Side work: making some bench hooks

I recently decided to try another modification to my sharpening regime.  I came across Paul Seller's blog and across his youtube channel.  Very informative but I especially locked in on his sharpening technique.  Overall, it is only a small modification to my free hand technique but the key difference is the Paul is trying to achieve a slightly convex bevel with no micro or secondary bevel.  In watching his videos, the part that attracted me is how fast it was.   I have been using a combination of a Tormek to establish a concave primary bevel and then free hand to establish a secondary bevel.  It's slow.  After  trying this out on 3 or 4 planes, I loved it.  I was achieving very sharp edges after a short time.

Results from new sharpening technique

Results from new sharpening technique

All that pre-amble was my way of telling you I needed to take a detour from my wife's jewelry box.  I needed to make some bench hooks.  Specifically ones for my sharpening set up but I thought I'd make a few standard ones too.

Prepped material for standard hooks.

Prepped material for standard hooks.

I'm using oak and am modeling the hooks after a pair I purchased from Bad Axe Toolworks.  It's a simple but very solid and durable design.  Essentially it's a 3/4" platform with 1 1/2" anchors using a 1/4" groove to mount the anchors.

1/4" groove for bench hook anchor (dry fit)

1/4" groove for bench hook anchor (dry fit)

Now it's a matter of fitting the anchors for each hook and then the top fence.

For the sharpening hooks, there will be an anchor on the bottom and on the top, I will install a low border around the outer edge of the hook with the purpose of containing any water from sharpening.

Material for sharpening bench hooks

Material for sharpening bench hooks

I'll show the progress in the next few posts.

I think that I'll also make a sticking board which is a much longer bench hook for the purpose of jointing an edge and/or creating a moulding using moulding planes.  I will need the sticking board for some mouldings for my wife's jewelry box.

Completing the Rough Box

The design for my wife's (Kathy) Jewelry Box is pretty basic and traditional.  The main box has dovetailed corners and the drawer runners are into rabbets and dados.

In making the dados (see previous post for rabbet discussion), I first mark the outer edges of each dado.  I then use a combination of chisels and router planes to "hog" out the material to the appropriate depth of each dado.

Using a router plane to make the dados for the drawer runners

Using a router plane to make the dados for the drawer runners

The goal is to get the fit so that the drawer runner can sit in the dado square and tight.

Testing dado fit

Testing dado fit

I just repeat the process for each dado.  Also, I have a knack for breaking out the ends of the dados since they are all stopped dados.  I am careful to keep the break away bits so they can be glued back in place.

Case is taking shape

Case is taking shape

I have 3 drawer runners and 3 drawer dividers.  My plan is to have 2 drawers in the bottom of the box and 3 smaller drawers in the middle of the box.  The top will be accessed but opening the lid.  All the drawers and the top will have dividers.

Box with drawer runners and dividers in a dry fit

Box with drawer runners and dividers in a dry fit

I had a plan for glue up but in the end I over thought it through and forgot the impact of the stopped dados so the glue up failed.  In fact, I actually managed to break one of the sides.  I went ahead and powered through the glue up and even glued the broken side.  I wasn't sure whether or not the glue up would work and feared that I may be starting this project over.

So many clamps, it looks like the box is being tackled by a herd of clamps

So many clamps, it looks like the box is being tackled by a herd of clamps

After leaving the box in the clamps over night, I pulled it out.  It wasn't bad.  The crack in the side is barely visible and after a little hand plane work and some sanding I was able to clean up and ensure the outer faces are square.

Jewelry Box all glued up - can't hardly see the break.

Jewelry Box all glued up - can't hardly see the break.

I still have some clean up in the drawer cubbies and the top interior.  After that it is time to make some drawers and a lid.  I think the final step will be to make some mouldings for the bottom edge.

Jewelry Box - Drawer Runners

The first step in creating the drawer runners is to glue up any pieces in order to achieve the final dimensions of the interior of the Jewelry Box.  I was going for 3/8" thick.  This took some planing work and a little sandpaper.

The next step is to cut a rabbet in the front rails and the sides and back.  I start with the front rails.

Cutting rabbets

Cutting rabbets

I using marking gauges to mark the depth and width of the rabbet.  Because these will be stopped rabbets at both ends, I skip my router plane or rabbet plane and just chisel them out.  It takes a little longer but I'm in no hurry.

Showing the rabbet for the drawer runner

Showing the rabbet for the drawer runner

It takes a little fine tuning to get the perfect fit.  The bottom drawer runner is important in that it will be the closest to a show surface though ultimately drawers will cover all of them up.

Bottom Drawer Runner - front rabbet

Bottom Drawer Runner - front rabbet

The next step will be to cut dado's in the back's and sides.

