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derekcohen last won the day on April 8 2021

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    Perth, Australia
  • Woodworking Interests
    Building furniture predominantly with handtools

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  1. I have not visited the forums for some months, previously having been quite active here. On my return I find a significant drop in posts. It seems like a ghost town. Is this my imagination, or where has everyone gone? Regards from Perth Derek
  2. Drawer #5: french fitted sliding bevels (Shinwa, Stanley and Chris Vesper) ... Drawer #6: This one is about the tools ... just because I think that they are beautiful, and I love using them. They give me joy. All the tools in this cabinet have a story, or a connection. This is one of the reasons I keep them, even though I do not "need" them as I have others. All get used. In the case of the chisels in this drawer, they are my go-to for dovetails and close-up detail work. Mainly because they are all fully bevelled at the sides and have minimal lands. In spite of the absence of hoops, all may be used with mallet. The condition here being that the mallet head is UHMW. This is firm for feedback but yielding to avoid damage. This is another skeleton drawer. The top tray are home to Veritas PM-V11 chisels. Most here are aware that I have road-tested tools for Lee Valley (Veritas) for many years. Not only are these just superb chisels, but I like the way they feel in the hand, particularly the smaller sizes. For dovetails, these run 1/8" upwards to 1". The five on the left have custom Ebony handles (they are also round and not shaped with flats). The far right is a fishtail I made from a spare (pre-production) 3/8" chisel. I am sure that Veritas will have fishtails for sale at some stage. This is my design, not theirs (I have no idea what they have in mind). The lower tray house Blue Spruce dovetail/detail chisels. This was the first set of premium chisels I purchased. Dave Jeske had just begun making them, and I was one of the first to order. In fact, the 3/4" (which is the largest size here) was the first made. I asked Dave for a 3/4". He had made 2, one for another order, and sent me the spare. I sent it back. His idea at the time was to make the steel thicker as the chisels became wider, and the one he sent was 3/16" thick. It felt heavy and clumsy. I requested 1/8", and that is what che then made for me. My one concern about the chisels, prior to purchase, was that they are A2 steel, and that, for paring, a 30 degree bevel might not be ideal. Then it dawned on me that all the Japanese chisels I had were 30 degrees ... These blades get very sharp. They do not hold an edge as long as PM-V11, and need to be honed more frequently. But that does not detract from the absolute pleasure in using them. These are light blades in beautiful African Blackwood handles. Sized 1/8", 3/16" and up to 3/4". There are two 1/4" skew chisels. I nagged Dave to make a fishtail, but he was skeptical there was an advantage over the skews (there is indeed a big advantage when cleaning out socket corners). Later he did make them, and I chanced on a sale of tools at a deceased estate in Oz. They had not been used, which brought me some sadness for the previous owner. Drawer #7. Here is another drawer holding cutting and marking gauges. This is a drawer intended to be dedicated to wooden mortice and cutting gauges, but does have two wheel gauges that could not be fitted elsewhere. The mortices gauges fall into these three types ... Veritas Dual Marking Gauge, Kinshiro, and one of my designs. The Kinshiro is my absolute favourite, and I was gifted one several years ago (thanks Wiley!). Found another about a year back. They are no longer made by Kinshiro, and no longer available. I have made a number of single-blade cutting gauges in a similar manner to these double-blade gauges. The Kinshiro may be used as single blade gauges as well, plus one can set up a reversed blade as well, which is useful when paring shallow mortice walls, such as here! The shopmade mortice gauge is in the style of Kinshiro, but uses a cassette to house double-sided blades to match a range of mortice and tenon widths ... Here is the drawer ... Bottom right is a cutting gauge from Colen Clenton. This was a prize in an Australian tool making competition in 2009. The holders are made from Hard Maple ... Regards from Perth Derek
  3. Assuming the material is solid wood, my choice would be a tapered and stopped sliding dovetail. Be mindful that solid wood needs to move. There is a cross grain join. Dominos and biscuits will not work well. The taper will allow the joint to tighten up strongly. This is important since it is in tension rather than compression. The stop would hide it. Regards from Perth Derek
