Fair Woodworking

July 21, 2014

Going Dutch on the Dutch Tool Chest

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Tool chests are stupid!


I said it, and it feels good.

I literally don’t like tool chests, but I also don’t really like to brush my teeth. However, like having teeth, owning tools may require some things we don’t like. I also don’t like, no screw that! I HATE top lifting lids. What a stupid idea! If you have a 12″ deep chest, you lose at least 12 inches of valuable real estate directly above the chest. Then you have morons that do these sloping lids that turn 12 inches into 15 or more inches.

It’s a fool’s paradise.

Sooo… With such strong opinions about this topic, how did I get here? Well I’ve been designing the perfect tool chest/box/shelf/backpack for nearly 15 years now.

After my first day as a trim carpenter, I went to Walmart and bought the largest Rubbermaid container I could wrap my arms around to hold all my new tools. It was perfect because I was certain that I could fit all my tools in it, and I could make just one trip from the work site to my truck at the beginning, and end of the day. Once I carefully fit all my tools in that tub, I discovered that I couldn’t much more than drag the blasted thing.

It was frigging heavy.

The next day I’d replaced the big tub with two smaller tubs and a 5 gallon bucket. It took me 3 trips now, but there was no risk of needing surgery after lifting any of them.

When the world rediscovered the monstrous/traditional English Tool Chest, my first thought was that it had the same problem as Gigantor the Rubbermaid container. It’s not portable, well, not with a one man crew at least. I recently learned that the awesome size of these chests was intentional so thieves would have to team up to steal them, and since thieves are not great at sharing, they would often get caught.  Well my tools will stay safe by staying with me, so the ATC is dead in the water.

When I first got into hand tools, I tried making different styles of small tool cases that fit the tools I had at the time.

But then I’d buy a new tool and the case was suddenly too small.

In the past couple of years, the DTC has found overwhelming popularity. I immediately approved of its lower half, but despised the upper half due to its massive gaping top lifting lid. The lower shelves with the removable front face was perfect. However the DTC had become so trendy that I felt like spitting every time it was mentioned.

What the world doesn’t need is another “I made a Dutch Tool Chest” post, I thought.

Now If you just have a couple of shelves for a tool chest, you will have a great place to store your block planes, smoothers, a plow plane, and what have you. But at some point you will start looking for a home for, oh, I don’t know… Perhaps a jack plane or a jointer. Oh, look I own saws as well…

This shelf idea falls flat on its face with these tools.

So let’s soften our stance a little on this top lid idea a little. Sloping lids are stupid, but I could live with a simple flat-topped lid.

Hey, a tool rack to hold my chisels, and screwdrivers would be awfully nice on the back. Ya, that is a good part of this lidded chest idea.

Hmmm. My chisels are kind’a tall. This is going to be a rather deep chest if they are going to stand on end like this.  Well they fit so nicely there on the back, I think it will be worth it.

Hmmm. The front of this chest fits my longer planes really well, but with a flat-topped lid, there will be tons of space above the planes, and reaching over the high front is going to be awkward. It may be better if I lowered the front a little…

Ahhhh Crap! How did that lid get sloped?!?

Through years of struggle, I finally accepted that the Dutch Tool Chest despite it trendiness and idiotic sloping lid, was actually very well designed.

Well it’s at least half well designed.

It’s still a little too big and heavy.

I know people will argue this point, and say “what are you talking about? I can lift my DTC. You are just a wimp”

Well just being able to lift something does not make it portable. Being able to lift your chest off one stool and set it down on another stool does not make it portable either. It makes it moveable.

My shop is in the basement. To get to my truck I need to get the chest out of the shop, up the stairs, down the hall, out the door, down the stairs, and up the driveway. The large DTC, and even the smaller DTC are not especially portable in my opinion.

That’s why I decided to go Dutch.

If you haven’t noticed, this chest is really two chests stacked on top of each other, just like my two smaller Rubbermaid tubs. You may also notice that the top chest is a little wider than the lower one. I know this may bother some, but it’s for a reason.

