Some New Woodworking Goodness

Now that we've entered 2016, it's time to share some of my new goodies that I added over the holidays. 

I've tried many aprons, shop coats, and even a vest to hold various small but oft needed tools.  None of these were satisfying.  I do have a friend (Marilyn) who speaks highly of their Texas Heritage hand made apron.  I decided to try one out even though it is definitely a premium product.

Texas Heritage hand made apron on burly woodworker model

Texas Heritage hand made apron on burly woodworker model

Over the past few weeks, I have had a chance to run it through it's paces and it is definitely worth the premium.  First, the material and quality of the product give you confidence that it will not only work out for your woodworking lifetime but also be able to be handed down to any woodworking heirs.  Next, the lower pockets with their covers are roomy enough to hold key things (I keep a simple mask and gloves in one side and a block plane in the other) and with their covers, they keep the saw dust and chip gathering to a minimum.  Lastly, the upper pockets are the perfect number and size for the commonly needed items during a project (square, 6-inch rule, various marking implements like pencils).  My only complaint is that my square will fall out every time I bend over.  Not sure what solution would fix that though.

While I was at Texas Heritage's site, I decided to get their Moxon vise hardware.  I already have a Moxon bench which has Benchcrafted's Moxon hardware and am quite happy using it for cutting dovetails, carving and anything else that needs a slightly higher bench surface.  I modeled this design after Shannon Roger's Moxon bench.  The use I had in mind for the Texas Heritage hardware was for a vise that would clamp dovetails while I was chiseling out the waste, giving me a crisp line, via the vise, for the cuts.

Texas Heritage Moxon Vise hardware installed in a bench hook for chopping dovetail waste

Texas Heritage Moxon Vise hardware installed in a bench hook for chopping dovetail waste

My last holiday splurge was for a sharpening jig.  I have read nothing but great things about Lie-Nielsen's new sharpening jig.  I have still been struggling to master free hand methods and get inconsistent results so I wanted to go to the simplest jig method possible.  I have tried Veritas's jigs but their is a slight level of complexity to them that i don't like.  After trying the new Lie-Nielsen's jig, I think it will fill my needs.

Lie-Nielsen's Sharpening Jig/Honing Guide

Lie-Nielsen's Sharpening Jig/Honing Guide

Finishing Kathy's Jewelry Box

A little slow in finishing the story on my wife's Jewelry Box but I guess better late than never.

One of the important details on the box was creating some moulding for the bottom.  I had never created moulding before but I had seen a few podcasts and probably the most important bit of information came from Moulding's in Practice by Matthew Pickford.  I wanted to create a simple but timeless moulding profile.  Ultimately, I went with a round with a rabbit on either side.

In creating the moulding, the first step was to create stair step rabbits that will eventually match the finished profile of the desired moulding.

Using a rabbit plane to create rabbits before creating the round

Using a rabbit plane to create rabbits before creating the round

Once the rabbits are created, it's time to match the round.  If you placed the rabbits correctly, then the round will easily match and it will only take a few passes.  I think that the challenge to this is not creating the moulding but rather working with such a small piece. 

Creating a round using a hollow

Creating a round using a hollow

Ultimately, the moulding turned out great and when applied, added  some class and elegance to the Jewelry Box.

I didn't get any pictures but the next step was to add flocking to all the interior surfaces.  The process is simple enough.  You first apply glue, ample amounts, and then you blow in the micro fiber flocking material, followed by removing the excess after everything is dry.  It is simple but it is easily the messiest thing I've ever done with any of my projects.

After the flocking, I did 2 coats of shellac and then 2 coats of a water borne poly to give the outside some durability.

Here is a picture of the lid open with the flocking inside.

Lid open with flocking installed

Lid open with flocking installed

Last shot with the lid closed so you can get a sense of the contrast between the maple and the cherry.  If you look closely, you can even see the figure in the maple even with the light in this picture washing most of it out.

Lid closed showing contrasting woods and figure in maple

Lid closed showing contrasting woods and figure in maple

Lot's of Jewelry Box Progress

I am more actively posting on Instagram lately so if you want more frequent posts, go find me there - @thisweekinwood.

Drawers with their knobs installed

Drawers with their knobs installed

In addition to installing and fitting the drawers into the main part of the Jewelry Box, I've created the dividers for each drawer based on feedback from the future user (who still complains that the whole box is too big).

Drawers shown with their dividers

Drawers shown with their dividers

Next, I began working on the lid.  I dovetailed the top sides and created a raised panel.  The sides are cherry like the main box and the raised panel is figured maple like the drawer fronts.

After creating and fitting the lid, I needed some hinges.  I decided on some small Brusso Hardware hinges.  Fitting them was simple requiring mortises for each of the hinges and a little cutout at the back of the hinge for movement/opening.

My wife decided that the top will be for earrings and regular rings so it's just going to have ring inserts and no dividers.  For the inside of the lid, I need to find some hooks and a method for containing necklesses that will hang from the hooks.

Some new tools

Like most hobbyist woodworkers, I'm always looking out for new tools that will make my work better, more efficient, or just more fun.

New tools

New tools

I got a small Blue Spruce round mallet to replace a really beat up mallet I bought on the cheap.  The beat up mallet is a no name wooden mallet that was epoxied on the outside and the epoxy has cracked and is starting to peel away.  The Blue Spruce mallet is smaller and should allow me to have greater control on force applied to chisels.

I also got a tool to help tighten the knobs on some of my planes  with fences that won't spread the knobs.  I haven't tried the tool yet but if it can either save my fingers or save the knobs, it's a win.

