Build-Off: Canadian Woodworking’s Hand Tool Building Event

Ever since the Shop Stool Build-Off, woodworkers everywhere have been looking for more opportunities to participate in online group builds. Canadian Woodworking recently announced their second build-off called, Building Together – Shop Tools.

I’ve made a number of tools for my own shop, and this scrub plane could well be the most-used.

Yellow birch and Lignum vitae scrub plane

Yellow birch and Lignum vitae scrub plane

The event runs for the duration of August and is open to everyone – you just need to share your project on the magazine’s forum. Currently, prizes are being organized. Check out their website to get full details and inspiration for shop tools you can build.

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.

DSC_9321

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.

High Tide – The Biggest Overflow Ever

After a busy Christmas season, I found some time to do some cleaning and organizing. I tackled the storage room, which houses parts, supplies, and infrequently-used tools. In an effort to consolidate, I have sorted through my inventory and filled up a number of boxes of things I didn’t need.

Many of the items would be very useful to most woodworkers, and some of them even hard to find. Others were common and of relatively low value and likely not worth shipping. These items will be sold off locally.

Due to the nature of some of the items, and the volume, the rules for this round of Overflow vary slightly from previous times.

How Does Overflow Work?

  1. Bulk bits. There are a number of things that I have in bulk that aren’t worth the cost of shipping and nobody is likely to want the whole lots. I will post these first, and, if you like, I can throw in a handful of these items in the box of whatever you win. You may ask for one, a dozen, or all of them. First come, first serve.
  2. The good stuff! I will post a picture and brief description of the item or group of items up for grabs. Most will be free (aside from shipping, which you cover), but I may be selling some things as well. There will be some hand tools, accessories, parts, hardware, random shop stuff, and books. Most items will be in good-to-excellent shape;
  3. Comment if you want it! I suggest you subscribe to this blog so you get notified when I post something. If you want the item(s), leave a comment on that particular blog post and let me know if you can pick it up or if you need it shipped. Be sure to read the post thoroughly to see if I have requested any specific information to be in your entry. (I will ship anywhere on your dime once my PayPal account is happy.); then
  4. When the deadline to enter has passed, I will submit the names of those interestedinto a Random Chooser and let the program draw a winner. I will announce the winner in the comments section of the Overflow post on my blog and contact them to arrange a pick-up time or shipping details. If the first person chosen changes their mind, the Random Chooser will select another name.

Why am I doing this?

I’m giving stuff away because I would rather help some fellow woodworkers than try to sell it. This is less hassle and more rewarding. I enjoy interacting with my readers and helping others get further in their woodworking.

I also want to increase the number of readers of my blog. Besides having awesome giveaways of quality stuff, I do some pretty cool woodwork, wouldn’t you agree? Please subscribe to my blog using the widget at the bottom of any page or in the right-hand column of my main blog page. You’ll receive notice of what I’m putting up for grabs as well as when I publish a regular blog post.

The ultimate purpose of Overflow is to get this stuff out of my shop (and into yours), so please, tell your friends.

Hole Boring Bits with a 1/4″ Hex Drive

The Vancouver area is a great place to be a woodworker. There are literally dozens of quality lumber suppliers, a handful of big box stores, a scattering of specialty woodworking stores, and even toolmaking companies.

One of those toolmaking companies is MEGAPRO, which specializes in making screwdrivers and bits, including three very unique bits – two gimlet bits and one square (birdcage) awl.

Megapro Bits

The bits have a standard 1/4″ hex drive, with a groove for a quick-release chuck and a sprung ball to help hold the bit in place. They work nicely in my dogwood screwdrivers.

Dogwood Screwdriver & Bits

You can find my current selection of screwdrivers available on my Screwdrivers page.

Links:

The Revival of Overflow!

What is Overflow?

In 2011, I started my Overflow program to give away woodworking stuff I no longer used to followers of my blog. To date, I have given away 16 lots of items.

Well, I’m cleaning shop and reviving Overflow. You might be wise to subscribe to my blog, if you aren’t already receiving e-mail notifications (or visiting daily).

How Does Overflow Work?

  1. I will post a picture and brief description of the item or group of items up for grabs.There will be some wood, hand tools, power tools, accessories, random shop stuff, and books. Most items will be in good-to-excellent shape;
  2. Comment if you want it! I suggest you subscribe to this blog so you get notified when I post something. If you want the item(s), leave a comment on that particular blog post and let me know if you can pick it up or if you need it shipped. (I will ship anywhere on your dime once my PayPal account is happy.); then
  3. When the deadline to enter has passed, I will submit the names of those interested into a Random Chooser and let the program draw a winner. I will announce the winner in the comments section of the Overflow post on my blog and contact them to arrange a pick-up time or shipping details. If the first person chosen changes their mind, the Random Chooser will select another name.

