Saturday, December 23, 2017

On The Road

MsBubba and I are in Houston playing Grandma and Grandpa for the Solstice. It’s 20 hours in the motor home which BTW is the only way to do it. Set the autopilot to 65 mph and relax, 20 hours later hugs and hello.

 Bob, blogger is losing my replies, I wrote two brilliant replies to your comment about the Woodies and it lost both. Go figure, anyway replies will have to wait until we are back in AZ.

Hope all have a safe and happy Solstice Celebration.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Some of The Woodie Daily Users

I left the wood stock Jack and Scrub planes out of this grouping, no reason other than because. I expect in a later post they along with the wood stock Jointer and Fore plane will share the stage.

The coffin smoother on the left is from Steve Voigt. It is a wonderful plane and the most used of this group. Next to it is an older ECE coffin with a double iron, also a very good smoother. Next is a ECE single iron "Gent's" plane which is a great plane if the wood is well behaved. And the last is a newer ECE listed as a Jack plane, as best I can tell the only difference between it and their smoother is the grind of the iron. It works well and is cheap, a real bargain if you are looking for a smoother/jack plane.

The woodies smoothers get about the same utilization as the metal smoothers. There really is no rhyme or reason one is picked up over the other. They all do the job and are are a pleasure to use, pick one.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

More Smoothers

Today's smoothers are the #4 1/2's. Same story, the LN gets little love for no reason other than it weights too damn much.

It is a shame marketing has convinced the tool buying world that heaver and thicker is better. I know broken record and all that rot.

One of the Stanley's has a Ray Iles cutter the other a Japanese HC laminated iron. Both work very well in older Stanley planes. For now I'm using a Hock cap iron with the Ray Iles iron because good Stanley cap irons are hard to find.

Of the smoothing planes these are the least used, although the one with the Japanese iron is a very sweet working Type 9 and it is becoming my goto plane when I want to put a final finish on a board.


Friday, December 15, 2017

More Bench Planes

Moving on to the #4 sized bench planes.

Like the photo of the #5 planes the daily users are on the left, the shelf sitters are on the right. There are more factors than weight differences between the users vs. the others in this group although weight is a factor.

The three users all have different makes of cutters, from left to right is a Hock O-1, a Japanese laminated HC, and a PM-v11. Of the three, the one I'm most attached to is the Record #4 in the middle. The Record was one of the first planes I bought from Garrett-Wade back in the late 70's. Fine Woodworking had been out for a couple of years, I can't remember where I found my first copy but it changed my life.

At that time there were no stores in Houston with quality wood working tools and only one small hardwood seller. All my early tools were ordered from the Garrett-Wade catalog, most I still have and some will star in later posts.

Of the ones I do not use often, two because of weight, the other two because of the Norris adjuster and complexity. For some reason Norris adjusters and I do not work together well. I've really tried to love both of the LV smoothers as they are very nice and well made planes but for whatever reason (Norris adjuster) the chemistry isn't there, they always seem to be doing the Cotton-eyed Joe when I just want to do the Texas Two Step. Which is a shame because they are really nice planes, maybe I'll make another run around around the dance floor with 'em soon.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bench Planes

In yesterday's post I published photos of the primary tool storage in the shop. Today I will post photos of some of the most used bench planes.

Because I have and use machines for stock prep, planes above #5 sized get little love in day to day work. The metal #6, #7, and #8 are mostly dust collectors. When there is a need for a plane longer than a #5 I will usually reach for one of the wood stock fore or joiner planes. The woodies are a pleasure to use because of the feel of wood on wood and their light weight. Light weight is a recurring theme in my chose of planes for use.

Here is a photo of a number of my #5 planes:

The three on the left are the most used ones. the right three get little to no use and mostly set in the plane till or on one of the shelfs away from the main workbench. The reason the left three are the users mostly comes down to the weight of the planes. The LN and the Wood River are very heavy, the third plane is a Stanley Bedrock. The Bailey design is a better plane than the Bedrock (YMMV).

The three users have different shaped cutters, one with a straight edge and only a slight relief of the corners. The other two have cambered irons, one with what I call a "jack plane" camber and the other about half way between the jack camber and straight. I find the mid camber very useful for squaring the edges of boards. If I were culling the herd the six planes could be replaced with just one with three cutters with little loss of utility.

The three #5 Bailey's are type 13 or older and are the most used planes in the shop. One is a type 9 with a low knob and is my personal favorite. I can not think of a project one or all of them has not touched.

The smoothers tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bench Planes

I'm always looking for an excuse to post photos of the shop. Over on the SMC site one of the posters has given the perfect excuse by requesting posts on the "7" daily user planes.

Because I prep most of my stock with machines I will seldom use seven planes on any single project. So my thought was to post an overview of the shop's tool storage followed by photos of some of the planes grouped by usage. Showing the ones I use along with planes in the same group that are not used for whatever reason.

To start here is the tool storage behind the main workbench:

Storage to the left of the main workbench also over the sharpening bench:

Storage on the right side of the main bench:

The tool chest;

While this is not all the tool storage in the shop, there is still the "tool room" aka known as Fibber McGee's closet. it is the majority of the tools I use daily or on any project. BTW, I've been on a quest for several years to cull the herd with little success.

A look at the individual tool to follow in a later post.


Tuesday, December 05, 2017


I've been reading C.S.'s posts on workbench build personalities on Unplugged Shop. It is funny mostly because I can see bits of myself and/or friends in each of the posts. One of the replies to a C.S.'s post mentioned White's new fangled design workbench.