I have so many squares that it's almost silly to have more.  The one that I thought would be the most useful is the dovetail square from Sterling Toolworks.  It allows you to get in between tails even when the pin design calls for very small pins.  I saw this at Handworks 2015 and almost got it while I was there.  The second square is also Sterling Toolworks and is a simple 6-inch blade which seems to me to be the most useful size for my work.

I put the plane hammer from Sterling in the picture because I haven't used it yet but I'm about to get to making some moulding for my wife's Jewelry Box.

All of these tools are on my shop made bench hooks.  The right is for sawing and the left is for chiseling. 

Sticking Board Bench Hook

The last bench hook I've been working on is a sticking board.  A sticking board is usually a long board with a fence to rest a small but long piece of wood and then work that wood with various moulding planes to produce a piece of moulding.

I decided I wanted to combine the notion of a hook (ala bench hook) to the sticking board to give it stability and enable my leg vice to be the only required clamping point.  Also, I used a slightly wider board as the platform and create a fence which can be adjusted to increase the flexibility on what I can add moulding to.  Lastly, I created the sticking board from white oak so that it would be durable.  Yes, I know that all of this is probably over kill for this particular shop appliance but I wanted to do it right the first time.

Sticking Board Bench Hook

Sticking Board Bench Hook

I still have to put some screws at the top end so that it can anchor the pieces of wood but I'll wait on that till I get to the moulding work which will be soon enough once I'm back working on my wife's Jewelry Box.

Sharpening Station revised and more

As my previous posts have shown, I have been making bench hooks.  My reason for this is that I have been using a matched pair of bench hooks from Benchcrafted (love them) but often found myself having to deal with longer material and needing support at more than just the ends.  Using the Benchcrafted hooks as my model, I created 2 more matched pairs.  A matched pair has 1 cutting hook with both square and 45 degree miter cuts ready to use along with 1 hook with a stop that is lower so that it can be a plaining stop for smaller pieces.  While I was working on these bench hooks, I decided to look at my sharpening station.

In a different previous post, I mentioned that I have experimented with Paul Sellers sharpening method.  Some of the key elements include no jigs, quick but repeatable strokes, fast results.  The unexpected parts include a rounded bevel (not hollow), no micro bevel.  In using this method, I've eliminated the need for a hollow grinder (I have used a Tormek) except for maybe major resets to angles or skews.  I've also gotten sharpening down to a very fast time where I feel I can do it during the coarse of a projects rather than try to hold sharpening to the end which is what I've been doing.  Overall, I'm happy with the method though I'm still improving my use of it.

Back to the bench hooks, I've found that in using various stones that sharpening is messy so I like to have a mini catch basin so that clean up is simple.  I like these basins in the forms of bench hooks so...

Bench hooks for Sharpening - catch basins with hooks

Bench hooks for Sharpening - catch basins with hooks

While Paul Sellers only uses 3 stones (I think coarse, medium and super fine), I've decided to go with 2 more so extra coarse, coarse, medium, fine, and super fine.  One of the main principals for Paul Sellers is to get in, sharpen and then get back to woodworking.  I want to have all the stones ready to go and clean up be easy.

Sharpening station with stones and new bench hooks

Sharpening station with stones and new bench hooks

As you can see, I am using diamond stones (specifically using EZE Lap over DMT based on several comments that EZE maintains it's grit over time better than DMT).  At the end, I have a 8000 grit water stone that I'm playing with as part of the sharpening routine.  I finish with a quick strop.  I was able to sharpen 6 hand planes in about 30 minutes which for me is incredibly fast.

One additional bench hook that I am going to make is a Sticking Board.  Sticking boards aren't usually made as a bench hook but I like the idea and feel that it will give me a simpler way to fix the sticking board while in use.  The first step, is to glue up 1x2 strips for the hook.

Hooking for Sticking Board

Hooking for Sticking Board

Next, I'll attach the hook to the platform using a dado just like the earlier bench hooks.  After that, I need to create a fence.  I'm thinking about making it adjustable so that I can work on wider boards.

Side Work: Finished Bench Hooks

Off and on, I've continued work on the bench hooks.  First I made 2 hooks with a low stop and 2 hooks set up with saw stops.   They were loosely modeled after the hooks I purchased from Bad Axe Toolworks, which are still used and loved.  All the stops on these 4 hooks have the same depth and can be used together to support longer works.  They can also be paired with the original Bad Axe bench hooks.

Bench hooks with saw stops.

Bench hooks with saw stops.

As you can see, my newly made hooks are a little wider.  This was done simply because the boards were wider and I was saving myself some labor.  I think the Bad Axe hooks are made with red oak while my new hooks are made from white oak.

Bench hooks with lower stops

Bench hooks with lower stops

The bench hooks with the lower stops are not quite as low as the Bad Axe original but I may choose to lower them after some usage.  The wider platform will be beneficial with chisel work.  Notice that the stop is from a contrasting wood, mahogany giving it a similar look to the original.

Bench Hooks for sharpening

Bench Hooks for sharpening

The bench hooks I made for sharpening are made from white oak with the hook also from oak.  The trim around the sharpening basin is mahogany and is designed to contain any water overflow from sharpening to keep my sharpening station from becoming a total mess.  The darker of the two, I tried an experiment to use epoxy to seal the basin.  It didn't work quite as I was expecting but did turn the wood darker and comes closer to red oak now.  My final finish choice was a water born poly and I applied 4 coats to help the hooks to resist wear from the water used during the sharpening process.

After the finish cures, I'll post a picture of my revised sharpening station.

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.