  4. Drawer #2 - the skeleton drawer Here is the second drawer to be filled ... Why "Skeleton Drawer"? Well, it does not contain dark secrets, buried bodies, or other clandestine material It is just the name I have given to the drawer design since, unlike Drawer #1, which hid a jewellery layer, this discloses all from the outset. The drawer holds my Kiyohisa chisels: paring slicks and bench oire nomi. It is important to be able to find, and extract them easily when working at the bench. The paring chisels lie in the upper level ... These slide into the cabinet and, below, are the oire nomi (3mm through 30mm) ... There are two others at the rear, a second 30mm and a 36mm ... This is a clearer presentation ... The chisels lie on shaped rests. The blades lie on rare earth magnets, which prevent them moving from the rests when the drawer is opened and shut, or the top layer extended into the cabinet ... The wood used for the rests and the slide is West Australian Sheoak ... The rear of the drawer, the drawer back, has been cut away above the second dovetail. This is how the the top layer slides into the cabinet ... I trust you are finding this fun as well Regards from Perth Derek
  5. What lies behind drawer #1? The underbench cabinet is done .... ... and now the drawers are being filled, starting with the centre drawer in the top row. There are 10 drawers in all, and the aim is to use the space as efficiently as possible. Into this cabinet will be those tools I want close at hand, and to access readily. The centre drawers in the top two rows are for marking tools. The top drawer will be for squares I use all the time. Opening the drawer produces a 300mm Starrett combination square, a 150mm Starrett double square, and a Veritas Sliding Square. these are french fitted into a Jarrah panel (more on the french fitting shortly). ... Now you know how I like secret drawers - well, if you slide this panel back ... ... you find the treasure drawer with a pair of Colen Clenton mitre squares infilled in Sheoak, and pair of Chris Vesper 4" and 7" squares infilled in Tasmanian Blackwood, and a 2x2" Bridge City saddle square ... The Jarrah panel for the latter squares is a loose fit, snug at the sides and about 5mm of expansion space at the end. At the right side of the photo are the rails, which were glued to the sides (but not the loose panel) Below is the upper panel for the Starretts and Veritas squares. The panel needed to be thin - it is 6mm thick - and cut outs made rather than french fitted. This was to save space by having the tools hanging down rather than sticking up. The eagle eyed will have noticed that the rear of the drawer was cut away. This was to allow for the upper tray to slide past the drawer back, which takes advantage of the space behind the drawer when it is opened. There was a little extra shaping as the body of the Veritas hung down lower than the other squares. The upper tray runs on the Jarrah rails attached to the inside of the drawer sides. Finally, there is a rail added above the tray to prevent it tipping as it is slid back. This is in the same Tasmanian Oak as the drawer sides. The drawer manages about 90% extension without any support. Regards from Perth Derek
  6. Coop, the "collectibility" of the chisels is not a big concern. However, I imagine that a matched "set" would be more desirable than a hodge podge, at least for some. Regards from Perth Derek
  7. About 10 years or so ago, I was fortunate enough to purchase a set of Kiyohisa slicks from the maker, Watanabe Kiyoe, through So Yamashita ( These have been incredible chisels and a joy to use when building furniture. As much art as tool. Part of the motivation for this thread comes from the completion of the underbench cabinet. Here are the Kiyohisa slicks in a drawer (beginnings of fitting tools into the drawers) ... Of course, over the years, I wished I have been able to order a set of Kiyohisa oire nomi (bench chisels). Not only were these very expensive several years ago, plus there was a wait list of several years, but Watanabe is no longer making chisels owing to ill health. The price of his tools has rocketed. Over time I have managed to put together a collection of Kiyohisa oire nomi purchased individually. Hence the range of handles, below ... Handles and wood for handles My plan was to change the handles - creating a unified appearance - but first I needed to find a suitable wood. The woods for Japanese oire nomi was discussed recently. Japanese White- or Red Oak is not available in Australia, and I