Tuesday, December 29, 2015

More on CBN Wheel

More on the CBN wheel in answer to a couple of questions about yesterday's post.

Here is a overview of the grinding station I have set up in the "tool room" aka Fibber McGee's closet:

The Tormek with a 600 grit CBN wheel is on the right and a low speed grinder (I think from Woodcraft) with a "pink" wheel and a 180 grit CBN wheel on the left. The rest for the pink wheel is from Veritas and the CBN wheel has a Tormek GBM-100 tool rest.

Because you can not dress the CBN wheel to make it co-planer you have to adjust the GBM-100. There is the rub, as Derek Cohen put it getting there "is not for the faint hearted". I got there but....it took a lot of back and forth adjusting the Tormek tool rest then make a test grind, re-adjust the tool rest, make a test grind.....I ending up digging out a paint can opener to make the test grinds. The other problem is the CBN wheel removes metal so fast even when you are co-planer the bevel can end up with scallops if you let the speed of cross movement or pressure vary as you grind. Again all those can be overcome with practice but a CBN wheel on a low or high speed grinder is not a turn-key answer. Depending on how much grinding you do its advantages may be enough to make it worth while but....it ain't plug and go.  

Here is a close up of the grinder with pink and CBN wheels:

The low speed grinder with the Tormek tool rest was good enough when I heard there was a 50mmX250mm CBN wheel made for the Tormek T-7 it was a no brainer, I couldn't get my AmEx out fast enough. While not cheap, I expect I would have toted the note at twice the price.

On the T-7 all the fiddling is taken care of, it is, from what I can tell, plug and play. On the T-7 the rest is built in co-planer, the speed is slow enough, the grit is fine enough and the wheel is wide enough to control the aggressiveness of the CBN wheel. The ground bevel is flat, smooth, and just for Ralph, ninety degrees to the side. Honing the ground bevel was very easy, I did it freehand on oil stones and it was fast, might have been faster on the Shaptons. 

If you already have a Tormek T-7 and the slowness of the grind bothers you you owe it to yourself to make the change, if you don't have one it might make it worth while to buy one.  I have to admit the T-7 may have been headed for Craig's List if not for the CBN wheel even with all the advantages of the T-7 if it is only used for grinding, the slowness of grind using the water cooled 220 grit Tormek stone was hard to overcome. The CBN wheel is a game changer.

Monday, December 28, 2015

CBN on The Tormek

The UPS girl dropped off a 600 grit, 250mm (10")X50mm (2') CBN wheel for the Tormek this AM. I'll have to live with it for awhile but first impression is...."sweet".  There was no problem fitting the wheel, off with the old on with the new. Checked for square with the jig support and if not square it's close enough. Did a "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" on the chisel rack and the 1" Stanly 750 won the honors.

As expected the CBN wheel cuts the bevel very quickly and did not leave an exceptionally deep scratch pattern. The bevel cleaned up nicely with the soft ARK. I followed the soft Ark with the translucent Ark and a few pulls on a strop with "green stuff".  You can't see it or feel it but I got very nice edge very quickly.  Maybe not better but it was much quicker to establish a new bevel and get to a working sharp iron vs. either the Tormek with the wet 220 wheel or the slow speed 8" grinder with the 180 grit CBN wheel.

As you should be able to see, the polished bevel is nice and even across the hollow grind.

That was the good part of the morning. 

The other:

I spent most of yesterday prepping and dimensioning some White Oak for a step stool build. In fact I had marked, sawed, and cleaned the waste from the tail board when I noticed a very small crack through one of the tails. Need I go farther? Of course not, when I went to the shop this morning to scribe the pins the crack had enlarged and now ran almost the full length down the middle of the tail board. What are the odds that there isn't any more of that White Oak board?

Here is the tail board just after cleaning up the sockets and quitting work for the night:

Oh well....Stuff happens.

BTW, it had been awhile since I had worked White Oak. White Oak really saws beautiful, it's great to work with a chisel, but damn it can be hard to face plane if there is any reversing grain. I'll bet the plane iron spent more time on the sharpening bench than than it did on the Oak yesterday.

A last photo, the CBN wheel on the Tormek:

Click 'em to make 'em big.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Back From Rocky Point Mexico

We traveled back to Tucson on Christmas day. It was a good trip, WX was close to perfect, the critters swam till they couldn't swim no more, I drank beer, ate tamales and tacos till I couldn't eat no more, MsBubba....maybe she could have sit on the beach a little more but it was time to get back to the shop.