Why am I doing this?

I’m giving stuff away because I would rather help some fellow woodworkers than try to sell it. This is less hassle and more rewarding. I enjoy interacting with my readers and helping others get further in their woodworking.

I also want to increase the number of readers of my blog. Besides having awesome giveaways of quality stuff, I do some pretty cool woodwork, wouldn’t you agree? Please subscribe to my blog using the widget at the bottom of any page or in the right-hand column of my main blog page. You’ll receive notice of what I’m putting up for grabs as well as when I publish a regular blog post.

The ultimate purpose of Overflow is to get this stuff out of my shop (and into yours), so please, tell your friends.

Shop Stool Build-Off: Upping the Ante

When the Shop Stool Build-Off was in its infancy – before we’d even thought about having prizes, and long before I started drafting a blog post about the event – several woodworkers on Twitter, myself included, had the idea that it would be fun to have some kind of wager to see who could build the best shop stool in a day.

Our idea was that each of us who wanted to play would toss a tool of ours into the proverbial ring, winner take all. Not just any tool, but a tool that we had either made or customized and was worth approximately $40.

What to Bid?

Here are some suggestions of tools you could bid. The tools should work, but they don’t need to be “boutique quality” (although if you bid with winding sticks, they’d better be pretty nice!). The fact that you made/customized it yourself is what provides the value:

  • a “utility-grade”, shop-made hand plane;
  • a socket chisel with a handle you made;
  • your “old woman’s tooth” router plane;
  • a custom-ground chisel;
  • a wooden spokeshave;
  • a Stanley hand plane with custom tote and knob;
  • a set of shop-made slot screwdrivers;
  • shop-made dovetail layout tool;
  • Magic Square (or other shop-made square);
  • a pair of shop-made handscrews;
  • a fine pair of shop-made winding sticks;
  • a handsaw with shop-made handle, or custom filing;
  • a shop-made bowsaw; or
  • a tool roll that you made.

So that the winner doesn’t get bombarded with a dozen marking gauges or marking knives, I reserve the right to ask you to bid something else (if you want to bid a marking knife, enter right away!). Be creative! Me? I’m might put up my Octagonal Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge.

Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge with Octagonal Head

Judging

This part hasn’t been figured out yet. I think it would be cool to get some celebrity judges (who are also objective) to decide the winner. Maybe Michael Fortune, Jeff Miller and Brian Boggs? Or each of us could place one vote and whichever design gets the most votes wins.

The Fine Print

This is done purely by the honour system. We are trusting that you actually will ship your tool if you lose. Be warned that, should you not be the winner, you are responsible for the costs of shipping the tool to the winner and not all the participants live in North America! Choosing a tool that isn’t too big or heavy is probably wise.

Confident?  Want to Up the Ante?

If you want to play, shoot me an e-mail with a picture (or description) of the tool you’re bidding. I will accept submissions until January 20.

Flattening Big Pieces of Wood

One of the most common questions I am asked is how I flatten the large pieces of wood I often use in my work.  This table top, for example, is approximately 45 inches wide and 96 inches long.

Relationship Study

Relationship Study

Machinery is Not the Answer

Perhaps one of the quickest ways to surface a board is to feed it through a thickness planer which removes material from the top.  The bottom of the board rests on the bed and the cutterhead above removes material until the board is of an even thickness.  However, the thickness planer is ineffective at making material flat unless the bottom is already flat.

Thickness Planer

Thickness Planer

When flat is the objective, the jointer is the answer.  This machine specializes in making one face flat, and one adjacent edge straight, flat and square to the face.  The board is slid across the flat tables and over the cutterhead between them.  Although you can establish four flat surfaces with a jointer, they likely will not be parallel.  The jointer and thickness planer need to work as a team to produce flat material that is even in thickness.

Jointer

Jointer

Another drawback of machinery is capacity.  To thickness the top of Relationship Study, I would have needed machinery with 48″ of capacity.  Most woodworkers have never seen a thickness planer that size, and I’m not even sure that a jointer that size even exists.  Machines also require the material to be brought to them and handling large pieces of wood gets tiresome quickly.

Hand-Held Tools Have No Limits

Unlike the jointer and thickness planer, hand-held surfacing tools have no capacity limits (but to require more skill and stamina).

When I am faced with a lot of material that needs to be removed, especially over a large area, I start with my power planer.  This one is made for large-scale work and is capable of taking a cut wider than many small-shop jointers.  It has a long sole which helps ensure that it leaves a flat surface.

