Thursday, July 30, 2015

FABFest Boston Aug 8-9 2015

August 8-9, I'll have a booth at FABFest Boston 2015, a free event open to the public at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury Crossing, Boston. There will be a variety of local and international exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, all focused on making things, from low-tech to high-tech.

My topic will be "Urban Small Space Woodworking", focusing on how to do hand tool woodworking if you live in a city apartment, condo, or small house. These locations have severe space and noise constraints. There's no room for a power tool workshop, and your neighbors up or downstairs would not be happy with the noise.

But a space as small as 4'x6' is enough to set up a small folding workbench, and hand tools combined with quiet woodworking methods mean you can build anything from small boxes to cabinetry, furniture, and musical instruments.

I'll have my Roy Underhill portable workbench and apartment workbench setup, along with a variety of tools. This will be continuous open demo, where you can try out the tools or get an on-the-spot lesson.

So stop in and make some shavings, and learn how you can satisfy your creative urges even in the tiniest space.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

PWU Intro Hand Tools: Tool List

In response to reader questions about my Popular Woodworking University online video course Intro To Hand Tools, here is a tool list. You can find a complete episode guide to the course here.

I've broken it up into several parts. First is the absolute minimum to get started. Second is the next most useful additions. Third is the complete list of everything shown in the course, by brand.

The strategy is to start simple according to your budget and the tools you are able to find, then add more specialized tools as you learn more about them and find them.

Where you can, get good quality antique or modern tools. Poor quality tools just lead to frustration and are a waste of money when you end up replacing them with better ones.

Flea markets and boot sales are an excellent source of old tools, you just have to be willing to clean them up and accept that every once in a while you'll get one that turns out to be unusable.

Minimum Starting List

This is the minimum set of tools to be able to perform at least one version of most of the skills covered in the course. You can find numerous variations on what constitutes the minimum starter set online, with a wide range of opinions, but this list is oriented towards what's covered in the course and getting you going on it.

You should have some version of the following:
  • Marking gauge.
  • Marking knife.
  • Square.
  • Rip and crosscut handsaws.
  • Jack, jointer, and smoother handplanes (metal or wooden bodies).
  • Small rip backsaw.
  • Bench chisels, at least 1/4" and 3/4".
  • Mallet.
  • Sharpening system.
The single rip backsaw (sometimes called a carcase saw) is sufficient to saw dovetails and tenons (both the crosscut shoulder cuts and the rip cheek cuts). A small crosscut backsaw will also do a reasonable job on these. In general, once the teeth are small enough (in the 12-15 ppi range), they are able to perform both rip and crosscut functions as long as they are good and sharp. There are also hybrid rip/crosscut backsaws.

There are a lot of sharpening systems to choose from (by "system" here I mean a particular set of sharpening stones and accouterments). If you don't already have something, you might want to wait until you've gone through the sharpening part of the course before deciding which one to buy.

If you can't get good antique or modern high-quality premium chisels, inexpensive home center chisels will be good enough to start, but you'll want to upgrade after a while. Similarly with hand saws. Some of the impulse-hardened combination tooth handsaws work well; the problem with them is they are not really made to be resharpened once they get dull, they are meant to be disposable.

For handplanes, I strongly recommend against the really cheap ones you find at home centers and hardware stores. This is where quality of materials and workmanship really counts. Cheap ones just lead to a lot of frustration.

Next Most Useful Additions

Adding these will give you more options and allow you to do at least one version of the remaining skills in the course:
  • Dovetail (rip) and tenon (rip and crosscut) backsaws.
  • Router plane.
  • Hand drill and bits.
  • Spokeshave.
The first two items here can be a significant boost. The first expands the backsaws to dedicated rip and crosscut saws in two sizes (dovetail saws are typically the smallest backsaws). The second gives you a lot of fine depth control for cleaning up joints.

From here there are a number of more specialized tools to choose from.

Complete List

This is the list of all tools shown in the course, by brand name. This doesn't mean you have to have all of these tools, it just means that if you have one (or a variation of one), the course shows you ways to use it.

Modern High-Quality Premium Tools
The list of high-end toolmakers is always changing, so these aren't the only good modern brands.