MsBubba, the critters and most important a tennis ball:

We celebrated the most important day of the year, MsBubba's birthday, while there:

I watched a couple of Videos while enjoying a few single malts after a hard day on the beach. A couple of takeaways; Charlesworth's are worth the time spent watching, Cosman is as well in spite of his selling, and Schwarz made a couple of mistakes in his "Super-Tune a Handplane but was also worth watching.

A couple more photos because I can:

Last one:

As always....click 'em to big 'em.

It's good to get back to the shop. I spent the morning fettling a old Stanley #5, I believe a type 12. It had been on the rack for a few years and still had a OEM iron and chip breaker which I changed to a Vertias O-1 iron with a Hock chipbreaker. I flattened the sole and had to enlarge the mouth for the Vertias O-1 iron. I ended up A&B'ing the iron, sharpened the first time with the LN honing guide on waterstones and didn't like the feel. Sharpened a second time with the old favorite, freehand on a soft Ark and a Hard Black Ark followed by a Horse's Butt strop with green stuff. Much better, the plane could be a keeper.

One last item, I have a 10" CBN wheel for the Tormek in the mail. Report when it arrives. BTW, I ground the skin off my right thumb this morning getting enough pressure on the iron while using the Tormek, happens more often than I like to admit. I expect the CBN wheel will be faster and not need the pressure, it may save some thumb skin. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Off to Mexico for a Few Days

The last couple of weeks haven't seen any production from the shop. I'm in between projects and I have been doing an early AM Initial Line. When you have a 0100 show not much gets done that requires thinking. I finished the guys up Friday morning, rested most of what was left of Friday and today has been spent getting ready to go to Mexico for a week.

What I have done in the shop for the last couple of weeks is sharpen a lot of iron and play with my planes.

I've several newer Lie Nielsen planes acquired after Lie Nielsen stopped making O-1 cutters. I've tried very hard to fall in love with A-2 but it's just not working. There is another problem with Lie Nielsen planes, neither Hock or Vertias O-1 cutters will bed on Lie Nielsen frogs.

Lie Nielsen irons are 5/32" thick, Hock and Vertias are 1/8", you wouldn't think 1/32" would make that much difference but it does. The depth adjustment yoke goes too far into the cap iron and will not let the cutter seat on the frog, if you grind the cap iron so the yoke seats then the iron/cap iron are too thin for the leaver cap to tighten. Arghhh....

I've looked at the Clifton irons and while they are thiner than Lie Nielsen they are just thick enough to work. Once back from Mexico I'll order a couple to replace the A-2 cutters.

BTW, I received a couple of Japanese Blue Paper Stanley replacement irons last week. They are really nice, they come with very flat backs and will take an incredible  edge. It's a shame they will not bed on Lie Nielsen frogs either. They are so nice in the older, lighter Stanley planes the Lie Nielsens may get set aside if the Clifton cutters do not work out.

I'm looking forward to a few days of R&R with beer and tacos for breakfast and watching the critters swim their hearts out. See you guys on down the road,


Friday, December 11, 2015

New Camera

My camera work has been on hold for a few years, mostly because of changing location, time, and limitations of the current camera. Before going digital I carried a Leica everywhere and used it to document my life.

I finally, I think, have found a Leica replacement in a FujiFlim X-Pro 1. It has been out for a few years, in fact one of the hold ups has been waiting for the replacement X-Pro 2 that has been rumored but never released. I figure its release date is now Jan 2016.

Anyway the new camera along with learning to use "Lightroom" should keep me entertained between projects and when not in the shop sharpening iron.

Shield any small children's eyes and make sure the critters can't see the monitor, here is the first image made with the new Fuji. Ugly Dude in front of a wall of tools:

Sweet Maggie Dog looking out for folks and critters walking in her gully:

Sam the Wonder Dog barking at critters in the gully:

And last, the gully the critters protect. Looking out to the Northwest and the Tucson Mt.:

As always....Click 'em to big 'em except for maybe the first one :-),


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Cross Post of "Beat a Dead Horse"

While the engineers and metallurgist hash out sharpening PM-V11 steel on a SMC thread, I've an observation on sharpening some other tool steels. I've always liked HC steels for working, mostly because they are easy to sharpen and will give a keen working edge that holds up reasonably well. Life is a trade off in most things, and working edges are one of those thing where if you improve one area some other area ends up in that well known basket. Because HC steel fits my "likes" and work flow I would guess 95% of my tools have HC steel cutters. There are a few exceptions and one is a cheap crank-neck WoodRiver chisel I picked up because I needed one to remove some glue and it was available. Turned out to be one of the most used chisels in the shop.