Power Planer

Power Planer

After having done the preliminary flattening with the power planer, I use hand planes to refine the surface, removing any ridges or tearout.  I start with a long plane equipped with a convex blade which allows me to work fairly quickly, then I progress to a shorter plane with a straighter blade for a more even surface.

Hand Plane

Hand Plane

To get the second face parallel, if required, I use a cutting gauge or combination square with a pencil to mark the desired thickness on the edges.  Then I turn over the material and plane down to those lines.  It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it in the end.  It’s also a great fitness regime.

Pencil, Sliding Double Square, and Cutting Gauge

Pencil, Sliding Double Square, and Cutting Gauge

Hand-held tools, while not always as efficient as machinery, allow me to work with any size and shape of material I choose.  If I were to limit myself to working with material that I could surface with machinery, my work would look very different.

Machinery has its place, but so do hand-held tools.

Overflow, Part XIII

 

IMG1655

This is the Veritas Scraping Plane Insert, installed in my favourite bench plane.  I bought it years ago to use in my #4 bench plane and used it a few times, but over time I found it simpler and easier to use a cabinet scraper or card scraper.  I haven’t used the insert in years.

The assembly installs without tools in a bench (bevel-down) plane with a blade at least 2″ wide.  I think that a #4 is the perfect size for it.

I am including a 0.016″-thick, 2″-wide blade (shown installed) as well as two 2-3/8″-wide blades with thicknesses of 0.016″ and 0.024″.  The blades can be used on their own as card scrapers, as well as in the insert.  I still have the instruction sheet but the 3/32″ hex key to adjust the set screws in the sides of the insert (seen in the top photo) has gone missing.

IMG1654

Okay, here’s the deal.

If you would like this Veritas Scraping Plane Insert (just the insert – not the plane, too!) please leave a comment below indicating your interest by 6pm Sunday May 5.

I will then draw a winner at random.  Even if you don’t get this item, 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.

Overflow, Part XII

IMG2043

I kept this Drill Press Stand with the idea that it would help me accurately bore 3/4″ holes for bench dogs.  Then, when I set out to drill them I realized that the drill only has 2 amps and that my larger drill could not be properly installed in the stand.  That meant that I had no use for it.

IMG2050

This Drill Press Stand would probably be ideal for drilling smaller holes or running a wire wheel brush.

IMG2051 IMG2045 The drill is lowered in a controlled manner with the feed lever on the right side and the whole assembly can be raised or lowered along the post, as well as swiveled to sit away from the base to drill long stock.

IMG2053 The same goes for the table, which can also be rotated.

IMG2048

The keyed chuck accepts bits up to 3/8″ diameter and the key has a handy storage spot on the stand.

IMG2047 Okay, here’s the deal.

If you would like this drill and Drill Press Stand, please leave a comment below indicating your interest by 10am of April 25.

I will then draw a winner at random.  Even if you don’t get this item, 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.

Overflow is Back, Again!

What is Overflow?

A year-and-a-half ago, I started my Overflow program to give away woodworking stuff I no longer used to followers of my blog.  It was going strong for a while and I gave away a lot of good stuff including a:

I had given away eleven lots before I stopped tripping over things I no longer used (and got too busy to continue posting other items not under my feet).

How Does Overflow Work?

After Artwalk, I took a few days to catch up with some things that I’d been putting off for a long time.  Want a chance to win some of it?  Here’s how it works:

  1. I will post a picture and brief description of the item or group of items up for grabs. There will be some wood, hand tools, power tools, accessories, random shop stuff, and books.  Most items will be in good-to-excellent shape;
  2. Comment if you want it!  I suggest you subscribe to this blog so you get notified when I post something.  If you want the item(s), leave a comment on that particular blog post and let me know if you can pick it up or if you need it shipped.  (I will ship anywhere on your dime once my PayPal account is happy.); then
  3. When the deadline to enter has passed, I will submit the names of those interested into a Random Chooser and let the program draw a winner.  I will announce the winner in the comments section of the Overflow post on my blog and contact them to arrange a pick-up time or shipping details. If the first person chosen changes their mind, the Random Chooser will select another name.

Why am I doing this?

I’m giving stuff away because I would rather help some fellow woodworkers than try to sell it.  This is less hassle and more rewarding.  I enjoy interacting with my readers and helping others get further in their woodworking.

I also want to increase the number of readers of my blog.  Besides having awesome giveaways of quality stuff, I do some pretty cool woodwork, wouldn’t you agree?  Please subscribe to my blog using the widget at the bottom of any page or in the right-hand column of my main blog page.  You’ll receive notice of what I’m putting up for grabs as well as when I publish a regular blog post.

The ultimate purpose of Overflow is to get this stuff out of my shop (and into yours), so please, tell your friends.