Friday, February 15, 2013

Final Preparation For New England Home Show

Twelve handplanes.

Next week is the New England Home Show, where I'll be conducting free hand tool woodworking classes as part of The Furniture Project. You can get all the details here. There are still open slots each day if you're interested.

This weekend I'm finishing up the final preparation, which means making sure all the tools for four workbenches are cleaned and sharpened. This is something I should have completed this past summer, since these are the tools I've been accumulating for the Close Grain School Of Woodworking.

Update on sharpening: I had 20 antique edge tools to sharpen for the show. My April 2013 issue of Fine Woodworking, #232, arrived just before I started sharpening. It contained an excellent article by Chris Gochnour, "Plane blades and chisels need a flat and polished back", now available on the FW website. I followed this procedure to prepare all the backs. It was surprisingly fast and effective. Then I sharpened all the bevels with the convex bevel method, also fast and effective. The results: sharp edges that left silky-smooth surfaces.

Sixteen handsaws.

Eight chisels and four mallets.

Four sets of accouterments.

Each workbench needs enough tools for the basics of handplanes, handsaws, and chisels. Most of the tools are antiques from 60 to 110 years old.

They were in various conditions when I acquired them, but I've put them all back into working order. I cleaned them up just enough to look good without being too shiny; I like my tools to show their history.

The jack planes were in the worst shape.  I had to derust a couple by electrolysis (doesn't everybody have a car battery charger hooked up to an iron rod in a plastic bin of water and washing soda on their back deck?).

For handplanes, each bench will have a jack plane for roughing (#5), a long plane for flattening and jointing (#6 or #7), and a short plane for smoothing (#3 or #4).

For handsaws, each will have a rip saw and a crosscut saw for rough sawing, plus a backsaw filed crosscut and a smaller one filed rip for fine sawing.

For chisels, each will have a 3/4" or 1" chisel, a 1/2" chisel, and a mallet.

In addition, each will have a square, a chip carving knife for marking, a marking gauge, and a pair of bench hooks.

Not shown, each will have a shooting board, a Gramercy Tools holdfast, an aluminum bar clamp stuffed with a wooden strip for work-holding in the vise, and an auxiliary sawbench.

For lumber, I have 32 four-foot lengths of pine 1x8 from Parlee Lumber (the oldest commercial sawmill in the US, coming up on 200 years!). I got #2 instead of clear, but it's actually almost perfectly clear.

I've spent the last few months building out the various items needed. The workbenches are from Paul Sellers' book, and he told me about the bar clamp rig when I saw him at The Woodworking Show in Springfield last month. I built the sawbenches from Chris Schwarz's design.

I made three walnut mallets based on Michael Cullen's article "Make a mallet" in the Winter 2012 Fine Woodworking (#230), copying my beech mallet. I made two more sets of bench hooks based on the one I made at Roy Underhill's class at Lie-Nielsen.

I'll have plenty of photos from the show to post. Stop by and get your mug on the blog!

(Continue to the posts for each day of the show.)


  1. Wow good accumulation of tools. Looks like your are defiantly ready for school.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I was looking at your class schedule and saw that you are based out of Pepperell, MA (I figured you were close when I saw Parlee Lumber). I am from Groton, MA, I had no clue there was another hand tool lover so close. It is good to hear it! I might try and make it out to the Home Show.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.