Friday, 20 October 2017

Wearing a Veneer of Perfection Never Did Me Any Good...

I hope it works out better for my cabinet.

I've been out of it for pretty much the summer. I have no excuse for it, other than just being a lazy old fart. But the times they are a changin'.

In truth, I have actually been at it, not hard, but at it. I haven't written about any of it yet, but that will change over the winter months. While I'll include a few images here, I'll mainly be putting all my time and energy into getting my damned tool cabinet built, and given its size, that can only be done outdoors. Will the cabinet be anything like I have yacked about in the past? Ya, close I guess, but there will be some supple differences from the original drawings. There will also be one major difference; it will be made from veneer covered plywood. 

Going with veneer wasn't an easy decision to make. Like most in my generation, every time I saw a piece of veneered furniture I would actually cringe a bit, so deciding to use it on this project was a HUGE change for me. If you were raised during the '50s and '60s, you will remember all the mass produced furniture that was being pumped out. Walk into any Kmart or Woolworths back then and you would see acres and acres of cheap, crappy furniture that was typically made pressed board (pressed paper), smothered in less than paper-thin veneer, which as often as not, wasn't made from wood. The printed-to-look-just-like-wood plastic laminate was pure junk, as was the pressed board it was sort of stuck to. As a result of this trash furniture, I, and the majority of my generation, came to look down upon veneered furniture as cheap crap that we wouldn't give house-room to. We were wrong, but hey, it was the '50s and '60s, so none of us would listen.

So what changed my mind about veneer?


I wanted to build a 1" thick solid maple cabinet with dovetailed joints and burled floating panels, but getting into it, I realized the material bill would equal the family jewels. Rough 5/4 maple sells for around $7 a board foot in Ontario, Canada, so I figured the wood bill for the whole thing would run around $800, plus the usual additional costs. Given this cabinet will never sit in my wife's living or dining room, and that, maybe, if I had a party or something, maybe 8 people would see it before I'm a goner, so I came to realize that a solid maple cabinet would be the epitome of overkill.

With the decision to go with veneer finally made, I started looking for a source. Enter, surprisingly, eBay. A gentleman was selling out his father's small mill, and he had a huge selection of veneers. I wanted maple, and he just happened to have some...well...actually, he had a lot. I offered to purchase 24 consecutive sheets of maple, 14" wide by 12' long for $300. Surprisingly, he took it and we both walked away from the deal happy.

I used scrap wood as spacers between the
different lengths of veneer and
sandwiched them between
two pieces of ply.
The veneer arrived stacked in sequence and rolled up together so my first job was to get it all numbered, cut to rough lengths and sandwiched between some plywood to keep it all flat. It took me about four hours to go through everything.

Where no spacers were needed, I used clamps
to hold the bundle together and keep
it all flat (the veneer outside the
ply will be trimmed off)
For the substrate, I decided to glue together two sheets of 11mm good one side plywood, giving an overall thickness of 22mm, or roughly .87". I went this route because gluing two pieces of plywood together results in a very ridged panel which is thick enough to handle any joining I could come up with. I also did a few things a bit differently because the panels will be veneered as well. I didn't bother with clamps for the glue-up. I just laid one piece good side down, then I spread yellow carpenters glue over the exposed rough face, positioned the second sheet over it with the good side up and screwed the whole lot down to the bench top (I flattened the top before I did this) using 1 1/2" deck screws. I wrapped the whole lot in a tarp and let them dry for a couple of days. The result was some great panels to work with.

Here, I just finished driving 17 screws through the ply and
into the bench top to ensure the panel dries flat

Given the wet weather we have had here this summer, the
whole lot was wrapped in a tarp which was held down
by cleats and left for a couple of days
I also think the hardest part of a cabinet to veneer is the edges, and the proof of this is how many cabinets I have seen where the edge banding has fallen off. To get past this, I bought some solid 3/4" thick maple and cut it up into 1" strips. I then glued a strip on the edges that would be exposed once the cabinet was assembled. When the glue dried I planned off the excess using my old man's No.4 Stanley plane, letting the heel of it rest on the panel so it worked as a guide. I'll run the veneer right up to the outside edge of the maple and I'll plane the whole lot flat and square.

