The first half of 2015 really didn’t turn out to be much of a great woodworking period for me for various reasons. It hasn’t been until the last couple of months that I’ve been able to get any significant shop time, but now that I have been able to get more shop time, I wanted to get back to the site.
That doesn’t mean I’ve been totally idle though. This past summer, I was able to get what I consider two pretty cool things done that have been on my list for a while.
July – Lie-Nielsen Open House
I was able to take a comp day on the Friday of Lie-Nielsen’s open house this year. I’ve wanted to head up to Maine the last couple of years to see where some of the nicest hand tools are made. (I had to work on Saturday, which made it a somewhat anti-climatic Saturday, but I digress.)
I took what normally would have been a 3 1/2 hour drive, but with a Dunkin’ Donuts large iced coffee with my breakfast on the road, it made for closer to a 4 hour drive with “pit stops”. I arrived, and it was great. We got a tour of the facility from one of the employees – a very nice guy who mentioned he was originally from Plymouth, MA, (a stone’s throw from me) and we got to some small talk of things in this area. They had many folks demonstrating both outdoors under their tent and in their upstairs education workshop. I placed a low angle jack plane on order, and got to meet the man himself, Thomas Lie-Nielsen, who proceeded to apologize a couple of times for not having them in stock that day, but he was sure I’d love it when it came in. It came in the next week, along with an extra toothed blade, and yes, I do love it. It’s an excellent tool that I will continue to find many uses for. Thus far my main use has been as a shooting plane and a small jointing plane for smaller pieces.
Matt Kenney’s (of Fine Woodworking) boxes.
Mary May demonstrates her carving.
Deneb Puchalski and Roy Underhill with a blacksmith.
Christian Becksvoort demonstrates dovetails.
Another angle of Christian Becksvoort doing dovetails.
After speaking to Christian, he offered to sign his book that I bought while there.
Two masters. Roy Underhill filming a short segment with Christian Becksvoort.
My low angle jack plane and extra toothed blade arrived the next week!
August – I Finally Got a Bandsaw!
I’ve had a good bandsaw on my list for a few years now. Every time I got close to being able to pull the trigger, life would throw a bit of a curveball and we’d have to reallocate the funds.
The stars aligned quite nicely for this. I was able to sell a small amount of some stock that had vested at the time Woodcraft was having a nice sale, which also coincided with a Massachusetts sales tax holiday! It was an estimated savings of about $160-$170 between the sale and no sales tax.
So a very nice Laguna 14 Twelve bandsaw now sits in my shop! With the low ceilings in the basement, I had to double check all the measurements before buying to make sure I could fit it in there.
So we’re caught up… mostly. The project on my bench that I’ve resumed is a coffee table. The leg assemblies are mostly together with the exception of some trim pieces. Once that’s done, on to the top, and then finish!
Unfortunately, various events of late have kept me from getting into the shop as much as I would like. From end of summer and back to school, to giving my dad some extra help as my mother has experienced increasing health issues the last few weeks, I haven’t spent too much time in the shop from mid-August onward.
I did however, get a few hours on a Friday a couple of weeks ago to attend the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event in Manchester, CT. I have to say it was nice getting back into a woodworking setting and mindset. This particular event in Manchester, CT was hosted at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I’ve been to a few other Lie-Nielsen events, but this one by a good margin was the largest. Lie-Nielsen will often have another vendor or two with them, but there were several at this event: Tico Vogt (premium shooting board maker), Fine Woodworking Magazine, Catherine Kennedy (Tool Engraving), and others who I forget their name, but dealt with molding and wooden hand planes. If you have never been to one of these events, you owe it to yourself to try and get to one. You can test drive any tool they have there, and you get a great feel for what a quality, sharp tool should feel like. Ask a question, and you’ll get a detailed answer and/or a great demonstration.
So here are a few pics:
Thanks to Google+ “auto-awesome”, a panoramic of Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. Lie-Nielsen area is on the left, and other vendor booths along back wall.
Some furniture on display at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking.
Deneb Puchalski of Lie-Nielsen answering questions on hand planes.
Mike Pekovich of Fine Woodworking magazine doing a demonstration on card scrapers. It was nice to chat with Mike for a bit after his demonstration.
And of course, I couldn’t NOT post a pic of my new #4 that I ordered at the event and arrived the other day!
I finally got some supplies to start flattening and sharpening the Narex Chisels I got from Lee Valley a while back. So here is part 2 of the test drive where I compare a tuned up chisel to one of the ones untouched out of the box. I’ll also over go over some of my sharpening setup. Thanks to Kari Hultman and Mike Morton for the info they provided me recently regarding my waterstone!
FYI – Lie-Nielsen’s YouTube that I mention in the video is back online here under their new account. Their sharpening guide can be found here.
I wanted to post this quick note because I had really wanted to post the second part of the Narex chisel test by now. I received my waterstone, and when I double checked them for flat, I noticed that there was a slight hump in the middle. I have on my list a DMT diamond stone to flatten the waterstone, so once I allocate the funds for that, I’ll get it and be back in business!
I recently received the seven piece set of Narex chisels on sale currently at Lee Valley. Over on thewoodwhisperer.com site, Marc recently did a video of his sharpening system. I commented on the post saying it was timely since I was expecting my shipment of these chisels. He replied back that lots of folks were inquiring about these chisels, and was interested in my thoughts on them. Given that, I thought this would be a good opportunity to do an “unboxing & test drive” video. Enjoy!
I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and that the New Year is treating you well. I haven’t posted much since the Holiday season kept me pretty busy, but I actually did have some things I did in December and beginning of January that I think are worth posting.
I went to a Lie-Nielsen tool event in October of 2009 which I was really impressed with, so when they were coming back to the area (this time in Beverly, MA), I went… with a budget. While there, I picked up this sweet dovetail saw – my first Lie-Nielsen tool.
I also got some time in the shop to work on some organization. I have one section of wall in my basement that was an ideal place to put a French Cleat system, which makes it much more functional than looking at a stone foundation wall. I got this idea from The Wood Whisperer (Episode 106). Basically the idea is to have a cleat cut at the top at 45 degrees toward the wall, then you make custom hangers for your tools with a mating 45 degree hanger.
For my setup I put up some 2×4’s, then mounted pine panels to them. I then put up some basic trim the same thickness as the cleats (3/4″). Of course I had to make it “official” by putting up my “The Wood Lab” sign.
And what was my first hanger? One for my shiny new Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw of course! I’ve posted some pictures below.