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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Ultimate Leather Tool Roll That Will (Probably) Never Be Used

I am not a woodworking scholar by any means.  I do not have an extensive collection of woodworking tomes.  Generally, if I can't find an answer, or a lead, to whatever question is being researched in the first sixty hits on Google, I figure it must be too obscure for regular folks like me.

Not too long ago I was researching the use of the lowly chisel roll.  Often I have read advice that chisel rolls should be used to protect, carry, and store tools.  However, I could not find much, or any, real advice on HOW to use a chisel roll.

Generally the unanswerable questions around tangible things revolve around two concepts. First, is that the use is so blindingly obvious there can be no directions; think clothes pins, or tooth picks.  The second concept is that the thing must be so prone to personal interpretation that forcing a way of using it is futile.  The organization of a man's wallet illustrates this second point nicely.  Personally, I never put actual money in my wallet.

I assumed that the chisel roll fell into the blindingly obvious camp.  However, my research has revealed that chisel rolls actually fall into the personal preference camp.

The above chisel roll took around ten hours to make.  Most of that time was for the hand stitching.  The design phase took far longer simply because I wanted to make the roll right the first time.

The major question is organization of the roll.  Are pockets used handle first, or blade first?  Do blunt tools go outboard, or do sharp tools?  When I first started down this path, I figured it would be a ten minute trip at most.  I was wrong.

As stated above, I couldn't find any authoritative sources in print, or on Google.  Most of the conversation around chisel rolls is found on the various woodworking forums.  Here is a summary of the positions I found:

Blade In The Holder

  • Steel is less likely to rust -- due to being protected from the air
  • Cutting edge is completely protected from dings and scratches
  • The roll is safer for the user while opening and closing
  • The pockets can be made smaller and will be stretched less during repeated ingress and egress

Handle In The Holder

  • Steel is less likely to rust -- due to less contact with moisture holding material (leather or canvas)
  • The cutting profile can be easily seen
  • Cutting edges are better protected when placed in a crowded toolbox
  • Steel is easier to oil for fast routine maintenance
  • Chisels are more secure during transport.  Reasoning is that the handles are almost always wider than the steel part of chisel so when wound and tied the roll is thicker at the ends.

Nobody really opined about blunt vs. sharp tool placement.  I guess that question was a red herring I set myself up for.

I couldn't find any general consensus, so I thought I'd ask woodworking professionals for their thoughts on the matter.  After all, they are the definition of modern shop practices, right?  I sent queries off to notable folks whose work I admire for whatever reason.  To my surprise, I got some responses!

However, I started, and finished, construction based on what I think a chisel roll should be before hearing from any of the masters I queried.  I went with staggered pockets per the norm in tool rolls with the handle in the pocket.  It was more important to me to see the blade profile and I figured they would stay put better.

Glen Huey of  doesn't spend much thought, or time on chisel rolls. Glen says "The only tools I have packed in my rolls are carving chisels, which I store with the handles in so...I can see the chisel design and size".  In typical Glen succinct fashion he closed his advice with "Wish I had some earth-shattering spiel to pass along, but ...".  I have to respect such a pragmatic approach.

Jeff Miller pretty much echoed Glen Huey with his views.  "I do put my chisels in blade first. I usually pull all of them out when I'm working".  However, Jeff only uses tool rolls when on the road; they are racked when in his native shop.  Jeff's final words of advice pretty much sum up my trip down the chisel roll rabbit hole:  "Don't go too crazy with this! Chisel use is far more important".

Famous wood carver Mary May also responded to my inquiry.  There are four woodworkers who I watch intently whenever I get a chance to see them at a bench:  Frank Klausz, Ron Herman, Roy Underhill, and Mary May.  The economy of movement, the adroit placement of tools with purpose, and movements so honed into muscle memory that they could never vocalize the skill they display are the chief reasons I observe what they do so intently.  Also, I always watch from afar for fear of creeping them out. :)  Also, also, no disrespect intended for Jeff, or Glen.  I've not had much chance to see Jeff in action, and Glen is so darn fast you feel sure fingers and toes are going to fly off in some random direction.

