre-drill your holes prior to using the dado to remove the material below. The pictures below show the holder in various stages before the catastrophic failure.

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