Sunday, July 12, 2020

Testing Assumptions

It is easy to get lost in your prejudices and assumptions. I like to test mine occasionally, while my tests are also objective and those same prejudices and assumptions can effect the outcomes I do try to limit the effect.

I've freehand sharpened for years. I believe it is faster, easier, and for the most part better than using a sharpening jig. Today I decided to A &B a pair of SwissMade chisels, one a 19mm and the other 16mm. It would have been better if both chisels were the same size but I do not have two of the same brand and size.

Both chisels I ground to a 25* bevel on the Tormek and sharpened using the same progression of Oil stones. A medium India, a Lilly White Washita, a Norton Hard White Arkansas, and a Hard (Surgical) Black Arkansas. Both edges were stropped on a hard leather strop with green stuff.

The guide used was an original Eclipse. I had forgotten how slow using a guide is. It is not just adjusting the chisel and guide, it is also the guide required more strokes on each stone to get to the same place. Another advantage of freehand is feedback, when free-handing you can feel when you have spent enough time on each stone. If I used a jig long enough I might develop that feel but I doubt it.

A plus for using a guide is a flat bevel, sometime freehand that is not the case.

The real test is metal to wood and here is where prejudice is hard to control. I will just say on the same piece of wood, side by side cuts, the freehand felt easier to push. When looking at the surface left with a 10X lupe the freehand surface was slightly smoother.

Of course YMMV.

I expect if for no other reason than speed and ease if the jig cutter had been the better of the two I would still sharpen freehand. The good news is there is little difference between the two as far as sharpness. Take your pick and use the method that blows your skirt.

Wear a mask and stay safe,


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Tucson is Hotter than Hell

I'm an old desert rat, I've lived a good part of my life in one desert or another. Hot summers are just part of life and have not been a big deal. Here comes the but, over the last couple of summers the heat is getting to me. I'm not sure if it is age, past heat exposure, or if it is really getting that much hotter. Bottom line I just had to do a small job in the back garden and it is good that it was small otherwise I would not have finished.

While there has been no rain we are in Monsoon, the worst part with no cooling rain but high RH. With the high RH there is no cooling in the shade and the wind is like a blast furnace. The only answer is to do like the Bedouins and cover up. I wish I had some North African robes to wear this Summer.

Ok no more pitiful me, I left the shop in an unusable mess when we left for Oregon. In some ways that is good news because it means I have to clean and organize before I can do any work. That is in progress and in a couple more days I may start a project.

The three levels of curiosity:

Credit: Land of Cuteness.

What can I say other than I'm a sucker for puppies.

Levi has outgrown the chair and table I made several years ago, it is being passed down to Abby along with the last chair I made for him. It took so long to get to Houston he out grew it. I sent a "big boy" chair home with the kids when they passed thru Tucson so I expect the next project will be a school desk to go with the chair.

Take care, wear your mask, and remember heat can kill you,


Tuesday, July 07, 2020


As I headed up Ironwood Hills (1/2 mile from home) yesterday evening the last sliver of the Sun sank below the Tucson Mountains. It is good to be home even though MsBubba is still in Oregon and may stay through September. Sweet Maggie Dog and I are on our own for now.

Most of the time one of my great pleasures in life is strapping the motorhome (or just about anything with a motor that moves) to my ass and going somewhere. Not this time, a 1000 miles of beat up California Freeway, going thru LA, and high winds kicked my ass. With the rough road and high winds, it was all I could do to keep the motorhome between the bar ditches and not be run over or hit something for the full 1000 miles. Just south of Sacramento I hit a really bad rough patch of road that knocked the passenger side mirror out of its mount. I happened to be looking at it at the time to see if I could mover over a lane, to bad Charley it's gone. Try going thru LA blind on your right side.

Here is Mt. Shasta before the road and wind started kicking my ass:

Anyway enough kvetching, it is good to be home.

