Saturday, June 29, 2019

Photos of Sam

Photos of Sam in no order just so I have them in one place and can find 'em.

Good memories and times.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Sam The Wonder Dog RIP

After much worry and putting it off it came time to put Sam The Wonder Dog down. My heart is broken and it is hard to type through the tears. But it was time, I just wish someone could do the same for me when I can no longer function.

Here is Sam on his first day home from the pound. This was on 12/29/2010 and the pound folks said he was 5 years old at the time.

This was last year on the Oregon coast:

Sam wasn't much of a ball chaser, his game was "tug" and instead of carrying balls in his mouth it would be one of his "babies". The last of his favorite babies was Ducky.

There was no gentler dog than Sam. we never worried about him with anyone including babies. 

Of course any stuffed animal was his.

Like any Lab, life revolved around treats.

Rest in peace good friend, you will be missed.


Japanese Chisels

I may have mentioned Stanley Covington before. If not, a little background: Stan has worked in Japan for a number of years and is a very knowledge woodworker with connections to traditional Japanese blacksmiths. With his knowledge and connections he is a good source for Japanese knives and chisels.

I just received a beautiful set of Sukezane oiirenomi at a very fair price.

Here they are in the chisel rack:

The UPS Goddess smiled on me today, not only did the UPS girl deliver the set of chisels but also The BenchCrafted Classic screw and crisscross. I have no excuse now, everything needed to finish the bench is in house.  


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Chopping Dovetail Mortise

Smaller lapped dovetail mortises I'll take off the saw, these I figured would work better to get close to the sides with the saw and pare to fit. The first two proved that was a good decision, I hope these do as well. The only problem is it takes longer and there are more chances to screw up.

The day job has me booked seven days in a row starting this afternoon at 1600. Work on the bench will slow a little toward the end of the seven for no other reason after four days I will be dog ass tired and needing a break with three more to go. With no hiccups I'll leave the house at 1430 to start the brief at 1600, in the Sim at 1700. Out of the Sim 2100 and finish de-briefing by 2130. Records finished by 2200 and home between 2230 and 2300. A couple of hours geeking, scratching doggie butt and a whisky before bed, up no later than 0500, usually 0400. Repeat for seven.  Someday I'll learn how to mail it in but it hasn't happened yet.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

One Base Unit Finished

Except for chopping the long stretcher mortises one base unit is finished and one to go. The first base pulled up square with only a couple of small gaps, fine furniture, no go without figuring out how to hide 'em, but for a workbench it looks good to me.

I picked up 48 BF of 8/4 European Beach for the slab yesterday. Once the other base is finished it will be time to rip the Beach and glue up the slab. The BenchCrafted screw and crisscross has been shipped, this sucker may be in the short rows soon. 


Friday, June 21, 2019

Upper and Middle Stretchers Fitted

The upper and middle stretchers have been fitted. Next up is the bottom stretcher with a lapped dovetail joint and then drill and pare the long stretcher mortise. Other than size and the angle the long stretcher mortise is a piece of cake because it needs to be loose.

There is a very slight curve in the #IV middle stretcher shoulder causing a small gap at the top. I'm not sure if it is worth fooling with it is so slight, other than the one shoulder everything has pulled up nice and tight.

I've the weekend off. If I can stay out of MsBubba's line of sight I might get the base units finished. Still a bit of work with a slab glue up, vise chop/backer board install and tool tray to build.

I ordered the BenchCrafted Classic Vise Screw with the new 14" Crisscross this morning, I could be waiting on the vise hardware to finish this sucker.


Middle Mortise and Tenon

Most of the time to make a mortise hole I just grab a chisel and beaver away. Not on these chip breath, Mostly because of the size, I'm drilling and paring. It is a little slower and because I didn't match the tenon to a chisel size a little easier and probably gives better results.

The first test fit is perfect:

The tenon needs maybe one or two swipes with a plane and it should slide home.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Back To The Bench

The top stretchers are finished and fitted.  Next are the middle stretchers.

The middle stretcher uses a single shoulder, flush to the face M/T joint. Once you understand what you are trying to do the markout is easy but can cause confusion if you do not pay attention to the marking, sawing and chopping.

The mortise gauge is set so the far pin rides on the back edge of the stretcher so it makes a single mark on the stretcher. The waste is the face side leaving a tenon on the back side of the stretcher. Marking the mortise is just normal mortise marking using the face edge to reference the fence.

