Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Joy of eBay

The Motorhome is in the shop for it's annual fluid change and prep for the Oregon trip and of course the camera battery has died and the charger is, you guessed it, in the Motorhome.  Long way around to no photos with this post.

I seldom buy off eBay because, let me count the reasons, burn rate, hidden defects, hidden defects, and burn rate. I've been looking to add to my firmer chisels, both bench and paring. Just because I do not buy I do look and a couple or three days ago there was a Weatherby 1/2" firmer with a paring blade that didn't look too bad. It was obvious the seller had done some grinding to clean the chisel up some but the big factor from the photos I could see the back of the iron was pit free.

I bet you can tell where this post is going. While grinding the gunk off the seller dubbed the back. Two hours of work on the back with my 120 grit Atomia and about 1/32" off the bevel and I have a usable chisel. I would have paid twice as much for the chisel if the seller had just removed the gunk and left the grinding to me.

BTW, if you have a Tormek you owe yourself the new model 77 jig. The Weatherby chisel is a perfect example why. Many older firmer chisels do not have parallel sides, the tip will be wider than the tang end. With the model 77 jig it is no problem, tighten and loosen a couple of screws until the blade is square and you are set.  There are other improvements as well, damn fine jig.


Monday, August 14, 2017

No Joy On The Screw But The Firmer Chisels Arrived

First impression of the Narex firmer chisels is good, the chisels have nice balance, the backs, of at least the 26mm, are very slightly concave. Less than 3 minutes on the 400 Atomic and it was flat. The bevel and back honed up quickly on the med India and Hard Black Ark developing a nice burr quickly and got a beautiful 'polish' on one of the hard JNAT's.

They may be keepers,


P.S. Ralph you shouldn't have but It looks like a keeper and thanks. I love tools, it is a sickness but there is nothing as satisfying as holding and using a old tool. The feel of the wood and the fit, how it can be perfect with nothing extra but everything needed to do it's job. The 'old ones' had much knowledge, it is a shame so much has been lost.

MRI Today

Not much done today. They gave me a "happy pill" so I could stay in the MRI tube long enough to get the needed image.  Damn it is a loud sucker, it would help if they gave you a countdown clock so you would know how much longer. Anyway bottom line I was an adult and did as told with the help of meds.

It's after 1700 here and still no UPS girl with the vise screw. I'm also waiting for a set of Narex firmer chisels. Tracking claims they will be delivered before 2100 maybe both will come.

What's with no one making classic firmer chisels? I've been watching eBay, damn I hate to buy off eBay, for a while because new is almost impossible to find. I did break down and buy a "buy it now" 1/2" Weatherby firmer a couple of days ago. It cost almost as much as the 1/4" to 1" set of Narex firmers. I hope the Narex are as good as most say they are because buying off eBay is such a crap shoot.

I of course need more chisels like a new hole in the head but I've a real jones for some firmer chisels....Why?  Because, just because. My story is I'm tired of the cuts on my left hand index finger from my paring chisels but the real reason is because


Sunday, August 13, 2017

More Portable Bench

It is getting close both to time to leave for Oregon and finishing the bench in time to take it with us. If the vise screw shows up next week finishing should not be a problem. All that is left is to install the vise, a day to a day and half max.....said the fool.

The tool tray is installed, the hunk of wood on the front is the back support for the vise, it needs the parallel guide mortise chopped, the screw hole drilled and the nut installed.  The rest will be stuff done to the chop.

When we return I expect this bench will be MsBubba's and I will build another for the Motorhome. Nothing wrong with the bench it is solid but because of use of construction grade DF and rushing to finish it is as ugly as granny panties.

Of course I could get distracted by some other project....squirrels!


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Side View of Bench

I wanted a side view of the Bench on the blog:

I have to go in today to finish the check ride started last week. Once home, if I'm not too pissed to work, I'll take the bench apart and clean up the base and stretchers. I'm still thinking about painting the base, if I do the first step will be a coat of shellac. 


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Slab is Attached

I set the Slab a few minutes ago. I had to give it a go so I clamped a makeshift stop to the slab and grabbed a hunk of Sapele scrap and the #5 Jack. Not bad, in fact damn good. Bench was rock solid until I started testing to see when it would slide. I did make it move a little but I would never take a shaven as thick even with the scrub plane. Weight does make a difference, you could push with a Jeep and the English/French bench wouldn't move but it also takes a derrick and a PTO to lift that sucker.

More clean up, have I ever told you how much I dislike working with construction grade DF, make a tool tray for the off side, and install the vise once the screw shows up. The fat lady is warming up backstage.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Tormek SE 77

A quick note touting the new to me SE 77 square edge jig. I've had it on the shelf for several months and had not used it. Mostly because it has a couple of extra knobs and with my attention span lately reading a "how to" even as short as the 77's was more than my feeble brain could handle.

