Published on 25 Feb 2017
Follow Sue on Instagram: @rhodes_woodwork
Workbench made by Sue Rhodes as her masterclass student project at the John McMahon School of Fine Woodworking, Nottinghamshire, UK (http://www.schoolofwoodworking.co.uk).
March 22, 2017
March 15, 2017
Published on 11 Mar 2016
The best way to get hold of a mitre box that suits your needs is to make your own. In this video, Paul shows how he makes one in a matter of minutes that guarantees accuracy, especially when used in combination with a shooting board (link to shooting board video). They can be used for many things such as trim for tool chests, boxes and drawers as well as picture frames and the like.
March 13, 2017
Published on 1 Mar 2013
A new method for storing my hand tools and allow me to get rid of my pegboard. I decided on using french cleats to hang screwdrivers, pliers and other items. It’s a really flexible system that lets you get creative customizing it.
March 7, 2017
Published on 15 Jan 2016
If you want to make things out of wood, a table saw is one of the most useful tools you can own. If you are new to woodworking, this video will help get you started.
Kickback caught on camera video: https://youtu.be/u7sRrC2Jpp4
March 3, 2017
Published on 27 Feb 2017
Chisels come from the manufacturer needing preparing or initialising as well sharpening. How do you check they are flat and get them sharp? Paul shows you the process he follows. This gets them to the level we need for crisp and accurate work.
February 28, 2017
Published on 7 Oct 2016
You can make this fun DIY medieval torture device in a weekend! FREE PLANS and full article►► http://woodworking.formeremortals.net/2016/10/how-to-make-medieval-stocks-pillory/
February 1, 2017
Ace put up some shelves recently. He was not impressed with some of the tools he used:
I thought I had a drill that could drill (and drive screws) through studs. I did not. What I had was two pieces of shit which, combined together, made up a collection of shit that took up more space in my tool drawer than a single piece of shit would.
The things could not even push past the first eighth inch of drywall. The easiest part.
It’s like, “Hey, thanks Tool. Thanks for getting me past that first easy eighth inch. I’ll take it the rest of the way, now that you’ve gotten me off to such a swell start. You take a well-earned break, and get back to napping in that drawer. I’ll power through the rest of this with my forearms and my dinky little ratchet.”
I literally was just pushing on the drill to make a small starter hole for the screw, like it was a poorly-balanced nail with a pistol grip.
It’s a poor workman who blames his tools, but I think you can all agree I am a poor workman in the first place, and these really are shitty, shitty tools.
January 17, 2017
Published on 17 Jan 2013
May 17, 2016
As my father the industrial designer used to say, “Stainless steel is so called because it stains less than some other steels.” But give me, by preference, wrought iron from a puddling furnace, for I don’t like shiny. Unfortunately it is not made any more except on a small craft scale: but I have, in the kitchen of the High Doganate, a pair of Chinese scissors that I’ve owned nearly forever, which have never rusted and whose blades stay frightfully sharp (they were only once sharpened). They cost me some fraction of a dollar, back when forever began (some time in the 1970s).
Too, I have an ancient French chef’s knife, nearly ditto, made I think from exactly the steel that went into the Eiffel Tower. It holds an edge like nothing else in my cutlery drawer, and has a weight and balance that triggers the desire to chop vegetables and slice meat.
And there are nails in the wooden hulls of ships from past centuries which have not rusted, after generations of exposure to salt sea and storm. Craft, not technology, went into their composition: there were many stages of piling and rolling, each requiring practised human skill. (The monks in Yorkshire were making fine steels in the Middle Ages; and had also anticipated, by the fourteenth century, all the particulars of a modern blast furnace. But they gave up on that process because it did not yield the quality they demanded.)
What is sold today as “wrought iron” in garden fixtures, fences and gates, is fake: cheap steel with a “weatherproof” finish (a term like “stainless”) painted on. These vicious things are made by people who would never survive in a craft guild. (Though to be fair, they are wage slaves, and therefore each was “only following orders.”)
However, in the Greater Parkdale Area, on my walks, I can still visit with magnificent examples of the old craft, around certain public buildings — for it was lost to us only a couple of generations ago. These lift one’s heart. I can stand before the trolley stop at Osgoode Hall (the real one, not the Marxist-feminist law school named after it). Its fence and the old cow-gates warm the spirit, and raise the mind: if the makers sinned, I have prayed for them.
Almost everywhere else one looks in one’s modern urban environment, one sees fake. This, conversely, leaves the spirit cold, and lowers every moral, aesthetic, and intellectual expectation. To my mind it is sinful to call something what it is not — as is done in every “lifestyle” advertisement — and to my essentially mediaeval mind, the perpetrators ought to be punished in this world, as an act of charity. This could spare them retribution in the next.
David Warren, “For a Godly materialism”, Essays in Idleness, 2015-01-31.
May 1, 2016
The finish had been subject to extremes of sunlight and temperature and humidity. Not left outdoors, but I figured an attic or something. My neighbor later told me that it was left on an enclosed porch for many years. Bingo. The finish was missing here and there, but what there was looked like suede when you ran your finger across it. It was completely crisscrossed with fingermarks going every which way. I pawed at it a bit, running through the rusty filing cabinet of my mind to figure out what I was looking at. It came to me in a vision — all at once.
