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Lately I've really been getting into hand tools.

Lately I've really been getting into hand tools.

I asked for a few Japanese chisels for Christmas (one each from a few different people in the family.) I ended up with a set of four from Woodcraft. I decided that this collection was worthy of family heirloom status so I had them laser engraved and built a box to keep them in.



I have always had a fascination with Japanese culture, art and woodworking. Lately I have been reading Japanese Woodworking Tools, Their Tradition, Spirit and Use by Toshio Odate. This is a truly eye-opening book and I highly recommend it to every woodworker. I've also really enjoyed a book called Selecting and Using Hand Tools by Fine Woodworking.



So the natural progression from owning such a beautiful set of chisels lead me to coming up with a way to keep them sharp… which is how I ended up with a WorkSharp. And let me tell you, this is an amazing little machine. I know there are lots of ways to put a razer edge on a tool, but this thing makes it EASY. Which means my tools will ALWAYS be sharp. Its one of the best investments I've made in my shop in a long time.



So armed with the WorkSharp, I spent one afternoon grinding, sharpening and honing ALL my hand tools. And it suddenly occurred to me… wow… I've never worked with sharp tools before!

Dangerously sharp edge on a chisel from the WorkSharp:



I've always used chisels and planes and the occasional "Shark Saw" (Japanese-style saw from Big Box store) among other hand tools. But my first hand tool epiphany came when I first learned how to dress and use a cabinet scraper, and I was HOOKED. It really changed how I work… no more power sander (for the most part).

But my chisels and planes had been causing me a lot of frustration until now, because it was so tedious to sharpen them that I simply never took the time to do it. Now all of my planes sing like Billie Holiday.

The more I read Odate's book as well as watch videos online, etc, the more I have become addicted to Japanese hand tools. Its a terrible, expensive addiction, but I don't think I can shake it. I've been window-shopping online today on ebay and sites like The Japan Woodworker. I've got my eye on a Dozuki (dovetail saw) next… but that will have to wait a few months 'till my birthday ;)

But its not just Japanese hand tools that has got me excited lately. Its ALL hand tools. It just so happens that I work at a used tool store (dangerous, I know). So my collection is always growing.

This is my plane cabinet. The bottom shelf is the currently usable planes, and the next shelf up contains some that either need to be restored, or purely collectibles (like the brightly colored vintage "student" planes).



From left to right:
  • Modern (cheap) Stanley that I use for utility purposes like door jams or construction
  • Millers Falls No 56B (Favorite block plane)
  • Record No 077 rabbet/bullnose (Other favorite plane)
  • Stanley Bullnose plane with SweetHeart blade
  • Little Stanley "finger" plane (as I call it) with SweetHeart blade



From front to back:
  • Stanley No. 4 with SweetHeart blade
  • Stanley Bailey No. 5
  • Stanley Bailey No. 6



So in my excitement over hand tools lately, I have really been in the mood to make my own planes. I have really been inspired by some of the handmade tools by other Lumberjocks too. It doesn't seem like a very complicated project, but very rewarding (and a great way to use up scraps as well.)

So I have been thinking about where to get blades from. I hate Ebay, and I really didn't want to spent $40 bucks each for "Hock" blades from a catalog. So I had an idea, let me know what you think. I have a small collection of old wood planes that were inherited from a family-friend. Although I appreciate the history and like looking at them, they are in poor enough condition to where I would never use them.



Example of poor condition:



Some of these wooden planes appear to be handmade. The only plane with any marks on the wooden body is this one which (I think) reads "196 W.SCHNEHOER AVE. NY"

(Note the seemingly-missing handle next to the saw marks… it was probably cut off after breaking)





Anyway, my idea is to keep the wooden plane collection but give the blades a new lease on life by using them to make my new hand-made planes. Or would it just be too sad to "rob" these elders of their irons? What do you think?

The blades are very rusty and would need a lot of work but I would end up with a great variety for my new planes. The man who owned the old wooden planes was a boat builder. So among the collection is a concave plane, a convex plane, and a couple different sizes of straight blades. It would be an interesting challenge to build all of the different plane shapes.
Thats real cool!
 
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My first Krenov Style Plane

I made my first plane!

I used the blade from one of those old wooden planes I had. As you can see I had a variety of these old planes with different style blades. Straight, concave, and a couple different radii of convex blades:



Here are some progress photos…

Making the Body:

I started out with a block of Koa that I got on our honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii.



Look, two plane bodies!



I used the width of the blade as a guide to cut my block into slabs.



I am basing my design from instructions in various books from James Krenov. Here I am checking and drawing the angles for the mouth:





And cut them on the bandsaw:



I had to run one of the triangle pieces on my router table to create the space for the screw that holds chip breaker on to the iron.



