A Hard Plane’s Gonna Fall

I had a hard time recently deciding what woodworking project I needed to start on next. As I thought about it I started on a chair seat.


So this will turn into a chair someday, but it is on hold for now because talking with my partner in crime we settled on a choice between a record consul or a pantry cabinet.  As the pantry cabinet will involve just taking out an upper cabinet and making it deeper then combining it to the base cabinet by building a cabinet to fill in the gap (a lot of plywood work and not very exciting; I chose the record console.  So these are projects I need to do before we take out the wall between our kitchen and living room to have room for a wood stove where the wall now is.

Here are a couple of pictures of the process of cutting out and making the various panels that will become the carcasse to house our record albums and record player.


The outside is going to be black walnut and the bottom and inside will be out of yellow pine.  I think its going to turn out well.  I bought a bunch of walnut about three years ago from a guy’s barn and it all was from one tree so I have easily book matched pieces to use for the sides and top.  I have a lot of planing ahead of me one of my favorite parts of the process.

The new workbench is working out great.  I have no complaints at all.  There is no rack in it.  It can do any job I throw at it I am sure.  I am falling in love with this simple approach to working.  There is versatility in planing stops, holdfasts, notched battens, and crochets.  First the planing stop.  I made it out of an old disposable Japanese saw blade and screwed it to a three by three block of ash.  Then I mortised through the bench to house it and I can knock it down or up with a mallet.  Works great for now.  Someday I’d like to have a blacksmith made one.  My Grammercy holdfasts go through 3/4 inch holes in the side or top of the bench and are knocked on the curved part to cinch down on work.  The notched batten or doe’s foot can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of the last picture above.  It is my tail vise.  They take about two minutes to make from scrap that is laying around.  It can be placed quickly anywhere along the length of the bench and is held by a vise grip clamp to the back side of the bench which I left overhang a couple of inches thinking that feature might be useful and it is!  The crochet can be seen on the left side hereimg_20200424_225452857

And in action here.


where I am edge jointing two boards together against it.  All of these methods work best when the tools are sharp.  Since there are no vises immobilizing the work, I am finding that I get a lot more feedback from the tools like when they need sharpened.  It takes some getting used to working this way but I really like it.  If I ever do find I need a vise for some reason I have this little benchimg_20180801_09581432967651890.jpg

Those are pipe clamps through the side of it and they work great.  If I ever need I can put a piece in there to work on.  All this to say that you can get outfitted with a woodworking bench (about one fifty in wood, thirty for holdfasts) for very little money that will last your whole life and then some.  No need to go out and buy the most expensive vises.  Tail vises seem unnecessary to me at this point.  Face vises are a nice feature but one can get by without them as well.

Till next time.

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