Being a woodcarver, I value Mary's opinion above the others simply because chisels are her primary tools.  Always.  Like Jeff, Mary only uses rolls when traveling--and prefers (Levi's) denim over leather any day.  Here is Mary's basic take on the chisel roll:  "Tool handle in pocket. They hold tighter and don't fall out. You can view your tools without removing them all. Less likely to cut your tool roll by putting them in blade first. Be careful because this is about the only time I cut myself - putting tools in and out of the tool roll".  Mary's parting advice from, I'm sure, extensive experience is also very practical. "Don't store tools in roll for a long time - especially in humid environments".

At long last we arrive at an awesome tool roll that will probably never get used!  I don't travel with my woodworking.  I built the tool roll to house tools I don't use often, yet the experts all agree that long term storage--especially in leather--is a bad idea.  I wonder if coating the leather surface that might touch metal with mink oil would help?  It waterproofs my boots, right?

This post is already too long, so I will do another detailing the very simple construction of the chisel roll.  Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2015 to everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Woodworking Tolls

Another year has gone by and that means another list of vendors is in order.  All of these folks I have satisfactorily purchased tools, supplies, or other woodworking paraphernalia from in the past year.  These annual lists are not meant to be an inventory, so I won't be listing everything purchased.  However, I do add notable comments.  Feel free to ask if something piques your interest.  The list is longer this year because I finally wised up and kept a vendor journal of sorts through the year.  Without further pomp and circumstance, here is the list:

Highland Woodworking.  The rest of the list is in no particular order.  More on Highland below.

Jim bode tools.  You have to dig a bit, but you will find plenty of user tools among their finer stuff.

etsy.  As expected, I find the oddest stuff here.  Some hardware and leather working rivets are among the finds for this year.

ebay  Do you really need the link?

Lee Valley/Veritas.  I got to touch their new 'custom' planes at WIA this year, but did not have much time to play with them.  I'm anxious to hear other folk's experience with them.

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks.  A banner year in that I got FOUR (!!!) Lie-Nielsen tools this year.  Currently enamored with their beading tool; maybe I'll feel different when the 'new' wears off.  Finally, I can't wait for them to start selling their new sharpening jig.  Rumor has it they are making small changes to their tools to ensure every blade they have can be sharpened on their jig with optional add-ons.

CU woodshop.  Most of my wood was purchased from this gem in Champaign, IL.

Woodcraft.  A stalwart supplier of tools, wood, and consumables.

Menards/Home Depot/Lowes  For obvious reasons.

Van Dyke's Restorers  Stuff can get pricey, but they have what we need and higher margins are necessary to provide such a broad range of products.  I know, I'm totally trying to justify what I've spent on hardware with them. :)


Hovarter Custom Vise.  It's killing me that I have not been able to install their new VX20 yet!  I got frozen out of the outside shop too soon.

Hobby Lobby.  You'd be surprised how useful this place can be to woodworkers.

Tandy Leather

Klingspor's woodworking

Czeck Edge Tools.  Picked up one of their new awls at WIA--love it.

Peachtree woodworking

CMT tools

Japan Woodworker

Blaine's Farm & Fleet

For the first time I'm separating the publishing department:

Lost Art Press.  See this blog entry.

Abe books

Popular Woodworking

Woodworker's Journal

Woodcraft Magazine

I am presenting the Pragmatic Woodworker 2014 Woody award to Highland Woodworking.  These folks gave me a voice for my writing for which I'm very thankful.  I pitched and they agreed that my 'amateur' voice might speak to other woodworkers.  I'm still making mistakes, and I'm still writing about them.  Hopefully Highland will find more publishable material amongst my shop follies and successes in 2015.  :)  Furthermore, by far, Highland received the lion's share of my business this year. 

