Archive for the 'Hand Tools' Category

May 31 2012

Help For Accurate Hand Saw Cuts

Accurate cuts right off the saw are always nice, but that isn’t always reality. Sometimes we don’t need accuracy, other times getting it will make a woodworker break out in a cold sweat. Never the less, when you really need that magic to happen, you need it. Sometimes the boards are special, rare boards, with amazing figure. Other times they are just barely large enough for the project, and every saw cut has to be right on the numbers or the last board could be too short. It’s times like that when every cut counts.

Imagine for a moment what some of those crucial cuts are about. Sawing drawer fronts in a matched flitch? Figured boards book-matched where waste isn’t an option? Need to saw dados on target? Accurate angles in face or edge grain? Thick bench legs that match? (That’s a big cut!) Tenons, Finger Joints, Dovetails?

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For a long time, I have wanted to develop a sawing fixture that offered great ergonomics, and high miter box like accuracy. I also wanted it to be widely capable of handling many sawing situations and allow the use of any saw, so that the right saw for the job could be utilized. First we developed the East / West Bench Hook, which allows the sawyer to do their best work, and then we developed a magnetic saw guide that helps maintain high sawing accuracy over a wide range of sawing situations, and as an added bonus, it also helps develop good sawing posture and muscle memory. Continue Reading »

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May 12 2012

Improving the Bench Hook for Sawing.

We’ve all used them; the venerable old Bench Hook for sawing. They do the job, sure, but they also have limitations for many situations. Plastic miter boxes too can have their limitations. Height is one and guide wear is another. The pivoting miter box with saw is a cool looking gizmo, and some work well.

The down side of good miter boxes that come with a pivoting saw is that the best ones came down the pike a century ago, and even then they were not all created equal. Many create as many conundrums as they were meant to resolve, the good ones take a lot of effort to find, and there is one saw for cutting everything with them. One saw for all crosscuts does not work well for all situations.

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I’ve wanted to develop a Bench Hook that would be a good companion to our shooting boards for some time now, and quite a few of our customers have expressed a want for one as well. My criteria for such a tool was all about the capabilities. I wanted more flexibility, and to remove some of the limitations of the common mitering fixtures and improve the ergonomics of sawing for the woodworker. This required that I take a different approach than the traditional route, and to a degree the sawyers skill is a bit more in play, but I feel the overall gains were worth it! Continue Reading »

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Dec 01 2011

Sewing Machine Oil. An Excellent Woodshop Lubricant.

Published by under Hand Tools,Power Tools

Over the course of time I have had opportunity to observe how many oils and lubricants perform in the woodshop, and the trades. My Father and Grandfather used 3 in 1 oil in their shops, along with other brands of light machine oils available at the time.

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They also often used non-detergent 30-weight oil, but it’s terribly messy and doesn’t perform well on a lot of woodworking equipment where exposure to cold temps and sawdust are concerned. In light of what my ancestors did, I found myself thinking about, and wanting better lubricants.
Continue Reading »

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Feb 27 2011

A Sharpening “Horse-Butt” Strop for the Workbench.

We have introduced a new leather strop sharpening system, that uses genuine horse butt leather, for helping maintain the finest edges on edge tools while they work.

Maintaining an edge during the woodworking process provides higher levels of working sharpness from edge tools, promoting accurate cuts and joinery, smoother wood surface finish quality, and saves woodworkers an enormous amount of wasted time regrinding, by avoiding dullness, affordably.
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It comes down to convenience. This is very important, because when sharpening isn’t convenient or is too messy, we tend to allow tools to become so dull, that restoring sharpness is a lot of hard work. Dullness is avoidable if we maintain sharpness as we work. Maintaining edge tools should be easy.

Why would we want a strop optimized for our workbench? Most strops on the market today are not optimized for honing woodworking tools well. Some come closer than others, but overall they don’t offer the right combination of leather types, flatness, length or ergonomics all at once. Woodworkers want some options and ease when they maintain their edge tools. Our strop is capable of maintaining tool sharpness, reducing or eliminating the mess, while fixturing itself on the bench where the tools are working.

Enter the ‘Bench Strop’ from Evenfall Studios. Continue Reading »

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Feb 16 2011

The Bench End Planing Stop

We’ve had some requests for more information about our new ‘Bench End Planing Stop’, because it works a bit differently than what woodworkers are accustomed to.

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Our new Planing Stop is the jointer planes helper, engineered to be a complete planing stop, meant to be easy to set up and use. When you wanna plane, you wanna plane! When you are done planing, simply lower the screws and it’s flush to the bench top. Always ready.

Why would we want to use a planing stop?

The main reason to use a stop when planing is that it offers no cramp to the board. By cramp, I mean clamping the uncorrected board so that some of the wind and twist may become compressed. When you clamp a board that isn’t flat before you attempt to true it, you can flex the wood fibers against a natural wind and actually plane more problems into it than out. Continue Reading »

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Feb 12 2011

New Products for 2011, 12, 13 and so on…

And not just 2014, but 2015, 16 and so forth!You get the idea, New products are always in the works and you can find them from here!

Over the past several years of building shooting boards, our product line has grown through thoughts, ideas and suggestions. We have expanded to over a dozen shooting board models and have developed many accessories for them. We continue to work on ways to expand our shooting board’s capabilities. This helps bring more woodworking capability, and better outcomes to bear for the woodworkers who use them.