Anyway Bubba cut to the chase....

I've never paid much attention to sharpening the crank-neck because of its use, when it loaded up with "gunk" or wouldn't remove glue I'd hit it with a couple of the oil stones and go back to work.

When I'm, for whatever reason, trying to avoid being productive I sharpen iron. BTW, my hands have been "black" for the last couple of weeks .

Finally to the chase: I decided to give the crank-neck some love....Total rejection, it refused my advances. Started out on oil stones with a "green stuff" infused Horse's Butt strop working freehand. Sharp feeling and looking but I decided to break routine and test on some end grain, OK but a lot of effort to pare. A&B'ed with one of my HC chisels, no contest the crank-neck was dull. Humm, what to do?

Pulled out the Shapton Pro's and went through the full progression finishing up on a Gokumyo 20000. Same story....No joy it didn't improve. What the hey, maybe I've lost the freehand touch....where is the new Lie Nielsen honing jig, has to be somewhere. Flattened all the Shapton and the Gokumyo and went at it again using the jig, no difference. The blankety blank will not sharpen.

Bottom line, I've not a clue what steel is used in the chisel, but while it will get sharp enough to remove soft glue and other rough work around the shop it will not get to "working" sharp like a HC chisel such as a Japanese White Steel or a Western O-1.

I guess I'm in the market for a good crank-neck.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Black Friday

I wasn't going to run the streets on Black Friday but the call of Home Depot made me unlash from the mast and join the mad rush. Now what really happened: One of our pantries has double sliding doors that I've been fighting with from the get go of buying this house. Fix, rehang, three or four months later repeat. I'd finally reached my limit and in the middle of fixing I tore that sucker out.

So off to Home Depot for a new track and rollers. The woodstore is just a couple of blocks north of Home Depot and in the morning their coffee is fresh, why not. Walked in and headed to the coffee machine with Tom on my heels, that man knows my buttons. As I pored my coffee he mentioned that Jet clamps were half off and there were just a few left. Two cups of coffee and a little over $200 USD later I headed back to install the new track and rollers.

Because we had T-Day at friends yesterday MsBubba wanted a Turkey of her own. so I'm hanging door tracks, cooking a post Thanksgiving Thanksgiving meal (MsBubba is at work), playing kick the ball with Sweet Maggie Dog and a occasional game of Tug with Sam the Wonder Dog and doing tool maintenance. BTW, the day after Thanksgiving Thanksgiving meal was great.

I'm starting to get comfortable with the Takashima stone for my finishing stone. For now my sequence depending on the condition of the iron is: Set the bevel with either a 600 or a 1200 Atoma. Remove most of the diamond plate scratches and raise a small wire edge with a Washia then move on to the Jnats. Set up the Takashima finish stone with the Brick aka a Ikarashi. The slurry makes a big difference, it needs to be Goldilocks, not too much but also not too little.

I've had a set of Kikahiromaru #1 White Paper chisels for several months. When they first arrived I set up a couple or three as needed to work and the rest have been sitting until I could find some time to work on 'em. Time I found the last couple of days and I've been beavering away on the rest of the chisels.

Here is one of the Kikahiromaru's I just finished on the Jnats:

Click it to big it.

The bevel has a very fine matt finish with no heavy scratches. The edge when looked at with a 10X lope is pristine. It hasn't touched wood but from looking and feeling the edge I expect it is a good working sharp chisel and the edge will stay working sharp for a long time.

I've started down the Jnat slippery slope and ordered a couple more Jnats.  One I hope to use as a replacement for the Washita so I can go all water vs. the current start on oil and end with water. I like using oil better than water but I like using water better than half and half. I know me and brain farts. The other stone I'm hoping will fit in the sequence just after the Takashima, a little finer but not too much.

Damn it's nice to have a couple days off in a row, see you guys on down the road.


Thursday, November 26, 2015


This has been a good day, MsBubba and I were both off and we were invited to a friend's house for T-Day dinner. For the first time in awhile we had time off together and no obligations other than to show up for food.

Amazing how much can be done when two are working together. We didn't attack any big projects but instead finished up the loose ends of many other projects. As an example, I had two corners and about two feet of base board and quarter round that has needed installing for several months. Done. Photo and art work needing re-hanging from the sitting room re-do of several months ago, also done. And of course any time MsBubba has some muscle available all the furniture must be moved from one room to another.

I even found a little time for tool maintenance and a hot tub soak while watching a Desert sunset.

Hope you'll had a good T-Day as well.