I've blogged before about my current log jam of projects.  I expect my purchases next year to be considerably less as I turn out all the stuff the above list is meant to service.

Best wishes to all for a healthy and prosperous new year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Present Presentation

I received The Book Of Plates today; one of the new titles from Lost Art Press.  The word 'plate' in the title refers to the original copper engravings used to create the images some two centuries ago.  I believe LAP went retro and included the copper because this thing is HEAVY!

The Book of Plates is a compilation of all the engraved images from Andre Roubo's master work, To Make As Perfectly As Possible.  The plates are reproduced in this tome at full size.  And incredibly high resolution.  I have to take it on faith that the graphics are as close to the 250 year old originals as possible, but the leap of faith is not far at all.

I don't know anything about the nuts and bolts of printing.  When Chris Schwarz starts talking about shiny paper weights, I start to hear the grown-ups from Peanuts-- Wah-wah-wah.  All the publishing technical information boils down to this book is large, heavy, and the paper is awesome.

This is the kind of book that as a kid you had to endure the scowls of librarians if you had the temerity to ask for it.  The Audubon book with all the paintings of birds comes to mind as an example from my childhood.   I know some librarians, and they make the judgmental scowl an art form.  Just kidding.

This is not any kind of 'review' since in essence this is a picture book for two other reference volumes; one of which is not even published yet (by LAP).  This is however, a testament to the worth of this title as a stand alone work.  The book is built to be used often in conjunction with the text, as stated in the forward by Christopher Schwarz.  I have spent a couple hours staring at plates, even making a few notes to myself.  In that two hours I only made it to plate 37.  I also have to say that plate 36 is quite simply elegant art.

Merry Christmas everyone!  I'm enjoying my early present.

P.S.  I'm not one to jump on the lovefest bandwagon that woodworking pros seem to ride.  If something sucks, I'll let you know.  Here is a review I wrote about Chisel, Mallet, Plane, and Saw which is sold, but not published, by Lost Art Press.  I'm told, by one person so far, that it was a very unflattering and negative review.  I didn't feel that way writing it, but the reader should make up their own mind.  This rambling postscript is really me just trying to say that the above is my honest opinion and in no way did I get a break on the hundred dollar (US) price tag.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Practice Makes A Mess

I know the blog has suffered in the posting department lately.  The problem is actually one of excess--I have too much stuff to say!

Highland woodworking has picked up some things I wrote which can be found here:  one, two, and three.  I'll continue to offer them stuff which they may or may not accept.   I spend a lot more time writing when Highland accepts something because this is an informal blog, and they have a real live periodical that deserves professional attention.

I have a number of projects in the pipeline.  I find that every 14-18 months a log jam happens as a bunch of things get started while waiting for parts, tools, or time on other projects.  Right now I'm at another one those log jams.

There are several book reviews partially completed, including one for Christopher Schwarz's Campaign Furniture.  There are also furniture projects waiting my attention including a couch table, book case, campaign table, light box movie poster display, another Dutch tool chest, and some smaller things.

Tonight was a school night as I try to teach myself some basic leather working.  Here is my first outing:

Someday I hope to have a homemade chisel roll.  As you can see, I need some more practice cow.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

So That's What Pitch Is

I haven't done any serious planing in over a year--since I hurt my shoulder at work.  I got the go-ahead last week from the doc to resume normal activity as tolerated.  Somehow I figured that meant I could do some planing today.  Other than some sore muscles in the back, I did OK body-wise.

The boards didn't fair as well.

I'm working with some Northern White Cedar on a project.  The wood is reclaimed from a barn that stood for 90 years before coming my way.  I think the barn was held together with the pitch in the wood.

The plane kept getting bogged down with pitch.  Sometimes I couldn't even finish a full traversing stroke before the plane was all gummed up.

Repeatedly removing and replacing the blade got old real quick.  I stopped after a while to consult the web for advice on planing pitchy wood.  Surprisingly, there was not much to be found.  I found a lot of advice about using solvents to get rid of pitch for finishing.  After a while I gave up and went back to the workbench.

