Saturday, October 13, 2018


In all my time working in wood I have never actually tried a wedged through mortice and tenon joint before this point

my third wedge broke going in and I realized I should have done all the wedges in oak
lost another three along the way

there's a raw brutality to the freshly glued joint
and a really humble finish

stands on its own, good sign

time to cut down the legs

forgot to take a single photo making the wedges, really nothing you haven't already seen

What do you do with that really gnarly off-cut of poplar that can't be used on anything else?

Trimmed up the overhang


and the whole reason I made this, a trip to woodworker mecca
Keim Lumber in the heart of Amish country
seriously the best selection of high quality wood, clearly labeled, priced, and sorted alphabetically. Each piece squarely cut on the ends and (no shit) sanded both sides

This is just one of the multiple aisles of lumber
I found the three slabs myself and an incredibly humble and helpful fellow lead me to the cut off pallet in one of the numerous other buildings for the 12/4

All at less that half what I would have paid here in the 216
I indulged in a modest and fulfilling lunch in the upstairs cafe overlooking the most glorious sight of every single item I've ever seen in a woodworking catalogue
except for the hand tools, never found those

Sunday, September 23, 2018

hammer time

I never really had much interest in hammers, just simple lumps of metal pierced by a rod of stout wood. A direct result of our unique ability to hold a shaft in line with our arm, coupled with our need to whack things.

 But then two hammers came to live with me. The first; a sixteen ounce hand made bench hammer by metalsmith Seth Gould. It looks ancient right out of the box, the black on black pallet perfectly exhibits its grace of form and subtle textures.

Finely balanced it allows precise yet forceful taps for my finest chiseling needs. And frankly it's just the coolest object I've ever seen.

The second hammer represents the first run of the long awaited Lump Hammer from Crucible Tool.

Two and a half pounds of precision engineering, it arrived flawless and starkly new in contrast to Seth's offering. I'm grateful to the folks at Crucible for their decision to not perform sho sugi ban on the handle, the juxtaposition is remarkable.

A small project to give the two a test drive was in order; a single knock-down saw horse to accompany my saw bench. I've got a bed to build in the near future and for the most part everything will be eight feet long or so. Trying to manipulate timbers of such scale without a second stand just seemed preposterous.

The huge tenons demanded a riving technique as opposed to sawing, much quicker and less strenuous. Lumpy performed flawlessly, delivering tons of mass in a very easy to control fashion.

Chopping shoulders, same deal.

A quick touch with a well tuned block plane and we're ready to mortice.

This is where Lumpy shines, morticing with a two and a half pound hammer is akin to cutting a deal with Thor himself.

The ability of these two hammers to perform their intended duty with grace and beauty is all the justification I needed.

Guess I'm a hammer guy now.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


What follows is a visual essay

I've performed and recorded every one of these steps before

there's nothing new here

although eliminating the shooting board and just using my benchtop has been liberating

and I guess woking in pine has been new

everything goes twice as fast


and everything unplaned comes out fuzzy

and it's prone to spelch

and dings

and pretty much just breathing too hard on one spot

and it's impossible to erase errant marks

and you really have to watch the end of your cut

and take it easy

but joinery is almost cheating in pine

my tolerance in maple

fits the first time in pine

pine makes me feel like a woodworking demigod

in an hour I can realize something that in maple might take days

sorry, my "days" is simply "minutes" to someone else

although I did rough then smooth the curves on the legs in under an hour

that was my Tuesday

 the dry fit is so tight I feel the need to caress some of the joinery and just give it all some breathing room

a decision on finish is yet to come, I have just begun to walk that path