Interior of a Mechanic’s Workshop

Anthelme Trimolet (Anthelme Claude Honoré Trimolet, born 8 May 1798, Lyon – died 17 December 1866, Lyon) from the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.

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 about a commission they are undertaking and discussing the finer details.  Click the image for a larger version and enjoy.

The Hardest Part of Learning to Sharpen

Wise words. Learning to really properly sharpen an edge tool by hand is an epiphany and makes wood and leatherworking a real joy.

The Literary Workshop Blog

The other day, I was teaching a friend to sharpen his plane iron, and it got me thinking about sharpening.  Of all the skills I have learned while working wood, sharpening has been the most life-changing. It started with chisels and plane irons, but then I began sharpening my kitchen knives and pocketknives.  I had no idea that steel could get so sharp!  It used to be that dull tools were merely inconvenient, but now I find a dull knife a heartbreaking disappointment.

I say this because I want to share a recent article on sharpening by Chris Schwarz, former editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and current head of Lost Art Press.  In it, Schwarz reflects (well, more like pontificates) on how few woodworkers actually know how to sharpen an edge tool.  Even the some of the professionals who write for the big-name magazines often lack basic sharpening skills.  He…

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The Chart of Hand Tools

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 imagine it over my new workspace or even hanging on the wall in the den to be pondered while dreaming of building something worthwhile.  It’s called the Chart of Hand Tools from the Pop Chart Lab, “printed using 100 lb archival recycled stock certified by The Forest Stewardship Council, this poster is pressed on an offset lithographic press in Flatlands, Brooklyn.”  Sounds good so far and I love how they are actually grouped in logical sets by basic function.  That satisfies the analyst in me.

HandTools

Click the image for a larger version or the link to get yours today (or to send me one!).

Here’s some information from Pop Chart Lab’s website:

With over 300 meticulously illustrated tools this chart celebrates the tinkerers and the doers: those who build, repair, and create. Breaking down all manner of hand tools by their basic function, this sprawling print covers the most basic, such as the humble yet mighty hammer, to the most highly specialized, such as the 24 types of files depicted here. A hand-crafted compendium of ingenious and essential devices, this chart is a complete cut-list of the tools that empower makers and artisans. —And the chart is printed with brass and aluminum metallic inks to give it a shop-ready sheen.

Size 24″ x 36″

Each print is signed and numbered by the artists, and comes packaged in a Pop Chart Lab Test Tube. 

At $37 U.S. it seems like a great addition to any Maker’s house.  I hope my own Santa Claus or Krampus drops one off at the shop this winter.  I better start being good for the Yule-tide season.

The Beginner’s List

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.

wesleyworkswithwood

My beginner’s tool list:

  • Workbench
  • 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?

I…

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