As it is 0300 here in the desert and I do not have anything better to do, other than get ready to go sit in a black box for four hours, I decided to exercise my google foo and find out about this "new fangled" design. Seems White worked for Fine Woodworking and published plans and an article on his workbench design. It also seems at least some folks build benches based on his plans, there was at least one video.

My only question is: Was the article published in the April issue of Fine Woodworking?

Remember the workbench build mantra: Build it quickly, simple, heavy, and cheap, then go to work making furniture.

BTW, I re-hung the leg vise on the sharpening bench last night so I can play with it before building the new/replacement portable bench. After I make a couple of mods to see if I can make the vise smoother in operation it, the vise chop and screw, will come off the sharpening bench to wait for the new portable bench to be built.

Have I ever mentioned I really enjoy making workbenches or at least I must because I've built so many of 'em. I'm out of room in the shop, back garden, and friends to give 'em to....What to do, what to do?

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Shave Horse

I've spent the last couple of days building a shave horse. I've wanted one for years and had almost decided on just whipping out the AmEx and doing it the quick and easy way.

But I had a couple of kinda free days and two DF 12' 2X12's left over from painting the house. I figured even with all the mistakes I'd make following plans, have I ever told you how much I hate following someone else's plans, there would be enough DF to make a shave horse.

I wasn't too far off, there is a lot of scrap and firewood but not much of the DF left. Anyway lots of screwups, do overs, and I don't give a damns it is good enough, in the build. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike working to plans? I thought so.

Whatever, it works like a champ but I expect I'll use it for awhile to see what mods it needs and then build another out of nicer wood.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tormek SE-77

Tormek has improved the SE-76 jig. The old SE-76 worked well but if for any reason your cutter did not grind square there was no adjustment to square the grind. The new SE-77 addresses that problem and brings in additional capabilities such as grinding cambers and makes it easier to grind irons with out of square sides like some older chisel and plane irons, and it can hold many Japanese chisels as well.

By adjusting two outside screws you can adjust the grind to square but even better if you loosen the two screws you can grind a camber on the cutter. How much camber depends on how much you back off each screw. With the screws fully backed off it will not grind a scrub plane camber but does a very nice Jack plane camber and with a slight back off of each screw you can grind to a perfect camber for finish planes.

The SE-77 jig combined with a 10' CBN wheel makes me want to keep my Tormek.

Here is a photo of a max camber iron using the SE-77 jig.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jamie's Table

A quick post of Jamie's table with the tiles in place, kinda. MsBubba will come along later and do her magic with the tiles and glue 'em down where they belong.

I think I posted before the table's top is 19mm plywood with Cherry edging glued and pegged with Walnut pegs. The base legs are Sapele with South American Walnut aprons pegged with Oak. There are a couple of places where if you look hard, or maybe not so hard, you can see the hand of the maker.....Makes it Art don'tchknow :-). That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway one Winter Solstice present down and a few more to go.


P.S. If you can not make out what the mosaic is, it is an Elephant's head, ears, and trunk formed by flowers.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wood Stock Smoothing Planes

I have a fairly complete collection of both wood stock and metal body planes in the plane till, on the shelfs behind the main bench, and stuck wherever I can find room around the shop. Truth is you only need three bench planes, the rest are just a sickness.

While I like the metal body planes for the "middle" functions, most of the time for stock prep I will reach for a wood stock plane for no other reason than they are lighter and easier to use. For smoothing I tend to go back and forth with each type of plane getting about the same amount of use.

It is shaping where the small wood stock planes really shine. One of my favorite planes for shaping, for planing chamfers or round overs and such, is the little shop made Krenov style plane on the right side of the photo. It's not much good as a smoothing plane but for shaping it can't be beat by any metal body plane.

On the far left is a "Philly" single iron smoother, next to it is a Steve Voigt double iron smoother. Steve, as far as I know, is the only maker currently making double iron wood stock planes. I have three of his planes. They are a joy to use and are a bargain with reasonably short wait times.  Next to Steve's plane is a double iron ECE, I'm not sure if ECE still makes this plane but if you can find one it is a steal at any price, if you do not want it email me. In the middle is a ECE single iron, I believe it is sold as a "Gents" plane, whatever it is a wonderful, light, nimble, plane to use on wood that does not need a double iron.

Today I used the ECE double iron to flush some pegs and final smoothing of the Sapele legs and the shop made plane to do some shaping to hide a couple of whopsies on MsBubba's small table. Without the shop made plane I'm not sure that the table's base would not have ended up in the burn pile.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Controlling Tearout

I'm in the short rows on the boy child's table. It is ready for glue up in the AM. that and a little oil and the sucker will be out of the shop.

Getting the legs ready for glue up was a PITA because they are Sapele. I don't know if you have worked with Sapele, once finished it is beautiful but it is very difficult to work with hand tools, getting to ready for finishing isn't easy. The problem is it is soft and has stripes of reversing grain which of course leads to tearout even when using the sharpest cutters unless the cap iron is set to control the tearout. With an improper set up plane the tearout can be so deep and severe a scrapper is almost worthless. The best approach is two part, setting the cap iron correctly to control the tearout then follow with light scrapping if needed.  Many times just correct setting of the cap iron will be all that is needed. Here is a photo of one of the Sapele legs after using a #5 Jack to shape the leg. I think you can see how deep the tearout is if you click the image to enlarge it.