Making the Pin:

Now, I don't have a lathe. So I had to get creative to make the round ends of the pin. I used a plug cutting bit on my drill press. I think this would be faster and easier than a lathe anyway. This ensures that both ends are the same and I know that they are exactly 1/2" so I can use a 1/2" drill bit to drill the holes.



I finished shaping the pin (rounding over the top) with a chisel.



Finally I glued it up:





Here is the glued up body:



I ran the plane upside-down through my thickness sander to carefully flatten the sole and open the throat until it was just right:



Shaping the body:

I first rough cut the basic shape on the bandsaw:



And after a lot of hand shaping I ended up with this:



The blade:

Sorry, I didn't take photos of the blade shaping process. but I cut the blade and chip breaker shorter, shaped it on the disk sander, and sharpened it on my WorkSharp.

And HERE is the finished project:

Looks nice, Blake.
 
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Amazing find... Maebiki-nokogiri

So as I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have been studying and collecting Japanese hand tools. And my favorite book which has inspired the collection is JAPANESE WOODWORKING TOOLS by Toshio Odate.



In this book there is a section on saws (Nokogiri) where Odate proudly displays a favorite in his collection:





This saw was a rip saw used to mill large stock. The wide blade was designed to keep the cut straight in very thick lumber. It was used by the mighty kobiki-shokunin (sawyer). According to the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum it was probably produced and used during Japan's Meiji era (1868-1912).

Well, this is what I found at the flee market on Friday, and paid $10 bucks for:









Its in amazing condition. Even the original handle is intact, although warn (it was obviously put to work!) It has a little rust but I will clean it carefully. It has the same blacksmith tool marks as the one that Odate shows. From the little bit of research I've done this saw seems to be over 100 years old!
Nice find Blake.
 
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Building a Work Bench

I did a trade for some woodwork with a guy who had a garage full of lumber and several nice hand tools. Most of the lumber was Oak.

I don't really like working with Oak. But I thought it would be perfect for a bench, and there was enough of it. I got lots of different lengths and widths. Most of it was 3/4". I forgot to take a "before" photo of the stack but here is a sample:



Now I intend to make a nice, sturdy bench, but its going to be more functional than artful masterpiece. Just something that I can really use with hand tools. Its my first bench, and there will be others later. So I really want this to be a quick project so I can get back to work on the stuff I really want to build.

Some may call this a "hack job." Call me a butcher, but I didn't even bother ripping the strips to the same width. As long as one side is flat, thats all that matters.

I started by rolling on the glue and clamping together sections of a half-dozen or so boards:



Then I glued up two of those sections:




At this point I have two sections that are less than 8" wide. This way they will fit on my 8" jointer to get one flat side.

Here is what the top will look like (It hasn't been jointed yet)



Here is the underside (notice the uneven widths)



The ends of the tool tray:



The sections laid out and ready for final assembly:




Don't worry, that endgrain will be covered with an end piece. For less than $20 bucks I got enough 4×6 and 2×6 Doug Fir for a very sturdy base. I also have a piece of solid mahogany re-claimed from an old desk for a bottom shelf, and a huge woodworking vice I got years ago at the flea market.

My friend the glue chisel…

On a side note, I thought I would take a moment to appreciate a very under-rated tool… My glue chisel. Its the old workhorse who doesn't whine or complain about the not so glamorous tasks like scraping semi-wet glue off a workpiece, gouging out a nail, prying double-stick-taped jigs apart, or popping bark off of a log.





Everyone should have a "glue chisel" ...someone's got to do the dirty work.
Looks great!
 
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More Bench Progress

Once I had my two larger bench sections glued up I ran them through the planer…



And chopped the ends square



I used my biscuit jointer to align the two laminated "slabs," since after this glue up it will be too big to run through my thickness planer:





Two slabs glued up:



And now glued up with the tool tray:



THE BASE

I spent $18.00 on 4×6 and 2×6 Doug Fir for the base at Home Depot:



A little shaping of the feet on the bandsaw, and oak pads added:



Mortise cut on the RAS (I do it this way because it is fast)



Leg assembly:



The assembled base (screws and glue… but the screws are well hidden)



A little preview of the whole thing together with the huge old Craftsman vice from the flea market:



By the way, the base alone is MASSIVE. It will weigh a ton with the solid oak top sitting on it.

The top will still get wide edges that wrap around all four sides. This will give the sides more surface area as well as make the top look more substantial (the base won't look so disproportionately huge.)

I haven't decided whether to stain or paint the base (maybe black?)... or leave it natural. I think something darker would look nice and de-emphasize the fact that I used construction-grade lumber.

Any thoughts?

