Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Changing Table

Some progress on the DIL's changing table in spite of few days off over the last month or so. I expect it will be finished before the big event if I can find a couple of days to work on it.

The base is Poplar and MsBubba has volunteered to paint it with Milk Paint. Which is a good thing for several reasons, I hate to paint and it usually shows plus one of the draw bore pegs blew out the back side of the leg. A little pooky and paint and no one will know.

It is together to measure the lower slats. Once the slats are made I'll clean up everything and hope I can get help on the glue up.

Then it will be on to making and installing a drawer to finish the base. The top will be some nice Cherry from the wood pile unless something else catches my eye.

A couple of photos:

From the other side:

BTW, that's a story stick with markings for the lower stretchers and slats inside the base. Story sticks come in very handy for fitting those kind of pieces.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Love From The UK

USPS dropped a couple of boxes off today. One had the Late 19th early 20th Century Marple Paring/Pattern Maker chisels. Also in the goodies was a UK made plow with a full set of irons and a Washita stone.

The Marple chisels are as close to mint as any I've seen that were not new. I've been looking for a set of pre-WWII Marple paring chisels for it seems years hoping to pick up one here and one there. Almost every one I've seen had something wrong, mostly pitted back sides and for these I wanted chisels with clean blades.

This set just fell into my lap a couple of weeks ago via an email for one of my UK dealers. The photos looked very good, the chisels look even better. It is hard to believe these chisels are at least 85 years old and may be over a hundred.

The Plow and the Washita stone, what can I say other than I'm a sucker for both wood stock Plows and natural stones. Good Washita stones are getting very hard to find.

Here's the group:

I keep telling myself I'm not a collector, I'm down sizing, and this is the last time I fall off the wagon. We will see.


Saturday, June 02, 2018

White Mountains

We spent a long weekend in Alpine, AZ. Alpine is just over 8000' MSL, the nights were in the 30's and days not over 75F. It was delightful. I left the portable workbench in Tucson because it was going to be a short stay. We are going back the 4th. of July for a longer stay and the bench will be going. It will be good to give it a proving run before Oregon in Sept.

I'm making a "Changing Table" for the expected new Grandpeanut. It is marked out for the most part and about half the mortises are chopped. I expect it will be slow going because it is Summer in Tucson and shop time is limited by the heat in addition to my work schedule.

Because the mortises are narrow and a little deep I'm using the drill and pare method. I must say it is going well so far. You gotta love a good set of Jennings bits and a brace.

These are the two back legs, the front legs will connect with a double tenon lower stretcher and a dovetail top stretcher. In addition to the drawer there will be a lower shelf to hold wicker baskets.

More photos to follow once there is enough done to kinda see what it will look like.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Portable Moravian Workbench Update

After finishing the portable bench build I wanted to work on it before schlepping it all over the PNW and other points of interest. I moved the old joinery/assembly bench against the wall under the wood storage and set up the portable bench in its place. I've been working on the bench for a couple or three weeks now and it has exceeded all expectations. In fact in many ways I like working on it better than the main English/French bench.

The Lake Erie Toolworks wood screw has made the best woodworking vise I've used. It is fast 2 turns/inch and holds like no other. The bench itself is rock solid in both directions, it is hard to believe a bench that can't weight much more than 200lbs total can be this solid. I only have one quibble with the bench as a daily user, it is too short. Just not enough total real estate, wide enough but needs to be longer.

I expect to take care of that some time in the next year. After the PMW trip the portable bench will find a home in the motorhome's side bins and I will build another Moravian bench to shop size, about 600mmX2500mm. Approximately 2'X8' for those still stuck in the world of hands and stones. 

I'm making a "Changing Table" per the DIL's request (the new Grandpeanut is due around the first of July). It will be painted so the wood is Poplar. All the parts are sized and I'm in the process of marking out before doing the joinery. I expect a good part of the joinery will be done on the small bench. 

Here it is with one of the legs in the vise for marking out:

As always....Click it to big it.


Friday, May 18, 2018


On one of the forums I follow, a sickness I know but sometimes they are worth a grin, has a thread going on cheap chisels vs. expensive chisels. If I read the posts correctly the consensus is the cheap ones stay sharp about as long as the expensive chisels and therefore are as good. Of course one of the posters claimed he could use his Aldi chisels for 6 to 8 hours without needing to re-sharpen. I'm sure he could but I have to question what he call sharp.

