The international launch of the Skottbenk

MVFlaim Furnituremaker:

This is a fantastic Norwegian bench for truing long boards. I could use one of these when squaring 2 x 10’s. Quite impressive!

Originally posted on Norsk Skottbenk Union:

This is a typical situation with a "skottbenk" used with at "skottokse" (the handplane) for shooting the edgde of a long board. Photo: Roald Renmælmo This is a typical situation with a “skottbenk” used with at “skottokse” (the handplane) for shooting the edgde of a long board. Photo: Roald Renmælmo

When I started this blog I wanted to get some focus on a type of workbench that where almost forgotten in Norway. I wanted to engage other craftsmen in Norway to search for old workbenches and to make their own and start to use them. I did not believe that this would gain interest among woodworkers in other parts of the world. About a year ago Dennis Laney wrote a post about the skottbenk on his blog: If you don’t know your hyvelbenk from a skottbenk – you should. It is not easy to explain the use of the bench and to translate Norwegian terms to English. Dennis wrote a new entry on his blog to explain how this skottbenk works: Skottbenk equals sticking board…

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Restoring a Disston D8 Thumb Hole Rip Saw

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While scouring antique malls looking for tools, I ran across this nice rip saw stuck in the back corner of a booth. It’s a Disston D8 Thumb Hole saw and considering it’s age, it was in very nice condition. Even though it had some rust on the blade, I knew it would clean up just fine.

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The first thing I did was take the saw apart and dip the blade in a bath of water with food grade citric acid. I let it sit overnight allowing the acid to eat all the rust off the blade.

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While the blade cooked, I focused my attention on the handle. Using Soy-Gel paint stripper, I cleaned all the gook and grime off the apple wood handle using a steel wool pad.

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Here’s the handle wiped off after just a few minutes of paint stripper on it.

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In the morning, I took the blade out of the bath and wiped it down with a paper towel. The blade was clean from rust, but was dull from the cook. I grabbed some drywall sponges and lightly sanded the blade. I then polished it with a variety of Sand Flex sanding sponges.

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Here’s the blade after the polishing was done. You can see how the blade was slightly pitted. Unfortunately because of the pitting, the etching was no longer present, but the saw will still make a fine user.

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After applying a couple of coats of shellac to the handle and putting it back together, the saw looked far better than when I bought it.

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Here’s a close up of the handle. You can see the crack at the bottom of the handle. A little bit of glue was all that was needed to fix it.

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The saw looked nice, but it needed to be sharp in order to work well. I took some Dykem layout fluid and spread it over the teeth of the saw so that I can see what I was doing better when filing the teeth.

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I used a file to joint the teeth flat then filed the flats away with a triangular file. If you’ve never attempted to sharpen a saw before, I recommend you start with a rip saw like this. It’s a pretty simple saw to sharpen and the big teeth are easy enough to see. For a video on how to sharpen a saw, you can look at this YouTube video of Frank Strazza of the Heritage School of Woodworking. The video is a little long, but Frank does a good job explaining the steps.

Here are the teeth after I sharpened the saw. I’m not the world’s best saw sharpener, but I can get the job done.

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Here’s a picture of the saw performing in mid cut. It stayed straight on the line and cut the wood like butter.

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Finally I made a short video showing the saw’s performance.

 

 

 

Removing Paint and Grime with Soy Gel

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Sometimes life gives you the answer so clearly that you’re too blind to see. Just a few days ago I read on the “Working by Hand” blog a post about removing tool japanning with Soy Gel. https://workingbyhand.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/plane-body-finish-removal-soy-gel/

Soy Gel is a 100% soybean based paint remover that has no toxic fumes and is really safe for the environment. I bought a bottle for my wife about a year ago so she could remove the paint off a piece of furniture she bought. I rarely repaint planes so, I never gave much thought about using it to remove the black japanning from a plane. Well apparently according to the post, it does the job quite well.

So, this weekend while I was busting my knuckles cleaning up the bed of an old Stanley Liberty Bell plane with steel wool, I opened up my cabinet to grab another piece of wool when my bottle of Soy Gel was staring at me right in the face. I looked at the bottle, then looked at the plane bed and thought “I wonder if it would help”?

I grabbed the bottle, squirted some on the bed, spread it around with my steel wool pad and let it sit there for a bit. Sure enough after just a few seconds, the dirt and grime just melted away when I rubbed it off with the steel wool.

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I was amazed it worked so well. Then I was angry at myself that I didn’t think of it any sooner. How could I be so blind? Here’s the before and after shot of the side of the plane.

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All these years of busting my knuckles trying to clean up the wood from old planes with nothing but steel wool and a whole bunch of elbow grease, and I could have just been using Soy Gel the whole time to make the job a whole lot easier. Oh well, I learn something new everyday. Here is a couple of shots of the plane all cleaned up. I guess someone liked my cleaning job as the plane sold within a few hours of being listed on eBay.

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Using a Lion Miter Trimmer

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A couple of weeks ago I posted on a Facebook page called “The Collectors of Antique/Vintage Tools” about a Lion Miter Trimmer I just restored. A few people in the group replied to my post asking what the tool did. I was surprised that so many people weren’t aware of this tool, that I decided to talk about it here.

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I’ve owned an AMT miter trimmer for over twenty-five years and love it. They are simple tools that were popular for people who made picture frames back in the day. You use it by swinging the arm pulling the knife through the piece of wood, slicing off perfect little curls precisely at whatever angle you set the fence at.

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The miter trimmer has fences on each side that can be positioned between 90 -45 degrees. There are adjustable stops at 90 and 45 that can be fine tuned with a screwdriver. Once you swing the fence to whatever angle you want, you tighten the wing nut on top locking the fence in place. As you can see in the photo, this machine also has layouts for 60 and 67 1/2 degrees.

