Sunday, November 17, 2019

Tool Sale

For the last few years Tucson's local WoodCraft has held a parking lot sale for folks with tools to sell and of course those that would like to buy used tools. This Fall's sale was yesterday 11/16/19 starting early morning.

A photo of my set up:

I had a couple of Veritas planes and a PM v11 chisel set that I do not use. Most of the other tools are chisels that have been rescued and are never used, a few marking gauges, some unused water stones and a brace along with more saws than I can count. The big items were a Moravian bench and a shave horse. I didn't really expect to sell either of them but someone might decide they need a bench after playing on this one. The bench itself is the best sales tool I know, it is such a pleasure to work on. Folks who have not played with a Moravian bench can't conceive of a bench this portable, light, and stable all at the same time. The laws of physics and the Schartz dontchknow.

I had a sharp draw knife there so folks could play on the shave horse (with very close supervision) and I think it was a big hit. I also had my personal sharpening set up there to entertain me when things were slow and touch up chisels sold if asked and a couple of folks did.  My personal stones are a Norton Med India, a Pike Lilly White Washita, and a Surgical Black Ark. I'll die clutching the Washita and the Surgical Ark in my cold dead hands. I think the 2nd. Amendment applies to sharpening stones, if it doesn't it should.  

I didn’t sell any of the “big” stuff but moved a good number of chisels, stones, marking gauges, and saws. It was a beautiful day with temps in the low 80’s and I visited with a bunch of folks, some old friends.

BTW, I'm still blown away (60's lingo for amazed) how easy it is to take the Moravian bench apart and then set it back up.



Thursday, November 14, 2019

New To Me 10 1/2 Stanley

I'd been looking for awhile. I really wanted a 10 1/4 but they are really rare.

Cutter wasn't too bad, about 10 minutes on the stones and it is reasonably sharp. No cracks that I can find. While I don't know these planes well enough to type them my guess is a pre-1930 plane.

MsBubba had a flight home booked for Friday. Over the last couple of days her Dad has fallen a couple of times and just in general is going downhill quickly. She decided to stay a couple more weeks, I hope it is that short but I have my doubts. I kinda miss the old gal, but what ever you do don't tell her.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Moravian Tail Vise

I'm not a fan of tail vises, wagon vises, end vises, or what have you. I think for the most part they are too much trouble to install and too little used once installed. Now for the eating crow part. I've been looking at the wagon vise Will Myers has developed for his Moravian workbenches and I may change my mind. I've ordered one for the next build.

Here is a link: Will Myers wagon vise


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Dave's Shaves Dogbone

I made the shave cutter sharpening jig because the Dog Bone jig from Dave's' Shaves was on back order with no projected delivery date. I got it today and it is much nicer than the one I made.

Here it is with a shave cutter installed:

After sharpening, a quick shave to see how it works. Couldn't be better.

Works in the Tormek and I expect any of the side clamping jigs. I put it in the Tormek just to see if it would work. I expect for day to day sharpening I'll use the jig to hold the cutter for working on the back and light work on the bevel using either stones or paddles.


Misc. Stuff

Will Myers is giving a talk about Moravian workbenches to the Triangle Woodworkers Association in Cary, NC on the 19th of this month. Wish I could be there.

The boss comes home Friday, it will be good to have her home. Sweet Maggie Dog and I have missed having the old gal around telling us what to do. Among other things πŸ˜‡. The kitchen is ready for inspection, office and bath to go.

Had a bite on the bench the other day, my enthusiasm about Moravian benches may have put him off. I think he thought I was trying to sell him a bench 😲. And yes, I would like to sell this bench so I can start another but it wasn't a sell job. The Moravian design is that good and this bench is a really good example. Of course the next one will be better because I've got a couple of small changes to make.

My sinuses have been blocked for a couple of weeks with the attendant headaches and blowing bloody boogers.  MsBubba told me to get some colloidal Silver spray and spray it up my nose. I was a little hesitant because of blue skin from Silver poisoning but in this form that is not a problem, in fact I checked with my Doc a couple of days ago and she gave it a thumbs up.  Bottom line after the first spray the sinuses opened up and no more bloody boogers.