Turns out those extra knobs will allow you to adjust the grinding angle (bevel angle is still adjusted by projection) and can help with putting on a camber. Tormek has changed the design of the clamping mechanism slightly and claims the jig can be used with short, thick, and even non-ninety edged irons like Japanese ones. That I haven't tried but would be a good feature if it works.

The new 77 is heavier and slightly thicker than the old model 76 and seems easier to set the iron against the 90 stops (could be my imagination).

Might as well cut to the chase....If you have a 76 is it worth buying a 77? My answer after using it is an unqualified yes, but as my old friend Ken would tell me often "...(I) don't like my money very much".

The 77 jig fixes two drawbacks of the SE 76 jig. While I haven't used the 90 degree adjustment, the lack of it was one of my major heartburns with the old SE jig. Sometimes you just couldn't get the edge to grind 90 degrees. Mine always seemed to grind heaver on the right side of the blade. I'm sure technique had a lot to do with it but it will be nice to be able to "zero" it out.  BTW, I ground five chisels last night and none had a heavy side. Go figure. The additional cambering authority is by itself worth toting the note.

Add in a 10" CBN wheel with the SE 77 and the Tormek really makes a good grinder, good enough I'll keep mine and use it.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Base Together

The base is finished, it just needs trimming and clean up. I'm impressed, even without closing the box, slab not installed,  it is rock solid.

I still think I will paint it with a red undercoat and black over coat of milk paint, both to hide the numerous mistakes and mostly the butt ugly DF.

As I have posted before, the design and engineering of the little bench is impressive. From a wood workers view point it is a fun build with brindle joints, through mortises, and housed dovetails along with the tusk tenons and each joint is there because it is the best joint for purpose. If I had all the time in the world to think about and design a portable bench I don't think I could come up with a better design.

Better construction for sure but design not likely.

BTW, the next one will be better and  it is such a fun build I expect there will be several more.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Long Stretchers Finished

I've finished the long stretchers. To finish the base I need to fit the small dovetail stretchers just below the long ones then clean and trim the base parts before gluing up and pegging the sucker. I'm still waiting on the vise screw but it is not needed to mount the slab or do the tool tray.

Of course there are decisions to be made: Do I drink whisky and chase MsBubba around the pool this afternoon or buck up and finish the bases with the shop temps running well over is full of difficult decisions.

Beavering Away

I made it to the shop early this AM not that it has helped much. Sweat is pouring and breaks are often. But whatever, the bench is taking shape. I finished  chopping the second tusk mortise and fitting the tenon key. After a short "cool down" and posting of the morning results I'll get back in the saddle.

Yesterday afternoon was a waste. I had nothing booked until the last minute one of the suits realized another instructor and I were in our "late grace Month" and we had to be checked now. The significance of "late grace" is if I'm not checked before the end of August every client I trained durning the months of June, July, and August will have non-compliant training and would have to be flown back to be re-trained and re-checked on our dime. Nothing to do but monkey suit on, drive to work, meet up with the other instructor and the TCE that is checking us....All bitching about everything because all of us were wasting a day off. 

The other instructor went first and I flew right seat because he had more things needing checking. He flew a pretty nice ride considering we seldom touch the controls. After he finished we broke for coffee and another round of bitching about the unfairness of life and all things great and small. Back to the Sim, climbing into the seat was interesting because my back didn't like how I did getting into the right one and liked my technique of climbing into the left seat even less. 

We started getting switches switched and buttons pushed when my right seater looked up and the visuals were 'flickering' , enough to make him want to toss his cookies. After much back and forth, and trying different scenes, day, night, dusk, dawn, landing lights on/off, good WX, bad, different airports we gave up and wrote it up. Now the Sim is AOG (aircraft on the ground) and is down until the techs can find and fix the problem. Several hours later after more coffee and bitching the Sim Techs threw in the towel and we all went home.

One more thing, the tech at the MRI shop called during all this mess to inform me that even though my insurance approved doing a MRI the didn't approve paying for one done by the shop the Doctor sent me to. The Monday MRI is cancelled and I'm pissed. It is really difficult to get me, MsBubba, and the MRI machine all in the same place at the same time. Now I have to start all over. 

The day did end on a high note with the pool, whisky, MsBubba and of course Sweet Maggie Dog dropping her ball on my head so I will throw it back into the pool...Life isn't all bad.  


Friday, August 04, 2017

First Tusk Tenon Key Finished

Three more to go. Once the last three keys are finished I will clean up the inside faces of the legs and glue and peg those suckers together.

I can't claim to be in the short rows but I can see "em.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

First Fit of Moravin Bench

There is still a lot to go but I wanted to see how it will look...Not too bad.

There is a set of small dove tailed stretchers to fit near the bottom of the legs. The tops of the legs will be planed flush across and the pegs to hold the top will need installing. All the tenons need trimming flush or to length as will the slab and someday glue and pegs to keep it all together.

 After that a tool tray to fill out the top and a vise once the screw arrives.

The good news: You don't have to squint too hard to see a bench.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

One Long Stretcher Mortise To Go

One to go, it will have to wait until tomorrow. Shop is already too hot too work, I'm sweating all over my tools. Here in the desert usually only two thing will rust your tools; sweat and blood. So far this morning I've dodged the blood.