To control tearout with the cap iron it, the cap iron, needs to be set back just slightly greater than the desired thickness of the shavings. It is pretty damn close to the cutting edge, in other words when set correctly you should just be able to see a very thin reflection of light off the cutter. 

Here is a photo of the leg after smoothing with a #4 with the cap iron set to control tearout. A scrapper is on the bench but I do not think it was used. Again click it to big it.

The aprons are SA Walnut which is also very soft but doesn't have the tearout problems of Sapele, it's just very light and easy to bruise and dent. I had the overhead fan on in the shop and I turned to go into the tool room, when I returned I thought I saw a Butterfly land on the floor, it turned out to be a SA Walnut shaving the fan had picked up from the bench and it flew for a bit.

It was a good day in the shop,


Thursday, November 09, 2017

Marking Knifes

Ralph over at The Accentual Woodworker has inspired another post, seems he does that often. My guess is because he posts so much it is hard not to find something of interest in his blog.

Today he mentioned marking knifes. That made me think about the knifes I have vs. the knife I use. Below is a photo of some of 'em.

There are spear point, single point, single bevel, double bevel, Japanese, and Western knifes in the pile. Most at one time or another were my go to marking knife. Same old story, you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince. Today the one I use is the cheapest of the bunch, a Stanley #10-049 with a 11-041 replacement blade.

I first noticed the Stanley knife in one of Paul Sellers videos and thought I'd give it a go. Mostly because of my marking knifes all were OK but also all had a "yes but" factor.  With the Stanley knife it was bonding at first mark, I've found no down sides to the knife. Blades can be sharpened and they hold an edge well but the blades are so cheap I will usually just replace (IIRC <$4.00 USD each). Blades are quick and easy to replace and the blade lock works easy and well. Some folks might balk at the double bevel, to each their own, but folks it is wood you are marking. Need I say more?

You can't see it in the photo but for this post I made marks with each of the knifes on the piece of Pine under the knifes. Along side each I also marked with the Stanley. In every case the Stanley mark was cleaner and I could see no difference in placement of the mark. The double bevel at least for me is a non-issue. Quality of the mark is and the Stanley was clearly better.

Another factor, the Stanley knife is so cheap I buy 'em by the bunch and have 'em all over the shop. I seldom need to hunt for a marking knife because if I look down there is usually one there.

As always with anything wood, YMMV.


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Small Table

MsBubba made a mosaic for the boy child about a year ago, maybe longer. She has been on my case to make a small table to hold the mosaic for at least that long. I've run out of excuses and it has been either make a table or finish up painting the house trim and take care of the cancer on the shop trim so the front of the house can be painted. You can guess which I'm doing.

It is a small side table that will live on his patio in Houston. I don't expect it will be passed on to the grandkid's grandkids. Whatever, I'm making it as WX proof as I can, which isn't much other than using pegs and Titebond III with "Outdoor oil" for the finish.

The base/table top for the mosaic tiles is 19mmBaltic Birch trimmed with Cherry. The tables base has Sapele legs and SA Walnut for aprons.

It is one of those projects you can sleep walk through, not a lot of butt scratching involved but it is good to be back in the shop making something.

The top is just sitting on the legs so I can check the thickness of the apron, ended up going with 70mm. Any wider and it looked really clunky.

If I work really slowly chopping the mortises and sawing the tenons I may be able to stretch it out for another day. I hope so, cutting cancer out and repairing the damage is not my idea of fun. It has to be done but I need to get on down the road a couple of weeks first.

One more thing, I don't do a lot of mitered joints and I had forgotten how sweet the Incra 1000 miter gauge works. Get it close then just a couple of adjustments and test cuts and your 45 is nailed. I had the 45 shooting board set up and didn't need it.


Saturday, November 04, 2017

Fixed The Garden Bench

I guess close to eight years ago when we were looking to buy a house in Tucson we pulled up in front of what is now our current house. The front garden looked OK but the house was the ugliest coral color you have ever seen. BTW, I've kept the mailbox the same color just to remind me of what it looked like. I had to be talked into going inside. The inside wasn't much better, the owner had put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and it was clean but with 'popcorn ceilings and bad carpet throughout. The worst part was the cabinetry, all fiber board with pictures of wood on the outside from the early 70's. I almost walked out before going into the back garden.

The back garden was nice with a pool that was much like an infinity pool looking out over a large wash and with a view of the Tucsons to the West and the Catalinas to the North and with total privacy, Ok this is better but... Then MsBubba went down the stairs to the bottom of the property and there was a broken down garden bench for her to sit on. I followed a little later and when I saw her face I knew I was in for years of painting, removing popcorn, pulling out carpet, and making cabinets. Also repairing the broken down garden bench.

All of that has been done except repairing the broken down garden bench, in fact a couple of days ago we re-painted the back half of the first re-paint, the front half will be done this coming Spring.

Yesterday I finally got around to the garden bench. What I originally thought would be a couple hour project turned into a two day affair with several trips to Ace for hardware  and each slat was different and had to be fitted, the only common thing was the length.

Anyway here are some photos, first the repaired bench that started it all:

Looking up the stairs from the sitting area. If you click 'em to big 'em and you look carefully you may be able to see Sam looking down the stairs.

A couple of plastic chairs in the sitting area.

The view across the wash.