Retirement is hanging over me. I'm not sure how I will handle it, When not in school, I've worked full time since I was 16 and even in school I had a part time job. Going to work is part of who I am.

I have one year to figure it out. If there is a good side, I still like my job, I like passing on my knowledge to pilots without my experience. I feel I'm paying back an industry that was very good to me. It allowed a dumb old West Texas farm boy to see the world, fly 10's of million dollar airplanes, eat and drink in some of the best places in the world, and get paid a good living for doing it. It doesn't get much better. The only down side was I shed a couple of really good women who could not handle the life.

Just received a text from MsBubba. She has made it back to the UK from Morocco. 


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Two More Weeks; This post is photo heavy

MsBubba left Sweet Maggie Dog and myself without adult supervision for a couple of months. She returns from gallivanting around the world Friday week. The first part of the trip was to the UK to see her folks then on to Morocco for a couple of weeks walking in the Atlas Mountains. Today she has returned to the coast for a few days before going back to Scotland. Then home next Friday.

Here are some photos of her adventure:


Atlas Mountains:

 Hotel Pool:


More Market:


 Hotel and pool:

She has had a great time, I expect the best part were the Mountain hikes. A couple days on the coast and then back to the cold and rain of Scotland.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

#5 Planes

I normally just keep a couple of #5 planes in the tool cabinet behind the main workbench. A (I think) type 11 to 13 Stanley with a cutter sharpened as a Jack plane and a LN with Veritas O1 iron sharpened with less camber. The LN even with the thinner Veritas iron is still a heavy sucker. I also have a stack of #5 Japanese bi-metal replacement irons and a few Stanley #5 stuck in various cubbly holes in the shop, not many like I expect Bob has but a few. BTW I weighted the planes and all the Stanleys came in around 2100 g. while the LN is a hefty over 2500g. with the lighter Veritas iron. Four hundred grams doesn't sound like much but it feels like a lot.

The line up. The Stanleys run from a Type 9 to type 11 and 13 with one Bedrock in the mix. I expect to work through the bunch picking the best to replace the LN in the tool cabinet. While some have OEM cutters, the OEM cutters will be replaced with Japanese irons.

The Japanese irons come with very flat backs, are easy to sharpen, being high carbon steel get very sharp and hold the edge very well. Here is a photo of the back of one of the Japanese replacement irons after just a few swipes on a 600 grit diamond stone. It is ready to go to the finishing stones.

More as I work through the #5s.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Random Thoughts On Tools

Ralph over at his blog mentioned something that made me think about sharpening and tools in general. First, I have too damn many. I can get away with it because living in the desert Southwest almost eliminates the rust and corrosion problem.  That's the reason you see airports in the desert with hundreds of old aircraft parked. 

If I had to deal with rust on a daily bases I wouldn't have time to do any woodwork or I'd have to shed most of my tools. Of course that led to trying to figure out what tools I really need and that led back to Ralph's original post about sharpening.

In my experience there are two to four major divides in approaches to sharpening. The first is mostly freehand vs. those that use a jig when they are able. The second are the folks that seldom return a tool to the rack that is not working sharp and will sharpen mid job vs. the ones that if a tool dulls will just grab another and set the dull tool aside to be sharpened when the sharpening pile reaches critical mass or they run out of sharp tools.

There is no value judgement of the four camps, it's just different ways of working. Because I'm in the freehand/sharpen when dull camp I expect in reality I could function at about the same level I do now with no more than a dozen or so chisels. Would I do it? Ain't no way as long as I'm in the desert. With a move out of the desert I expect a few tools would go.

Photos of my chisel racks to show the extent of my sickness:

First the rack behind the main workbench that holds most of my day to day chisels. BTW, if you went through the racks, with the exception of the "why do I keep these chisels" rack and a few new to me chisels that are still being set up, every chisel is sharp and ready to use.

The rack above the main tool shelf also behind the main workbench.

The rack over the sharpening bench where I store most of the mortise chisels and gouges.

