All the waters run to the sea and yet the sea is not full

“Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.” – Buddha “Indeed, my heart found pleasure from the results of my hard work; that was the reward from all my hard work. But when I surveyed all that my hands had done, and what I had worked so hard to achieve, I…

deets and digits

I’ve spilled enough digital ink writing about the handle of the dovetail saw that I’m working on without saying much about what I was hanging it on. I mean to fix that here. The plate came from the tip of an old D-23, and while I haven’t measured it with calipers (I don’t have any, gasp)…

with a cherry on top

While holding a hand saw is a very tactile action, there is something intangible in the way our hands interlock with the handles of these tools; something that transcends utility and approaches alchemy. When I think about the level of craftsmanship that is currently being exemplified by Mark Harrell over at Bad Axe Toolworks or Shane at…

the hybrid

This is part III of a story that begins here and continues here. The miter/tenon saw restoration/transformation that has been going on in my shop has been an evolving experiment to some degree. The idea was always to cut the saw down and re-engineer it as a tenon saw. That work has come in stages….

the extra bits

If you’re like me you have a wood pile, a cut-offs pile and then one or two more divisions under that of smaller cut-offs. Little pieces that you don’t want to burn or throw in the trash because you just know have to be useful for something. There are always extra bits. The trick is…

a tale of five kerfs

As a continuation from this post, there are times when you’re doing tool surgery when you have to make choices. In my experience, however, decisions about how long the saw should be, how much cant it should have, the hang of the handle, etc. are much more about looks and feel than a series of…

Somedays you’re a historian, others a surgeon.

When you take the plunge into restoring old tools, there are some days that you feel a bit like a historian and a conservator, and there are others when you feel like a surgeon in a field hospital. It’s inevitable in the hunt for fine tools at flea markets, that you will sometimes run into…

the finish line

The closer I get to the end of a project, the more I have to remind myself not to rush toward mediocrity when I could take measured paces toward excellence. What I mean is that I get excited, and sometimes it causes me to overlook or undervalue the careful execution of the finishing touches. I’m…

about aprons.

One of the first habits I picked up when I got back into woodworking was wearing a shop apron. Because of my busy, but somewhat flexible schedule, I sometimes find a few minutes before work, or after lunch to make some sawdust, and I don’t always want that sawdust on my clothes when I return…

Seeing something that isn’t there.

It’s harder than we sometimes think to see when something is missing. I have listened to Dr. Matthew Sleeth tell the story about how when he was a new resident he was learning to read x-rays with a group of other residents and the chief of radiology started asking questions about one particular x-ray. At first they…

ceci n’est pas une établi

There’s a lot to be said about the French workbench, and in fact, a lot has been said about that bench, You know the one. Don’t make me say it. Ok, Roubo. Well, at least the bench that trades under his name. Yesterday I mentioned that my next large scale project was going to be building…

Something to build on.

About a year ago I got it into my head that I wanted to get back into woodworking in earnest. I had, for a time, been working ad hoc in my shed one small project at a time. The table saw was sometimes a work table, the router sat in a box in the corner….