And the Tucsons to the West. We are less than five miles from downtown Tucson and two miles from I-10 yet at the bottom of the wash it is peaceful and quiet with birds, rabbits, deer, coyotes, bobcats, and javelina to keep us entertained plus the occasional rattlesnake and of course packrats .

Only eight or so years to finish what was the first known project, no one ever said I was fast.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Wood Pile Moved

What a PITA but whatever the wood pile has been cleaned out and good wood moved to its new home and scrap wood moved to outside storage while it waits burning.  The next question is, can I hold myself to no scrap wood or cutoffs inside the shop. That's the question.

You can't see it in the photo but with the wood storage change it has allowed the table saw to be moved almost two feet to the left and the planer moved a foot to the left opening up each to better usability.  Sometimes, not often, moving stuff can make the ten pounds in a 5 pound bag change to nine pounds.

In addition to humping wood around, MsBubba and I painted the back half of the house day before yesterday. I have a pro grade airless which takes the pain out of applying paint but the the rest of it, all that goes with using the airless is where the real work is. We will do the front half this coming Spring. After that never again, I'm hiring it done.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Moving Wood

I'm in the process of moving my wood pile. Most of the wood will go outside and will be covered with tin roofing panels. This has been coming for awhile, my "good" lumber is always covered with cutoffs and when it comes time to find wood for a project it can't be accessed. I will end up going to the wood store buying lumber for the project and as I make cutoffs they are piled on top of the wood pile. It is a never ending process. The good lumber keeps getting buried deeper and deeper under good wood cutoffs that are usually too small to use.

The plan is to have three wall shelfs and rid the floor of lumber giving room for the Mini-lathe to fit under the bottom shelf, Anything that does not fit the shelfs goes outside.

The bottom shelf will move up enough to fit the lathe under it and I expect there may be a vertical stack of the large and heavy lumber against the wall. Most of what is stacked around the shop and the covering cutoffs of the floor pile will go outside.

What ever, once the pile is worked down only special wood will be stored inside the shop and I will go to the wood store for project wood. My shop isn't big enough to have wood storage and machines, one has to go.

BTW, it is interesting what you find when moving the pile. One find is a 8/4 X 6"X5' hunk of Ebony. I can't remember what or why I bought it, anyway it sure is pretty and I expect cost a bit of change.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Back From Mexico

We made it back from Rocky Point late yesterday afternoon. Waiting for me in the mail were two chisels from Bob B., one was a 16mm Marples and the other a Greenlee paring chisel. Thanks Bob.

The RV site has poor to no internet. It is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is of course you do not spend much time looking at the iPad, on the other hand you lose touch. If I missed replying to anyone, sorry but if it was important try again.

What a great trip, WX was perfect with warm to hot days and cool nights. The sea was perfect for swimming and kayaking and Sweet Maggie Dog learned a new trick. She will dig a rock up from under water and carry it to the shore, making a pile of rocks. If MsBubba throws one of the rocks back into the water she will fletch it and take to the pile. Here is a short video.

Made some new friends, a retired couple from San Diego and a couple from just down the road in Green Valley. I ate way too much and had a few beers and whisky's. Even better we left for home while wishing we could stay another day instead of being ready to come home.

While there we had two motorhome squawks fixed for $20 USD each. I expect the cost in the States would have been several hundred each. Even better we are home with zero squawks, that doesn't happen often. 

My back is ready to be lightly used so some shop time is going to happen. I expect small projects to start. The girl child wants a bath vanity like the one in our "off bath" and has sent the information I need to start. I expect that will be the next project.

I can't tell you what is is like to be mostly pain free for the first time in over a year. Thanks for all the well wishes,


Friday, October 20, 2017

Going To Tucson's Beach

The motorhome is packed, the toad has the kayak on top and snorkel gear inside, all that is left to do is grab a couple of toothbrushes, hook the toad to the motorhome and we will rock and roll on down the road to Mexico for several days of relative debauchery. When you are our age putting two Splenda's in your morning tea counts as debauchery.

The dogs will swim their hearts out, MsBubba will walk the beach, I'll have my tamales for breakfast and depending on who parks next to us maybe make some new friends and tell a few "there I waz with one burning and one turning" stories. I may even have a single malt or two while watching the Brown Pelicans flying to roost at sunset.

We are going to be in Mexico for more than the weekend so the toad is going with us. Most of the time we never leave the RV park if staying for just a couple of days so the toad stays home.

The Reef (the RV park) has everything needed, a good Beach Sports Bar, a better than average Italian Restaurant, Roberto brings me tamales and breakfast tacos every morning, a propane delivery truck if I need gas, guys to wash and wax the motorhome for almost free, and best of all a parking spot on the beach not 100' from the sea. It doesn't get better. 

A photo from one of our trips:

See you guys next week,


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Bad Axe Saw

The UPS girl dropped off a new Bad Axe saw today. It is a beauty, a D-8 clone. I'm such a sucker for bing but damn it is pretty.

The motorhome has been in the shop fixing a few squawks from the PNW trip. I'll pick it up in the AM to ready it for our Friday trip to Mexico. I'm ready for a few days on the beach with the dogs and MsBubba. It should be good.


Alan Peters' 140 Trick

Ralph over at The Accidentalwoodworker had some questions on using a 140 block plane to do the "140 Trick". It gives me a reason to post something so here goes:

Using a #140 Block plane to make a shallow rebate on the back of the tail board is called the 140 trick. I'm sure it was done before Alan Peters used it but he popularized it.