Kathy's Jewelry Box

I've just begun to work on my wife's jewelry chest.  It will have 1 larger drawer with dividers, 2 half sized drawers with dividers, a top section with more dividers, and a lid with some necklace storage.  The main box will be made of cherry and the top will have some figured maple in it.

The main box is dovetailed.

Phase 1, Tails on the front rails

Phase 1, Tails on the front rails

I'm a tails first man.  I cut the tails on the front rails and then the back.  Using those pieces, I then mark out for the pins on the side.

Pins - using the tails to mark the pins on the sides of the jewelry box

Pins - using the tails to mark the pins on the sides of the jewelry box

Then, it's a matter of many test fits to get everything sized perfectly.

Dovetails - fitting the back and sides

Dovetails - fitting the back and sides

I work around the carcass.  I even start to see the basic design showing up.

Preliminary test fit

Preliminary test fit

Finally, all the pieces of the carcass are fitting just right.

Dry fit the entire carcass

Dry fit the entire carcass

The next step will be to create drawer runners or shelves for the interior.

My Dad

My Dad died last week.  He had been a little bit sick for quite a while.  Apparently he was sicker than we thought because it came on very sudden.  I miss him.

I've been busy with family activities for the past bunch of weeks with most of it concluding with my Dad's Memorial Service this weekend.

My Dad hanging out with me

My Dad hanging out with me

My Dad was my inspiration in many things in my life.  I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking about our Dad's when turning to DIY or Woodworking.  My Dad used a lot of plywood with his woodworking but he was definitely self taught.  He made furniture for our family.  He helped me make my first set of garage storage after Kathy and I got married.  Mostly my Dad gave me confidence to look at any problem and think it through until a solution came to me.  He gave me confidence to look at an attempt to solve a problem and realize it's not going to work and try again.

I remember when I was probably 8 hanging out with my Dad while he was working on projects in his garage shop.  I must have sounded like a nattering magpie if my memory is accurate, asking all sorts of questions.  He never exhausted his patience.  Answering question after question.  Sometimes telling me he didn't know.  Stopping once in a while to show me something he thought would be interesting for me to see.

I couldn't imagine another Father.  My Dad was great and I'm the man I am because of him.

Remember my Dad.  Love your own.

Robert Douglas Thompson (1937-2015).  He will be missed.

Last Tool from Handworks 2015

I finally received the last tool ordered in the fray of Handworks 2015 in Amana, IA back in May.  The tool I'm talking about is from Vogt Toolworks and is Tito's Super Chute Collection.

Vogt's Super Chute Collection

Vogt's Super Chute Collection

My primary usage of a shooting board is for square and miter cuts.  The angled bed of the shooting board allows gravity to help a bit in keeping the board to be "shot" firmly against the fence.  The benefit from the angled bed isn't as strong for the Veritas Shooting Plane since the plane has a skewed blade and that is it changes the angle of the cut making it easier.  The benefit from the angled bed that does apply to the Veritas Shooting Plane is that more of the plane blade is used during each cut.

Square cut setup

Square cut setup

As part of the package, I got both versions of miter cut attachments.

Miter cut setup

Miter cut setup

The above setup is the one, I have used once in a while on my current shooting board.  The other, below, is the donkey ear and allows you to get  a miter cut along a longer edge.

Donkey Ear setup

Donkey Ear setup

I may use the miter setups as I learn more about using the moulding planes that I'll be cleaning up and setting up over the next few months.

I'm really looking forward to giving the Super Chute a run for it's money.

Leg vise revision - Part 2

With Benchcrafted video and written instructions, it is clear that layout is very important.  

The first step is to lay the bench down so I can work on it.  Of course the bench weighs as much as a Mini Cooper.  Laying it down was more like controlling the fall.  BOOM!  It rattled the floor and walls and something even fell off a shelf.

It's important that the hole for the screw is perfectly level and relative to that the Crisscross is also level otherwise binding and such cause inefficient operation (i.e. binding).  The next step is layout on both the leg and the chop.

Layout on the leg of the Roubo bench

Layout on the leg of the Roubo bench

The pencil lines are  hard to see but the key lines show the center of the screw and then the top of the mortise for the crisscross.  4" below the bottom of the larger section of the mortise for the retro bracket.  The last 2 are the bottom of the mortise and the location of the bottom of the chop which needs to be at least 1" from the bottom of the leg.  Obviously you should refer to the details in the bench crafted instructions.

I reverted to a power tool, the router, to cut out the mortise.  I figured I could cut it out by hand but I really wanted my bench back in working shape and not laying down like a large elephant taking a nap.  Also cutting it by hand would probably leave the bottom of the mortise in rougher shape than the router would leave it.  Of course the router is probably my least favorite power tool, right after the table saw, because of how dangerous it is.

Mortises cut

Mortises cut

The nature of routers for me is that I am paying more attention on keeping it under control and not hurting me that I sometimes miss lines and make mistakes.

