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.


  1. I'll be thinking happy thoughts Ken.
    Not that I need an excuse to buy a new tool, but the 140 trick is used on the pin board or tail board? What about gaps after using it?
    I'v also tried a lot of dovetail alignment tricks and now I rely on my eyes and a square. Nothing has improved on that at all so far.

  2. Thanks Ralph, at this time I just want it done.

    The 140 trick uses a "140" block plane to cut a shallow rabbet on the tail board. Any rabbet plane would work but the fenced, slewed 140 block plane makes it easy to do. The shoulder of the rabbet makes it easy to get the tail board alined with the pin board and also helps with preventing gaps on the inside corner. It is so easy to do there isn't really any down side other than forgetting it before chopping out the tail waste :-).


  3. I should bought the one I saw for $100 but I thought it was too high. New ones from LN go for $225

  4. Ralph,

    I feel your pain :-). The LV version is $249 USD. I expect the LN Rabbet block plane at $175 USD would do the job but with no fence a little tricker to use. I've used a snipes bill and a unfenced rabbet plane to cut the rebate but the LN version of the 140 makes it a no brainer. Whatever give it a go, I think you will find it is worth doing.

    This has been the slowest box build in history, I've putzed around the shop all day, saw a tail, the feet go numb and I go back to the office. clean out the waste between tails and my legs cramp, I go back to the office, anyway you get the picture. That and chasing MsBubba around the pool has made this a slow shop day but a wonderful day to be alive in the desert.

    BTW, I expect today was the last pool day of this year....That's also a little bittersweet.


  5. Hope all goes well Ken.

  6. I feel your pain and Im rooting for you.
    PS I think I got you beat on the slowest box build in history... Started my Boring till last year, have yet to finish it :-(

    BOb, slowly making progress in my shop "take over" I cam now walk around, there is a floor...who knew? :-)

  7. Thanks Andy,

    From everything I can see it should.


  8. Bob,

    Yeah, but your box has a purpose, mine's nothing but a chance to saw and chisel.

    BTW, I pulled all the floor tiles and fatigue matts off the shop floor. They were put there for protection of dropped tools but then I would lose 'em in all the shaving I couldn't sweep up. After trying the tiles for a year or so and only saving one or two edges vs. hours on hands and knees looking for lost parts I decided to go for semi-clean floors.

    Someone will get a great deal on garage floor tiles.