A couple of thoughts: Times have changed. In Oregon there are very few liqueur stores, in a small town maybe one or none. Cannabis stores on the other hand are on just about every other street corner.

We spent a couple of days parked in the Evergreen Air/Space Museum parking lot (they allow two days free parking). It reminded me of how visionary Dale Smith was. He could be and often was a complete asshole to work for, the standing joke at Evergreen was "you were fired the day you were hired, you just didn't know what day it was".

Dale was a pioneer in the commercial use of helicopters, hauling freight by airplane, and of course developing the 747 wild fire fighter. Working for Evergreen and flying Dale Smith around the world was by far the most interesting job I had in almost 50 years of flying for beans and tortillas. I will never run out of "there I waz" bar or hanger stories.

While there we drove around town looking for our old home (two blocks from the center of town) and were reminded how beautiful McMinnville is.  It is like a movie set of a small town or a picturesque European town with baskets of flowers on every corner,  Working retail shops and cafes with sidewalk tables. Everything is within walking distance and you want to do it. MsBubba asked why we ever left, I didn't have an answer.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Still On The Road

My best guess is another week before I head back to Tucson, maybe longer but we will see. Internet and cell phone coverage is spotty on the Oregon coast. In addition because of the trees satellite coverage is hit or miss as well. It is amazing how well you can survive without either.

See you guys on down the road,


Thursday, June 18, 2020


Time for my Juneteenth post. I just saw on MSNBC that a group of congress critters were going to introduce a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday. It is about time, Juneteenth is the day we kinda started to live up to our talk, 160 odd years later we still are not walking the walk but there is hope. Tomorrow remember we can be better.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

On The Road

Two days of hard driving and one not as hard and I can say "I'm cold". We've made it to northern Oregon which is as far north as we plan on going this trip. While traveling in the motor home is much slower than by car or motorcycle it is the only way to go.  There are no public heads or hotels to deal with and a good meal, as an example one of our lunches was fried shrimp with rice and a salad, can be available at almost any wide spot in the road. When you are ready to shut it down for the day all you need is a Walmart or Indian casino's parking lot and no bag drag is needed.

I did not pack the workbench, just a shavehorse and some spoon making tools. I may end up regretting leaving the bench behind.

This trip is pretty open ended,  I expect it will be at least a month and a couple of different State Parks before I pat MsBubba on the butt and Sweet Maggie Dog and I head back to Tucson. MsBubba may stay until October before I drive back to pick her and the Fit up. Back in the day, I would do the shuttle with the motorcycle. 

See you guys on down the road,


Sunday, June 07, 2020

Bogger Eating Replies

I've tried two different browsers with the same result. Hit "publish" and the reply flashes on the screen and then disappears.  Sorry, some of the replies were just brilliant, damn I hate that when it happens.

Bob, I tried there times, of course each got shorter.


Friday, June 05, 2020

Table Finished

The fat lady is going home and I've put my tools away, this sucker is finished.

One more:

And the last one:

As with most big projects, it was not finished when planed but unlike most big projects it had no cost overrun and I'm tired of fooling with it. But on the other hand last night after MsBubba went to bed I set at the table for over an hour running my hand along the surfaces, looking, and thinking this is good.


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

First Coat of Finish

The first coat of finish is drying:

I'm using Waterlux Original for the slab and tung oil for the base. The Waterlux is supposed to look like Tung oil when finished, it doesn't, but it resists water stains and is easily repaired if needed. I used in on my bathroom vanity and after three or four years it still looks good.

It normally takes 3 or 4 coats and needs 24 hours to dry between coats so it will be the weekend before the fat lady breaks into song.

BTW, I decided on belts and suspenders.  I added "Z" clips as well as pegs to hold the table top. Prophylactic taking care of the problem of the top coming lose when MsBubba moves it around the house, which happens often and I would hear about it each time it came loose.

