For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here's to the end of 2011. Glad to see it go. Blew up my chopper. Spent some time in the hospital. Spent way too much fixing the furnace. Working more every day, with less to show for it.
On the plus side, I moved into a new job. I learned a lot about woodworking. Made or acquired some really neat tools.
Today I got most of the way through building a Moxon style vise. A tool that I wish I had from day one. I'll post it here when it's done. I also brought back to life a friend for my battered old chisel...and thus took another crappy chisel out of commission. The grinder build is nearly done...and has been, but I can't remember where I left the bag of hardware!
In all, it's not been a bad year. A safe and happy New Year to you and yours. For me? It's a quiet evening alone (the best kind), Chateaubriand, a glass of fine Belgian beer, and some relaxing tunes. Well...maybe not relaxing. Probably something dark and heavy. It was a heavy year, after all.
So, with that, I bid adieu to 2011! And welcome in 2012 (this is as festive as I get).

Friday, December 30, 2011

More on winding sticks

Yesterday, I made the statement that no hand tool shop should be without winding sticks. After almost two years of trying to learn this stuff, I only just made my first set a month or two ago. Wish I would have done that earlier! They are easy enough to make.
What the winding sticks do, is indicate the twist (wind) in a board. The first step in stock preparation is to knock the high spots down. The best way to find out where they are, is (you guessed it!) winding sticks!
Before planing for the first time, set the sticks on the board. Get your head down and sight across them. This is where the light band on the front stick becomes important. You'll see the wind in the board. The sticks will exaggerate the amount of twist to make it easier to see.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some measuring tools

Just a quick post about some measuring tools.
A set of winding sticks. Something that no hand tool shop should be without.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Stanley Sweetheart Chisels

My current set of chisels is from Footprint. I don't like 'em much. The handle shape is too bulky, and they hold an edge like butter. I've made them work, but I've been itching to replace them. Some time ago, I got a 3/8" Stanley SW to try out. I like it. It takes and holds a decent edge. I've never used a Lie-Nielsen or I can't make the comparison, but it works for me. It's also a huge step up. Today, I picked up the 1/2". I wanted to get the 1/8" as well, but the shape of the blade didn't look right to me, I'll have to look at a Lie-Nielsen to fill that slot, I think.
My new 1/2" (top) next the my 3/8". I liked the 3/8" enough to make me feel confident about getting the 1/2".

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iron envy?

I just got a "new" iron from a fellow Creeker. It's a 2 3/4" Baldwin. It's damn near massive enough to have its own gravity. No idea what I'm going to use it for (though there's an idea floating around in my head).
That's a 2" Stanley iron, starting to look kinda wimpy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The gun box is almost done...

Nearing the end of this project.

Sizing up the back. I traced the inside of the box onto the back panel.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some new planes...

I recently purchased two raw plane casting kits from St. James Bay Tool Co. One is a miter plane, and the other is a Norris no.51. Both are in bronze, with the miter plane having a steel sole. As I start to work on them, I'll likely start a separate page for each to update progress. There is a lot of machine work to do, and will likely take me some time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Planing board

A simple way to plane thin boards. This is obviously not an original idea. I glued two strips down to a flat board in a "T", the force from planing holds the piece into the corner, and voila! We can plane thin stuff. Another perk is that there is no clamp to distort the piece.

More on the gun box

Building the display box for the Navy revolver has been a lot of fun, and I'm learning a lot from it. The grooves for the back have all been cut into it. The panel will be inset 1/2" to allow for the wall mount, which will be a French cleat. Following the suggestion of a fellow Creeker, I elected to groove all for sides straight through. (there were lots of good suggestions, but in the end I had to pick just one to go with) This will leave hollows in a few of the tails. That problem is easily remedied by making plugs that will fill the gaps, and be largely invisible. We'll get to those later. Here's the grooving operation, and some of the work holding solutions to overcome the fact that sometimes smaller pieces are harder to clamp.
The sides, top, and bottom, all grooved. I'll need to put plugs into the ends of the grooves on the two tail boards.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The gun box, continued...

I got my dovetails all cut, and the box actually fits together! This box has two "firsts". First successful DT's (which I started here), and first hand ripped book matched panel, here. Next on the list is to mount the panel into the box. I'm getting some ideas over on the Creek as to the best way to do it, but that task should be taken care of in the next day or two.
This is the cherry that I resawed for that earlier post. The next step is cutting it to size. Thickness is just about right, it just needs final smoothing. Working this would be a lot easier with a planing hook, and I think making one would be a great article to post here. Maybe I'll do that in the next couple of days.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rebuilding the Suicide Grinder (part 3)

I finally got around to working on the suicide grinder some more. A few weeks ago a built the frame, a bit of cutting and welding. Since then I've been trying to catch up on other stuff. Today I drilled and tapped the mounting holes for the motor and grinding head. I also drilled the holes to mount to the bench. I'm just glad I don't have to lift this thing again. As an assembly it's terribly heavy! All that's left to do is drill the bench for the mount bolts and make or get tool rests.

The gun box

I'm horrible at dovetails. I've never made a good one. But I'm on my way now. These are the fiddly bits for the display box for my dad's Navy revolver. Are they going to fit perfect like if Cosman or Charlesworth did them? I doubt it. Will it be a bit of honest hand made joinery? Yup. I know my Dad will appreciate it. And after all, what a better present to give to Dad than my first dovetailed box. This is just a couple of pictures of the progress, nothing super exciting. I'm just happy that I'm close to completing a project using dovetails.

Rough mock up to make sure I've got the size close. All the ends are shot nicely and square. The bottom will protrude, though not as far as in this picture.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Disston key hole saw

I really shouldn't be out tool shopping right now. Well, kinda. I wanted a saw to restore for my cousin as a gift...and that one is kicking my arse at the moment. This little gem, however, jumped out of a basket at the store screaming, "take me home, I'm gorgeous." Why doesn't that happen when I'm out having a drink?
This is a Disston key hole saw. By my checking around, best I can figure is that it is pre-1875. It's seen better days, but is still a fine piece of work. The handle is super comfy, and is more befitting a dovetail saw. I'm likely to sell this, but not before I pattern the handle and take more pictures of it so that maybe one day I can reproduce it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Just hit my first 1000 views here at the Monastery! Hopefully someone has learned something. I know I've already learned quite a bit by trying to break things down into meaningful bits for posts.