really did not wish to use something that looked different. There are a number of Australian hardwoods that are suitable for chisel handles generally, but not in keeping with the look I wished to preserve. One choice I had was Beech (courtesy of an old jack plane). (My iPhone camera seems to skew the hoops) This is a nice look with excellent mechanical properties, and a gentle colour and grain. However, it did not quite lend itself to the colour and figure I was seeking to reproduce. I had already tried US White Oak, but found it too coarse grained. In the end I plumped for Tasmanian Blue Gum, also known as Southern Blue Gum … The colour of southern blue gum timber ranges from pale straw to brown, often with blue, green or grey tinges. Regrowth material can exhibit shades of pink. Sapwood is somewhat paler than the heartwood, but not always clearly demarcated. Growth rings are prominent on end sections. Grain is often interlocked with a medium and relatively even texture. With careful selection, it was possible to find sections with straightish grain and just a little – almost unnoticeable - grey-blue tinge here-and-there. I think that it did a good job of resembling Japanese White Oak in colour … First Modification The other factor was that I wanted to make the handles a little thicker, which would better fit my larger-than-average size hand. The typical oire nomi is 20mm across. I planned to make these 22-23mm across. Second Modification The wider handles led to a second modification, which involves setting the hoops differently. The ends of the handle were rebated on the lathe … As a result of this, the hoops sit flatter on the handle. The two on the left are modified, and the two on the right are standard … I like this effect. The handles are more comfortable to hold. Each chisel was friction-sealed in buffing oil on the lathe, and then finished in Ubeaut Hard White Shellac. So, seven chisels in all. Seven new handles. Here is the completed set (30mm down to 3mm) … Nothing fitted yet. Just planning ... Regards from Perth Derek Rebuilding a Kiyohisa Oire Nomi:
  8. These are final pictures of Stage One. "Stage One" - what does that mean? Well, the first step is to build the cabinet under the bench. The second stage will be to fit out the drawers for the tools. I plan to do some of the latter shortly, and some later. I will post these as they are done. For now, here is the underbench cabinet ... The rear, before the back was installed ... The front. The ring pulls are antiqued brass (they are not shiny). I need to work them a little more to remove the still-new look. These were chosen as they drop down and do not project out from the front of the cabinet ... Under the bench ... The bench top received a little flattening, and a single coat of danish oil ... Someone is sure to ask why the cabinet is low. The answer is that there needs to be space for hold downs ... The drawers manage about 90% extension ... One of the first fit outs will involve this set of Kiyohisa bench chisels I have been collecting one-by-one (these are no longer available) ... And here is one of the small drawers ... Thanks for supporting the build to date. Hopefully there were some aspects that will prove helpful. Regards from Perth Derek
  9. Drawer Bottom and Slips One of the least pleasurable areas of drawer making is fitting drawer bottoms. Why? Because there always seems more to do than anticipated - there are more panels to machine to thickness and area, and this feels like it is endless. Mindless. Before starting on the bottoms, the drawer fronts are planed, chipped dovetails repaired, and fine-tuning of the bottom-less drawer is completed ... Link to the fixture here: One of the rules I set for myself at the start of this project was that, being a just for the workshop, I would use as much scrap or cheap wood as I could scrounge up. The Jarrah drawer fronts are the exception. The case is Merbau stained to match the Jarrah drawer fronts. Over various projects, I save bits which I think may be used ... don't we all For now, offcuts of Tasmanian Oak, which make great drawer sides and drawer bottoms. Modern machines, such as jointers and thicknesser/planers, enable the redesign of cabinet parts. In this case, drawer bottoms. One can use the minimum thickness, saving weight and wood. I am very fortunate to own a Hammer A3-31, which turns the scrap into usable boards ... These boards ended up a smidgeon over 5mm thick. The grooves in the drawer sides are 5mm wide and 3mm deep. The drawer sides are 6-7mm thick. Joining such thin boards is quite easy - no clamps used. Just blue tape Butt two boards, and stretch the tape across the join. The blue tape has some flex