…while visions of pine shavings danced in their heads

“If you want to destroy my sweater, hold this thread as I walk away.”

It seems like no matter how much balance I’ve worked into my life, the week before Christmas is where it all unravels a bit. Personal and professional commitments pile on top of the presents beneath the tree. My normal sleep patterns are all thrown off and I push through only because I’m filled the joy of the season coffee. Lots of coffee.

Effectively that means I never get to make enough sawdust and shavings during this most wonderful time of the year, but even with everything else I have been able to find a little workshop solace.

A week ago I was able to assemble the saw till. Everything came together more or less as I wanted it to. All of the visible joints are nice and tight and all of the invisible joints are nice and solid.


Thanks to a comment on an earlier entry I did some measuring before I cut the front rail and found that I would need to have a higher rail for my back saws. The solution was a stepped rail, but I went ahead and added an ogee to match the sides.

I did learn a good lesson about thinking twice before switching up ideas in the middle of a project though. Originally I intended to attach the front rail with a simple nailed lap joint which was intended to hide the dadoes that hold the shelf. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do something different with the rail and so I got the bright idea to try my hand at wedged through tenons.

That part worked out fine (more or less) but as I was fitting it together I realized that I had exposed the end of the dadoes.

Solution? Trim the tree.


I wanted something better than a patch, so I made some simple moulding with my 3/16 beading plane that sat down in the dadoes and stretched across the front.


The horizontal beading tied in with the back of the till better than I had hoped so I added one more bead to the top edge of the casework and applied an identical moulding to the bottom front edge.

It’s on the wall waiting for a drawer and some paint, but that is going to have to do for the moment. Christmas is only a few days off and I’ve got another woodworking related project occupying me for the moment that has nothing to do with making shavings.

On another front, after a  nice score of Southern Yellow Pine from (several) trips to the lumber yard I was able to get a start on my knockdown Nicholson.


I gave my Disstons (and my arms) a workout, but all the parts are rough cut, stacked and stickered while they acclimate to the shop over the next week or so.

I’m taking a few days off for the holidays, but here’s wishing you a merry Christmas! May your days smell like fresh cut pine and may all your plane irons be shiny and bright.




5 Comments Add yours

  1. Brian Clites says:

    Those through-tenons were definitely overkill 🙂 But on the upside, this sawtill will outlive all of us!

    I’m also happy to see the cumulative fruit from all your recent trips to Lowes. I haven’t tried the knockdown Nicholson before, but I also used SYP for my first bench. I have a matching homemade finish in mind for your bench and sawtill — if you can hold off a few weeks I’ll experiment more with it and then can give you a more honest appraisal of whether its a good choice for shop furniture.

    Merry Christmas Jim~!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. The through-tenons were more of an experiment than anything. I don’t chop many of them and I figured that since this was my own personal till it wouldn’t hurt to practice.

      I’m planning on painting the till to match my tool chest as soon as I get the drawer finished, but would love to hear about your home-brew finish. I had just planned some BLO and maybe beeswax just for the smell 😉


  2. Someone once suggested to me that the mark of an experienced craftsman is not avoiding making mistakes (because even Krenov made the occasional slip-up) but how they deal with (and fix) those mistakes. I think from that perspective the beading is an excellent addition!

    The saw till looks really tidy, and has definitely given me food for thought on how to address my saw till needs (especially as I may have ordered a Bad Axe mitre box saw yesterday…).


    1. Yes, the beading was a happy end to that story. I thought of it as soon as I realized what I had done. It really pulls the room together, you know?

      My wife came into the garage and looked at it on the wall and said (with genuine surprise in her voice) “Wow that really looks nice!”

      Oooohh, enjoy that Bad Axe! my Mitre saw is the only one too long for the till
      I thought about making it big enough to fit it once or twice, but it would have made the till massive. Eventually, I’d like to build a rolling box (like Chris’s Dutch Chest extension cabinet) for the mitre box/saw just to keep it out of the way and dust free. It’s a monster.


  3. I drive a Honda minivan circa 2010.

    I’ve always found Weezer underrated in the 90s grunge scene.

    I’m looking forward to catching up on your blog James.

    Way cool.



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