Anyway I like what I'm seeing so far and what little research I've done on the Moravians indicates the bench may work very well. This style bench was a job site bench, unlike the English who tended to build their benches on the site the Moravians made their job site benches portable.

Botton line I'm looking forward to giving it a go. Here is a photo of one long stretcher in place, waiting for the last mortise for the other side.

BTW, major butt scratching before chopping the third mortise, much back and forth to insure the mortise was placed correctly. Simple but, I've been known to screw it up.

Old Fart medical, skip it. It is boring as granny panties but it gives me a place to note what is happening.

For the last three months I've had constant back and leg pain for most of every day. worst early mornings, on the 1 to 10 scale hitting 7 to 8 at times for an hour or two after getting out of bed. After a couple of hours I could move around but still in low level pain with no strength in my legs. This was every day with no escape other than whisky and sometimes a couple of pain pills until this Saturday. I started a course of Methylprednissolone and within a couple of hours all pain disappeared and I've been pain free now for going on four days. I know once the course of meds is finished the pain is likely to return but....It gives me hope that it can be controlled without surgery. MRI this coming Monday should tell the tell.

Sorry for the digression,


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

A Photo of Chopping the Double Mortise

Title says it all. A quick photo of chopping the mortises before chopping out the middle web.

I'll use a 1" chisel to chop out the middle and then the 1 1/2" bench chisel to finish up the ends and maybe smooth the walls a little.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Chopping Mortises

The Moravian Work bench requires a number of large (wide) mortises. In the video Will Myers uses the drill and pare technique for all but the four small (common size) mortises. While I've never been a fan of drill and pare I decided to use it on the cross leg mortise. Four of those suckers are enough to convince me I'm still not a fan.  Even the last one was not easier or better than the first. For the long stretcher mortises I've gone back to my standard chop the sucker out with a pig sticker. For these because they are so wide I'm using my widest mortise chisel and chopping a mortise on each side of the mortise then chopping out the waste left in the middle. In effect because it is a through mortise chopping four mortises and then cleaning up the middle. The first one took a little over thirty minutes to chop and fit, including time spent wiping sweat off my face and glasses. It was over 105F at the time.  Much faster with less set up time and cleaner better fitting mortises.

Some day I will learn to stick with what works. BTW, the late great Guy Clark had a song about what works. I'm not sure of the reason but that part of West Texas over a few years period produced some great singer song writers, from Guy Clark, to Roy Orbison, to Buddy Holly.

Damn, I almost caught that squirrel....Anyway, morning should be cool enough to get the other three mortises done. Except for some clean up and making the tusks the base of the bench will be finished. Then it's waiting on the vise screw I ordered a couple of weeks ago, come on UPS girl you are holding up progress.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sharpening Bench

I've posted about my sharpening bench before but because it is so important to efficient work I'm adding a update. Of all the tools and appliances in the shop the sharpening bench is second only to the main work bench and is located just off the left end of the main bench, just a step or two away.

The sharpening bench was the first work bench I built. At the time I hadn't a clue, I had started reading Fine Woodworking and knew I needed a wood working bench but couldn't afford a ready made. I don't know if you have seen very many Russian airplanes, if not you may not understand the reference, The bench is like a Russian airplane, if you didn't look too hard it looked somewhat like a wood working bench. I made it out of SYP because that was all I could find, not knowing that CS would many years later make a SYP bench fashionable. Bottom line over the years it has worked well in several different shop roles, the last being as a sharpening bench.

I've tried many configurations for the sharpening bench, just the primary stones on top of the bench, both oil and water stones on either end, even at one time having a Tormek on the bench. What I've settled on is just the primary use stones along with the primary strop, horse butt leather with green stuff, on the bench and all other stones stored in cabinets above the bench.

In the stone pond are my goto stones a med India and a Translucent Arkansas oil stone, Sometimes I will change from the Translucent to a Hard Black Arkansas. The Translucent has a better "feel" than the Hard Black, it has a little "tooth" where the Hard Black is slicker than snot. Scratch pattern and speed between the two are about the same. Go figure. Right now there are a couple of Spyderco stones sitting between the Arkansas stones because yesterday I had to sharpen one of the few A2 irons in the shop. The Spyderco's will return to the oil stone cabinet soon. On the far right you may be able to see a diamond lapping plate, I used it the other day to lap and re-fresh some oil stones Ralph at the accidental woodworker blog was kind enough to send me. The lapping plate will also return to its place in the oil stone storage cabinet above the bench.

The oil stone storage cabinet also stores misc junk and several (way too many) honing guides.

In a separate cabinet to the right are my water stones, man made stones on the bottom shelf and natural Japanese water stones on the top shelf.

It has taken time to get to this point, the old story of kissing frogs, but for now unless I get another bright idea to try this is my basic sharpening set up.