PS: I'm slowly working my way through the prepping of the last set of Kikuhiromaru #1 White Paper chisels. I set the hoops and sharpened a couple when they were first received but most have just set in the rack. I had other chisels to use and little time or energy to set the Kikuhiromaru's up. Today I made it through most of the set, just a couple more to go and the whole set will be usable. BTW, these are like a lot of high end Japanese tools, you receive a Japanese chisel "kit" and it is up to you to set 'em up to suit your needs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Japanese Chisels

There is a good thread over on SMC about the relative hardness and why Japanese steel can be sharper and hold an edge better vs. Western steel.

It's worth a look, so far it hasn't turned into a food fight.



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Another Sharpening Post

I'm in between projects, or maybe a better way to put it, I'm working up the energy to wrestle MsBubba's couch table's Sapele slab into submission. While waiting for inspiration, as usual, I've sharpened a bunch of iron. Western chisels and plane irons, Japanese chisels and plane irons, it has made no never mind, they have all felt the bite of my stones.

Most of the Western iron has been hollow ground on the CBN wheel. then the grind marks taken out on 600 and 1200 Atoma plates followed by setting up the Hard Black Ark with a Washita and polishing on a Horse's Butt strop with "green stuff". Other than the grinding it is very fast and gives a sharp, strong edge. If the iron is in good shape with a bevel that is not too steep, I will skip the CBN wheel and the 600 Atoma.

The grinding station with the CBN wheel:

There is a learning curve with the CBN wheel if you want a straight, square edge. The wheel is very aggressive and it is easy to make uneven and un-square grinds when using it, even when using the Tormek jig.

For the Japanese iron, both setting the bevel and honing/polishing is freehand. Depending on the condition of the iron I will set a flat bevel starting with either the 400 or 600 Atoma and on through the 1200. The honing setup stone is still the Washita followed by the medium Jnat and polished on the hard Jnat. The hard Jnat does a good job of polishing with no need to strop. To remove any wire edge that is left I will give it either a pull on an oiled strop or a pull through Oak end grain.

The bench is set up with diamond plates on the left, Atoma 120, 400, 600, and 1200. Next to the plate holder is the oil stone holder. For oil stones I have a soft Ark, a Washita, a Hard Black Ark, and a Translucent Ark available. The strop area is in the middle with a Oak block to the right. On the right end is the water stone pond with the Jnats. There are more stones stored in the cabinet above the bench, every thing from a 20000 Gukumyo to some 40 year old Kings with old diamond plates and more Shaptons of all grits thrown in.

Here is a #2 White Paper Steel push chisel sharpened on the Jnats. One of the advantages of using Jnats other than a very sharp edge is an edge that lasts longer because of smaller groves left from the stone's grit. An aesthetic advantage with natural stones the Ha (steel) and the Ji (soft iron) will be differentiated.

You may be able to see the line between the Ha and the Ji in this photo, as always click 'em to big 'em.



Thursday, November 19, 2015


Never one to let work go to waste, I posted a thread over on SMC about my woodies, might as well put some of it on the blog.

I have three wood stock smoothers that I use and a number of shop made smoothers as well. I'll just post a photo of one of the shop made planes as they all look the same, the only difference between them is in length.

From top to bottom. PhillyPlane Small Coffin Smoother, ECE Horned Smoother, ECE Large Coffin Smoother with a double iron, and on the bottom a shop made double iron smoother:

That's a 140mm ruler to give some reference to size.

There are a couple of Japanese Smoothers in the till as well. They are still a work in progress. I can see great potential but I'm still on the lower part of the learning curve.

I also have an ECE Try Plane and a PhillyPlane Jack. While I usually use the machines to true and size lumber, when I do it by hand those two come out to play. There is a huge difference between flatting a board with a #5 and a #8 vs. starting with a ECE horned scrub, then on to the Philly Jack, and finally the ECE Try. The difference is between spending the next day in bed moaning about how sore you are or being ready for another go.

Remember to click 'em.

I have a couple of Try planes on order, a single iron from PhillyPlane and a double iron from Steve Voigt. Once they arrive I will retire the ECE Try.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Holder and Top for New Jnat Stone

I've two new Jnat stones, one is a medium hard that seems to be about equal to a synthetic water stone's 3000 grit. The newest is a Takashima Lv3.5 finishing stone. I've posted photos of the Ikarashi stone a couple of days ago, we can't let it get all the glory. Now can we?

I made a holder and lid for the Takashima similar to the one for the Ikarashi. The Takashima is long, so long I had to turn the stone pond 90 degrees for it to fit.

