Already another one…

Well, that was quick.  I don’t even have the bandsaw back together yet (it’s about to the painting stage), and I found this beauty on craigslist.  A little newer, I believe this one is early 60’s.  I’m pretty excited to have found it.  Whoever owned this really took care of it.. I  can’t say it’s immaculate, but it’s pretty close.  Should handle all my turning needs for the forseeable future..

– Matt

Here we go…

Down the rabbit hole. My first piece of “old iron”.  An admittedly small piece, of course, but pretty cool nonetheless. A pretty common delta 14” bandsaw, circa 1945. In surpisingly good shape, although you couldn’t tell it from this cell phone pic.  I’ve got the doors and the table off. Its missing a few things.. Mainly the light, belt cover, and fence.  Actually, it may have never had them to begin with, you could configure these lot’s of different ways.  But those are things I’m going to want to find.  

Also think I’m going to add a 6” riser block so I’ll have 12” of resaw capacity.

Here’s a link to one that was restored really nicely:

Anyways, this is going to consume some time, but I can’t wait to get started!

– Matt

Saw Set..

About a year or so ago, I posted about a wenzloff tenon saw I had, and how it had minimal set..  Basically, it had almost zero set, and was binding in the wood something fierce.  At the time, I had concluded that it was probably my fault, and not the saws. I was probably ham-handing the thing, twisting it in the cut, blah blah.  Well, the saw just collected dust. I could cut pretty competently with my LV rip carcass saw, and actually could rip pretty well with my Bad Axe x-cut tenon saw as well. So, for me at least, the wenzloff was a pretty piece of art, but completely un-functional. The worst kind of tool. 


I needed to reset the teeth. I knew I had to do it, it just took me a year or so to grow a pair. I finally realized that if I screwed the saw up badly, it would just continue to do exactly what it had been doing, which was to go unused.

So, first I grabbed my saw set.  For some reason, my dad had an unused stanley saw set that I picked up last time I was in MD.  I gave the directions a quick read, and haphazardly set the depth and TPI setting.

According to my micrometer, we started with about .027 of set.. Although, frankly, it’s a little hard to measure really accurately. The saw plate is .025, so in any case, there is almost no set.

So, I went along and set each tooth to something *more* than what it was before. I’m not really sure what it was, and I didn’t really care. See, I had a trick up my sleeve. I read an article on how Mike Wenzloff uses a vise and paper to evenly set his saws. It’s worth reading, you can find it here.

Actually, reading that article again, it says that Mike puts about .002” of set on his saws, which lines up with my measurements pretty well. Well, I think .002 of set is WAY too little for me. 

So, wrap the blade in some paper (more than Mike suggests in that article because I want more set). Then stick that thing in the vise and crank down.

Anndddd???  I ended up with about .006 of set.  

Maybe that’s too much set, I don’t know. But the saw sure cuts a lot easier for me now. No binding at all.  Maybe I’ll reduce the set a little in the future, but at least I’m happy again.

Now it cuts as pretty as it looks.

– Matt

post-script: I looked on Lie-Nielsens website to see if I could find how much set they employ.. On their thin-plate tenon saw (.02), they claim the set should run between .004 and .006, so I’m right in line with them.

Whiskey Cabinet

I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in my shop over the past few months, but there’s nothing like a deadline to force you to get something done.  I needed a present for a friend’s upcoming nuptials (I doubt he reads this blog), and decided a little wall hanging cabinet would be pretty neat.  I’m calling it a whiskey cabinet, but I suppose you could put anything in it.  It came together pretty quickly, without too many mistakes (surprisingly).  Of course there were some, but I’m not going to point those out.

Walnut body, doors, and drawer front.  Maple back, and basswood drawer sides and bottom.  The hinges were somewhat of a disappointment; I got everything aligned just right, but there was so much slop in the hinges I had to trim the door bottom afterwards.  You get what you pay for, I guess.  Brusso hardware from here on out.


The drawer knob is probably my favorite part, although I didn’t get a very good picture of it.  I took a 3/8 lag bolt and cut it to the appropriate length.. I used a blowtorch to burn off any coating it had on it, then buffed it with some steel wool. I tapped the drawer front almost the whole way though, but left the last 1/16 untapped so that the bolt would be held very tightly.  I also cut the drawer front out around a knot in the board, and put the bold right into that knot, so the grain appears to flow right around the handle.  Pretty neat, I think.