Bottom line I think the folks over there are asking the wrong questions. The difference between good chisels and bad isn't how long they stay sharp but is a question of "balance" of how the chisel feels in hand and how much effort it is to sharpen and will it stay working sharp long enough to do work. Bad chisels fail at one or more of those qualities.

None of those questions can be answered for you, you have to take chisel to wood and live with it for awhile. In time it will either drive you barking mad, become your best friend, or just an ok tool and only you can decide which it is.

A corollary to all that is tool writers/reviewers are a terrible influence on both buyers and producers. They have to write about something so they write about the type of steel, how long it will hold an "edge", are the bevels "fine" and so on, anyway you know the results. A2 steel for paring chisels, almost no firmer chisels being produced, heavy planes i.e. Bedrock planes instead of Bailey pattern planes, thick irons, and cap irons that do not help control tear out. We are poorer as woodworkers because of their influence.

Ok, I'll get back on my meds but first is a photo I made for the chisel thread. Some of my 12mm/13mm (1/2") chisels with weight in grams. From left to right: Lee Valley PM (113g), Sorby (131g), Marple (107g), Ashly Iles (111g), Swiss Made (105g), Koyamaichi #2 White Steel (109g), and not pictured Kikuhiromaru #1 White Steel (99g)

Click it to big it.

My two favorite Western chisels, the ones that best meet the needed balance of a good chisel, are the pre-war Marples and the Ashly Iles. The other favorite user (not pictured) is the #1 White Steel Kikuhiromaru. Of all the chisels I own the Marples have the best balance of feel and steel. Of course as always....YMMV.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

More BBQ

Sometimes the BBQ gods smile from on high.

I've cooked a lot of BBQ and I can't remember any ever being bad or even less than good. I also can't remember a brisket ever being this good. It is unbelievably tender. The BBQ gods truly did smile on the pit today. What started out as just a sample to check it out has become at least a pound gone.

Here it is with some of the first cuts:

A short BBQ primer: If aluminum foil touches the meat at anytime in the process it ain't BBQ. It is likely smokey steamed roast but it ain't BBQ. If it is covered with a sweet sauce it ain't BBQ. I'm not sure what it is other than an abomination but it sure isn't BBQ. Of course I'm missing the most important part of Texas BBQ...A roll of butcher paper and a Big Red.  

Good eats for the next few days.



A couple of days ago a client was in the "snake pit" filling out a FAA form on one of the computers. I had typed him several years ago so we visited for a bit, he mentioned he would like some good BBQ. I don't need much excuse to fire up the pit and with MsBubba in Houston visiting the kids instead of in the background kvetching about "dead cows" and smoke it is a done deal.

Cut to the chase, I was almost out of pit wood this morning so I got the pit warming up but had to go buy enough wood to finish. This time they didn't have a good selection but did have one short cord of Pecan for $100 USD. Zero on Oak in stock and they said it might be mid Summer before any came in. That's maybe bad news because I want some Oak for chair parts as well as pit wood.

Anyway, here is the brisket a couple or three hours from being finished:

The day has been windy so the pit has been a little fussy but no big deal, it gives me an excuse to forget the honey-dos and enjoy minding the pit with whisky in hand.



Monday, May 07, 2018

Leg Vise

I've never been a leg vise fanboy. After using one for a couple of years I thought they were a fad, fussy, and fiddly with holding power no better if not worst than a Metal QR vise. Those opinions came from having a metal screw leg vise on my main workbench off and on for almost two years and using leg vises with metal screws in other shops. After a couple of years going back and forth between the leg vise and my old English QR vise when I build the new bench it was the English vise all the way.

For the last bench build because it was designed to break down and be portable I decided to use a wood screw leg vise. I'm not sure what the weight difference is but it is considerable and the leg vise is easy to break down into parts. It was a no brainer.

I ordered the screw from Lake Erie Toolworks. The premium kit is $250 USD.  Here it is installed on the Moravian Bench:

This wood screw has totally changed my opinion of leg vises. The fad part still holds but the fussy, fiddly and lack of holding power are no longer operative. Two things, it is fast, to go from holding a 4/4 board to one that is 12/4 is as fast as the QR if not faster and holding is unbelievable. I whacked the hell out of the board in the vise with a mallet and it did not budge a mm. Not that I would do it but I believe I could chop a deep mortise in the vise, it holds that well.