to it, and the stretch contracts and pulls the joint tight ... Do this with all the joins, and then lay a strip down the seam (which is to prevent glue squeezing out ... Flip the boards and insert glue into the seam. Wiggle the boards open-and-closed to spread it evenly. Lay flat and wipe away the glue (Titebond II) squeeze out with a wet rag. Freshen this for each join. Yes, I know many warn against this practice, but I have not experienced any problem with finishes. Once clean, tape the side to hold the joins tightly together ... The machining and glueing takes all day, and finally ... Of course - Murphy's Law - the next day I discover that I am going to be one drawer short, and more offcuts are found and glued together. Smaller pieces this time ... Then it is time to unwrap the presents and make a blue tape Christmas tree ... The drawer bottoms are roughly sized, and the top side is sanded to 240 grit (the underside will not be seen, so just leave it be) ... Why sand? Well, it is just easier. The panels are curvy, not flat, and would be too awkward to hand plane. This is what sanders are for. What I have here is a Mirka Ceros, which uses Abranet mesh. Hooked up to a vacuum cleaner, the result is the closest thing to dustless sanding. One edge on the underside receives a very shallow rebate. This is to enable the panel to fit the groove. The plane here is a Veritas skew block plane, which has a nicker as it is planing across the grain. It has a fence and a depth stop. Great little plane .. The width of the panel is measured. Note that the drawer bottom runs across the drawer (expansion then takes place front-to-back) ... After ripping to size on the table saw, fine tuning takes place with a shooting board ... Time to fit the drawer bottom. Of course, if it is too tight, it will not run smoothly. But even if it appears to run smoothly, it can be creating a potential problem. In the earlier chapters (Dovetailing for Blood), one aim was to make the dovetails an exact depth so that the newly glued drawer could dry in the drawer case. The other aim was to fine tune the drawer (minus the drawer bottom) to move smoothly in the drawer case. Now, if when adding the drawer bottom, the smoothness is lost, then we know that something is wrong. So, the drawer bottom is dropped part way ... ... and this is presented to the drawer case at this point. Will it run as smoothly as before? If the drawer appears to have tightened in the case, the problem may be that the sides are slightly bowed. Try tapping the sides to push them flat ... The drawer bottom is lowered further, and again tested for fit ... All good, and the bottom is tapped into the groove behind the drawer front. A good fit Slips are a traditional way of reinforcing thin drawer sides to increase the surface area and reduce wear over time to the runners. Usually when making slips, I would groove the slip rather than, as here, the drawer side. Here is one of Richard Jones' wonderful illustrations ... I decided to do something a little different this time. I am not sure whether this can be termed a true slip, but it functions exactly the same way. The drawer sides have a shallow 3mm groove. To support the thin drawer side, as well as support the drawer, a 6mm square Jarrah section was glued to the drawer side directly under the drawer bottom. Care was taken to allow the drawer bottom to remain free to move. Drawer stops were added ... All the drawers fit and move smoothly ... And this is what it looks like at present ... Of course, there is the case back to make, and the handles to fit .... and then the fun bit begins - fitting out each of the 10 drawers for tools. Lots to do still. Regards from Perth Derek
  10. No mitre gauge track!!? I do think that a router table is a wonderful resource. However, a good router table does not need to be complex. In fact, I much prefer the KIS principle. My first router table was simply a piece of MDF with a hole for the bit. The fence was a 2x4 clamped alongside. It did good work. While this latest router table has many bells and whistles, it is still relatively simple compared to many. This is my solution for a mitre track ... There are two reasons to have a mitre track. The first is to attach a feather board. As I mentioned earlier, the JessEm guides do the task of holding the workpiece both down and against the fence. If the JessEm is not sufficient, I can still attach a feather board. I was using a feather board on the table saw today to size drawer backs ... The feather board can do double-duty at the router table. I drilled and tapped four bolt holes in line with the centre of the table ... The feather board can slide back-and-forth when bolted this