Monday, April 29, 2013

Where's the Rest of Your Mallet?

Half a Mallet

     You may have seen my Facebook entry where I purchased a new mallet made of flame Birch but until I get it there's still work to be done!  Not only am I working on the second series of boxes for the Etsy store but we reached the required enrollment for the hand tool class that starts on the 9th. of May.  That means I need to finalize the projects for that 6 week course.

     More on that later but in case you missed it, here's what happened to my original mallet:

Hmm, Jungle Rot?
     It is a mallet made of Lignum Vitae and if you're interested at all in this wood here's a link to some information LINK on it.  It's a very dense wood and one that won't float!  Another name for it is
"The Tree of Life" but not sure if it's from the original Garden of Eden!  It's been used in bearings for submarines so that lets you know how hardy it is.  I bought this mallet along with a set of Marples carving chisels back in the early 70's from Popular Mechanics magazine so I've definitely gotten my money out of it!
     The new series of boxes is shaping up and I've begun with the slanted dovetail design as mentioned in my last post.  Not only are these unique, I want the wood to be exceptional.  One of the woods used is Australian Lacewood.  It has some spectacular rays and I've never attempted to dovetail it before.  The first step to working this out was to cut a shallow tenon similar to the Stanley 140 trick.  Instead of using a skewed rabbet plane I use the tablesaw and a tenon jig.

Powered Stanley 140 Trick
     This creates a shoulder which helps make a cleaner inside corner on the boxes and also aids lay-out of the dovetails:

Walnut Side Pieces

     I was pleasantly surprised to find that dovetailing this species of wood wasn't too difficult.  It does want to splinter on the large flecks but it was manageable.  To remove the waste between the tails, I always cut a shallow notch by setting the chisel in the marking gauge line and then removing a "chip" from the waste:

Initial Cut
     You can see it better here:

"Chip" removed
     When cutting these tails that are almost  1 1/2" long there's no need trying to remove the entire length.  By cutting this chip section out from both sides of the boards the entire length comes out once both sides meet in the middle.  The thickness of the sides are 1/4"+ so it doesn't take too long.  The difficulty comes in removing the wood from the pieces they dovetail into.  Look at the picture above that shows the Walnut sides and you can imagine how much has to be chiseled out of them to fit the tails.  Makes for a unique and interesting piece so it's worth it to me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Finish --- Last Thing Applied but First Thing Noticed

Final Coat Comparison
     As a teacher I'd always stress to my students the importance of taking their time on the finishing process of whatever project they were working on.  My standard reply to their questions about having sanded or worked the oil "enough" was something like: "A excellent finish can make an average project shine but a poor finish can make an excellent project become average."  You can prove this for yourself if you observe people at a furniture store or woodworking show.  Inevitably, the first thing most do is to touch the wood.  I've shared my finish process before on the blog and with countless fellow woodworkers.
     These lids are made of Alder with a lift made of Zebrawood.  The process begins with an initial coat of Watco Danish Oil which is allowed to penetrate into the wood but then I use wet/dry sandpaper to work it into the pores.  It is then completely wiped dry.  A note on the Watco Oil, due to ongoing EPA regulations and VOC compliant rules it is not the same as it was 40 years ago!  From what I've been told by Rustoleum, product shipped to California, some mid-west states, and most of the New England region have been modified to meet those regulations.  Since Las Vegas is right next door to California I'm pretty sure that the oil I buy at Home Depot is blended for California.  It works different, smells different, and just has a different feel to it.  I'm planning to order from Woodworkers Supply out of New Mexico to get the original formula in quarts.  Gallons all have the reformulation but quarts destined for the homeowners doesn't in some areas.  I'm hoping that New Mexico is one of those areas but, sorry; I digress!
     The initial oil dries overnight and then the hand finishing begins.  I use a 3, equal parts mixture of polyurethane, boiled linseed oil, and turpentine which is wet sanded in and wiped completely dry.  Starting with 320 grit, next comes 400, and finally 600 grit.  Each coat is allowed to dry overnight and I do not do the interiors of boxes or cabinets with it.  The question that I usually get is how many coats, well; that depends!  The lid on the left has some interesting grain that soaked up the finish so needed more than the rest of the box.
     The final application is done with a piece of old Levi's.  You use just a very small amount of the top coat and it is rubbed and burnished onto the wood and then dried with an old towel.  This finish has the feel and look that is hard to put into words but I know that my clients have always loved it.  This is the final blog on the box headed up to Toronto.  It's lid is the one on the right, the left lid is for the box going onto the Etsy store once I get it listed later today.