The only problem now is I've been eyeing the main bench with the thought of retro-fitting a wood screw leg vise. There ain't no way that I can see to do it with less work than building a whole new bench and this bench is close to perfect as it sets.  But damn it would be nice if it had as good a vise as my portable bench.

See you guys on down the road,


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

It Is Good To Have A Travel Bench

MsBubba wanted a storage shed and the other day while at Costco she spotted a prefab shed for an ok price, a little cheaper than I could build one and a little faster to erect as well. Not as good but good enough for the job.

I build the base fondation (in the background) yesterday and this morning started putting all the pieces together. That's the bad news, the good news; I needed to take the travel bench apart anyway to plane and sand off the making marks so I might as well set it up in the back garden to work on.

It has been a back saver. Everyone needs a portable bench even if you do not know you need one.

About half way through "insert tab UZY into RBV, secure using screw ACX" I was wishing I'd went ahead and just built from scratch. I expect we will start the building, putting the structure together, tomorrow.


Friday, April 27, 2018

More Of The 10lbs In A 5lb Space

I rearranged the deck chairs this afternoon in hopes of finding room to work in the shop. The old assembly/joiner bench moved to the East wall of the shop, under the wood stack. The new bench moved to where the old assembly/joiner bench called home and the main bench stayed in place.

Because the Moravian bench is smaller it gives the feeling of more space in the shop. We will see how it works out but whatever, I want the chance to work on the travel bench before the Fall PNW trip.

From behind the main bench with travel bench and old assembly bench to the left:

Looking West to East:

Another West to East:

One of the things I've learned after building so many benches and then working on 'em is that most of the folks writing about workbenches are mostly talking out of their ass. I'm not sure I could do a better job or would want to but first time bench builders are not well served.

I'll go back to my mantra: Build it cheap, simple, strong, and quickly then go to work on it making furniture. After working on it for awhile build another correcting all the things that drive you barking at the moon mad about the first build. After three or four builds then if you wish spend a few bucks on nice wood.

Of course....YMMV.


BTW, that's Sam the Wonder Dog photobombing the second photo. I'm sure he was looking for a rawhide bone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



The travel workbench is finished, kinda. The next time I have a reason to pull it apart I'll clean up the pencil marks, finish rounding off the tusk tenons and put some oil or finish on at least the base . None of that changes the bench functionality and the bench is fully functional as is.

I've done all the major jobs on it, edge and face plane, saw rip and crosscut, plow a groove, and chop end grain and the bench is rock solid, as solid as the main French/English bench.

Now comes the problem, where to put it. It is too good to just store in the Motorhome and only use on trips. I'm thinking I can move the assembly bench to under the wood storage and replace the assembly bench with the travel bench. Or I could give the assembly bench to MsBubba for her studio. What to do, what to do?

In some ways it is a nice problem to have but here is the sick part....I'm already thinking about making another one but slightly scaled up.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

I Couldn't Resist

The two slabs are close to size, the rear one needs to be trimmed and both will need a little work on their faces.

Most of the bench is set in stone at this point. Base, Long Stretchers, and Vise Backer are 12/4 Poplar, the Short Stretchers and Back Slab are 8/4 Poplar, the front Slab is 8/4 Beech, and the Chop, IIRC, is 8/4 Red Oak. The Vise Screw is from Lake Erie Toolworks.

Anyway if you squint it kinda looks like it will look when finished.

There are still several days of work to go. The two slabs will need "blind pegging" and the pegs to hold 'em. There are two more mortises to chop, both shallow but a little long, and the mortise for the vise guide needs cutting into the Vise Backer. The Vice Backer also needs a 2 5/8th hole for the vise screw.  The slabs will also need final trim before I can roll the credits.


Truing One Edge of Workbench Slab

I'm truing the reference (outside edge) edge of the Beech slab this morning. The edge wasn't 90 degrees to the face and was slightly wavy so first up was a woodie jack plane. For some reason once it was close I dug out the Battleship instead of one of the woodie jointers. I guess I felt I needed a workout. Whatever, I got one. Once MsBubba is up I'll get her to help run the other edge through the power jointer. It will be the inside edge and it doesn't need to be perfect.

