Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Category: Video

Troubleshooting Holdfast Issues

After boring the first few holdfast holes, I realized that I had serious issues.  My holdfasts simply weren’t biting.  Often, they were jumping around in their holes.  I had to find a solution, and fast.

The bench top is 4-1/2 inches thick.  The holdfast holes are 3/4 inch in diameter.  I am using Gramercy holdfasts.  They are very well made, and should survive years of abuse.  I did some research and determined that the most likely cause was the thickness of the bench top.  How could I resolve this with the holes already bored?

I received some excellent advice from my friends on Twitter and decided that I would counter bore the holes from the bottom with a large diameter hole.  To center the holes, I inserted a piece of 3/4 inch dowel.  After some trial and error, I determined that the most effective nominal thickness was around 3 inches.  The holdfasts work beautifully.  The solution was quick and easy.

I need to clean up the surfaces and coat everything in boiled linseed oil.  Then, I will finally be able to start my first project on the Roubo.  Stay tuned

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index


Holdfast in action

Superior Hand Tools: The Bit and Brace

I’ve recently been using my vintage hand brace often.  I’ve discovered that there are many times when I prefer it to a power drill.  As long as your bits are sharp and you use a brace with the proper sweep, it doesn’t need much more physical effort than a power drill.  It’s easy to get crisp, clean holes and it’s a lot of fun to use.  It’s also nice not to have to worry about charging batteries all the time.  Watch the video below to see how easy it is to use a bit and brace.

Music is by ‘Hare and the Hounds’.  They just released their first album.  It’s a good one.  I highly suggest you check it out.

Roubo Workbench Build: Leg Tenons the Hybrid Way – Video

I intended to demonstrate cutting the large leg tenons for the Roubo workbench build two different ways: by hand and with the aid of a band saw.  Unfortunately, my camera shifted while I was cutting the tenon cheeks.  Consequently, you’ll only get to see my poor cross-cutting skills today.

Marking Out

I like to start by marking out my shoulders.  I prefer to do this using a square against the long grain, as opposed to using a cutting gauge against the end grain.  I get more consistent results.  I hold the square using my thumb against the stock and one or two fingers on the blade.  Make sure that you draw straight back with your knife.  Start with one or two light cuts, and gradually increase pressure.  Flip your piece, place your knife in your previous line, reference your square off of your knife, and repeat.  Always make sure that you are referencing your square off of your face or face edge.

Once I have my shoulders marked out, I move on to the cheeks.  I use a simple wheel gauge for the cheeks.  I set the fence and give it a couple of quick passes for each side.  There really isn’t much to describe here.  When I’m finished, I like to darken all of my lines with a mechanical pencil.

Cutting the Shoulders

With the marking out-of-the-way, I move on to the shoulders.  In the video above, I am using a small backsaw.  Before I start sawing, I make a little trench on the waste side of my work piece with a chisel.  This gives my saw a little groove in which to ride.

I start by drawing the saw back a few times.  This deepens the groove, and helps ensure I stay on track.  Next, I take a few light passes on the far corner, and lower the saw plate until I’m taking cuts across the entire width of the leg.  At this point, I saw down to the baselines at the corners to make sure that my cut stays square.  I finish the cut by removing the triangle left in the center.

Cutting the Cheeks

This is the easy part.  I believe this is the best way to cut tenons.  If you have a band saw and haven’t given it a try, what are you waiting for?  Simply line up the fence to the waste side of your line, and go.  Cut down to your shoulder line, flip and repeat.  It’s fast, easy, and produces a nice square cut (assuming you set up your band saw properly).

Cleaning Up

With the waste removed it’s time to start cleaning up the shoulders.  The band saw produces square cheeks right off the saw.  I will mark the mortises directly from the tenons.  There is no need for them to be identical, only need square.

Use a chisel and deepen your knife line on all three sides of your shoulder.  Then, take over-lapping passes from on side to the other using your knife line as a reference.  If you’ve left too much waste, you might have to take a couple of passes.  It’s easier than trying to remove 1/16 or more in a single pass.  Check your work with a small square.  I undercut mine by a few thousandths.

Stay tuned.  Mortises are next.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Music: Good Old War – My Own Sinking Ship

Jointing Wide Edges by Hand: Companion Video

Some people like to read, others like videos.  So, I made this little companion video for jointing wide edges by hand.  Some people find this a little tricky due to the fact that multiple passes are needed to square the edge to the true face.  I hope you find this useful and entertaining.

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or suggestion.  Let me know what you think.  Now, get out there and mill some boards.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

A Taste of Things to Come

Sony a6000

Sony a6000

Video is something completely new to me, but I think it will add a lot of value to my content.  Most of the videos I post, will consist of me attempting something for the first time.  Hopefully, I will be able to save you from a few of the mistakes I am sure to make a long the way.

I spent some time this weekend getting to know my new Sony a6000.  I also spent some time getting to know my video editing software, and where to find royalty free music.  I am a complete newbie, so bear with me.  Fortunately, I’m naturally artistic, so this shouldn’t be too bad.

If there’s anything you like to see, drop me a line in the comments section.  See you soon.