The Takashima base and lid.:

Stone with top removed:

Both the Ikarashi and Takashima on the stone pond:

Gotta click to big 'em.

As of now I'm working a four stone sequence when finishing on the Jnats. I set the bevel on an Atoma 1200 then refine the bevel and remove the diamond stone's scratch pattern with either a Soft Ark or a Washita. Set up the iron for finishing with the Ikarashi and final finish on the Takashima with a pull through some Oak end grain or a pull on a oiled strop to remove any wire edge that remains. Seems to give a good edge but with a little more work than using oil stones. BTW, I'm working both ways for now to see which is better for my work flow and needs.

The oil stone sequence is a little quicker because there is no need to raise a slurry. The sequence is very similar. Start on the Atoma 1200, refine on either the Soft Ark or Washita, and finish on a Hard Black Ark with final polish on a Horse's Butt strop with green stuff.

Either set of stones works well and fast with Western O-1, Japanese White Paper #1 or #2. If you hollow grind PM-V11 either will also work well. Luckily I have no working A-2 iron in my shop (there are a few LN A-2 irons stored in the junk iron cabinet) so I do not know if either set of stones would work with A-2. I expect not.

Who knows where it will end because the synthetic Gukumyo could still be in the mix. For a synthetic water stone it is low maintenance and gives a very sharp, strong, edge. Damn I'm fickle.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Small Candle Box

What do you do in the shop when not up to a major project? I tend to do tool maintenance if time and energy are in short supply. With a little more time and some energy I build small candle boxes for gifts and "Thank You's". Especially if I haven't cut any dovetails in a while.

It is a good use of scraps and time, and as far as I can tell most folks like 'em. Sometimes the wood combinations get a little weird, usually those I give to MsBubba to store stuff out in her Studio.

Today, was the last of three days off, Hi Ho it's off to work I go tomorrow,Yippie. Truth is I enjoy work, I just wish sometimes there was just a little less enjoyment. Anyway, Bubba cut to the chase, there was not enough time to start in on the Sofa Table joinery and just about every tool in the shop had been sharpened over the last couple of days so fall back position is to make a box.

Digging through the scraps I found some QS Sycamore I had used to make a back panel for a failed project that were the perfect size for a small box. Along with the Sycamore I found a piece of Red Oak big enough for the lid and a small Cherry cut off for the base. A few hours later, after Indian for lunch, a short visit to the wood store for coffee, some doggie butt scratching and belly rubbing I had a box. Have I said it's good to have a few days off in a row?

The front of the box:

These boxes are a good time to try different tools, I used a different cutting gauge to mark the base line this time....It didn't work as well as I would like on the soft Sycamore and left some honking base lines. Oh well, I guess it kinda shows the dovetails were hand cut.

Back side:

Lid open:

Remember...Click 'em to big 'em.

It's been a good three days, Did a bit of shop maintenance, sharpened a lot of iron, made a few things, and caught up on sleep and rest. Physically I feel better than I have in months. It may be time to pull the plug and go part time so I can control my work schedule.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I'm in the second day of three days off in a row. When I first started the current job that was considered a short weekend. Over the last couple of years, as I've posted before, that has slowly changed to three days being a long weekend. Hell two in a row is now a long weekend.

I don't know if my raising hell about lack of time off has helped or they just wanted to shut the old fart up but whatever it has been great. What is even better, while MsBubba is a sweetheart and every thing is better when she is around, she is also a slave driver or at least she has an agenda that seldom matches mine for my days off, she is off playing Granny for the next week or so.

If this is a preview of retirement, I may have to think it through. The good has been I have just left the shop to eat, sleep, play with the critters, and for short periods of geeking. That is also the bad with a few additions. I actually thought for a couple of seconds before rejecting it about just leaving my "fly" unzipped because "why waste the time unzipping and zipping up".

Can you tell that even though I've brushed my teeth and bathed each day personal hygiene hasn't been high on the list of thing to do.  BTW, I've been practicing shaking my fist and yelling "Hey, you kids git off my rocks" while standing in front of the mirror...  I'm getting pretty good at it.

On to other thoughts:

I received a new fairly soft Jnat from JNS the other day. It is a medium grit stone from Niigata, Sanjo. Last night I got around to flattening the bottom so it will set without rocking and this AM I made a quick and dirty Cherry holder and lid for it. BTW, it is a brick.

The holder with lid:

It is a pretty stone, light blue/green in color. I will try it on a couple of chisels before the day is over:

It is very easy to bring up a nice thick slurry with the Nagura. 