I will not know for sure if I met my design goals until it is in use but I think it will. I wanted a smaller but sturdy table, one that is good for 2 couples and maybe a third in a pinch. I wanted a vernacular, outsider, rustic (whatever you want to call it), look. One that after several years of abuse still looks ok.


Monday, June 01, 2020

In The Short Rows

This time the fat lady is truly in the building. What is left is blind pegging the slab to the base, putting a small chamfer on the lower surface and breaking the edges. Tung oil on the base and maybe a Waterlux finish on the slab.

Side view:

From the end:

I expect by the weekend this sucker will be in the kitchen and in use.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Fitting Slab to Base

I've moved to the back garden to fit the slab to the base. Mostly because I need the room to work. It is not as convenient as working in the shop but having room to move things as needed makes up for the need to find and move tools. Now it is time for the required praise of the portable Moravian bench, you have heard it before, bottom line it makes it possible. 

Working on the base:

From the other side showing the portable bench:

This part isn't difficult, just fiddly with doing a little, checking work, doing a little more, once close, moving the slab back and forth until the sucker is nailed.

I dropped one of my long levels this morning, the plastic was so old and brittle it broke in the middle. So far I'm getting along with out it but I may need a trip to the tool store before finishing.

The other hold up is it is only 0800 and I'm already sweating like a pig and needing breaks often. We had another Monsoon type storm last night with rain and very strong gusting winds. I expect the RH is high because my sweat is not drying quickly, instead it is getting on my glasses and in my eyes,

That is the bad news, the good is the sooner it is too hot to work outside I'll come in and make a Mincemeat pie. Then MsBubba and I will probably jump in the pool for a bit, mostly to clean up the mess that was blown into it last night and maybe have a drink or two. Life is good in the desert.


Friday, May 29, 2020

The Fat Lady Returns

The table slab is out of clamps and looks good, nice and flat with a clean joint. One of the base units is ready for finish, the other needs a little work. I may get this sucker finished.

Slab out of clamps:

We had our first Monsoon type rain of the season this afternoon. It wasn't really part of the Monsoon, the temps have not been high enough for long enough to bring enough moisture up from the Gulfs. Our RH has remained under 10%. For Monsoon we need to get the RH over 25% for a few days. But it was non frontal monsoon type rain. Because the RH is so low most the rain was Virga with little reaching the ground.

BTW, even though our days are hot, today's high 110F, the evenings, nights, and mornings are delightful. Many nights need a blanket or you will be cold. Once Monsoon and the high RH's arrive all that changes and the evenings stay hot. Several years ago I had a 0400 takeoff out of Scottsdale where I had to restrict fuel because it was still 103F at takeoff time.

View to the North with easy to see Virga:

The Sonoran desert may be the most beautiful desert in the world. Unlike many deserts there is abundant vegetation and life. Most of it either sticks, stings, or bites but whatever, there is plenty of it.

View to the West:

The Saguaro have almost finished producing beautiful white flowers, next is setting fruit which when ripe will split open revealing a red pulpy flesh. The birds love it and for weeks everything is covered with red bird poop.

BTW, I was asked if I would consider returning to work in a couple of weeks. Sorry Charley it ain't going to happen till it is safe.

Take care, wear your masks, protect yourself and others.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Fat Lady Left The Building

The fat lady decided she needed her nails done or some such. After trimming the table top to size it decided to do some stupid wood tricks.  I had finished with both the scrub and jack planes and had started working with the big sucker and the slab was getting close to needing the smoother. Not so fast shaving breath, when I went out yesterday the slab had bowed, not a lot but enough to see if you look down the slab. Back to step one, out comes the scrub and jacks.

Oh well, I need the exercise.

This being retired changes things, of course money is one of them but mostly time. Because of time I find myself slipping into old fart things like growing tomatoes and peppers. Here in the desert there are challenges with the tomatoes and I expect most other plants. Bottom line even if the plant needs full sun it does not need full Arizona afternoon sun. Which was my next project, a place to hold the tomato plants that would allow some shade and keep 'em safe from the "pigs". It is not pretty but was planned perfectly, I ran out of holes at the same time I ran out of screws.


