Archive for ‘Tools’

WoodRiver 4 Piece Butt Chisel Set Item #152169

By , 9 May, 2012, 3 Comments
Shown in the Box

Shown in the Box

I picked up this set last week at the Lenexa, KS store.  The clerk opened the box for me so that I could inspect the chisels before I purchased them, and we found that one of the blade guards was broken.  He quickly dug out the one from the display box and substituted it for my broken one which was really nice of him.  Otherwise, on first glance, I found the box and the chisels to be in very good shape and the overall appearance of each piece was nice.

I liked the feel of the handles in my hands.  I have a large hand and wide palms.  They just feel right for me, and I am excited about using them in the years to come.

Factory Edge of 3/4

Factory Edge of 3/4

The blades all looked good on first inspection.  The tips were ‘mostly’ square and roughly sharpened, but still sharp.  I knew immediately that I would be working them a little bit.  What I discovered after working on them for a while is that the width of the blade right at the tip was a bit more than the width of the blade as you move down.  I would not have noticed this, except for the fact that I was using a square to line up the blade in my sharpening jig, and I could see it then.

The edge actually took like time for me to sharpen.  I set my guide to 30% and started on a 1000 grit stone.   I found that their bevel was close, but slightly different, so I quickly got a new bevel that was very sharp, but only about 1/8 inch up the bevel.

Back of 3/4 Chisel

Back of 3/4 Chisel

I flipped the 3/4 over and started again on my 1000 grit stone to see how flat the back actually was.  You can see here that the back, although polished nicely from the store, is not all that flat.  I found each blade to be uneven to some extent.  When I finally got to the 1 inch chisel, I discovered that it had quite a bow in it from tip of the bevel to the end of the flat section.  Using a straight edge, I would estimate this to have been close to 1/32 of an inch.

I have a Work Sharp 3000, and I laid the chisel on the top of this and worked it for a while, being careful to not overheat the edge.  If I had been doing this by hand on a stone, I think I would have given up.  But, after about 5 minutes of time on the Work Sharp, I had the back pretty flat and I went back to my 1000 grit stone until I had a nice flat surface.

I then used a 4000 and an 8000 grit stone on the backs and on the bevels to polish them up to a nice, almost mirror surface.  The steel took a very nice edge, and I shaved hair easily with each chisel.

Overall, I am very happy with the finished results.  I love the look of these chisels, and the Bubinga handles look and feel great.  The fit of the ferrule to the handle is nicely done, and does not have any rough edges.  Some will think that the blade is too thick, and maybe the edge bevel is not enough for getting into tighter areas.  That will remain to be seen as I begin to use them.

I have a Crown butt chisel, but never really cared for the feel of it.  I like these much better.  I expect these tools to become life-long friends.

Old Mechanical Pencil and Friend

By , 28 January, 2011, 1 Comment
40 Year Old Pencil

40 Year Old Pencil

Somewhere around 1971-2, I met a man in Kemmerer, Wyoming.  Lloyd Bass came to that small Polish, coal mining community to work on the new coal fed power plant.  I was there for other reasons.

Lloyd was the only African American in town, and I seemed to be the only person in town willing to befriend him.  He and I became good friends.  We both had motorcycles, and rode some together.  I managed a gas station for Amoco and he worked part-time for me just for something to do in the off hours.

We hung out together often during his stay there, and I enjoyed the relationship.  He was one of the nicest and most genuine people that I had ever known.

One day, Lloyd presented me with this pencil.  They had just gotten some at the plant, and he wanted me to have one.  I had never seen anything like it before, and I loved it at first sight.  Mechanical pencils had been around for sometime, but this was a .05 millimeter pencil when most had a fat lead that wrote an ugly line.  And the lead advancement was by clicking the top instead of rotating the barrel.

This pencil has lived in 4 states and 7 towns with me.  I was using it in the shop last week when it dropped to the floor again for the 5th time.  As I picked it up, I thought maybe I should be more careful with it.  I bought some cheapy pencils to use in the shop and brought this into the office with me where it belongs again.

This wonderful little tool has been with me now for almost 40 years, and I think of Lloyd often when I pick it up.  It still works well, and I thank him again here for it and for his friendship.

