Thursday, May 25, 2017

Handworks is Done, What a Wonderful LIfe/Wife

Another Handworks is history. How was it? The weather was in pretty crappy, however the enthusiasm of the attendees was not dampened by the rainy raw weather. The people endured and as a result it was yet again another great hand tool woodworking event.

Julie and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary at the inaugural Handworks 4 years ago and that speaks volumes about our relationship. Today we celebrate 44 years. We have spent our anniversary at soccer tournaments, graduations and yes woodworking events, and that is why it has worked so well. We've supported each other in every endeavor even if it meant sacrifice. Given that I've had multiple careers it has required a bit more resilience and understanding from her. But that's pretty much the way we've approached our married life, head on and together. One of us has never been dragged along. We've approached everything as a willing, participating part of the 2 person team. It might go without saying that I would marry her again today, but heck at 44 years it might be just the thing to say.

Only time will tell if there will be another Handworks 2 years from now. I'm hoping so and maybe the cold and sore muscles of the Abraham brothers will slowly quit remembering the conditions in the barn this past Friday and will once again decide to have another go at creating what is possibly the best Hand Tool Woodworking event in the world.


"I would marry her again today and wouldn't even have to think about it",
                                                                                                      Ron Brese

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Heading to Iowa

The Handworks event in Amana Iowa is upon us. All shipments have been sent and received, all that's left is for us to travel there on Thursday to make ready our bench for Friday morning.

Being no rookie to major hand tool woodworking shows, I do have a bit of a different situation for this event. In the past I was only in a position to take on commissions in order to make planes for customers. This year however I will actually have two planes available for sale at this event.

The first plane available is a Winter Smoother. As you can see in the pics below this plane features rosewood knob and tote. The brass bits on this tool have a patina'd finish and an oil finish has also been applied to the aged brass bits of this plane.

I've always loved this combination of metal and wood. I've reluctantly shipped several with this combination of materials.

The splash of sapwood on the bottom edge of the tote creates a lovely contrast. This pic depicts a very inviting view of the tote. Nothing looks quite as contrasting as cocobolo.

I had to take all self preserving precautions in order to be able to work this material without adverse effects on my body. This included wearing vinyl gloves, a respirator, a long sleeve shirt and being very anal about proper dust collection during the entire process. One lesson I learned quite a bit ago. If you have the dust on your gloves or your hands don't touch any other parts of your body until you removed the gloves or thoroughly washed your hands.

The next tool that will be available is a Macassar Ebony Jack/Panel plane. As you can see in the pics the body is made from Macassar Ebony with olive wood decorative strike button.

 This tool has a unique, multi-facetted wedge design and I have found that any adjustments that need to be made to the iron can be accomplished by either striking the iron or the flat spot on the top of the wedge. The top of the wedge sets up quite well to the user. One only needs to strike down on the top of the wedge in lieu of having to swing the hammer down the line of the iron. Tap the iron to increase the cutting depth, strike the top of the wedge to decrease the depth of cut and to set the wedge.

The mouth on this tool is set to allow jack plane type shavings thru, yet also tight enough to do panel plane type smoothing as well.

The Macassar Ebony Shooting board plane below is a new idea that I've been pursuing. I'm sure Larry Williams and Don McConnell of Old Street Tools would tell me that this is technically called a Strike Box plane. This plane is already spoken for, however if you're at Handworks stop by my bench and give it a go.

It features an infill type lever cap. With the iron pitched at 38 degrees I decided I would rather depend on a lever cap to hold the adjustment on the iron in lieu of a wedge. The added benefit of the lever cap is less interference with your hand hold and position on the plane. 

The forward area of the mouth has a gentle sigma curve ending in a stopped rabbit at the top of the plane. This ejects the shavings quite efficiently and lends some elegance of detail to this form.

This plane also has the signature knob positioned in just the right location to give you distinct control of the cut. This plane weighs in a 8 lbs. which gives it plenty of mass for shooting task.

Another plane that will be residing on my bench at Handworks will be the Winter Panel Plane that I completed earlier this year for Bo Childs. This plane features a stainless steel body, brass lever cap and knob seat and Macassar ebony wooden bits. Bo was generous to allow me to show his plane at this event.

The only regret I have is that it was not practical to bring my Nicholson bench to the Handworks event. Jameel and I debated this while he was here for a visit recently. Ultimately we decided that shipping my bench to Iowa and back would put too much hard work at risk of being damaged during the shipping process.

Hope to see you at Handworks,


"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

                                                                                          Albert Einstein

Friday, May 5, 2017

Handworks 2 weeks away, a Video Featuring the Making of Lever Cap Screws

 I've been very busy putting the finishing touches on the planes I'll be bringing to Handworks. A couple weeks ago I shot some video while making some lever cap screws and thought it might be of some interest.


"You can't do people's thinkin' and feelin' for dem Rose. Some folks you ain't neber gonna figure out - you just gots to accept them where they be. Dere ain't no way to get inside a person's head and figure out what makes them be the way they be. You just got to accept them"  ~Sarah