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After fiddling with the machine for a few minutes, I positioned the adjustable stops precisely were they needed to be. As you can see, the stop is a little shy from the 45 degree scribe line on the bed. I’m not sure why this is, but the tool is probably over 100 years old, so it’s allowed to be off a little.

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You can see how the tool slices off perfect little shavings. When I was restoring the tool, I took the knives off and sharpened them on my Tormek using the Tormek knife jig. Before I sharpened them, the knives couldn’t cut butter.

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The main reason I love my miter trimmer is that it cleans up the cuts that are made from my miter box and saw. For safety reasons when doing delicate trim work, I like to use my little miter box instead of a powered miter saw.

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However, the saw doesn’t leave the wood with a nice enough cut.

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Not only that, the miter box doesn’t even produce a perfect 45 degree angle throwing the two pieces out of square.

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Here are the two pieces after they’ve been trimmed up with the miter trimmer.

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The proof is in the pudding here. All the joints fit nicely together and the frame is a perfectly square inside. No wonder why picture framers loved these things.

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Another good use of a miter trimmer is doing outside corners like attaching molding to a bookcase or cabinet. Here is a piece of molding that I cut with one of my molding planes.

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If I stick the piece in my miter trimmer and try to trim it up normally, you can see how the inertia of the cut pulls the molding off the bed. There’s simply not enough surface area in the front of the molding to keep the piece stable.

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The cut it produces this way is garbage. Not only is it not 45 degrees, it’s not even a straight cut.

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The way to get around this, is to take the body off a combination square and clamp it to the fence of the trimmer. Use a scrap piece of wood and cut a 45 degree angle to the end with the trimmer. Then use the cut as a gauge to accurately place the combination square under it. It’ll take a little time and a few test cuts, but once you have the combination square properly position, you’re ready to go. Note: You can buy an attachment from Grizzly for about $30 which does the same thing as this, but I’m not sure if it will work on old Lion Miter Trimmers.

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Now you can use the bottom of the molding to rest against the fence for support and make a perfect 45 degree cut.

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Repeat on the other side of the trimmer for the other side of the molding and you’ll get a super clean and accurate joint.

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Unfortunately, the website for the original Lion Miter Trimmer no longer works which makes me believe they are no longer in business. http://www.lionmitertrimmer.com It’s a shame because the tool is truly an awesome piece of machinery.

Repairing a Drawer Bottom

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Earlier this week, my wife won a chest of drawers from an online auction. Sure enough when we get it home and examine the piece, we discovered there was significant water damage to the chest that the auction company failed to mention (what a surprise!). In fact, one of the drawers was so bad that the bottom plywood was peeling away. She asked me if I could fix it, so I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of 1/4″ X 24″ X 48″ underlayment plywood for about $5.00.

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The first thing I did to the drawer was carefully pop off the glue blocks from the under side with a paring chisel as I was planning on reusing them.

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I then carefully popped off the drawer runner being careful not to damage it. Fortunately, it wasn’t glued to the drawer bottom making it easy to clean up.

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Then with a dead blow hammer, I gently popped off the sides of the drawers hoping not to damage the dovetail joints.

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After cutting the new piece of plywood to size, I saw that the new drawer bottom was a little thicker than the original, so I widened all the grooves to the drawer with my table saw.

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Once all the grooves were widened, I dry fitted the drawer back together making sure everything fitted properly.

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I then glued the drawer back together including the support blocks back on the bottom.

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After about a half an hours worth of work, the drawer was back in business and nicely fitted back in the piece.

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Langdon Mitre Box Cleaned Up

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Over the past couple of months I’ve been going gangbusters cleaning all my old tools I bought during the fall. So much so, that I haven’t really done any woodworking to even blog about. So, I figured I’d show you the massive Langdon Mitre Box that I bough this summer now that it’s all cleaned up. I took a few pictures and shot a video to give a better idea of the miter box’s massive size.

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As you can see in the pictures below, the miter box was repaired at some point in it’s life. I don’t think it ruins the value of the box too much as I bet that I could buy a regular sized Langdon Mitre Box and use the parts to swap the foot and locking bar.

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Now I’m not sure what I should do with it. On one hand, I think the miter box is really cool and I’ll probably never find another one as long as I live. But on the other hand, I bet I could sell this thing for a pretty penny and pay off some of my credit card bills. I also really have nowhere to store the thing. I really don’t want to sit it in my shop as I’m afraid it’ll get damaged from all the banging and clanging that goes on down there. But, I doubt my wife would approve of it sitting proudly on our mantel in the living room. So, for right now it’s sitting on the shelf with all the other antique tools that I’ll eventually sell on eBay. What do you think I should do with it?

Finally getting a chance to buy plywood

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Ever since the age of sixteen I drove a pickup truck. However, when I traded my Ford Ranger in this February, I lost the convenience of running to the lumber yard and throwing a piece of plywood in the back. I currently drive a Mercury Milan while my wife drives the Ford Edge. Neither vehicle can handle a sheet of plywood, so when my wife Anita had to rent a trailer for a design show she was doing this weekend, I jumped at the chance to pick up some wood.

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I plan on building some built-in bookcases for the dining room, but I’ve never been able to get started on them since I had no way of getting a sheet of plywood home. I guess I could have rented an open trailer for a few hours, but I’m too cheap for that. Two sheets of 3/4″ birch and 23 board feet of poplar should be enough.

Anita told me to trade in the Milan and get another pick up truck, but I hate having a car payment. The Milan currently has 135,000 miles on it, while I drove my Ranger until it had 275,000 miles, so I’m going to have to deal with this problem for a few more years.

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