I spent about an hour experimenting with the best plane set up for dealing with the pitch.  I finally settled on taking whisper thin shavings and cleaning after every stroke.  Definitely not the path to high productivity with hand tools.

The real kicker is that this first 4X8 board was practice for the real stock that needs prepped.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lie-Nielsen Back In The Mid-West

CU Woodshop supply in Champaign IL is hosting a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event 10/31, 11/1.  Details can found here.  I'm pretty far away (78 miles) from CU Woodshop, but they have become an important resource in my woodworking.

I usually go to Jeff Miller's studio for the Lie-Nielsen events but had to miss this year's soiree.  Jeff is on the far side of Chicago from me, but technically closer.  Champaign is a cornfield lined trip down I57.  I can get to Champaign quicker than the North side of Chicago.

I do not know if this is the first time Lie-Nielsen has been to CU woodshop, but this is the first time I've heard about it.  The web is full of people recommending these things.  I'm going to leave you with the most profound experience I have with the Lie-Nielsen events:   the insight into the use of the tools is indescribable.

So, go.  Show your support for the world of woodworking.  Even if all you do is walk around and gape at the CU Dreamshop.  I'll be there on Friday, the 31st.  I'm the scary one without a costume.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Woodworking In America 2014

I attended WIA this year.  I'm told I have an unapproachable look about me.  Consequently, folks generally don't cozy up to well; unless they are trying to sell me something.  Other folks often cite the camaraderie as the highlight of WIA.  Well, for the overarched troll crowd like me the highlights were more tangible.

The best thing about WIA 2014 for me was the discovery of the Moravian desk form.  Head on over to Google and search for images of a Moravian desk.  Go ahead, I'll wait.  If you don't want to wait, I offer this spoiler:  you won't see any desks in the search.  Before visiting Old Salem, I never even heard of the style.  I didn't realize at the time the paucity of documentation of the form, so I only took two pictures:

I've never been interested in desks of this type before.  They are too often copied--cheaply--and pawned off on the public as 'fine furniture'.  However, something about the Moravian style spoke to me.  The stepped feature of the outer drawers and the simplicity of the middle drawers evoke something 'new'.  It also appears wider than the run-of-the-mill tambour roll top desk, yet narrower than the high end furniture gallery double pedestal monster.

I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the examples.  I wanted to take in the experience and not cloud it with scads of shutterbugging.  I thought I'd be able to find many resources for plans and such.  I was dead wrong.  Some day I will build one of these, but I have to come up with a plan first.  I don't want to screw up such a large project with a cartoon looking recreated design of my own.

Another highlight was a visit to Finnigan's Wake.  OK, several visits.

Shepherd's pie and the mushrooms are pretty darn good.  I bought four of the glasses as souvenirs; odd since I don't usually do things like that.

Here is some publicly displayed art from Winston Salem:

Here is the gallery of photos from touring MESDA and Old Salem.  I'm putting these here mostly for my reference over the next few weeks.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hovarter VX-20 Available For Pre-order

I am very skeptical when it comes to--just about everything.  Heck, the title of Pragmatic Woodworker should give a clue as to how calculating I can be.  Part of my skepticism is:

     A) try not to ever do anything first
     2) do not conform to the pack, and
     iii) never spend money unless you know what you are getting

The Hovarter VX-20 is the exception that proves the rule.  I was hooked on this unit merely from recommendation and marketing video (youtube).

I've already placed my pre-order to avoid the rush.  Head on over to to be part of the pack clamoring for this new vise.  :)

I will definitely report on my experience with the VX-20.

I've decided the VX-20 is going to be the center piece (well, left of center) for my new bench.  One of the features I'm drawn to is the quick release mechanism.  The new bench will have a leg vise on both front legs.  I don't want to buy two vises, and I don't want two on at a time.  However, I would love to quickly move the vise from one leg to the other to accommodate the handedness of any operation.  The VX-20 is the only thing I've seen that gets close to my imagined nirvana.