way. It can reach to the fence ... The forwards holes are where a mitre track would go. This is as far back as it would extend if in a mitre track ... However, the second set of holes allow for a wider range ... The second reason for a mitre track is to use a mitre gauge to either rout out tenon cheeks, or joints such as cope-and-stick frames or box joints. There are alternate solutions for these. The main issue I have with the mitre gauge method is that it requires that the fence be parallel to the mitre track. Fences are rarely so in my experience. The closest I came to this was when I had a router table in a previous table saw, and it shared the table saw fence (which tracked parallel to the blade). This is not the case now. The fence rides unequally in tracks, and one side is moved to fine adjust the setting. In short, a mitre track is useless. To make a tenon cheek, or cope the end of a stretcher for a cope-and-stick joint, simply use a backing board against the fence ... This will not make box joints. In reality, for myself, it is unlikely that I would ever make box joints. I just cannot see a need. The closest is a dovetail joint, and I prefer doing these with hand tools. Still, were I to make a box joint, the accessory of choice would be a linear fence. These are easy-enough to build ... Here is an excellent video on building a linear fence .... Regards from Perth Derek
  11. The aim is to glue up the assembled drawer and let it dry in the drawer case. This drawer fits ... ... however it is a tight squeeze and I know that there are issues which need to be corrected before glue is applied. It is the same for every drawer. Each drawer needs to go through an assessment, trouble-shooting for issues, until the drawer moves smoothly. I need to point out at this stage that, although drawers are made in batches (a row), each drawer is fitted, tuned, and glued up before assembling the next drawer. At this stage, six (of ten) drawers have been completed to this stage. There is one further stage after this chapter. So we pull the drawer out of the case. It comes out with effort. The sides twist slightly - I can feel one side is moving more freely than the other. Something is causing it to hang up. Examining the half-blind dovetails, the first item of note is that there is a slightly raised pin ... Since the drawer is a dry fit, it is a simple matter to knock it apart to make any fixes. The pin is planed flat. I note that the one drawer side sits a little proud at the underside, about 1mm ... maybe not even that much .. This is also planed down. The drawer back is presented to the case opening ... It is a tight fit now. It will be a tighter fit later if there is moisture in the air. The drawer back is removed and the height planed down by about 1mm. Re-assembled, the sides now are higher ... The sides are planed to the side height ... I can still feel a little more stickiness on one side. Are the sides flat, or has there a cup developed to create a high spot? Yes. Slight but it is there ... Plane this flat. Just a few thin shavings ... Now the drawer is moving well - it feels taut, but free. The case is waxed, not so much at this stage to promote ease of movement, but to prevent any glue adhering to the sides .. Now we are ready to glue the drawer parts. Here are the items involved ... I am using Titebond Liquid Hide Glue. I like that it has a longer open time, that it is reversible, repairable, and cleans up with water. There is a spatula for application, a fishtail chisel handy if a corner needs to be cleaned, a small mallet, and a wet rag. The hide glue is decanted into a small bottle ... This small bottle is a game changer! I was watching Rob Cosman and noted that he used small bottles as well. I found a bunch on eBay. What they do is let you deposit glue in exactly the spot you want to do, and then the spatula lets you spread it around. I only glue one side of the joint, but there is enough for both sides ... It is important that the sides are seated flush ... The drawer looks good ... ... and, importantly, slides into the case smoothly and firmly. Regards from Perth Derek
