Hand Tools #1: Watching Paint Dry

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Blog entry by woodspar posted 06-30-2007 09:53 PM 1288 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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more curls

While I was watching the top coat paint dry on my shutters,

Shutters Closed

(the acrylic based topcoat dries a good deal faster than the oil based primer!)

I got this crazy idea in my head to start working with hand tools. So I got out my planes and chisels and my pull saw and started hacking away at some pine I had laying around the shop.

toolkit 1 (Small)

At one point, (it must have been the caffiene in the coffee ice cream,) I dug up my copy of “Joinery Basics” by Sam Allen, and read his instructions on how to cut dovetails. I figured, I have to start practicing, if I am ever going to move forward.

The first set have fairly wide tails; I was using the angled rule method and set my tails to be the same width as the plank.

first dovetail (Small)

The second set I “winged” it and used a mark down the middle of the end grain of one of the board as a reference, and created a set of marks across the end grain of the pin board.

second dovetails (Small)

I used a 1:6 angle as recommended by Sam Allen for soft woods.

pins n tails (Small)

One of the requirements I set for myself for this exercise was to cut the board in half with the pull saw, true up the end grain with a block plane, and shape the wood with a smoothing plane.

nice curls


square blade

trim ends 4 (Small)

I post this mainly for those of us who have a ways to go in our skills practice, and maybe, if I can encourage another person to “go for it” it will be worthwhile.

-- John

9 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4262 days

#1 posted 06-30-2007 10:00 PM

Some pretty nice looking shavings, also the dovetails are pretty nice.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3960 days

#2 posted 07-01-2007 12:40 AM

Bravo – way to get into the handwork! Gary Rogowski has a video on FWW where he suggests that woodworkers should “warm up” as a musician would. He recommends cutting dovetails as a good warm-up!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4049 days

#3 posted 07-01-2007 12:55 AM

Great idea Spar…something I need to practice as well. I think I might pull out some scraps and play tonight.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4060 days

#4 posted 07-01-2007 01:10 AM

Looks like you were having fun. I’ve been doing some hand tool work as well. Great to see others doing it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4363 days

#5 posted 07-01-2007 02:11 AM

Great looking handiwork.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4277 days

#6 posted 07-01-2007 02:52 AM

Hand work…good stuff.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4051 days

#7 posted 07-01-2007 01:15 PM

Whew. I thought that was a full stud you were halving, Stud.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4102 days

#8 posted 07-01-2007 04:01 PM

John -

Very cool posting! I always love seeing tools and fine wood shavings – had to go real slow thru this posting so I didn’t miss anything!


View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4062 days

#9 posted 07-02-2007 07:37 PM

Thanks, guys, for you kind comments. I appreciate them greatly.

-- John

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