The reasons the 140 Block plane works so well is two fold, the side plate is removable exposing the slewed cutter and it has a fence. The plane has a nicker as well which I do not normally use. Here is a photo of my 140 with the side plate removed and, I doubt you can see it, the cutter extended a thin red one pass the side of the plane.

I will normally use a TiteMark wheel gauge to mark the base line because the 140's fence will register on the board's end as does the TiteMark.

Setting the TiteMark. after gross setting I will give the micro-adjuster an 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn clockwise to deepen the baseline. I like the pins and tails to be slightly proud. 

Next is deepening the base lines. I do this "freehand" with a marking knife.

Set the fence so the cutter just touches the near edge of the base line mark.

Take a couple or three passes until the rebate "looks about right".

Mark and cut your tails however you would normally cut tails. After the tails are cut, set the tail board on the pin board and aline the reference edges with a chisel. Mark your pins and if nothing moves and you saw and chisel correctly you should have a near perfect dovetail joint.

As always click 'em to big 'em.

I hope this helps with the 140 Trick,


Monday, October 16, 2017

Can't Sleep. Time in the Shop

Some times sleep does not come easily. I've not a clue why some nights the magic works and others it doesn't other than age. I've learned to not fight it, just get up and go find something to do. Sometimes it is computer time but most of the time I go to the shop. That is one of the big advantages of doing mostly hand tool work, for the most part it is just me and the dogs and MsBubba sleeps through. Tonight it didn't work that way so all of us are awake.

I still can't do any heavy lifting so about all I can do is cut a few practice dovetails and sharpen some irons. Here is a photo of one of the practice joints tonight. I used a Cypress cutoff out of the scrap bin. Cypress is a nice wood to work except it is soft like pine and dents and chips easily. You can't tell much from the photo but there was a little nasty bit left in one of the tail sockets and that tail did not completely seat. If it were anything other than what it is I would pull it apart and get rid of whatever is holding the corner of the tail off the base line.

I've all but the 1 1/2" Marple chisel in useable shape and used them for both paring and chopping tonight. They are really sweet chisels. Shame almost no one today is making good hammer forged chisels and no one is making delicate firmer chisels like the older Marples.  The only hammer forged chiselsI know of are Barr, Ashley Iles, and most Japanese chisels. While I expect the Barr chisels are wonderful chisels they are too big and clunky for my taste. Ashley Iles chisels are very good and a real bargain, I just wish they were available in a firmer style.

It's time to grab a quick bite and then see if sleep will come.



Quick Surgery Update

It is five days post-op and all I can say is it's wonderful. There is no pain, just a very slight tightness in the area of the incision and the legs, while still weak, also are pain and cramp free.

I wish it hadn't taken so long to get here but that is the way the medical system in the States works.


Stanley #39 Dado Plane

Bob B. who is an occasional reader of my blog (he mentioned Ralph's as well) was kind enough to offer one of his Marple chisels to fill in a gap in my collection.  He mentioned in his email that he was trying to collect one of each of the Stanley planes and how it might be an impossible job. I must say I expect he is correct. I have an example of most of the type 9 bench planes but I'm far from having a complete set of type 9's. In reality I have no hope of ever completing the collection and that is just one type of bench planes.

Anyway it got me to thinking about some of my rust and if any would fill in the gaps of a Stanley tool collection. The most likely candidate is a Stanley #39 I got several years ago in a box of rust from a fellow needing gas money to go home. I know there is a sucker born every minute but what can I say other than I like a good story even if it is BS and we both know it. BTW, IIRC there were several usable planes in the box, several of which I gave to other local woodworkers and a few I kept like the #39.

Here are some photos of the #39:

Bob D. this should be in your wheel house. Did anyone really use one of these to make dado's? I would think a couple of knife lines, a saw, and a router plane would do a better and I expect a quicker job.

Friday, October 13, 2017

747 Super Tanker

I worked for the now bankrupt Evergreen Aviation back in the day when the 747 Supper Tanker was under development. A Colorado company bought the rights to the airplane and now it has been deployed to fight the CA fires. Just yesterday while MsBubba and I were having morning coffee and tea we talked about, or at least I did and I think MsBubba listened you know how it is after many years together and one partner builds clocks when asked the time,  how CA should be using the 747.

The 747 can drop all or part of 20,000 gal of liquid per load, water or fire retardant, about twice as much as the nearest large tanker a converted DC-10. Some of the advantages of the 747 are the precision of its drops, how in effect it is a large crop duster, the dump comes out in drops and will not damage people or things on the ground, it can get to the fire zone at over 500 kt. and is under landing weight with a full load of retardant or water. I could go on building the clock but not this time.

Anyway it is good to see someone rescued the Super Tanker and CA. is using it.

It is palm meet forehead time. Seems the older I get the more often it happens. During the first part of recovery from surgery I'm not to lift anything over 10 lbs. It's pretty limiting as far as shop time so I dug through the scrap pile, not moving anything over 10 lbs. I swear, for something to use in making a spoon.

I carved out a bowl that I was pretty happy with and then started getting rid of wood that was not part of a spoon using a saw and chisel. Now I have a good 18" band saw setting not five feet from the right end of the main work bench. I bet you can tell where this is going, I had to do just one more split going toward the bowl before turning the blank around....Palm meet forehead.