Will Myers threw me a curve yesterday. He posted about a new Bench Crafted Crisscross that works with a standard portable Moravian bench. For his installation he used a BC metal screw, not necessarily a deal killer but I like the Lake Erie wood screws. Will and I have had a little back and forth about using a wood screw with the crisscross (room issues) but as I haven't ordered the vise screw yet I've decisions to make. I expect I'll wait on Will to checkout the room issue before ordering a vise screw. One of the reasons for building this bench was to try the new 2X Lake Erie screw but I want to try the BC crisscross as well.

Two possible answers; build another bench, one using the BC crisscross and one the Lake Erie 2X or just make two vises with vise backers for this bench and then A&B 'em to see which I like best.

Not a bad problem to have,


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Happy Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth. In a just world Juneteenth would be as celebrated as July 4th. It is the day when the USA made its first baby steps towards living up to the words of the the Declaration of Independence.

A link to Juneteenth history And another.


Good News

I just received word that the Texas Tech University Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library has accepted my photo archives. Although you can't tell from my quickie woodworking photos at one time I was a working photographic artist. For years I've worried about what to do with my photographic work. Because I was a photographic diarist I felt it was important that the work be preserved for future historians but I knew once dead the archives were on a short ride to the dump. Whatever for the next month or so I will be going through all my stored photographs, culling the crap and boxing up the keepers.

Nostalgia time, as Mr. Bunker would say; Those were the days.

My thanks to Jean Caslin who made it happen.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Beavering Away On The Bench

The bench is coming along I've sawed the upper stretcher tenons.

You gotta love bridle joints, they are quick work. After chopping the bridle joints and cutting the 15 degree bevel on the top of the leg, fitting the upper stretcher was a walk in the park.

Just a reminder, click 'em to big 'em.

Next is finishing the other base pair upper stretcher and starting on the middle stretcher M/T joints.


cheeks beavering

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bench, Marking Out Complete

Completed the marking out, now the fun starts. As I have posted before, on the base unit there are three different joint types plus the wedged M/T long stretchers.

The three types of joints are part of the genius of the original makers. Each of the joints is the simplest and quickest to make that is also strong enough for its job.

The top stretcher uses a brindle joint. a through mortise would add no strength and a brindle is much quicker and easier to make.  The middle stretcher is a pegged through M/T with a single shoulder, again quicker and I expect stronger against racking than a double shouldered tenon. The bottom stretcher's only job is to keep the bottom of the base's legs from spreading. A lapped dovetail is perfect for that job and easier and quicker to cut than a M/T.

Tonight, tomorrow and for the next few days there will be lots of chisel and saw work and I expect a little sweat.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cutting The Long Stretcher Tenons

Joinery work has started, kinda. Because the mortise is angled it is easier to mark out the mortise using the angled tenon. The last of the base mark out is the long stretcher mortise. Once I have a long stretcher tenon cut I can finish the base mark out.

Small brain fart on the mark out, I had the middle stretcher marked too close to the upper stretcher. Not a biggie, the bottom mark should have been the top mark, squiggle a pencil across the top mark and mark a new bottom. If that is the biggest problem during the build I'll be in good shape.

The tenon shoulder is angled 15 degrees which of course means all the base cuts will be angled 15 degrees.  You really need a good bevel gauge with a reliable lock for this build.

Shop is getting hot, time to walk away and make a Costco run followed by a afternoon nap. After the nap it's monkey suit and a dark box strapped to my ass for most of the night.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Marking Out Base Legs

The fun part of the build starts with marking out the base unit legs. While I've done this a few times it is always a good idea to go back and review the process.

I'm making a couple of changes this time, while I've marked the legs and stretchers with chiseled Roman numerals before I've always marked on the non-show side and usually just one side. This time I'm chiseling the numbers on both edge and face sides of each leg and stretcher. When glue up time comes there should be no question where the faces are and what tenon fits which mortise.

Depending on glue used and temperature, bench glue up can get a little frantic when working alone. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way and it is a workbench dontcha know.

The basic reference lines are marked, now it is just extending the marks around the legs and marking out the actual joints. 

The lower stretcher and the long stretcher joints are marked on the edge face and the middle mortise and top bridle joints are marked on the reference face. Easy to get confused when you are old and confused most of time anyway.

