2018 Lie-Nielsen Open House & Lobster Bake

The Lie-Nielsen Open House kicks off in two weeks, and as a hand tool lover I can’t imagine another place I’d rather be for the weekend. Nearly thirty top tool makers and woodworkers from across the country and abroad will converge on Maine to show off a spectrum of tools and techniques in one of the most picturesque settings I’ve ever visited.

If you’ve never been to an event like this one, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get hands on experience with many tools and meet the makers behind them. I can’t keep track of how many tips and techniques I’ve picked up by talking to demonstrators and makers at events like this. And if this is a return visit for you, I see a few new faces in the demonstrator lineup to look forward to (there is a full schedule and demonstrator list on Lie-Nielsen’s website).

Lie-Nielsen Workshop – Warren, ME

Friday & Saturday, July 13-14

9:00 – 5:00 Friday & Saturday

Lie-Nielsen

 

Warren, ME 04864

Isaac using a Blackburn Tools Roubo frame saw

There’s nothing like a little hands-on experience for finding the right tool and learning how to use it.

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New Australian retailer: The Wood Works Book & Tool Co.

While I ship to dozens of countries, postage costs can often approach or exceed the purchase cost on many of my items. Australian customers now have another option for buying my saw parts – The Wood Works Book & Tool Co. in Sydney. For now, they carry a few sizes of spines, blades, and bolts, as well as spanners and carbide drill bits. If there is anything else you’d like to see them carry in the future, please let them know.

the-wood-works

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Saw sharpening notes

As I have previously mentioned in this space, I am teaching saw sharpening at a Lie-Nielsen workshop in June. As part of my preparation for doing so, I have put together a few pages of notes on how I sharpen saws. While it’s not a comprehensive guide, I do think there is some good information in there, so am posting it here as a reference for those who are not able to attend. While I still harbor hopes of putting together a more complete and detailed tome on the topic when I have more free time, this must suffice for now.

Saw Sharpening Basics

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Lie-Nielsen Saw Sharpening Workshop – Warren, ME

There are still spots left in June’s saw sharpening class at Lie-Nielsen. If you’ve been thinking of attending, now is the time to register!

Lie-Nielsen Saw Sharpening Workshop, June 9-10 in Warren, ME.

Lie-Nielsen Saw Sharpening Workshop, June 9-10 in Warren, ME.

 

Over the course of two days, we will cover the basics of saw tooth geometry before moving on to practice filing both rip and crosscut teeth. The cost for the two day workshop is $275.

Lie-Nielsen Workshop – Warren, ME

Saturday & Sunday, June 9-10

9:00 – 5:00 (Saturday), 9:00 – 4:00 (Sunday)

Lie-Nielsen

 

Warren, ME 04864

Registration and further details are available on the Lie-Nielsen website. If you have any questions, please contact either myself or Lie-Nielsen.

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Rebate saw-plane fence kits and my new Hardinge turret lathe

When I built my first rebate-saw plane, I had no intention of making and selling the hardware kits, but was merely trying to work out an easy to use locking and adjusting mechanism that was simple to make in my shop. After taking it to several shows and fielding multiple requests to sell the fence hardware, I made a few kits. They sold quickly, and more requests came in. Unprepared for the level of demand, I looked to farm out several parts to an outside shop. I spent many months of spare time tracking down promising leads which ultimately led nowhere.

To continue making these myself, I needed to upgrade my equipment. Til now, I’ve gotten by with a 9″ South Bend, which is great for many things; rapid production of hundreds of parts is not its strength. CNC was one option, but cost and shop limitations (short on space and incoming power) blocked that route. With the state of the art option closed, I looked back into our manufacturing history for other solutions, and quickly settled on a 1940’s era Hardinge turret lathe.

These lathes are perfectly suited for what I need out of them. They excel at moderate production runs of smallish parts, have a small footprint, and are easily adapted to single phase power with a VFD. They’re also relatively inexpensive (although tooling adds up very quickly) and pretty easy to learn.

Late last year, I found one on eBay, and made the trip to Ohio to pick it up. I spent five or six months rewiring it and buying tooling and accessories while reading everything I could find about the machine and running it.