I have some more of the blank left and a good band saw next to the bench. Back to the spoon making today.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Two More Marple Chisels

It is a sickness, once started it is almost as hard to stop as smoking and booze. I've two more early Marple Firmer chisels "in the mail". This time a 1/4" and a 3/8" both are duplicates but one will replace a round necked (later year) chisel. So I do have a little excuse....."My name is Ken and I'm a.....".

I'm teaching myself to sharpen on JNATS and have been for years and as always it is/has been interesting. Sometimes I ask myself "why bother?" BTW, if I post something that is incorrect please correct me however you feel most comfortable, email, reply in the comments, it makes no never mind. I have thick skin and learned many years ago that ego is nothing but trouble. On to the chase..

What I find the biggest difference is the wire edge. On Ark stones it comes up easily and is easy to see and feel.  JNATS not so much. The wire edge tends to be much smaller and because of that harder to see and feel. I'm still training myself on that one.

In truth either type stone will get you to pretty much the same place of "working sharp" in about the same time and hassle on like steels and I would bet in a blind test even the most sensitive craftsman would have a hard time beating random.

I guess then the question becomes....Why? I'm not sure I have a rationale answer. I can fall back on gobby gook, art speak, or what have you, while trying to pack sand up your ass but the bottom line is "because".

Some of the reasons I can give but do not hold water are: JNATS have a finer random scratch pattern than you are able to get with an Ark stone. True but so? Does it make a rat's ass when metal meets wood?

Ralph will like this one: I can get a better mirror finish with a JNAT vs. An Ark stone. Which is true until you bring strops on board and.....Wait for it...Some of the most prized JNATS do not leave a mirror polish but instead a slight haze.

As a artist I've always been attracted to imperfection, to seeing "the hand of man" in a body of work. Perfect is boring. Several of my most prized JNATS are about as imperfect as a stone can get and still be useable. That may be as good an answer as any.


P.S. JNAT stones are/can be a sickness as well, too damn many slippery slopes out there calling my name and not a mast to lash to.

P.P.S. I've a Bad Axe D-8 clone in the mail....Damn all my weaknesses are on full display. The only things missing are planes.


Thanks guys for all the well wishes. For now the title says all that is needed. I'm home and as best I can tell all went well. There is some feeling of pressure in my lower back that the happy pills are taking care of. All the numbness of my lower legs and feet is gone. For the first time in months I can walk  with a normal step and stride. I'll take it easy for a couple of weeks but it is time to get back in the shop and do something interesting.

Once more.....Thanks guys,


Monday, October 09, 2017

Marple Chisels

The biggest change in Marple chisels other than owners, place of manufacture, and of course quality as the years passed was going from hammer forged to drop forged. As best I can tell drop forged chisels begin showing up in the '30s and by the '50s most of the chisels were drop forged with maybe the exception of firmer chisels.

I have some of both hammer and drop forged. Other than the hammer forged having square necks vs. drop forged round necks the only other visual clue is the ferrel. The hammer forged ferrel is defiantly brass on the drop forged chisels I'm not sure because it has a strange color and stays shinny with little or no aging.

A photo of the two styles. The top and bottom chisels are hammer forged with square necks, the middle two are later chisels with round necks.

At this time most of my chisels are the earlier hammer forged (three drop forged) and as I can find replacement chisels for the round neck ones I will hopefully end up with all early chisels.

What strange folks we tool collectors can be. The quality of both in use is about the same (maybe all my round neck ones are from the early years of drop forging) but I want all square necked chisels or at least a complete set. Then in use I will probably use both interchangeably.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Three more days till the back is fixed, sleep and productivity are in short supply. Pain meds and whisky are the order of the day. With careful calibration of whisky intake the days pass with reasonable comfort.

Lately the highlight of the day is pool time with MsBubba. Yesterday MsBubba asked for a Martini with our pool time.....Of course I had to join....Big mistake, with Martinis there is no careful calibration. I remember making the second Martini but not much after other than waking up in bed with all my clothes on a little after 2100. The good news it helped with the sleep problem but screwed the productivity. The same mistake will not be made today.

On the productivity side while not much is getting done I'm in the shop and putzing around most days. My thoughts are the pain is there whatever, sitting, standing, in bed, whatever I'm doing so I might as well do something I enjoy. The downside is I'm a little more dingy than usual. Yesterday was a case in point.

Most of the time I use the Alan Peters "140 trick" when making dovetails. Yesterday I was working on a small box, the sides were from some nice Sapele scraps and being dingier than usual I forgot to make the small rabbet with the 140. Being still dingier I thought "hey Bubba that ain't no problem I'll just 140 the tails and go on down the road". Need I go on? I'll put it this way, one of the corners may have a very large half pin next to a very small tail if I can pull it off. If not there is always the fire pit.

Here is a photo:

BTW, I've been down most of the technique trails for alining tail boards with pin boards for marking the pins. Everything from the jig David Baron makes, to a special square, to just doing it by eye and let the devil take its due.  Of all, the 140 trick works the best with the least amount of monkey motion.

On to other things. I've been trying to put together a "full" set of vintage Marple Firmer chisels with Boxwood handles. The two missing chisels are a 3/4 and a 5/8. The post delivered the 3/4 yesterday, just the 5/8's to go.

I know chisels are personal but what's not to like about thin blades of good steel with near perfect balance. The closest I can find in current production are the Sorby beveled edge bench chisels with Boxwood handles. Something is screwed up with current tool marketing with almost no one making firmer chisels and the few that are made are heavy, clunky, and un-balanced. Even most beveled edge chisels in production have too thick blades and are uncomfortable to use. Paring chisels are the same story if you can find 'em. While the complete line of Sorby chisels also has some duds their paring chisels are nice, I just wish they were available in firmer style as well as beveled edge. I expect several Sorby paring chisels will be added to the chisel till to supplement the Japanese paring chisels.