Friday, April 19, 2013

It's All About the Wood

     I spent a couple of hours this morning preparing stock to make more boxes for the Etsy Store.  This is that "grunt work" portion requiring mostly power tools.  It starts off by hand as I plane one working edge to guide the wood safely on the table and band saws.  Then comes the ripping to width, followed by re-sawing to get the required thinner material, which is followed up by a pass or two on the surface planer.  What you're looking at (from left to right) is Curly Cherry, Quarter-Sawn White Oak, more of the Cherry, then Lacewood.  These will become the sides of the boxes.  The roughly formed end pieces are Walnut and Sapele.  I'm completely sold out of this style of box:

     It's been a good seller and is one of my original designs.  I really like the play between the angles of the dovetails and the angles of the side pieces.

View from the Outfeed Side of the Saw

     Making the side piece for that style  is somewhat tricky.  The box above is the trickiest because it requires that the rip fence is on the left side of the blade.  That's not the side it's customarily on so it feels kind of awkward!  Definitely need to use a push stick and a feather board.  The off cut piece tends to lodge between the blade and the opening in the throat plate.

     The other style is a bit more straight forward and is cut with a panel raising jig, this time on the customary side of the blade.

Forming the Side Pieces
     You can see the basic profiles created this way.  They will be modified to suit not only my design but mostly to take advantage of the woods beauty.

Side Profiles
     Thankfully, the remaining work on these boxes is hand work.  The profiles of the side pieces will be planed to remove all of the saw marks.  Then all pieces will be cut to size and the hand cut dovetails laid out and cut.  Creative knobs will finish off the lids and these will be ready to add to the store after finishing.
     When we had our discussion at Sin City Woodworkers meeting last Wednesday pricing our work was a big part of it.  In my experience your best bet is to somewhat mass produce the phase of making boxes.  The majority of my work is done by hand which, no matter how you look at it; is time consuming.  I can maximize my time by cutting enough material with the power tools to make multiple boxes.  Then, between students and any other job that may come up, I can spend that quiet shop time carefully creating them by hand --- just as God intended!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Enjoying the Process vs. Power Tools --- Worth It?

Hand Crafted Lid Pull of Leopardwood
     The inspiration for the custom box I'm making for a client in Toronto came from a box on my Etsy store that had a pull made from a knot that came from the Pine the box was made from.  Since this box is made out of a clear grade of Alder, aka "poor man's Cherry" there aren't any knots.  My client granted me artistic license and here's the result.  The Leopardwood is from a scrap I've held on to for a long time, I believe it's from my TV Tray Redux tables.  Interestingly enough, a friend of mine came by to run a piece of Curly Maple through my planer and commented on the process I was going through.  He asked me why I didn't just use the table saw to form the joinery for this and it did get me thinking.  I'm afraid we're going to get philosophical here but before that, here's another picture showing both lids and their pulls:

Both Lids with Pull
     Regular readers of my blog know that I enjoy the process of woodworking as much or maybe more than the final results.  Hand tools are a large part of the craft, after all; I teach hand tool classes and give one on one instruction in my shop.  I look at every project as a skill building exercise to continue to hone and improve my work.  That's part of the decision to do this primarily with hand tools.  The other is safety, you need to exercise extra care when using power tools with small pieces of wood.  Add the quietness factor to the equation and hand tools become much more attractive.
     To start the process, each end of the piece of Leopardwood was rounded over with a file and sandpaper.  Figured it would be easier that way, keeping the piece long for the preliminary work.  Next the thickness of the lid was scribed onto it with the marking gauge.

