Mucking about

So no major new projects taken on yet, I’ve been tidying away some new toys and getting the shed back to a working state instead. For example…

I now have two pairs of hollows and rounds (4’s and 6’s) as well as a 7 hollow, the reeding plane and a spare 6 hollow. According to Mouldings in Practice that’s all I need to start off with for the scale of stuff I build. A pair of 2s and 8s would be the next on the list if this works out. I don’t like this storage solution though; you don’t really want to have a moulding plane tip over and fall on your head from two feet up. I’ll build a rack for them seperately later .

I also wanted to increase the final grit of my sharpening setup (before the strop), and while waterstones seemed the obvious choice, they’re messy as all get-out. Also, the way I work I don’t have a huge amount of time in the shed so waterstones that you don’t have to soak for 15 minutes before sharpening would be mandatory (whether that be solved by storing them in water or having the shapton type that you can just squirt water onto and get going), and those are not that cheap. But if you want 20,000 grit, they’re you’re only real choice.

Thing is, okay, I do have a japanese chisel or two but most of my work isn’t done with A2 or PM-V11 steel or anything that esoteric, so waterstones aren’t really mandatory; and diamond plates will go up to 8000 grit if you buy from DMT. Okay, the 8000 grit one isn’t cheap, it’s nearly ninety quid, but the things last for a decade and they’re very low fuss, so I cried once and bought one.

Swapped out the 1200 grit Ultex and in went the 8000 grit DMT. The Ultex went into just-in-case storage. I’ve only sharpened the new japanese chisel on the DMT so far (it’s been a quiet week) but for such a fine grit, it visibly cuts quite surprisingly well.

Speaking of sharpening, I needed something for the inside of the gouges, so some black arkansas slipstones got bought along with the DMT. Seem nice enough, and not too expensive. Not used yet though….

And I got some 1-2-3 blocks. I’ve been meaning to get some for a year or so now. For woodworking they’re not as useful as they would be to a machinist, but not having to measure off 1, 2 or 3 inches, being able to set up the bandsaw or fences with right angles, clamping odd things, they’ll be bloody handy for that I suspect. Need to put a mount on the wall for them (I suspect a pair of dowels in the nonthreaded holes will suffice). Pain in the fundament cleaning all the storage grease off them though, but when you do, they’re nice and shiny…

This radius cutter isn’t new, I’ve had it for 18 months or so but I haven’t used it (look, life gets complicated sometimes, okay? 😀 ). I finally got to watch the line-and-berry video this week and dug this out, I have an idea for a project I want to use it on. More to come but I need to make a tool or two first…

One tool down, another to go yet. I also need to find a source for 1/32nd holly veneer, which in Ireland seems more difficult than expected.

Wanted to finish this up as it was sitting around (it’s planned to be a salt box). It’s a bit… drab as is though. If only I had something to jazz it up a bit…


Well, that was… intense. Left it overnight, sanded lightly to knock back grain and re-stained it today and gave it a coat of spray laquer.

It’s not terrible, but it’s a bit more blotchy than I was hoping for. Hmmm….

Also, I had another bandsaw box waiting to get a hinge and get finished so I wrapped that up as well but with just a coat of BLO…

I have no idea what it’s for by the way, I just wanted to use up a scrap and play with making a brass hinge (learned I can’t really do it in my shed unfortunately, I’d need a proper anvil I think. Oh well).

I’m almost done with the last of the tidying up at this point. Just need to sort out this guy and that’s the last big task I think. There are other things, magnetic rails and move some tools about and other small stuff, but this one’s the awkward one I think…

Cleaning down

So it’s the usual post-project loss of traction time; I do still have a few half-finished projects to be getting on with, but I thought I’d take a little time first to clean down after the chest, given that it’s left things a tad messy (especially given the pace of work on stuff leading up to xmas). The shed’s a mess, to be honest:


Buying a small bunch of things over the weekend didn’t help, but I was out of Osmo 1101 after the baby blanket chest and having corner mending braces is always useful for shop jigs and the like.

It’ll take a while to get this done; partly the problem is down to putting a litre of stuff in a pint pot sized shed. There just isn’t room for everything *and* all the wood 😀 I also want to replace that blue drum on the dust collector to get some space back, and some more tools need to go up on the walls and all my paintbrushes need to be cleaned (and some may need to be thrown away as too far gone). But at least I made a small start today.