Cloth that can be re-positioned for shade to be added.


Sunday, May 17, 2020


For the first time in my life I've filed for unemployment insurance. Here in AZ you can do it over the internet, so far it has been painless. My layoff is until August, at that time I'm not sure what I will do if recalled. If nothing has changed I will retire. A good friend who is also one of the smartest people I've known and is a Doc sent me a link on the risks of Covid-19. It is well worth your time to read.

The Risks-Know Them-Avoid Them

I may get to like this retirement thing, MsBubba has been on my case for years to do it but I've resisted for reasons. Who knows what they were but they were damn good.

When this started I tipped the scales in the mid 230 pounds, now I'm 207 as of this AM. The only things that have changed are because of Covid-19 I'm not eating out and because I'm not working there is no "fast food". That is reason enough to retire plus with the needs of Casa Chaos, the shop, and MsBubba's watchful eye there is no time to get bored.

MsBubba has been on my case to find some way to protect the Motorhome tires, for good reason, they cost about $3000 USD to replace and they always age out before they wear out. The problem is the store bought covers will barely last a couple of seasons and good ones are not cheap. Being from Texas I came up with redneck tire protectors.

They work pretty good even in high winds and are kinda fun to make because they are not fine furniture. A gap or two makes no never mind. In fact all the joints were cut with a Stanley Hard Point panel saw.

Frame in glue up:

In between all the other things I'm still flattening the table top. The upper surface is ready for the long planes. The lower surface I'll get close and then just finish where the table top sets on the base.

Working on the lower surface:

One last thought, Pre-War Marples chisels are close to perfection. The only current production chisels that come close to the steel, balance and feel of the Marples are from Ashley Iles and they only come close.

Read the link, use the information, and be safe out there,


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Flatting The Slab

The back side of the slab has a hump down the middle like the joined edge was not square. There is no twist and the join lines are good. I thought about splitting the slab and re-glueing for a couple of seconds. Instead I'll just plane the hump out, "just" he says. I expect some noodle arms and a lot of moaning and groaning by the time the job is done. That's the bad, the good is I have a couple of wood stock Jacks and a ECE scrub to do the job. I've already dulled all three so it is time to take a break before sharpening.

When I break I'll spend some time going through more of the photo files. It is a slow slog going through the "Raw Download" files. First there are a ton of 'em. Back in the day I had a rule that I had to shoot a minimum of 80 square inches of film a day. That was at least four 4X5 or one roll of either 35mm or 120 film. That's the bad news, the good is most of the photos are on film and only the last few years were digital.  BTW, the negative files and prints will follow.

Here is one of the photos I found last night, if you look real hard you can see MsBubba in a white shirt (it should have been red) next to the rock:

One from the airport:

One more from the Houston Family series:


Monday, May 11, 2020

Short Rows

The two slab pieces are waiting on the glue pot to warm, once the glue is up to temp I'll join the slab half's. The base units have been cleaned up and drilled for draw boring, same story waiting on the glue to wqrm up.

After many years of "yes dear, I'll go through the photo archives tomorrow", well tomorrow has finally arrived. It is a good thing I've retired because it is almost like the stables, there is no end in sight. That's the bad news, the good is it for now is kinda fun.

The big difference in my self photos is my hair was dark brown, almost black, now there is a little less of it and it is mostly brownish grey.

Ugly Dude on the Beach with Flag:

A photo from a Series on a Houston family:

And one from the Ogden Street Project:

last one for the day:

These are easy, mostly just loading files off too many CD's to count. The work will come when I start going through the negatives and prints.


Friday, May 08, 2020

Not Much Exciting

The last of the slab boards is waiting glue up. The stretcher tenon shoulders have been cleaned up and squared up. One foot has been cleaned up, one to go. Nothing too exciting or even photo worthy but things that have to be taken care of to finish the table. Shop is hot so I'm finished for the day, a whisky and maybe some time in the pool before dinner. Such is the life of a retired shelter in place guy and S.O..