Lid Thickness (lines darkened with pencil)

To mark the thickness of this lap joint I could have used the marking gauge but decided that since the router plane was adjusted for that, why not use it to mark that dimension as well?

Router Plane used as Marking Gauge
     Now it was a matter of cutting on those lines to the marked depth with a cross cut saw.

Lines Set for Thickness
     I suppose I could have used the tablesaw here to make a series of cuts.  Instead, let's keep it quiet and chisel to each line from the center out.  Good practice, quiet, and easy enough.

Chiseling To Saw Kerfs
     The middle was left slightly higher so to avoid going to deep.  The Leopardwood chiseled quite well, I had some concern about it wanting to split as it is rather grainy.  To bring it to the required depth I used a small router plane and supported the work with a bench hook.

Working to Depth
     After reaching the depth, lines were drawn and the pull was cut from both ends of the board.

Ready to be Cut Loose!
     When I cut mortises for hinges and, in this case the pull; I'll generally use a trim router and template to rough it out.  This is one area where I prefer to guarantee a flat mortise for the pull or hinge to sit against.  Maybe it's the chicken way out but ruining a box at this stage negates a lot of work!

1" Hinge Template for Pull Mortise
The pull was carefully trimmed to fit and then Gorilla glued securely in place.

     I'm using a new hinge (to me) that is available from Rockler.  It's a reasonably priced brass hinge that has built in stops to allow the hinge to stay open 105 degrees.  So far they seem to be suitable and a far cry from the $30.00 or so Brusso offerings.  I'll use them on fine jewelry boxes or a custom instrument case but the average client would not want to pay for that added cost.  They are wonderful to work with though.  Thick brass castings, extremely close tolerances on the knuckles, tight pins, and a beautiful finish.

Installing the hinges begins with the trim router and a bearing guided bit.  After locating the template it's an easy process to carefully route them out.  Note that the template is maybe a sixteenth of an inch smaller than the hinge length.  This gives me a little bit of room for final chiseling of the mortise.

Final Fitting

      There are a couple of things I do when I fit hinges.  Since there could be a little bit of variation when using the template I'll set the small combination square for the distance from the outside of the box/lid to the hinge.  Since the router bit leaves a radiused corner the square is used to guide the chisel and square that side of the mortise.  Remember that the template is undersized for the hinge so by squaring each mortise the same distance from the outside of the box, installation should by correct.

     So now there are two questions.  First of all, will the client like the lid pull and secondly, is the hand process of making it worth it?  I'll let you answer that on your own but for me it's a resounding YES.  Very little I enjoy more than the hours spent in the shop creating what I hope will be a nice project.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Am I a Hybrid Woodworker?

     You don't have to read too many woodworker's blogs or have discussions with other woodworkers to see that there is more than one school of thought when it comes to woodworking styles.  Having been doing this for almost 50 years if you consider junior high school shops and even scouting before that (dang, am I that old?) there have been trends that come and go.  Currently, there seems to be quite a resurgance in hand tool woodwork.  A noted author/woodworker such as Jim Tolpin is one I've read throughout the years and is now promoting a new traditional woodworking style that focuses on hand work.  Another noted author, editor, woodworker, and blogger Chris Schwarz  is a staunch hand tool woodworker.  I find myself between the two philosophies and will go by my own term as a Hybrid Woodworker.  
     So, what do I mean by that?  Through the years I've acquired stationary power tools to either make my own furniture work easier and also to prepare wood for my classes.  Especially when I taught at the boy's prison which didn't have a woodshop on site.  I spent countless hours in my own shop preparing scale sized materials to teach them how to frame and build houses.  As my funds became available and with a little help from my principal I made this task easier with some power tools.  Same thing went for my furniture work.  When faced with making 6 dining chairs, a hollow chisel mortiser was an attractive purchase!
     On the flip side of that though is the enjoyment I get from the quiet planing, chiseling, and forming wood joints using my hands and the traditional tools used by woodworkers for centuries.  Matter of fact, that's the only teaching I do these days either at my own shop or at Wooditis where I'm currently scheduled to teach a 6 week course utilizing primarily hand tools.  My woodworking style has evolved to where I'll use the cabinet saw to cut materials to approximate size.  Joinery is usually roughed out and then brought to exact sizes to get the fit hand work can only do.  Surfacing begins with a scrub plane since I've never had a jointer and goes through the surface planer but is always followed up with hand planing to achieve that surface unobtainable any other way.  Why should I resaw a piece of 8/4 Walnut with a rip saw when I have a perfectly good bandsaw?  This "hybrid" philosophy makes perfect sense to me and I'd be interested in hearing comments from my fellow woodworkers.

