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.