Still hobbling round the place today with the sartorious, so working from home (the joys of IT – you can work anywhere, meaning you can work when sick). Over lunch, I tottered to the shed and flattened the board I was going to pull the rails from, and shot a reference edge with the #08.

The stain’s from accidental contact with the ebonising potion from the table build, but it’s surface only so it’ll plane out. Out with the panel gauge and mark off 2-and-a-quarter inch laths (we want two-inch-ish wide rails when it’s all done and squared so I’m leaving room for cack-handedness).

Back to work at this point until around about fourish, at which point I get stuck waiting on system tests, or in XKCD terms,

So to the bandsaw (rather than the ryoba because time). Ripped all four parts, then out with a medium-set #05 and a fine-set #08 and a straight edge and a square and a marking gauge and we get reference faces and edges on all four of these and mark off the reference faces for thickness.

This doesn’t take long and I leave the four parts marked up for resawing on the bandsaw and head inside for dinner. The light was fading and it was gray overcast when I went into the shed, then I open the door and…

Sneachta! And someone’s not seen this before…

Later, after dinner, back out to the shed and onto the bandsaw, resaw the pieces down to thickness (we want about three-quarters of an inch so the gauge was set to seven eighths (the pieces are about nine eighths thick)) and then it was back to the #05 and #08 to get the bandsaw marks off and the faces clean, and then taking them to S4S which didn’t take very long.

Ready for joinery. That was all I wanted done in the shed today (pick small goals, you’ll feel better), so I opened the door to go back inside and again, more sneachta!

Doubt it’ll last though. Oh well. We have driving wind and freezing rain on the way to replace it apparently…

Mucking out and mucking about

Couple of days out of the shed, mostly spent lying down and paying attention to all the little muscle cells as they turned to me and said “what the feck was all that then?”. Today though was bin day so back out to the shed and spent a half-hour cleaning up all the shavings and using the shop vac to tackle the sawdust.


After:And then, having made a clean spot, went and tidied the small section behind the tumbledrier there where I usually wind up standing wishing I’d cleaned that part of the shed.

And then, having cleaned everything up, time to play…

First off, I did want to see what the stains look like and to try to replicate this:

Granted, I don’t have resawn squares of flamed sycamore, I’m mucking about with bits of poplar, but still…

That was a bit of fun. I’ll take a peek tomorrow to see how it reacts to drying, and spray some poly on it to get a look at it under finish (it’s not actually for a project, I’m just experimenting).

Then on to the next thing; I got myself a solstice present of Peter Follansbee’s video on 17th century New England carving (I’m mad, me) and I wanted to try one of the basic v-tool exercise patterns:

Granted, I don’t have riven green oak or even quarter-sawn oak, I’m mucking about on an offcut from the table build – inch-thick kiln-dried flat-sawn oak. Grand for furniture, not so much for carving. Plus I need to sharpen my v-tool a bit more and I need some new slipstones because apparently you can shave the diamonds off diamond slipstones if you’re not careful when honing a gouge. Doh. And I don’t have all of Follansbee’s kit (which is worse than it sounds since he only uses six gouges and a v-tool…). But I have enough for one or two of the exercises (including this one) so on we go…

Natty little camping light spotted in a Big Clive video – handy since it has a magnet in one end and for throwing light across a surface with knifed marks it’s pretty useful.

The divider work is straightforward enough…

…but there’s a reason Follansbee makes it look easy and it’s twenty-five years of practise…

Still have all my fingers and no new leaks, so I’m calling that a win.

And a bit of BLO to show it better.

Well. First try. It’ll get better. Or it gets the shovel again.

And in the meantime I figured out what I wanted to do with those scraps I couldn’t throw away…


I actually managed to tick off almost every line on the to-do list for the week by Sunday night for a change. Before doing any “real” work though, I had to get the new interlopers off the bench. It’s been a while since I did framing-level work with 2x4s, but it’s like riding a bicycle…

…downhill on a wet slope towards a brick wall while blindfolded.