The stone is very fast cutting, I prepped a 24mm Kikuhiromaru #1 White Steel chisel on a Atoma 1200 and in just a few strokes on the Ikarash the chisel was polished and there is good definition between the steel and the soft iron. To the eye the edge looks polished, under a 10X lope all the 1200 scratches are gone and there is a nice matt finish to the polished edge. The stone is very thirsty, as you can see the slurry will dry if you do not keep adding water. 

I usually do not test irons, I just look, feel and if it looks right and feels right I put it away. The chisel looks and feels like it is ready to use. 

I couldn't resist, I had to try this one out :-). A nice clean shavings of Pine end grain:

As always...click 'em to big 'em.

This will be a set up stone, I've a harder finish stone on the way, it should be here next week. Now the question is.....Why did it take so long to finally breakdown and buy a couple of Jnats? I've known for a long time that natural stones will give a better edge than synthetic stones. And I've known that Jnats are the best of the available natural stones. Some of it may be because as slow and coarse as Arkansas stones are you will get as good an edge when using them along with a strop as you would with almost any synthetic stone. And of course lack of knowledge because there are so many different stones, each unique and finally the price of some of 'em will make you gulp and want to sit down.

Bottom line I'm afraid I may slide down a very slippery slope.


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Table Slab

I've been beavering away on the sofa table slab when I can find a little spare time. With the crazy work schedule time is coming in short snatches which may be a good thing. It's a big hunk of wood and not the easiest to work, pretty when finished but the grain reverses every 20 to 30mm across the width. I don't worry about it with the Jack, as it gets closer to flat I've moved the cap iron on the Try tighter and I expect to finish with a Scraper plane and card scrapers.

I love me some woodies for this type of work, the LN #8 just kicks my ass. As an aside, my Try is a very old ECE and it still works but it hasn't had the best of care having been stored for several years. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it, for ordering a new Philly Try Plane this morning. BTW that is a Philly Jack sitting on the bench next to the slab.

As always, click it to big it.


Monday, November 02, 2015

Shop Tour

The boy child wanted some photos of the shop, never one to let work go to waste I figured it would be a good time to post a few to the blog.

The first is looking into the shop from outside the open door:

A slight left turn for the West wall:

Into the shop to the sharpening station on the East wall:

From the sharpening station turning to the left and along the north wall behind the main work bench:

A slight turn to the left and the main bench with the off bench along the West wall:

Moving to the right end of the main bench, the North wall and the tool room:

The tool room AKA Fibber McGee's closet. Along with everything I do not know what to do with are my grinders, saw sharpening station, and mini-lathe: 

The off bench. I keep the shooting board and the Moxon vise along with the glue pot on the off bench:

The main bench from the off bench with the east wall in the background:

Last one. The main bench looking out the shop with the wood pile on the East wall. The wood on the bench is the Sapele slab for MsBubba's sofa table:

Click 'em to big 'em.

As I have posted before, Ten lbs of stuff in a five lb bag. A couple of things I would like to do: Change the overhead door to a pair of carriage doors and extend the front of the shop eight feet. Either or both would make a huge difference is useable space.


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Sofa Table

With the bath wall cabinet hung it is on to the next build. MsBubba wants a sofa table to hold her morning tea. There are a few constraints such as it shouldn't be more than about 200mm (8" for Bob) wide and needs to be somewhere longer than 2300mm (7.5') and 750mm (just under 30") tall.

The 200mm makes it tough to fit four legs and a apron and attaching the slab with turn buttons could be interesting as well. I thought about using "waterfall" legs for about 2 seconds and quickly decided there ain't no way no how. After some more butt scratching I decided to scale up one of my foot stools. It meets all the requirements: Strong, stable, an easy build, and not butt ugly.

Here is a bad sketch, the journal is on the slab I will use for the top. It's a nice hunk of Sapele, a beautiful wood when finished but a bear to plane. I will leave the slab as thick as I can, it should end up over 40mm thick.  Wood for the legs it is yet to be determined, I've some very pretty Honey Locus or I could use some of the leftover Beech from the last bench build.

Other than it being big and heavy to work it will be an easy build. Four, maybe five, dovetails on each end, two through mortises and a tenon on each end of the stretcher. A little shaping on the legs and it's done.  

We went to a friends house last night and there was a "white elephant" drawing. I ended up with a couple of new shop Mascots. 

It doesn't get much tackier.

As always, click 'em to big 'em.


Thursday, October 29, 2015


I cross posted this on SMC but figure what the hey, I'm lazy and might as well copy to the Blog.

I finished the bath Wall Cabinet and it is hung. 