Here the 1" strip of solid maple is glued and clamped to
the exposed edge of a side
Once I had the panels glued up and edged, I gave each side a fair coat of Bondo auto body filler. This was done to not only fill the holes caused by the screws when the panel was glued up, but to help flatten the ply, filling in the hollows that are always present in this cheaper, construction grade plywood. The Bondo will be hand sanded with a 18" sandpaper flat that will be fitted with self-adhesive 120 grit paper. The result should be hard, flat, and properly toothed for the veneer to be attached using hide glue, my first time for it as well.

Here the different panels have been coated with a thin coat
of two-part auto body filler to true their surfaces


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Where Have All The Old Tools Gone...

Where have all the old tools gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the old tools gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the old tools gone?
Young men picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Ok, lets face the new reality...eBay really sucks for vintage tools.

The question everyone is asking...
...where did all the sellers go?


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Getting Rid Of Duplicates #3...

This plane is sold, shipped
living the good life in New York State.

Up for sale, I have a Veritas Small Plow Plane with Fence, Depth Shoe and five (5) Imperial Standard Blades.

This is Lee Valley's Right-Handed Small Plow Plane.

This is a great little plane that Lee Valley gave me in lieu of payment for a cartoon that reflected some customers' confusion about Veritas' new style of saw and block plane that were introduced in 2008.

Here is the earning cartoon...

And this is the one that their designer wanted, but wasn't used for publication...

This is a great little plane that I have used to plow slots for bottoms in drawers, all the way up to plowing shadow lines in risers on a 3-tier balcony and deck system on a hot-shot's cottage. it has never given me a lick of trouble and the A2 steel blades show little signs of use.

While this plane hasn't been modified to accept Lee Valley Beading Blades, it is capable of being modified.

Lee Valley sells this plane with the five blades for $329.00 Canadian. I'm selling this really clean, used one for $225.00 Canadian.

  • Face-To-Face Delivery is available in the Greater Toronto Area for no additional charge.
  • Cash is the only accepted payment for Face-To-Face Deliveries.
  • I only accept PayPal for payment, when a face-to-face delivery is not possible. 
  • I ship using the Postal Service only.
  • I will only charge what the post office charges me for shipping, and do not add on any additional amount of time or shipping materials.
  • I will fully refund the cost of the tool plus any shipping charges if the tool is found to be not in "as claimed" condition, or there is a problem with the tool that does not show up in the photos.

$225(CAN) firm.

The plane is clean, with no signs of rust or pitting...
...on either side.
The skate is in almost "as-new" condition.
The Blade Holding Mechanism works like its new.
This is what comes with the Plane: one Depth Shoe, one Fence,
and five Imperial Standard Blades
The Blades are in great shape from their front surface... their back surface.
The stock Veritas Tote shows some toolbox
dings, but it is still in great shape with
great grain and colour...
...and it is just as clean on the right side
as it is on the left.
A cool tool that belongs in your hands.



Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Rasps, My New Fixation...

I can across this video this morning and found it both entertaining and informative. I have a couple of Auriou Rasps and I'm looking to buy a couple more. If you think one rasp is as good as the next, think again.



Tuesday, 21 February 2017

How Do I Spell Filletster? C - O - O- L...

I have always been leery of Facebook and I didn't take the plunge with it for years. Finally, I jumped and while it was great keeping up to date with friends and relatives, I still tended to go back every few months and delete whatever I could find that I had posted previously. Paranoid? Probably, but who ever said I was rational?

After Donald Trump won the election, however, things very quickly changed. I'm not going to get into a political discussion here because my political affiliations and beliefs are none of your business. I do have to say, though, that after that election, I suddenly discovered that many of my friends and relatives were crazy. Many had gone completely crackers. A couple of my relatives have IQs of a gazillion or more, but it seems that their intelligence was unable to help them cope with the loss of their beloved Democrat, which made no sense to me at all, because they are Canadian, for God's sake. When I had finally had enough, I stopped going on the site, then about a week later I went on and tried to delete my page.

Did you know you can not delete your Facebook page? Nope. You can make it "Inactive", but you can't remove it. I also discovered that the content of my deactivated page suddenly became searchable on Google. Before I deactivated the page I never had my own Facebook content appear as a hit in a relative search, but after the page was deactivated, my past research postings suddenly became search hits. Crazy, no?

