The New Traditional Woodworker-Project #4-Winding Sticks

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Project by Brad posted 12-18-2014 12:50 AM 2443 views 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Lately, I’ve had my nickers in a twist. That’s English for having a hissy fit. And fit I had, when I resawed some quarter-sawn oak—lovely rays and all—only to “flatten” it. But not really, because it had some wicked twist. Crap. Guess I’m going to have to make some winding sticks. Oh yeah. And learn how to use them.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to make a pair. But Jim Tolpin’s New Traditional Woodworker design calls for 5/4 stock, and I didn’t have any lying around. One night, while enjoying the warm embrace of a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, I queried aloud, “Why not just use ¾ stock?”

“Well, because they’ll tip over,” came the reply. But, then again, the sticks’ pyramid cross-section mitigates this possibility. So after rummaging through my lumber stores I pulled out some ¾ maple and walnut. Then, I thumbed to page 107 of Tolpin’s book to bone up on the build process and techniques.

As for dimensions, I went with a short stick. Thirteen inches long is plenty of stickage for my winding. That’s because I flatten boards around 6” wide. The abbreviated length also means that the sticks fit neatly into one of the drawers under my workbench.

I enjoyed building a tool to be used on other projects. It was particularly fun to plane a pyramid cross-section.

And to laminate maple to walnut.

Then to add a center-dot detail in the form of a dowel.

Here are the finished sticks.

And now that they’re done, I can focus on fixing the twist in my boards rather than in my nickers.


© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

10 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3585 posts in 3547 days

#1 posted 12-18-2014 01:36 AM

Those look really useful, I wish I had a set. What is the purpose of the dots on top?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View waho6o9's profile


8638 posts in 2940 days

#2 posted 12-18-2014 04:11 AM

A pair of well made winding sticks, good job Brad.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16109 posts in 2981 days

#3 posted 12-18-2014 04:53 AM

Nice work, Brad! Well made, careful attention to detail. What’s not to love? They’ll serve you very well, for years to come.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Brit's profile


7682 posts in 3205 days

#4 posted 12-18-2014 11:38 AM

I look forward to making a pair myself Brad. To date I have been using two bits of aluminium (aluminum to you) angle with black and white electricians tape on them. They work surprisingly well, but don’t look anywhere near as sexy.

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

View Lanaug's profile


188 posts in 2571 days

#5 posted 12-18-2014 04:43 PM

those are some nice winding sticks for sure and a great use of scraps. They are definitely on my to-do list at some point.

View Richard's profile


1927 posts in 3053 days

#6 posted 12-18-2014 06:27 PM

Those are great looking sticks , but for me they would be a waste of time or money since my Eyes are so much out of whack they wouldn’t help anyway. I use 2 or 3 levels.

View Grumpymike's profile


2375 posts in 2678 days

#7 posted 12-18-2014 07:50 PM

Congrats on the completion of a great traditional tool … May they serve you and the next generation well.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Brad's profile


1140 posts in 3103 days

#8 posted 12-18-2014 11:05 PM

Allen, the dots are center point references to facility the speedy alignment of the sticks. While some may not consider them necessary, I like them for the decorative flourish they add alone.

Andy, can’t wait to see the sticks you make. I envision a combination of woods that portray a classy yet blingy visual tool. By the way. How’s your woodshop build coming along?

Oh and Andy. The State of Colorado now officially has over 325 registered breweries. The pace of experimentation, creativity and taste has accelerated dramatically in the last few years. Get yourself over here so that I can take you to some excellent breweries.

For those of you in Colorado. My favorite breweries north of Denver are: Industrial Revolution, 12 Degrees and Verboten.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Mauricio's profile


7160 posts in 3514 days

#9 posted 12-20-2014 04:59 AM

Beautiful winding sticks brad! I need to make me some of these. Like Andy mine are two aluminum (not aluminium ;-) ) angle irons.

Winding sticks are really amazing tools, I’ve learned to use them and trust them. When the sticks say its flat, I take it over to the glass top dining table or granite counter tops in the kitchen and the board is truly flat and does not rock. Like I said I’ve learned to trust them and don’t do that any more.

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

View Brit's profile


7682 posts in 3205 days

#10 posted 12-20-2014 09:10 AM

I wish I could join you for a few jars Brad, sounds divine.

Workshop has been put on hold now until early spring. I am already using the workshop though and will be using it over winter to restore some tools. I’m currently restoring a set of I Sorby mortise chisels. What a lot of work that is :-( Still it will be worth it as they will be tools I reach for often in a hand tool workshop.

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

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