If interested click 'em to big 'em.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

More Travel Bench

Progress is slow on the travel bench. The back is acting up most days now and add Tucson in July to the mix, work slows to a crawl. That's the bad news, the good is for now there is no hurry, there are still a couple of weeks before the vise screw arrives and I will not need the bench before Labor Day.

I've almost finished the base. All that is needed is a couple of dovetails for the small lower stretchers and the Mortises for the long stretchers. The slab is ready to cut to length and I still need to make the tool tray. At the current pace three or four days in the shop will finish the build.

Here are a couple of photos of the base on its side so I can mark out the long stretcher mortises.

I go for a MRI next Friday to try and figure out what is happening with the back. For awhile last week I thought about putting it off but the back had other plans.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Progress On Travel Bench

The travel bench is coming along. The legs are dimensioned, the top bridle joints are done. Next is to finish chopping out the through mortise and the dove tail socket. Because the legs are at a 15 degree angle the stretcher mortise will have to wait for the stretcher glue up and tenon. The top is a slab so all it needs is to be cut off to final length.

I've a wood screw and nut on order. The screw and nut may take 2 to 3 weeks for delivery. I hope I'm waiting on the vise screw to finish the build.

Here are a couple of photos of the legs:

There are not many days off over the next couple of weeks which will slow the build as will the mid-afternoon heat. Still this is such a simple bench it should be ready well before the Oregon trip.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Back From Several Days In The Motorhome

We, MsBubba, Sam the Wonder Dog, Sweet Maggie Dog, me Ugly Dude, returned from several days visiting one of Southern Arizona's State Parks in the motorhome. It was a nice place with a small lake and good views of the mountains. Waiting back home was a package from Ralph of the Accidental Woodworker blog.

In it were two Smith's Arkansas oil stones, a hard white and a soft. I refreshed and flattened both on a diamond lapping plate before taking steel to stone. The soft stone raised a burr quickly as did the hard white. A few strokes on the strop and I had a very sharp chisel.

Thanks Ralph, as you know, I loves me some Arkansas oil stones and these two have a very good feel and did a great job on the chisel.

As some of you may know I've been trying to figure out a portable workbench for the motorhome after watching Will Myers' video building a Moravian work bench it is the one. Most benches I've looked at or designed in my head always had a "yes but".  If this bench has a "yes but" I haven't found it.

Anyway on to the chase....I've started the build. I found a 8/4 European Beech slab that is just under 280mm wide and will end up 1800mm long. The legs are DF as are the long stretchers. I found scraps of Cherry and Sapele in the wood pile for the short stretchers. The legs and stretchers, except for the long stretchers, are dimensioned and marked up. I would have started chopping mortises and sawing tenons except this is Arizona in Aug. Monsoon is here so not only is it well over 100F the RH's are also high.  By 10:00 AM shop time was over.

Photos to follow,


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Outdoor Kitchen

My part of the outdoor kitchen build is close to finished. All I have left is to install the drain and pull wires, all the idiot says...what a wanker. I must say pulling wires is one of my least favorite things to do, for one reason among many after finishing you think..."damn I could've had a V-8". There is always another outlet you wish you had installed or something could have been done different. By that time it is what it is.

Anyway here is the bar. It is waiting for MsBubba to finish the tiles for the counter top and a foot rail.

In the right background is the sink, here is a closer look.

The finishing may take awhile, we both go back to work Monday and the following weekend is a long one. I'm burning the last of my PTO before I lose it on 08/03/2017. It is hard to believe I've been with the company going into my eleventh year.  Time flies when you are having fun...or maybe it is just the toilet roll effect, it goes much faster when you get near the end.


Friday, July 07, 2017

Monsoon Is Here and Other Random Thoughts

Monsoon has been teasing us for awhile, yes, no, yes, no but tonight it is here. No Thunderbumpers at my house but outside, several hours after sunset, it is still hot and feels like we are in Houston.

MsBubba was on the roof last night for who knows why and found a couple of the pool's solar heater mounting pads had pulled lose. Long story short, a early morning trip to HD for a gallon of Henry Tropi-Kool to patch the roof. Before I finished the repairs it was boiling hot, I ain't as young and bullet proof as I once was.  My butt was well kicked.

I did manage to get one coat of spar varnish on the outdoor sink counter (Bridger had just finished building for us) after the roof work but that was it. The rest of the day was spent watching videos, reading about the sky falling, and nursing my bad back while the AC worked hard, even the dogs looked at me like "fool, there ain't no way no how we are going outside...chill".

Over the next couple of days I will put on another coat or two of varnish on the sink counter, finish hooking up the sink, pull a few wires and my part of the back garden kitchen build will be done. MsBubba should fire the tiles for the bar counter top next week. In a week or so we should have a functioning back garden kitchen and bar.... Now if we just had friends that were not as old, cranky, and broke down as we are :-).

For some time I've been trying to figure out a useable portable work bench to carry in the motorhome. everything I've thought of or looked at was always "yes but" until today's heat forced browsing.  Will Myers has a video of building a knock down Moravian work bench. I haven't built a bench in a year or so so it is time to build a bench anyway and this one looks to be perfect. Now I just have to find time to finish it before the September trip to Oregon.