The faces of the board are flat with no wind.  Once both edges are done I'll install the Beech slab to the base and do any clean up needed after installing the small Poplar back slab.

The bench will have a small split just wide enough to hold tools with the front Beech slab about 400mm and an ~130mm Poplar back slab. I've found asymmetrical slabs/work surfaces work very well and make the top of the bench easier to build and handle.

A couple of photos of truing the edge:

One of the LN #8. I'm too damn old to push that thing around for long. I'm sweating like a pig even after coffee and writing this post:

The board is just under 2200mm long. I'll trim about 400mm off for a final length of around 1800mm.

I dug out the wood screw, chop, and vise backer board and re-installed 'em on the sharpening bench (the first traveling bench) and they worked like a champ. I also did a quick place the chop on the new bench and it looks like all I'll need to make is a new vise backer board. That should save some time.

While I've never been a fan of leg vises, most of the ones I've tried have been finicky and don't really hold any better than one of the older English QR metal vises. This one with a wood screw is not bad, in fact I could grow to like it.

I think I hear a fat lady far off in the background, it's still a little faint but.....not long until the short rows.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Slab For The Travel Bench

From my experience with travel bench v1, a 8/4 slab is good enough. I really do not want to do a slab glue up for a 50mm thick or so slab. Problem, I do not have any wood in the wood pile that is thick enough and/or wide enough to make a usable slab.

Adding to that problem I went to bed last night and awoke with either a "cold" or a bad case of allergies, bottom line after a bad night I do not feel like doing anything other than drinking whiskey with some honey and feeling sorry for myself.  One problem with that plan, I want to work on the bench once I feel like it and the wood store is closed on Sunday.

What to do other than suck it up Bubba and make the trip. I did, and after going through the stacks at the wood store I couldn't find a single board that would work and almost gave up but I remembered they keep the European Beach inside with the $40 USD a board foot wood. At first glance the Beech stack did not look promising but hidden in back was a 8/4 X 400mm X 2200mm hunk of Beech that is perfect for the slab. Whip out the AmEx, throw it in the bed of the trunk and I have my slab with zero glue up....Life doesn't get better.

It is still whiskey and honey and feeling sorry for myself but at least I have the slab for when I can work on it.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Travel Bench Base

The Travel bench base is together. Still to go is the slab, tool tray, vise backer, chop, and vise install. With the work schedule and MsBubba's needs I expect it will be touch and go finishing by Memorial Day weekend. I'd hoped to take it to Mexico for a shake down cruise before we head to the PNW. Maybe the 4th will work.

Anyway the base is solid as can be even without the slab. Here are a couple of photos:

From the other end:

While I'd like to start the slab my back is telling me no mas, no mas. I think instead I'll pour a glass of Laphroaig and get ready to watch Rachel and the Friday night news dump. We are living in interesting times. If all the things that have happened from the 40's till now hadn't happened and I tried to pitch a novel covering that period of my life i'd be laughed at and thought a nut.

I hope everyone has a good weekend, 


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Fitting Long Stretchers In A One Man Shop

As much as I enjoy building workbenches I'm getting too damn old and weak to wrestle the big hunks of timber around the shop by myself without lots of breaks.

This morning I cut the tenons on the long stretchers and I'm fitting them to the base if my back holds up.

Here is a photo, the first two are fitted, two more to go:

From the other side:

It is a good thing it's a workbench and a traveling one at that, there are a few more boo-boos and tear outs than I would like. None will affect its function but....

After fitting the stretchers they will need to be marked for the wedge mortises.

I should go find the lumber for the slab today. If I don't it may be awhile before I get another chance.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Panic In Casa Chaos

I just finished gluing up the two base assemblies for the traveling workbench.  The second through mortise tenon froze about 6mm  shy. Oh shit, oh shit were in the hell is Lumpy. I scrambled around finding Lumpy, clamps and a block to beat against and managed to get the joint to seat ok, not great but ok. BTW, I didn't have Lumpy or even clamps out because the dry fit went so well. Shame on me.

After gluing up the second base assemble I inspected the first one carefully and saw that I had a case of the dumbass with the first. Even though on something like a workbench I chisel mark and fill in the marks with a black pen on each piece so there is no question with tenon goes into which mortise. Well I guess there was a question because the #1 tenon was put in the #4 mortise. The good news is I get 'em all pretty close to the same size. The bad is I usually relieve the back shoulder slightly so the show side pulls up very tight. Guess what, the inside shoulder is beautiful the face one not so much.

