Here are some good words about responsibility I would like to share from the Northwest Woodworking Studio.

Tool box detail


I had this crazy idea about the world and how I’d like to change it today.

Hear me out.

What if folks acted as if they were responsible for their actions? That whatever they did out in the world had a pond and ripple effect? That they are not alone on their computer, on a phone, in their world, entitled to more of everything at the expense of everyone else?

It would be like working at the bench if you will allow me. Where when you screw something up you are the one who did this. You are the one who has to fix it. You can’t turn to your neighbor, the car next to you or the bike rider, big business or the government, or your sad upbringing and history and blame them for it. You have to take responsibility for who you are and where you are in…

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The Silk Road of Monkey Tales

A very interesting article about monkeys and carpenter’s fables from Chris Schwartz at Lost Arts Press.

Lost Art Press


Marco Polo is one of my heroes. That’s him and his fellow travelers on my favorite map the Catalan Atlas of 1375 by Abraham Cresques.

I enjoy tales of adventure whether it is the real life wanderings of Marco Polo or Ibn Buttata, the mythical adventures in the Odyssey, the Argonautica or Samurai Champloo. The last week has found me on the Silk Road following fables about monkeys and carpenters. It all started while trying to track down the illustrations of a caravan from a 13th century manuscript that had nothing to do with monkeys. Instead, I came across this image from 1222 CE and wondered why was a monkey apparently not helping a sawyer.


In short order, through the digital libraries of a dozen countries, I was tracing a set of fables and lessons from India, across the Middle East, the Iberian Peninsula and into the rest of Europe…

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 20-Complete

Wow! For calling this a “hillbilly” project this sure shows a high level of skill and craftsmanship. Maybe it’s graduated up to “hillwilliam” status now?


I’m calling it done!

Over the last several days I have been adding the finishing touches to Hillbilly Tansu #3.  Primarily, the actual finish.   I used several coats of Tried & True Original which is a mixture of polymerised linseed oil and beeswax.  I’ll add additional coats over the coarse of the next year or so.  I know that sounds like a lot of work, but I like the way the finish looks as well as the non-toxic nature of the finish in both the raw and the cured state.  How many finishes do you use that you would let a five year old help you to apply?  Once the finish had dried I buffed the entire tansu with synthetic steel wool and a soft cotton cloth.

This project had a few experiments/challenges involved in it.  Early on in the planning stages I knew that I wanted to incorporate walnut…

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HB Tansu #3-Progress 3

Hillbilly Tansu – It’s good to see a “regular guy” woodworker employing the good old joinery of our predecessors. Mr. Merritt writes a good blog and I particularly appreciate the good illustrations and photos.


I had an easy, slow paced day in the shop.  No rush.  Just enjoyed my time working wood and making.  My goal today was to chop the mortises in the front cross rails and to fit the corresponding post tenons.

front_rail_mortiseI had set out the joinery for these pieces a few days ago and was able to jump right in with chopping the mortises.  The main mortise is a standard thru mortise.  There is a mortise that intersects with it perpendicularly.  That mortise is reduced two thirds of the way thru to a square profile.  Its this intersection that must be given attention.  I can’t just chop one mortise and then the other.  If I do so when the second mortise meets the hollow of the first there is the potential for spelching (breakout) of the unsupported fibers.  In the past I have inserted a scrap block into the first mortise…

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Låg arbeidsbenk på Sogn Folkemuseum

I think I may have found a portable bench design that works for me and the small bench top I’ve been saving. (Pardon the poor translation; it is a mix of Google translator and my best effort).

The Heiberg Collections – Sogn Folk Museum has a very rich collection of objects related to various crafts.  They have a beautiful display of carpenter’s tools that have been displayed to resemble a workshop with workbench and tools. In addition, they have much of this collection in the collection.  In this book I came across a workbench that woke my interest.  The bench has registration number DHS.3884. The bench is at a height so  to sit on, 46 cm high (18 inches) and about 1.5 meters (60 inches) long.  In one end there is a vise and the other end there is a screw clamp with crank.

I will start drawing up plans when I get a chance.


De Heibergske Samlinger – Sogn Folkemuseum har ei veldig rik samling av gjenstandar knytt til ulike handverk. Dei har ei flott utstilling av snikkarverktøy som er lagt til rette som ein verkstad med arbeidsbenkar og verktøy. I tillegg har dei mykje av samlinga si i gjenstandsmagasin. I dette magasinet kom eg over ein arbeidsbenk som vekte mi interesse. Benken har registreringsnummer DHS.3884.  Benken er i høgd slik at han er til å sitje på, 46 cm høg og ca 1,5 meter lang. I eine enden er det ei baktang og i andre enden er det ei skruklemme med sveiv.

Arbeidsbenken slik han står på magasinet på museet. Foto: Roald Renmælmo Arbeidsbenken slik han står på magasinet på museet. Foto: Roald Renmælmo

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The Carcajou


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Early version of The Carcajou with center-hinged hood. Photos courtesy GM Heritage Center.

You may, as many have, once wondered what you would do if you owned a car company. If you were Paul Seiler, president of the Yellow Truck & Coach Mfg. Company, better known as General Motors Truck Corp., then you would get hold of a preproduction 1929 Z-250 Yellow Coach, eight months before the public debut. As the Depression hadn’t hit yet, you would convince someone in accounting to release about $25,000 to you, and have the factory build it into what was probably the most luxurious vehicle on wheels, The Carcajou (wolverine).

623_The Carcajou2

Does your Duesenberg have one of these? It does not.

Ostensibly, Seiler had it built to tour YT&CMC dealers and production facilities, and he did record at least 3,000 miles in it over the next couple of years. But it was also described…

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