What to expect in the new issue

Here is an excerpt a small part of what to expect in the new issue.  The magazine is far from complete but I thought I’d give you a teaser.

New and improved chip breakers

The purpose of the cap iron ie chip breaker is to deflect shavings, when setup close to the cutting irons edge, supposing to reduce tear out. Leonard Bailey introduced the curved cap iron to his thin irons to eliminate the vibrations which caused chatter. With the Bailey/Stanley versioned cap irons you can modify them to completely eliminate tear out altogether by slightly honing a small bevel on the front edge. The mouth opening no longer plays a part and you can safely even plane against the grain with no tear out, which eliminates the need for a scraper. With the modern so called improved version you can’t do that, I have tried and ruined the cap iron. The reason why toolmakers refuse to reproduce the Stanley/Bailey cap irons is due to the high costs involved in creating a hump in the steel. They need to renew their advertised claim of “new and improved chip breakers” to “new and not so costly to us chipbreakers”; if you have an old Stanley plane do not replace it with a thicker iron and nor the chip breaker with the modern one.

Here are my final thoughts I haven’t included in this issue.  The old Stanley planes are remarkable in every sense of the word.  Why modern day tool makers felt the need to change them bewilders me.  The extra mass in modern day planes is taxing on the body, their reasoning behind it is the more mass the easier it is to push through the wood, I personally cannot agree with this.  Whilst working professionally I used it all day everyday and with my bad back I could barely walk at the end of the day.  I refurbished an old record smoother last year and found myself to be less fatigued whilst using it.  The thin irons are easier to sharpen and quicker also as there is less metal to remove than the new thicker ones.  They are also easier to sharpen freehand than the modern day type.  The cap irons can be easily modified to plane against the grain eliminating all tearout while the modern day type cannot.

Lie Nielsen and Veritas and others that are coming on the market are high quality planes without a doubt but if I had to do it all over again I would make the switch.  I don’t wish to rub any toolmaker up the wrong way but the facts of practical use speaks for itself.


I’ve just begun on Issue 2 and after much success of Issue 1 with a record download of 1500 and still counting, I’m hoping I can do an even better job in Issue 2.  HANDWORK has gained a fantastic contributing author Greg Merritt who will cover a great topic which I’ll leave you guessing till it’s out.  Brian and Joshua are another two great authors I look forward in working with again, their contribution towards the magazine are greatly appreciated.

Once more I do not have a timeline on when it will be released as I’m trying to fit this work in between jobs that pays the bills just barely and my shop time that consumes what’s left of my savings.

I’m also considering writing a book, it’s 1:23am and I’ve only just scratched the surface of my first article.  I will be getting up in 6 hours to do it all again, luckily for me I have a few days off work not that I can bloody afford to have a single day off work but I’m dedicated to this project, it’s a good thing and a worthwhile effort and the best part is you all enjoyed reading HANDWORK and that’s worth every effort.

Good night and take care.

High chest of drawers

Date: 1730–60
Geography: Made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Culture: American
Medium: Maple, birch, white pine
Dimensions: 86 1/2 x 40 x 21 1/2 in. (219.7 x 101.6 x 54.6 cm)

Japanning, the use of paint and gilded gesso to imitate the glossy finish on Asian lacquer work, was a popular method of furniture decoration in colonial Boston. This group of japanned furniture (40.37.1,.2,.4) descended in the Pickman family of Salem, Massachusetts, and is an extraordinary survival. The painted decoration on the high chest, dressing table, and looking glass is all by the same hand.

Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: inscribed in chalk on the back of bottom shelf drawer: W E; [number on various parts]
descended in the Pickman and Loring families, Salem, Massachusetts, until 1918; Lawrence Dwight, by 1918; his fiancee, Harriet Amory (later Mrs. Warwick Potter), New York, until 1940
Timeline of Art History (2000-present)

Making a treadle Lathe

HANDWORK’s contributing author Joshua Steven aka Mr.Chickadee has uploaded a video on youtube on making a foot powered lathe.  Joshua has built his homestead entirely by hand and now he’s showing you how to build this lathe entirely by hand.  This is what its about, this is what true freedom is.  This is handwork.


I’m hooked on fish glue

I’ve done an extensive article on this glue and there’s no need for me to repeat it again. Last night I was gluing up some very thin panels for another project, it’s 1/8″ thick, as always I use hot hide glue but I wasn’t paying attention and over cooked it which ended up in the bin immediately.  So instead of making another batch I heated up OBG in hot water, clamped it and left it to dry.  I left it for a couple of days as I had other projects to attend to.  What shocked me was that the glue broke along the glue line, the glue is coming to the end of its shelf life it will expire in two months time.  However, to me that means nothing because I always go by smell.  You’ll know when your glue is ready for the bin.  This has only happened to me once before but anyhow I thought I’d give fish glue another final trial run and reglued the two panels.  It hasn’t been 24 hours clamp time that you normally would do with this type of glue and its rock solid, I must be a weakling because I cannot literally break the panel apart.  It’s only an 1/8″ thick just tad over 3mm and I cannot break it apart, now that’s impressive.  What I also love is how it’s light in colour which makes it possible to make a seamless edge join.