The top one is 27″ wide so that it can fit saws on that darned sloping lid. The problem with that is many door openings in many houses are for 30″ doors. Most door openings also have a 1/2″ thick door stop on both sides of the jamb reducing the opening to 29″. A wide chest is a problem in a small doorway.

In the lower chest, most of the tools are stacked side by side. The longest tool in there is my framing square, and it is only 24″ long, so I was able to get away with just over 25″ wide. That makes it just possible to walk through most doorways with out scraping my knuckles.

But there is more.

Part of portability, is being able to bring as much of your workshop with you as possible. I built a simple stand that the chests sit on that also makes the top of the lower chest just the right height for free hand sharpening.

That’s right!

My tool chest is also a sharpening station.

How cool is that?

I’ve already talked about the sweet rope handles, so I’ll just let that alone except to say that the upper chest handles still need some tweaking, and have not had the ends trimmed yet. I’ll get to that… or I won’t.

And finally the gravity latches.

Once described as a “Cool locking system”, is not really that big of a deal. Almost every fence in the free world has a latch on its gate that utilizes gravity to make it latch. The idea was simple. Getting it to work in all levels of humidity was the real challenge, and resulted in the guts of it looking a little less “realwoodworker”ish than I would have preferred.

I’m still making friends with this whole tool chest idea, but I think I’ve come up with a chest that I might one day come to tolerate.

Editors note – It’s been over a year now. I’ve posted recently about how it has performed HERE.

January 29, 2014

Get the skinny on flat

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So what’s up with flat? Sure we know it’s important, but why? Many woodworkers demand that every tool they own be perfectly flat, because tools must be perfect if you want them to build perfect things. Often times the concept of flat takes on a mystical persona as the great savior to all your woodworking problems.

Often times flat does make things better, but to say flat = holy grail?


This last weekend, I had the chance to hang out with a friend in his shop. He is looking to get into the whole hand tool game, and he was looking for a little help coming up with a sharpening game plan. The part that seems to snag a lot of beginners is how to keep your stones flat, and really to that, how important is flat?

Well I think it is very important, but the reason is practical. Not mystical, and I decided to try out a simple little exercise to get my point across. It seemed to work, so now I’m going to try it on you poor suckers.

What I did was take a piece of paper from a small note pad, and ripped the top quarter off like this.

The rip makes a jagged line. It was easy to make that messy edge, but try to repeat it with any accuracy. I asked my friend, and to tell you the truth, he really stunk up the joint with this project… Just like I expected he would. But it wasn’t his fault. A random edge like that is near impossible to reproduce accurately. The only good example is the other piece of torn paper.

The edge of this paper was mind blowingly easy to make once, but is hopeless to reproduce. In woodworking, that won’t do.

A flat edge is so much better, if you know how to do it, and it really isn’t much of a trick.

I then took the larger of the two pieces of paper, folded it over, and pressed down a nice straight crease into it.

The paper now tears in a sweet straight line if you are careful.

And leaves you with a nice flat edge.

While the free thinkers may complain that I’m trying to squish their groove, It’s not just the anal people that can see that the straight tear is far superior. It doesn’t just match up with its mating piece, it also matches pretty well with other pieces.

Well, not every piece, but the factory edges would mate with them pretty well…

But what’s also really nice about flat.

If you flip one of the pieces over, it still mates beautifully. Not so with the loosy goosy tear on the top. If you notice, when you flip the top one, the inaccuracies compound.

In real life, this can be a real problem.

So you lap the blade of your new smoother with a slightly hollowed out stone. Let’s say it’s hollowed by 0.002 of an inch. No big deal, that it leaves the back of the blade with a 0.002″ hump in it. Then you tune up the chipbreaker, and go to flattening the edge, and it gets the same 0.002″ hump in the middle. When you put the two together, you end up with solid contact at the middle of the blade/chipbreaker point, but you will have a 0.004″ gap on either side.

When you go to take you sweet 0.001 inch transparent shavings, you end up stymied by all the shavings getting caught in the edges of the chip breaker.

Flat stones are important.

And that is why we all stopped setting the chipbreaker close to the cutting edge…

So ya, ok, stones need to be flat. What about the bottoms of planes?