Three more days of this happy horse shit and I hope life will get back to what passes for normal.


P.S. Just back from working the back of the 3/4 chisel, miracles do happen it was damn near flat.  And I sawed the messed up tail on the box board. Who knows, things may work out if I'm careful when fitting the pins.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

West Texas Farm Boy

I grew up on a West Texas dirt farm. The farm was about 13 miles North of Big Spring, Texas and from almost the get go of remembrance I had guns and hunted many times a week. Most of the game was cooked  and added to what ever else was on the table. Once a teenager I would join my Dad's annual company sponsored hunting trip to either Utah or Colorado. Guns and hunting were just a part of life and even to this day some of my most pleasant memories are of those trips, of being outdoors, in the mountains on beautiful Fall days and of sitting in the cook tent at night playing card games and telling lies with friends and family.

Somewhere along the way I begin to change and  I slowly started becoming uncomfortable with killing living things to the point of protecting most household pests, of finding ways to remove instead of squashing. People can and do change.

A long way around to my finding the fact that in the States, this year, we have had almost a mass shooting every day of the fucking year, the last one over 50 souls in KLAS. I am physically and mentally sick and ashamed my country can't get its shit together and confront the gun lobby with common sense gun control laws. That should be the first step but not the only one it will take longer but we also need to find and root out the sickness that works with freely available guns and leads to killing for no other reason but killing.


P.S. I will not engage trolls and their straw man arguments. If you have something constructive to say I would love to hear it.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Time to Fix the Back

I visited the Neurosurgeon yesterday, he gave the right answers and MsBubba approved of both he and his answers so I'm booked to be fixed on the 11th. Which brings to mind the Far Side cartoon of the dog in a car going to the Vet to be "tutored".

It will be day surgery with a couple of bandaid sized incisions and a one to six week recovery period. Now I'm like a kid waiting on Christmas, time can't pass fast enough.

Work is crazy right now....So what else is new....It is busy season and one instructor just went down to a horse related injury, so not much wood working between now and the 11th. At best shop organizing and clean up, though I do have the stock sized and ready to cut the joinery for a couple of small boxes.

I just received C.S.'s The Anarchist's Design Book. I haven't had the time to browse through it but when I came home from work yesterday MsBubba had left it open on the Aumbry chapter. Subtle is not her long suit.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Changed Sharpening Bench

A bittersweet moment in the shop. Yesterday for the first time since I first started working wood my small bench is no longer in the shop. I'm not sure what will be done with it, could be a table for MsBubba's studio, or maybe convert it into another bar counter for the back garden, even put out front for a new life with someone else. Whatever it has been replaced with the traveling work bench sans leg vise.

The sharpening bench ne travel bench has a little more real estate to work with with about the same footprint, It should be a slight improvement....Just enough for a blog post but not much more :-).

BTW, I've converted all my stones to using water with a touch of soap as a lubricant. With the exception of the "India" stones they all seem happy. This way I can grab any stone and use it without worrying about oil contamination of my JNATs or man made water stones.

I will start a new travel bench build soon.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Home Again Home Again

It was a good vacation, not too many squawks on the motorhome, the WX in Northern CA. was perfect with temps in the 60F to mid 70F range and the only rain was as we were leaving Ft. Bragg. It couldn't have been better except for the fires and smoke in Oregon keeping us in North CA.

The portable bench worked well and I had almost all the tools needed, not bad for a proof of concept trial.

Waiting for me at the local USPS office was a box of Boxwood handled Marple chisels, most were firmers. I'm missing a 5/8" and a 3/4" for a full set. The chisels are in good shape but.....damn that but, the UK sellers sure do like their belt sanders to make the chisels pretty for selling. I spent almost an hour on the back of the 1" chisel last night and I still have some more to go before it is flat. I'd pay twice as much if they would forget the dressing up for the sell.

Anyway here is a photo of the Marple chisels on hand. Now to find some where to keep 'em. For now the only answer is some of the little used chisels will have to go in a box or drawer and the Marple chisels will take their place in the back of bench chisel till.

I would like to end up with a full set of Marple's firmer and beveled edge chisels and a selected set of their paring chisels but I'm not sure I have the patience for the chase.

I've an appointment with a Neurosurgeon on the 28th. to see about fixing my back. I had plans to wait until after the first of the year but with the way things are going I expect I will take the first open time. Whisky and pain pills are no way to live life. Once again apologies for an OF's medical ramblings but this is my way of keeping track of what is happening in my life.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Blogger Did Some Strange Formatting

As the title says and working on a iPad I'm not going to try and correct.


Traveling Tools

Bob asked "What was in my tool box?" At the risk of boring everyone and spending all day one finger typing on a iPad here goes:

In no order other than kinda how they ended up on the bench:
Bench hook, made after arriving at the RV site.
2 doe's foot, one made at the RV site.
2 Kreg plastic dogs.
LN bench brush.
#5 with cambered iron.

Here is the list of tools in the tool box. I've used most of them or have plans to.

