I began version one of my Vardo Caravan eleven years ago this month. As I published updates and details along the way people have for a detailed "how to" for building a vardo. Since everyone's needs, skills, and resources are different, I will leave the task to others. My suggestions are this. Decide on your … Continue reading Building Your Own Vardo
I am stunned to hear from several recent misguided enthusiasts to the gentle art of wilderness skills that their new hobby costs them so much money... I guess even our low-tech approach to life can be marketed and sold to the right customer with our ingrained need for newer, quicker, and "approved" gear. Let's hope … Continue reading Another Bucksaw on the Loose
A bit of personal history - I never touched a tool in high school. When I was there, kids were openly placed in two "tracks;" either Academic or General education. I know I wasn't the sharpest student and I generally disliked almost everything about being in school but I was placed among the Academics. In … Continue reading Thoughts Provoked by a Sloyd Workbench Advertisement
This is the prototype saw I used for teaching a bushcraft class at Echoes in Time in 2014. Unfortunately, a split in the original wood spread last winter and I had to rebuild it. Actually though, that is a beautiful thing when you can make your own tools. I didn't spend any abstract money for … Continue reading Making a Bucksaw – Retrospective
I've been working on a new hand reel to keep in my pack with my travel fishing kit. I didn't have much of a plan when I started so I drilled out a couple of one-inch holes a little further apart than the width of my hand and started from there. The wood came from … Continue reading Fishing Reel
I collect old plans for projects I never seem to get around to making. With winter here, maybe someone would want to build this fine sled. This comes from an old Delta Tool company publication and the procedure is about as simple as can be. I lived on the flat Plains for quite some time … Continue reading A New Sled in Time for Winter!
Dowel Cutter - A useful tool for large-scale production A version of this post appeared here in 2012 but here is an update as prelude to a coming post. I've been using a Veritas dowel and tenon cutter to rough out arrow shafts from planks. Quite a while ago I posted about the jig I … Continue reading Arrows from Planks
Coming soon to the blog; New plans for a packable frame saw. In the mean time, check out the link to my older post about making a frame saw from 5 years ago.
Okay dammit. Now I have to make some of these…
While researching “Ingenious Mechanicks” Chris Schwarz and I found many workbenches with face vises and some of them actually had vise nuts.
In the montage above there are selections from paintings from Spain, Italy and what is now present-day Ecuador. As you can see, they range from the basic steering wheel to the curvy hurricane. The nut on the lower left is the shape Chris chose for his Holy Roman/Löffelholz workbench (and he provides the pattern in the book).
My particular favorite is a form that may have originated in Spain and made its way to Spain’s New World colonies: the double-bunny ear. The double-bunny ear provides an easy grip for tighting or loosening the vise.
The top right image is from a 17th-century Spainish painting. The next two vice nuts on the right are late 19th-to-early 20th century from Guatemala and Mexico. The vise nut on the left is of…
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Now that I'm back to spoon carving it feels great to actually finish some decent pieces. Most of the nicer wood I have on-hand is kiln-dried, making it much more difficult to work. More patience, more sharpening, and smaller cuts are necessary to accomplish a desired form. However, this weekend paid off with a few … Continue reading Wood Carving; Spoons, Spatulas, and a Whiskey Noggin
Someday, I'll have one this nice again... Click the image for a much larger version.
With the holiday season just around the corner, it's time to start making those gifts for friends and family. I collect old plans for projects I never seem to get around to making but here's a quickie that might be on the table soon. Maybe you know some youngster that will need a sled this … Continue reading Build a New Sled in Time for Christmas!
Someone recently shared this house with me and I've seen her (Ana White's) work popping up all over the Internet lately. Ana White uses readily available materials to create some genius storage and living solutions for small homes. These could easily be applied in many other situations in order to make the most of any … Continue reading Ana White and Some Truly Brilliant Ideas
Thanks to Ronel Silva for passing this on. It's a good video showing the construction of a Pea Picker style of folding stool. I posted my own version here several years ago. The video is in Spanish, but if you do not speak it, I think the visuals should give you plenty of guidance. https://youtu.be/JiQPUKHo9Xo
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.
Looking through old books online I'm constantly reminded of how easy we have it in the 21st Century. I still remember seeing my grandfather and great-grandfather ripping the occasional board by hand. Neither had a table saw and it was often too much trouble for a single cut to replace the blade in the circular … Continue reading Rip Cuts and Table Saws
"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well." ~Voltaire Voltaire was on to something there. Here is a very inspirational family making good in the wilds of Wisconsin. I would love to see more as they sound like some truly genuine artisans and … Continue reading Live Well
Here’s a nearly perfect little essay from Greg Merritt about amateur woodworking that can be applied far beyond our chosen hobby. It’s a great way to start off the New Year on a positive note.
I particularly like this line: “To build furniture you need three basic skills. You must know how to sharpen, layout accurately and then accurately cut the wood to layout. That is it. Period.”
The following is written for those of you, like myself, who are amature/hobbiest woodworkers. We just want to build things with wood and enjoy the process as well as the result.
In days gone by, when the apprentiship system was in full swing, a person knew where they stood in the hierarchy. You entered as an apprentice and worked your way up through the ranks. Crossing milestones allong the way that advanced you to the next level. Eventually working your way up until you were considered a master craftsman, or whatever similar rank, depending upon your chosen proffession. My assumption is, that as these individulas moved up in the system their attitude changed as well. Gaining both confidence and a sense of reponsibility to the profession.
That was then, this is now.
Something I have observed over the years is that amature woodworkers are almost always viewed as perpetual beginners…
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Here's another fine read and almost too much reality from Paul Seller's blog. First off I didn’t want to edit this letter down because of the individuality it expresses. So it’s long and worth reading. Hi Paul, I just turned eighteen, and for just over a year now… Source: An Answer for Today
Joinery doesn’t have to be a mystery or an unknowable. Have a read of Mr. Merritt’s take on joinery. I’m looking forward to more!
I love joinery.
There is something magical about fitting two or more pieces of wood together.
Before the advent of mechanical fasteners, joinery reigned supreme. At that pre-industrial time is was the cheapest, fastest and strongest way of building with wood. As nails, bolts and screws became less expensive they began to displace joinery for building with wood. Mechanical fasteners required less skill and were faster. Thus the products produced became less expensive and the structural and aesthetic compromises were accepted as “progress”. Machines too brought an end to joinery’s reign. Some joints that can be “easily” cut by hand are either impossible to cut with a machine or the setup is too costly. So joinery was simplified or abandoned to accommodate mass production.
I have no intention of delving into a philosophical diatribe on the pros and cons of the industrial revolution. My intent with the preceding was to…
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