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.

A big thank you!

With over 400 downloads on this first issue I’m simply amazed.  I got some nice letters of praise including from a former a editor of American Woodworker magazine Ellis Walentine who is the host of woodcentral.  I’m just speechless, I don’t really know how to express my appreciation and I’m also scared out of my wits.  It’s clearly obvious that other magazines haven’t seen the value in marketing such a magazine, they are so engrossed with the machine world that they’ve missed the obvious. People want to work with their hands.  There are far more amatuer woodworkers than professional and many amateurs either don’t have the shop space for machinery or they simply choose to work with hand tools.

I haven’t yet started on the second issue, once more life is getting in the way.  I also need authors without authors you’ll be stuck with just me and there’s only so much I can do on my own.  So please get in contact with me and help me out.

HANDWORK Magazine Out Now!


It’s finally here a hand tool magazine for hand tool woodworkers.  First I would like to thank our contributing authors Brian Holcombe and Joshua Steven aka Mr. Chickadee for their great articles, I would also like to thank Christopher Schwarz for his suggestion and advice and above all you the readers who’ve said yes to this.  I never thought it was going to be easy but I didn’t think it would be this hard either.  HANDWORK is free just download from the link provided down below.  The link is through megasync, it free with no annoying time delays.

I’ve done the best I could with the limited knowledge I have of compiling a magazine, feel free to leave your comments.  I would really like to know if you’ve enjoyed it.  I know not many people like to leave comments, setting up a gravatar account is a pain.  So I’ve setup a poll just choose YES or NO.

Happy reading there is over 60 pages to read through, enjoy!



Handwork Vol.1 Issue 1

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.

Scrap my previous post

Many thanks to Phil Sylvester for his suggestion and referral to Larry’s old articles.  Larry Williams went through the same dilemma as I have until he saw the lean and that’s why I said his measurements are wrong.  I didn’t know about the lean, yes I did view the video several times but somehow the subject of lean passed me by.  Now this has opened up a pathway to a successful build, this means that I will have to change all my drawings so I’ll be taking taking those links I posted offline.  However, should you wish to use them they will still work as I’ve built a no.16 and it works well.  The issue is when you go down in size it gets frustrating.  Now I’ve got it finally.

no8As you can see on this no.8 the lean is 1/8 and in fact this lean is the same amount on each plane as you can see below on the no.18


The new question is what about the iron, on the dvd Larry inserts his iron and it’s an LN iron so everything is square.  The only parts he takes off is the escapement side, but on the drawing it shows that I would need to taper the iron width side but Larry didn’t so this is the final hurdle I need to cross.  Please can anyone shed some light on this.