Drilling Guide

By , 28 January, 2011, 1 Comment
PortAlign Drilling Guide

PortAlign Drilling Guide

As promised in the previous post, I want to highlight a tool purchased about 30 years ago.  I don’t recall where I purchased it, except that I got it someplace in Lawrence, KS.  During this period of time, I was a self-employed handyman.    I had numerous quirky jobs that I did for people, and for one such job, this appeared to be the perfect tool.

The Patent description for this product explains far better than I have in this space what this tool does, but it has served me well over the years on several projects.  Essentially, if you attach it to your drill, you can drill a perpendicular hole on a flat surface.  In this picture in fact are holes in my workbench top that I drilled for bench dogs using this very tool.

With Drill Attached

With Drill Attached

The bars that hold the drill perpendicular to the base also extend beyond the base if you wish.  When used this way, you can center an edge between the bars in a clamping motion when you rotate the base until one bar is on each side of the wood.  That effectively puts the drill bit in the center of the edge and if you keep downward pressure on the plate it is perpendicular too.

I see that the company, PortAlign Tool Co. went out of business, but there are some imitations.  I love this one, and would not surrender it.  The drill is the same drill used in it from the start, so it too is a good 30 years old.  Boy, has it been abused!

Just this past year, I located a new chuck for it that did not need a key.  Curiously, a new chuck costs nearly as much as a drill anymore, so I avoided buying a new one.  But just a few months back, I ran across one on clearance for about $7 at Home Depot.  Believe me, I snatched it in a moment.  I hate chuck keys with a passion, especially the ‘L’ shaped one that came with this drill.

I will confess that when I dug this tool out of storage a year ago, it was kind of rusty.  But, a few minutes on the buffer and it was good to go again.  I put a little oil on it, and I will likely use it for many more years and many more projects.  At least on 3 more desks…

Miniature Plane

By , 24 January, 2011, 5 Comments
Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

I have large hands, and they are not quite as limber as they were when I did woodworking 30 years ago.  The benefits of age though are many.  One particular benefit is the cash to buy some nice little toys that are cute and useful on projects.

Sometimes you need something small when you are working on something small. These desks contain a few small pieces of wood that fit into sockets.  I got them close with table saw and router, but finished the fit by hand.  One piece is 1 inch wide and the other is 1 and 1/2 inch wide.  Both are just over 3/8 inch thick.

Using the Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

Using the Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

With just a tiny bit of adjustment required, I started with my marking gauge.  I scribed a line all the way around each end to make a cut about 3/8 inch from the end which is the depth of the mortise into which the pieces will fit.

At this point, I needed to shave of a very minute amount of wood along that line to make it fit nicely into the mortise.  I started with a sharp chisel and then finished with the miniature shoulder plane from Veritas.  It worked very nicely.  The plane hugged my scribed line, giving me a nice sharp shoulder, and removed the tiniest shavings until I had a great fit.

This is the second occasion in which I pulled out this tool, and each time it was a delight to put into play.  So far, I have not sharpened it, using it just as it came from Lee Valley.  Highly recommended.

Shoulder Tools

By , 13 December, 2010, No Comment
Veritas Shoulder Plane

Veritas Shoulder Plane

A good tool at the right time solves a lot of problems, and creates a sense of joy in the usage.  For these cover panels, I pulled out two tools that I bought over the past year.  The first is the Veritas medium shoulder plane that you can get from Lee Valley (see my links).  This thing is a joy to use.  I have not used the large shoulder plane, but surely this is the more useful tool.  A friend brought his to work for me to handle and after I did, I went right to the web and bought my own.

Laying it on the side, I cleaned up some of the rough edges left by the router after the 45 degree bit made a pass.  Nice!

Record Bull Nose

Record Bull Nose

A second plane that I used came from an eBay purchase.  This was a fortuitous purchase, as I just happened to catch the new listing as a buy it now.  Obviously, the owner did not know what he had, and I snapped it up for under $15.   Wow, what a bargain!

This plane was made from 1933 to 1943.  Veritas makes one that is comparable, and can be found at Lee Valley if you are looking for one of your own.

I used this plane to shave off some thin slices of wood on these cover panels where the saw marks could not easily be removed with sanding, or where the levels of the shoulders were not equal due to small issues in sawing.

Record Bull-Nose

Record Bull-Nose

They are all fun to use when they are sharp and you are working with the grain of the wood, or even across the grain.  Tools like these are perfect for places where you just can’t fit another tool.  Of course, it never hurts to have them sitting at the ready on your shelf too!