25 January 2009

My Best Friend

I got to thinking today, my woodoworking interest came from two people, my father and Norm Abram.

My father essentially remodeled the interior of our house in the late 1960s using almost nothing but hand tools. Norm Abram's New Yankee Workshop convinced me that I too, could do what Norm does.

BUT, the number one person who keeps me working wood is my wonderful wife, cheryl. She let's me have "play money" to buy tools and buys me wonderful woodworking tools and related items. She does the same thing for photography, as I'm an avid amateur photographer. My photography blog is Ordinary to Extraordinary.

So here's a to my best friend, lover, mother to my son, my wood working sous chef and my enabler.

I love you, baby doll!!!

24 January 2009

Drawboring Revisited

Lie-Nielsen has produced a a DVD called Forgotten Hand Tools. A portion of that video is directed at drawboring. I have the DVD on order and will do a review of it after I receive it.

Here is Part 1 of an excerpt from that video on Theory & Preparation.

And here is Part 2 on Execution.

The Forgotten Hand Tools video can be ordered here.

23 January 2009

A Clock for the Wife & Sister

Over the Christmas holidays, I made a number of gifts for friends and family. All of them had some shopmade wooden component. I'll be posting some of those projects at a later date.

These are two of the clocks I made. The one on the left, a cantilevered clock, I made for my sister-in-law. She is a corporate executive and I wanted to make her something eye-catching for her desk. The clock is made from cherry, wenge and zebrawood. The idea came from a clock I saw in the viewer's gallery on FineWoodworking.com.

The clock on the right is for my wife. It is of my own design. I started with the arch and moved on from there. The clock is suspended by two dowels on wither side of the round cherry clock holder. The arch is made of mahogany.

This was my first attempt at string inlay. The inlay was done with a Bosch Colt router, a 1/16" bit and an edge guide. The inlay is specially selected, organically grown, hand-picked, poplar from Le Depot' du Home. Hey, I didn't want to ruin some nice holly on my first attempt.

At any rate, I learned a lot from the process, including how to downsize a dowel that didn't fit the original drilled hole. This had to be accomplished after the arch was cut, where re-drilling with a Forstner bit would have cracked the grain at the top of the arch. Many thanks to my pals at Woodcentral for their help. If you're not reading the WoodCentral boards, you are really missing out!

Remember, without a push by the user, a plane is just a decoration and not a tool!

Cole's First Toolbox

Those of you that know me, know that I sign my posts on woodworking forums, "Larry Wyatt(Cole's Dad). Yes, I am the proud father of an 8-year who has begun spending some time with me in the shop. This past weekend it was his time to build his first real project in the shop where he sawed, planed, joined, and finished all the pieces himself. I also wanted him to use primarily hand tools.

The plans for the toolbox came from Woodworking with Kids. He had to read the plans and understand them as best he could before we started.

We started with an 8' 2x8 and went from there. First, I taught him to select each piece from the 2x8 for maximum yield. You see the picture of this along with the clamp that he used to secure the 2x8 to his "bench." He measured and marked all of the pieces himself with a tape measure and a Crown square that I gave to him. He also learned to mark out the waste with an "X" so he was sure to cut on the waste sides of the lines.

Next, he sawed each of the pieces to length using a Jorgensen pull saw. It fits just right in his hand. I bought it for him and showed him how to saw and had him practice with this and a small dozuki saw before beginning on this project.

Here he is with the "dry fit" toolbox after sawing all the pieces. It was quite an experience for him learning to keep the saw square in all three dimensions. And although that didn't happen, he got better with each try.

The next step was for him to plane a small chamfer along all of the edges of the sawn boards. He did this with a small squirrel tail plane that he bought for himself(Dad already had one...LOL) with money that he received for Christmas from his grandmother. Of all the processes that he's learned so far, planing is by far his favorite!

After planing all the sawn boards, he then had to drill holes in the tops of the sides so the dowel could fit into them to make a handle. Here, he received his introduction to the brace and bit. We started with a 1" bit and he practiced on a scrap piece. The hole was too small, so he stepped up one size, rechecked the fit and voila', he had a good fit! Here's picture of Bonan, The Mighty Woodworker, using the brace and bit. You can see that it's not quite vertical. That happened when he struggled to bring the arm around on the right. It's also the reason I just ordered an auger bit file from Lie-Nielsen to sharpen the bits.

The last thing to do before putting this bad boy together was for him to sand each piece. I was going to have him hand sand, but figured that he would get frustrated and want to quit, so we opted for the Dewalt finish sander.