As bad as the Japanese tool box is I expect it will be finished and used for the Oregon trip with, I hope, the knock down Moravian bench. The fun part will be figuring out what goes in the tool box and what stays home.

After a day of "fuck" every time I moved a little wrong I gave in and took a couple of pain pills. Thirty minutes and a little single malt later I was in the shop doing the most enjoyable shop thing there is....sharpening irons and chisels and then turning a nice sized hunk of Walnut into a very small hunk of Walnut mostly with my wood stock planes. It just doesn't get better than a well built, well tuned woodie with a sharp iron on a beautiful wood like Walnut or Cherry, I even took a couple of swipes at some White Oak. Life is good.

See you guys on down the road,


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Shop Made Chamfer and Round Over Plane

Long ago I made a series of shop made planes like those made by James Krenov. After trying shaping on several I found the best shape was just a block of wood much like a Japanese plane with the cutter pretty much centered in the stock. With the block of wood shape the plane is comfortable to use with either hand in any direction, pushing or pulling. In addition the planes are very light weight for their size. It makes the plane very handy for final shaping.

Chamfering and round-overs are about the only things I use the planes for but for those uses I haven't found anything better.

Here are a couple of photos of the most used ones. First is the small near block plane sized one:

Next is two together, the block plane sized and one about the size of a #3 Stanley:

Both work about the same, which one I use depends more on which I see first than the size.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Wood Stock Plane Setting Jig

Andy asked how the setting jig worked.....Dangerous thing to do unless you want to roll your eyes to the back of your head and/or get some sleep.

Calling it a jig is a stretch but because it has a hanging hole I'm going to. The jig is a long piece of float glass glued to a board with a hanging hole for storage. Here is the jig's home when not in use:

Most of the time I only use it after removing the iron for sharpening. Even then it is not used all the time but it makes the first set very quick and easy. Place the stock on the jig making sure both the stock and the glass plate are clean.

Set the cutter on the bed with light finger pressure holding it against the bed and glass while replacing the wedge. Once the wedge is in place give the wedge a tap to set and start planing.

Most of the time the plane will cut slightly thicker than the finest smoothing cut, about where you want it for most uses.

After several passes with the Joiner:

It works with any Western style wood stock plane I've tried. Here are some more photos with different style planes. All with no other adjustment other than first setting of the cutter on the float glass.

Andy, for a thicker shaving tap the iron, for a thiner shaving tap the top of the stock in front of the cutter (on the strike button if it has one), to remove the cutter and wedge tap the back of the stock. I hope this helps and wasn't too painful. Remember click 'em to big 'em.

The long plane and the coffin smoother were made by Steve Voigt, a young guy, and as far as I can tell the only maker of double iron planes in America. They are works of art and with both a reasonable price and wait time. At least that was the case when I ordered mine. BTW I also have one of Steve's Jack planes and if he decides to make any other type of plane I will be waiting with AmEx in hand, his planes are that good.



Japanese Tool Box and Setting Woodie Irons

As I have posted before I want a traveling tool box to carry in the motorhome while I'm driving Ms Daisy around the country. I built a classic western tool chest a year or so ago but it turned out to be too big....even if it would fit in the motorhome bins it would take at least two twenty somethings with strong backs to get it in and out. I tried to talk MsBubba into finding a couple of boytoys but she said no way. Oh well back to the drawing board.

The woodstore had some kind of Pine, not cheap, close to $5 USD a board foot but was in 12" width by 8' or so. I made Levi's toy box out of it and it worked pretty good because I used dovetails for the joinery and the boards I used were OK, a little wind and some cupping but not bad enough to keep the dovetails from pulling everything together. Which was good because the boards were too thin to take much off truing them up.

Cut to the Japanese tool box. The board that was left developed a bit of wind setting in the shop. So much there was no way to true it and have any board left. I decided to press on hoping I could pull the wind out while joining the box. I did is a big but...the cut nails busted out on the last joint. I put a couple of screws at each corner, which is what I should have done in the first place or even better have chunked the board and used another straighter one for the build.

Here is a photo of the busted out nails. I will finish the box and use it in the shop, with the screws in the corners it is strong, just ugly, and will make good shop storage. The next Japanese tool box will be made of Poplar so I will have some wood to work with. It will be a little heaver and I'm not sure if I will use cut nails and butt joints or M/T joints. I'm leaning towards M/T, the cut nails I'm not sure of.

Over on SMC there was a question on setting the iron in wood stock planes. Derek Cohen answered that one way he does it is to use a float glass setting jig. He was getting the usual forum scrum when someone posts something different. Problem with the scrum was I often use the same technique and it works very easily and quickly. While I do not use the glass jig for all setting it is very handy for initial settings after removal and replacement of the iron. Because of the pile on I dug out several of my woodies and the jig. After removing the irons and reseting them using the jig I made a photo of the planes and shavings after setting the iron with no other adjustment. Works well, doesn't coat much and can sure cut down on the setting learning curve.