Hardinge ESM turret lathe, seller's eBay picture.

Hardinge ESM turret lathe, seller’s eBay picture.

The VFD box, mounted on the left side of the lathe. Drawing up the wiring diagram for this took a while, but was worth the time when everything worked as I wanted.

The VFD box, mounted on the left side of the lathe. Drawing up the wiring diagram for this took a while, but was worth the time when everything worked as I wanted.

The control panel for the lathe: stop and start buttons, forward/reverse switch, jog/run switch, and the speed control knob.

The control panel for the lathe: stop and start buttons, forward/reverse switch, jog/run switch, and the speed control knob.

 

Last week, it was finally ready to start making the first parts. This part will eventually become the cotter lock, the part that locks the fence on the arms (this is only the first of three steps in making it).

The setup for making the cotter locks.

The setup for making the cotter locks.

Closeup of the cotter lock setup.

Closeup of the cotter lock setup.

The first parts to come off of the Hardinge lathe, cotter locks. There are still a couple more steps to go before they're done.

The first parts to come off of the Hardinge lathe, cotter locks. There are still a couple more steps to go before they’re done.

 

There is still a lot of work to do, and much learning ahead, but this is the first step in catching up with backorders for these kits. Watch here for further progress…

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Lie-Nielsen Saw Sharpening Workshop – Warren, ME

Last year’s class was so much fun that I was delighted to be invited back to teach saw sharpening again this year at Lie-Nielsen’s beautiful headquarters in Warren, ME. If you’ve ever wanted to sharpen your own saws, I can’t think of a better way to start learning. Lie-Nielsen has a well-deserved reputation for being first class hosts, and this is sure to be no exception.

Lie-Nielsen Saw Sharpening Workshop, May 13-14 in Warren, ME.

Lie-Nielsen Saw Sharpening Workshop, June 9-10 in Warren, ME.

Over the course of two days, I will cover the basics of saw tooth geometry before moving on to practice filing both rip and crosscut teeth. The cost for the two day workshop is $275.

Lie-Nielsen Workshop – Warren, ME

Saturday & Sunday, June 9-10

9:00 – 5:00 (Saturday), 9:00 – 4:00 (Sunday)

Lie-Nielsen

 

Warren, ME 04864

Registration and further details are available on the Lie-Nielsen website. If you have any questions, please contact either myself or Lie-Nielsen.

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Christmas orders

2017 has been an interesting year here. A significant uptick in orders, along with several family matters, has had me scrambling to keep up with orders. To all of you who patiently waited for me to ship your order, I send a hearty and well-deserved thanks.

Looking at my current order backlog, any order placed after tomorrow (November 8th) that includes saw parts may not ship out until after Christmas. Orders comprised solely of drill bits, saw files, and books or DVDs will still ship within several days.

I apologize for the short notice; if this leaves you in a bind as you shop for Christmas, send me a nice email and I will do what I can to expedite your order.

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Now carrying a few new tools (from other tool makers), books, & DVDs

I am thrilled to announce the addition of several new tools (from other tool makers), books, and DVDs to my store.

Saw files: First up are 5″ blunt saw files from Glen-Drake Toolworks. Made in Japan, I count these among the very best saw files that I have ever used. Blunt, in this case, does not refer to the teeth, but rather the shape of the file; unlike tapered saw files, blunt files are prismatic, having a uniform cross-section over their entire length. The corners are precise and the teeth are remarkably uniform and durable. Very close in size to a 5″ XX-slim taper file, but capable of filing finer teeth because of the sharper corners. Excellent for cutting in new teeth or touching up existing ones. The tang has a grippy rubber coating.

Order saw files here

Glen-Drake 5" blunt saw file

Glen-Drake 5″ blunt saw file


Chair scrapers: Next up is a new product from Brian Noel of BearKat Wood. As a woodworker specializing in chairs and other pieces with sculpted surfaces, Brian frequently needed a scraper suited for a variety of surfaces. His solution was a scraper that works as well on curved surfaces as it does on flat expanses.

