Book Holder Episode 3

This will be a thirteen-episode build series on how to make a book holder using only hand tools. After many years of not recording, this is my first video project, and I am optimistic that there will be many more to come. If you haven’t already, please show your support by liking and subscribing to my channel.

David Charlseworth Passed Away

David Charlesworth passed away on Sunday 22 May 2022. My condolences goes out to his family. David was an excellent teacher. He graduated from his apprenticeship in the 70’s and immediately opened a woodworking school and had been teaching ever since. He made several DVD’s for LN and many more later ones on his website:

He is well known for his “ruler trick.” I am shocked by his death, I had no idea he was sick. I have picked up some pointers from him many years ago which I still practice to this day. He will be missed.

Rest In Peace David

Half Blind Dovetail Kerfing Tool

Tage Frid popularised the use of a Kerfing Tool to speed up the cutting of half blind dovetails in his book Joinery in 1979. Mr. Frid suggested cleaning out the waste between half blind dovetail pins with an old saw blade or cabinet scraper. This Kerfing Tool deepens the angled saw kerf in areas where the dovetail saw blade cannot reach. Begin by sawing out the pins, being careful not to cut past your scribed lines. Drop the Kerfing Tool into the saw kerf and gently strike the brass back with a wooden mallet to remove the material remaining in the angled saw cut’s corner. When you reach the end of your saw cut or scribed line, stop. To avoid splitting the wood, take several small bites. Now that you have a clean pin wall, it will be much easier to clean out the remaining waste between the pins. If you’re still not sure what this tool does then watch Rob Cosman’s video below for better clarification.

I’ve looked around and the prices start around $50 and go up to $174. I already owned two gent saws and I only need one. Actually I don’t need any but on occasion it does come in handy. Follow the steps below to make your own kerfing tool.


Place it in the vice and file all the teeth off

Imagine trying to re tooth that

Cut it in half or whatever size you wish

When you hit the sawblade you will need to angle the hacksaw to finish the cut.

When you’re done file the front end smooth and you’ll have a new tool.

Half Blind Kerfing Tool

The other half you can use as a scraper. Geez How many scrapers do I need.


Book Holder Episode 2

This will be a thirteen-episode build series on how to make a book holder using only hand tools. After many years of not recording, this is my first video project, and I am optimistic that there will be many more to come. If you haven’t already, please show your support by liking and subscribing to my channel.

Planing a concave shape with a spokeshave

I use a spokeshave to make shallow concave shapes. A well tuned spokeshave with a freshly honed blade sings in use. This spokeshave is cheapest tool I own. I did some minor prep work to it to make it as close as I could get it to work as a premium tool. HNT Gordon spokeshaves is the rave at the moment and would love to give it a go. For now though mine does the job.

African tulip Wood

It’s a tree that can be found in backyards all across the east coast of Australia. The African tulip tree is a fast-growing evergreen tree native to tropical Africa  (i.e. Burundi, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Zaire, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Angola). Also known as: African tulip tree, African tulip, fireball, flame of the forest , flame tree , fountain tree. It has been observed infesting damaged rainforest, where it outcompetes native vegetation.

African tulip tree Scientific name
Spathodea campanulata

After many years of being unsure of the species of wood I purchased due to my distrust of the vendor, I discovered today that the seller was, after all, telling the truth. It is a nicely grained timber with limited application due to its light weight and ability to be easily indented. It feels like balsawood or, more likely, basswood. I, on the other hand, have discovered a suitable application for it in the form of raised panels for jewellery boxes.

African tulip raised panel

I have never been much into box making before, I predominantly made wall and mantle clocks which meant using this type of light wood was out of the question. However, since of late I have dived into box making and am quite enjoying it as much as I do making clocks. Since discovering this wood’s identity, I have researched pretty much what I could on it and to say none the least I was surprised to find some disturbing facts.

African tulip plants are killing native stingless bees, posing a serious ecological risk.. According to new research, the African tulip tree’s flowers are killing native bees, depositing their dead bodies in its blooms, and potentially poisoning local bee larvae and hives.

African tulip bell-shaped flowers

According to Ms Irish, there are two basic explanations as to why native bees are found dead in the blossoms of African tulip plants.

The nectar of the plant is toxic to insects. Ms Irish stated that bees can die up to 24 hours after swallowing the toxic nectar, which is a worry since they can transfer poison to their hives or the bees may be getting “stuck inside the flower”.

The specific gravity of this wood is 0.26. Unfortunately there is no other information on it considering it’s not sold in any timber yard. My personal experience with it are as follows:

  • Easy rip/resaw/crosscut
  • Easy to plane/thickness
  • Leaves a rough edge when shooting, but can be smoothed out with sand paper
  • Glues well
  • Does not hold nails or screws well
  • Does not take a polish too well either

I wonder if I left anything out. This wood is light enough for surfboards to be made from. I also made another raised panel for a shoe shelf from it

Shoe Shelf African tulip Raised Panel

Now that I know a little bit about this wood, I can haggle with the seller if his asking price is too high. Given that he hasn’t been able to sell a single log of it since 2010, I believe the ball is in my court.

I’d like to get a bundle of this type of wood for the type of work I intend to do with it. Once again, it would be useless for anything else relating to furnishings and clocks, not even drawer fronts as the seller once suggested.

Tip on thicknessing by hand accurately

Many people have difficulty planing to a precise measurement. They struggle because they lack the proper tool for the job. That is to say, the proper marking gauge. Veritas created a marking gauge with two blades. One has the bevel on the inside, while the other has it on the exterior. I won’t waste time describing what they’re for because we all know what they’re for.

Veritas Marking gauge

Use the flat surface of the circular blade against the material while gauging your stock for thicknessing. Why? Because using the bevel side, which is what most people do (including myself), will indent or undercut the line. You’ll notice a few thou difference when you plane to that line if you planed successfully. The thickness difference throughout the board would be roughly 1/128.

Except for a few spots near the centre where it is high 1/128, this piece is perfect on 3/4. That is incredible accuracy by hand and something to be proud of.

Here’s a rundown of how I prepare my boards for thickness. I don’t just plane aimlessly. Whether or not I need a scrub plane depends on how much material I need to remove. I lessen the cut as I get closer to the gauge line in order to creep up on it. The key is to maintain patience; if you don’t, you will almost certainly cross over the gauge line.

Not everything needs to be flawless, but when it does, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to rely on machinery. You are capable of relying on your own two hands.

Here is some thing off the topic.

The wood on the right is American black walnut and the one on the left is Queensland walnut. They may appear to be same, but their qualities are vastly different. This makes me think of my twin boys. Even though they are identical twins, their personalities are very different.

Jewellery Box

Another order is finished, and I’m thrilled with how the colour turned out. The wood is Tasmanian oak with a classic polish that I created. These jewellery boxes are available in four distinct wood species: red oak, Tasmanian oak, white ash, and black walnut, and cost AU$180. The black walnut will most likely be available as long as supplies last.

Dimensions: 2″ x 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ or 268 x 216 x 50mm