I’m still chewing on that one.

Perhaps I’ll work up the nerve to tackle that one another day.

November 11, 2013

To mortise a hinge

Filed under: Picture issues,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 6:21 pm

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Mortising a hinge is one of those things I think I just figured out on my own. It’s not a complicated task, but having devised my way of doing it, I have to admit that I could be doing it wrong according to some.


Here’s how I do it…

First I like to get my spacing laid out. Working by eye mostly, I ended up with them a little less than 2 inches from the edge. I set that distance with my first marking gauge.

Next I set my second gauge for the length of the hinge wing. I set it so the gauge is just shy of the center of the barrel. I know that some would just fold the hinge over the back like it shows in the first picture for this, but I don’t like how big a gap it leaves when the lid is open.

Here is a mock-up of what I mean. I like the gap of the one on the left better.

Finally I like to set the dept on the bottom side for almost the full amount of the hinge less the second leaf. I’ll then mortice the leaf on the lid flush.

So here are my three gauges. Their settings are now sacred. Well except for the little one. That one will be set to suit the second leaf like I just mentioned.

So I mark the outside, and also the width of the mortise.

Then with my knife registered in the outside mark, I place the hinge against the knife,

and cut a small mark on the other side of the hinge. I now have the length of the hinge marked.

I then register a square against the new mark, and scribe that side of the hinge mortise.

I like to use my saddle square to then wrap the lines along the side of the mortise.

Finally, with the last gauge, mark the depth.

With a sharp paring chisel, I’ll cut a V groove on all three sides. I’m careful to cut the groove down to the depth line but not past it.

Ok. Prep work is done. Time to mortise this sucker!

But first. Let’s talk about what is the best tool for this. Veritas just released their own version of a Hinge Mortising Plane, and LN has had one for a few years. I don’t own either, nor have I used them, but here are my outsider opinions of them. The LN looks like a beautiful tool, but seem a little difficult to set the depth perfectly to the bottom of the mortise. The Veritas has that typical Veritas look that may or may not do it for you, but the adjustment mechanism may be a step in the right direction for getting your depth right where you want it.  In my opinion, the Veritas is the better of the two.

The thing is, a router plane works just as good or in my opinion better than the hinge mortise plane. Beyond that, the router plane has a million other uses that will keep me from ever getting a dedicated hinge mortise plane. Because these hinges are really small, I’m using my Veritas small router plane. I prefer it over the LN version because of its larger base, but I don’t love that it has a round shaft. It’s a little too easy for the blade to twist, and would have preferred it to have a square shaft.

I also prefer to remove the mortise material across the grain. I think it’s faster and risks less wear on the box surface.

See how quick that was?

October 26, 2013

This post could have been avoided

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If you are reading this, I’ve finally worked up the nerve to post it.

I’ve been sitting here for over an hour hovering over the “publish” button.

After 6 years of using one of my bench planes, I’ve come to the conclusion that it needs to be replaced. In saying that, I suppose that if this was to be considered a review of this tool, I would not be giving it a passing grade.
I really can’t say that I am comfortable with finding fault in a product made by one of my favorite manufacturers, but I guess this really is a six year review of a very high quality tool that I have fallen out of love with.

There are a few nit picks I have with the plane, but these are not deal breakers. They are just things that if I were back in time and were aware of them, I may or may not have made a different choice in tools.

Beyond that there is one design issue that I have decided is a deal breaker, and if it were not for this one issue, this post could have been avoided.

So here we go.

As they say in monster trucks. “We sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge!”

Six years in review, the Veritas Bevel Up Jointer.

I feel dirty already, but I must continue.

As with all Veritas tools, this is an exquisitely, and perfectly manufactured tool. The body is flawless, as is the finish of the bubinga knob and tote.

You can always rely on the quality manufacture of these tools.

So what are the little issues I have found over the years? Anyone who follows this blog might easily guess the first one.

1. It’s a bevel up plane. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not convinced the bevel up design offers any useful advantage over a bevel down plane in most applications. But to find fault in a tool that I knowingly bought as a bevel up plane? That makes as much as sense as complaining that my Honda Civic is not a truck.