And the rack where the"Why do I keep these chisels" are stored.

There are even more "why do I keep these chisels" in chisel rolls stuck in different coroners of the shop. It is a sickness but for the most part harmless, better than Porsche's and blondes and a little safer and cheaper.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Spokeshave Sharpening Jig

Spokeshave irons are hard to hold for sharpening. Classic bevel up/tanged irons are really hard to sharpen.

This is not new, others have done the same but here s a jig I made to help hold spokeshave irons.

The thin end will be set up to hold short cutters. I wanted to see if it worked before investing the time to set up for short irons.

It works, the irons are still a PITA to sharpen but the jig makes it easier. I will add the cut out and holes for short irons and clean up the jig to finish it.


Shop Dog

Not much in life is better than a good shop dog.

Sweet Maggie Dog:

Sam the Wonder Dog is gone and missed but Maggie is filling in. You can't see it but she is next to the bag of Rawhide Bones. Smart dog.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

More On #4 Planes

Yesterday I posted about four of my #4 planes, two "posh" and two not so "posh". Of the four my least favorite was a Record #4 from sometime in the late 1970's to maybe as late as the 1980's. OF's memories sometimes are not too reliable. Anyway to cut to the chase, Sparks replied that Record kept its quality up much longer than Stanley from the same time period. Bottom line I thought I'd take another look at the Record and the Stanley. The Stanley #4 is smack dab in the middle of the best planes Stanley made. I haven't run a Type check on it in years but IIRC it is a Type 13. The Record is from well past the War and all hand tools lost quality in that period, some more than others. When I bought the Record it was because Record was considered to have retained better quality than the Stanley planes of the same time.

As I posted yesterday, the Record was my least favorite of the four planes, mostly because of the tote and just overall cheesiness. That judgement was probably unfair because I was comparing it to two modern boutique planes and a Stanley that was made when Stanley was at the top of its game. The Record is a capable plane, it and post War Stanley's are very similar with few differences.

I made a few photos this morning to show some of the difference between a pre-War Bailey type plane and a post-War Baily.

Profile view:

Head on view:

Frog Differences:

Tote Difference:

Small differences but they can make a big difference in feel when cutter meets wood.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

More On #4 Planes

I sharpened 4 of my #4 planes and just for Mark I included my Record #4 (best I can recall it was bought in the late '70's early '80's). So the line up was the Record with a Hock iron, a Type 13 Stanley with a Japanese bi-metal cuter, a LN with a Veritas O1 iron, and The stock Clifton.

While the cutters were sharpened by hand so all things may not be equal the sharpness should be reasonably close, at least good enough to get a feel of each plane. Of course something like this is totally subjective.

Cut to the chase: the order of comfort/pleasure/ease of use was: Stanley, LN, Clifton, and sorry to say Record. The Record sucked hind tit mostly because of its tote, by the time this one was made both Record and Stanley were not producing well made planes. The tote is almost unfinished and rough, add in the bent metal adjuster and if it weren't for sentiment the Record would walk the plank.

The LN is just heavy, it brings a little to table because of quality of build but that is not enough to beat the Stanley. The Clifton I wanted to love but no joy. The quality of build is great, as good as the LN, but the screw head on the knob extends above the knob making it uncomfortable to hold and it really is too damn heavy.

The Stanley, while not as well made, fits my hand better. The sum is greater than the parts. I know everyone would have a different opinion but whatever the Stanley blows my skirt. Of course I kinda knew that going in πŸ˜‡.


Sunday, October 06, 2019

Clifton Planes

The human mind is a wonderful thing, if you want it to, it can rationalize almost anything. Let's see if I can set up the story: I'm going through my annual or even shorter push to "clean the shop out" to get back to just the tools I need and use. Yep, Bubba, sure you will do that just like the last time. Only this time I mean it, really, pinky swear it will happen, mean it.

In looking at my tools and trying to decide which ones will end up on the Ark and which will go I realized there wasn't a Clifton plane in the lot of 'em. How could I make a decision as important as who stays and who gets thrown overboard without having tried one of the major players? Good question with only one answer. "Hello Tools For Working Wood could you send a #4 Clifton down Tucson way". BTW, I've already sent my Veritas planes down the plank. They are nice, beautifully made planes but I just can't develop any love for Norris adjusters and I have really tried.

