…in which he discusses going freehand

I own one of those cheap eclipse style honing guides. With a little modification it does a passable job on my plane irons. It slips, so I crank down on the screw. The slot is stripping out so I can tell that its time in my workshop is short. I’d like to step up to…

oil can

There is a liminal space between projects that I really enjoy. A day of sharpening and oiling. A day to tear things down so that I can build them up. A day to lubricate my creativity.   I’m getting  ready to really put my new bench to work. My middle daughter needs a chest of…

Do I talk (write) too much?

There are a lot of words that flood past my brain on any given day. I can filter out most of them without thinking. Others can be sorted with a moment or two of direct attention and then there are others that stick with me. I carry these ideas around in my brain, considering them, testing…

hold on there son…

Although my knockdown English workbench has been “finished” for a week now, the one remaining task was to shape the leg vise chop into something less, well, monolithic. I had already added the suede inside the chop, but I hesitated to do the shaping for so long because I wasn’t entirely sure about the design and…

version two

Several weeks ago, my wife asked me to build her a small mail caddy. Something with two slots to hold bills that needed to be paid and help clean up the kitchen counter where those bills currently reside (and breed I think). It was a simple request and a small project. So small and simple,…

May I propose a toast?

  May this bench ever be true. May it ever hold fast. May it be a place where good work is done, And may it ever be used in good health.   Slàinte

Geometry

There’s no doubt that hand tool woodworking has opened my eyes to the patterns that constantly surround me. I believe it has something to do with the level of attention that I am obliged to give in this work, and also something to do with reading George Walker and Jim Tolpin’s By Hand & Eye….

Over the Wireless

Just over a year ago I did an internet search for information about bracing patterns for 000 style acoustic guitars. Somehow I landed half a world away on Kieran Binnie’s blog Over the Wireless. At that moment I never would have imagined that Kieran would one day become a colleague and good friend, but I’m happy…

That which goes beyond skill

Cook Ting was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-hui. As every touch of his hand, every heave of his shoulder, every move of his feet, every thrust of his knee — zip! zoop! He slithered the knife along with a zing, and all was in perfect rhythm, as though he were performing the dance…

Ash Wednesday

“To discover a metaphysical relationship of Quality and the Buddha at some mountaintop of personal experience is very spectacular. And very unimportant. … What’s important is the relevance of such a discovery to all the valleys of this world, and all the dull, dreary jobs and monotonous years that await all of us in them.”…

You always learn something

Every time I set out to fashion something out of wood, no matter how pedestrian, I have an expectation that I will learn something in the process. Wood is a great teacher. Yesterday and the day before I finally felt a little better and I worked myself up to finishing the installation of my leg vise…

When your heart’s just not in it

It’s funny what you think about when you’re laying on a bed in the emergency room of the hospital wondering if you’ve just had a heart attack. You think about the things that matter and the things that don’t. The things that you care about deeply and the things that you could walk away from without…