2. The lateral/depth adjustment mechanism.

Commonly known as a Norris Adjuster, is a feature that I have been out of love with for quite a while. I’m not a historian, but as I understand it, the Norris Adjuster is not an innovation over the Bailey adjuster. It was the only feasible innovation allowing both mechanical depth, and lateral adjustment on an infill plane. Similarly, when dealing with BU planes, the bailey design is not very practical. Stanley never made a bevel up jointer,but if you were to look at the #62 BU jack plane you would find a simple depth adjuster similar to what they use on many of their block planes.

It’s a simple mechanism that does not allow for lateral adjustment, and so requires a hammer to tap the blade either to the left or to the right.

The “Norris” like adjuster we see on Veritas BU planes most resembles that of the Sargent #514 Patent 1914. However with such a short lever that pivots on the blade near the middle of the blade results in a very rank lateral adjustment.

What I’m saying is, for medium or fine lateral adjustment, you still need a hammer. But, ya so whatever. The Veritas adjuster is a little over complicated, and under advantageous. Who cares?

More than a couple of “swear jar” worthy statements have been heard in my shop when the adjuster came out of the plane with the blade, and then fell off the blade while walking to the sharpening station on to a concrete floor.

4. Veritas handles

I don’t think I need to say much about this one. It’s already pretty well documented (do a search for “veritas handles” I dare you) of how uncomfortable the handles are. Sure I could reshape the handle myself, but why not just make it comfortable to begin with. Would I buy a new “premium” saw that I knew had a notoriously uncomfortable tote?

5. Location of adjuster

Ya, I’m back onto the adjuster. After you learn to sharpen, the next skill that can be difficult for new woodworkers is resetting the blade to make the same cut as it did before. This task, along with sharpening can cause beginners to avoid resharpening to the point of project ruining tear out, and also make the sharpening process take all the longer. In theory, since BU blades don’t need chipbreakers, when you replace the blade, very little adjustment should be necessary, but now that the adjuster has fallen out of my blade and bounced across the floor, I can assume that the depth it is set at will not be where I’d like it.  Either way, the ability to adjust the depth of cut while taking a shaving, is really, really handy.

With a Stanley/Bailey plane you can keep both hands on their handles and still be able to reach the depth adjustment knob.

With a Norris type adjuster, one hand pushes, the other adjusts. (but even if you could reach them, the threading is too coarse to turn while holding the tote, and you risk moving it laterally if you are not careful). I don’t think Norris adjusters are bad, but I do think they are an unnecessary compromise if they are not mated with another really great feature. For example you will never see me complain about them on an infill.

So there you go. These are my wine fest, nit pics, that I don’t consider deal breakers although I know some of them may be for others.

If these are not deal breakers, what are?

I see just one.

The partially milled sides.

And everyone in hand tool land said together, “Exactly! Without fully milled sides, you can’t use it for shooting”

And then I said, “Wrong”.

The unshootable-ness of this plane doesn’t matter to me much. Let’s call that nit pic #6.

At 22″ the BU jointer is really a BU version of the #7. It’s pretty long, and really, other than flattening my bench, I can only think of one or two other times I’ve used it on material that was longer than the plane. As a result I often use shorter planes as jointers. Recently I was working on a project that required the BU jointer, and I quickly became aware of the great deal breaker for me.

Recently (September) on Woodnet, there was a discussion regarding this BU jointer that had its sides fully milled. (oh, and also note the handles have been replaced for comfortable ones…)


Most of the thread circles around the shooting issue, but I found the response that Rob Lee made had a little hole in it that applies to my concern.

Here is what he said in its entirety.

Klaus –

You are a bad man…. (in a good way!)….

Seriously – that’s a much more ambitious modification than most. We encourage people to change tools to suit their own preferences… but we’re usually thinking of the wood parts…

The bevel-up series was conceived as an integrated system of planes – where we optimised for a set functions, in each plane – so that each would complement the others functionally (and not be just diffreent sizes). As others have pointed out – we chose the jack as the shooting plane in the series.

