Innocent Beginnings?


Little Free Library in school colors

Not even an hour had passed since I’d delivered my last project, and I was thinking about what project(s) to start next.  Didn’t matter that I still have a number of woodworking projects part-way done, or a pressing house project that needs to be finished.  Why is it that starting a project is so easy (and so much fun), and sticking with it to the finish is so hard?

Pictured above is another little free library, this one for the school nearby.  Made of pine and repurposed oak boards.

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Toothing Plane


Lapping my toothing plane. The stack of free 60 grit paper they gave out at a guild meeting last summer is perfect on my granite test plate.  It sure is nice how quickly a wooden-bodied plane can be trued.  This one had quite a belly on it, but I’ll bet it took no longer than 5 minutes to flatten the sole.

For tool-geeks, I can not make out a maker’s mark on the plane, except “Ward” on the iron. About 20 ppi.  The iron is 2″ wide and the body is 7 3/4 inches long.  The photos below were Hyperkittens, taken before I cleaned it up a bit with steel wool.

toothing1 toothing2 toothing3 toothing4

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WIA 2013


Peter Galbert giving a talk on chair design, and the birdcage mitered corner

I attended Woodworking in America (WIA) for the third time, helping Mike run the handtool olympics booth.

I made it to only two talks this year, but both were excellent.  One was a talk by Peter Galbert on how he designs chairs, and also how he cuts the miter on top of the back of the birdcage windsor.  The second talk was Don Williams on finishing/shellac.  Excellent stuff.  I’m looking forward to his finishing book.

The bulk of the weekend was spent cajoling people to do our hand tool events.  My favorite event to work at is cutting dovetails.  I’d say at least half the people have never cut one by hand before, and when they get to this event they slow down, set aside their expectations, and concentrate on getting it right.  The sawing and chisel work is easy.  What’s tricky is wrapping your head around how to do the joint in general – marking out, knowing which parts to cut out and which to leave, and general order of operations.  I finally have a pretty good handle on it, and helping a couple dozen people with it was excellent practice for me.

It was a tiring and inspiring weekend.


Here I am timing/coaching a contestant cutting a dovetail

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Five Awesome Posts

Here are links to four blog posts that I’ll want to reference again later, and to one cool video that was just put up.  These are in order of most recent to oldest.

  1. Here is Peter Galbert in an hour-long video on building a Windsor chair. He gets technical, includes a great spindle-turning demo, and shows a few of the tools he builds.  But if you watch just the first three minutes, he gives a great explanation of why building those chairs with those methods is so appealing.  I’m really looking forward to meeting and hearing him speak at WIA next month.
  2. Peter again with a very detailed explanation of his steps for milk-painting a chair.
  3. Caleb James with a nice pictorial, 25 photos showing the steps in shaping a comb-back arm chair seat.
  4. Here’s a post by Chris Schwarz that is a nice reference on drawer-building, and details that aren’t often written about (that I’ve seen.)
  5. “The Schwarz” again with a post on fasteners, both nail and screws, and good sources for them, to be used on traditional casework.
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A Chest Out West And A Chest By The Lake

I had to spend nearly a week in down town Salt Lake City last November.  It turns out there was more than one well-known prophet who was also a carpenter.  We toured the house of Brigham Young, called the beehive house.  And in it is his tool chest.  A photo is below.  Sorry about the quality of the photo – I had only my phone with me.

Brigham Young’s Tool Chest

In Duluth there is a cool maritime museum.  In it is a boatbuilders chest.


Boatbuilder’s tool chest in Duluth maritime museum


View in the top of the boatbuilder’s chest

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Drawing Exercises

Right now I’m about two-thirds of the way through a recent title by Lost Art Press, By Hand & Eye, the book about designing with simple whole-number ratios.  No measuring and no math.  It’s another example of less being more.

It’s also fun that it has several drawing exercises.  I’m doing an ok job of not getting behind on those but there’s a large one in the middle of the book that I haven’t started yet.  I brought a drawing pad and a couple dividers on a recent vacation.  Nora thought the dividers were neat, and did a couple of the assignments with me.


Nora doing drawing exercises with me

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Wille Sundqvist Project


Swedish Carving Techniques by Wille Sundqvist is the book on this type of carving.  I checked it out a few times from the local library several years ago, and then it disappeared from their inventory.  It would be cool if Taunton would reprint it, or let someone else do so because at the price it’s going for on the used market now, it is inaccessible to me.

I’ve supported, and am very excited about this kickstarter project to document Wille and his work.

I should also mention that Wille’s son, Jogge, has a DVD out which I have not yet seen.

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