I can tell myself it makes no never mind.....It's a workbench and after the first trip to the PNW the slight gap will be the least of it's booboos. Whatever, it still pisses me off that I can be so dumb.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Watergate to Pussygate Plus a Little Traveling Workbench

As someone who lived through the Cold War, Cuba, Vietnam, the treason of Nixon, Watergate, Reagan, the Bushes, and now Pussygate this is the first time I've been frightened of the final outcome. Whatever it will be, shit is getting real. 

On to something I can somewhat control the final outcome. I had a rare couple of days off in a row this past weekend and while I didn't get as much done as I could have the base of the traveling workbench is coming along.

A photo of the base waiting glue up:

As always click 'em to big 'em.

Next up is sawing the tenons for the long stretchers and gluing up a slab. I'll reuse the wood screw for the vise and I expect make a new chop. There is a ways to go and I'm not in the short rows yet but I can see 'em.


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Saw Skills

Shannon Rogers over at Renaissance Woodworker made a statement that I've long felt was true but had never heard articulated. That saw skills were the foundational skill set of woodworking.

If you can saw to a line everything else is easy. We go on and on about sharpening, natural stones vs. man made, what steel is best HC vs. A2. Wood stock planes vs. metal and so on. Bottom line if you can saw, and any saw that is sharp will work from the cheapest to a fully blinged out Bad Axe, making joints is quick and easy. If you can not, well you are in for a lot of work that often does not turn out well.

An Organized Shop Is A Sign Of A Sick Mind

Over on one of the woodworking forums is a thread asking for photos of member's tool storage solutions. Of course this is a chance to show your shop which many have, myself included.

If there is a common theme to the photos it is most are too damn clean and organized. There has always been two camps, one has every tool having a place and every tool in its place. The other, every tool's place is where it was last used. Both groups seem to work efficiently unless a tool is either moved or misplaced.  I tend to fall in the middle, tools have a place but I'm not anal about it. That said, from my experience over many years of dealing with maintenance folks the last group tend to be a hell of a lot more fun to have a beer with after work.

Anyway, the posts started me thinking about what my shop looks like mid-project and that is today's subject. I'm in the fitting of joinery stage on the traveling workbench and here is my shop as I left it last night.

Main Bench:

Joinery Bench:

There is a little of every tool in its place but mostly where I last used the tool.

Moving on:

I've had a recently rare three days off in a row, for a year or so we have been running back to back lines with usually only one day off before starting another line or two. It is not sustainable and as much as I like my work if it keeps up retirement will soon follow.

To add to the three days off in a row, I will not say enjoyment but at least to the interest, the critters and I are living with no adult supervision for the next couple of weeks. MsBubba is in the UK for her Mom's 90th Bday.

Here's a whisky to Mom and 90 years vertical and looking down at the grass, cheers Mom.


Friday, March 23, 2018

March 22 2018

MsBubba after 15 or 16 years, we are not sure, decided to make a honest man out of me. The 22nd was also my 75th Bday, damn time goes by fast. I guess MsBubba is now MrsBubba.

The kids came out from Houston to help celebrate and Jamie did the ceremony. A few friends also showed up for food and drink. Out of 75 this was the best.

One of the family:

Most important, Willie cooking:


Sunday, March 11, 2018

eBay and ECEPlanes

eBay can still work but the noise to signal ratio is high and I think getting higher. That said the other day I found a hidden prince among the frogs. A little back story.

ECE traditional planes are one of the true bargains in the wood working world. For either ECE Smoother or Jack Highland Woodworking asks $110 USD. With either you get a plane with a good iron and cap iron that is usable right out of the box. Used Stanley's approach that price point and they will many times need work to put 'em to work.

Some time ago ECE went from the traditional "eared" escapement to a crosspin type escapement. I have both types and in truth both work well but from an aesthetic point I like the eared escapement.

Cut to the chase: While looking on eBay for Marple chisels and fillister planes I came across a "eared" ECE Smoothing plane that appeared NOS with the iron still in the wapper and in a box for about half the price of a new plane from Highland. It arrived the other day and it was NOS, every once in a while eBay works.