BTW, we watched "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" last night. What a hoot, close ups of darting eyes, a story line that made little sense and bad history, and if IRC shot in Spain. I have to give MsBubba credit, she stuck it out to the end. Most of the time when we watch my nostalgia movies by mid movie she is out of there.

Be safe guys. We have idiots running most of the U.S. that on purpose or not are trying to kill us.


Thursday, May 07, 2020

Clean Up Day

One half of the slab is glued up and off the bench. I'll start stock prep on the other half this afternoon. The base units are together and waiting on final fitting and clean up. This morning some time was spent on the chisels used to get to this point, while most were sharpened in progress, six were on the sharpening bench.

The other half of the the slab will take two to three days plus another to fuse the two sides. My thinking at this time is to do some basic clean up on the slab and then take it to Woodworkers Source for finishing. They have a 36" stroke sander and the slab will just fit.

One half of the slab off the bench:

 While I feel like I'm in the short rows, it will be another week before the fat lady sings.

Levi, our first grandchild has just finished being read the "Lord of The Rings" and watched the movies. Now he wants a fairy garden with a fairy door. Between MsBubba and I we kinda made one, surprisingly without a visit from the local Sheriff.


Tuesday, May 05, 2020

New Shop Mascot

I was standing at the bench with loupe in hand looking at a cutter edge when out of the corner of my eye I saw a black snake about a meter long slither out from under the bench heading for a corner of the shop where stuff was stored. Once over the startle effect I googled "black snake Arizona" and came up with a Black Kingsnake. It is rare and only found in the States along the Mexico border.  They are harmless, other than heart attacks, and live on other snakes, mice, and rats.

Bottom line, as long as he/she doesn't crawl up my leg the snake has a home for as long as he/she wants it.


Started the Slab Glue Up

First two boards are in the clamps. This is/will be a hot hide glue rub joint glue up. The reason for the clamps is I did a light "spring joint" of the boards to put any gaps in the middle.

I'm getting too old and weak to wrestle timber, it kicks my ass anymore. That's the bad news, the good is as long as we are sheltering in place any new project will be small using the wood in the wood pile or cutoff pile. Maybe a few boxes, display cases, and spoons are in my future.


Angled Mortise

I'm chopping the last mortise for the kitchen table. The mortise front wall needs to be, maybe not a perfect 9 1/2 degrees but it should be pretty damn close. As with all angled mortises a chisel guide helps maintain the angle.

Here is mine. I used the wedge to set the table saw to cut the guide that way the angle doesn't matter.

In the photo is my new favorite mortise chisel for mortises that are too wide to use the 1/2" pig sticker. The Narex firmer chisel has a Hornbeam handle which will work with a metal hammer, I'm not a fan of wood mallets or soft faced hammers for mortise work. The cutter while not great is good enough.


Sunday, May 03, 2020

Table Test Fit

This really isn't a test fit other than the stretcher. I just wanted to get  rough idea of how the table will look once finished. BTW, I like.

Tomorrow I'll chop the final two mortises and make the associated wedges along with starting the slab glue up. Usually on large glue ups like this slab I will only glue two sticks at a time that means the slab glue up will likely take three days to finish. While the slab is being glued up I"ll clean up the base units and peg 'em. A week or so and this sucker will be finished, it is kinda nice to not have a day job.


Saturday, May 02, 2020

Stretcher Placement

The pressure to finish the kitchen table has increased, we moved the old table out to MsBubba's studio so all we have is a folding table to eat on.

I clamped the stretcher to the leg uprights to get a feel for stretcher placement.

The stretcher is about 70mm to 80mm high in this photo.

Four mortises, clean up the two bases units, glue up a slab and this sucker will be finished.