I put a french cleat on the back, and a spacer on the bottom as well so it would be held out evenly from the wall.  This should hold the whole box out about 1/4”, which looks pretty cool.

Dovetails for the carcasse, bridle joints for the door.  I cut my bridle joints on the tablesaw. Cheating, I guess, but I only have a 50% success rate with them using a handsaw.

Some wild grain in the door.. That’s one board across both panels.  I’m not sure if that light spot on the left side of the bottom panel is natural, or more due to the direction I planed the wood.  Walnut can change color pretty dramatically based on light direction, and based on the direction of the grain.  I planed the left side of the door in the opposite direction than the right side to avoid tearout, and I think this contributed to the color difference.  I try to avoid sandpaper, but I think I probably should have just sanded this panel in order to have a little more uniform color. I dunno, it just seems a little distracting to my eye.

Rare-earth magnets hold the door shut (magnets in the carcase, little screws in the door).   You can see them in the second picture. I finished the whole thing with original waterlox.  I’m pretty pleased with how the finish came out, although I haven’t really settled on a technique. I’ve put a coat of paste wax on top of the waterlox before, but didn’t this time.  Not sure it made a difference one way of the other.

Anyways, a fun project, and it was good to be in the shop again.

– Matt

Shaving Horse Finis.

I finished it awhile back, but realized that I never posted any pictures of it.  Interestingly enough, after I had finished it Peter Galbert posted an article about this specific design and some his problems with it here.  And then, Brian Boggs responded to those critiques here! It was probably the most exciting week of shave horse discussion that will happen in my lifetime.  You think I’m joking.

Anyways, it came out splendid.  I still need to upholster the seat, but I’ll get around to that when I gets around to it.  I haven’t used it much, but hopefully I rectify that issue this spring.  

Picture time!

– Matt

Not much to see here..

Babies are a lot of work.  I get some shop time, but it’s only just enough to be paralyzing. I get out there and can’t decide what to work on, so I clean up instead and organize things. That’s not all bad though.

Last week I stopped at ReTool, a used tool shop north of Nashville.  A lot of what they have there is basic contractor stuff, but I scored some clamps and am thinking about going back there for a lathe (more on that later, hopefully).

I picked up 4 of these nice hargrave C-clamps.  These aren’t really good clamps for woodworking, but they’re good for lots of other things.  $20 per, and they seem like really really good quality, not those cheap ones you’ll score at Harbor Freight.

I also picked up 6 of the 24” Jorgenson “Cabinet Master” parallel clamps.  These are awesome.  I probably err’d in the size, tho.. I already had 4 in that size, so I should have maybe bought some of the the bigger ones.  At $22 a pop though, it was a screaming deal.  They’ll last the rest of my life at a minimum.

Also, the jorgenson clamps are hands-down better than the bessey parallel clamps I also own.  Bigger face, smoother sliding action, better foot thingy at the end..  Just seems like a higher quality clamp.

On the woodworking front, I just finished milling some walnut for a “whiskey cabinet” that I’m going to attempt to finish for a friend who’s getting married in a few weeks.  Nothing like a deadline to force yourself to get something done.

– Matt

English Square redux

The first english square I attempted didn’t turn out too well.  The problem was that I cut all the half laps joints before I glued the two legs together, and I didn’t glue it *exactly* in the same position as it was when I marked everything out. So the stretcher was in a little bit of tension when fitting it. This caused the legs to bow, which caused me to overreact with the no8, and it quickly became a wall decoration.

I decided to make a batch of them.. I figured they would make good christmas presents, but obviously didn’t finish them in time. Maybe they will make good 4th of July presents.

Here’s the first one off the production line. I’m not going to go into construction details, I believe I’m exactly the 32,533 person to build one of these in the past year.

I think it came out ok.  All this walnut came from the same tree, but I could have matched it a little better.

– Matt

A Bad Axe Restoration

After spending a couple an hour or so cutting paper thin slices of wood with my newly restored miter saw, I sent Mark @ bad axe toolworks an email thanking him for doing such a nice job. Mark promptly replied (like always), informing me that it wasn’t actually him who had restored and sharpened my saw!!  WHAT?!  But it still cut so well!  How could anyone else have done such a good job?

Well, that mysterious sharpening-savant is Phil Jones, who joined Mark a couple months back at Bad Axe. Phil is an Army guy (like Mark), and has a background in Aviation mechanics. Which I assume means that he’s spent a long time working on things a lot more complicated than saws.

Mark sent me an email detailing all that they did for my saw; I hope he doesn’t mind, but I’m just going to paste the email here, he explains things a lot better then I.


Your saw required retoothing. There are two ways of doing this; one is via Foley retoother, an automated punch and die process that completely establishes a brand new toothline. It also eats up between 1/8” and ¼” of real estate, so this is a retoothing by last resort. The other (preferred) method is to retooth with different kind of machine and by hand. We do this with an Acme Handsaw filer, which mechanically gives us a consistent rake, bevel and gullet; however, the ability to crowd a larger tooth to bring it in symmetry with a smaller tooth, and the amount of depth pressure as the file slides through the gullet is controlled entirely by hand.

Setting follows the retoothing procedure, and we do this via hand or foot-operated trip-hammer set (the most accurate form of setting).

Then we lightly joint the new toothline.

And that’s followed by a finesse sharpening entirely by hand. This is what you’re seeing in the shot of Phil using the Acme Handsaw Vise with it’s 28” span. Seriously cool piece of gear.

After exhaustive test-cutting to ensure that there is just the right about of set, that the saw cuts with no drift, and that every trooper on the firing line is pulling the trigger (all the teeth are the same height), the saw is ready to box up and ship.

So—this is not your average mechanical retooth and run through a Foley automatic saw sharpening machine, you find done on so many vintage saws (you can always tell when this has been done by the bow along the entire toothline that wasn’t hammer-smithed back into true). Ours is an involved process that usually takes about two hours to do right, sometimes three.

At any rate, this is the level of work Phil did to your miter saw, and I felt that a bit of the story and the man behind it was due. Phil has started up his own company under Bad Axe training and sponsorship, and is standing by for orders. Just go to the ‘Sawvival’ guy.

– Mark


Here’s a picture of Phil Jones doing work.

And here are a couple more pictures of my saw:

And a nice, clean cross cut:

And let me just say, the level of customer service you get with Bad Axe is out of this world.  I’ve only got one Mark’s “new” saws (I ordered one of his 16” tenon saws way back when that was all he offered), but it is one of my favorite tools in the shop. I’ve ordered tools from other custom makers, and Mark provides communication, feedback, and advice that is far beyond what you get anywhere else.

Hopefully I’ll be able to order some more saws from him in the near future… I probably drool over his saws more than most people (a stainless steel backed “doc holiday” w/cherry tote is steadily working it’s way to the top of my “buy” list).

Anyways, thanks again Mark!  And a big thanks to Phil Jones for doing outstanding work on my miter saw.

– Matt

Miter Box Restoration

Almost 2 (2.5?) years ago, my Uncle Bob gave me his dad’s miter box and miter saw…  It took me awhile, but I finally felt up to the task of breaking it down in approximately 5000 separate pieces, soaking them all in Evapo-Rust, and then letting them sit in a box for 2 months. THEN, I spent an evening using a wire wheel on everything, and piecing it back together.  I think it came out pretty well, and I didn’t even lose any of the hardware. Well, I thought I had, but then I went and fished around in the bucket of Evapo-Rust, and found the final bolt. Two months sitting in the solution didn’t seem to harm it at all.

Anyways, it came out pretty well!

I made a quick base for it from some authentic Lucinda, PA white pine (thanks Uncle Mike). The Evapo-Rust actually leaves a dark gooey coating on everything, but some scotch-brite pads or a wire wheel gets it off pretty well. I like things shiny.

The best thing about getting tools from family, is well, they’re from family. My uncle Bob’s dad was a carpenter, so he actually used these tools… I love that I’m able to put them back into service.

I sent the saw to sharpening savant Mark Harrell over at Bad Axe Toolworks, and it came back “sticky sharp”. Maybe I’ll learn to sharpen saws someday, but in the meantime they’ll go to Mark. Here’s a quick video of the sweet cutting action.

It cuts like a dream, and I doubt I’ll be using that loud, noisy, dusty compound sliding chop saw anymore..  Thanks for the tools Uncle Bob!

– Matt