It is a nice plane. Better than the other two, not really, just a little different and not much of that. Of the three it is the heaviest at a 2137 grams,   the LN with a Veritas O1 cutter weights 2001 grams, and of course the Stanley with a Japanese iron is the lightest at 1654 grams.

I like the "bun" knob on the Clifton and the plane feels good, if a little heavy. in hand. Its one advantage over LN is a OEM O1 cutter. For some of us that is a big advantage.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Playing with Iron

Well the vise install was a bust. I've put all the wood back in the wood pile and there is no project other than MsBubb's kickwheel pending and the kickwheel build will require a woodstore trip.

Time to work at the sharpening bench. First up was the Steve Voigt double iron coffin smoother. Steve is making some of the best (and maybe only) double iron wood stock planes you can buy and he is a nice guy. If you have any interest in woodies show Steve some love, you will not regret it. Anyway the other day I noticed it was dragging a little and sure enough when I looked at the cutter a couple of spots looked back.

Iron sharp, I usually don't "test" a sharpened iron but the little smoother is such a joy to use I had to take a pass or two. The cut is slightly heavy on the left side but other than that this is how I like a plane to work.

I also dug out a couple of Veritas planes, the old style smoother and the new modular smoother. I really want to love both planes but I can't get past the Norris adjuster. Doesn't mean I will not keep trying but so far no joy. At least their cutters are sharp when I put 'em away.

Of the new Japanese chisels from Stan all are now sharp and ready to work except the two smallest bench chisels. I used one of the larger chisels to split out the tenon cheeks on the vise backer board the other day. A really nice chisel.

Off to Costco to spend my paycheck😁,


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Installing BenchCrafted Classic Screw and CrissCross

As I posted earlier the new BenchCrafted screw and crisscross was waiting on me when I came home last night. To install it on the shop Moravian bench will require making a new backer board and chop. I found a 12/4 hunk of what looks like Red Oak that is long enough and wide enough to make both the chop and backerboard buried deep in the wood pile. Otherwise I would have had to do a couple of glue ups or made a wood store run. Of course once I replace all the wood I had to move to get to the Red Oak I may wish I had just made a wood run.πŸ˜…

Both pieces are cut out with a true edge and face. The bottom tenon on the backer board is next. Here is a photo of splitting out the tenon.

I'll probably bore you'll with a tick tock of retrofitting a Benchcrafted screw and crisscross on an existing Moravian bench. That is if I can remember to take photos as the job progresses.


Update: It ain't gonna happen. The backerboard is about 6mm too short. The only way to make it work is major mods and it is not worth it. The wood screw works fine, just not a fast as the BenchCrafted with a crisscross. Oh well I now have a vise screw looking for a bench. I guess there is only one answer, build another bench.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Alright Guy

The title of this sucky blog came from a Gary Allen song from many years ago. I changed it from "Alright Guy" to "I'm a OK Guy" but bottom line that's where the title comes from. What made me think about it was on the way home Pandora played it. First time I had heard the song in years. BTW, nice memories.

Anyway here is a link, if interested: Alright Guy

My BeachCrafted vise screw and crisscross were waiting at the door when I made it home from work. Good timing as I have the weekend off.


Thursday, September 26, 2019


Richard Maguire over at The English Woodworker is selling his main workbench. While a completely different design vs. the Moravian bench he made a couple of statements that struck a chord.

The first was about the design: "I first designed this workbench to be a nice back to basics thing.

It was when everyone first started wanting bling on every corner of their benches. I wanted to try and make a point that the best benches had less, but what they did have was well thought out and worked."

The second was about the dimensions of the bench: "The workbench is 7 ft long, 2 ft wide and 34 inch tall. (2.1m x 600mm x 860mm) The top is 3 inch (76mm) thick..." Which are the basic dimensions I've settled into for my benches.

Two different designs that converge to make the same basic tool. BTW, his bench breaks down as well.