Thursday, April 30, 2020

Limping Along, Pushing Decisions Ahead

Since March I've been on a suspended state with work. No work from home because there is nothing I can do but allowed to stay home with pay and benefits. That has been the status, it was expected to end on May 15th. I had a big decision to make, go back to work on the 16th or retire. I got a call this morning that gives me a third option which is a temporary (75 day) layoff. No pay but retain my benefits. The layoff also will allow drawing unemployment.

While I really had no option on the 16th, there wasn't any way I was going back to work and sit in a very small black box with two clients who could very easily kill me.

Bottom line I've kicked the can on down the road for an additional 75 days. Every day closer to December, when MsBubba starts drawing SS, which also was my planned time of retirement helps.  We can do it now but I will ride this pony as long as I can.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Leg Module Rough Fit

Both legs have been fitted with the cross piece. Next is chopping the stretcher mortise and cleaning up the leg moduals .

This sucker is getting close to the short rows. My problem once here I start losing interest, I need Ralph to move next door so he can do the finishing.

All my life I've been a framer, never a finish carpenter.  I use to love framing building, getting them to dried in then at the end of the day sitting back with a beer and enjoying seeing what we have done.


Fitting Slab Cross Support To Uprights

So far today I've stayed out of MsBubba's line of sight so some work is being done on the table. Today I'm fitting the table cross supports to the leg uprights. I'm using a bridle joint that will be draw bored with I'm thinking three pegs. The only difficulty with bridle joints is getting all the nasty bits out of the corners and the floor flat all the way across.

I've a trip to the wood store coming up to find wood for the slab. The slab will somewhat depend on what I find there at a reasonable price, MsBubba likes smooth, I like to feel tool marks and wood texture. On the slab she will win so I avoid the side eye every time she sits at the table. That kinda eliminates the Oaks, either Walnut or Cherry would be nice but have you seen the price of either. I hope something at the wood store inspires me.

The good news; Because of the way the table is constructed, if I start getting the side eye I can remove the slab and make another.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Table Uprights Fitted

The table uprights have been fitted to their mortises. The shoulders still need a little trimming but that will come.

Next is cutting the uprights to length and sawing the bridle joints for the table supports. BTW, the long board behind the table feet will be the stretcher,  the table support boards are to the right on the drill press table.

The slab is still undecided, I guess a trip to the wood store is in the near future.

Stay safe,


Friday, April 24, 2020

More Liquid Hide Glue

The first batch of liquid hide glue is finished. Next up is testing the glue strength of the liquid vs. hot. Short story, the liquid joint failed at the glue line. The hot did not. Here are the photos:

Liquid hide glue joint done with clamps:

Liquid hide glue joint failed at the glue line:

Same wood cleaned up and joined with a hot hide glue rub joint:

I did not clean up the glue line so it would be easy to see that the glue line did not fail.

BTW, click 'em to big 'em.

Both failed with about the same pressure per my calibrated muscles. To be definitive more test would be needed but if the results held my first question would be, where do you want the joint to fail. Clean at the glue line or the wood itself.  I think that answer would be, depends.

Almost finished with the roof, just a couple of clean up items to go. I will say this for sheltering in place, a lot of things that have been pushed off are getting done.

There are a couple of inexpensive "toys" you need to help survive COVID-19. From my reading what is happening to folks infected with the novelvirus is they are showing up for help too late. The virus suppresses oxygen exchange in the lungs but does not affect carbon dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide is what makes you feel "short of breath".  Because they do not feel shortness of breath folks are showing up for medical treatment with oxygen levels below 50% and by that time it may be too late to save them.

The first "toy" is a fingertip pulse oximeter , the second is just a easy way to take your temp. I found a cheap instant read thermometer at Costco for less than $80USD. If you do get infected use those two toys to tell you when it is time to go for medical help and not just go but jump up and down, hair's on fire demand help.