I was late getting to the shop this morning (honeydos) and it is already too hot to do much more. I have a late shift tomorrow so maybe tonight of early AM tomorrow I can finish marking the legs and start chopping mortises Sunday.


Japanese Knives

I received three knives from Stan Covington yesterday. The top knife is for cutting thin slices of fish when you are making sushi, the middle is a vegetable knife and the bottom is a heavy duty knife that is used in Japan to break down whole fish.

Japanese knives are a joy to use. They can be incredibly sharp, well balanced, and purpose made. These three join the other three Japanese knives in my knife block and I expect will see lots of use. Training MsBubba in the use and caring may be interesting although she has shown an interest and willingness after her first use. The light balance and sharpness is a pretty good salesman.

Stan is a treasure. He has lived and worked in Japan for years and knows many of the working blacksmiths. Not only that, he is a willing sharer of his tool knowledge which is also extensive. Long way around to if you would like to buy Japanese tools Stan is the man. See link above.

As anyone that has seen photos of my shop knows, I have no need for more chisels. But as with most things tools, what does need have to do with it? Stan and I are working on a small order of chisels, I expect six or eight to start with more to follow as I figure out which gaps in my Japanese chisels need filling.

Posts and photos to follow,


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Bench Base Scut Work Done

If you have a good imagination and squint a bit you can almost see a Moravian Bench base.

With the milling scut work finished the rest of the base is pretty easy with little wrestling of heavy timber. Six joints plus four for the long stretchers and chopping four mortises for the keys. This bench is a sheet of cake to built.

The next heavy work is the slab, and that is to be decided as I look for wood. I can always fall back on laminating the slab out of 8/4 Beech if I can't find a 12/4 whatever that is wide enough.

Mark out of the base units is next. That may wait until tonight or tomorrow morning, the shop is getting a little hot to work in. The desert is a wonderful place to live but afternoons are best spent in the pool and/or napping.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Bench Legs, Bread, and Pickles

It got a little hot in the shop to wrestle timbers through the machines, I did finish the legs and just have the long stretchers to go. I'll get them either after sunset or in AM.

Legs ready to markout:

The kitchen is nice and cool and if I piddle around in it good things to eat result. Today it is bread, pickled jalapenos, and pickled cabbage. Both the cabbage and the jalapenos are in a sweet Vietnamese pickle. First taste is a winner.

I've been thinking about a pepper sauce for awhile. It's simple, just jalapenos, garlic, a little cumin, vinegar, sugar, and salt and a touch of yeast. Right now it is damn good, I'll let it ferment for a day or so to see what happens.

Almost time to cut the bread.



Sunday, June 09, 2019

More Bench

There are four legs and two long stretchers in that pile. After ripping them from the 12/4 slabs I'd had enough heavy lifting for the day. Tomorrow, while it is still cool, I'll cut everything to rough length and true with the machines. Once everything is true the heavy lifting for the base is done. The marking out will go pretty fast because I've done it enough times I expect little head scratching and I hope few mistakes.

One of the nice things about this Will Myers designed Moravian bench is he stayed true to the original. When I built the first one I didn't appreciate how perfect each joint was for its intended use. There are three different type joints in each base unit, each of the joints is the simplest and easiest to make and yet do the needed job. Only after building a couple more did the light bulb turn on and I realized just how smart the design was.


Dave's Shaves Received

Had a box from Dave's Shaves waiting when I made it home after work. I ordered 3 shaves, a 11" flat bottom, a 11" round bottom. and a 8" round bottom.

The three plus a "small" (9 1/2") flat bottom shave from the Windsor Chair Studio at the top of the photo:

All work very well, easy to set and are light and nimble. The build quality of the Dave's Shaves is outstanding, just beautiful tools. BTW, all four shaves use Hock O1 cutters.

In spite of my best intentions the tool jones overcomes. This morning I ordered three new Japanese kitchen knives from Stanley Covington and expect an order for a dozen or so chisels to follow, if I can make my feeble mind up on which ones to buy, The knives I kinda need or at least I can kid myself into believing I have a need, chisels not so much. It is just pure tool lust. 


Thursday, June 06, 2019

New Moravian Bench

Went by the Woodstore on the way home from work. They had some nice 12/4 Poplar sticks in the stacks. I picked up two for legs and long stretchers plus one 8/4 hunk for the short stretchers.