But since I didn’t care what the end product looked like, it was fast enough work…

Rough as 10-grit sandpaper, but it got them off the bench and me back to it. I might make something less… industrial at some point, but for now…

That’s the table legs profiled and rounded on the back (the front has to wait until the frames are glued up). Next to drill the holes for the tabletop attachment screws and that needed my big cordless drill…

I quite like that drill, it’s in magnificent condition for something that’s getting on for 70.

It is, by the way, a nice luxury to have a brace that’s dedicated to countersinking holes. You wouldn’t think it, but you tend to use it a lot…

And glueup. Hide glue again, hence the hot water bucket (hide glue and Irish winters don’t mix well). And that’s where I left it on Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning, I took off the clamps and things looked okay, so I got the tabletop up onto the bench and marked off the final sizes. Not much trimming needed in width, really just straightening up the edge there, but a good three inches came off the length because otherwise the table would be tippy.

I did try using the bandsaw to do the rough-cut there but it *really* didn’t like my new experimental bandsaw guides…

Teflon rod instead of the steel rod that had been there. Oh well. I might just have been overloading it with torque in the piece because it was so large it was almost unmanageable, so I’ll test it on some smaller pieces later and either leave or replace the teflon guides with the originals.

With it trimmed to size (at least roughly, the end grain is going to need a final session on the shooting board), it was on to smoothing the tabletop. Oddly the #4½ wasn’t getting it done even after touching up the blade on the diamond stones; I had it set to a really high cutting angle last time I was working with it, on some sapele; I guess it’s just not biting on the oak as a result, though I’m not sure why not. Oh well, out with the #4 instead and that got it done quite nicely. It’s not fully done; I want to use the #5 to smooth the underneath a bit, and attach the top and then I’ll come back and finish up the smoothing work on the top.

Then on to the next project and picking out the wood from the board to match the plans. This will be a blanket chest – if you know what that is, the scale might seem strange, but there’s a reason for it (just run with it being a very small chest for now). I had a 9×30″ oak board that I could get all the rails and stiles from, even if it has a nasty bow a few inches from one end; but I want a final thickness of three-quarters of an inch and it’s just over an inch now so I can get that bow out. The posts I already had gotten from some 8/4 oak at the end of last week.

The bandsaw might be fussy but it does let you get rips done fast… even if you then have to spend a while with the #5 to get the edges back to being clean again.

Just trying to get a feel for the overall size there (it will be smaller than this – the joints aren’t cut and the oak’s not thicknessed yet). There will also have to be panels, this is just the frame, but one thing at a time. And I have an idea for the floorboards as well.

Finally going to get to use the pigsticker on this one 🙂

All the grooves cut in the posts. I’m wondering whether to thickness the rails and stiles before or after grooving. I’m leaning towards after. I didn’t dive into the morticing either, it’s too late in the day at this point for that, I’d wind up morticing the wrong groove somehow.

So, last job of the day, glueing up a blank for another bandsaw box.

An offcut of walnut from a long rip that went badly (you can just see where the saw wandered there). It’s a bit small for anything else really, but for a bandsaw box it’s grand. Also, walnut. It’s basically cheating using this stuff (and at nearly €90 per cubic foot, it’s definitely pay-to-win cheating).

And I’ll leave things there for the evening. The last piece of hardware I need for the table should arrive on Monday, and I might be into the finishing before the end of the week if I’m lucky, as well as making progress on the chest and the bandsaw box.

Another interloper

No work in the shed last night, on account of aches, pains, freezing despite sitting beside the fire, and the usual pre-cold fun stuff. I crashed, went to bed, worked from home today (yes, you can type while under a duvet), and by afternoon was feeling somewhat more human.

So this evening when junior and mommy got back home, junior and I opened the large boxes from FFX and Rutlands that arrived over the last day or two and dragged the latest interloper to the shed…

It’s… slightly larger than anticipated. But not by too much. What it was was loud. The specs said under 85dbA, the meter says 96dbA. And when you start sanding, it peaks somewhere around 106dbA – 3dBA louder than the dang bandsaw. Hmmm. Maybe when it’s on the base and everything’s nailed down… yeah, who am I kidding. Not sure what to do about this. At least it doesn’t have a lot to do in the shed, it’s mainly for bandsaw boxes and the like.