I’m glad the modification worked out so well for you. That casting shape is not optimised for sidewall griding – so Wolfgang did a great job for you keeping everything flat and square!

Cheers –


The part that got me was this, “The bevel-up series was conceived as an integrated system of planes – where we optimised for a set functions, in each plane

But does this design optimize the function of jointing? Or for that matter flattening?

A while ago, I posted about how I flatten a board, and I think the pictures in that post say it all.

Here I show progress with the side of my Jack plane resting on the board. See how it shows the two ridges?

Later I move to final flattening with my BU Jointer, and here I show that I am very close to flat.

The difference is I’ve had to use my straight edge.


Because if I used the BU jointer it would have looked like this.

This is not optimal.

In fact I would rather that the entire side of the plane be unmilled rather than this.

So Veritas, Lee Valley, Rob?

I hope you do not take offense to my criticism.  I do still love you guys!

But as of now, my BU jointer has been retired from active duties. It will sit on the shelf until I get around to selling it. The money I get from it will then offset the cost of its replacement.

This has been a most unenjoyable, and unpleasant post…

September 25, 2013

Ah, Crap!

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Picture issues — fairwoodworking @ 7:08 pm

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***

If there is one thing worse than having to use a tailed router, it’s breaking your only 1/4″ bit…

The one time I actually prefer using that spinning demon is when I need to cut a stopped groove.  Cutting a stopped groove by hand is a slow and painful hassle. It’s not that difficult really, but the number of tools, along with how long they take, just brings me down.

Needless to say, I’m bummed to have to go old school on this one.

Let’s talk solutions…

I’m going to go at it with my plow plane first. I say first because although my plow plane is an awesome tool…

The toe keeps snagging in the end of the groove, and at the same time, the heel of the plane never gets near the groove. The result is that the blade will really struggle at removing all the material out of the groove.

I really haven’t accomplished much other than define the location of the groove. The point of the pencil is at the back end of the groove (it’s hard to see in the picture.)

This was the easy part.

We can’t go any further without mortising out the end.

The rest is just good old grunt work with an old fashioned router plane.

Crisis averted.

Now we just need to develop some depth control with the mortice chisel…

July 11, 2013

The Shelburne N.S. Dory Museum

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Picture issues — fairwoodworking @ 8:35 pm

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No big insight today, but I thought I’d share a few pictures of a little museum I recently visited.

It’s another sad reality in our modern world to see that the craft of dory building is all but lost.

May 15, 2013

Handtool Economics

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***

It’s a good thing I’ve forgotten my Woodnet password…

It seems there is a heated debate on weather LN planes are overpriced. There are the usual comments along the lines of “If they were overpriced, people wouldn’t buy them”, and “if you think their smoothers are expensive you should see the price of their shooting plane!!!

These threads are also good for at least one person who decides to dabble in the economics, and the effect of inflation on prices. The problem is that numbers have a way of spinning around and biting you in the tender bits if you are not careful.

One member (MattP) made the following post.

In the early 20th century, you could apparently buy a smoothing plane for about $1.62, and a Stanley block plane for about $1.45

The purchasing power of the dollar has declined by 96.5% since 1900. Phrased differently, a dollar today buys the same thing that 3.5 cents bought in 1900.

By that measure, a handplane of comparable quality to a $1.65 smoothing plane should cost about $77. And–whaddya know!?–a new Stanley smoothing plane costs $79.00 at Rockler. Of course, we all know that a Lie Nielsen No. 4 runs $300, or nearly 4 times as expensive. – MattP

I should mention that I don’t know MattP, I have no beef with the guy, and I’m not trying to start something. I have no intention of discrediting him, and in fact, I appreciate the time he took in researching the topic. However it seems pretty clear that he is set on his opinion (as am I), and I think it may have blinded him on what these numbers say.

In the spirit of good natured debate, here are some sticking points I have with the argument.

While a smoothing plane went for a buck sixty-two, not all smoothing planes were Stanley’s flagship smoothing plane known as the bedrock. I’m sure a bedrock smoother was more than the price listed.