Handedness of any operation?  You see, I was born sinister, cursed to feel the world in my right mind: I'm left handed.  I've learned to do many many things with my right hand.  This handedness issue comes up a lot in woodworking.  Almost every operation has a mirror image of itself as part of completion.  Things like dovetails and tenons generally like to be bilateral in form.  In my world, I often switch hands to achieve bilateralness.  Moving work between sides of the bench is a fact of my woodworking life.

Hopefully I'm not thowing money away on a rose colored vision of the future.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Box Problem

I recently received a new tool--a Lie-Nielsen tongue and groove plane.  I was moving things around in the toolbox to see where the new tool could live.  In the process I realized I have a box problem.

I have a number of Lie-Nielsen boxes that I can't seem to part with.  Pictured above are boxes spanning literally years.  The small box at the top right is a chisel box and is about 3 years old.  The chisel sits in the rack of my first Dutch tool chest, but the box now houses my small files.  The middle box holds a router plane.  The tool and cardboard box go into the Dutch tool chest.  On the left is the new tongue and groove plane; still looking for a home.

I haven't even had a chance to use the T&G plane--it's killing me.

There are also a couple more chisel boxes laying around.  Lie-Nielsen is by far a minority of my tool collection, yet I have all these silly boxes.  I think it is time to part with ages old cardboard.

Boxes for sale!  Get your small cardboard boxes here.  Get 'em while their hot, people!

Monday, August 18, 2014

When A Recess Becomes A Hole

I've been working on another Dutch Tool Chest, but this one has some surprises.  So, SURPRISE: this Dutch chest has a drawer!  Shocking, right?  Every good showman and politician knows to cover with hype what is weak or boring.

What isn't hype are the pulls I purchased for this chest.

Tonight I was doing some test fitting.  The pulls are meant to be fully recessed.  The problem is that they are just shy of 3/4" deep--the same depth as the wood.  I'm too cheap to redo all the front parts in 5/4 wood, which leaves me with a hard choice.  Either I get new pulls, or mount these above the drawer front.  Here are a couple photos to illustrate.

 I'm mostly posting these so I have place to refer to them as I try to decide which way to go.

I"m tempted to go ahead and risk the tight tolerances and mount the pulls anyway.  The chief problem with that approach is the screw length.  The screws have to be filed down to fit the remaining wood.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

First Roubo Plate 11 Bench Joint

I'm doing some practice Roubo bench joints before the real thing.  I chose to cut the mortise and then fashion the tenon to fit.  In Christopher Schwarz's The Workbench Design Book, he demonstrates the process by cutting the tenon first.  I haven't tried Chris' way yet, but I think I'll give it a try.

Shaping this tenon to fit the mortise has been a very long process.  Part of the problem is me.  I've never done this joint before so I've been very tentative in the shaping process.  The successive test joints will be done more aggressively.

Crafting the joint mortise first is like doing a Rubik's Cube.  All 8 faces of the tenon have to be evaluated by eye to see where material needs to be removed.  The same can be said for the opposite process, but the grass seems greener on the other side.  At some point I'll do a tenon-first version of the Roubo joint and hopefully remember to report on it.

I spent nearly four hours of shop time getting the first joint snug.  Shape, test, shape, test, shape, test....

Eventually, the completed joint is arrived at:

Angelic Chorus "Hallelujah!"

One, down.  Three more to go.

One thing I did learn doing this joint that I didn't see in the Workbench book, or online when I googled the joint is to undercut the tenon toward the 'base'.  During repeated test fittings it occurred to me that under cutting by a few thousandths of an inch would not hurt the structure at all and would actually help me seat the joint.

Once I decided to get more aggressive in shaping, and to undercut, things went a lot smoother with the first test joint.

