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.

Spent some money at Handworks 2015

My last post was about the people and information and how much benefit I gained from both.  Today's post is about the goodies that I either bought at or bought because of Handworks 2015.

A few years ago, I built a big and beefy Roubo styled bench using Benchcrafted vise hardware for both the leg vise and the end vise.  Shortly after I finished building my bench, Benchcrafted came out with a new version of the leg vise called a "crisscross" vise.  It allows you to use the leg vise for various thicknesses of clamping without needed to adjust a peg.  The peg system works but I have found that I cause the vise to rack and require frequent readjustment before use.  At the show, I was able to acquire the retrofit version of the crisscross hardware.  I can't wait to install it.

Crisscross hardware from Benchcrafted

Crisscross hardware from Benchcrafted

To get all my purchases home, I was able to fit them in my luggage.  When I got home, I had a surprise.  It was a love note from the TSA.  I also found they went exploring through my luggage and especially my Benchcrafted purchase.  I'm sure they were thinking - "What the hell is this?"

What the hell is this?

What the hell is this?

I also purchased a new dovetail saw from Badaxe.  I'm clearly becoming a Badaxe fanboy as the new saw is my 3rd saw.

Badaxe Stiletto Dovetail Saw

Badaxe Stiletto Dovetail Saw

While I was at Handworks, I got an education on sources for used tools thanks to my friend Marilyn.  She connected me up with a vendor who had a nice, functional half set of hollows and rounds.  I also got a few other moulding planes ordered.  They arrived the Monday after returning from Handworks.

Left: Moulding Planes; Right: Hollows and Rounds - even set

Left: Moulding Planes; Right: Hollows and Rounds - even set

Since I was getting some moulding planes to add to my working set of planes, I knew that I'd need a new tool I didn't have - a plane hammer.  For those of you who don't know about or use wooden planes, a plane hammer allows you to adjust, set and release blades in wooden planes.  They often have one softer side and one metal side.  I chose a beautiful hammer from Sterling Toolworks.

Sterling plane hammer

Sterling plane hammer

I also found some useful small stuff.  As a hand tool woodworker, I've been fascinated by historical tools though I am not trying to be historically accurate in all I do.  I've developed a love for folding wooden rules and am trying to include them in my woodworking approach.  I found 2 small wooden rules.

Small wooden folding rules

Small wooden folding rules

The last item that I purchased was purchased after I got home.  I and my friends had a nice talk with Tito Vogt at Vogt Toolworks.  He makes a gorgeous shooting board that is sloped and use magnets for the accessory attachments.  The slope gives the benefit of using more of the width of the plane blade in the shooting plane.  The attachments include a miter fence and a donkey eared attachment (for miters in the other direction).  I've ordered this but don't expect the set for a few weeks at the earliest.

I spent too much money but all of these items will either help me improve my existing woodworking skills or expand them.  Stay tuned for the accuracy of that statement.

Handworks 2015 ... is now in the books!

I thought I'd do a little post mortum on Handworks 2015.

I had the benefit of attending with 3 of my friends.  We traveled through Chicago.  While on a painfully long 6 hour layover, Marilyn introduced me to Instagram.

On the way to Amana, IA via Chicago from Seattle

On the way to Amana, IA via Chicago from Seattle

Handworks was off to a great start if the crowd was any judge.  The 4 of us went through every vendor booth and had some great conversations and demonstrations.

A long line to get in

A long line to get in

We headed over to the secondary buildings to start with so avoided some of the crowds.  We had a chance to learn something about approaching carving with Mary May.

Mary May talking about carving

Mary May talking about carving

I learned a bunch about chair making and chair making tools from Tim Manney.  

Using an Adz and learning about proper technique

Using an Adz and learning about proper technique

There were so many skilled and talented vendors there willing to share their expertise.  Even without formal talks going on, I still walked away learning a bunch.

Frank Strazza, Heritage School of Woodworking teaching some inlay work

Frank Strazza, Heritage School of Woodworking teaching some inlay work

Of course even with all of this information, the best part was being with my friends - Ananda, Mike and Marilyn.

Hanging with friends

Hanging with friends

Our fellow woodworkers were there in numbers and friendliness and respect ruled the day.

A view of the crowd in the main space

A view of the crowd in the main space

In addition to the show, we had the opportunity to see Studley's Toolchest and Workbench.  Wow!  Go get the book about the Toolchest and Mr Studley - Virtuoso.

A selfie with the Studley Toolchest

A selfie with the Studley Toolchest

I'd call the long weekend a success.  I hope that all the planners involved decide to do another one in 2017.

Handworks is less than a week away!

I'm heading to Handworks in Amana, IA next week.  I'm even lucky enough that 4 woodworking friends from here (the Seattle, WA area) are going too.  I'm really looking forward to the trip.  Check out the site for the event at http://handworks.co.

The event is a couple of days of hand tool oriented vendors.  I expect some money to be spent.  The list of vendors are the who's who of hand tool vendors.

In addition to all the vendors, they are having an exhibit of the Studley Tool Chest.  Chris Schwarz at Lost Art Press has also time a new book about the tool chest to come out while we are at the show.

Music and Guitars

A while back, I built 3 acoustic guitars.  I set them up but wasn't happy with the set up.  I have wanted to get back to them and so now is the time.

Guitar setup time

Guitar setup time

My main goal was to adjust the action.  This required removing the neck followed by adjusting the nut, saddle/bridge and the height of the fret board where it attaches to the body.  The fret board was glued down (what was I thinking?).  The 2 cutaway guitars came up with minimal damage to the body and in fact given the height changes I was trying to accomplish, all worked out great.  The full body guitar had more damage but still worked out ok.  I think I still need a bit of saddle/bridge work on the full body guitar but the 2 cutaway guitars are in awesome shape.

In making these adjustments, I also removed some weird resonances that were happening so the guitars sound even better.  I still may have a few more adjustments to make but will need to play them for a bit before figuring out what to try. 

One of the cutaways is now my oldest son's (Xander) and I hope that he enjoys it.

Sharpening, sharpening and more...

Over the past 3 or so weeks, I have been working on sharpening.  The first part was to ensure all my tools were sharp and ready to work with.  For this activity, I wanted to make sure the grind was good as well as the micro bevel.  For any grinding work, I have a Tormek T-7 and while it can be slow when a grind is way off of the desired angle, it still gets the job done without risk of "blueing" the blade.  For the micro bevel, I'm using the steel diamond plates from DMT and doing it free hand.  After establishing the micro bevel and removing the wire from the back, I use a strop to get a nice polish on the back and the micro bevel.

Sharpening all my bladed tools

Sharpening all my bladed tools

All the bladed tools in my cabinet and out (i.e. the chisels), have been sharpened and are ready to use.

My main purpose for this was to establish a more manageable routine.  I have been doing a project and then sharpening all the tools used which can take weeks.  Rather than that, I would like a shorter routine where I can "freshen" the cutting edge and get back to work sooner.  Freshening may include using the diamond stones or just stropping the edge/back.  I want to reduce my grinding work.

I still have to sharpen my scrapers and my carving blades so there is still a little to be done.  I'm going to step away from sharpening to do a little work on music.