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Hand Tools doings

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Blog series by Betsy updated 03-29-2009 11:28 PM 26 parts 62535 reads 242 comments total

Part 1: Hand cut box joint

03-04-2008 03:33 AM by Betsy | 10 comments »

Since I am not able to be in the power tooled shop, I’m twiddling away in my spare bedroom doing hand tool stuff. Having never hand cut a joint, and after trying a dovetail, without really knowing what I was doing – I decided to back track a bit and do a simple box joint instead. I say simple, but its not as easy as it looks. First you have to be able to saw straight which, I’ve found out, is not an easy task in and of itself. Anyway, since we learn by our mistakes, and s...

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Part 2: 2nd stab at hand cut box joint - a touch better

03-05-2008 05:27 AM by Betsy | 3 comments »

I tried the box joint again. I must say I did better this time. Blake was right – hand cutting you can’t really stack two boards together (staggered) without gaps from the saw kerf. So these are cut one board at a time. I still don’t have square boards so that is part of the gap issue. Tomorrow I might venture out to the shop to do a few quick cuts to get some square stock. Anyway, I thought I did ok on these – I could spend some time doing a little paring and I thi...

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Part 3: My first dovetails - warning - kind of ugly

03-09-2008 03:37 AM by Betsy | 22 comments »

Well it’s taken several attempts but here is my first set of dovetails. I realize that it’s only two tails and one pin—- but a girl has to start somewhere. The first pic is after the cutting. Not so good. This second photo is after a little paring. Actually a little to much. But hey it fits. Sorta, kind of…. Frank Klaus has nothing to worry about with me. But I’ll catch him yet. Just wait and see. :-)

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Part 4: Second try at hand cut dovetails --- picture heavy

03-09-2008 11:58 PM by Betsy | 10 comments »

OK – I failed my first attempt. This attempt at least is closer although the end product does not fit. But I’m getting the idea. So I took lots of pictures to show what I did in steps. I did switch to using popular instead of the red oak. That was a good thing. I definitely need to be more accurate cutting and my paring skills lack quite a lot. But here goes. First is getting the orientation of your piece. This is important if you are doing a drawer and need the sides to fit! ...

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Part 5: Third try - hand cut dovetails ---- Sooooo much better

03-10-2008 03:19 AM by Betsy | 16 comments »

Well these are more like it. Still not very pretty, but better. I know I said I was done for the day, but when I read Mark’s comment about compound angles a light bulb went off. So I tried again. I also did tails first. First a shot from the front. Now a shot from the top – really not to pretty - I think some of the mess will get better when I can actually sharpen my chisels. I also waxed my saw which really helped me in the muscle power realm. Now I really am ...

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Part 6: home made "vise"

03-12-2008 03:00 AM by Betsy | 6 comments »

I’m just puttering around tonight. I thought I’d snap a couple of pictures of the homemade vise that I’m using on my bench. I made this because the face and tail vise on my cheapo workbench pretty much won’t hold anything tight enough to saw or chop on. This was made out of a piece of scrap 3/4 ply. The size is arbitrary—I just took a piece and chopped it in half with the chop saw. I then hand chopped the slots for the screw and knobs and cleaned up the nasty edg...

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Part 7: ohhhhh I've really done it now!

03-15-2008 03:27 AM by Betsy | 8 comments »

I made a rectangle! With only hand tools! No power! No noise! And its pretty darn close to square to boot! the picture is a little fuzzy—- I had a hard time taking a picture and holding the square at the same time. (I need to get a tripod.) Just imagine the possibilities!

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Part 8: It's a start, first all hand tool project

03-16-2008 04:01 AM by Betsy | 6 comments »

I know this is really, really small, and it’s only butt joints. However, each piece was hand cut, then squared on the shooting board, then chamered using my plane as a jointer. I put two coats of water lox and some wax to finish it off. So here is my brilliant first all hand tool project. It’s just a hair over two inches tall. Front view. I should have shot straight on as this angle makes the one side look funny. Side view – i set the sides back a bit. And ...

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Part 9: Rabbetted box

03-18-2008 03:44 AM by Betsy | 16 comments »

I’m still experimenting with these hand tools. So far I’ve twiddled with dovetails, butt joints, and now rabbetted joints. I’ve managed to learn to cut on a bench hook. The idea of a bench hook to to be able to support your work piece against a fence and have a ledge to cut into – when you finish your cut the saw rests on the ledge and does not accidently fall onto the bench hitting something it should not. You don’t need to clamp your work piece, the h...