Work is insane, when between projects and tired from work like now my shop offers a sanctuary but little is done. Mostly I will spend my time sitting at the work bench holding tools, rearranging tools, and tool maintenance. 

BTW, I've round heels when it comes to sharpening systems and am rarely a purest to any one way but lean towards use of natural stones. 

Last night was one of those times but I had a little extra energy and as I've been thinking of adding Jnat stones to the mix I thought I would do an A/B test of diamond/oil stone/strop vs. Shapton ceramic stones. To make it interesting I used my normal freehand method on the oil stones and the new LN jig on the Shapton's. The irons were two 2" LV PM-v11, mounted in a LN #4 and a LV #4. While the test was purely subjective, I can say there was little to no difference in the shavings or the surface left. Effort to plane, again little difference but if I had to pick one I would pick the oil stone iron. That of course could just be my natural bias to oil stones. The "bing" of the bevel, the Shapton's win hands down, the Shapton's sure can polish iron. After many passes on some Cherry with each I looked at the edges through a 20X loop and the oil stone edge was still pristine, the Shapton, good but not perfect.

As I said: purely subjective, could the results be repeated by someone else....maybe, maybe not. Bottom line, I found it instructive and confirming my bias toward natural stones. AS always with anything wood....YMMV.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bath Wall Cabinet

Well...It's on the wall.

I still need to add a pull but other than that it is on the wall and functional. I don't like the door but the boss does so I guess I will live with it for awhile.

We spent last weekend in Mexico, I did my usual...beer and tamales for breakfast, hours throwing the ball into the Sea for the critters to fetch, beer and tacos for lunch, nap, more throwing the ball, and a good dinner someplace where I didn't need to cook or change from flip-flops, shorts, and t-shirt. Repeat the next day.

Waiting for me when we made it back to Casa Chaos was a Lilly White Washita off of eBay. The box and the stone looked near new. A couple or three swipes with the flattening plate and it was ready to go. Tried it on a old Pexto 3/4" chisel and for an oil stone it cut very fast, left a nice matt scratch pattern and after a couple seconds on the strop I had a very sharp iron.

As always: Click 'em to big 'em.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Damn Bubba, You Can Be Dumb As A Brick

Yesterday MsBubba informed me the pool pump had stopped working. I walked out to turn the pump on to check it out and noted she had pulled the inlet cover off and left it laying next to the inlet. When I turned the pump on, sure nuff, it didn't pump. The pump has a history of filling with trash, to fix it you have to open the pump up, clean out the trash, and put it all back together. Not a hard job, just one on your knees with Sweet Maggie Dog throwing tennis ball at you and barking in your ear when you delay picking the ball up and throwing it into the pool.

Today when I made it home from work I opened up the pump and found no trash but the gaskets were bad so off to the pool store for new gaskets. Replaced the gaskets, put the pump back together, while throwing tennis balls into the pool every two or three minutes.

Turned the pump on and no joy, that sucker still wasn't pumping. Hummmm, tried to remove the cover from the basket and it was locked in place by pump suction.  Damn, damn, damn, there must be an obstruction in the line from the pool to the pump.

Went over to the inlet, stuck my arm down in the water to feel if there was any suction and found a tennis ball pulled tight to the inlet.

Sometimes I'm so dumb the world would be a better place if someone just shot me.

On to a slightly better subject:

The door for the bath wall cabinet is finished as is the cabinet. it just needs hinges and a back....I'm off tomorrow and if I can stay out of MsBubba's line of vision I may get that POS out of my shop. Calling it a POS is a little harsh, the cabinet is nice but the door is as ugly as granny panties. I thought the Spalted Sycamore panel with the almost black SA Walnut rails and stiles would look nice. See above, I rest my case. While the Sycamore and SA Walnut do not work together, I expect I will fit the door so as the get the cabinet hung and then build another door later.

On that note, a little shop time tonight and I hope more tomorrow.


Thursday, October 08, 2015


It has been a strange year. About eight years ago I retired from flying and moved on to instructing other pilots. The job was a great retirement job, three to four days a week and less than 6 hours a day. I got to drink coffee, tell "there I waz" stories and was paid to do what I would have done for free at the local airport. Life was good.

A couple or three years ago the job started to change, slowly, like the frog in the skillet I kept keeping on, doing the best I could for the clients and also the other instructors. Instead of a nice semi-retirement job it slowly became a ball buster. Over the last several months I have done several nine to twelve days in a row lines, with no end in sight.  It has come to a head, for the first time in my working life my inter two year old has come to the forefront. I've started to say NO, not just NO but hell NO, I will not be there.