Made of hardened and tempered spring steel, this scraper is equivalent to the premium or super hard ones sold by other manufacturers. It comes unsharpened and unburnished, but takes and holds a keen edge. Because of its hardness, use only a burnisher made from hardened steel or carbide to turn the burr (although unconventional, my carbide spade drill bits and Scrawls both make excellent burnishers).

Order BearKat Wood chair scrapers here

BearKat Wood chair scrapers.

BearKat Wood chair scrapers.


Roubo curves: From Sterling Tool Works comes this luxurious, yet eminently practical, set of three french curves for full-scale work. Laser cut from stainless steel, these hefty curves (the largest weighs in at nearly 12 ounces!) stay put on your work. Made to last for generations, this set is a great way to break out of the rectilinear habit. Matte finish for lessened glare. The two smaller curves are 8-9 inches long; the largest is 18 inches long.

Order Sterling Tool Works Roubo curves here

Sterling Tool Works Roubo curves.

Sterling Tool Works Roubo curves.


Making Things Work: Tales From a Cabinetmaker’s Life, by Nancy R. Hiller: Although the title of Nancy Hiller’s book is straighforward and descriptive of the contents, it scarcely belies the humorous and entertaining presentation of those stories. A wonderful read for anyone, woodworker or not.

Order Making Things Work here

Making Things Work, by Nancy R. Hiller

Making Things Work, by Nancy R. Hiller.


With Saw, Plane & Chisel: Building Historic American Furniture With Hand Tools, by Zachary Dillinger: In this book, Zachary Dillinger documents the hand-tool-only construction of six pieces of classic American period furniture, spanning the major styles from the 1690s through to the mid-19th century.

Order With Saw, Plane & Chisel here

With Saw, Plane & Chisel, by Zachary Dillinger

With Saw, Plane & Chisel, by Zachary Dillinger.


Building the Historic Howarth Bow Saw, with Bill Anderson: No handtool workshop is complete without a bowsaw for curved work. This 2 disc (217 minutes) lesson shows how to make your own copy of an elegant English saw.

Order Building the Historic Howarth Bow Saw here

Building the Historic Howarth Bow Saw, with Bill Anderson.

Building the Historic Howarth Bow Saw, with Bill Anderson.

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Win one of my Roubo frame saws (or other great prizes)

Hand tool enthusiast James Wright (Wood By Wright on YouTube) has put together a great little contest called Tool Make 2017. I love this idea – document the process of building a hand tool, give it away to someone who’s getting started in hand tool woodworking, and become eligible to win one of these great prizes:

Everybody wins – you as a maker build your skills (and could win a great prize), the hand tool making community learns more about making tools, and new hand tool workers get some encouragement and real support.

Better hurry, though – this contest is over at the end of June. Further details can be found in this YouTube video from Wood by Wright.

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Just checking in (and an announcement for my European customers)

The last several months have been taxing on both a personal and business level; the death of my brother, an unexpected surge in orders, developing a saw sharpening class for Lie-Nielsen, and outfitting myself for upcoming woodworking shows all met in one great confluence.

Over the last several years, I’ve tried my best to turn most orders around in a week or so. The events of the last few months have stretched that turnaround time to an uncomfortable level. Now, with Handworks done, and the summer looking relatively calm, I look forward to tackling the backlog and reducing turnaround time once again (I hate running behind just as much as my customers!).

I’ll also be working to catch up on emails. If you haven’t heard from me in the next week or so, feel free to send another one. I try my best to respond to everyone, but despite spending an hour or two each day answering them, some still slip through.

 

Finally, I have some great news for my European customers:  Dieter Schmid Fine Tools is now carrying my Roubo frame saw kits. Shipping, import fees, and VAT on these saws has always been a sticking point, so this partnership should work well for everyone. Kits are available in all three sizes (2×32, 3×36, and 4×48); all come with sharpened blades. As always, plans and instructions/tips for use are available on my website and free for all to use.

Roubo frame saw blade and hardware.

Roubo frame saw blade and hardware.

Completed Roubo frame saws.

Completed Roubo frame saws.

Roubo frame saw closeup.

Roubo frame saw closeup.

Roubo frame saw closeup.

Roubo frame saw closeup.

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