I’m sold, I just placed an order from Lee Valley for a 500ml bottle but what gets me is how bloody picky we are.  We know that the best fish glue comes from Sturgeon and this fish is almost extinct which is why they’ve banned fishing it.  There are some places that do sell fish glue made from Sturgeon, maybe it’s banned to the rest of the world except the Russians I don’t know but I do know it cost $500 for the flakes.  Lee Valley fish glue is made from cod, this is a lower quality type of fish glue but it more than does the job, it really does.  They say it has a shelf life of two years but that’s crock, fish glue can last for many, many years as long as it’s kept either in a fridge or even more convenient as there’s no wife to jump down your throat for using her fridge to store your glue, if you keep it in a cool dark non damp spot like your drawer in your cabinet or keep it in your cabinet.  Remember I’ve had this small bottle for over 5 years kept in a drawer and it still hasn’t gone off.  So there it is in a nutshell and should be great news for all those instrument makers who’ve had nothing but trouble with their fish glue.    We don’t need the best of the best, why pay for more when you can pay less for something that works really well.  If I can’t break it then somebody explain to me why I need to pay $500 for something else I can’t break either.  Fish glue works.! Give it a try and you’ll never look back.

Btw I’ll never replace my hot hide because it spreads easy, fish glue is thick and you can thin it down but I don’t.  I love hot hide and I love fish glue and I will definitely be using fish glue for dovetails and more often for other types of joinery.  I’m so torn between the two.  I love them both equally.

Two Tips for the day

Tom Holloway from old tools outdated blog a real darn shame its ceased like all great blogs and great contributors who have gone with the wind states.

Here is a picture. You -should- laugh at the art, but the
>> illustration should be clear enough. With the vise on the right side,
>> our guy can close in tighter and lean all manner of ways. Left hip,
>> left arm, left knee. With the vise to the left, grasping the cutoff
>> portion is about all he can do and still operate the saw. He’s a
>> ballerina in open space.”


How true is this, I have often found it frustrating sawing on the left side of the bench, I know Bob Rozaieski made the switch from left to right went he built his new bench.  So what’s the answer, you plane from the right to left but sawing is better on your right.  So why not have two vices?  Food for thought.

Shooting board tip

How many times have you shot an edge out of square and was stumped as to why.  I know I have and have gone backwards forwards shimming and adjusting the fence until this morning when the obvious hit me.  This is obvious and apparently nothing new as always, this has been part of woodworking since its invention.  You chop out a dado for your fence to sit in, wow it’s that simple, problem solved for the time being.

My shooting board is made from MDF and hardwood fence, MDF is really soft and I will find out soon enough if the pressure on the wall will give in and throw it out of alignment.  If so then I recommend the only alternative is to use a hardwood solid enough to withstand this working pressure.  Just merely screwing the fence in is not enough and will move from the pressure being applied to it.

Your work is as good as the tools you use, so always check that everything is working as it should be.


Final Update

This is my last post till my next plane build, I have redrawn all the planes to the exact measurements provided by Larry Williams.  After reading through the many articles with different opinions offered on Larry’s old bulletin board service, I believe that for the larger moulding planes there is no need to angle the mortise.  After reading not all but some of the findings of other readers not all moulding planes had the taper.  I have built the No.16 without the taper and did so in ignorance and not intentionally, after all plane making is new to me.  But having done so and after spending a considerable amount of time adjusting the iron, the plane works exceptionally well without a taper.  There is still a 1/8″ wall left on the blind side but I cannot say that a taper wouldn’t be necessary on smaller planes.  None the less I’m not willing to modify anything until I thoroughly learn the trade of building planes and it isn’t as easy as one might think at least not for me.  The only part I struggle with is shaping the iron, you can do everything right but if you don’t get that part right then it won’t work.  In fact, if you screw up the wedge or get a blow out on the mouth you can pretty much throw your plane in the bin.  There is definitely an art in building these plane that require your utmost attention and due care.

With the mouth opening being so large I thought there would be some issue and I reckon there will be when dealing with difficult grain but that can be said even if the iron was skewed and the mouth tightly closed.  But so far the shavings ejected out without getting clogged and I owe this to the acute angle I pared on the wedge.  Keeping the planes body clean during the test fit of the iron is another challenge as well.  Being beech a light coloured wood stains or gets black marks on it very quickly after touching metal.  A light sand will not do the trick so clean your hands regularly or use a clean rag to pick your plane up.

I’ve slapped a coat of minwax antique oil finish, they all swear by it so I might as well do as they do.  I’ll put three coats on over three days.  Lol just where am I going to store all these planes?

That’s all folks, Take care.