Making an ancient bucket MaFe #9: Lag time... Lagging and joining with dowels.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 02-15-2011 12:07 AM 4786 reads 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Planing the outside, shaping the mandle and start of the lid. Part 9 of Making an ancient bucket MaFe series Part 10: Lid - while I wait for the willow tree! »

Lag time… Lagging and joining with dowels.
not as easy as it looks…

So finally time for that lag knife!.

First mark the thickness of the bottom on the stafs.

When you have a marking knife like me, send by a fellow LJ, then it’s impossible not to smile while doing this.

Then mark the stafs.

Like this!

And now the other side.

And time to lag!

It’s not easy to avoid tear out… So if I should make a new knife, it would have a flat side.

And clean out with a chisel.
Don’t know how to control how deep to go…

So I go half, and trust my instincts.

Try a new approach. (I’m naughty).
Sawing halfway through.

Like this.

Clean out are really easy like this.

Now I’m really fast.

What is this a mistake?
No! I made them a little too small on purpose.

So now I mark the bottom with this size.

And now a little planning to make the bottom fit the groove.
Why this approach?
Because I believe it will be more tight with this wedge effect (might be a mistake).

So off we go.

Fit!!! Jubiii.

Up we go.

And around.

To the end.

More marking gauges.
First I mark the thickness, from inside out always, so the thickness variation will appear on the outside.

Now marking the placements for the dowels.
I set up two gauges to the lengths, and mark from the bottom up.

Like this.

And then marking with an owl to make sure the drill will not slip.

This sounds so simple, but it is really hard to hit dead center in so many holes, and yes I did make mistakes…
But manage with some adjusting of the dowel sizes.

Ok with power tools, my arms can’t handle so many holes with hand tools.

Time to make some dowels.

A jig:
Drill a hole in a scrap piece wood.

Make a cut at the depth of the dowels wanted.

Cut of a piece of the wood, and now stick the dowel into the jig.

And dowel express are running, easy and alike.

So dowels ready to be used.

And now it’s like Lego.

The bucket comes fast together now.
So time for a pipe of nice tobacco.

Once again I have to test the limits, now to lift the bucket like this.
And it works! Jubiii.

That’s it for now!

Hope it could bring some inspiration, or guidance!

Mike thanks for the travel in the ancient bucket blog.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

20 comments so far

View Clung's profile


98 posts in 3894 days

#1 posted 02-15-2011 12:28 AM

well done!

-- Clarence

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 02-15-2011 12:53 AM

Amazing Mafe. I do enjoy your tool-set. Your time and dedication shows in your work.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Brit's profile


8329 posts in 3956 days

#3 posted 02-15-2011 12:56 AM

Looking good Mads. All you need now is a cow that needs milking. LOL

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4190 days

#4 posted 02-15-2011 01:17 AM

Good stuff…. Much enjoyed….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5027 days

#5 posted 02-15-2011 05:21 AM

Very clever trick with cutting the dowels to length. Also handy to have 2 marking guages ( I am always thinking – how will I do this without such and such?)

I don’t think you have tested the limits of your bucket yet, just by lifting it. We will see if it really holds water and be picked up at the same time!..but first we still have some bindings.

I still don’t understand the value of the lag knife – especially with your alternate methods. Is it to take the place of round ended chisel ?( which I have never seen of course)

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3881 days

#6 posted 02-15-2011 05:32 AM

Thanks for sharing with us. This has been a great project. I’ve really enjoyed tagging along.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View swirt's profile


6264 posts in 4085 days

#7 posted 02-15-2011 05:48 AM

“And now it’s like Lego.” LOL Good one!

-- Galootish log blog,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


21136 posts in 4789 days

#8 posted 02-15-2011 08:17 AM

Good job Mads!! :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View patron's profile


13721 posts in 4454 days

#9 posted 02-15-2011 08:34 AM

a bucket of beer

a good pipe

and thow (caroline)

enjoy !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4447 days

#10 posted 02-15-2011 12:46 PM

Excellent work Mads and a beautiful bucket. You are now way ahead of me. I hope you can wait a little for me to catch up and blog the bindings. They will be similar to the ones shown in the Russian coopering book, but there are a few steps that have to be done before cutting the ends so they will lock together. I hope I can get my dowels as drilled as accurately as you did.

Steve The advantage of the lag knife is that when you cut the lag the knife will cut into the wood at an even depth, so that when you chisel out the waste the round edge of the bottom will fit the lag tightly all along the curve. This will make your bottom a good fit and hopefully water tight (at least after some swelling of the wood).

I found that the lag knife was easy to use and did a good job. I assume Mads used a saw because he has problems with arms and neck pain. I’m sure he is aware of the problem and has done a work around to get the lag concave like the stave. Saws were used for this type of work in the more recent old days as an alternative to the lag knife, but they were made with a rounded edge to match the concave profile of the stave’s. You would need a separate saw for each different profile you wanted to produce. You might find it helpful to reread the blog that includes advice on cutting the lag.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4228 days

#11 posted 02-15-2011 11:53 PM

a very well made Blog Mads
I realy enjoyed it :-) you nearly throwe gauges with the same speed
as you are able to send new planes by my eye´s ….LOL
yes still living on a jet plane , can´t get the meeting out of my dreams :-)

take care

View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4202 days

#12 posted 02-16-2011 12:39 AM

Hi there,
Dennis, yes I have a tool fetish, I admit it! The gauge on the fifth picture are my latest creation, but this I will post on a later occation. And just to make you green I just bought a 1894 (dated) traditional hand plane with horn from Germany (E-bay 5 Euro… it’s a crazy world). We will find a time for another day in my work shop.
Mike, yes I took a time jump here, was also too much, so today has been a day off (exept a closet for my daughters dolls..). For the bands I will wait for your guidence. The dowels was not easy and some of the accuracy in the bucket seemed to vanish… So I think I will have to correct few angels on stafs, but since it will not be used as a water bucket I’m not going to put too much efford into this. The reason I made the bottom in a wedge shape was to compensate for my lagging… I guess. lol. I think the blade on my lag knife was too thick.
David, yes what more can a man ask for?
Topa, ;-)
Swirt, yes just like that! lol.
Dan, I’m glad you enjoy, for me it has been a challange and a great fun, Mike is a king of kindness.
Steve, Water? What water? lol. Yes this will be the test, and I do shake a little… The marking gauges, yes not bad to have several, and when you buy second hand, they come quite cheap, I’ll make a blog soon about one I have finished lately.
Perhaps we should make a routerplane with round bottom next…
Dan, I smile.
Andy, oh yes acually I would love to try and milk a cow once in my life.
Superdav, thank you, I do have a soft spot on those tools yes, especially once with a life and soul.
Clarence, love to do this with you!
Best thoughts and thank you to all of you,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


21136 posts in 4789 days

#13 posted 02-16-2011 12:45 AM

Mads, It isn’t what its cracked up to be!! Trust me ;-)) used to do 80 every morning and 110 every night.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View mafe's profile


13202 posts in 4202 days

#14 posted 02-16-2011 12:54 AM

Topa, thank you.
Smile from me.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4228 days

#15 posted 02-16-2011 01:12 AM

yes sometimes its crazy out there I´m not that envy of you :-)
....except from the drawknifes ,drills and .. and .. and …..LOL

you know the last blog on toolgloat I have just brought the teaser home , have to do it over two times
since there was 18-19 planes , three yankey-screwdrivers and more …....yep a bunch of work before me
does it feel so ….no no no :-)......................ok maybee

take care

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