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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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oak Box III

Keeping with one operation at a time, last night I cut the dadoes to fit the shelf for my oak box. I also found out that the Spanish Cedar I want to use for the back is going to take a while come in. Either I will wait about three weeks for the cedar, or I will find another wood to make the back from.

Before the dadoes...let's back track just a bit to look at the grooves for the back. I have to use a little creative clamping in order to get the edge of the piece to hang over the side of the bench. I had my brain in auto-pilot and didn't do a good job of checking the spacing of the groove. I should have moved it in some more, as it cut into the half pins on the back of the boards. Lesson learned, moving on...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lie-Nielsen chisels

Just taking a moment to gush on about Lie-Nielsen chisels. I really like these things. A while back I got a few of their mortise chisels, and earlier this year I got a 1/4" bench chisel. Last week my new 1/2" bench chisel showed up (a 3/8" should be here today). Mind you, these aren't cheap. At $55 each, there's a reason I don't have a rack stuffed with them. My first bench chisels were Footprints...barely serviceable, with heavy handles and questionable steel. I tried a Two Cherries chisel, and no matter what I do, I can't like it. Next chisel was the new Stanley SW. The Stanley is not a bad option. They are better steel than a Footprint, the balance is good...and most importantly...I like the handle.
Too bad Stanley can't make their chisels to the standard that Lie-Nielsen does. The L-N chisel is based on the original Stanley 750. From box to cutting takes about 5 minutes. A quick couple of swipes to polish the already very flat back and hone the bevel.

The back of the chisel comes from Lie-Nielsen hand finished to 400 grit. It is FLAT. This leaves only the polishing to the user, and saves a lot of time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Oak box II

My oak box is coming along. The case is dovetailed, and the groove has been cut to fit the back. Next up is decide the location of the shelf and cut the dadoes.
For the back, I have a piece of Spanish Cedar that I'd like to use. The problem is that it isn't big I need to get another piece.
It fits together. That's a positive sign! This picture is from before cutting the groove. The dovetails aren't perfect, but I'm not going to stress out about it. I want to finish the project, with all of the faults and learn from it. Instead of my usual routine of: make a mistake, toss the piece, and then wonder why I have a bunch of tools and nothing to show for it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Veritas file guide

Lee Valley/Veritas has put out another great tool. The new saw filing guide. A few of us were waiting for its release after hearing about it on the Sawmill Creek Forum. President, Rob Lee was kind enough to let us know the part number so we could order it by phone before it found its way to the web site.
Up until now, I have freehanded all of my saws. I never felt comfortable with file handles. They just never seemed to give me a good feel for the file. Going without a handle means that your fingers ache. My saws are all good users, but I also know that they can be better. When I saw this guide, I knew that it was exactly what I needed (wanted).
I ordered mine on Tuesday morning, and found it within a box of goodies that was waiting on the front stoop when I came home from work today (more about that box later). Upon opening the package, I was greeted by the usual high level of Lee Valley craftsmanship.
I've had a saw laying around that needed some fresh teeth, so that is my test saw. I was impressed with the first push of the file. In fact, I was so impressed, that I stopped half way through to write this!
Installed on the tip of the file, the markings for setting the rake angle are clear and easy to set with the brass screw. In this case, a rather aggressive zero rake.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oak Box

I want a small hanging box to house a few antique tools. The plan is to have an outside dimension of 12"h x 15"w. Depth will be about 3(ish) inches after I put in the back. There will be a shelf in the middle. The exact location of the shelf hasn't been determined yet, I'll take care of that later.
The idea behind this project is to take it slooooooooow. I tend to rush, that gets me frustrated, and then I walk away for a week and never pick up the project again. To remedy that, I'm only doing one operation a night. I'm concentrating on that one thing. Whether it is trimming to length, marking the joinery, or what have you. Slowing down and thinking about what I'm doing will help to stop me from re-making every mistake I've made in the past (or so I hope).
The case pieces all trimmed to length, dovetail baselines are marked out.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I wish...

I wish I was as good at woodworking as baking. In the last two weeks, I've made French butter pastries, Far Breton, cheesecake (twice), sauerkraut cake, blueberry muffins, and cream cheese tarts. Let's not even start with the regular cooking (chateaubriand, anyone?).
That is a 100% crack-free almond cheesecake. For the bakers out there, we all know how hard it is to make one without even a little crack somewhere.