Well, at least I’m all stocked up on glue for a while. I’m looking forward to trying the plastic razor blades as well to see how they cope with glue cleanup. The angle box may be useful for the bandsaw and the sanding table, all the dremel sanding paper should be useful for small parts, and the black-and-white tube there on the right up against the triton are some teflon rods that I’m going to use to replace the steel rods that are the bandsaw guides on the bandsaw. This way I figure I can tighten the guides up against the blade itself, turn it on for a minute or so and it’ll wear away the teflon to get the perfect spacing without damaging the blade. We’ll see. There are some smaller ball bearings in the post as well to try to replace the thrust bearings with so the larger blades don’t contact them when running without load, which is how every guide out there says to set them up (the bandsaw guide holder I have just won’t let me adjust that, because Cheap Tool 😀 ).

Also got a few grades of sandpaper for the sander. Now I have to figure out where to put all this stuff. I had a plan to put together a very, very rough platform from some 2x4s that were left over from making the bench…

The key here is to do this fast. Other projects are a-waiting, but until this is done I literally can’t get my bench back, there’s nowhere to put the Triton. So it’s all butt joints and glue and screws and forget face planing or anything we don’t have to do…

That’s the twp sides done. Next up, five crossbars (two up top, two undeneath which get castors later, and one at the back for cross-bracing), all of which will be lap-jointed to the sides along with glue and screws. And if I can find metal bracing brackets tomorrow I’ll use those too. This thing is going to be ugly and I don’t care, I’ll do a nicer one later on. Like, after this one breaks.

BTW, on the right, a Bosch power drill. On the left (well, in the middle really), a brace with a hex key screwdriver bit that doesn’t really fit the jaws. Three guesses which one crapped out on me after the second screw?

Hint: it wasn’t the seventy-year-old tool that has so much torque it could twist the screw into a pretzel if you wanted to.

Stupid batteries. If I wanted to replace them, I’d just buy a new drill – it’s almost cheaper that way (do you want one battery for 50 euro or two batteries and a new drill for 80?). Gah.


So it’s pretty obvious that all my woodworking stuff is done with hand tools, right?

It’s not because of an ideology, it’s because 8’x6′ sheds don’t give you a lot of room for power tools or machinery. I do find the power tools really obnoxiously loud, but that’s a secondary point and it’s mainly because the cheap modern power tools tend to use lightweight construction and universal motors in order to hit a price point and so make a lot of high-pitched noise — older stuff with induction motors and a lot of cast iron are a lot less screechy (you definitely do need hearing protection anyway, but for the neighbours it’s a significant qualitative difference).

And for some things – joinery, shaping, finishing and so on – it’s more of a challenge to use hand tools and so more satisfying to do. But there are some tasks that just don’t have that challenge. I should say for the non-woodworkers here that the whole “what really counts as hand tool woodworking?” question is a long-running one. My answer is that if it’s a task that in the 18th century was handed off to apprentices to go do unsupervised, well, handing it off to a machine isn’t really showing a lack of ability, just a lack of time.

All of which prevarication is a run-up to saying I’ve bought a new power tool for the first time in a long while.

Well, what else is a husband supposed to do on a day off while the wife is off visiting her sister? Exactly, bandsaws.

This is one of those rebadged clones of the Record Power BS9, there are a few dozen manufacturers selling them – Craftsman have the BAS230, Ryobi have the BS903, Scheppach the HBS20, Einhell the TC-SB200, Charnwood the W711, Titan does the TTB705BDS and Aldi sell a WorkZone variant as well. The Aldi one was the one that caught my eye initially as it seemed it would fit in the shed based on Peter Millard’s video about using it in the shop; and he also pointed out that for the money and the size (and within its design parameter), it was a nice little design that was worth having around:

So I was waiting for the Aldi version to show up again, but that didn’t look like it was happening this year so I trotted off to Screwfix to order the Titan (ordering or buying off the shelf in any Dublin shop would have doubled the pricetag).

The nice delivery man showed up this morning with the box so off I trotted to the shed with and unpacked it.