I'm getting too old to handle 12/4 wood even if it is Poplar. A photo of breaking the 12/4 down into something I can wrestle into the shop.

The new bench will be portable with a 380mmX1800mm slab. The slab will be laminated Beech, I figure about 15 BF @ $6 USD/BF, with waste the slab should be about $100 USD. The Poplar for the base was $275 USD and a Lake Erie 2X vise screw kit is $330 USD, $250 USD if I go for the standard screw. Add it all up and material to build is ~$700 USD. BTW, there ain't no money in building benches, it is a work of love or compulsion I'm not sure which.

Monday, June 03, 2019

"I don't much care for furniture making, but I love to make work benches!"

While looking at an old thread about workbenches on SMC I ran across that quote by George Wilson. George was/is a very accomplished woodworker/instrument maker. That quote was like a slap upside the head. It made me realize that's pretty much how I feel. I make furniture as an excuse to make workbenches. I may be re-ordering my work. 

There is likely a new small, light, and portable Moravian bench in my future. I really want to try the new double speed Lake Erie wood screw. Once the bench is finished I can figure out what to do with it.


Beans and Cornbread

I may change the blog to a food blog, seems I've been cooking more than woodworking lately 😏. As posted yesterday this is another of my favorite meals. Back in the day, early 50's, I had lunch every school day at a chili parlor across the street. If memory is correct I paid $0.09 for a bowl of beans and a cornbread muffin. The chili was way too expense @ $0.25 or so, besides I liked the beans better.

This is true comfort food. The hunk of cheese and the slice of onion are required.


Sunday, June 02, 2019


I was working nights as a Medical Lab Technician and days at the airport twisting wrenches to pay for my flying. I was close to finishing up my CFI so I could take the first step toward becoming a professional pilot. My future wife (FW) was working nights that Summer as a nurse’s aide at the same hospital. I can’t say we met cute but it wasn’t long before we were an item. She was in the UT’s nursing school, I made a lot of trips to Austin that Fall before she transferred to UT Galveston. Neither one of us had a penny to spare but some way we found enough money to be together.

A little back story: Roe v Wade wasn’t decided until Jan 1973. For a couple of years in the late 1960’s I was a very unsuccessful Medical supply salesman but I did have one important client a “Doctor Brown” who had an office in downtown Houston on Milam St. While I never met Dr. Brown I supplied his office with the best medical equipment money could buy and got to know his office nurse well. As you can guess Dr. Brown took care of the rich and well connected Southeast Texans with an inconvenient pregnancy. I wasn’t rich or well connected but I did know his office nurse. 

Shortly after transferring to Galveston, FW found out she was pregnant. We knew by then we were going to marry but not until FW had finished school and had her BS in nursing. I was working two jobs, day and night to pay the rent and finish my flight training. Neither of us could finish our school or training if we married and had a baby. The problem was abortion was illegal, I did know Dr. Brown’s nurse and after much “what do we do” I went to her. Yes FW could get a safe abortion but it would cost $600. Two kids without an extra penny to their name having to come up with $4000 in today’s dollars was devastating. Someway we did it, today I’m not sure how but we did.

If we hadn’t our lives would be ruined, two people that because of an illegal abortion were able to live productive lives. FW went on to a PhD in nursing and I was to have a mildly successful forty year career flying corporate aircraft ending up on a Gulfstream GIV flying almost everywhere in the world before retiring to instruct other corporate pilots.

I’m telling this story because it is imperative that we keep abortion legal, safe, and cheap. FW and I were lucky because by chance I knew a safe abortion provider before Roe v Wade. At that time not many at our social level were so lucky. My and FW’s story is just one of millions then and now and anyone trying to take us back to before Roe v Wade is a cruel and heartless panty sniffing prig of an SOB.

Vote as if your life and your kid's life depend on it, because it does.



Some days life is more than working wood. This has been one of 'em.

Here is today's lunch:

All but the pita bread made from scratch. For the folks not familiar with MiddleEastern/North African food starting at the upper right is Tabbouleh, a Parsley Bulgur Wheat salad, Saffron Rice, Falafel, ground chickpeas mixed with spices and fried, Tzatziki sauce, yogurt, lemon juice and cucumber, and Hummus a mixture of pureed chickpeas and sesame (tahini). 

A great meal, one of my favorites along with pinto beans and cornbread. Pinto beans and cornbread may be tomorrow's lunch.