Last Brag -- Honest!


     So, the Etsy store has given me a number of orders this month, and for that I'm thankful.  One is for a finger-jointed box made of Alder, that's destined for Canada.  I just had to throw in one more picture of the shaving I'm able to get from this antique plane after tuning it up as part of the plane seminar I gave at Woodworker's Emporium last weekend.  This underscores what I said at the beginning of this blog -- nothing compares to the thrill of using hand tools on wood!   Let me use this blog to illustrate what I mean by my term of Hybrid Woodworking.  For starters, the piece of wood is a 4/4 piece of Alder purchased from the local lumberyard as surfaced and straight line rip.  The first step was to use the tablesaw to rip it slightly over the required width and rough cut a good 8" over the required length.  Next up was the surface planer.

     The sides for this box will be 1/2" thick which was easily and quickly accomplished with the surface planer.  The piece for the top was left at it's original thickness so that the edges could be beveled.  You know that surface planers; no matter how carefully set up and sharpened, will always leave their tell-tale chatter pattern on the face of the board.  The edges were carefully hand planed as shown in my, I promise, last bragging picture above.  Next up was to cut the pieces for the boxes.  If possible, I make duplicates of special orders since much of the time spent making a project is taken up by machine set ups.  I had enough of the Alder to make two boxes at the same time.  To cut them to the required size I use a sled on the tablesaw.

Cutting Pieces to Size
     It's important to me that the grain pattern of the wood is continuous all the way around the box.  Three of your four corners will be a perfect match, the last is usually close unless the grain is really pronounced.  To accomplish that I'll set a stop block for the longest piece, clamped on the far left of the sled.  Cut that piece and then use a filler piece as a temporary stop block for the shorter piece.  In this instance, the long piece measures 10", the short 7".  That filler piece I'm pointing to with a pencil, is 3" long to make up the difference in the two sizes.  Mark the grain match as you go to keep the grain pattern intact.  Since this box is made with finger joints, the ends of the board are fine right off the tablesaw.  They'll be planed smooth after the box is assembled.
     Next up is cutting the finger joints themselves.  This always takes a bit of futzing around to get the jig set up perfectly.  That's why, if possible, I'll make more than just one box at a time.

Finger Joint aka Box Joint Jig
     It'll take some doing to dial it in just right.  A combination of trial and error, slight tapping of the moveable fence, and even the aid of a dial indicator is called for.  On those rare occasions I have been able to have them fit the first try but that is oh so unusual!  I didn't photograph it but the grooves for the top and bottom were done on the router table using Lee Valley's wonderful bit, here's a LINK to it.  It's eliminated the need for making stopped dado's or grooves.  Also didn't show beveling the sides of the top to create a raised panel but you can see it in these pictures.  I have a sled that rides on my tablesaw's rip fence dedicated for that purpose.  Easier to use a sled than it is to tilt the blade in my opinion.

     This is where the hand work on a project begins.  Now that all of the "grunt" work is completed with the machinery it's time for that quiet and enjoyable phase of woodworking.  Here you see some of the tools used for this.  In the hand tool class I'll be teaching next month my plan is to start the students out making some of these appliances.

