Here's another small project happening amidst all the "real work" that needs to get done during this quarantine. I want to keep this one but after inquiries rolling in, it may go into the shop (or another just like it). Be Safe!
I have stared at this painting for quite some time. There is a lot to unpack from this one if you have any interest in hand tools. This image is of a very organized workshop of a master craftsman plying his trade in the early 19th century. I feel he is consulting with a client … Continue reading Interior of a Mechanic’s Workshop
In the spirit of the internet Bushcraft trend of pulling out our tools and comparing I decided to join in the fun. This is the patch / neck knife I purchased back around 1986 when I first started getting primitive. This one was made by a bladesmith from an antique crosscut saw and has a … Continue reading The Handy Neck Knife
I rarely (I mean almost never) go out of my way to endorse a product of any kind but while considering the upcoming holidays I came across this link I saved a while back. I think it would be perfect for the workshop and is a work of art in its own right. I can … Continue reading The Chart of Hand Tools
I keep a couple tool rolls for specialty fixes but I really like this setup from over a century ago. I think I need to make and "essentials" kit like this for general travel to keep the tings I truly need in need place and handy. It might be a little heavy for the rambler … Continue reading Motor Car Tool Kit ca. 1907
A few too many camp knives? This is what happens as you travel, receive gifts, buy better stuff, always need a good knife, etc. From the upper left: Camillus 5-1967 (a friend carried this through Vietnam), my small Arkansas stone for field touch-ups, Buck folder, two classic Victorinox Pioneer knives (I've carried this style every … Continue reading Too Many Knives
I cleaned out my recently revamped tote that holds the my key leather working tools. It was good to see the bottom of the box again and pull out the non-essential items. The less used items have their own canvas tote bag of similar proportions. The above photo shows how the handle removes to access … Continue reading Leather Working Tote
As I sort and cull my tools (and life) I want to share some past projects that may seem too simple to consider. I am not always on the path to a handmade life but I'm also never far from it.
Reposted from 2008; what a different life it seems now. Here is one of my favorite old shave horses. It is made from a plank chainsawed from an enormous pin-oak limb that came down during a storm years ago. It weighs quite a bit but the weight means more stability when using it as a … Continue reading Shaving Horse
Talk about convergent timing ... It seems that Paul Sellars was reading my mind when he put up another useful video early today. This is a bit of a ramble I've been pecking around on for a while now. Sometime in the 1980s we seem to have forgotten how to sharpen our own tools. That … Continue reading Don’t be afraid, sharpen your knives!
As usual, an interesting old find posted on the Lost Arts Press. It’s worth a read.
“It is doubtless the timidity of woman which restrains her mending instincts. She dreads the saw and the chisel as treacherous tools that inevitably inflict wounds on the user… Moreover, she can never grasp the difference between a nail and a screw, and regards the latter as an absurd variety of nail which can not be driven with a hammer unless the wielder of the hammer has the muscles of a man.”
The woman who indulges in carpenter-work seldom does much harm. She contents herself with trying to drive nails into the wall, and with experiments with mucilage. She drives her nails with great caution, and when she has loosened an inch or two of plaster she becomes alarmed, and resolves to let her husband assume the responsibility of inflicting further injury on the wall.
She has a profound faith in the value of mucilage as a substitute for glue, and hopefully attempts to mend china and furniture with it; but mucilage is as harmless as it is inefficient, and it is only on the rare occasions when it is used to mend the wheels of the clock that it does any permanent injury to anything.
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Thank you Paul Sellers for stating an obvious but nearly lost truth. There are far too many needless and complicated gizmos, devices, and "new technologies" for a 2,500 year old task. Clever marketers have figured out that we can blame our laziness and impatience on our tools and not ourselves. Maybe I am speaking out … Continue reading Sharpening is a Simple Act
Wow. I would have loved that top kit, even in my twenties!
The perfect gift for the craftsperson in your life. You could go a long way with a selection of tools like this.
A little more done on the saw bench this weekend. It is clearly going to serve as my go-to portable workstation. I have several jigs in mind to add as regular features but, for now, I've started by making a brand new bench hook. I brought it out into the driveway this afternoon to get … Continue reading Saw Bench Update
The wheel barrow is an old device replacing the hand barrow which was more of a stretcher-like contraption. Simple as it is, it is one of those benchmark inventions and should not be overlooked in the realm of important technological innovations.