Oops...too far!

Oops...too far!

Fortunately, I've gotten better at patching things.  Especially as I experiment with butterfly's and such.  The fix turned out well.

All better now!

All better now!

While I was working on the leg vise, I decided to add something I forgot to install when I initially installed the leg vise.  It's a bushing guide and was a simple add.

Now, that's the way it's supposed to be.

Now, that's the way it's supposed to be.

Given how much the bench weighed, I warned my family that I might need them all to help me get this beast back on all four feet.  I "Hulked" up a bit probably even turning a bit green and got it back up.  I was pretty much done for the day after lifting the bench though.

All that is left is shaping the chop and then we are back in business.  I went with a simpler shape that I did the first time.  It makes it easier to create but also leaves more mass with the chop giving it more rigidity, which I think benefits clamping.

Last area to shape - level the chop with the top of the bench.

Last area to shape - level the chop with the top of the bench.

I still have a few minor things to finish including applying some suede to the inside of the chop and to add some oil to the front face of the bench which I sanded and flattened, and oil to the chop itself.  Even without those though, I feel my bench is read to go.

Finished, open vise

Finished, open vise

I did have to do a few minor adjustments with the vise nut and adding a little bit of lubricant to the screw.  Now the vise spins nicely and is really ready for work.

All done and closed

All done and closed

Chop for Leg Vise on my Roubo (take 2)

I mentioned spending money while I was at Handworks 2015.  One of the major purchases was a crisscross retro from Benchcrafted.  This will make the leg vise on my Roubo even more functional.

Crisscross Retro from Benchcrafted

Crisscross Retro from Benchcrafted

The first step is to create a new chop.  With the original leg vise, you had a peg board adjustment system with rollers to keep the bottom parallel with the top of the vise - thus creating a shorter chop and not erasable with the Crisscross Retro.  The new chop needs to be nearly the entire height of the bench (in my chase 35").

Chop needs thickness so I need to laminate 2 8/4 boards

Chop needs thickness so I need to laminate 2 8/4 boards

My original chop was cherry which I think contrasts nicely with the fir of the bench itself so I'm sticking with cherry.  The chop needs to be 3" but mine will be a little thicker.  I'm laminating 2 8/4 boards so it will be nearly 4" thick.  My original vise was 7" but I wanted this one to be a bit wider so it will be just over 8".

After some flattening, I glue up the 2 boards.  I then proceed to glue them up.  After letting the boards set up overnight, I proceed to squaring up the board and getting it to proper thickness and width.  This created a lot of shavings.

Shavings and more shavings

Shavings and more shavings

It takes a bit of patience but I eventually get a nice squared up board for the chop.  Square on all 6 sides.

Squared and true chop

Squared and true chop

My next steps will be to lay the bench on its side and layout and cut mortises for the Crisscross retro.

Moulding Plane finished

I got so wrapped up that I forgot to take pictures while I was building the cabinet.  It's a simple cabinet with dovetailed corners, a rebate for the back to fit in, one internal partition, and an overhead door.

After a small bit of reorganization, I found it's ideal location.

Final location over the entry door

Final location over the entry door

The cabinet holds the hollows and rounds on one side of the partition and the round over beading planes on the other.

Loaded up with planes and the door open

Loaded up with planes and the door open

During the building of this cabinet, I experienced a lighting failure.  One of my fluorescent shop lights failed.  I think the inexpensive lights available from the big box stores are made with subpar balasts.  I am now trying some LED overheads that looked about the same brightness of the ones I replaced.

LED Lighting in the shop

LED Lighting in the shop

So far the lighting change is working fine.

Moulding Plane Cabinet - getting started

With the new set of moulding planes (hollows, rounds, side bead), I needed a place to store them that would work well with my normal work flow and as I learn how to use them after a bit of rehab work on the planes.

I decided to go with a simple case which will have an overhead door.  I will have a separator inside the case to keep the side beads separate from the hollows and rounds thus giving both a way to stay upright.  The sides, top and bottom of the case will be joined with dovetails.

Getting ready to create some dovetails with my new Badaxe stiletto dovetail saw

Getting ready to create some dovetails with my new Badaxe stiletto dovetail saw

I am going to try something new with my dovetails since I've gotten more comfortable with them.  I'm going to make the pins rather small - inspired by seeing Frank Strazza of Heritage School of Woodworking create dovetails will almost whisper thin pins.  I'm also getting a chance to use my new Badaxe dovetail saw.

Birthday cupcakes from a friend

Birthday cupcakes from a friend

While working on the cabinet, my neighbor and friend, Judy and her daughter Lizzie, came over to sing and wish me happy birthday.  It's not everyday we get to party in our workshops!  By the way, the cupcakes were awesome and I've already eaten way too many.