Welcome to the New Alaska Woodworker Blog

When I started the Alaska Woodworker blog back in November 2012, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy blogging or if anyone would actually enjoy reading my blathering.   Well after 16 months, 109 posts, 95 followers, and almost 42,000 views from 100 countries, I find that I enjoy sharing my woodworking adventures, and more importantly folks enjoy reading about them.  So I bit the bullet so to speak and purchased a domain name (www.alaskawoodworker.com) and some space on a shared server.  Getting away from the free WordPress blog, eliminates the ads, and provides for more flexibility and capability in creating a website.  I plan to expand the offerings here a bit by hosting a large collection of old tool catalog scans which will be available for free download as PDF files.  I’ll share more info on this in the coming days.

I know I haven’t been too active recently, but it’s not for lack of woodworking, just lack of woodworking in my own shop.  My friend Bill and I have been leading the charge to build 13 new workbenches for our club, Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association in anticipation for a visit from Chris Schwarz, who will be arriving in 11 days.  I’ll definitely be blogging about the class I will be taking!  The good news is we only have 4 more bench tops to flatten!!!

Just to stay on topic, here is Keta the shop dog and I trimming a leg vise to length this morning.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that saws are Keta’s favorite tool.  She just waits for the off cut to hit the floor, and then she is a happy camper with something to chew on.  It’s not a very flattering picture, and I think my friend Todd took it just to show me my bald spot!


Photo by Todd M.

So, welcome to the new AlaskaWoodWorker.com blog.  Comments, critiques, and suggestion are always welcome.  Please don’t forget to update your subscription to the new blog.  I will set the forwarder on the old blog site (AlaskaWoodWorker.wordpress.com) to send visitors here.

Thanks for making this interesting enough to keep going.

A Glue Scraper with Authority!

As part of Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association, several folks and I have been working on new club workbenches.  We glued the tops up into two 11″ wide sections, jointed, planed and then glued the two sections into a complete top.  In preparation for final flattening, we were scraping glue squeeze out today.  My friend Bill, proprietor of Alaska WoodCrafters brought his glue scraper to the party today.  This is the best glue scraper I have ever used!


It’s an old blade from an industrial wood chipper.  That sucker must weigh 5 lbs!



My friend Bill wielding his big bad glue scraper.

Thanks for stopping by.

Now That’s a Screw!

I stumbled on this bad boy in an antique shop in New Oxford, Pa  on my recent trip.  It looks like a leg vise, but the parallel guide only has two holes.  I bet it would make a great leg vise.  That screw must be close to 2 & 3/4″.  I was sorely tempted,  but with no plans for another workbench build in the near future and the $115.00 price tag, I walked on by.   If anyone is tempted, I don’t remember the name of the shop, but its the old barn on the North side of Route 30, in New Oxford.  Sorry for the poor cell phone photos.

That's my shoe for size reference

That’s my shoe for size reference


Thanks for visiting.

Charles Winterbottom & Justus Traut

It’s a beautiful spring day here in Anchorage, 45 degrees F and not a cloud in the sky, but boy am I lazy!  I spend a bit of time this morning helping to glue up some workbench tops for Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association, and putzed around in my own shop a bit.  I though I would share another little gem I picked up last week in PA.  A little try and mitre square I found at the Fayetteville Antique Mall.  I found this little guy in a booth with just a couple of other tools for $6.50.


As you can see there are two patent date stamped into the rosewood.  The upper one is April 16, 1872, patent # US 125858 issued to Justus A. Traut and assigned to Stanley Rule and Level Company.  Traut’s patent “consists in an improvement in the construction of the metal stock of the handle of a try-square, and in its combination with the blade, and also with a single wooden block, which forms the principal part of the outer surface of the handle”.

The lower patent is June 29, 1869 patent # US 91892  issued to Charles Winterbottom and assigned to William S. Winterbottom.   Winterbottom’s invention “consists in simply taking the common square and cutting the top of the stock at an angle, in the manner described hereafter, so as to mark mitre lines, adding to the value of the square, and without increasing its cost of manufacture”.


Although I don’t know for sure, I suspect this is a Stanley square.  Perhaps Stanley bought the rights to Winterbottom’s patent.  I sure wish someone had not drilled that hang hole!  Of course it was no longer square so I spent a few minutes truing it up.  If you are interested in the process, I described it in an earlier post.  The 45 degree mitre on the face side is pretty good, although the backside took a bit of work.  I used an auger bit file with a safe edge to true up the brass.

Thanks for looking.

Opening a Vintage Drill Chuck Shell

I was cleaning up the Millers Falls 210 drill press a bit today and opened up the chuck shell to give it a good cleaning inside.  This is one of those chucks with the 2 holes on top and requires some sort of spanner wrench to open.  In my experience these are the most difficult to open, and a bit of rust just makes things worse.  Since I don’t have the appropriate wrench to open these chucks, I have to improvise. So I thought I would share my method.

Many chucks have a small screw in the side to prevent the top from becoming loose in use.  Be sure to remove this screw first.  I usually squirt a bit of PB Blaster and hit the top of the chuck with the micro-torch to loosen things in case it is frozen.  To unscrew the top of the chuck, I use two hardened steel drift punches that will fit snugly in the holes at the top of the chuck. Grab a long piece of scrap wood and drill two appropriately spaced holes, so the drift pins will fit in the holes. Sometimes it take a couple of tries to get the hole spacing right.


Then I put the chuck in the vise with a piece of leather to protect it, and use my “wrench” to unscrew the top.


So far this method has yet to fail me.  I hope this tip is useful to someone.

Thanks for stopping by.