Thursday, May 30, 2013

HandWorks Aftermath and Patina

One thing I've known for quite some time now. When the Brothers Abraham, Jameel and Father John, decide to do something, anything, they do it very well. The HandWorks Event was a perfect example of this fact, it may have been the perfect storm of hand tool woodworking. Given the weather on Saturday in Amana, Iowa the word storm certainly applies, however people were not deterred they continued to show up in large numbers. I think they all knew HandWorks was going to be a historic event and how many times in one's lifetime do you have a chance to be part of history?

Photo From WIA in Valley Forge

Jameel and Father John promoted this event as the effort of many independent toolmakers. If making ready our display of wares, traveling to the site and setting up our respective booths, and demonstrating our tools and talking to the attendees, was the effort required of us then we did our part. 

However all of us know who did the planning, organizing, created the web page, sought out the venue (which was perfect), laid out the booth spaces, unloaded the trucks, rented the screen and projector, set up the screen and projector, returned the screen and projector, cleaned up, reloaded the trucks and took the trash out, the list goes on and on. Many of these activities performed during a pouring rain. All of this was done by....who other than "The Brothers Abraham."

When considering all the above, the rest of us did very little but reap the benefits of the work of these two quite capable young men. We've thanked them already but it seemed a pitiful sentiment considering the effort they put into this I will shout from the roof top.......


We displayed several tools at HandWorks that contained parts that had patina or the look of age. To me this is just an opportunity to create a different look or texture on some tools. The look is interesting and it makes the brass pieces quite maintenance free.

We received several inquiries as to how we accomplish the application of this finish. As with many finishing techniques it requires several steps performed in the proper sequence. It is best to start when you've refined the brass to a finished state. I use a cold gun bluing solution applied while the brass is freshly brite and it needs to be applied until the surface is quite dark. Darker than the final finish desired. Wipe the excess solution off and allow it to dry quite thoroughly. I typically remove the excess coloring with either #0000 steel wool or gray Scotchbrite abrasive until I have the look I desire. At this point I apply a liberal coating of Tru-Oil finish to the parts and remove the excess with a cloth. I put the pieces in my finishing kiln overnight. The dry and warm environment cures the oil finish. I then just lightly buff the cured finish with steel wool.

One of many highlights of HandWorks was the favorable response to the new Shooting Board Plane that I developed to work with the new "No Rock" Chute board from Vogt ToolWorks. Most were fascinated with the ease of use.

The past week was a testament to the continuing interest in hand tool woodworking and I was very pleased to see that many of the attendees were in the young adult age group. Regardless of what you hear, hand tool woodworking is alive and well and the increased interest by young adults proves that there is a bright future for the craft.

If you weren't able to make it to HandWorks.....We Hope to See You Next Time!

 If you attended HandWorks....Thank You!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

HandWorks This Weekend

Independent Tool Makers all over our country have been working toward making ready for the HandWorks Event this weekend. I made my last two shipments to Iowa on Monday. Julie and I will be making our way to Amana on Wednesday. We're looking forward to meeting new people and seeing old friends as well. Thanks to the generosity of my customers I will have more planes on my bench at this show than any show we have participated in to date. So in this post I thought I would give a bit of a preview.

First off is the Winter Smoother  completed just this past Saturday. This plane's body is made from 0-1 tool steel and has Koa tote and Knob. It's a smallish smoother with a sole 8.125" long and uses a 1.875 wide iron pitch at 50 degrees.

This tool has a patina finish on the brass parts which gives it a very different look. It also gives the brass a no maintenance finish.

This size plane is becoming more and more popular. This tool is nimble enough for edge work yet substantial enough for working the faces of panels.

Another similar tool from the Stainless Steel line of tools is the 812-50S Smoothing plane. This plane also has Koa tote and knob and in this case the figure is curly. As of late we have upgraded the stainless used on these plane bodies to 440C high carbon stainless.

Nothing looks quite like Koa. Whether it has curly figure or not it always has interesting color variations that range from dark to light in contrast. It is lighter in weight than a lot of the dense infill woods that plane makers use, however it takes an excellent finish and feels great in the hand.

This one of my favorite planes and the next one will have Olive wood which is a material that I always look forward to working.


Over the last couple of months I've been working with Tico Vogt of Vogt ToolWorks developing a plane made for use with the new "No Rock" Shooting Board. This plane will of course work in any style shooting board but the ability to fasten to the "No Rock" board makes it somewhat unique and versatile. Like I said this is something completely different from an overall design aspect. I took a "Woodworking Goes Industrial" approach to this tool. The model number for this tool is 125-38SBP but we've taken to calling this plane the "Brute". Weighing in at around 10 lbs. we expect people will be able to shoot 5/4 stock with ease.

And here's a picture of the "No Rock" Shooting Board

The "Brute" plane will be on Tico's Bench at HandWorks this weekend and the plane below will be on my bench residing on a Vogt Toolworks 'Super Chute"

A "Colluser". (definition: Collector and User) See Below.

There will one more older relic at HandWorks this Weekend and you may have run into this relic at other woodworking events. 

Fred is a great supporter and patron of small independent toolmakers and an avid Hand Tool Woodworker. In fact there is not enough room here to list all the great things Fred does that helps the Hand Tool Woodworking World go round. Beside being a great customer Fred also helps fund product development for many small toolmaking shops. In essence he has a great influence on what tools are made available by the small toolmakers. There will be tools at HandWorks this weekend that would not be there without his support and assistance. Thanks Fred!

Hope to see you in Iowa this weekend,