So I deactivated my Facebook page and three or four days later I did my usual start-off-the-week Google search for tools made by H. E. Mitchell. A hit came up for a Filletster Plane that was made by Mitchell, so I quickly hit the link and found myself on Facebook reading a flag that said, "Welcome back, Mitchell. Please sign-in to proceed." Damn! So I signed in, looked at the posting for the plane and contacted the seller to see if he would be willing to ship to Canada. He was, I paid, he shipped, I got, and I have to say, it is a pretty cool looking plane...

Filletster Planes are specifically designed to cut rabbets or half laps, and come in two styles. The first is the Standard Filletster. This style of plane has an integrated, fixed fence that is part of the plane's body. The second is the Moving Filletster, which involves some pretty specific criteria to be met if the plane is to be called this. The plane must have a skewed iron, a flat sole, a moveable fence and an adjustable depth stop. The fence can be held and adjusted using two screws that run through the fence and into the body of the plane, or an armed fence, similar to those found on a Plow Plane. My latest plane purchase, with the screw-type fence,  has all four of these features so it can properly be called a "Moving Filletster Plane".

My Filletster Plane does have some issues, the main one being a missing Nicker Blade and Wedge to hold it. I going to have to research what style of Nicker Blades Mitchell used because this example has a bit of a strange setting. The slot for it that runs down the edge of the body just in front of the iron is 1/4" by 1/2", the 1/2" dimension running front to back. The exit of this slot on the sole of the plane is 1/8" by 9/16", the longer dimension running from side to side. Weird, eh? It would make more sense to me to have those dimensions turned 90°, so it is going to take a little research to figure out what kind of blade to make.

Another problem with the plane is the Escapement. It looks like someone wanted to make the throat a little deeper so they went at it with a tool that was definitely not suitable for the job. It is going to take some real patience to get that cleaned up.

Other than those two issues, it is a damned nice plane. The grain of the body is straight and clean. The blade is completely useable, and the fence and depth stop work like a charm.

The plane was probably made around 1890 to 1900 as the maker's mark includes the Trade Mark lion, something Mitchell didn't have on his mark until that time. I am also curious about the depth stop mechanism. While there are some slight changes, the overall shapes and the way those shapes work together on my plane are very close to being the same as those shown in the photo below, especially the fact that both mine and the one in the photo have a 1/16" slice of steel covering the bottom of the depth stop foot. Was there a company out there suppling parts like these to plane makers, or did one maker blatantly steal the designs of another maker, without bothering to hide the theft?

Most importantly for me though, is that happy stamp of the nose of this thing...



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

My Old Friend Called...

I am backing off my complaints about Lee Valley's proprietary restrictions that I encountered last week when I tried to purchase some plane parts.

Carol Litwack, Assistant Manager, Customer Service, Lee Valley Tools Ltd., called me late yesterday afternoon and politely explained to me why I could buy a short Norris Blade Adjuster, but not a long one. Simply put, they don't make them and they just don't have enough to go around.

She was also quick to point out that the run-around that I got last week from three different Customer Service Reps shouldn't happen again. Ms. Litwack explained that she saw how the wheels fell off the bus during my first contact with Lee Valley about this purchase and she has taken steps with her staff to minimize the possibility of this type of thing happening again. She handled the conversation well, didn't over-do the sorry-syrup, and said all the things that mattered.

Ordinarily, Lee Valley has one of the best Customer Service programs I have ever seen, which is why it is such a shocker to me that this came up. This particular screw-up was a result of their representatives not understanding the situation fully, not getting a clarification and, once another rep got it sorted out, mistakenly thought that being straight with the customer wasn't the wisest move. In general, retail customers are often a royal pain in the butt, but even the worst ones can spot bullshite from a 1000-yards. Ms. Litwack was straight with me and I appreciated it.

I am still not getting a long Norris-type blade adjuster from Lee Valley Tools, but now I know there is a rational reason for it being that way. 

I have taken my design a little further. While I can't define it completely until I have the blade and adjuster in, I have kicked the look of the plane up a bit. I am also thinking of adding a brass blade bed to it, as well as a brass sole, all for durability, but a little polished brass wouldn't hurt its looks, either.

Here is my version 2.0 for this Edge Plane...



Friday, 6 January 2017

A New Project Results In A Goodbye To An Old Friend...

I always have been able to find something of interest on the Lost Art Press Blog. This time it was a "make it yourself" post for a plane that I have been actually looking to buy these past few months - the Cabinet Makers' Edge Plane.

