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  • Location
    Montreal, Quebec
  • Woodworking Interests
    beginner, hand tools, joinery, furniture

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  1. Following on from my first thread, I thought it might be a good idea to make a project journal so I can keep a log of what I'm doing and maybe get some input. Having done some previous bits of woodwork as a teenager, I am now getting back into it as an adult. Last summer I fumbled my way through a couple of small/simple pieces. This year my plan is to make some more furniture for my 6 month old son's nursery. I would like to work with some hardwood, and pull off some nice joinery. My original plan was to make him a toybox (rough plan attached). However, after making my plan I spotted a few issues: I am limited in the types of box I can make. I will likely not have access to power tools, so I cannot easily modify the thickness of the wood I get (except by hand) and I do not have a way of cutting dados (otherwise I could maybe make a frame and then slide-in panels for the sides). The plan I had uses far more wood than I would have expected. By my best guess, this would be very expensive (though I could maybe switch to pine). The toy box would also be very heavy, even the lid. I was hoping to make something relatively safe! I then worked out a plan for a shelf. We change his diapers at the moment on a changing pad on the dresser. We also keep his next outfit, diapers, wipes, and all his various powders, potions, and lotions on that dresser too. He is reaching the age where changing time becomes the opportunity to play with all of those things. My plan is a shelf that can hang on the wall above and to the side of the changing bad (not putting anything above him in case something falls). I want a shelf up top, and some pegs below to hang his clothes, towel, etc. Compared to the toybox idea (which I would still like to find a way to do), this shelf seems pretty do-able (plan is attached). In the plan I have the top and bottom of the back as separate pieces that slot into the sides with mortise-tenon joints, however I have since thought I might like to fix the back with a dovetail joint and only use the mortise-tenon joint for the shelf. My plan is to use a mix of cherry and maple so that the joints are a visible part of the design. I have a local sawmill who sell cherry and maple, I am hoping to pay them a visit soon to hopefully pick up some dressed wood. Tools-wise, I have a knife, cheap back saw, some chisels/hammers. I think my father-in-law has some planes and a panel saw he could lend me. I am hoping to buy a dozuki saw, and a honing guide to sharpen chisels/planes very soon. I am planning to finish it with shellac and beeswax. I like the idea of using a finish where I might also be able to turn any maple offcuts (I think cherry might be less safe because of cyanide-like chemicals it contains?) into blocks or shapes for my son to play with. I would welcome any suggestions or input.
  2. Thanks Richard. I have contacted the sawmill in-question to ask and they told me they do have kiln-dried soft and hardwoods. I am trying to work out the budget for the wood in the project at the moment, but I think I might end up having to call or visit them. There seems to be a huge variance in how much sawmills charge for dressing (surfacing four-sides) their lumber. I have found locations in the US that add around a dollar to the rough lumber cost of each board foot, whereas somewhere I found in Ontario with a public price list seems to instead multiply the rough-lumber price by four! I am thinking of making a journal thread for this project so I can make my plans there.
  3. Thank you very much for all of your great replies. Thank you, I will go with your advice and look into options for getting these chisels sharp. I do have some scrap wood around my apartment so hopefully I can try to get this done before I begin the project. Unfortunately my location (west of Montreal) seems to be a bit of a "black hole" for woodworking groups (at least from the online lists I found). There is a woodturners club somewhere around here, but by my understanding their needs are different? I had wondered whether I could get away without a honing guide if the back is already decently flat and the bevel seems good (i.e. only sharpening the tip). On the other hand, if I am hoping to find a hand-plane somewhere in my father-in-laws boxes of old tools then I would probably want to sharpen that completely. Also, how about sharpening saws? Is that something that also needs to be done frequently? I have a book that describes the process and it looks to be very "involved". I have memories of using wet & dry paper in school (weirdly a lot of our "workshop" teaching was done with acrylic plastic, rather than wood as the material). I think I will have to go with this method in the first instance because of the relative expense and storage space of getting "proper" sharpening stones. I have been trying to resist buying too much new equipment without being regularly able to work on projects, but a Japanese saw is very appealing. I read your post, what a terrible thing to happen. I hope you have a speedy recovery. Thank you for the advice. For the Japanese saw, do you have any recommendations for brands etc? I am wary of buying tools on Amazon, but I can find Japanese saws for around $30 Canadian. On the other hand, for only $10 or so more I find this nice-looking one on Lee Valley:,42884,42898 ... however if I were to drive to my nearest Lee Valley store I may end up picking up a few more items (along with a shovel for my wife to bury me with). That website looks like a fantastic resource, thanks! Part of my issue is that I know that I will also have to drop some money into actually getting the wood for this project. That's still a question mark in the budget. I have found a local sawmill, who I believe should be better for price than going to Home Depot. I have not planned out my work sufficiently yet to predict how much I am likely to pay for that wood. I am excited to get a decent workshop setup once I have a house of my own with a garage. For the moment my limited opportunity to spend time woodworking means its hard to justify spending much on it.
  4. Hi everyone, I thought I would give some background up-top but the actual question I have stuck at the bottom in bold, so feel free to just skip to that. I have some limited experience of woodworking from my high school days and doing some projects with my father as a kid. Now being the new father of a child of my own I have wanted to get into woodworking to make some furniture etc. for my son (and someday have some skills worth passing on). I am living in an apartment with no space for any kind of workshop (though I have used the balcony occasionally), though I am fortunate to have in-laws who have let me use their garage as a workshop while they are on vacation. Last year I made some simple furniture for my son's nursery (converted an old picture frame into a glass-less "shadowbox" with a set of shelves inside for toys). This year I have more ambitious plans to make a toybox and possibly some more small pieces of furniture. Where possible I am trying to use only wooden joints (with glue), avoiding nails and screws. Last year's projects were made out of pine and constructed using finger-joints. This year I am planning to use maple (I found a local sawmill where I think I can buy it surfaced four-sides), and am hoping to use dovetail joints. I've been watching Paul Sellers' videos and become aware of just how useful a very sharp set of chisels is going to be for these projects. I bought a decent (I hope) set and will be getting started in about a month (basically taking a week's "staycation" from work to do this). Beyond the chisels, I have only a small saw which came with a mitre box. I am hoping to also get a bench plane (though my father-in-law does have some inherited tools from his late father in which there may be a bench plane somewhere). The temptation to splurge on half the Lee Valley catalogue is high, but I am trying to build up my collection slowly. My question is: The Irwin chisels I bought (six-piece set in wooden box) claim they are sold "sharp" and ready to use, but I always read that chisels do not tend to come sharp enough for serious work. Once I get started with this project I am on a time-limit, so is there a good way of checking for sharpness beforehand? I had found a local "sharpening service" who say they sharpen woodworking tools, but I do not know how that would compare with my cheapest option for trying to sharpen these myself. How often do chisels tend to need "resharpening"? If I am likely to want to resharpen them during the project anyway, then I guess it makes sense to learn how to sharpen them myself? Any suggestions or advice would be very welcome, thanks.