After sharpening the iron and on a small hunk of pine:

The differences between the ECE Smoother and the Jack are small. The Jack is a couple of silly mm's longer, so little unless they are side by side you would not notice and the Smoother's iron is bedded at 50 degrees vs. the Jack iron at 45 degrees. With a second iron the Jack could fill both functions.

Both planes side by side showing the difference between the "new" escapement and the old traditional "eared" one:



Monday, March 05, 2018

Signing My Work

I have no need for a name stamp. If anyone ever wanted to find out who made something of mine all they need is a DNA test.

The critters made sure I didn't get a lot of sleep tonight. First it was Sam at 2330 wanting to go pee, then Maggie needing the same at 0130. In between It was fitful in and out sleep. After Maggie's wake up woof I couldn't go back to sleep. Of course both critters are in their beds and snoring away. I'm the only fool awake and chopping mortises.

Which brings me to the DNA. As usual I haven't a clue when or how, I was just beavering away when I noticed a puddle of blood on the leg I was working.  After a quick inspection of both hands I found the source, the outside edge of my left palm. Now the question is how in the hell do you cut yourself there.

I have a 0800 "show" this morning, hope the bleeding stops in time to finish up the last through mortise before donning the monkey suit. Whatever, when I finish and make it home it is back to pulling wires and installing outlets.


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Have I Ever Told You How Much I Hate Pulling Wire

MsBubba wants lights in the back garden. Our house was built in the 70's and did not have a single external outlet when we bought it. Over the years I've added a few but not enough to keep the boss happy. A couple of problems with adding circuits is the house's main load center is full as is MsBubba's studio load center and about the only other source is the shop's load center. The bad news is it is full as well but there was one 20 amp breaker that was a single. I changed it out for a 20 amp double and started pulling wires. After spending most of the morning cussing and muttering and with only two trips to HD I have wire to a junction box under the patio roof. Over the next couple of weeks with more cussing and muttering along with more trips to Home Depot I'll add three or four outlets and some lights over the patio bar.

Before I was rudely reminded I had promised to wire the back garden this morning I was making good progress on the travel bench. The top brindle joints on all four legs are cut and two of the four stretcher through mortises are finished. With one good day in the shop I can finish the base. Problem is between work and the Grandpeanut coming to Tucson in a couple of weeks I'm not sure when that one good day will happen.

A photo of the legs in progress:


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I broke down the 12/4 Poplar yesterday into four legs (still two legs to a blank) and two long stretchers. Wrestling around the two hunks of timber and getting them through the bandsaw by myself was interesting. I ain't as strong nor is my back as able as it was when I was a pup.

Here are the parts ready to start prepping to working dimensions.

If work forgets I exist, today is my last day for the week. We have thought about going to Mexico for a four day weekend but It looks to be a little cool for the beach. Still a coin flip which way we go. Beer and tacos or honey do's, I'm not sure which will win, kinda above my pay grade.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Started New Travel Bench

Last year's travel bench replaced my old sharpening bench after the PNW trip. It served well on the trip but it is now in use in the shop and not available for travel.

I made a trip to the woodstore yesterday, they had some 12/4 Poplar in stock at a fair price for the desert so it will be the base wood. I also picked up a small piece of 8/4 Poplar for the short cross stretchers.

I rough cut the 8/4 short stretchers yesterday. The 12/4 stock is marked for rough cutting to size for the legs and long stretchers. The woodstore was short on 8/4 Beech for the slab, it will require a return trip.

A photo of the Poplar, even Poplar is a heavy sucker once it gets 12/4 thick.

Here is last year's bench:


Sunday, February 25, 2018


Just as I feared, figured, best guessed, I knew it would but did it anyway, the Cherry top split. I don't know if you can see but the top left and bottom right mortises have split almost full length of the top.

Problem is I didn't have any Poplar or other split resistant wood of the correct size in the wood pile and I did have this Cherry cut off. This was a trial build so what the hell, might as well use the Cherry.

The good news is the legs are fine and all I have to do is make another top out of a wood that does not split as easily as Cherry. The other good news is I learned a bit about chair making which bottom line this is about. Baby steps dontcha know.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shaping Hard Maple Legs

I'm building a staked low stool with a Cherry seat/top and Hard Maple legs. It is my first go at the form so once finished it may never see the light of day.