During this same time, we have developed other tools and jigs for helping take woodworkers further in other aspects of the craft. Why? well because; The lyfe so short, the craft so long to lerne, Th’ assay so hard, so sharpe the conquering. Geoffrey Chaucer from: The Assembly of Fowles. We listen to what woodworkers talk about when they discuss what they feel is difficult for them, or could be more efficient, and what they wished were easier. Then we try to conquer those issues, and make a tool or jig that will address it, and make working wood easier for woodworkers. What this means sometimes is that our tools are not completely traditional, but they do aim high to give you better outcomes in your woodworking endeavors.

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Many woodworkers say they want to spend less time making jigs. Some say that they don’t have enough spare time, others don’t have the tools. We listened. Free time these days for most people is limited and precious, so when there is time for woodworking, most people want to maximize their outcomes making great cabinetry and furnishings. Continue Reading »

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Dec 23 2010

A Shooting Board for Picture Frames and Moldings.

For some time now, we have wanted to add a shooting board for picture framing and moldings. It’s new for 2011, and it is available now.

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Working with picture frames and moldings in general presents a special set of circumstances when mitering. Often, the bottom and back of the molding are the only surfaces that can be registered flat and square, and so they have to be the ones used when registering them against fences for cutting and shooting.

So it goes that if you can only orient a molding one way, which is on it’s back, a single chute shooting board will only be able to shoot half of the miter. The right hand board will only shoot the left side of the miter, and the left chute will only shoot the right side. A problem if you only have one chute. There are workarounds, but ehhh… They are often rife with as many problems as they hope to solve.

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Enter our newest shooting board, the ‘Picture Frame Shooter’. A shooting board with twin chutes, independent, calibratable left and right hand 45-degree miter fences, with tall, removable fence faces to prevent breakout to the top of most plane blades. Continue Reading »

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Nov 26 2010

Getting High End Craftsmanship From Hand Tools

In The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke, we looked at how Dick took a number of hand tools into the Alaskan wilderness, and used them to homestead and create all the things he needed to live and survive. It was rustic carpentry from available timber that was felled, seasoned and milled by hand on site. We all got to look over Dick’s shoulder as he showed us how these tools could be used to create most of what would be needed to make a comfortable home and live well in a remote area.

Dick wrote that what he had accomplished was good enough for “rural work” but in reality, he was a very talented user of hand operated tooling, and knew what he could accomplish with the woods he had access to and the kind of durability he needed from them. Rural work did not mean he quit refining the quality of his workmanship, it meant he built the way he did so as to provide utility, endure hard use and inclement seasonal conditions.

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Hand tools are also very highly regarded as the go to tools for fine work. Work on pieces where tolerances are exacting, or the sizes of the pieces are so small or thin where powered tooling would make it difficult to work safely or accurately. Continue Reading »

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Oct 22 2010

The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke

Several years back, PBS, Public Broadcasting, began showing a few videos that have been produced about the life of Richard L “Dick” Proenneke. (1916-2003) The titles of these videos are: “Alone in the Wilderness”, “Alaska, Silence and Solitude”, and “The Frozen North”. Most people who have seen any of these, have more than likely seen Alone in the Wilderness. This video is of footage shot mostly by Dick himself, with his 16 mm Bolex camera, and the narration is writings from his journals in the book, “One Man’s Wilderness”.

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For most of us, this was our introduction to Dick, and his life. It is one of the only films ever made that shows the process of making a cabin in the wilderness, using only hand tools. It is a real gift.

Dick was a man whose life took him to a lot of places and exposed him to a lot of things, and those things may have been instrumental in helping shape his abilities for life in the wilderness. Born and raised in Iowa, he joined the US Navy and was a Navy carpenter, a rancher, diesel mechanic and heavy equipment operator.

He originally went to Alaska to start a cattle ranch, and wound up commercial salmon fishing and working as a mechanic. He spent the final years of his working career in and around Kodiak Alaska at the naval base there, until a work accident nearly cost him his eyesight. His life in the ranching business probably helped him understand nature and wildlife on an intuitive level, and his life as a carpenter and mechanic probably prepared him with the self-sufficiency needed for the next phase of his life. He retired at age 51 to Twin Lakes, living as a naturalist, nature cinematographer, and scientific observer in the remote Alaska wilderness. Continue Reading »

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Feb 23 2010

Usable Hand Tool Storage? Thank Mr. C.A. Jewett.

Walt Quattro is a really cool guy who has a really cool used record store in Waterbury, CT that <looks right, looks left> secretly doubles as a vintage tool store. <but please, keep that to yourself, eh?> 😀

Walt’s place is Brass City Records and Tools. Those who know Walt know that he is known to drop into a tool forum with a song lyric that doubles as a riddle that somehow describes his latest tool prowl. Please click here for one of Walt’s riddle answers. Walt’s posts are always a great time and he is great to trade with! So as usual, I like to make a habit of going over to his site to look around, because it is always changing. Me? I am usually late to the party but eh… you know how it goes. His site changes a lot as some of you know. Early birds get the worm, fair is fair. Walt knows this and it works that way to shop with Walt too.

Well anyway, Walt’s haunts are the flea markets of New England, where many a tool he finds are straight out of the heart of where the industrial revolution took place. He is also centrally located near where many of these tools were originally made. These are the tools that helped bring that revolution, and are now sought after by many of us who don’t want those tools to become just another historical footnote. (Thanks Walt)

It happens that Walt has a cool link on his site that points to Pat Leach’s (of Superior Works fame) supertool.com site, that I have looked at many times over the years. While we all seem to discuss tool cabinets around at various forums on the net pretty frequently, I don’t recall seeing anyone really discussing this one for a pretty long time. It is worth a visit, or for some of us, a re-visit.

jewett_chest.jpgPhoto Courtesy Pat Leach

It is C.A Jewett’s Patternmaking Chest. It is worthy of discussion and so let’s, shall we? Continue Reading »

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