Be safe out there, hear.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Making Liquid Hide Glue

I've a pot of what is intended to be liquid hide glue cooking.  I'm using Don Williams' method' and it is finishing the final cook period. One of the advantages of his method is using table salt instead of urea. With salt there is no shelf life limit, we will see if that is true.  Once finished I'll do a test and report the results.

Not much progress on the table's base although the first M/T is fitted and I've started the mortise for the second. The reason for the slow shop time is MsBubba and I are on the roof every morning before it gets too hot, doing the every 4 to 5 year re-coat.  The year is more work because we needed to pull the pool solar panels off to coat under them. Anyway, the solar panels are re-installed and we are down to 100 or so square feet of coating to go. What a miserable job, I feel for anyone doing it for a living. After the 3 or 4 hours on the roof my ass is kicked for the rest of the day.

BTW, Summer is here in the desert, no 100F+ days yet but they are coming and soon.

We are still sheltering in place and hope to do so for awhile. I saw a post on Digby from a "red hatter" dated 03/15/20 stating no government had the right to tell him what he can do. The second part was his death notice dated 04/15/20. Cause of death CoVid-19.

Be careful out there, hear.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Fitting the First Tenon

Fitting the tenon, making sure it is vertical and square.  Not hard just fiddly.

This is an easy build, just a few joints, all simple.


Chopping, Paring and Fitting

Tenons on the table uprights are cut. Next up is chopping and paring the mortises on the feet and fitting the two.

This may be a little slow going, MsBubba has plans for my time, as always damn that line of sight, that involve pressure washing the roof and moving the solar panels so we can roll on new roof coating. That's the bad, the good is I can take only so much of roof work at a time. a couple of hours a morning before it gets too hot is about it.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Still Playing With Video

I made a short video of sawing one of the tendon cheeks on the table upright. Mostly I wanted to show using a pattern maker chisel to "v"grove the cheek and to showoff my bald spot.

I haven't got around to learning to use the Go-Pro or video edit but it is coming.

The table is coming along, the two base feet are roughed out as are the two uprights. Next up is chopping the mortises for the foot/upright and cutting the bridle joints for the upper support.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Rub Joint Revisit

It has been a couple of days since I made the demo rub joint so it is time to destroy it. I took the lumpy and a block of wood to the joint and as expected after 3 or 4 hard wacks with the lumpy the wood failed. The joint is still strong. The results would be the same with any modern wood glue so that part is no big deal.

This is with 192 gram strength glue instead of 253 gram strength, I can see no reason to go stronger than 192.

Another view:

Click 'em to big 'em, if you do you can see the glue line and the break of the wood.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Started on Kitchen Table

The new kitchen table will be modular with two end pieces/legs and a wedged stretcher between them. I haven't decided on a slab yet but I expect it will be "blind pegged" like my workbenches so the table can be expanded by changing the stretcher and the slab.

Here is the first rough cut of one of the feet. BTW, the base wood is Alder. I'm still doing the "yes but" about the slab.

Stay safe,


Thursday, April 09, 2020

Rub Joint

I had the glue pot full of glue and nothing to glue. What to do, what to do. I know, do a rub joint to demo how well one works with hot hide glue. After a little scrounging around in the cutoff pile I found a short Beech cutoff that looked like it had one edge planed. I split it, slopped some hot hide glue on both edges and rubbed them together and then held it for a minute or so before setting aside.

Today I cleaned up the faces and tried to break the bond with no joy. I expect if I took a lumpy after it it would break but then with a lumpy I can break any joint.

I've started the layout of the new trestle style kitchen table and already have a head scratcher.  My stock is 8/4 and I'm trying to decide between gluing up the feet for 16/4 feet, going back to the wood store for some 4/4 stock to make 12/4 feet, or just making 8/4 feet. Right now I leaning towards 16/4 feet with 12/4 uprights.

BTW, I've marked out on one board enough feet to glue up two 16/4 feet.


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

RIP John Prine

John Prine is dead. His songs have been a part of my life almost forever. From "Please Don't Bury Me"and "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You in Heaven Anymore" to "Paradise". John told his stories with both humor and deadly truth.