Happy 4th


PS: I'm getting so forgetful someone just needs to shoot me. I send a box out yesterday with several goodies, one of which should have been a extra #3 Stanley. Bridger was over today and I had a #4 Stanley out to follow him home. When we went to the shop setting next to Bridger's #4 was the #3 base that should have been in the box along with the iron, chip breaker, and lever cap that are in the box. 

Just shoot me.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Photobucket Sucks Pond water

I've used Photobucket to host my blog photos from the get go back in 2005. Yesterday Photobucket issued new terms of service which does not allow third site publishing of my images. They, Photobucket, only want $399 USD per year for that privilege.

Long story short I've used Photobucket because when I started this blog Blogger would not allow uploads directly from my computer. Blogger does now and Photobucket can go suck pond water. It was a PITA to deal with anyway.

I can't tell if Photobucket wiped 12 years of photos off the blog, when I checked some of the early posts the photos are still available. I doubt I will republish all the blog's photos but there will be some going back and updating. What a PITA.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Loo's Side Table

Several weeks ago the girl child and hubby drove from Houston
to Tucson to visit and exchange their Honda Fit for our Dodge Cummins Diesel truck. They needed more truck, we needed a smaller "Toad" for the motorhome, sometimes things work out win win.

I was building a side table that had one of MsBubba's mosaics for the top as a Birthday present for Loo. I hoped to have it finished in time to go back to Houston with them but as usual I'm a little slow. The top was ready to go but I hadn't finished the base. We sent the top on home with the kids to be followed by the base once finished.

I put the first coat of Danish Oil on the base a couple of minutes ago and hope to go see my UPS girl in a couple of days. It will be good to get it out of the shop.

BTW, the mosaic top has a Sapele border and the legs are also Sapele. The aprons are some Cherry I had in the wood pile. It's not the best table I've made but.....

I thought I had a photo of the top but maybe not. Anyway here is the finished base.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lance Mannion and River View

Several days ago Lance Mannion posted this: "Felt my mortality weighing heavily on me this morning. Tried to keep the demons at bay by telling myself I could be around for another 30 years.  The demons laughed. What's the point of that? they asked mockingly. I had to grant them the point.

Thirty more years? Might be a pleasanter prospect if I and nobody I knew were going to age and things would continue on pretty much the way they are. Not a lot to look forward to as it is.  Not much I'm going to contribute with my persistent presence. I'm done. It's somebody else's turn. Don't want to die but not excited about living. Lately I've caught myself having fantasies that are influenced by Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld novels except that instead of dying and being reborn down river I'm reborn back upstream and wake up as my twenty year old self, a young hero with prospects again.

These were pre-dawn thoughts. As soon as it got light I got in the car and headed for McDonald's. We're up at the old Mannion Homestead for the weekend so I drove down to the river and had my coffee on the riverbank...

I don't see much point in living thirty more years. Or twenty. Or ten. But contemplating (the) view...With a good cup of coffee? Continuing on another day seems like a good idea."

The post spoke to me, I understand.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tomorrow is Juneteen

Tomorrow is Juneteen. In a just and meet world it would be celebrated along with the 4th. That is not, speaks to who we are.

attribution: screenshot Erica McCarthy

Detail from Ed Dwight sculpture at the Texas African-American History Memorial in Austin, Texas.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Back From Mexico

Back from Rocky Point and only 3 lbs. gained. Not too bad considering the number of tamales and tacos consumed. Have I posted that travel by Motorhome is the only way to go? Room for critters, food and drink at hand, and a head when needed, and most of all is the view. It doesn't get any better.

A view out the window on the way down between Tucson and Why. If you are a motorcycle LD Rider you probably know of Why, AZ. One of the bucket list rides is Why, Why Not.

What I love about roads in the Southwest is you can see the future, sometimes an hour or more ahead.

The view out the window in our camp site:

I call these two "Can't Anyone Play This Game:

One of the best parts of the whole trip I didn't get any photographs of. While floating in a protected area at low tide we ended up in the middle of close to a hundred feeding Brown Pelicans. Unlike White Pelicans which feed by herding bait fish into confined areas, Brown Pelicans feed by folding up their wings and diving into the school of fish from above. Catching a fish and at the same time scooping up a large amount of water. The pouch under their bill can hold up to three gal. of water along with the caught fish. After the dive the pelican will sit on the water with its head and bill down to drain the scooped up water before swallowing the fish. While all this is going on Gulls are in attendance hoping to steal the catch sometime standing on the pelican's back or head and pecking the pelican's bill. Cut to the chase: While feeding the pelicans could have cared less that we were in the middle of their feeding often diving within two or three feet of where we were floating.  This went on for hours, what a show. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Chopping Mortises

I'm making a side table for the girl child, The top will be a frame and substrate to hold one of MsBubba's ceramic mosaics. The base is some near 8/4 Sapele I had in the shop.