A good post by Wesley from Wesleyworkswithwood. I like lists. I enjoy seeing tool lists that people think of as essential. I used to like the packing lists for backpacking that the Boy Scouts printed. I like the lists that traveling Buddhist monks put out as part of their order. Lists pare us down to the bare bones and make us think about what we have, what we need, and what we want. Head over to Wesley’s and get in on the discussion. It should be a grand old time.
My beginner’s tool list:
- Panel cross-cut saw
- Two back saws, one rip, one cross-cut
- Stanley No. 5 Jack plane, or non-Stanley equivalent
- One 3/4″ chisel
- One 1/4″ mortise chisel
- A Mallet
- Two holdfasts
- Two to four wooden handscrew clamps
- Two to four 4 foot long bar clamps
- One pint wood glue
- Cut nails, 1″ long
- Cut nails, 1 1/4″ long
- Flat head screws, 1 1/4″
- Sandpaper in grits 100, 160, 180, 220
- Sharpening stones in rough, medium, and fine grits
- Knock off of an eclipse sharpening jig
- 12″ Combination Square
- Marking Gauge
- Marking Knife
- 24″ Straightedge
- Tape measure
- 16 oz claw hammer
- Set of screwdrivers
- Drill with common bits in common sizes
This post got away from me. Here’s what I hope to get out of it: a conversation. Do you think someone could get started with what I’ve listed above? Can something be removed from that list?
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One of my favorite tools and one I have seen misused by too may people over the years. Often these are snatched up at auctions by antiquey people who want a wall hanging but quality ones can be found on places like Ebay. I have several styles and they each have their virtues. My carriage … Continue reading Draw Knives
The common spokeshave has not changed much in over a century. The main types can be subdivided several ways but they are essentially, high or low angle with various shapes to the foot plate. I find this tool a great help when making bows, handles, or other spindle-shaped … Continue reading Spokeshaves
I worked on the bench a little more last weekend and have already put it to work over the last few evenings for some small projects. I have found it's usefulness and it is a tool I know I won't regret owning. A second till shelf has been added to store saws, bench hook, etc. … Continue reading Saw Bench Update
Advertisement from 1913. These saws are an excellent and handy way to cross-cut large logs quickly. the design is over 2,500 years old solving the problem of keeping a stiff blade with a minimum amount of metal. This style come in at about 4 1/2 pounds giving enough heft to aid in cutting. Teeth cut … Continue reading Frame saws
This is an excellent documentation for restoring an old saw. So many are out there just waiting for a bit of new life.
While scouring antique malls looking for tools, I ran across this nice rip saw stuck in the back corner of a booth. It’s a Disston D8 Thumb Hole saw and considering it’s age, it was in very nice condition. Even though it had some rust on the blade, I knew it would clean up just fine.
The first thing I did was take the saw apart and dip the blade in a bath of water with food grade citric acid. I let it sit overnight allowing the acid to eat all the rust off the blade.
While the blade cooked, I focused my attention on the handle. Using Soy-Gel paint stripper, I cleaned all the gook and grime off the apple wood handle using a steel wool pad.
Here’s the handle wiped off after just a few minutes of paint stripper on it.
In the morning, I took the blade…
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I believe this is my new favorite blog. A remarkable archaeological illustrator with some very interesting artifacts. I never even considered the antiquity of sliding calipers. I hope she puts more illustrations up sometime!
Late medieval wooden artefact: caliper, found in latrine in Gdansk, Poland. Hand drawing by Helena Michel, pencil on paper technique.
Ilustracja archeologiczna późnośredniowiecznej drewnianej suwmiarki, znalezionej w latrynie podczas wykopalisk na terenie Centrum Dominikańskiego w Gdańsku. Rysunek odręczy na papierze, autor: Helena Michel
A circular saw is a tool which no workman who has once seen it at work would care to be without, for it is a labour-saving tool of the first importance, and enables its owner to do many things with an amount of ease, exactness, precision, and rapidity that cannot be attained with saws actuated … Continue reading Table Saw 1889
A wonderful handsaw design from 1887.
A reference for understanding woodworking planes. Much thought has gone into the evolution of the modern Stanley plane.
When I say Medieval... The pump drill goes way back in time. At least into Dynastic Egypt and probably well beyond. Drills like these are made from perishable materials so we only have the drill bits and generally do not know to what they were attached. From and archaeological point of view, it's a bit … Continue reading A Couple More Medieval Tools
What a nice little setup found while searching images on my computer. Maybe from Lost Arts Press?
Stanley Model 71 Router Plane. Tools of a simpler time.