Welcome to Issue #05 of Wood Shop News

brought to you by: wooden box maker.com

sharpening woodworking tools

In this issue:


chisel before and after sharpening

Recently I was working on a wide desk top. I had milled everything to suit then glued up the panels. As usual, the boards moved around a bit while clamping, so I had a little flattening to do. The first tool I reached for was a hand plane.

When I first started woodworking I would have grabbed the belt sander. Back then, if I had tried to plane the top, the blade would have skittered and bucked leaving gouges in the surface. I could easily have doubled the amount of work I had.

Being able to sharpen a blade makes the difference.

If you want to enjoy using hand tools you'll need to learn how to sharpen them. A properly tuned and sharpened tool can be a joy to use. A dull one is both frustrating and dangerous. I encourage you to learn to sharpen your tools.

Here's a link to the full article on sharpening.

Woodworking Classes

(Located S/SW of Boston) Learn new skills or hone old ones in small group sessions tailored to the individual. routers Classes are limited to 3 people and take place in my shop outside Boston. They generally meet once a week for 2-3 hours. The sessions go on as long as students are interested, a few months or a few years.

routers As students progress, class becomes "open shop" time when they work on the projects of their choice while I answer questions and give suggestions as things come up.

Individual instruction is also available.

Contact me for more information.

New & For Sale

Visit my sale page for new work and sale items.

In Progress

Recently I made a desk. It has mortise and tenon joinery, the curve was cut with the bandsaw and the top is the one I was talking about in the sharpening article above.

sharpening woodworking tools I tapered the legs on the joiner, using a simple method. I marked on each side of each leg, where I wanted the taper to begin. In this case, a couple inches beneath the apron. Then I decided to taper so as to remove an 1/8th of an inch from each side. So, I set the joiner to take off 1/8th and I marked, by putting tape on the joiner fence, where the blade began cutting.

Then, I clamped the blade guard out of the way - before trying this you have to be comfortable with the joiner and use extreme care to keep fingers out of trouble!

To cut the taper I carefully lowered the top of the test piece onto the blade, making sure to line up the mark where I wanted the taper to start with the tape that marked the beginning of the cut on the jointer.

Then I joined a test leg from that spot (using a push stick, of course). I turned the leg to the next side and repeated until all four sides were done. I then had a nice taper that started just below the apron.

After looking at the leg, I decided it wasn't quite enough of a taper. Taking off another eighth would leave the leg too spindly looking. So, I raised the jointer to take off a sixteenth and repeated the process. This looked better, so I went ahead and cut the legs in two passes, taking off a total of around 3/16ths.

I'm pleased with the way the proportions came out.

Next time I'll tell you about some home made plywood I'm making for a current project.

On a Personal Note

There are many things I love to do in my spare time. Reading (and writing) poetry is one of them. In my reading travels I've come across many wonderful poets.

I would like to state, for the record, that Mary Oliver is a miracle. Her poetry goes straight to the truth of a matter in such a way that I see something familiar in a whole new way. Furthermore, she does it with such grace and clarity it feels like a spring shower after a long dry winter. So, without further ado two particularly relevant poems:

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

from Sleeping In The Forest

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."

From Thirst

~both poems © Mary Oliver ~

Final Words and Errata

I hope you have enjoyed reading this ‘zine. Do you have ideas for future topics? Comments? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just hit reply and tell me what you think.

If you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter, please feel free to send it on. If a friend passed this to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting my website wooden-box-maker.com or ktwood.com.