If I lived in the UK I'd be whipping out my AmEx.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

More Bread

Portuguese corn bread. It is a heavy little sucker, first time making and followed the recipe. Depending of taste and texture once it cools and if I decide it is worth making again I'll play with the amount of sugar and yeast.

Whatever it looks good and smells great.

BTW, I have a pot of fresh beans in the fridge. One of my favorite meals is fresh beans and old fashion farm cornbread, with a big slice of sweet onion and a hunk of cheese. For an old guy like me that no longer wants to chase women, it just doesn't get any better.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Outside Table

MsBubba wanted a table for the back garden. I had the abandoned base for her original desk sitting around so why not make a really bad top for it and paint the whole thing red.

Here is the result:

Don't look too closely it all falls under the 5 ft. or is it 10 ft. rule and even to those standards my excuse is it is a Shabby Chic table and I did it on purpose. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Moravian Workbench For Sale

A recently completed Moravian workbench for sale: $1600 USD FOB Tucson, AZ. 

The bench has a Poplar base with a Beech Slab and a BenchCrafted Classic vise screw with BC crisscross and a Beech chop. It is sized for a smaller shop with slab length 73 1/4" (1860mm), width 14 1/2" (365mm), thickness 3 1/2" (90mm), and the bench is 34 1/4" (860mm) high. The full length tool tray is 11 3/4" (275mm) wide giving a total bench width of 25 1/4" (860mm). The bench has a light coat of Tung oil finish.

The bench has been lightly used, it is very stable and works a treat, the BC vise is especially slick and fast and has the best holding power of any vise I've used. I'm selling this bench and a French/English bench to free up shop room.

A Moravian bench will break down into modules, Each module (with the exception of the lower shelf, four screws) can be taken apart and put back together with no tools other than a hammer or mallet and each is light enough and small enough to be carried by one person, even the slab can be moved without help.

The Moravian bench offers the stability of a much heavier bench like a Roubo and nearly the portability of a Workmate.


Sunday Bread

With the new bench finished and just putting up "stuff" in the shop I have a little time for life. One of the pleasures is good food and bread is a key building stone of eating well.

Here are two loafs fresh out of the oven:

There are crab cakes waiting to be cooked and MsBubba has asked for "Ranch" fries, those with a fresh green salad should take care of food needs for today.

I posted the new bench for sale in a couple of places today, we will see what happens.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tool Rack Part II

I added a tool rack to the bench this AM. After a couple of weeks of posting the bench is finished, it really is now. The tool rack even has a coat of Tung oil, you can't get more finished than that.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tool Rack

I've decided to do one more thing to the new bench before calling it finished. I like a tool rack on the back side of the working slab. It will be a quick job, just a long piece of Beech with three or four spacers and a trim of the tool tray so it all fits.

My thinking for now is once that is done I will put the new Moravian bench and the French/English bench up for sale. Because the Moravian has a couple of cosmetic blemishes (nothing that affects its strength or function) I will offer it for $1600 USD FOB Tucson. Because it breaks down and will fit on a pallet shipping cost should be reasonable. The French/English bench is another story, I expect it will need to sell to someone with a truck and within driving distance of Tucson. I'm asking $2200 USD for it also FOB Tucson.

The reason for selling the benches is I need the room and I have plans to build another Moravian with a Oak base and slab TBD that is slightly larger than the new bench.


Monday, September 09, 2019

Bench Shelf Installed

Installed a shelf on the long stretchers of the new bench. It is pretty much the same as the shelf on the shop Moravian, just a little shorter.

    from the other side:

Except for the end slats the slats are loose with a little "play" between slats. We are nearing the end of monsoon season which is our highest RH of the year so wood movement shouldn't be a problem.

This more or less finishes the bench. About the only other thing I might add is a tool rack on the back side of the slab. I'll live with the bench for a bit before deciding if a rack is needed.


Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Blogger Eating My Reply

MsBubba, Sweet Maggie Dog, and I are in the wilds of southern AZ, so close to the Mexican border our cell phones have welcomed us to Mexico. It is hard to believe but the State Park has functioning WiFi, that is the good news. The bad is Blogger ate all my posts.