The boring and reaming of the seat is pretty straight forward or so I think. Once the legs are set we'll see how straight forward it is. I've finished one leg and I'm using it as a pattern for the others. The third leg is about 80% shaped and I will finish shaping the fourth leg before going back to the lathe to do the tenons on the three without tenons.

BTW, shaping Hard Maple is work. Here are a couple of photos the jig/leg holder and shaping of the third leg in progress.

From the front:

From my viewpoint:

The ECE woodie is perfect for this job, light, not too long, easy on the hands and has good iron.


Friday, February 23, 2018

I Will Not Use FedEx As Long As They Support the NRA

The title says it all. I could not look myself in the mirror in the mornings knowing I was supporting a company that funded a political organization providing tools for mass killers no matter how many good folks are members.

Back to woodworking:

Today I'm making legs for a small vernacular stool and have been reminded how much work there is to shaping Maple. Add in I seldom turn, my best guess it has been at least several years since the last time I did a couple of chisel handles, these leg tenons should be fun.

Here is a photo of the leg shaping jig and the mess left from shaping one leg:

A photo of the shaped leg in the lathe so I can form the tenon:

This is a project that may never see the light of day but whatever it should be fun.



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Home Depot Sucks Pond Water

Not what I wanted to say about Home Depot but.....

As last posted Casa Chaos is without hot water, it still is.

Like a good homeowner and consumer I made the trip to Home Depot with AmEx in hand, talked to the nice guy working the plumbing aisle and after giving the checkout machine a little over $700USD I came home with a big box. On the outside of the big box in big letters was call this number before noon and get the hot water heater installed the same day. Because the box followed me home on Sunday I had to wait to call first thing Monday, which I did before 0800. They gave me, IIRC, a 1400 to 1700 install window. I wouldn't be posting about Home Depot sucks pond water if they made that window.

Slightly after 1700 I call the 800 number about the no show and this is where the sucks pond water starts. In answer to where and when the installer was going to show and why no one had called to inform me was this from what must be the slowest on his feet CS rep in the world, "The installer had to be re-routed". Me, "why has no one called?". CR rep "we were just starting to call". Yep I'm sure that's the case and BTW I won't cum in your mouth either. After a little back and forth the CS rep offered up that "the earliest they could reschedule was Wed. afternoon". I had kept my cool to that point.

While I was on the phone with Lowe's the CS rep called back to say they could fit the install in today between 0800 and 1200.

BTW, all this great service for the privilege of forking over $900USD to these clowns.

I still haven't decided what I will do, stay with HD or start all over with Lowe's. A call to Lowe's this morning will decide.

There I feel better, the meds are starting to kick in and I'm past the going postal stage.....maybe.


Monday, February 19, 2018

I've the day off from my day job and have finished the kitchen cart project. I'm also waiting for a LV package of love to continue the new project. All this comes down to a lot of iron sharpening and some cleaning of the shop. Most of the sharpening time has been spent on my Marple chisels, someday I may get all of 'em sharp.

A little back story, I've a major jones for pre 1933 marple chisels and gouges and especially for the ones with Boxwood Carver handles. I do have one pre 1933 chisel with a London pattern handle and I expect I will add more when found. I just made a photo for the insurance file so I thought I would share. BTW, I've looked at a bunch bunch of frogs to find these.

From left to right are the gouges, then the pre-1933 chisels followed by the lone London pattern (pre 1933) and then the six post 1933 chisels.

I use my Japanese chisels for most chopping operations and the Marples for most other bench work. I know everyone is different, YMMV and all that other rot but I've yet to find a modern chisel with the steel, balance, and feel of the early Marple chisels. The only ones that come close are those made by Ashley Iles and Sorby.

Casa Chaos is without hot water until sometime after 1400 today. yesterday morning I ran out of hot water during my shower, damn I hate it when that happens. After finishing a lukewarm shower I got down on hands and knees to see what was wrong with the water heater. Yeah right, anything other than lighting the pilot light is out of my wheelhouse. I couldn't get the pilot light to light definitely out of my wheelhouse. Now what do I do. After much butt scratching I looked at the data plate to discover the heater was 15 years old. That simplified things, off to Home Depot with AmEx in hand. Seven hundred USD later I returned home with a gas water heater in my truck bed. It is still not installed, should happen this afternoon with an exchange of another nine hundred USD. The joys of homeownership. 