A Better Look
     In the foreground is a Bench Hook which will be the first project for the class.  This one is definitely overkill!  Honest, a piece of plywood, some glue, and a couple of screws would suffice but it's a good project to practice cutting dovetails.  The Bench Hook is being used to hold the top while planing out the marks made by the tablesaw when raising the panel in the middle.  For that a rabbet block plane is ideal.
     There is a simple planing stop clamped into the vise.  Now is the time to use the smooth plane and remove all of the chatter marks left by the surface planer on the insides of the box.  My #4 Smooth plane is made of bronze and weighs a hefty 4 1/2 pounds so it really gets the job done!  You can see the other box dry fit together towards the right side of the bench.
     Finally time to assemble these two boxes.  The temperature isn't too high yet so mid-morning worked assembly worked out okay.  In the summer time it'll be in the low to mid 80's in the shop at 6 am which makes glue ups even more stressful.  I use Old Brown Glue for most operations like this as it cleans up well but most importantly, has a longer open time so I'm not overly stressed.  Kind of looks like a porcupine with all of the clamps but this should keep the boxes sufficiently clamped until morning when the glue will be fully cured.  I'll spend some time on it after church tomorrow.

Lunch Time!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

UpDate on Latest Etsy Custom Order and Mystery of the Planer

    First of all, what the heck happened to our spring like weather?  Over the weekend I washed and put away what I call my "winter over-alls", the heavy stone-washed Carharts with the double knees and all!  In the summer time I switch to a pair of their denim ones instead. Also put away the heater figuring that with our daytime highs reaching the upper 80's I surely wouldn't be needing that either.  Well, the wind blew (30-50 mph) and the temps dropped down to the 50's which for most of you is still downright balmy but for us desert rats ---- not so much!  Work goes on just the same, just wanted to complain a little.  We're supposed to get close to a high temperature record on Thursday which was 88 degrees back in 1985.
     Fell one day behind in my schedule for the two boxes due to some adjustments on my planer.  You may remember my post where I had rotated all of the carbide cutters to have a fresh edge.  This is after having the planer for 7 years or so.  Well, the cut became worse instead of better and there was a huge amount of snipe at both ends of the board.  Turns out that the in feed and out feed roller were out of adjustment and putting way to much pressure on the stock as it was being fed into the cutter.  Somewhat of a mystery, there's only .02 difference between the height of the cutter compared to the rollers.  Only thing I can imagine is that over the years the cutting edge wore down and the performance deteriorated ever so slightly, then when the cutters were renewed every thing went the other way.  Oh well, just a mystery that may come up whenever the blades are changed.  Once done I was able to accurately plane the Walnut to fit the slot at each corner of the boxes.

Measuring Key Length

     I really do relish the quietness of hand work, the length of the key was set with a small combination square and placed on a bench hook.

Cut to Length
     For this I use a Japanese razor saw which makes quick work of cutting the key.

Gluing Keys in Place

     The final step is to glue the key into the slot previously made on the tablesaw.  High tech work here with your standard toothpick glue applicator and a small hammer to set it firmly into the slot if needed.  Adding miter keys to the joint can be interesting,  many times I make the key fit snugly into the slot but too snugly!  You know that because the glue causes the grain to swell and you can barely fit it into the slot -- that's where the little hammer comes in.  This was done yesterday morning and due to the unusually cold weather decided to wait until today to cut and finish them off.  On a typical spring day here in the desert the glue would set up in a matter of hours but with the drop in temperature decided giving it 24 hours was a wise choice.
     Off to the shop to get these boxes completed and shipped out as promised.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Woodworking Plane Seminar at Woodworkers Emporium, Las Vegas