I started off the second test joint earlier this evening.  I think I may have been a tad too aggressive, though  But that is fodder for another blog post.  :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Emergency Splinectomy!

I wrote recently about a spline jig here.  In that post I remarked that the hole in the jig was a mistake. Well, I found during the following experience that the hole was a spot on modification.  Did I get lucky, or is there a real woodworker deep down trying to get out?

Getting back on track now.  With my arm now more recovered from shoulder surgery,  I moved on to gluing the frame that needs the splines.

Here is the frame:

The joints are simply mitered and glued.  The glue is what this post revolves around.  I used Titebond Hide Glue, in the photo just by happenstance.  The frame was glued up and put into a ratcheting strap clamp for about 36 hours.  After coming out of the straps, the frame was propped against a 55 gallon garbage can used for 'quality' scrap wood.  There it sat waiting for me to get more strength in the arm, but the glue had other plans.

The 55 gallon scrap bin is in sight of the table saw--easy throwing distance is a must.  The garage shop is not air conditioned so when it gets too hot or too cold, I try to avoid the garage.  However, I was in the garage futzing around while it was still early and cool.  As the day got hotter I moved on to more sedate activity.  I was using the table saw as a desk while putting together a task sequence for another project (new saw bench design).  There I sat staring in the distance pondering some obscure point of the project until the SOMETHING'SNOTRIGHT alarm went off.  I focused closer only to see the miters of the frame literally start to fall apart.  I estimate the temperature in the shop at the time to be in the upper 80's Fahrenheit.

I know hide glue is reversible, but I had no idea that the temperature for doing so was so low.  I grabbed the frame before complete separation and managed to get it on a flat surface.  The only thing I could think of was getting the splines in ASAP with regular yellow wood glue.  Since time was of the essence I used what was immediately available.  The table saw was set up with a 1/2 inch wide dado.  Rooting around in the scrap bin produced some White Oak left over from the Civil War folding table.

I put corner clamps on three sides of the frame and the spline jig on the fourth:

The spline is in the foreground of the photo above.  The block holding the rest of the uncut splines is off to the right.

I used the jointer and my number 5 to get the white oak down to half an inch.  I opted for a tight dry fit to keep the corners together until the whole was ready for glue.  Then it occurred to me that I could glue and set the spline while still in the jig.  A little patience was all that was required to keep unsatisfactory amounts of glue off the jig.

The splines were going to be quarter-inch slats of either Wenge or Rosewood, depending how far I could make what I have stretch.  The best laid plans of mice and men...

The frame is now splined and glued with a single half-inch wide White Oak chunk on each corner.  I have a lot more work to do bringing the splines flush, and the aesthetic opportunity is gone.  On the plus side, I don't have to worry about separation now, or in the future and paint is as good as stain on this kind of project.  The next task to overcome is where to get tempered glass or plastic big enough to cover the 43 X 27 opening.

I also am rethinking when and where to use hide glue. I freely admit to jumping on the bandwagon of hide glue just to see what all the hype was about.  Experience can be a cheap education.

EDIT:  Here is a photo I forgot of the jig ready to go over the blade:

Monday, June 16, 2014


Zebrawood is exotic, expensive, and pretty much useless to me.  I suppose a longer explanation is in order.  A while back I found a good deal on a Zebrawood off cut.  The plan at the time was to use it for knife scales.

I have a jig setup that is used with knife blanks from Woodcraft.  The Tanto style is my favorite knife Woodcraft carries.  The jig is for use with a router.  The Zebrawood speciman I have was not at all router friendly.  Almost immediately the wood began to splinter and disintegrate under the brand new router bit, ruining the scale blank.  I tried changing the bit speed, climb cuts, gentle nudging, and soft curses to no avail.  The Zebrawood was too delicate for power tools.

Files and rasps are generally meant to be finishing tools.  Which translates into 'you can do all your work with them if you have enough patience'.  A coping saw and patience with the aforementioned tools were the last resort.  I did manage to finish the knife scale, but it looked too crappy to permanently affix to the knife.