Also, what kind of finish do I use on the oak top? Just oil?
Looks great, Blake.
 
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Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack

Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane

Some of the modern high end hand tool manufacturers have been marketing "low angle jack planes" for years now like it is something nobody has ever thought of before. I mean, I had never heard of a low angle jack before I started reading reviews on Lie Nielson and Veritas versions in Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane:



And of course we all know that Stanley, the most famous maker of quality hand tools has SERIOUSLY BLOWN IT in the last several decades by manufacturing nothing but crap and letting other companies pick up where they left off. It took them long enough to realize what they had missed out on, and in 2009 they finally released a line of hand planes to compete with Lie Nielson and Veritas (among others)... the nostalgically-named "Sweetheart" line.

2009 Stanley No. 62 "Sweetheart" Low Angle Jack Plane:



Well I found out about a great website called The Best Things from another LJ post (sorry, I forget who). When I was browsing this website I saw a beautiful vintage Stanley plane that I had never hear of before. The Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane.



When I saw this picture I couldn't help getting excited. What a cool plane. I mean, a low angle jack is just kind of a sexy (not to mention useful) addition to a collection of hand planes. And realizing that the original VINTAGE thing was out there, and that they were somewhat RARE… I just had to have one.

Here's where working in a used tool store comes in handy… this came in to our shop the next day:

P1010006 1

P1010005

P1010007 1

P1010008 1

Now I know it know it will be a lot of work… tons of rust and a broken tote… but I think this will be a FUN project.

Now if you don't know about Patrick's Blood and Gore, its the best resource on the internet for information about Stanley planes. Anyway, according to Patrick, the Stanley No. 62 is "one of Stanley's better planes they ever decided to manufacture."

He also notes that "the mouth often chips, especially in the area behind the cutter. You can flip over ten of these plane, and eight of them will be chipped, one will not be chipped but repaired, and the last perfect."

Well, besides the rust and cracked wood, this thing is COMPLETE and PERFECT. No chips or breaks (so I guess it's number ten.)

I've always wanted to try one of those "electrolysis bath" things that I've seen other people do on the internet. I think this would be the perfect candidate. I will also need to make a new tote and knob. I'll keep you posted on the process and I'm sure I'll have questions along the way.
Great find.
 
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Stanley No. 62 Restored, Bench Finished!

Stanley No. 62

After putting the Stanley No. 62 low angle jack plane through electrolysis still had quite a bit of work to do. Here is a "before photo" as a reminder:

P1010005

In my last post WayneC commented:
I would seal the japanned area using a clear schallac. This will prevent further rust. 3 in 1 oil on the adjustment screw. On the knobs they look repairable to me. Glue and refinish. Given the value of this plane, I would keep the original knobs. I would use a good paste wax on the rest of the metal parts.

Well thats exactly what I did (Thanks Wayne). The Shellac looked great on the old Japanning. Even though it wasn't all there it re-emphasized whats left of it.

And I did decide to repair and refinish the tote and knob and they came out great. The tote was broken in two places (three pieces). So I drilled three holes up through it and drove 2 1/2" finish nails into the holes to reinforce the epoxied joints. Then I stripped the old finish off and applied thee coats of Shellac.

Anyway, here is the finished result:

DSC_6481

DSC_6482

DSC_6483

Woodworking Bench

I also finished my bench! Sorry, I didn't take any more progress photos toward the end. But since the last blog I basically just drilled the 3/4" dog holes, made vice handles, and finished the top with Danish Oil and Wax. Here is the finished project:



Now its time to put it all together and make some shavings!
Great job,Blake!
 
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First Hand-Cut Dovetails

I finally got a chance to practice hand-cutting dovetails. This is the first time I've made a cut with my new Japanese dovetail saw and use my new bench too.

I started out with a couple scrap pieces of pine:

DSC_6591

I drew the tails:

DSC_6592

First cut… didn't follow the line so well. It will take some getting used to.

DSC_6596

Here are all the cuts. Some are pretty good and some are pretty far off the line.

DSC_6600

This photo is AWESOME. Because as you can see, I did a beautiful job at chopping away my tails (instead of the waste). Notice the X's that should not be intact…

DSC_6604

Ok, take TWO…

Not even close:

DSC_6607

A lot better:

DSC_6608

Chop, Chop, Chop:

DSC_6609

Not bad for 2nd try:

DSC_6611

Cutting the pins went well. It is easier to saw straight down vertically then at an angle like the tails. Here are the pins being chopped:

DSC_6614

It did take a little chisel work to get them to fit but not too much.

And here it is (first completed hand-cut dovetails)

DSC_6617
Blake nice work, looks better than my first attempt try at hand cut dovetails.
 
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