Beginning of the Seminar
     This weekend, Woodworker's Emporium here in Las Vegas had their first of what is being called First Saturday seminar at their location on Arville.  I was lucky enough to lead it and we had a very good group of 11 people who chose to spend Saturday morning hoping to pick up some tips and techniques they could use in their woodworking endeavors.  Friday afternoon, Christian and I figured out how to accommodate woodworkers and their planes and find a way to hold a piece of wood so they could practice what I planned to teach them.
     When I arrived Saturday morning him and Jeri had come up with another bench, a box of donuts, and a big pot of coffee so we were set!  Started the session off with some background on different types of planes and their use and then to what they came to learn about -- how to go about setting that plane up to get those whisper thin shavings that indicate we've got it right.  They brought in planes of all types, from fresh out of the box to fresh out of a garage with the cobwebs and dust to prove it.  After 30 to 40 minutes of hands on practice it was time to get into a bit of sharpening.  As we discussed there are a variety of ways to get that "perfect edge" and which ever one a woodworker uses they'll tell you that it's the best and only way to go.  Truth is, as I told them, research all of the ways out there and experiment with them.  Once you find a way that works for you stick with it and perfect it to the best of your ability.
     One item that is always of interest is how to fine tune and rehab an Ebay or garage sale plane that you got at a great price.  With premium planes running into the hundreds of dollars it's not something that you just go out and buy 4 or 5 of!  I used this Stanley #7 Jointer plane of mine that dates to the mid 1930's or so:

Stanley Jointer Plane
     It's one that I use on every project and got in trade for building some bookshelves probably 30 years ago.  I had noticed that it didn't plane an edge in the middle of a board at first, only the ends.  Obviously, that's not going to make a good joint!  On checking it I could see that although it was flat it cupped up by the throat.  Along with the flatness of the sole, I also disassembled the plane to show the other areas that should be worked over when rehabbing a plane.

Checking for Flatness
     You can't tell from this picture but by using a known straight edge and bringing the blade completely up I could see space near the throat.  How much?, well less than my smallest feeler gauge could measure but enough to where I could see the light.  I resorted to a more primitive way to measure that  gap -- paper!  By trial and error I found that by folding a piece of binder paper four times, very crisply, I could slip it under the straight edge. Now I knew how much it was off.
     It's important to leave the blade in when you do this since it will put pressure on the plane.  You can use any surface that is known to be level and firm.  A piece of float glass, the table of your saw or jointer, or in my case; a granite back splash that wasn't used for our bathroom remodel.

Granite Backsplash with Wall Sand Sheets 
     Norton makes a very strong sandpaper designed for use with drywall mud.  It just happened to be the same width as the backsplash and is available in 80 and 100 grit and was attached with spray adhesive.  To start, I used a sharpie to draw lines at the heel and toe and also on either side of the throat.  Flip it over onto the paper and start working but check your progress from time to time.  At first, the lines were sanded down by the heel and toe only since those were the higher areas. The process is to remake the lines and continue sanding and checking until all 4 lines seem to disappear at about the same time.

Lines Pretty Much Gone
     Then came the practical test, how will it do on a piece of wood?  Well, here is a continuous shaving from a 3' long board:

The Proof is in the Shaving

     It was still a little thinner at the mid point so careful checking on the tablesaw showed me that I could still get a single thickness of binder paper under the sole.  Remember, at the beginning of all of this I could get 4 thicknesses of the paper under it.

Almost but …. need a bit more Work

     A single thickness of paper measures .002 so I've made a lot of progress.  I need to replenish the paper so that means a trip to Home Depot  which I'll complete in the morning.  Figure if I've invested this much time in it might as well spend a little more and get as close to perfection as we can.
     All in all, the First Saturday Seminar went really well.  I knew I had a lot of information I wanted to try and cover and the people who attended were great to work with.  Good questions, good hands on work, and I think we all gained something positive.  Looking forward to doing this again, I'm scheduled for a seminar in dovetails for June.

