That’s all for February, look out for the March blog post in a few weeks.
Welcome to February’s Tool of the Month blog post! This month I’ll take a quick look at the adjustable spanner.
The adjustable spanner is pretty self explanatory, it has an adjustable jaw that allows it to tighten or loosen different sized nuts and bolts. It can trace its origins back to the 1840’s when two different engineers were credited for inventing the first type of adjustable spanner. In the 1880’s a Swedish inventor named Johan Petter Johansson developed the modern adjustable spanner that is so familiar today.
A very handy tool around the workshop, I use mine to adjust and assemble machinery, benches and jigs. This week it’s been used to assemble my new woodturning lathe!
That’s all for February, look out for the March blog post in a few weeks.
Welcome to the first Tool of the Month blog post of 2018! This month I’ll have a quick look at Usu Nomi (Japanese paring chisels).
Usu Nomi are long slim chisels designed for removing small amounts of waste, they are only to be pushed by hand, never hit with a mallet or hammer!!
Japanese paring chisels are made like most other Japanese chisels, the cutting edge is made of an exceptionally hard brittle steel which is forge welded to a softer iron section. This softer area absorbs shocks and supports the steel, without it the brittle steel could crack!
The back of the chisel is hollow ground to make sharpening easier, even with this hollow the back still took a lot of time to flatten as the steel is ridiculously hard!
The following photos show the blade in more detail.
The long handle and shaft gives you maximum control of the cutting edge which makes this tool perfect for fine tuning joints. One hand on the handle pushes the chisel forward while the other hand guides the blade.
That’s all for January, look out for next months post in a few weeks!
Welcome to the final Tool of the Month blog post for 2017!
This month it's a very quick look at a tool that’s always in the pocket of my work jeans!
In the 1890’s the Swiss army adopted a new pocket knife, this knife contained a blade, can opener and a screwdriver for stripping and reassembling the army’s rifle. This would become the original Swiss Army knife, today there are many versions with countless combinations of tools, some useful some simply as a gimmick!
The knife that lives in my pocket at work is the Spartan model made by Victorinox, it is one of the most basic versions made. It has two blades, screwdrivers, bottle opener, corkscrew, punch, toothpick and tweezers.
The two most used functions are the main blade for opening boxes and sharpening pencils and the tweezers which are brilliant for removing splinters!
That’s it for this months blog and 2017!
Happy New Year 🎊
Introducing Food Safe Wood Wax!
Nearly a year after the first experiments and subsequent day to day testing, my workshop made food safe wood wax is now available to buy!
Why? For the last 8-9 years I’ve used Tung Oil to finish chopping boards and other food related items. Tung oil is a traditional food safe finish and works really well. So why change? The problem with tung oil is that it is nut based which leaves open the risk (although tiny) that someone may have an allergic reaction to something I’ve made and finished with this oil, which with today’s ‘compensation culture’ is a risk I don’t need!
Made from beeswax and medicinal grade mineral oil, this wax has been formulated to be easy to apply and far less messy than just using an oil finish. Perfect for keeping your wooden chopping boards, spatulas and other cookware in good condition!
Each tin contains 60ml of Food Safe Wood Wax and instructions on how to use it.
£5.50 (plus P&P for online orders)
Welcome to November’s Tool of the Month blog post, this month it’s a quick look at the rebate block plane!
The rebate block plane is a combination of block plane and shoulder plane. It is basically a regular low angle block plane with a fixed mouth and open sides allowing for a wider blade that extends the full width of the body, just like a shoulder plane (see December 2016’s blog post).
This is a very handy tool for cleaning up raised and fielded panels and large tenons as the width of the tool makes skimming wide surfaces quick and easy.
For working across the grain this particular model has two little cutting discs called ‘nickers’ recessed into the sides of the plane, these can be set to score the surface before the blade cuts which helps prevent splintering!
My plane was made by Lie Nielsen in the USA, other similar planes are available from Veritas and Quangsheng.
One thing that you have to be mindful of with these planes is that due to the open sides the tool can flex if the blade is tightened down to much, so careful setting is a must for accurate work!
Thats all for November, look out for December’s Tool of the Month post!
Welcome to October's Tool of the Month blog post! This month I'll look at socket bevel edged chisels!
The socket chisel is not a particularly common type of chisel these days due to the more complex design and therefore cost when compared to the more common tang chisels.
The difference between tang and socket chisels is how the handle is attached to the blade. A tang chisel has a pointed metal tang formed on the opposite end of the blade, this is embedded into the handle, whereas a socket chisel handle has a cone shaped end that fits snugly inside the socket formed on the opposite end of the blade.
