The old time woodshop journals #44: Back to the bench!

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 05-09-2013 08:59 PM 1581 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 43: Across the Seas of Woodcraft! Part 44 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 45: Old treasures, green mountains and great fortunes. »

Since taking such an extended time learning many aspects of carving spoons from green timber, I began to miss the other parts of working wood. I missed the use of my old Stanleys, Disstons, and Millers Falls! Yeah….I am a hand tool galoot for sure….GALOOTS UNITE!...LOL.

Of course while just starting to excel at carving, understanding the grips and sculpture of spoon making, it was easy to have a worry that my other skills were getting some rust as much as the tools began too! Oh….oh we have a few planes getting rusty….3 in 1 oil in isle 5 please! Ahhh, the tales of having a natural environment in an outdoor garage shop. Oil early and often…..I am telling myself that by the way, as a reminder.

So with some scrap 3/4 inch pine board I thought that this would be a fine time to get warmed up a little. Sure I have my 3 legged stool to finish, but I wanted something to
re-communicate old skills with. Mads always inspired me with his takes on Japanese tool box’s and trying something like that has always been on my list…so I gave it a go.

This particular setup would be much smaller in size though, and I was actually happy for the required delicate nature I would have to take in order to build it. My feelings were that to have to create this with all hand tools and using such small pieces would only exercise my skills more, challenge my instincts and let me evaluate where I am at since taking such a long break from bench work.

I drafted a small plan out then took to my workbench. My only rules that I continued to affirm were to take time, use what I have learned, and let this be a joy.

First I had to rip this 3/4 inch board down….haaaa this was a small workout. Lucky me I had this old lovely Disston rip saw I purchased at an auction, it cost me about 3 bucks.



I gave it a little tune up, some tallow, and then set about my rip saw voyage. The saw felt good, the accuracy was very on par for my level, I was feeling excited and inspired to be sawing some old pine dust once more!

Once the pieces were separated I dogged them with my high tech dogging system! 3 screws at the end of my simple bench…alla Roy Underhill…lol. I am one that would rather build things then get too lost in building benches so I can build With that said I would love to get to building another bench…but I just keep making

This is no offense to those awesome benches all of you guys are building…I think they are awesome. I will get to it….eventually…lol.

So on to the Stanley #3 to plane down my thin pine boards. I have found that tallow is about as best you can go in my opinion for easing your tools through a job, if your new to hand tools get some tallow for using your saws and planes with. It makes everything move much easier.

I also still have to say my Diamond stones….brilliant. Paul Sellers methods are easy, fast and I never have a dull blade. I don’t care for fussing with science/math experiments and calculations on sharpening…lol. I like old school methods where the work is up front. Stop a blade on your thumbnail or shave your arm hairs off…son, it’s sharp!

Wow, the Pine was really thin now…the most lightest project was being prepped for layout. I realized that my brawn would have to be put on hold for focused moves. No more of this strong arming a hatchet for hewing spoon blanks or making bowls. Now was the time for a concerto like calm effort of harmonizing with light Pine pieces for my saw to make box parts from.



With a little time and detail put in I managed to get all of my pieces cut, glued them up and made this small Japanese….gift box? I varied it’s design a bit by leaving out the indents on the ends and joined it with a combination of brads and wood nails.

I whittled the wood nails from some thin Poplar dowel. The Brad nails were too long for my thin joined dimensions so I simply put a brad in my metal vise, chopped the length with cutting pliers then peened over a new small nail head with a small ball peen hammer!






Making this box was a real pleasure and challenge. I was happy and surprised at how well I adapted to dimensioning such small pieces and seeing the vision to the final product.

Woodworking is something that always reveals hidden applications we hold within ourselves. I feel there is a wide open road untraveled whenever we tap deep within our basic elements of instincts and primal curiosities of what we might make from sticks. Making things is something all of our ancestors at one time or another simply had to do, we find ourselves lucky to even call any of this current carpentry….tinker or hobby at all. To view the finished box check here:

With a small cabinet hammer, brad nails and some pine, life feels right and the tempo of my hammer follows the feeling.
The secret to most of it all is the amount of love you hold in your heart, allowing it to be shared down into your hands.
From there a crafts person shares it with those they care for, and a wonderful notion is spread throughout days far beyond our busy time.
I keep a weathered soul of strength, mystery and knowledge close to my courage to keep it company with my daily fears, sometimes my ideas surprise my own assumptions.
Above there are busy streets of youth and technology, time gives forth the passion of carefree days, but down below there is a workshop where the bodger shaves his grain, the blisters burst although he smiles with total satisfaction.

I thank all of you for your continued creativity and artisanship. Keep on the saw line and be well!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

3 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3296 days

#1 posted 05-09-2013 11:20 PM

Great blog and now I am gonna jump over and see the finished product!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30568 posts in 3226 days

#2 posted 05-10-2013 10:52 AM

Great job. Your passion for your hand tools is great.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Mauricio's profile


7165 posts in 4039 days

#3 posted 05-13-2013 04:10 PM

Petty cool. I lost my dowel plate so i have been making “wooden nails” they work great and are round enough. Actually adds some really nice character.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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