Stanley made their No. 97 Cabinet Makers' Edge Planes from 1905 to 1943, most of which are now selling for anywhere from $400 to $700. Just for comparison, Lie-Nielsen sells a smaller version of the 97 for $145. Stanley sold their original version for $2.20 in 1909, selling their 2 1/4" replacement blade for a whopping 45¢. 

Depending on the way the blade is situated, it is either a flush-cutting plane or a bullnose smoother. If the blade is set flush with the sole of the plane, it will cut flush all day long. Extend the blade a sliver, and it becomes, according to Christopher Schwarz, a great smoother for blind rabates and stopped chamfers.

I spent a great deal of time these past couple days studying every video I could find on this style of plane and once I figured I had a reasonable idea of how it worked, I set out to design my own.

The original Stanley used the same type of blade adjustment as their 220 block plane, but for mine, I think I'm going to go with a Norris type adjuster. I'm planning to use the same type of lever cap, though. The only other major difference is that my body will be made out of a nice hunk of Rosewood, rather than a casting. This is just a rough layout for this plane, as once I get the 2" blade and the adjuster in my hands, I'll be able to take it further.

To get the required parts, I turned to my usual supplier for all things toolie; Lee Valley. They have 2" lever caps that they use on their Low Angle Smoothing Plane, but they are not listed in their online store so I emailed them to ask if they would sell me one. Whoever I was dealing with said she would speak to the powers that be and get back to me, which she did, telling me they would sell me one for the crazy low price of $14. I was more than pleased.

Originally, I had planned to purchase their "Wooden Bench Plane Hardware Kit", which includes a 2" O1 blade, a short Norris adjuster with seating cap, and the necessary items needed to make a wood lever cap, all for $56, but I noticed a glitch with the adjuster. With the design I was looking at, the short adjuster was just too short. If I used it, I would have to cut away too much of the body to give room for my fingers to get at the knob, so I emailed them again asking if I could purchase their longer Norris type adjuster, the one that they use on their 5 1/4W Bench Plane. This is when the ball of string started to unravel.

Basically, they said no, you can't buy a long one because we have no record of you ever buying a 5 1/4W Bench Plane. I was half expecting this as I ran into their proprietary issues when I was converting an old Delta water stone sharpener into a dry sharpener. This, however, was worse as they were telling me that there was no issue selling me a short adjuster, but damned if they were going to sell me a long one. If I wasn't so pissed, I would have laughed. I told them to basically shove it.

I ordered a Lie-Nielsen 2" blade and bought a Norris type long adjuster on eBay. I also found a couple of lever caps that would work, but I decided to make my own from some brass stock, just to say I have done it. Once the blade and adjuster come in, I'll be able to finalize the design and get to work cutting a hunk of Rosewood that I actually bought from Lee Valley a few years ago. I also bought a package of oval headed brass screws from them as well, one of which will work to hold down the lever cap.

Am I being too bitchy about this? Maybe, but if they could tell me I never bought a 5 1/4W Bench Plane from them, they could also see that I have been a customer of theirs for decades and that I haven't been shy about spending my money with them. It would appear that my loyalty and spending were only worth a short adjuster to them as it appears they are saving their long ones for their real high rollers. Their loss, not mine.



Friday, 2 December 2016

Started Life As A Log, Now It's Flatter...

Yes, I am still working away on my tool bench/cabinet. Yes, it is taking forever. No, I haven't run into any issues to slow things down. No, I haven't always been this slow. Yes, I do expect to finish it by the spring.

This image shows the horrible job I did on the original
millwork. My problem was, the trunks were over
30" across, but the longest chainsaw I
could rent was only 21".
So after a lot of screwing around with floats and sleds, I finally got the Ash slabs thickness and surfaced planed, these slabs came from that 3' section of dead Ash tree trunk that I royally screwed up milling a year ago. It was a bitch of a job and the end boards are a whole lot thinner than I hoped and expected. Its a Ying and Yang thing. The bad part is, the almost 3" slabs ended up having to be surface planed down to 1 1/2". The good part is; my neighbours love me as I ended up with enough chips from the surface planer to cover, not only my own flower gardens with mulch, but half the garden beds on my block as well. You win some as you loose some.

I thought these would take a few years to dry out, but
I didn't take into account that the tree had been
dead for a few years by the time I
got to it.