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks:
  • #4, #7 bench planes
  • #102 block plane
  • #140 skew block planes, left and right
  • Medium shoulder plane
  • 12" tenon saws, 10ppi rip, 13 ppi crosscut
  • 9" dovetail saw, 15ppi rip
  • 11" carcase saw, 14ppi crosscut
  • Socket bench chisels, 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4"
  • Mortise chisel, 1/10"
  • Boggs spokeshave
  • Dowel plate
  • Card scraper
Lee Valley/Veritas:
  • Small bevel-up smooth plane
  • NX60 premium block plane
  • Small router plane
  • Gimlets
  • Wonder Dog
  • Bench Pups
  • Chisel-point brad awl
  • Wooden jack, jointer, and smoother bench planes
  • Wooden scrub plane, iron 32mm wide
Gramercy Tools:
  • Holdfasts
  • Bowsaw hardware kit
  • Coarse cabinetmaker's rasp
Glenn Drake Toolworks:
  • Tite-Mark marking gauge
Hock Tools:
  • Burnisher
  • (also an excellent source of replacement plane irons)
  • Replacement plane irons

Other Modern Tools
  • Mortise chisels, 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4", 1"
  • Dual-pin marking gauge
Crown Tools:
  • Card scraper
  • Square-blade birdcage awl
  • Sharpening jig
BAHCO (formerly Sandvik):
  • Card scraper
  • Carving knife (used as marking knife)

Sharpening Supplies

  • Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) sandpaper, 4.5" roll, 80, 120, 320 grits
  • Wet-dry sandpaper, 9"x11", 600, 1000, 1500 grits
  • 3X sandpaper, 9"x11", 60, 150, 400 grits
  • Oilstones, 8"x3"x1/2", coarse, medium, fine India stones, translucent Arkansas stone; IB8 8"x2"x1" coarse/fine combination India stone
  • Waterstones, 8"x3"x1", 220, 1000, 4000, 8000 grits
  • Waterstones, 8"x3"x1", 1000 and 10000 grits
  • Duo-Sharp combination diamond plates, 10"x4", x-coarse/coarse (black/blue), medium/fine (red/green)
  • Dia-Sharp diamond plates, 8"x3", xx-coarse, coarse
  • Dia-Flat diamond lapping plate, 10"x4", xx-coarse
  • Saw files, 4", 5", 6" double extra slim, 6" extra slim, 6", 7" slim, 7" regular taper
  • Mill bastard file, 10"
  • Gold stropping compound
  • Diamond Sharpener, medium, fine, super fine grits

Antique Tools
Several of these once-legendary brands have declined in modern times, though Stanley has revived some of its higher-quality lines recently. In general, pre-World War II tools are the best, since that was the time when professionals made their living with them.

Starrett is the shining exception to this decline. Long a maker of high quality precision woodworking and machinist's measuring tools, they are one of the few companies whose quality has survived the transition to power tools. Their tools of any vintage are excellent.

  • #2-#7 bench planes 
  • #32, #26, #35 transitional bench planes
  • #18 block plane
  • #90 bullnose shoulder plane
  • #71 router plane
  • #78 duplex rabbet plane
  • #79 side rabbet plane
  • #48 tongue and groove plane
  • #147 match plane (come-and-go tongue and groove plane), 5/8"
  • #45 combination plane
  • #42X saw set
  • Defiance chisels, 5/8", 3/4"
  • #18 sliding T bevel square, 6"
Fray and Pigg:
  • Spofford braces, 8" and 12" sweep
Russell Jennings:
  • Auger bits, 4/16" to 16/16" in 1/16" increments
Miller's Falls
  • #2 eggbeater drill
North Bros.:
  • #41 Yankee push drill
  • Combination square
  • Engineer's square, 4"
  • Ratchet brace, 9" sweep
  • 26" crosscut saw, 8ppi
  • 12" joinery saw, 14ppi crosscut
  • 26" rip saw, 6ppi
Spear and Jackson:
  • 8" joinery saw, 16ppi rip
  • 16" bowsaw, 9ppi rip
  • #100 saw vise
  • #105 saw vise
  • Paring chisel, 3/4"
  • In-cannel paring gouges, 1/2", 3/4"
  • Socket bench chisel, 5/8"
John Bull:
  • Oval bolstered mortise chisels, 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2"
  • #781 brass-bound folding rule, 24"
A. Mathieson and Son:
  • Wooden wedge-arm plow plane
G. W. Denison and Co.:
  • Wooden moving fillister plane
Charles Nurse and Co.:
  • Pair of wooden match planes, 5/8"
  • Wooden jack, jointer, and coffin smoother planes
  • Wooden skew rabbet plane, 3/4"
  • Wooden spokeshave
  • Dividers
  • Wooden Sheffield brace, 8" sweep
  • Coping saw

Monday, July 13, 2015

59 Videos: Intro To Hand Tools

Freehand sharpening on oilstones: just one of 5 different sharpening methods covered. Sharpening is just one of 7 parts of the course.