The disadvantage of a tang chisel is that the pointed tang can act like a wedge and split the handle when repeatedly struck excessively with a mallet, this doesn’t happen with the socket chisels. Though occasionally the handles on socket chisels can come loose due to the wood shrinking as part of natural seasonal movement, however a sharp tap and they will be tight again!
My socket chisels are made by American company Lie Nielsen Tool-Works and are based on an old Stanley design. The blades are made from A2 steel which takes and holds a good edge. The sides of the blades are very finely ground which make them brilliant for working on very fine joints.
That’s all for October, look out for November’s blog post in a few weeks time.
Happy Halloween 🎃
Welcome to September's Tool of the Month blog post, this month I'll look at the Plane Screwdriver.
The plane screwdriver is a very simple tool, but very handy! It's designed for tightening/loosening or adjusting the large slotted screw that fixes the cap iron to the blade of a traditional hand plane.
Normal screwdrivers that perfectly fit the slot in the screw head tend to be pretty large and unwieldy, whereas a narrower screwdriver can slip around and damage the screw slot, which isn't ideal!
This chunky little tool fits perfectly plus it's very comfortable to use and is well worth the £10-£15 price tag!
Thats all there is to say about this particular tool, so to finish September's blog here's a photo of the large job I've been working on this month... 12 oak benches for the Greenwich Steiner School in London. At some point there will be a blog post all about the bench project!
That's all for September, look out for October's Tool of the Month post!
Welcome to August's Tool of the Month blog post!
This month I'll take a little look at the No. 66 beading tool.
The beading tool is to an extent obsolete these days as virtually all the tasks it can do can now be done with an electric router. However this tool is far less dangerous and a lot quieter... plus in some circumstances faster and more convenient!
This is a modern copy of an old Stanley beading tool which was made from the 1880's until the 1940's. This version unlike the original is made from bronze so it has a nice heft to it! The tool is designed to produce small moldings using the supplied selection of profiles or those made yourself.
The tool works by scratching the profile into the timber, it is pretty easy to get to grips with and if you only need to produce a small amount of molding/detail then it can be a lot faster than setting up a router.
To use the tool simply select a profile, set the depth and choose a fence, straight for following straight edges or curved for curved edges. Then using short strokes to begin the profile, start to work along the lengh of timber being careful to go with the grain! Overlapping each stroke over the previous one and keep the tool firmly against the edge of the workpiece.
Custom profiles can also be produced by using some suitable sized steel and some metal files, the photo below shows a custom profile I made 5/6 years ago to add a very fine detail to the legs of some tables.
Thats all for August, I'm beginning to get stuck in to making a batch of 12 oak benches for a school in Greenwich so in next months blog there will be a photo of the finished job.
Look out for September's Tool of the Month post in a few weeks!
Welcome to July's Tool of the Month blog post! This month I'll take a quick look at the joinery float!
So what is a joinery float? Well basically it's a type of file designed for cutting wood, used to clean up and adjust the insides of mortises, and that's about it really!
The float has teeth angled to cut in one direction only, they can be resharpened very easily with a fine metal file. I use mine to square up and tweak the ends of mortises, which tend to be a bit more awkward to adjust with a chisel (which will try and follow the grain).
There are wider floats available which can be used to adjust the sides of mortises and can be used to flatten the faces of tenons too.
Plane makers floats are another type available, these are used to produce wooden hand planes, particularly handy for shaping the mortice in the body where the blade sits.
That's it for July, it's been another very busy month of catching up in the workshop, August is looking to be even busier!
Look out for next months blog post coming soon.
Welcome to the June edition of Tool of the Month! This month it's a little look at a special type of chisel called a fishtail chisel.
The fishtail chisel has a fishtail shaped blade (hence the name) that is designed to get into the corners of half-bind/lapped dovetail sockets. These are areas which normal chisels can't reach easily, which can result in a less than perfect joint fit.
My chisel was made in America by Blue Spruce Toolworks, it has a blade made from A2 steel and a curly maple handle.
Another way to reach those tricky corners is to make a skew chisel, this will be covered in a future blog post!
That's all for June! Again it's been a busy month, catching up on work after the disruption (the good kind!!) of a house move and wedding. Look out for July's post coming soon.
Welcome to my blog!
Here you can see what I have been up to in the workshop, gain an insight into my work and some of the many tools I use to make each piece of bespoke furniture.