  12. Perhaps I need to explain the title, "Dovetailing for Blood". In part, the description comes from a book, "Backgammon for Blood", by Peter Becker I read about 4 decades ago. It's about taking the game to the most competitive level. This series of articles is not a how-to about dovetailing; it is about the strategies I use when building drawers. I offer them for discussion and your interest. This is the drawer in question. In the previous article, the focus was on strategies for connecting the drawer front and drawer sides via half-blind dovetails. The aim there - and continued here - is to complete the dovetailing in such as way that the drawer may be glued up, and dry inside the drawer case. The advantage of drying inside the drawer case is that a good fit is assured. Today the drawer back needs to be attached with through dovetails. For interest, here are the chisels I used: Kiyohisa slicks and Koyamaichi dovetail. Noticeable in the drawer above is that there are no grooves for the drawer bottom. These will now be added using a plough plane and a sticking board to hold the work... The drawer sides are around 7mm at this stage, with the expectation that they will end up at 6mm. The inside and outside faces have been planed. The groove is 3mm deep ... The groove in the 18mm thick drawer front is 6mm deep ... The drawer back receives a shallow groove ... Reason? The drawers are designed for a tool cabinet. Unlike drawers for the home, where the backs are lowered, these drawers will have a full rear, in height, ending at the drawer bottom. We start with drawer backs exactly the same dimensions as the drawer front. The lower section needs to be removed. The top of the groove marks this position. The waste is removed on the table saw, a smidgeon grace ... ... and the machine marks then planed away. It needs to be stated that drawers are not the same as boxes. While they may both be dovetailed, the drawer width is determined by width of the drawer case. It cannot be larger or be smaller. The drawer front and back are made as a pair, and their dimensions are not permitted to be altered. With boxes, one can leave dovetails proud, and then level them to the sides. Or one may level the sides to the dovetails. You cannot do this with drawers, especially if the game plan is to aim for the glued up drawer drying in the drawer case. Consequently, the dovetails must end up flush with the surface .... We move over to dovetailing the rear: The first step, with 6 drawers of the same height and width, is to make a template for the spacing of the dovetails. While the template stretches across the board, the area of importance is above the drawer bottom. Mark out the tails, as usual, but then flip the board so that you are sawing from the inside of the drawer ... Again, this is not a box. The inside of a drawer is seen, and it is important to keep the baseline as clean as possible, that is, no over-sawing. Similarly, when removing the waste with a chisel, start with the outside face of the drawer, and finish with the inside. That way there is less danger of inadvertently chiseling over the baseline. Now ... the interesting part comes with transferring tails to pins. This can make-or-break the drawer. Here we see the tail and pin boards aligned. But are they? A square shows that the side is out at least 1-2mm at 300mm (12"). Left like this, the drawer will not sit flat. It will act as if it has a twist. Significant efforts will need to be made to align the drawer in the case. It becomes essential that the side is aligned accurately. This can be a little fiddly, but a long square helps considerably ... At some point, someone will mention the side-alignment fixture designed by David Barron. This is a wonderful concept, however it excels at making boxes and not drawers. Look here ... The tail and pin boards are not aligned at the square ends (which would enable David's fixture to be used). They are aligned on the reference side, which is the lower edge of the drawer sides. You are aligning from the left side of these boards ... Having transferred and sawn the tails, the bulk of the waste is removed with a fretsaw (as detailed before). Here is a reminder - first chop out the waste from the outside face, half way down ... ... and then complete from the show-inside face. My preference is to angle the chisel slightly away and create a "tent" ... This is then removed with a slicing paring action, again form each side to the centre ... Use a narrow chisel to pare the ends: having first sawn these away, the remnants for paring lie above the chisel walls (again discussed in a previous article) .. This is what we are after: flat ... Dry fit ... The drawer must fit the drawer case ... It does, but we are not finished. More in a while .. Regards from Perth Derek
  13. I have just completed another router table: This is built into the outfeed of my table saw. It features a number of interesting items: fully-functioning fence, JessEm guides, Router Raizer, Wixey digital gauge, and amazing dust collection! The aim was to build a router table with good features, and at a reasonable cost. To do this, there is no expensive router lift, and the fence is shop-made. I hope it offers up some ideas for others. Regards from Perth Derek