Overflow XXI

This hole saw set includes 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″, 2″, and 2-1/8″ hole saws and a 1/4″ mandrel.

DSC_9319Each hole saw attaches to the mandrel quickly and easily via a threaded post and nut, and all the parts can be nested and secured for compact storage with no loose parts.

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If you would like this hole saw set, please leave a comment below with a brief description of your workspace. You may enter until the end of Wednesday, February 4. I will then draw a winner at random. Even if you don’t get this hole saw set, remember that there is still much more I want to give away.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can be notified as soon as I post something new! Please tell your friends about my Overflow program.

Review the details of the Overflow program.

New Grips for My Veritas #5-1/4 Bench Plane

Of all the bench planes (bevel-down) I have acquired, the Veritas ones have been by far the easiest to adjust and for that, I love them.  Blade adjustments have always been responsive and predictable; I could set the mouth to let through only a sliver of light quicker than you can read the upcoming quote, all without using any tools.

However, I never found their bubinga totes very comfortable.  To me, they felt too flat, too upright, too narrow, and the sharp horn made it uncomfortable to brace against my stomach (as I do when drawing small pieces of wood across the plane’s sole).  Rob Lee, president of Lee Valley Tools Ltd. (Veritas is the manufacturing arm of Lee Valley Tools Ltd.), once made this comment:

“You all should be modifying all of your tool handles to suit your own handle preferences in the first place.  Any single design will only suit a part or the population in the first place.”

(Find this quote, among many others, on my page titled Quotables.)

I have made custom totes and matching knobs for most of my tools but a few have only seen minor modifications such as a touch with a rasp or the removal of the shiny plastic finish with a spokeshave or coarse sandpaper.  Shiny handles suck!

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Three years ago, I made a new tote and knob for my Veritas #4 which is my favourite bench plane.  I used some really unique dogwood and the result was not only comfortable and non-fatiguing, but also beautiful.

#4 Bench Plane

Last Sunday, I had some free time in the afternoon so I decided to make a better tote and knob for my newest Veritas bench plane, the #5-1/4.  For Veritas bench plane totes, the recesses and bores were a little more complicated to make than with others, but all it took was some careful layout and a little creative jigging.

Drilling Veritas Tote

Making the knob was simple in comparison.

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I tried to find cherry with some character but was disappointed, especially so for the tote.  Once I was done, I noticed that the light-coloured grips reminded me of Lie-Nielsen planes.  Does anybody else agree with me?

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I documented my progress live on Twitter using hashtag #FlairWW (follow me @FlairWoodworks) which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  I compiled the photos and Tweets into a video (duration – 5:50).

Apple Cribbage Boards

Sometimes things that seem so simple turn out to be just the opposite. This is one such case.

It all started when Dave Kilpatrick, my supplier of highly unique wood stopped by two weeks ago with three slices of apple. He thought that one would make a great cribbage board and we discussed which one would work the best. We both agreed that one wouldn’t work that well, so that left us with two. I strongly felt that the piece on the right would be perfect – the small separate oval area would be perfect for a scoreboard and that alone had me sold. Dave wasn’t convinced though. He loved the shape, colour and grain of the left piece. So I suggested that I make two boards – one for him and one for me and he agreed.

Cribbage boards… simple, right? Just drill a bunch of holes in a piece of wood and you’re done, right? I started by laying out the 4-player track Dave had requested. I wanted it to follow the live edge, so I used a pencil in a compass to draw four parallel lines to the edge of the slab. That was the easy part. Laying out 4 sets of 120 holes so that they all appear evenly spaced around a track that is neither straight nor regular is not at all an easy task. I was not happy with either of the first two attempts, so I fed the board through the thickness sander to remove the marks. On the third time (I think), I got a pattern with which I was happy.

Then it was a simple (but tedious) task to drill all 517 holes. I would not do this without a drill press. I set the depth stop and started drilling. Good lighting is paramount here. I found that every 50 holes, I needed to take a break because either my eyes (or possibly my mind) would start to lose focus. Without being able to see clearly, it’s impossible to do a good job. Without mental focus, its way too easy to drill in the wrong place which would put all the previous work to waste. Not good, either way.

A good cribbage board always provides a storage compartment for the pegs, so I had to do some brainstorming. At the bandsaw, I cut off a small bit of the board that was protruding to use as a cap later. Then I drilled a 1-3/4” deep hole into the edge of the board and turned down a synthetic cork to fit the hole. I screwed the cork to the underside of the cap, being careful to get it positioned correctly.

Now all that remained was to carve the lines separating each 5-point section. Given the serpentine nature of the track, I also opted to carve the path of each track. Finally, I engraved the skunk line with an S and the double skunk line with a DS. For a finish, I applied two coats of Lee Valley’s Gel Finish, then rubbed out the top surface with 0000 steel wool. Time for the final inspection. I cleaned out a few holes in which finish had gotten into, then used compressed air to clean sawdust and steel wool out the holes and crevices. I applied black adhesive-backed felt to the bottom and signed my name to complete the board.

One last thing – find some suitable cribbage pegs. Most cribbage boards use 1/8” diameter holes, but this board, being 23 x 15 x 1-3/8” needed larger holes so I used a 3/16” brad point bit. This board (and Dave) demanded a more interesting peg than the standard turned variety, so I went for a walk around my neighbourhood looking for twigs from various trees. I trimmed them to 1-1/4” long and whittled one end to fit into the holes.

All that was left was to play – gotta make sure it works, right?

By the way, to anyone who decides to do a photo shoot like this, it would be much easier to figure out the hands first, then place the pegs accordingly. I had just randomly put the pegs in the holes and was left with a puzzle. Good thing I’m always up for a challenge.