The Stanley block plane’s old price is listed just 17 cents less than the smoother. In today’s money that is $59.50. A LN #4 smoother is $300, and the LA block plane is $165. The difference in price is more than double at $135. Again, pointing to the fact that you never could buy a bedrock for a little over a buck an a half.

Well those are just number that you spin any way you want.

The old smoother was probably made in either America or Canada. At the time just about any living being that made their living working wood, other than the mighty beaver, needed a smoother. High volume manufacturing lowers overhead, and that lowers the individual price tag on most any given product. Foundries could be found scattered all over our continent, and there was a wealth of skilled metal workers as a result. The old world market was perfect for affordable NEW hand tools.

Today most smoothers are used by a tiny nich market know as “hand tool woodworking hobbyist”. The modern world lists smoothers on kijiji as block planners, primitive tools, and vintage smothers. The modern woodworking hobbyist has the choice of buying block planners at the flee market, or buying from modern tool makers that build in overly small batches. Many of us will go with the $5 smother. So why are LN planes so much more expensive than a modern Stanley? Well the most obvious answer is that LN uses an American workforce, and Stanley planes are made in Mexico where wages are much lower. Now it would be horribly inappropriate to say that Mexicans CAN’T make as good a plane as an American, but the whole reason you chase cheaper wages is because you are willing to compromise quality for price. There is also the issue of foundries. There aren’t that many left to choose from. And finding reliable, skilled workers for your small tool making shop. Who will train them? Manufacturing in North America is not so much of a way of life like it still is in many third world countries. Finding the right people to build your tools can’t be as easy as it once was. The other reason is as I mentioned before. LN can’t be making the same volume of planes today as Stanley once made a hundred years ago. As a result LN must spread their overhead over a much smaller market base.

That means that anyone that thinks LN planes are too expensive can blame people like me. Eight times I have chosen to buy old Stanley planes rather than LN planes. That’s 8 planes that could have carried just a little more of LN’s cost of doing business.

Don’t blame LN.

Blame me.

So now let’s compare the Smoother of yesteryear (let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and call it a nice type 11 Stanley) against the modern Stanley Sweetheart. Can you even compare these two planes?

I really don’t think you can. If I happened into Rockler and saw the modern Stanley priced at $79.00 and right beside it was your typical flee market type 11 in decent shape, also priced at $79.00…

What plane catches my eye? What plane do I pick up and inspect?

It wouldn’t be the modern Stanley. I have better things to do with my time.

I would however stop and look the Type 11. It would have to be pretty sweet for me to not be turned off by the sticker price, but I wouldn’t have even looked at the price tag of the modern plane.

No you can’t compare these two planes.

If you still need more convincing or you just want a good laugh (many of you I’m sure have already seen it), I’ll need to pass you off to Wilbur Pan writer of giant Cypress.

April 29, 2013

Gang Sawing

Filed under: dovetail,Picture issues,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 8:56 pm

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***

T’was out’n’about reading amongst the blogs a while back.

A respected blogger (and, one of my heroes) wrote how he finds gang sawing his dovetails to be faster.

Since I’m all about the speed, I thought I’d better give it a try.

I’d also just picked up a hand screw clamp that really helps out with wider boards. It was actually quite handy with keeping the two boards together while getting them into the vise. It’s really important that they stay perfectly aligned with each other. Otherwise it could make for some really sloppy cuts.

The idea here is that with the two boards in the vise together, you will save time with layout and sawing, so I tried it out.

Marking the layout, I guess is faster since you only do it once, however, my dovetail marker is too small to complete the line across the two boards, so I did have to take the time to extend the lines with a square.

Again, sawing with the dovetail saw is faster, but if there is any part of dovetails that I feel I’m quickest at, it’s sawing the tails. Then you have to remove the waste. If you are like me, you would cut it with a fret saw, but at an inch and a quarter, that fine little blade would be no match for it.


Coping saw!