Friday, April 5, 2013

When It Rains It Pours: Etsy Order, Class, & A Plane Seminar

     Well, you've all heard that expression and this week that proved to be true for me.  I've been talking with Christian and Jerry at Woodworker's Emporium here in Las Vegas.  They are starting a new program and plan to have a different event on the first Saturday of each month.  I'm scheduled for one tomorrow on hand planes so I've been busily preparing for that -- this is unchartered territory for me.  Although I've taught countless classes and do one on one instruction in my shop the format for this is a two hour seminar to eight participants.  Here's a LINK to that and you'll see they have me scheduled to do a similar thing with dovetails in June.
     In the meantime, I received a custom order on Etsy for someone in Michigan for two drawer/boxes for an installation in their home.  They had seen my work on my Etsy Store and wanted to incorporate some of my design for this project.  After some convo's back and forth they gave me the job and I gave them a two week delivery.  Well, if that wasn't enough to keep me going I'm also putting together a class for WoodItIs on the use of hand tools, here's that LINK, Jamie has already put it in her schedule.  So, you can see I have a pretty full plate.
     I have to prioritize so decided that the most important one for the middle of this week was the custom order.  Stock preparation was first so after surfacing the Maple down to 1/2" in thickness it was smoothed out by hand planing.

Smooth Plane on the Maple
     You can see my antique Stanley #7 Jointer plane in the back ground --- keep that in mind!  In the foreground is probably my favorite plane, a Lie-Nielsen bronze smooth #4.  It will be part of my talk tomorrow when it comes to premium planes.  As I was working the 4' length or so of Maple required for each box I noticed that the center of each board wasn't being cut on each pass with the jointer plane.  My first thought was that the rip fence was out of whack on the tablesaw but that checked out just fine. Checking the board before planing at several places along the width with a dial caliper showed it to be fine, however; after jointing the ends were off by about a 64th. of an inch.  Certainly not a huge amount but got my attention.  On closer inspection I found that the sole of the jointer plane is somewhat concave, going in by the throat and blade.  I used a jack plane instead to finish prepping the box pieces before cutting to size.
     Here they are,  dry fitted and ready for assembly tomorrow after my session at Woodworker's.

Almost Ready for Assembly 
     Before glue up the interior and bottom piece needs to be sanded.  The corners on these boxes will be  keyed with Walnut for strength and as a design element.  My two week goal is easy to attain. the plan is to glue the first one up in the afternoon and let it dry till early evening in the clamps.  Then I can assemble the second one and it'll stay clamped until Sunday.  After church I can cut the slots and add the keys which will then be dry enough to sand and start the finish process on Monday.
     Well, back to the jointer plane.  My wife tried to tell me that sometimes you need to let go of your old treasures and replace them with the new version.  This #7 is from the early 1920's and I've had it for 30 years or so.  Just for fun, I checked Lie-Nielsen corrugated sole, #7 jointer and if you check out this PRICE you can understand why I'm sticking with the old guy!
     I've turned it into a win/win situation.  Part of the seminar I'm doing tomorrow will be on rehabbing planes found on Ebay, garage sales, inherited, etc.  This is a perfect candidate for showing how to flatten a sole if it's not too far out of whack.

Flattening the Sole
     Flattening may not be the correct term here, actually, I'm just going to true it up.  The process is to draw four lines on the plane with a sharpie.  One at the toe, one at the heel, and one on either side of the throat.  For my true and flat surface I've held on to the granite back splash that came with my sinks when we remodeled 6-8 years ago thinking they would be perfect for just this application if I ever needed it.  Using some spray adhesive to attach 150 grit paper I'll be able to true the sole.  I've already worked it with 100 grit so this will be quicker for my demonstration for the seminar.  If time permits I'll use the blade for a sharpening as well.  The points I want to emphasize is that to successfully plane wood you need a properly set up and sharpened plane plus an effective technique in the use of your plane and how you control it.
     Well, as you can tell there's been a lot going on in the shop this week.  This morning was spent preparing for the seminar and getting my notes and materials in order.  I think I'm going to be glad when Sunday rolls around -- I'm ready for a day of rest!