Then, a quick check of the alignment of the blade — see the quick setup guide by Alex Snodgrass here:

I was pleasantly surprised by the guides in the Titan; rather than the thrust bearing’s face being the point of contact with the blade, it’s the bearing’s edge that makes contact. That’s a better solution but slightly more expensive to make. One of the myriad small differences between the variants of this design I suppose, along with nice touches like the little window to check blade tracking without opening the case:

There are less fun bits – the screw latches of the case aren’t captive nuts opened by a single half-twist, but full-on ten-turns-to-latch bolts. And the bottom door isn’t fully closed at the top when the bolt is fully seated. But the blade seems to run quite true and the supplied blade is quite clean-cutting. I do have three others coming from Tuffsaws – a fine quarter-inch blade for curves, a three-eights inch blade for general work and a half-inch blade for heavier work, though “heavier work” here is quite relative – this is never going to resaw anything wider than 70mm.

I didn’t abandon the hand tools when building the base at least 😀 The base gets holdfast-ed down to the bench for work.

Of course, it can’t live on the bench, the only place for it is down on the floor (with the blade guide dropped right down to protect the blade of course). Just … right… down… there.

Ah. Right. I have been putting off the tidy up and clamp storage job for a while, haven’t I? Oh well.

One afternoon later…

Clear floor space and as to the clamps…

Much tidier. So from now on, the bandsaw lives here:

So this should help with some rough work, and I wouldn’t mind trying to make a bandsaw box or two. I have a bunch of tiny scraps of walnut left over from the cot that I have been trying to find a use for.

The glue should be dry by tomorrow, and then I can give it a go…

Scraping by…

Part of the tidy-up in the shed meant getting the scrapers off the little holder they were in and up on the wall…

And then the second thing was going through every single plane and chisel on the wall, going over all the unpainted parts with 600 grit wet&dry paper and WD40 to take off the surface rust, then rubbing briwax into the steel as a barrier against rust (renaissance wax would be better and some’s on the way). I’ll have to do this every weekend for a while to get the barrier layer set up properly.

I hate condensation. Gah.

There may be a dehumidifier in the shed’s future.

French cleats and bench grinders

So I’ve said once or twelve times that I needed to do something about this stuff in the shed:

The little air compressor proved useless for shellac and stuff so it’s moved indoors to the lab for future mucking about with airfix models with junior and the like. The dremel, well, that’s handy for stuff so it still lives there, but the grinder was just a pain in the fundament. It’s on an MDF base with a small cleat on the bottom for the Black&Decker Workmate to grab onto (or the vice on the bench these days). So I finally got round to fixing that up and getting it out from underfoot.

Smaller base, cleat at the front end to act like a bench hook and a holdfast at the back keeps it nice and stable (the base tends to cup a bit, I don’t think it’ll last forever). Pulled the stone on one side (the finer grit stone because if I need that grit, I just use sandpaper for the scary sharp method or I use the diamond stones – I’ve never used that fine grinder stone since I got it) and put a wire wheel on there to help clean up rust off some older tools. The wire wheel wouldn’t fit in the guard, so I lost it.

If that cleat looks familiar, it’s because you’ve watched woodworking videos on youtube in the last decade. It’s a french cleat with a matching cleat on the wall.

So now it’s out from underfoot and positioned perfectly to remove an eyeball as you enter the shed. Who really needs to look to the left though?

Cleared the bench…

Finally got the last of the tools off the bench and onto the wall by building a small holder for the drills from a hardwood offcut and some recycled plywood. And managed to get a rebate and some stopped dados in as practice 😀

The shed is now finally looking like a proper workshop. I mean, it’s not done yet – the western saws need to go up on the wall too (another magnetic tool rack for them I think, and mount them below the japanese saws – lidl didn’t have any left so ebay it’ll be), and I do need to do something with the grinder and the airbrush, which will probably mean french cleats of some kind and probably redoing the mounting board for the grinder. But for now, it’s not too bad.

Yeah, okay, there’s a huge mess to the right hand side. That’s a bunch of boards rough-cut down to components for some small tables I’m going to build, and they’ve accumulated crap on top of them as any flat space does. I’ll have to tidy up the shed during the week.

But at least now I can work on something that’ll actually leave the shed instead of living there until I recycle it 😀

Oh, and a new moisture meter and thermometer as well. No huge reason for one, I just came across it while buying something else on aliexpress and it cost just under two euro shipped so what the hell.

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