I’d never used a coping saw for this purpose, I use it for coping…

With a wider, deeper blade, you can’t just cut straight across. (sorry, no pics…) Instead , you have to start by cutting down with the curf, and then cut an arc until you are cutting parallel with the base line. This leaves you with a little triangle that didn’t get cut out. Then you have to turn your blade to cut in the opposite direction, and make a second cut. In my opinion, this makes it take just as long as sawing the two boards individually with a fret saw, but I also don’t like the coarse cut of the coping saw vs the nice fine cut of the fret saw. As a result, I also found that I had more waste to chop out with a chisel.

All in all.

I’m not sold yet, but please don’t let this stop you from trying it.

I don’t like it, but you may love it, and then you can tell all your friends how great it is.

And it’s always nice to be able to recommend something from your own experience rather than because a guy named Chris said it was good.

April 15, 2013

Shooting the long grain

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***

I get a lot of traffic from the search engines on this topic, so I thought I might as well show how I do it.


Prepare to be amazed…


Or not…

Ya, I know. It doesn’t look like much.

That board makes a better door than a window, so let’s get it out of the way.

Ya, I know. It doesn’t look like much, but that’s the point!

All we have here is a couple of scraps of MDF up against a plane stop. The plane stop just needs to be a little taller than the MDF so it catches the board.

I don’t need to stress about the fence being square or any of that crap. I’ve got a knife line to plane down to, so when I get to the knife line I stop.  If I’m a little heavy on one end, I just plane that end, and pull the plane off the cut before I get to the other end. Once I’ve made a full length shaving, I’ll stop to check that the plane is cutting square to the board, and then I can simply plane to my little hearts desire.

Sometimes I’ll also slap a little paraffin wax on the side wall of the plane so it slides easier.

March 29, 2013

Todays post is brought to you by Tostitos, the letter H, & O, & by the number 2

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Picture issues — fairwoodworking @ 9:09 pm

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


Storing finishing products is tricky. I don’t like finishing in the first place, so having to fight with storage doesn’t help.

A while back I gave Tung Oil a try for the first time, but the problem was I didn’t use it all, and any amount of air in the can would dry it out.

The first product I tried was Finish Preserve from Lee Valley. This is a cool product, but as the note says “: full can feels empty, but will provide approximately 75 two-second bursts of non-toxic, non-flammable gas.

If you can’t tell if it’s full or not, you can’t tell if it’s full or not. It worked great the first time, but a year later when I needed it again, it seems it really was empty. I don’t know if I stored it wrong or what, but clearly in my hands, it is not a fool proof solution.

I’ve also tried using Lee Valley’s Collapsible Bottle. This again is a pretty cool idea.


The overspill crud is hard to work around, and the cool collapsible flanges make the top wobble back and forth like the clown from a jack in the box.

Cool idea, but I don’t think it’s for me.

And then, I accidentally read the instructions on the side of the Tung oil container.

Enter Tostitos Jar…

This could be the answer.

Well, no,

This could be the answer.

After breaking through the layer of dried tung oil in this can, I found a little that hadn’t dried.

The only problem is that it doesn’t fill the jar any better than it did the can, however, like the collapsible bottle, I do like the wide mouth. I like to be able to dip a rag directly into the oil, when I apply it, so we just need to solve the empty jar issue.

The answer according to the label, is to fill it with water. The oil floats on the water, and does not mix with it.


So there we go, problem solved. A salsa jar and some water.

No problem right?

Well not so fast. You can’t really fill the jar to the point that there is literally no air in it. There is still a small bubble in there that is going to ruin some of that precious oil, and leave crustys in the good oil.

Foiled again!

I’m going to try something here, and see if it works.

I’ve placed the jar upside down in this paint can. The jar shouldn’t leak anyways, but if it did, I’m hoping the vacuum effect will keep everything where is should be. Worst case it will spill into the paint can, but I’ve gotten distracted.

My thought is that since I can’t keep the air from the oil. Being upside down, as the air dries some of the oil, it will hopefully bond with the bottom of the jar, and not float up to the top when I one day turn the jar right side up again.

This is just like science class!!!

Oh, and one more thing.

If you are ever in a friends work shop, and he offers you some nachos.

Think twice before you eat the salsa…

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