The top is made, it just needs cleaning up and the legs are dimensioned but not shaped. The aprons are dimensioned waiting to saw the tenons once I finish chopping the mortises. I'm half way through chopping the mortises, two legs finished and two to go.

While chopping the mortises I thought about making a post about technique. My guess is everyone has either tried and discarded this technique or they are currently using it and it is no big deal because I have a history of riding the short bus. Anyway one of the problems I've always had with chopping mortises is keeping the hole straight. To fix that I've started knifing the reference mark, the one on the face side and then coming back and undercutting the knife line. This gives a nice "v" grove on the reference mark that give a positive stop for the mortise chisel. Angle the chisel slightly, drag it to the reference mark, when it stops stand it upright and square, give it a whack. Lever and repeat until you have removed everything that doesn't look like a mortise hole.

A couple or three photos, I don't know if you can see but click 'em to big 'em and whatever, one is of the mortise.

Knifing the reference mark.

Cutting the grove:

The mortise hole:

One other thing I happened to find today. My favorite pig sticker it turns out is 5/16", I never knew that. I just knew it was smaller than 1/2" and larger than the 1/4" which made it perfect for table leg mortises. I usually clean out the mortises with a LN 1/4" mortise chisel just because I don't worry about braking it and because it doesn't really need to be that sharp. Today I wanted a sharp chisel, in other words a bench chisel to clean up the ends of the mortise. Lot of luck bubba, out of the hundred or so bench chisel on the walls of the shop there is not one 5/16" chisel. As luck would have it the new Pfeil chisels I bought the other day had a 8mm in the set. 8mm is just a thin red one larger than 5/16"so all was not lost but damn you would think out of all those chisel there would be a couple of 5/16" ones somewhere. But no joy.

Off to Mexico tomorrow AM for a couple or three days of beer, beach, tacos, and watching the dogs swim and grin from floppy ear to floppy ear. It doesn't get much better.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Japanese Steel Porn

I've had three hand made high carbon steel Japanese kitchen knives for long enough to love 'em but a short enough time to still be amazed every time I use one . Like good Japanese chisels the knives are small works of art. They take a wonderful edge and feel good in hand with great balance and yet are very simple in appearance, ,almost looking unfinished compared to western knives.

A skilled blacksmith hand working high carbon steel can make magic. The cutter, chisel, plane iron, or knife produced can take and hold a cutting edge like no other. Every time I use one I break into a ear to ear grin.

The middle knife on the left is for slicing vegetables, the bottom right knife has a thicker blade and is used for de-boning and cutting heavier meats, and top right knife has a thinner blade and is for general purpose use but works very well slicing thin cuts from lighter meats such as fish.  BTW, how do you like the way I snuck into the photo three of my natural water stones. 

Last week when I was testing "sharpness" all three knives tested sharper than my best chisels, I can babble on but the only way to appreciate how good they are is to use 'em. After the first cut they no longer seem expensive. 

About the only downside is they take more care than the typical stainless steel kitchen knife. BTW, nothing wrong with a stainless steel kitchen knife, I use them every day but when I'm in the kitchen for pleasure the Japanese knives come out to play.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Pfeil Carpenter Chisels

As posted before I need more chisels like another hole in my head but....What can I say, the Pfeil chisels are very nice and at a good price point. To paraphrase Fabulous Frank, "Chisels will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no chisels", or something like that.

Of course when I made it home with the new chisels I had to re-arrange the chisel racks and find spaces for the new ones. The good news after much butt scratching and several test placements I found useable homes for all the chisels except for the crank-neck glue scrapper from Woodcraft. For now it will live in the center fill of the main work bench which is not a bad place for a beater chisel to call home. BTW, I can find many excuses to not make anything...Oh damn my chisels need re-arranging, that rocking chair will just have to wait.  Look squirrels!

Here is a photo of the behind the main workbench chisel racks. There are two more racks, one over the sharpening bench and the other on the wall over the jointer. They are all full.

If the rest of the Pfeil chisels work and sharpen as well as the 19mm "test" chisel, I expect they will be used interchangeably with the Ashley Iles chisels.

My downsizing of the shop, of course, is not going well, it seems I throw or give away one thing and two replace it the next day. I swear someday there will only be 10 lbs of stuff in the 10 lb bag, but it may take awhile. Right now the biggest problem with space in the shop is wood storage. I have some very nice wood stored but because without fail nice sized cutoffs (and some not so nice sized) end up on top of the stored wood I can not get to it with out moving, I will not say tons of cutoffs, but a bunch of cutoffs. With the way the back is acting up I need help getting everything organized and MsBubba has been off playing Grandmother and when she's home our work schedules do not match. Oh woe is me. Whatever, I expect there is a nice weenie roast in the near future.

One of the things I'm going to try is using 50 gal trash cans to hold shorter cutoffs. It probably will not work any better but what the hey it will at lest make it easy to move 'em to the fire pit.