I tried twice to post a well composed, witty, and informative reply to Ralph, Blogger ate both. I’ll try once more:, not as well composed nor witty: I’ve used a notched guide to dill one or two dog holes with success before. I can think of only a couple of things that could go wrong, you did not marry the drill and the notch or the sides of the notch were not vertical. Just one dog hole? Ain’t no way, I use too many dogs, stops, battens, and holdfasts to get by with just one. While the vise is used, other ways to hold work are used more.


Sunday, September 01, 2019

Dog Holes Drilled

Dog Holes Drilled:

It's 1000 in the desert and I'm already on a 15 minute work 15 minute cool off schedule. A couple of honeydoes first then I expect it will be geeking, pool time and maybe a little time on the sharpening bench working on some new Japanese chisels until the Sun goes down.


Drilling Dog Holes

I'm drilling two rolls of dog holes. The one on the end that is separated from the others is to hold a Veritas Wonder Dog for use when I need an end vise, it doesn't happen often enough to go to the trouble and expense of either a wagon or end vise install. The Wonder dog will usually take care of those needs without being in the way when not needed.

Next are ledgers on the long stretchers to hold a bottom shelf. I still have not decided on a backside tool rack. Also still undecided is either a deadman or most likely a bench jack.

The bench has one light application of Tung oil. Over the next few weeks as the oil dries there may be a couple more added.

Other changes are I'm ordering a BC Classic screw and 14" crisscross for the other bench. The portable bench may keep the wood screw.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Moving Stuff

In the never ending quest to fit 10 lbs into a 5 lb box and needing to find a place for the new workbench MsBubba and I moved a few things around in the shop this morning.

The table saw was moved closer to the jointer and the French/English bench was moved next to the West wall where it can become a flat surface to store "stuff". The new Moravian bench is now where the old French/English bench was before it give up its place.

I expect sometime in the next few days I'll post a for sale notice for both the old French/English and the new Moravian bench. I need the room.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Why Everyone Needs A Moravian Bench

The 99th reason everyone needs a Moravian bench. I assembled the portable Moravian bench in the back garden to help with final work on the new bench build. That need is finished so it is back to the bench's normal storage area.

As you can see apart it takes up maybe 4 square feet of floor space. Together or apart in less than 5 minutes and a "real" bench to work on where needed. Every homeowner should have one.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

BC Classic Vise Screw And 14" Crisscross

It is a short video showing spinning the vise open, placing a length of 1X in the jaw and spinning it closed. When it closes, without further motivation or touching the vise handle I edge plane the edge and the board does not move. Then I show how much more handle movement is available with little effort, plane again, then remove the board with again little effort on the vise handle to open the vise and give it a spin.

This is one sweet vise. It is a very easy install and is reasonably priced.  I will be replacing my wood screw with parallel guide vises on the other benches with the BC system.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Can You Hear The Fat Lady?

She is hitting the high notes as I type.

There is some minor cleanup to do, pencil lines, glue squeeze out, and I need to add the "Crubber" to the vise chop so it holds better. It will be tough to get to hold any better than it does now but I will add it anyway. Once the final clean up is finished I'll put some Tung oil on the base but may leave the slab dry until the bench finds a home.

It should be a good bench, from what work I've done on it it is rock solid, the vise is a dream, and it is a good working size.

As always, click 'em to big 'em.

BTW, today has been a tough working day, I'm not sure what the temp is but it is high and the RH is even higher. It has been a work for 10, rest and drink water for 20 all day.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Bench Finished..Kinda

The workbench part of the build is finished. All that is left is making a tool tray.

Tomorrow my guess is I'll spend most of the day digging through the wood pile trying to find something 4/4 wide enough, long enough, and straight enough to make a tool tray. I really don't want to go to the wood store.

Right now for the tool tray, if I find an ok hunk of wood, I'm thinking a simple rebate with glue and cut nails, quick and dirty but with the nails it should look pretty good. If I end up using some Pine I'll have to think about it.