I knew it was shellac. Of all the dumb luck. No one had “fixed” this piece of furniture in 75 years. It didn’t have any new, improved finish that wouldn’t last but couldn’t be fixed. It wasn’t “eco,” another word for wasteful useless disposable plastic crap. The finish was made from the nasty ooze that comes out of a lac bug and dries on a tree branch. Your favorite Hindoo used to gather the stuff by putting tarps on the ground under trees where the lac bugs congregate, and then beating the limbs with sticks to make the amber flakes rain down. When you mix lac leavings with alcohol, you get shellac. It’s wonderful stuff.
Shellac sticks to anything. Anything sticks to shellac. Shellac can be diluted till there’s barely a whisper of lac left in it, but it still makes a coherent film. It seals knots. Shellac can be polished to mirror shine if you want to. A technique called French polishing is the finish you saw on Baron Percy Devonshire Smythe XXIVth’s harewood and mahogany gaming table back when King George was still gibbering on his throne. You can make shellac look like anything you want. Our dresser had pigment mixed in with it to make a kind of varnish stain that could be sprayed on in one coat as an all-purpose stain/finish.
Shellac is so safe for humans to handle that you can eat it, and you might have. They used to make the capsules that drugs and vitamins come in out of shellac. And the greatest thing about shellac, at least for me, is that no matter how old it is, it immediately dissolves and gets loose in the presence of alcohol, just like everyone at your office Christmas party.
Sippican Cottage, “Happy Birthday, Mrs. King”, Sippican Cottage, 2016-04-20.
July 27, 2015
Published on 23 Jul 2015
Paul Sellers shows how he sharpens and sets a bench plane in his every day of work. A quick and easy guide to get your plane working.
April 1, 2015
Published on 1 Apr 2015
Watch this behind-the-scenes video on the making of our Custom Bench Planes.
March 30, 2015
Published on 6 Jun 2014
Shipwright Louis Sauzedde shows you how to tell the difference between white oak and red oak for proper wooden boat building. Produced by Fish Hawk Films.
February 21, 2015
Published on 17 Feb 2015
It takes a master woodworker to teach the basics. Watch Paul’s every move in this video. He shows every single detail of cutting this essential woodworking joint. This is one of the three joints that Paul talks about in his woodworking curriculum. The dovetail is the essential box joint. It is the strongest way to join two pieces of wood at the corner. Although there are many variations on a theme with this joint mastering the most simple form is the most difficult and important step.
February 16, 2015
In The Federalist, Neal Dewing explains how he uses woodworking as a helpful method of getting through certain marital disputes:
There comes a time in every marriage when a man finds himself banished from his lady’s bedchamber for some perceived offense. A trifle, nonsense in most cases, but God help you if you argue with her until she realizes you’re right (which, of course, you usually are). If you successfully dispute her irrational arguments, the trap is sprung and she’ll proceed to catalogue every single one of your past lapses. At this point, my friend, you’ve entered what we in the marriage game like to refer to as
the normal state of thingsa dry spell.
The most important thing to remember about dry spells is that they happen to everyone. This is the case even if you have married an infinitely patient woman who doesn’t find fault in every piddling thing you do and certainly never expects you to tidy up the bathroom counter every day, because she knows fully well you’re just going to use all that stuff again so it just doesn’t make sense.
Any man who sticks to his guns will experience a dry spell sooner or later, but there are ways to cope. In fact, it can be a tremendous opportunity for self-improvement.
What better activity for a man with some unanticipated free time than carpentry? There are few better ways to relieve stress than taking a length of wood into your hands and manipulating it until you’ve achieved the desired result. It can really clear your head. With a few practical guidelines you’ll be up to speed and navigating dry spells with practiced ease.
The first order of business is to identify a project. For this exercise, we’ll go with something fairly easy that will take up some time. You like to sit around, as your wife never fails to tell people loudly enough for you to overhear. So how about a bench? I’ll run you through the steps of this basic woodworking project, which should be enough to carry you through until she works up the nerve to apologize.
Step 1: Materials
It’s important to have all your materials in place before beginning. You can obtain these from a lumberyard or one of the big home improvement stores.
- (1) 2×10
- (2) 8’ of 2×2
- (2) 8’ of 1×4
- (2) 2×4
- Wooden dowels
- Wood screws (1.5” & 3” length)
- Paint or oil-based stain
You’ll also need some tools. If you are missing a few of these, go borrow one from an older neighbor. He’ll have them. He’s been there. Plus, at this point you should take advantage of any excuse to get out of the house.
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw or compound miter saw
- Swanson® Speed® square
- 2 sawhorses
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
Depending on how much time you spent
hidingplanning, visiting the lumberyard, and jawing with the neighbor, you may well have eaten up most of a day. Don’t feel like you need to finish this up in an afternoon. She probably hasn’t let it go yet, knowing her, even though this is obviously a ridiculous thing for her to be mad about.
You can pick this up tomorrow. Have a beer. Stay strong.