#3 with smoothing iron.
ECE Rebate plane.
LV Large Router Plane.
LV Med Router Plane.
LV Carcass saw,  rip and crosscut.
LV Large Tenon saw, rip and crosscut*.
Plow Plane with ¼" cutter.
LN Small Rabbit/Block Plane.
LN Block Plane.
400 Atoma with stone holder**.
Med India in holder/box.
Hard Black Ark in holder/box.
Oiled hard leather strop.
Chisel Roll with ¼" to 1" A. Iles chisels, Wheel gauge, and LV Spokeshave.
6" Double Sq.
12" Combo Sq.
75mm Combo Sq.
LV Saddle Sq.
LV 1:8 Dovetail Marker.
2 Small Dividers.
150mm Steel rule.
5 Meter Tape.
Bird cage awl.
LV Winding Sticks/Straight Edge.
Small Box of Drill Bits.
¾" Foster Bit.
2 Marking Knifes.
Parrallel Guide Pin.
Pencils and Markers.
2 Holdfasts
2 Hammers***.
Danish Oil.
6 Light F Clamps.
10X Lope.
Sanding Block.
¼" Wood Shim
26" Stanley Hardpoint Saw and 240mm Ryoba (not in photo).
Spirit Level.
Mortise Pin Gauge****

*May not keep in tool box for the next trip.
**Stone.Holder is not needed.
***one hammer is a RV hammer but will add a small Plane hammer.
****On order from Amazon, I can't believe I forgot to pack one.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Wood Working In A RV Park

While working, folks will drop by to see what I'm doing but really not many more than is normal for any activity outside the RV.

The work is back to the basics because of limited tool set and of course tools that should have been packed but missed the boat. Such as a marking gague, how that happened I haven't a clue. Amiazon of course came to the rescue....sort of.  I'll cut to the chase as much as I can but being me some back story will be included.

I have a dislike of cheap knockoffs of someone's original design. If you developed the tool you should benefit from the sale of the tool. There is a cheap knockoff of the Titemark, looks the same, made of brass, and is about $60USD cheaper on Amazon. The problem is I can get next day delivery from Amazon, not from Titemark. So I let need override scrupules and ordered from Amazon.

There is good news and bad, I'm not sure which is which but.....It works about the same as a Titemark except it will not hold the setting unless you go all Conan on the lock screws.  For some reason that pleases me.


Saturday, September 09, 2017

Posting Photos From An iPad

Let's see if I've figured this or is technology still kicking my ass. A couple of photos of the RV and work bench.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

On The Road

Or maybe that should be in the Casper Beach RV Park just South of Ft. Bragg CA.

I set the bench up last night and even sawed a dovetail or two along with sharpening some iron. The bench works like a champ.

I can't get the photos to load, they do over on to follow when I can.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Marple Chisels

I have a bad jones for Marple firmer or bevel edge chisels with boxwood handles. The London pattern handles are nice as well but the simple straight Boxwood handles tickle my chisel G-spot.

Anyway I've been on a quest to find some in good shape and having some luck. Here is a small 1/4" firmer that showed up a few days ago pictured with some other bench chisels to give an idea of size and differences. From top to bottom are a Narex firmer, a modern 750, a Swiss Made Carpenters chisel, the Marple 1/4" firmer with Boxwood handle, and a LV PM v11. The first photo is of the chisels in profile view and the second in plan view.

I've several more Marple Boxwood handled chisels on the way, I expect they will arrive while we are in Oregon. They will be a nice 'welcome home'.

BTW, I get a shot in the spine tomorrow to relieve some of the pain. If it works as advertised it should take care of most of the pain until I'm back in Arizona...Surgery to follow. 

We leave for Ft. Bragg, CA Saturday morning then after a couple of days in Ft. Bragg on to Brookings, OR for a few days and then working our way up the coast. The Motorhome has a full load of whisky and wine with food filling every cabinet, even a few beers in the Fridge, DVDs and Sat Dish ready and bench and tool box loaded. It should be a good trip. 


Monday, August 28, 2017

Portable Work Bench and Toolbox Loaded

The tool box isn't filled yet but I wanted to see how everything would fit. It does very well leaving good room to carry other needed "stuff".

On the PAX side bin I have the toolbox, the two legs, chop and parallel guide, and the vise backer board.

The driver side bin has the slab, tool tray, stretchers, and in the wire basket wrapped in a towel is the screw.

I wasn't too worried about the fit because I measured carefully but you never know for sure until you fit it in. It fits :-).

Now to fill the tool box and we will be ready for Oregon.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Japanese Style Tool Box

The last item to be finished of the portable workshop is the tool box. I finished cleaning it up last night, as much as it will be "cleaned up" it is a tool box don'tchknow, and put a coat of Danish Oil on the outside. Today comes the hard part....Deciding what tools to take. Too many and the tool box becomes unwieldy and too heavy to be "portable", Too few and either the "work arounds" take the pleasure out of making or even the project becomes dead in the water.

The list leads off with a couple of planes, I expect a #3 and a #5 with two cutter sets. A chisel roll with 1/4" through 1" plus at least one paring chisel. A couple or three saws, I have not decided between Japanese or Western, there are advantages to each. Marking stuff, squares, knifes, winding sticks, tapes, rules, and so on. Rabbet plane, plough plane, router plane....Anyway you get the idea. A couple of bench appliances like a bench hook also need to find a place as well.

Of course all this may be unnecessary because the bench and tool box may end up being a table and accessory to hold the whisky glass every evening .

Anyway here are a couple of photos of the tool box, click 'em to big 'em:

With lid open and tool tray:

See you guys on down the road,