The rest of the Zebrawood off cut sat under my workbench for nearly two years, until today.  I'm still recovering from shoulder surgery so my usefulness in the shop is limited.  My three kids are having no more of being pressed into service for my hair brained projects.  We (they) have been building shop furniture, shelving, and jigs for when full usefulness of the arm returns.  However, cutting one small off cut even smaller is well within my purview.

There is another Dutch tool chest in the project pipeline and it needs the locking wood slider thingies.  The last one used Walnut off cuts.  The next chest is going more exotic and using Zebrawood to lock it.  Don't tell anyone, but the wood is tough, but stringy and will probably break if modestly forced.

The wood did not succumb to power tools much better this time around.  At least the cut was mercifully short on the table saw.  The finishing was done with a random orbit sander.  Some folks will think it dumb to use an exotic off cut for a utilitarian invisible piece of a project.  I guess I don't care:  I had the wood, it was the right size, and cannot serve the original purpose for which it was purchased.

The next Dutch tool chest will have an African flair to it.

Here are the unimproved locking bars:

Just one more quasi finished part to throw in the corner until I get my arm back.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dance A Little (Impromptu) Jig

I found a need for a spline jig.  Normally I check my print sources and the 'Net for examples or advice on whatever I'm doing.  Tonight I was too impatient to wait and threw together a spline jig, or what I think a spline jig should be.

I guess it is more correct to say my son was too impatient.  I have a shop assistant for a while due to shoulder surgery.  We are working on a back lit box to display his vintage movie posters (and a project for the blog once I get my arm back).

Here is our creation:

The two halves are mirror images of each other.  I put the hole in so I could see what was happening.  The first test proved my thinking wrong.  I can't see a darn thing except the frame in there.

The splines are going into large shadowbox  frames.  I made the support boards tall enough to get a good clamp hold on the frames when in the jig.

The jig will live long enough for the current couple of projects, but something more durable will have to be made for the future I think.

Links to more useful spline jigs are certainly welcome below.  Typing is still a strain, so it is off to the couch for an ice pack.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Recycle, Reuse, Reflect

A while back I picked up a beat up old tool box at a garage sale.  The proprietor had a price of ten bucks on the box with all the contents.  The box didn't have much in it so I mostly bought it to examine the construction.  Here is the tool box:
Red Tool Box
I don't usually post such large photos, but wanted to show the construction details of the tool box.  The corner joints are all finish nailed with no glue.  A simple leather strap held on with roofing nails serves as a handle on each side.

The guy selling it told me his grandfather made this toolbox and used it.  He did not know what trade he was in.  The contents consisted of some large cold chisels, a homemade dowel plate and two beat up saws.  Here are the contents of the box sans hand saws:

Notice that the remaining paint on the tools exactly matches the toolbox.  There is no other personalization on the tools or box so my assumption is that the original owner/builder used the red paint to mark the stuff as his.  By all means offer any alternative theories below.

Here is one of the saws:
The saws were well used and kinked in multiple places.  They aren't even worth practice sharpening.  Also, note again the red paint on the handle.

The best 'find' in this tool box is the dowel plate.  One of the holes is even threaded for whatever purpose; I'll use it to thread dowels if need be.  The other tools I tossed into my large Craftsman chest dubbed the Island of Misfit Tools.

After examining the toolbox, I was about to chuck it after the saws into the garbage heap.  For some reason I hesitated and kept the empty box around.  I don't know who built the toolbox.  I have no connection whatsoever with it's history, but it occurred to me that I could be part of it's future.  My oldest son found the perfect use for this old toolbox:

All of my small sanders fit perfectly in the box.  Now the big red toolbox is going to be home to all of my small sanders.  The previous owner could care less, the builder may or may not be pleased that this box survived the years to arrive in my care.  All I know is that now whenever I need a sander, it should be in the obnoxious red box on the back shelf of the garage shop.