Woodworking at the Artistry in Wood Show

I spent most of the weekend at the Artistry in Wood show demonstrating hand tool woodworking.  It was a lot of fun.  I decided to make a couple of Post Office box door coin banks.  Saturday I planed the profile on the front edge of the box, plowed grooves for the back, and set up my miter box and shooting board to cut and true the miters.  There was a lot of interest from folks and we had a great turn out on Saturday.  Sunday I made the backs for the boxes and did a lot of talking.  I met a few local folks who follow my blog, and just had an all around great time.  I had the opportunity to show off my table a bit and talk tools with a bunch of folks.


My bench on Saturday.


A few of the scrollers had their saws set up.

I didn’t get any photos but the carvers were working in the back and the turners had a lathe spinning all weekend too.


Folks looking at some of the displays.


A big thanks to Dave J. for the fine violin music!

As I was plowing a groove one guy who was watching me said “now why would you do it that way, wouldn’t a router be easier?”  I said something about if I was using a router I wouldn’t be able hear my personal musician!  I’m trying to talk Dave into coming to my shop to play for me, but he doesn’t seem to find that idea as appealing as I do!

Thanks for visiting.


The Dulcimer!

I’m a big bluegrass music fan, so I definitely like the dulcimer, but I must admit when I saw this one I wasn’t very excited!  I knew the coveted Best of Show Ribbon for the woodworking projects would not be an easy win.  I could only hope that the ball and claw feet would intoxicate the judges, make them forget of the fine veneering, the carved volute, and the pierced soundboard.  Alas, it was not be, that coveted purple ribbon was given to the dulcimer and the talented woodworker who crafted it.  Congratulations Eric!


2015 Artistry in Wood Best of show (woodworking) winner.

Although I lost the purple ribbon, I did however win first place for the side table category and the green division ribbon for being the best table entered in to the show.


My friend Steve had a very nicely crafted shaker style table with a drawer and he took second place in the side table category.  Congratulations Steve!


A big thanks goes out to the Judges Mark Wedekind of BlackStone Design, Mark Gould of Katchemak Cooperage, and ACWA club member and woodworker John M.  We appreciate you giving your time and energy.

The 2105 Artistry in Wood show runs through March 8th, so if you are in south central Alaska, you should definitely stop by.  There are some very talented wood workers of all sorts in Alaska and many beautiful projects to admire.   Be sure to check out Trudy’s turnings, I think she is one of the most talented turners in AK.

Of course there is still the Peoples Choice Award, and I highly recommend you vote for the drop leaf table with cabriole legs and ball & claw feet!!  Forget about that dulcimer, because remember Mamma Don’t Want no Dulcimer Played Around Here!


Thanks for visiting!


16 Months Later……

Sixteen months later and I finally finished the Chippendale style drop leaf table.  It actually seems like longer than 16 months, but I started this thing back in October 2013. Here is the original blog post, which shows pictures of the original table that I used for inspiration.  I left the shells off of the knees, otherwise it would still be 6 months out from completion!  Actually I wish I had attempted them, oh well perhaps next time.







I decided to add a secret a secret drawer behind the gate leg.  I saw a picture of a similar drawer in in a game table in one of my many 18th century furniture books. I like the idea of secret compartments.  This is the first piece of furniture I have built with one, but hopefully not the last.



There are a few mistakes, but all in all I’m pretty happy with it.  I’m also happy to have it done!. Well I still need to rub out and wax the top.  I’ll do that tomorrow before I enter it into the Artistry in Wood show.

Last but not least, here is a picture of my little blue buddy for Robert!  He sure loves peanuts.


Thanks for visiting.



What Happened to Winter?

Oh that’s right New England stole it.   Well you can keep it, I’m not complaining.  It was 48F here in Anchorage today, and what little snow we have is melting fast!  Breakup in February????  There was a flock of about 20 robins in the back yard yesterday, our winters have become so mild that some of them don’t even migrate anymore.

And just to stay on topic, I’d say there is a better than even chance the table will be finished in time to enter into the 2015 Artistry In Wood show next week.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that the general plan was to have the table completed for the 2014 Artistry In Wood show.   The top and leaf are ready for the rule joint and the hinges and then a coat of shellac.  And if not, there is always 2016!


Thanks for visiting!

Tuning up a Pair of Rule Joint Planes

I bought a very nice pair of rule joint planes from Lee Richmond at the Best Things a number of months back.  I picked these up specifically for the drop leaf table.  If you are looking for good quality moulding planes check out Lee’s offerings.  He has top quality stuff.  I bought a pair of fenced planes made by Josiah King a prolific New York City planemaker.  These planes are stamped Josiah N. King, 373 Bowery, New York.  Emil and Marty Pollak (Guide to Makers of American Wooden Planes) notes that King worked at that address from 1858-1887.  In 1870 the business became Josiah King & Son.  This suggests that the planes were made sometime between 1858 and 1870, making somewhere between 145 and 157 years old!

These planes were in fantastic shape when I received them, and may have been used sometime in the near past, however they needed a bit of tuning up.  I’m sure there are many ways of tuning vintage wooden planes, but I’ll show you what works for me.  The most important aspect of a well tuned plane is making sure that the iron profile exactly matches the sole profile.  Over the last century and a quarter, the bodies of these have shrunk jut a bit so the profiles no longer perfectly match.  They were close but not perfect.  In the photo below; looking down the sole of the round-over plane you can see that the iron does not project an even amount all along its profile.  Material will need to be removed from the edge of the iron everywhere except where the red line points.  If I backed off the iron a smidgen for a reasonable cut, the iron would not project past the sole where the red line points, and the plane would stop cutting within a few strokes.


The red line points to the low area on the profile of the iron.

The cove plane is even worse.  In the photo the iron is set rank so it projects pretty far on the fence side of the plan, but not at all on the depth stop side as illustrated by the red lines.  This plane would start to cut, but would stop well before the entire cove was cut.


The red line illustrate where the plane would stop cutting as the iron does not project past the sole in that area.

The irons need to be re-profiled to exactly match the soles, in order to use these planes.  I’ll show you how I do it with the cove plane.  If you don’t have a bottle of DYKEM in your shop you need one.  As you can see I have painted the back of the iron with the layout fluid so I can scribe the sole profile on it.


I put the iron back on the plane set the wedge and made sure the was positioned properly up against the blind side of the mortise.  I used the scribe you see on the photo to scribe the sole profile into the layout fluid.


Here is a shot of the iron with the sole profile scribed on it.


Now its just a matter of grinding to the scribe line.  This one is easy, because it can be dome on the grinder.  For concave curves such as the round over iron I will use slip stones or mounted abrasive points in a Dremel tool.  I ground the iron to shape at 90 degrees on the bench grinder, then ground the bevel angle at about 30. From there its just a matter of checking to see that the profile matches the sole, adjusting as necessary, and sharpening.  I flattened the back of both irons, as a previous owner had put a back bevel on to sharpen the irons.  Please don’t do this, it just makes sharpening them properly even harder.  I turned a burr on a fine India and finished on a translucent Arkansas.

The round-over plane iron did not need much reshaping, so I was able to do that with slip-stones.  Had it been worse I would used mounted points in the Dremel tool to reshape and grind the bevel.

I cut a test joint in pine, which worked out quite nice. I love those tortured shaving moulding planes produce.



Not bad for a tool that is a century and a half old.  Mounting the hinges seems to be the hardest part!  I’ll be leaving a couple extra inches of width on the table top and leaf in case I screw that up!

Thanks for visiting, and I hope this helps someone to tune up their moulding planes.