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Part 10: Precision cutting

03-20-2008 03:51 AM by Betsy | 2 comments »

Well I’m putting a finish and flocking on my rabbett joint box. I decided tonight that I’d try to do some precision cutting. Just a small butt joint box. The project dimensions and idea comes from the book “Box by Box” put out by Popular Woodworking. This book has some good projects that challenge you to build skills. I find the directions and illustrations good, better than most. The wood is 1/4” Narra. It was already dimensioned to thickness (I purchased it in ...

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Part 11: Finished box - with finishing question for you

03-24-2008 03:26 AM by Betsy | 7 comments »

Here is the completed box that I built using only hand tools. I finally have a lid that I actually think I did OK on. It took me a while to get it so that you could lift it off without picking up the whole box. But it lifts off smoothly now. I’ve already flocked the inside. Here’s the issue. I’ve decided I want to give this box to my best friend who has seen me through my recent illness (and previous ones as well). So that makes it a special box. I want to finish it righ...

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Part 12: Dovetails issue

03-25-2008 02:49 AM by Betsy | 12 comments »

OK – I can’t tell you how many “dovetails” I’ve tried to cut. Not getting to far I can tell you that. Making lots of chips though – so it’s not all bad. I’m obviously doing more than one thing wrong. I’ve got Frank Klaus’s DVD on dovetails and as much as I like Frank, I really do, I’m missing something on the video. There are no close up shots to what he’s doing so I’m not really following it well. Do any of y...

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Part 13: Dovetails - I'm getting there --- still kind of ugly

04-08-2008 01:53 AM by Betsy | 13 comments »

OK – please tell me these are right. I know they are ugly as sin—- I’ll work on pretty later. But first I was upside down, then I was compound cutting then I was just making little tiny scraps that even I could not make a box out of. I know I need sharper tools – I’m working on that to. I cut the waste out of these with a coping saw and then “trimmed” with a chisel. I must say, even though I did a poor job – I like the coping saw much bett...

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Part 14: Dovetails - not quite so ugly - but still not so good

04-10-2008 04:47 AM by Betsy | 6 comments »

Still trying to get the hang of these things. The joint is deceptively hard to do, but I’m determined to get them. My biggest problem is still my tools. I’m really going to have to concentrate on sharpening them. So before I get to frustrated with the dovetails I’m going to start working on sharpening a bit more aggressively. But at least I seem to be getting the geometry and marking down. Will be practicing cutting straight lines as well. Thanks for your e...

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Part 15: Dovetails - Fit First Time!

04-14-2008 01:56 AM by Betsy | 10 comments »

OK – I know these are still not great—- but they fit the first time with NO paring. Still not the prettiest things you’ve ever seen – but I’m getting there. The difference I think is I’ve started using a coping saw to cut out the waste and instead of chopping out the remainder with the business end away from me—- I’m chopping with the board sideways on the bench so that I can tell if the chisel is vertical or not. My chisels are still a lo...

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Part 16: Sharpening with questions, of course

04-15-2008 04:54 AM by Betsy | 11 comments »

My woeful dovetails, although getting better, sure could use some help from sharper tools. So that’s what I have been working on late last night and tonight. I have found that I like the diamond stone to get my backs flat – it goes faster than a waterstone. But once I get a good scratch pattern on the diamond stone that I can move on to the waterstone with more success. I get my 1/2 and 1/4 chisels not so much sharp—- but sharper than they were. I “manned up” as...

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Part 17: Yet more questions about hand cut dovetails and fret saws

04-17-2008 03:56 AM by Betsy | 12 comments »

I’ve been using a coping saw to cut out the waste—- but found that it was difficult to use. So I got a fret saw and installed a spiral blade that should work well. This is the saw I bought. Now would someone explain how the tensioning is supposed to work. I’ve installed my blade and its quite taught in the frame. You can pluck it and it “sings” the same note as I would be happy with on the scroll saw. But when I cut with it the blade flexes at least 1/2R...

