A Vinegar Bath to Remove Rust

Today I went to get a container to soak the plates of my new (old) saws.  As I started to remove the sawnuts, I found that each saw had one that just spun when I turned the screw.  Drat!  What to do about frozen saw nuts?  After a quick google search, I found an article by Bad Axe Tool Works with a solution that seemed obvious the moment I saw it.

The remedy was to drill a clearance hole in one jaw of a handscrew clamp.  This localizes the pressure on the nut, while leaving the screw free to turn.

Since my woodworking tools are in PA right now, it was off to the big box store to buy a clamp.  I got a ridiculously big one because it was literally the only one on the shelf.

I wonder how long it would have taken me to figure out something like this without guidance?

Without further ado, I picked up a couple of tools at an antique shop at a nice discount.  The store was having a clearance sale because they were closing.  I haven’t looked too close at the manufacturers of the planes, but the folding rule is a Stanley.  The irons went into the vinegar bath with the saw plates.  I’ll gather some more information after all the steel is cleaned up.

And here’s the vinegar bath in a comically large container.  I wanted it big enough for the plates to lay flat comfortably.  Tomorrow evening I’ll give them all a nice scrub.

I haven’t decided exactly how I want to reinforce the handle when I glue it up.  The breaks are all very clean and the joints all tighten up with hand pressure.  I’m going to glue this all up, and then maybe rout in some inlays across the grain.

Posted in Carpentry, hand tools, Woodworking | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

New (old) Saws and Some Bad News

I’ll start with the bad news.  Two days after replacing my alternator, my motor stalled and refused to start again.  A friend of a friend agreed to come out to look at it and sure enough, the motor is shot.  It jumped time and either lost compression, broke the camshaft or maybe both – who knows.  I’ll find out the extent of the damage eventually, but for now, I’m rideless.

This sucks, but it isn’t the bad news.  The bad news is I’m separated from my workbench for a while.

Rewind to this past Saturday…

After replacing the alternator, I was riding around to make sure it was running right when I had a notion to stop in the antique store in Ruckersville.  It’s more of a flea-market-type-thing than an antique store, but you never know what you’ll find in unexpected places.

Here’s what I found, starting with the nicer saw:

This one was less nice:

Both saws are 7 TPI

I’ve been scouring The Disstonian Institute for information.  Since the mystery saw has no medallion, I’m not going to spend any time trying to figure it out.  Feel free to sound off in the comments if you have any input.  I’ll post it in other places also, to see if anyone can ID it from the pictures.

I bought these saws thinking that they would make a fun restoration project.  I knew right away that the saw with the Warrented Superior medallion was worth having. The mystery saw badly needed jointing, and will likely be the practice dummy for sharpening.  And I thought nothing of the broken handle because I could just make a new one.  A little later that evening I got to thinking, “What are the chances…”  This week has kept me very busy with work, so I haven’t had a chance to stop back by the antique store, until today.  I went in and asked the owner if she had seen the missing piece, and would you believe it?

I figure by the time I get the plates all cleaned up, I’ll have a way up to Pennsylvania to be reunited with my workbench.  Then I can see about sharpening.

Posted in Carpentry, hand tools, Woodworking | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Mortising a Door Hinge Without a Router

If you’re doing more than say, three doors – the router is the way to go.  I actually prefer to do it by hand, probably because I’m a woodworker first and a carpenter second.

The same principles of chopping a mortise for a joint apply to mortising a hinge.  This should be common sense, but it isn’t.  I’ve seen field carpenters panic, knowing they have to mortise a door and don’t have a router available.  We do live in the 21st century, after all.

To be fair, this is a woodworking application, but this is the way mortising doors was taught before power routers.  Router planes are great for this job as well, unless you don’t have one.  There’s really no need to switch tools, though.  If you’ve got the chisel in your hand, you’re better off just using it.  This job is very quick if you know how to do it right.

It’s easy to botch this job if:

  1. You don’t know the easiest way to chop a shallow mortise
  2. You don’t have a sharp chisel (in my experience, field carpenters rarely do)

The second thing is more important because once you have a sharp chisel, the rest of it is super easy.  Of course, careful layout is key:

Now the fun part:

I would have liked to film this, but location and time constraints prevented me.  It’s really hard to document field work without ruffling homeowner feathers.  It’s actually my second post on this method (although the first one wasn’t very enlightening), and I probably will make a video at some point.  I think this is a trick every carpenter should have up their sleeve.

Posted in Carpentry, door | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Challenge Issued and Answered

Half the fun of YouTube is interacting with other video makers.  I’ve been following Shogun Jimi’s channel since it started.  In his first video, he opened himself up to challenges from other YouTubers.  It was only a matter of time…

And he answered in spectacular fashion:

Now where can I get a gong…?

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Past Project – Kaleidoscope

My daughter and her husband just bought their first home.  While she was showing me around, I noticed a something in one of the storage containers (it was semi-transparent).  I asked if I could dig it out and sure enough, it was exactly what I thought it was.

kaleidoscope1It’s always really satisfying to see something you’ve made and given away.  I was very surprised that it was in exactly the same condition as when I gave it to her, because somehow I neglected to put any kind of finish on it.  I also can’t remember when I made it.  It must have been before I moved back to Virginia from North Carolina in 2008.  This might explain the absence of finish – I was in a hurry and probably just gave it to her with the intention of finishing it later.  In any case, she took very good care of it.  And it was really cool to see it again.

