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 '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.