59 videos. Over 12 hours of content (see episode guide below). 5 months of effort from the first email discussion. Hours and hours in the workshop weekends and nights, and more hours on the train editing video and writing accompanying text. A lot of understanding and support from my wife.

My Intro To Hand Tools course is available at Popular Woodworking University for online viewing, or you can purchase individual parts as digital downloads at Popular Woodworking's online store. Both formats are completely self-paced, so you can watch the videos at your convenience.

If you're new to hand tool woodworking, or just want to add some skills, this course is for you. The cost is only $59.99 for the online course, just over a dollar per video, or $4.99 for each of the six downloads, even more economical. You can read reviews of the first online session here.

Note that Popular Woodworking University provides registered students permanent read-only access to courses after they end. That means you can watch the videos any time after the course end date, but you won’t be able to ask questions or use the discussions after that.

It's divided into 7 parts. I cover multiple methods so you can pick the one that you like or that best matches the tools you have available. Try as many methods as you can to build your versatility. That will give you the background to incorporate other methods that you learn about.

"Fistfights And Fundamentals" videos highlight the different methods and compare them. "Exercise" videos provide practice exercises to develop hand and tool control.

While I show everything using easy-to-work eastern white pine, all the skills apply to harder woods. Do the exercises first in easy wood to get the skills, then repeat them with more difficult woods.

This is like learning to play a musical instrument: start with easy material, then advance to harder material as you make progress. Each step forward is a new learning experience.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. As long as you don't hurt yourself or damage anything, mistakes are also great learning experiences. Get your mistakes out of the way on practice exercises so you don't make them on real projects. Everything you make in the exercises makes excellent firewood! Meanwhile, you've acquired skills.

And just like learning to play a musical instrument, you probably don't want anyone to hear your early practicing, full of mistakes. But with persistence, you start to get it.

If you haven't seen them, check out the sample free course video and my silent trade show trailer that I'll have running when I do live demos. The first is an example of an individual video, and the second shows snippets from all the videos.

A tool list is here.

Here's a complete episode guide with running times so you can see exactly what's covered:

TOTAL 7 PARTS: 59 videos, 12:03:13 total running time

Part 1: Introduction (0:22:42 total)
1.1 Introduction (05:06)
  • Why hand tools?
  • Fistfights and fundamentals of the different methods of doing things.
  • Cost and space.
  • Like learning to play a musical instrument, practice!
1.2 Tools (04:24)
  • Workbenches: Roubo, Sellers, Underhill portable, apartment folding.
  • Handsaws, handplanes, chisels.
  • Measuring and marking.
  • Other tools: router, rabbet, and shoulder planes, spokeshave, drills, scrapers.
1.3 Safety (02:20)
  • Chisels
  • Saws
  • Planes
  • Marking
  • Drills
  • Mallets
  • Sharpen dull tools!
1.4 Saw Types (04:03)
  • Saw anatomy.
  • Rip vs. crosscut.
  • Tooth shape and size.
  • Joinery backsaws.
1.5 Plane Types (06:49)
  • Plane anatomy.
  • Adjusting the iron.
  • Plane sizes, functions, and order of use.
  • Wooden planes.
  • Cambered and straight irons.
Part 2: Sharpening (1:48:31 total)
2.1 Sharpening Fistfights And Fundamentals (16:26)
  • Fistfights: bevel shape, abrasives, sharpening motions and techniques.
  • Flat, convex, and concave bevel shapes.
  • Oilstones, sandpaper, waterstones, diamond stones, and strops.
  • Sharpening motions, freehand and jig.
  • How to evaluate an edge.
2.2 Back Preparation (04:11)
  • Flattening tool backs.
2.3 Convex Bevel On Oilstones (12:22)
  • Freehand sharpening a plane iron with a convex bevel on oilstones.
  • Stropping.
  • Easing the corners of the iron.
  • Sharpening a cambered iron.
  • Sharpening a chisel.
2.4 Double Bevel On Sandpaper (10:37)
  • Freehand side-to-side sharpening a plane iron with a double bevel on sandpaper on glass.
  • Sharpening a chisel.
  • Sharpening a spokeshave.
2.5 Double Bevel On Waterstones (09:30)
  • Flattening waterstones.
  • Freehand sharpening a plane iron with a double bevel on waterstones.
  • Stropping.
  • Sharpening a chisel.
2.6 Double Bevel Jig On Waterstones (09:42)
  • Flattening waterstones.
  • Jig sharpening a plane iron with a double bevel on waterstones.
  • Sharpening a chisel.
  • Angle setting jig.
2.7 Hollow Ground With Diamond Plates (06:19)
  • Hollow grinding a chisel.
  • Freehand honing the chisel on a diamond plate.
  • Stropping.
  • Sharpening a plane iron.
2.8 Saw Sharpening (19:43)
  • Saw vises.
  • Jointing and setting saw teeth.
  • Rake, fleam, and set.
  • Sharpening a rip saw.
  • Sharpening a crosscut saw, simple fleam guide.
  • Sharpening joinery backsaws.
2.9 Scraper Sharpening (19:41)
  • How a card scraper works.
  • Burnishing, draw-filing, and honing.
  • Forming the hook.
Part 3: Stock Preparation (2:42:39 total)
3.1 Gauges, Squares, And Marking Knives (16:48)
  • Pin, knife, wheel marking gauges.
  • Thickness center-finding.
  • Marking edge, end, and cross grain.
  • Squares.
  • Checking and using a square.
  • Marking knives.
  • Marking pieces around.
3.2 Rough Stock Preparation (13:13)
  • Classifying work.
  • Sawing on a sawbench and the workbench.
  • Crosscutting, ripping, and resawing.
3.3 Rough Sawing Exercise (06:45)
  • Crosscutting, ripping, and resawing practice.
  • Using bench hooks.
3.4 Handplane Fistfights And Fundamentals (03:02)
  • Fistfights: bevel orientation, number of planes, body style.
  • Bench plane functions and shavings comparison.
3.5 Fine Stock Preparation 1 (19:59)
  • The FEWTEL sequence.
  • Workholding for face planing.
  • Planing order of operations and iron profile.
  • First face: roughing, flattening, smoothing.
  • Using winding sticks.
  • First edge: roughing, jointing.
  • Marking reference surfaces.
  • Alternate workholding methods for face planing.
3.6 Fine Stock Preparation 2 (17:27)
  • Second edge: roughing, jointing to precise width.
  • Second face: roughing, flattening to precise thickness.
  • More alternate workholding methods.
  • Using a card scraper.
3.7 Fine Stock Preparation 3 (14:41)
  • Using a shooting board.
  • First end: shooting.
  • Second end: rough trimming, shooting to precise length.
  • The well-shot end.
  • Planing end grain.
  • Correcting twisted edges.
  • Alternate workholding methods for edge planing.
  • Roughing, flattening, and smoothing with wooden bench planes.
  • Using scrub planes.
3.8 Planing Exercise (09:00)
  • More alternate workholding methods for face planing.
  • Rouging practice.
  • Planing cupped boards.
  • Face, edge, and end grain planing practice.
  • Chamfering.
3.9 Tapering (10:24)
  • Tapering legs with bench planes.
  • Alternate workholding methods for tapered pieces.
3.10 Panel Raising 1 (19:47)
  • Frame and panel construction.
  • Making a pillow-style raised panel with bench planes.
  • Alternate workholding method.
3.11 Panel Raising 2 (15:52)
  • First method: making a raised-field style panel with chisel and bench planes.
3.12 Panel Raising 3 (14:41)
  • Second method: rabbet and shoulder planes.
  • Third method: skew block planes.
Part 4: Simple Joinery (2:33:52 total)
4.1 Grain And Strength (02:21)
  • Short and long grain.
  • Edge vs. end grain gluing, cross-grain joints.
  • Wood movement.
4.2 Chisel Exercise 1 (10:48)