I'm not sure how it will end, I expect I will go part time so I can control my schedule. We will see but bottom line what is happening now is not sustainable.

The above is the main reason shop output has been low. When I work usually all I have energy for is a little sharpening. I posted the other day about the 20000 Gukumyo stone, I still feel the same way....It is the best finish stone I've found. It produces little mess, stays flat, cuts fast, and gives a beautiful polish.

I'm slowly completing the bath wall cabinet....The door is butt ugly, nothing wrong with the jointery but wood selection doesn't work. I expect when finished I'll hang it but replace the door when I find a day or two to build another.

I'm slowly cutting down the number of tools in my shop. Some are being sold, a few given away, but bottom line I plan to cut to two sets of tools, one for the main shop and another to travel. If you are looking for a tool let me know I might have a spare.

Because of saying "NO" I have a long weekend coming up. MsBubba, Sam the Wonder Dog, Sweet Maggie Dog and I are going to Rocky Point, MX for the weekend. A little Sun, toes in the sea, lots of beer, and more than a few fish tacos should be consumed.

See you folks on down the road.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another Sharpening Post

Rob over at Heartwood Blog posted about his new sharpening sequence. It is a near duplicate of the sequence that I have been working with for long enough to know I may have finished my forty years in the desert.

After flirting with diamonds, oil stones, and different water stones I have returned to diamonds. Of all the methods of sharpening, I much prefer the feel of oil stones and like the edge from a natural stone vs. the edge from a man made stone but as I posted in a comment to Rob's post, oil stones are not efficient with all the irons in my shop. Diamond stones are not the best at any one of the things a stone needs to do except maybe stone maintenance but they are a damn good midder on all the rest.

If the only irons in my shop were high carbon O-1 an oil stone system would be the cat's pajamas. For O-1 there is nothing better than a couple or three Arkansas oil stones followed by a strop. Good oil stones have a great feel with a beautiful scratch pattern, little mess and little fuss. A near perfect system for softer high carbon steel. That ain't my shop, I have a bunch a bunch of O-1 iron but also PM-V11, LN's A-2 (grumble, grumble), Japanese white paper #1 and #2, and a assortment of mystery steel. Oil stones work well on many of the irons but not all and it is a PITA to change the stones to sharpen each iron.

Cut to the chase: The current system for tool maintenance uses four "stones", more than I would like but the results are worth the extra steps. Two diamond stones (600 grit and 1200 grit, there is a 250 grit in the holder for use when needed), a extra fine Spyderco Ceramic, and a 20000 Gukomyo for final polish. The Spyderco is a perfect setup stone for the Gukomyo. The Gukomyo is fast, very hard, stays flat and needs less maintenance than any other water polishing stone I've tried

I expect in the near future I will make a four plate holder for 3 diamond stones and the Spyderco, leaving the Gukomyo in the stone pond. If I do I will move the stone pond closer to the plate holder and move the strop to the right end of the bench. BTW, with the Gukomyo, the strop gets very little use. Can you tell I'm falling in love with my Gukomyo stone.

Here is a photo of the current set up:

Click it to big it.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mutton to Lamb

I've a few days off in a row and in my never ending quest to make 10 lbs look like 5, I made some changes to the shop. The first was to move the "off" bench about 150mm to the left and push it against the wall or at least as close as I could get it.

Next I wanted to make the bench useable so a number of things had to find a new home. I'm also thinking about making a portable bench and a traveling tool chest. MsBubba gave marching orders to that effect over morning coffee. I'll use the small QR vice off of the secondary bench for the portable bench.

As I was doing bench maintenance anyway I figured now was as good a time as any to pull the QR vise off and re-install the leg vise. While I was at it I tested the wagon vise and it was frozen, strange how if you do not use something it quits working. After several times of taking the sliding block off and re-installing it with each time the wagon vise working worse, I made a new sliding block. I've not a clue what the difference is, both blocks look the same, but the new sliding block works and the old one doesn't.

Anyway here are a few photos of the "new" old leg vise and the old bench. I left all the shaving and cutoffs on the floor so you would think I've been beavering away in the shop:

The view from the primary bench:

One more from the back side of the primary bench:

Click 'em to big 'em.

BTW, on the end of the primary bench are the parts for the bath cabinet. The rails and stiles for the door are under the Sycamore waiting to be glued up for the door panel and the finished case is hanging off the end of the bench. One other thing I haven't a clue about, for some reason I keep finding other things to work on instead of just glueing the damn thing up and going on down the road.