I will miss his work.


Small Box

Other than sharpening and moving a few things around in the shop I've not made anything mostly because of dealing with AFib for the last three months. The AFib is gone for now and my energy is returning to normal. It is time to make something and what better way to start than a small box made from shop scrap.

Here is my return to the shop box. Lots of things where the forehead met palm but it still made a box. Biggest problem after installing the hinges and mounting the top the lid started doing stupid wood tricks.

That's the bad news, the good is (big if) if I wish making another top is easy.  Some of the wavy edge chamfer is from trying to clean up a bad lid, some from hadn't done it in months. So shoot me :-).

Next up is the much talked about kitchen table, most of the wood for the base is in the wood pile I just have to stay out of MsBubba's line of sight long enough to get started.

MsBubba asked if I would show her how to make a box using hand tools. We spent a couple of hours yesterday breaking down stock by hand and getting it square and ready to mark out. BTW, ain't no way we will do anything on the machines, not even the band saw, I like her hands with all ten fingers.

It should be fun making making a box with MsBubba because this really is starting from zero skills and it is making me think about the basics.


Saturday, April 04, 2020

Hide Glue

Patrick Edwards the maker of "Old Brown Glue" has posted links to a FWW series of videos on Hide Glue. They are well worth the time to watch. There is also a link on "Unplugged Shop".

Hide Glue


Thursday, April 02, 2020

Shop Dog

Not much in life is as good as a good Dog. About the only thing better is a good shop Dog. Maggie loves the shop, the machines do not bother her. She finds a place close plus close to the treats and will stay there until I move her because I need the spot.

Sweat Maggie Dog just off the working end of the Main bench:

I miss Sam the Wonder Dog, but he was a wuss, when the first machine was turned on he was out of there and never made it as a shop Dog. Not so with Sweat  Maggie Dog.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Don't Laugh Too Much

I've been toying with the idea of using the iPhone to make some short videos. The other day I ordered a tripod/selfie stick to try. Here is the first go uncut and in all its glory:

The quality sucks, but the concept kinda works. I've a Go-Pro someplace I'll try using that next time.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Broken Record

I know broken record and all that rot but guys if you do not have a portable bench you are making work for yourself.

I'm home doing the "remain in place," self isolation,"  or whatever you want to call it thing. Of course MsBubba is rubbing her hands with joy. You should see the "to do" list she has on the kitchen counter.

On to the broken record.

I've one of the portable Moravian benches set up in the back garden to work on, it took less than 5 minutes to move from its storage place and set up. Now for the duration I've a functional, stable workbench to use as needed. I know, I know, you have heard it before but it is too easy to set up and use not to have one for use around the house.

I just want to add: CS was a joy to work with. Almost anyone is easy and helpful when they are taking your money. Their true nature comes out when things go south. Chris is as good as it gets, I can't say enough good things about the whole transaction. As Molly Ivans would say "Good on You Chris Schwarz.

Be careful out there and someday we will be able to go back to work and get some rest.


Friday, March 27, 2020

All's Well That Ends Well

After emails with Chris I went back to the freight terminal and inspected the chair again. All I could find was one long stick out of place so I accepted the delivery.  Once home I used a couple of spreading clamps to lift the comb enough to move the long stick back into place, put a little hide glue on exposed tenons and clamped her back down. Other than a couple of slight scuff marks which I will cover with some fresh finish, it is like it never happened.

It is a beautiful Cherry American Welsh Stick Chair made from one Cherry log. The seat is from one piece, not glued up, and the legs, arms, sticks and comb all match up. As it ages and darkens it should be lovely. Even better it is damn comfortable to sit in. Now to find a place to put it where I can use and MsBubba is happy. BTW, when I told her what she gave me for my birthday I got some serious side eye. After seeing the chair I think she is coming around.

Front view:

Side view:

Back view:

As always, click 'em to big 'em,