  • Chisel types and safety.
  • Chamfering, curves, and cross-grain.
4.3 Chisel Exercise 2 (15:08)
  • Using a mallet.
  • Chopping, paring, and controlled splitting.
  • Wedging action of the bevel.
4.4 Edge Glued Joints (19:07)
  • Edge jointing for perfectly flat joint.
  • Glue up and cleanup.
  • Destructive strength test: how much weight can it hold?
  • Ganged planing of complementary angles.
  • Grain orientation in large panels.
  • Spring joint.
4.5 Bookmatched Joints (05:31)
  • Using a luthier's style large shooting board.
  • Glue up and cleanup.
4.6 Coopered Joints (12:01)
  • Forming up a half-round panel with a bench plane.
  • Glue up and cleanup.
  • Destructive strength test: how much weight can it hold?
4.7 Tongue And Groove (07:32)
  • Metal and wooden match planes.
  • Tongue and grooves with 3 different types of match planes.
  • Edge chamfering.
4.8 Rabbets 1 (13:27)
  • First method: making edge and end rabbets with a chisel.
  • Second method: joinery backsaws.
4.9 Rabbets 2 (14:00)
  • Third method: wooden skew rabbet plane (moulding plane).
  • Fourth method: shoulder plane.
  • Fifth method: rabbet plane.
  • Sixth method: skew block plane.
  • Seventh method: moving fillister plane.
  • Inside corner rabbets.
4.10 Grooves (18:28)
  • Plow and combination planes.
  • First method: making grooves with chisel and router plane.
  • Second method: saw and chisel.
  • Third method: shoulder plane.
  • Fourth method: wooden plow plane.
  • Fifth method: combination plane.
4.11 Dados (14:49)
  • Making dados with saw, chisel, and router plane.
  • Alternate cleanup with a shoulder plane.
  • Side rabbet plane for widening dados.
4.12 Lap Joints 1 (15:20)
  • Gang-planing matching widths.
  • Making face lap joints with saw, chisel, and router plane.
  • Paring to fit.
4.13 Lap Joints 2 (19:48)
  • Making edge lap joints (notched joints).
  • Making a half-lap end.
  • Glue up and trimming flush.
  • Using a shoulder plane or chisel instead of router.
Part 5: Mortise And Tenon (1:44:00 total)
5.1 Mortise And Tenon Fistfights And Fundamentals (05:24)
  • Fistfights: chop vs. drill, fitting straight off the saw.
  • Quiet woodworking to avoid disturbing the family or neighbors.
  • Wedged tenons.
  • Fit of joint.
  • Width of mortise.
  • The horn.
5.2 Blind Mortise And Tenon 1 (11:10)
  • Mortise layout.
  • First mortise method: chopping with a chisel.
5.3 Blind Mortise And Tenon 2 (19:37)
  • Tenon layout.
  • First tenon method: sawing for fit right off the saw.
  • Cleaning up sawing defects.
  • Trimming and adjusting fit if necessary.
5.4 Blind Mortise And Tenon 3 (04:44)
  • Drawboring.
5.5 Blind Mortise And Tenon 4 (14:46)
  • Second mortise method: drilling and paring.
  • Second tenon method: sawing fat and paring.
5.6 Mortise Exercise (08:02)
  • Chopping practice.
5.7 Tenon Exercise (17:35)
  • Sawing to the line practice.
  • Paring to the line practice.
5.8 Through Mortise And Tenon (11:30)
  • Mortise layout.
  • Making the joint with saws and chisel.
  • Glue up and trimming flush.
5.9 Bridle Joint (11:12)
  • Bridle joint layout.
  • Making the joint with saws and chisel.
  • Glue up and trimming flush.
Part 6: Dovetails (1:51:09 total)
6.1 Dovetail Fistfights And Fundamentals (07:44)
  • Fistfights: pins vs. tails first; sawing vs. chopping waste; angles.
  • Joint anatomy.
  • Quiet woodworking to avoid disturbing the family or neighbors.
  • Strength test of a dry fit dovetail: how much weight can it hold?
6.2 Through Dovetails 1 (18:14)
  • First method: tails first, sawing out the waste with a coping saw.
  • The Moxon vise.
  • Tail layout.
  • Making the tail board with backsaws, coping saw, and chisels.
6.3 Through Dovetails 2 (15:52)
  • Continuing the tails-first method: pin layout from the tails.
  • Making the tail board with backsaws, coping saw, and chisel.
  • Glue up and trimming flush.
6.4 Through Dovetails 3 (13:02)
  • Second method: pins first, chopping out the waste with a bench chisel.
  • Pin layout.
  • Making the pin board with backsaws and chisels.
6.5 Through Dovetails 4 (10:10)
  • Continuing the pins-first method: tail layout from the pins.
  • Making the tail board with backsaws and chisels.
  • Glue up and trimming flush.
6.6 Dovetail Sawing Exercise (09:00)
  • Sawing practice.
6.7 Half-Blind Dovetails (18:29)
  • Making the tail board.
  • Pin layout from the tails.
  • Making the pin board with backsaws and chisels.
  • Glue up and trimming flush.
6.8 Sliding Dovetails (18:38)
  • Socket layout.
  • Making the joint with backsaw, chisel, and router plane.
  • Making a tapered sliding dovetail with the same method.
Part 7: Boring And Curves (0:40:20)
7.1 Boring Holes (12:03)
  • Using brace and bit.
  • Using eggbeater and push drills.
  • Using gimlets and awls.
7.2 Roughing Out Curves (13:35)
  • Roughing curves with chisels, straight saws, and gouges.
  • Roughing curves with bowsaws and coping saws.
7.3 Refining Curves (14:42)
  • Refining curves with wooden and metal spokeshaves.
  • Refining curves rasps, scrapers, chisels, and gouges.