Did I mention I bought a surface planer? No? Oh. Ok, I bought a surface planer. It is one of those standard 12 1/2" cheap ones that China has been producing since Noah bought the first one to use on the ark's planking. The design has been around forever and just about every tool company has sold them under their brand. I had the same planer when I rebuilt the 40' mahogany cruiser, but it was displaying the Delta brand. I bought this one on sale for $225.00, which is almost half price for one of these up here in the frozen north. It is probably running a 1/4 or a 1/3 horsepower motor and has only two knives instead of three, like the more expensive planers have. If you keep the knives sharp and not try to take more than 1/16" at a pass, it does an acceptable job everywhere but where it snipes, and man, does it snipe.
This particular planer isn't mine. I didn't have one of mine
so I went online and found one that was the same.
This photo belongs to John Heisz at

I ran each slab through the table saw, following a Sharpe line by eye. At this point I didn't need a true and square edge, I just wanted to cut off the sap wood and bring the widths of each piece down to less than 12" wide so they would go through the planer. I then attached a couple of 2x4s to one surface, adding wedges where needed to make the top surface reasonably level for its entire trip through the planer. I then ran them through the planer - about a thousand times for each piece - and reduced the almost 3" thick slabs down to 1 1/2", doing it less than 1/16" at a time. Once I had the thickness, I then attached each piece to a 4' x 2' piece of 3/4" plywood, hitting the Ash with the screws at their very ends. This gave me a straight edge to run against the fence allowing me to cut one edge straight and square. I then dropped the fence down to 1 1/4" and ran each piece through multiple times, ending up with 7 or 8 - 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" strips from each. Once cut, I ran the lot of them through the surface planer on their sides, and brought the final width down to 1".

All these strips were glued up into a butcher block piece that is 58 5/8" long by 12" wide. Once it was glued up, I ran both sides of it through the planer to level them and brought the thickness down to just a hair under 1 1/4". The planer did a fare job, but I put it on the bench and went at it with my #4 Stanley anyway, taking just enough to give the piece a "ready-for-varnish" finish.

I had one full litre and one half-full litre of oil based Varathane left that I have been hoarding for a few years now, so as I was ready to finish the piece, I popped their tops off. Not only was the opened can a solid hunk of plastic, but so was the what I thought was the unopened one, at least I do not remember opening it. So with no oil base finish left, I had to buy a litre of clear, satin finish Varathane that is water based. Up until now I have hated water based finishes. I tried it a few years ago and found it impossible to work with. Hence the oil based stockpile. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the stuff is pretty good now. It is very slow to build up, but I got very good results with a foam brush. On day one I put four coats on, letting it dry for about an hour between each coat. At the start of the second day, I loaded my orbital sander with 220 grit and gave it a sanding within an inch of its life. It then went back in for four more coats, applied the same way as it was done on day one. Day three started with giving it another what-for with the orbital, and then another four coats. On the forth day I went at it with extra fine steel wool loaded with Minwax Finishing Wax. After three coats of wax, all appied in the same way, it was done, and damn pretty it is.

Twelve coats of Varathane Satin, with a strong
sanding with 220 grit after every fourth coat.
Once the brushwork was done, the surface
was brought down with extra fine steel
wool laced with finishing wax.
So what is this piece? The top of the bench is the same type of glue-up, but it is 24" deep. The three new upper cabinets will hold my saws, planes, and miscellaneous interesting-looking tools, but to do so properly, they will have to be 10 1/2" deep (21" deep closed). I want to put the upper cabinets above the bench, but if I mount them to the bench's top, I will end up with a 13 1/2" deep work area. To increase that work area, I built a stand that is 11" deep that stands behind the bench. This piece is the top for that stand and the upper cabinets will mount to it. As it overlaps the bench top by 1", it will allow me to mount the upper cabinets behind the bench and still have a 21" deep workspace. As some may wonder why I didn't mount the main upper cabinet to the wall, it is too tall. The bench has a finished height of 31", while the upper cabinets are 56" tall, giving a total height of 87", or 7' 3". If I hung them on the wall with the tops against the ceiling, I would end up with 9" of work room between the bench top and the bottom of the cabinets. Hence the separate stand for the uppers.

Next up in a few days is a post about some very cool, home-make, heavy duty leg levellers.



Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Making A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow's Ear...

Last November I did a post on milling some Elm and Ash from logs to planks. You can check it out here.

I had to move the stack of planks I harvested from two trees that were felled last fall. I use the term "plank" rather loosely here, as planks are usually relatively flat, and these are far from that. I didn't mind moving them because it allowed me to check their moisture content and change their sticking order and orientation. What I found was a bit of a surprise.

I thought the Ash wouldn't take much time to dry out because the tree had been standing dead for the past 4 or 5 years. I expected the Elm, however, to still be wet, given the tree it came from was still producing leaves, not very many of them at all, but leaves none the less. As it turned out, they were both dry enough to work.

I moved a couple of the slabs of Elm over to my outdoor workbench and started to have at it. Before I started work, though, I went out and purchased a 12 1/2" surface planer. I love working with hand tools, but I'm not looking to die with a plane in my hand.

After the "some assembly required" part of my new purchase was done, I got to work. I used my Stanley #5 1/2 with its radius blade to waste some wood.

I didn't try to make the surface perfectly flat. Instead, all I wanted to do was even out the surface enough to ensure it wouldn't tilt or twist as it went through the surface planer. Another way of doing this would be to attach some straight scrap pieces to the outside edges of the slab, making sure they project beyond the bottom surface so they act like sleds. If you don't do one or the other, the surface planer will give you a parallel surface on the opposite side, bows, twists, hills and hollows included.

I cut the two slabs cut down to 12" wide with a circular saw and planed both on the surface planer with parallel surfaces. Both slabs ended up being 2" thick. 

I was impressed with the Elm's grain last year when I first saw it after cutting it up with a chainsaw. All the planing only made the grain look even better. I stopped at this point and hauled both slabs into the house and stick stacked them in the living room for a few weeks so they acclimatise.

My plans are to take these slabs down further, to about 1 1/2" or so. I will then glue them together and cut them into a 22" square. I am think of putting a simple, reverse angled egde all around, finishing it in some way that will bring out the grain even more. I want to make the grain the feature of this table, so I am leaning towards mounting it to a 12" clear acrylic cube. Hopefully doing so will make these beautiful pieces of wood look like they are floating off the floor.



Friday, 16 September 2016

It's Nice To Get A Handle On Things...

Here are the finished products. I really enjoyed this project. I made a few mistakes but learned a lot doing it. It also doesn't hurt that I'm really pleased with the results.

I don't think I'll be making another handle for anything for a while, at least until my finger prints grow back. I lost them during an estimated 28 hours of sanding.

I went through 80 grit, 150 grit, 220 grit and 400 grit. I then rubbed them down with #000 steel wool.

They then got 8 coats of amber shellac, rubbed out between each coat with 400 grit paper. I left them to dry for 48 hours, gave them a final sanding with 400 grit and then rubbed in 4 coats of Minwax Finishing Wax (I love that stuff) using #0000 steel wool, buffing them out between applications.

Great stuff.



Friday, 2 September 2016

Cheeky Little Bugger...

I have started on the second saw handle, this one in apple wood. While I was drilling out for the cap studs, I broke off a piece of the cheek inside the saw plate slot. It isn’t coming out as the bottom of it is thicker than the top and the back of it is thicker than the front.

To fix it, I thought I would force some glue under it and tap a wedge between it and the opposite cheek. Once the glue sets, I could recut the saw plate slot.

If anyone has another idea, I would really appreciate hearing about it.



Thursday, 1 September 2016

I Guess I Won’t Have To Burn It...

I came close a few times but luck saved my arse every time...

One of the problems I faced was completely of my own making. I decided to lower the plate a little bit more into the handle as too much of it’s back was showing. If I had noticed that while doing the drawing I could have changed the template to reflect the change, but dummy here didn't notice it until  the handle had been cut out, half shaped and the plate’s mounting slot cut into it. If you look above the screw studs you will see that I didn’t quite get the front hole right and the result is the plate is aiming downwards a bit. It is an easy fix, thank goodness. All I will have to do is adjust the top of the handle to match the angle of the plate. It will work, but it still bugs me.

I have now pulled the plate from the handle again so I can do a lot more sanding - not my favourite sport. 



Monday, 29 August 2016

And Who, Exactly, Is Going To Clean Up That Mess...

So this is where I stand with this saw handle this morning...