See you guys on down the road,


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Photos of New Toy

I grabbed a paring chisel off the rack and tested it. Off the rack it tested to 330 grams. After sharpening on Spyderco brown and white stones it tested to 210 grams.

See photo:

After stropping on leather with 'green stuff' it tested to 160 grams:

I'm not sure how accurate either test was because I was holding the chisel with my left hand while shooting with the right but the numbers are in line with other tests.

Now the next question is: Is 150ish grams a good number or should I be working to lower it? So far 150 grams is the range I've found on different chisels with different steel, O-1, K-510, White Paper, and using different stones and freehand as well as jigged.

More fun with meaningless numbers to follow.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Toy

Well the new toy arrived but via USPS instead of the UPS girl.

The system is simplicity, a calibrated 'string' and scale to measure how much force it takes to cut the string. The unit I have has a 5 gram resolution, for a few dollars more you can have one with a 1 gram resolution. I figured 5 grams is close enough for my use. I haven't found anything on repeatability or range of error but with running several test on the same edge it seems to fall within a narrow range of results of about 5-15 grams difference maximum. Most of the time within 5 or 10 grams raw numbers.

The chart of "common edges" lists a double edge razor blade as taking 50 grams to cut the test string, a high end knife as needing 300 grams, and if it takes more than 400 grams the edge needs sharpening.

First the good news: Stropping with 'green stuff' on leather will lower needed force by about 40 to 50 grams. While it will take more tests to confirm, the type of stone makes little difference. I sharpened chisels from the same maker on Spyderco, Ark oil, and Shapton glass, all three before stropping took around 200 grams to cut the test string. And all three after stropping were in the 150 gram range.

Maybe the most surprising result was I ground one chisel on the Tormek to 25 degrees and then sharpened using the LN jig set for 30 degrees. While it was within what I suspect is the margin of error before stropping it took 20 grams more force to cut the test string than a chisel sharpened freehand on the same stone. After stropping the difference was 5 grams.

Will the toy make a difference in woodworking....not much but now I have a way to quantify sharpening technique. Is it better to strop, or not and gives a way to test longevity of different sharpening methods such as the same old question does a stropped edge last longer than one that is not.

I know what I've found and believe over the years but now I can put numbers to it instead of just 'because'. And maybe it will show me where I've been wrong as well.

Anyway bottom line a fun little toy and a lot cheaper than an ESM.

Sharpness Measuring

With woodworking tools the only measure that matters is: Does it pare, chop, cut wood as needed and leave a surface that works as intended. Ok that's out of the way, now on the the reason for this post.

There are so many variables in sharpening, oil stones, water stones, natural, man made, diamonds, sandpaper, strop with compound and without, leather, MDF, maple and on and on. Like many folks I have tried many of 'em and the eternal question is which works the best. The answer is usually: "It depends." Because the answer many times depends on what steel, O-1, A-2, PM-v11, D2, K-510, and more, as with stones the number is almost endless.

BTW, I will cut to the chase.  The other day I ordered an Edge-On-UP sharpness tester. I've not a clue if it will tell me anything but I figure it was worth taking a flyer on. At a minimum I hope it will settle the strop question and if it does it will be worth toting the note. What I'm also hoping is it will help determine if there is a difference in oil, water, and/or natural vs. man made, and jig vs. freehand. I expect the answer will at the end of the day still be....It depends.

Big expectations, the UPS girl should deliver it sometime today. Did I ever post photos of my UPS girl? Damn I know better but sometimes I can't help myself.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Toy box with a 'pull' on the lid, it is now out of the shop awaiting delivery:

Several days ago I posted about Pfeil Carpenter Chisels, as a follow up, as dumb as it is to add chisels to my chisel collection I ordered a full set of the Pfeil's. It is hard to get all "these are the best" over chisels but damn Pfeil hit the sweet spot with these chisels with every thing from the price point to how they feel in hand, to the steel of the blade. Of course bottom line is YMMV because chisels are so subject to personal preference but if you are looking to buy some bevel edge bench chisels, do yourself a favor and include the Pfeil's in your search. BTW, as much as I like the Ashley Iles' chisels I expect the Pfeil's will replace the AI's as my daily go to chisel.

This next is an Old Fart writing about his medical problems...Mostly so I have a record of when things happen. Pass on by if you find it as boring as I do.

For several weeks I've had very bad lower back pain, I'm pretty pain tolerant, as an example back in the '90's I worked and flew airplanes for three months with a broken jaw. BTW I thought that was bad pain but compared to the last couple of weeks it was a walk in the park. Anyway cutting to the chase the pain was so bad I spent Saturday afternoon in the ER because I couldn't wait until my scheduled Doc's appointment Monday. The pain meds and whisky just weren't doing the job anymore. The ER started some meds that relieved some of the pain, the Doc's appointment Monday brought good news. The odds are I will not need surgery, that the problem can be controlled with meds and PT.

Don't get old, it is literally a pain in the ass.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Kinda finished....needs a lid stay and a lid handle:

With the lid open:

With the lid closed: