Not Too Bad by Anchorage Standards

For the most part I consider Alaska to be an old tool hell.  We just don’t have the history of the lower 48 states, and of course never had any tool manufacturing.  I find a few things on Craigslist, and once in a while at a garage sale.  Of the three antique stores in town, one believes any old tool is worth a fortune, condition be damned, the other works on consignment and takes 50% of the sale price, the third is a bit more reasonable and when I stopped in the other day actually had a dozen or so tools scattered around, but nothing I couldn’t live without.  The one place that I hit regularly is the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I have found a few nice things there over the years. This weeks haul which was accumulated over two visits was not too bad by anchorage standards, but nothing for you pickers from down south to get excited about.


A new old stock Stanley and a General off set ratcheting screw driver, 3 packages of Trojan coping saw blades, a Craftsman drill arbor, miscleanous auger bits, an interesting bass level, some brass screws, and some un-plated steel screws.  I’m always happy to find slotted wood screws (especially un-plated ones), as no place in town sells them anymore.  The offset screwdriver packages look to be pre zipcode, so I’m guessing early 1960′s  Both have original price tags at $1.95 for the Stanley and $.96 for the General!


The level is interesting,with two windows and one bubble.  Anyone have any idea what it might have been used for?


Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you found some neat old tools this week too!

Back in the Saddle Again

The lack of activity here on my blog definitely represents the lack of activity in my shop of late.  March and April were spent helping to build 13 workbenches for the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association and getting ready for the Chris Schwarz classes here in Anchorage.  I spent some time on St. Lawrence Island for work in early May. The weather in late May and June was beautiful, much too nice to be in the shop.  Dad has been in town for the last six weeks, and we have been fishing a fair bit.  Summer time in Alaska just doesn’t leave much time for woodworking.  In the free time that I have had, I haven’t been able to get back in the groove and tackle any woodworking.  Those cabriole legs with ball & claw feet I left off on back in mid February have been staring me down since and frankly I just haven’t been able to find the gumption to get back to work on them.  I didn’t want to start on another project for fear of never finishing the table, so I wasn’t doing much in the shop.  Oh, I sharpened a bunch of saws, and tuned up some tools, but didn’t work any wood.  After a short nap on Sunday afternoon, I headed out to the shop looking for something to get me back in the saddle again.  After taking Chris Schwarz’s layout tools class back in April, I figured a small try square would be a perfect afternoon project to get me back in the groove.


Well, it worked.  It was a low effort, high gratification, 100% hand tool project.  The stock and blade are both walnut from the scrap bin.  The stock measures about
3″ X 1″ X 9/16″ and the blade is about 6″ X 1″ X 3/16″.  I used some 1/16″ brass rod to pin the blade.  It got a light coat of BLO and will get a bit of shellac in another day or two.

If you have never made one of these squares, you should give it a try.  It’s just a simple bridle joint, but you do need to accurately dimension your stock.  Since my square is so small, I used a block plane for dimensioning.

Now I think I’m ready to get back to those ball & claw feet.  Of course there is still a bit of fishing to be done before the snow flies.

Thanks for visiting.


A Hand Cranked Handy Andy

I picked up a large hand cranked grinder when I was in PA last spring, and just finally got around to getting it set up.  Its marked Handy Andy by Pike.  It will take an 8″ wheel, although I had to turn a bushing to fit the 3/8″ shaft.  I used a piece of cutting board plastic, which seemed to work pretty well. Of course the tool rest was MIA, so I used one from an electron burning grinder.  It’s a bit tough to adjust, but its solid.  I need think on it a bit yet, and see if I can’t improve on the attachment/adjustment design.  I trued up the wheel and ground a chisel tonight.  It works great, although I need to find a good sturdy mount for it in the shop.


Handy Andy Grinder by Pike





Now if I could just train my apprentice to crank it!!


Keta the shop dog just cant seem to get the hang of cranking that grinder!

Thanks for stopping by.


I Always Liked Trains!

Of course I like saws too. So what could be better than a saw with a train on it?  A sharp saw with a train on it, of course.


Grandpa liked trains too, he had a big multi level model train setup when I was a kid.  I can remember when we would go to visit, the first thing I would do when we got there was fire up all the trains.  Of course I had a train setup too, Grandpa would always give me train stuff for Christmas.  I guess Grandpa is the reason I like trains and woodworking.

It’s summertime in Alaska and the weather has been great.  Eighty degrees here today!  I haven’t been woodworking much as there is too much other fun stuff to do.  I spent the day today with Dad fishing on Ptarmigan Creek.

With the nice weather and a few minutes of free time here and there, I have been dragging the Acme saw vise outside and sharpening saws under the midnight sun.  I think I have done about 9 or 10 in the last two months.

The Fast Mail saw has the Simmons Hardware etch and a Warranted Superior medallion, so I have no idea who made it.  It does not look like it was a high end saw, as you can see the plate was never highly polished, however it is double tapered and cuts nicely now that I sharpened it.  Eight ppi crosscut with 12 degrees of rake and 20 degrees of fleam.


The handle has two different folks initials in it. I stripped the old finish and gave it a bit of BLO and garnet shellac.


There is a bit of history on the Simmons Hardware Company on the Hardware Companies Kollectors Klub (THCKK) website.

Here is a shot of Grandpa at the table saw in 2007.  Thanks Grandpa!

pa pics 094-001

Well, I still have a few more saws to sharpen, so you’ll likely see another saw or two in the next post.  Practice makes perfect.

Thanks for stopping by.


No Woodworking Going on Here!

Its summertime in Alaska and I have been indulging in my other hobby; fishing!  I took last week off from work and we went over east to Copper Center to fish the Klutina river.  We stayed at Groves Klutina River Campground along the old Richardson highway.  This is our favorite place to camp, as many folks return there year after year.  We had a chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones.  The fishing was great, the sockeye salmon were plentiful, and we managed to put 30 in the freezer for the long winter ahead.





The Wife even put some time in on the river and caught a few too!


Mrs AlaskaWoodworker with a limit of Sockeye salmon

Now I need to get back in the shop!  Thanks for stopping by.