I made this after seeing one similar in a magazine.  The body is maple and the ends are cherry.  I tried several hole sizes and configurations before I settled on this arrangement.  I cut the mirrors myself and put 1/8″ plexiglass in the ends, to prevent glass shards from getting in anyone’s eye (in case it was dropped).

I’m not going to reveal construction details in this post, but I’m sure to make a video about it and probably an Instructables article as well.

Posted in Project, Woodworking | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Sidecar Crib

When I was asked to make a crib for my best friend’s expectant daughter, I immediately started dreaming of splayed dovetails and arts and crafts design elements.  This was not to be.  She wanted it as simple as the one she found here on Instructables.

I have no problem with these very basic projects.  In fact, I like them very much for the simple reason that I love woodworking.  I don’t need to be challenged on every project.  It’s the love of shaping wood that drives me, not the end result.

My crib is just a bit different than the one that inspired it.  I changed the structure underneath and I added some gentle curves around the top edge.  More important, I improved the overall joinery.  The sides have a shallow rabbet to receive the back, and all three sides have a rabbet on the bottom edge to receive the plywood.  Upgrading the joinery from butt joints to rabbet joints makes the structure much more solid.

The trim piece in the front was my indulgence.

Here’s the video:


And a few pictures:

Now the crib is off to be painted.  I’ll post finished pictures when it’s done.

Posted in Project, Woodworking | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Carpentry and Joinery

In addition to a growing list of projects I want to tackle now that it’s spring and my workbench is back in the garage, I have some chores to do.  I’m building a door for my best friend’s chicken coop and will be installing some lattice around the base of his deck.


Half-laps in pressure treated 2x4s

Building the door feels more like carpentry than woodworking, even though the focus is on the half-lap joinery.  Of the many ways I could cut the joint, I chose to make relief cuts with the circular saw every 3/8″ or so, chisel out the waste and refine as needed.  Since I’m using polyurethane glue and screws, the cheeks don’t need to be glass smooth like they should if I were using PVA glue.  I may remove the screws and replace them with dowels at some point.

Rabbet Joint

A very shallow rabbet

I’m also building a sidecar crib for my expectant niece, based on something she found on Instructables.  My design is a bit different.  I wanted stronger joinery, so I’ll be doing simple rabbet joints all around using a 3/4″ straight bit in router. This one shallow pass with the router is a huge improvement over simple butt joinery.  In the end, it will save me a lot of trouble with assembly and help greatly reduce racking.  It’s going to get handled a lot before it gets used for its intended purpose.  When I’m done, it’ll get taken to be painted by someone else and then delivered to its home.


Adding some gentle curves

I had visions of splayed dovetails when thinking about this crib, but I was restrained immediately.  Although it’s not meant to be an heirloom piece, it’s built to last anyway.  I will be proud of it in all its simplicity and honored that she trusts me with the safety of her newborn.  And I did make a winning argument for adding some decorative curves.

Look for videos of both these projects coming soon.

On top of all this, the ring madness continues…


Posted in Carpentry, door, Project, Woodworking | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

My Bent Wood Ringmaking Obsession

I did not suddenly discover an interest in making rings.  I did suddenly discover how lost in it I have recently become.  I see that it’s been a month since my last post, and that’s because I have been making rings like it’s my job.

You don’t have to be a woodworker to make these rings, but it helps in many ways.  I already know which species are good for bending and which are not.  I’m not a lumber expert, but I’m fairly well familiar with North American species.  Part of this process has been learning more about exotics.  I now know that makore and sapele bend well, and so does zebrawood.

The first time I saw this kind of ring was a couple of years ago.  I thought it might be cool to make some, but shuffled it to the back burner and that was the end of that.  It was only a few months ago I started actually thinking about doing it.  Between then and now, I’ve made probably two dozen of them.

Cherry Ring

Cherry and maple

This is by far the nicest one I’ve made.  It’s cherry and maple, both of which bend well.

I’ve been trying my hand at gemstone inlay, as well.  I’m not getting the results I want, but I know why.  I need quality stones and the right combination of abrasives.  When I get a little better at that I’ll post some more pictures.

Posted in Misc | 4 Comments

Lesson Learned

It feels good to complete a project.

Chisel Rack

Too much joinery

I finally finished the chisel rack.  Up until now, I have uploaded fairly short videos to YouTube.  I had no idea what I was getting into with the chisel rack video.  I stopped about halfway through the project to have a look at the raw footage and realized there was over an hour of it.  I simply underestimated the scope of the project.  With a little more filming/editing experience under my belt, I may revisit this.  Or maybe I’ll go ahead and post a long video at some point.  With dovetailed corners, housing joints, rabbets and a dovetailed stretcher I don’t think I’ll be able to keep it under an hour.  I thought about posting a series of articles on how I approached each joint and short videos to go with them, but I have to move on for now.  I have other projects pending.  Ah well, it was a learning experience.

I uploaded a video anyway, which is mostly just an apology:

And some happier news – I needed some custom dowels to go with the next couple of projects I’ll be working on, so I made a video about how I make them.  I also wrote an Instructables article to go with it.  I’ve done three Instructables articles now, and all three have been featured.


Posted in Project, Woodworking | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Intro Video + Past Projects

My chisel box project has taken been delayed just a bit.  We had another snow storm, which meant more shoveling.  Also, it looks like I’m going to have to make a trip South to see a friend in the hospital.

I did manage to put together something of a trailer for my YouTube channel.  It’s mostly pictures of past projects, but also some footage of me working at my bench.  You might notice that most of the pictures were taken in different places.  They were.  I’ve moved around a lot over the years, which is why I wanted to build a portable workbench.

Posted in Woodworking | Tagged | 6 Comments