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Part 18: Sharpening

04-21-2008 04:39 AM by Betsy | 6 comments »

I’ve decided that if I’m going to do a dovetail project using hard woods—- I had better get my tools sharp. My understanding is that the first thing to do is to get the chisel backs flat. I’ve also read that if it’s not a mirror finish on the back – it’s not flat. I thought that would be more than I could do—- but gave it a shot. I’ve been trying different sharpening systems, oil stone, diamond stones, water stones, cement blocks (just ...

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Part 19: Sharpening frustrations

04-24-2008 04:54 AM by Betsy | 15 comments »

OK——so last time I told you I was able to get a mirror finish on the backs of my chisels. That’s all swell and nice——I can see my ugly mug in chisels now…... But I daresay my bevels are not fairing quite so well. I have the Veritas system honing jig and am using the scary sharp system up to 600 wet/dry paper and finishing on a 8000 water stone. The jig I understand and am sure I am using it correctly. I am making uniform scratches along the bevel—-...

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Part 20: Sharpening - from frustration to pretty close to elation

04-26-2008 05:44 AM by Betsy | 10 comments »

Still working on sharpening my tools on the way to making a dovetail project. I must say if you told me even two short years ago that I would be proud to post the following pictures – I would have rolled my eyes. Now, however, the scene changes to being able to finally post those pictures. So here are my first real shavings with a blade that I sharpened. The first picture is edge shavings Here is a pile of face grain shavings. My chisels are getting better also! ...

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Part 21: Plane refurbishing job

04-26-2008 08:25 PM by Betsy | 10 comments »

I’ve had this e-bay plane for quite some time now. I’ve had it apart and left it on my fireplace hearth for months just looking at it, not really knowing what to do with it. Got a wild hair this morning and picked it up and started to work on it. It’s no where near perfection as, honestly, I really don’t know what I’m doing, but it works. This is the plane as I got it. I had already taken off the tote and front knob and put a new finish on those. But a...

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Part 22: Trimming up with a plane

05-07-2008 03:01 AM by Betsy | 4 comments »

No pictures this time. Just wanted to share my success with my block plane. Finally got it sharp and today – used it to my advantage. I’m making a set of chairs for my boss’s wife’s birthday. One footstool was not sitting right——- so I figured out what leg needed trimmed a bit——- and planed it down. Now the stool sits perfect! I’m so excited that my hand tools are starting to pay off for me. Isn’t it amazing how something so simpl...

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Part 23: Plane fun

05-26-2008 06:32 AM by Betsy | 5 comments »

I was digging around the garage earlier today and found a cutting board project that I did last Christmas that did not turn out so good. I put it aside because I just could not bring myself to throw away the wood. We all have those projects laying around. Tonight after dinner I decided to give the planes a try to see if I could straighten this board out and flatten it. I still need to a do a bit on the flattening – but I’ll save that for tomorrow when I have time to sharpen ...

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Part 24: Excellent customer service

06-24-2008 01:35 AM by Betsy | 8 comments »

Well——- as you know I’ve been collecting my toolbox full of hand tools. I recently bought a low angle block plane from Lee Valley. It’s a good plane. The one I received however had a small problem. I could not keep the brass toe knob tight and after several strokes the mouth opening would change. Aggravating for sure. So after deciding I needed a solution I e-mailed LV customer service. We’ve gone back and forth with e-mails, me explaining the problem, them askin...

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Part 25: A box for Callie - a left handed experience

06-25-2008 03:20 AM by Betsy | 10 comments »

There are times when you have to put everything else aside and do something more important. I have a cat—- this cat——- There are three things this cat knows for sure. One is when I’m coming with the flea drops – she runs like mad. Second – she knows when I have chicken and runs to me fast. And third – when I have a camera. I don’t think I have a decent picture of her. Callie is 21 and is fast approaching the end of her 9th l...

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Part 26: Finally sharp!

03-29-2009 11:28 PM by Betsy | 4 comments »

While I’ve had a modicum of success sharpening my chisels, I have finally got the hang of it and actually got my chisels sharp enough to cut the fine hair on my arm and pare end grain!!!!! Yippee!!!! My pictures stink (those digital cameras still take talent!). But you can make out that the fibers are cut not crushed. I used a combination of methods – some I used my WorkSharp and some I used my waterstones. I think my waterstones came out just as good or better than ...

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