What a blast doing this project. I love it!

I never really thought one rasp could be much better than another, given the job they were designed to do. All you want it to do is remove material, how complicated is that? Well I guess it is more complicated than I realized because I have never seen a rasp remove as much material as quickly as this Auriou does, and it isn’t even the coarsest grain. If you aren’t up on them, here is a link to Lee Valley’s listing...Auriou Rasps.

I already had a drawer full of rasps before buying this Auriou, but I was never happy with them. They range in age and manufacturer, some originally purchased by my old man, years and years ago. The ones I had purchased were spread over the price spectrum, a result of searching out a decent product. None, neither the ones my dad owned, or the ones I purchased were worth a Tinker’s-dam, in my opinion.

Over the past couple of years I have signed on for some online cabinet maker’s courses, a notable one being the courses offered by Paul Sellers at That was a fabulous source of information and direction. While he doesn’t have the same type of instructional set-up on the web as Paul does, Christopher Tribe at has also been helpful, especially through his instructional videos on YouTube. Both of these gentlemen highly praised the Auriou rasps so I thought I would give one a go. It just took me a couple of years for the need to arise, along with the bullet needed for biting when I finally ordered it. 

I will be ordering a couple more at the end of next month. Hopefully, they won’t increase in price before then.

I went at the handle with the rasp and 80 grit sandpaper because I was anxious to see how the design would look and feel. I love the look and the fit is great, the extra ½” I added to the length of the grip being a huge help to the handle’s comfort. The long horns are friggin’ amazing looking as well. I had to force myself to stop because the next step is where the rubber meets the road, and if they don’t connect, it firewood. I’m talking about drilling out for the screw studs...scares the bejeebers out of me.



Sunday, 28 August 2016

And He’s Off And Running...

I got started on the dovetail saw handle, going through the usual steps for creating such things.

I printed off a copy of the “final, final” handle outline, the exact same image that was in my last post, then flipped the image and printed a mirror outline. I glued one of those print-offs to a hunk of Bastogne, a highly figured species of Walnut, this particular piece having some beautiful rays crossing its strong grain.

Using Forstner bits of appropriate sizes, I start to remove the waste and create the different curves in the design...

I used the holes to align the ‘flipped’ image on the opposite side and then I went at it with a scroll saw (electric because I’m getting lazy in my old age). I left some material around the outside of the cut line so if the saw cut was out of square, a notorious reality with these types of saws, I would have enough extra material to file it square without removing any from inside the cut line.

In this image, I have laid the old handle on top of the new to show how much larger the new handle is, the difference in their hang angles, and the overall shape of the two...

This last image shows the pair of saws, one with its old handle and one with its new...

At this point the work was stalled until my new Auriou rasp showed up in the mail from Lee Valley. When I went online to order it, I discovered a scary reality. The price had increased about 40% since the spring of this year, so I won’t wait long before I order more...

That’s it until next time,



Monday, 22 August 2016

The Final, Final Handle Design for my Jackson Dovetail Saws...

Yesterday I posted the “Final” saw handle design and today I’m posting the “Final, Final” design. 

This change is brought to you by Kenny Melnzinger, a very kind gentleman who happens to sell his “tuned” handsaws at the Tools of the Trades Show and Sale in Pickering, Ontario. He will be there again at the 2016 Fall show on October 2nd. Check the show ad to the right of this article.

So Kenny says to me, “Go read the article on Hang Angles on the Blackburn Tools website and get back to me.” 

I went. I read. I changed the damn drawing.

In truth, the Blackburn article discusses exactly the problem I was talking about regarding my combined elevated work bench and my butt being built too close to the floor. The whole idea of the Hang Angle is to keep your wrist from cocking up or down during the cut. I chickened out, though. I had tried a few different things with the set-ups I have and I felt the hang angle of these saws had to be brought down a fair bit, but with everyone saying, “Be careful”, especially Kenny, I decided that instead of reducing the hang angle on these saws by 8°, I’ll play it safe and drop them by only 2° instead. Hey, I never told any of you I was gutsy.

So here is the final, final version (it has to be - I’ve printed it off, stuck it to the wood and I have already started drilling)...

If you compare it with the one shown in the previous post, you can see things are about the same, size-wise, but the hang angle on this version is more pronounced and the horns a little longer. I like horns, what can I say?

I’ll post photos of the progress.