After putting the box together with drywall screws and a cordless drill, he was ready to finish it. He wanted a dark stain, so I found a can of old Spanish Oak stain in my chemcials cabinet and he went to town. I would have taken pictures, but I didn't want my Canon 40D anywhere near him and wood stain! LOL

Here's the final finished product. My little man was so proud of what he did that he even cried. When I asked him what was wrong he said, "nothing, Dad. They're tears of joy!"

If you haven't worked with a child in the workshop, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced. Instead of Take Your Child to Work Day, plan a Take Your Child to the Shop day. You'll be glad you did!

28 October 2008

Stanley to Offer New High-end Chisels

According to Chris Schwarz(one of my favorite woodworkers) of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine fame, Stanley is soon to release a set of high-end chisels based on the Everlasting chisels of yore. You can read more about them here...

New Stanley Chisels to be Offered

Oh and they're also designing a new line of high-end planes as well.

Time will tell if these new innovations from Stanley Tool Works will pay off.

Rob Cosman Dovetail Video...Let the Competition Begin!!!

Not to be outdone, Rob Cosman(a phenomenal hand tool woodworker) has met the challenge of Frank Klausz's 3-minute dovetails.

Rob Cosman Dovetail Video

How to Properly Use a Small Square

Small squares, be they combination squares or fixed machinists squares, are staples in the wood shop. The proper use of such squares is critical in obtaining square stock and square joints. I learned this the hard way when first venturing forth into the world of working wood.

At first, I used the arm of the square, instead of the base, to check for square. Of course, everything looked square....until I tried to put it together. Only then, did I find out that I must have been using the square incorrectly.

Here's a picture of how I was using the square incorrectly. Notice how the arm(beam) of the square(the vertical part in the picture) is flush to the end of the board, but the base(the part with the logo on it) is out of square. If you only look at the long arm, you'll be sorely disappointed.

The following photos demonstrate the proper way to use a square. In this first photo below, notice that I have the base of the square flush with the side of the board and away from the end of the board. In this fashion, I can now ensure that I'll be measuring the end of the board for square in relation to the side.

The next picture demonstrates the second correct position. Notice that the base of the square is still flush with the side of the board and I have simply slid the long arm of the square into contact with the end of the board. In this case, the end of the board is square to the side. At least my table saw is set up correctly. LOL

This last photograph shows the same board, now intentionally cut out-of-square. I've used the same technique to keep the base of the square flush with the side of the board and the out of square end is easily demonstrated.

The last thing to mention about using these dmall squares is this. After the base of the square is flush with the side, s-l-o-w-l-y slide the long arm of the square until it just touches the end of the board. Do not force the long arm of the square after it has touched the end of the board If you do, you'll get an inaccurate reading. Trust me on this, I know!!!

I hope this short tutorial makes using the squares in your shop more accurate and more pleasurable.

Remember, without a push from a user, a plane is an expensive decoration and not a tool.

Lie-Nielsen Bench Chisels

For a gift recently, I received a set of Lie-Nielsen bench chisels. I must tell you, without a doubt, that these are the best bench chisels that I have ever used. In fact, just to protect them, I made a sliding top chisel box just to store them.

These chisels are made tough and while I love my antique user Stanley 750s(example in picture), nothing beats the L-N chisels for sharpness, strength of the hornbeam handle and edge-holding capability.

I have used these as bench chisels for paring and the like and have also used them to chop out dovetail waste with both an oak wooden mallet and a metal Japanese hammer. The tops of the handles don't even show dents! Now that's what I call durable.

The beauty, fit and finish of these chisels is unmatched. They were essentially dead flat on the back from the factory and cut wood very nicely straight out of the package. Endgrain was a slight problem though, so I spent 5 minutes on the bevel of each chisel and developed a razor edge. The handles fit snugly into the socket with no play whatsoever. I also like the fact that the handles are not finished with a gloss film finish. I have used chisels with such finish in the past and found them to be somewhat slippery.

If you want a set of high quality chisels that you'll never have to replace, choose these premium quality chisels. While they are a bit pricey, the price is worth it, as these are the best chisels I've ever used.

07 October 2008

...and this is why Frank Klauz is the BEST!!!

Watch Mr. Klauz(my all-time favorite woodworker) make dovetails in three minutes....get this....with a bowsaw and no chiseling!!!!

Frank Klausz 3-Minute Dovetails

Enjoy and get out that bow saw!!!! LOL


05 October 2008