Friday, February 16, 2018

Shop Floor After A Project

Now that the the kitchen cart is finished it is clean up time. I'd already cleaned the floor after preparing the stock, this is just from the joinery. Still it gets pretty deep.

I swept most of it up, cleaned off the bench tops and put away the tools along with enjoying  my evening whisky. I'm ready to start the next project.

BTW, have I ever mentioned that life is good?


She Has Left The Building

Finished and in Place:


I'm glad it is done.


The Fat Lady Enters Stage Left

The cart is close to a done deal. I have to install the drawer pull and maybe add two or so more coats of oil finish. Then after I do a little rubbing on it, that suckers is out of the shop.

The cart's legs are White Oak, aprons, shelves, stretchers, and drawer box are Cherry, the bottom of the drawer is Honey Locust, and the pull is Sepele.

It has been a good build with only mostly minor mistakes and screw ups, most of which only I or another woodworker will see.

Next up are a couple of vernacular chairs and I'll start on a new portable Moravian workbench for this fall's PNW trip.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

More Kitchen Cart

This past weekend was a good shop weekend with few interruptions and little need for running the streets. It is amazing how much can be done with several hours of uninterrupted shop time.

The cart is close to finished. All that is left is finishing and installing the drawer. The drawer box is made and awaiting glue once the bottom is finished. The drawer also needs a front and handle/pull of some kind.

My first thought was a Baltic Birch plywood bottom for the drawer but after thinking about the span I decided to go with a solid wood bottom. I found a Honey Locus board that was almost perfect size in the wood pile. Simple cut it in half, glue the two parts together, run a rabbet around it, maybe relieve the thickness a little and I have a bottom. The only problem with the plan is one end of the Honey Locus board had a curve, little wind but it was a little spaghetti like. I'll pull it out of the clamps in a sec and see if it is useable.

The bottom board in clamps with the drawer box:

The other question is what to use for the drawer front. I've a couple of candidates. One is a matching Cherry board and the other is some of the last of my South American Walnut. I expect I'll go safe and use the Cherry but with oil the South American Walnut turns a rich very dark brown. A really pretty wood with a oil finish.

The cart with the first coat of Danish Oil and the two drawer front candidates:

I just pulled the bottom out of the clamps, it has a slight wind but there should be good thickness left after clean up. I believe it is a go.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Kitchen Cart Out of Clamps

I just removed the clamps from the kitchen cart, like Ralph will note, it didn't talk to me as they came off. With the exception of one joint, one of the lower (shelf) stretchers, every joint is tight. The lower stretcher joint isn't bad, just not as tight as the others. Stuff happens, I may or may not try to hide it.

One more photo of the unfinished cart:

I had planned on taking some photos of the joints before glue up but no joy. MsBubba was helping and she has a short attention span with all things shop and once the glue up started there was no time for photos.

Ralph and I think Andy asked for some construction detail.

In the above photo you can see some of the joints, click 'em to big 'em. The three aprons have double tenons with a shoulder and a web between the tenons. The front top stretcher is dovetailed and the bottom one has double stub tenons. The bottom stretchers have a single tenon and are grooved to hold the bottom shelf slats. The slats have a tongue to fit the groove and are not glued in.

The mortises were chopped with the trusty 1/2" pig sticker. The tenons were split out and cleaned up with the router plane. Stock prep was by hand with only the reference/show faces finished. In other words pretty conventional construction and also quick and dirty.

I've drawer stock rough sized and a big hunk of Hard Maple for the top still in the truck bed. Once MsBubba is awake I'll prep and make the butcher board top out of the Maple. If I can keep the day off running of the streets under control this sucker should be finished before the weekend is over.


Friday, February 09, 2018

Lumpy and The Kitchen Cart Glue Up

If your shop doesn't have a "lumpy" get one.

MsBubba helped with the kitchen cart glue up, with out MsBubba and lumpy I would have been in deep do-do.

I had a couple of joints that froze tight and I couldn't get enough clamp pressure on them to pull 'em tight. Lumpy to the rescue, a couple of whacks did the job. This was the first glue up MsBubba has helped with. The look on her face when I first whacked the cart with lumpy was priceless. You could see she thought I'd lost my mind and it was time to call the funny farm.

Anyway here the cart is in clamps. I picked up 17.5 board feet of Hard Maple to make the top tomorrow. a quick drawer, install the wheels and that sucker is done....The fat Lady is warming up back stage.