tools

Hammer Time | Blog

(Prepare yourselves for a bit of a ramble..)

Well, transitioning into--crafting full-time has made for an interesting month. One of my first commissioned projects involved designing & fabricating wall sconces for a local brewery. We settled on a medieval'ish theme which will also incorporate cues from the old steel banded wooden kegs.

I would be hesitant to call myself anything more than an amateur blacksmith, but it's definitely a craft I plan on delving into further.

Anyway, part of my vision(this word makes me feel snooty) relied upon blacksmith nails, the creation of which require a few specialized tools--namely a cutting hardy & a nail header. Many if not most blacksmiths may find it curious that I would order these tools as opposed to forging them myself.  which led me down an interesting train of thought.

I used to teach guitar & sell instruments, and many times I would encounter enthusiastic people trying to learn on the cheapest instrument money could buy. The problem is many of these cheap instruments or hand-me-downs were simply unplayable--the strings were so high off the fingerboard they(or I) couldn't depress them adequately to make a note, they wouldn't stay in tune, etc. The point is this: I found that despite their enthusiasm, and good intentions, often times people set themselves up for failure before they even get started. I'm not saying they should have gone out and purchased a custom shop Les Paul(a top tier guitar), but rather something that offers value, and rewards their effort.

Yes, I could have made these tools myself, but I also understand my limitations, and I know the results & positive reinforcement I would get from using proper tools would help kindle my blacksmithing experience. Were I to have made the tools myself (with my current blacksmithing skillset) the process of forging nails would certainly have been more frustrating, and less encouraging.

I remember when I bought my first hand plane, I decided to purchase a new plane which was in guaranteed working order, as opposed to buying and restoring an old plane(which is arguably a much better deal). The reason being, without the firsthand experience of using a properly set-up plane, how was I to know how to restore one to proper working order. I have since acquired & restored a hand full of vintage planes.

This blog is more of a ramble than a coherent presentation. I suppose if there is a point I'm trying to make it's this: Don't sell yourself short. Whatever it is you do; building, painting, singing, cooking, etc. Conventions aside, it is in your best interest to do whatever you feel is necessary to create the positive reinforcement that will encourage your progress.

Nicholson workbench part 1 | How-To

So as both a right of passage as well as a necessity, I've started my workbench build. I've settled on a slightly modified version of Chris Schwarz's "English Workbench" in his workbench book.   Tool used list below.

I have also added free Google SketchUp plans I made to my website www.zhfabrications.com

Anyway, thanks for watching and let me know if you have any questions!

Tools used:
Delta Unisaw
Dewalt 20v Circular saw
General tools digital bevel guage
Rockwell 14" Bandsaw
Dewalt DW716 Miter saw
Dewalt DW618 plunge/fixed base router
Dewalt 4 1/2 angle grinder
Dewalt 20V Jigsaw
Titebond ii Wood glue
Fastcap Gluebot
Woodriver 5 1/2 bench plane
Dewalt 20v Drill
Porter cable forstner drill bit set
Watco Danish oil
Freud 10" Dado stack
DEWALT DW734 Planer
Swanson Speed Square

The Book:
Workbenches - Chris Schwarz

Modular Crosscut Sled with box joint jig | How-To

I've had a few people ask me about my crosscut sled--and after realigning my table saw top for the shop fox fence, my old one was about 2 degrees off, so I built another one. I've included a removable finger joint jig, but you could also add miter jigs, etc.

Thanks for watching, I would love to hear from you.

Dewalt DW716 Miter saw
Bessey Auto adjust toggle clamp
Delta Unisaw
Porter cable drill press
DeWalt Trim router
Fastcap Gluebot
Titebond ii Wood glue
Dewalt 20v Drill
Dewalt 20V XR Brushless Drill
DEWALT DW734 Planer
Dewalt 20V Jigsaw
Varathane provincial wood stain
Freud 10" Dado stack
Swanson Speed Square
 

Router Mortise Jig | How-To

Here's a mortising jig I built based on an old book titled "Router Magic" I found at a garage sale a while back.

I thought it would make one of the jigs featured which will allow me to clamp and rout small pieces. You can see me use this jig to route the drawer pulls on the "Small chest of drawers" video.

Tools & products used:
Delta Unisaw
DEWALT DW734 Planer
Dewalt Trigger clamp
Makita random orbital sander
1/4"x20 Brass threaded inserts
DEWALT plunge router
Dewalt 20V XR Brushless Drill
DE STA CO Toggle clamp
Fastcap Accuscribe
Titebond ii Wood glue
Briwax Rustic Pine

Simple wooden knobs | How-to

These little knobs have proven themselves quite useful, I feel like I can't build a jig without them--fortunately they are quite simple to make.

Tools & products used:

DEWALT DW716 Miter Saw    http://amzn.to/2ncPDgZ
Fastcap Accuscribe    http://amzn.to/2nlfhQm
Sharpie (12 pk)    http://amzn.to/2nfYhLr
Porter Cable drill press
Rockwell 14" Bandsaw
Makita random orbital sander    http://amzn.to/2oDBVDN
Loctite Heavy Duty Epoxy    http://amzn.to/2oRnpp9
Briwax Rustic Pine    http://amzn.to/2peXYgl
 

Dowel stop radius guide | How-to

A simple dowel-stop radius guide & compass. I needed something capable of drawing larger radii than most traditional compasses are capable of.

The idea came to me after watching Jack Houweling's dowel stop video--Thanks Jack!

Tools & products used:
DEWALT DW716 Miter Saw
Porter cable drill press
Box of random springs - Big box store
Makita random orbital sander
Titebond original Wood Glue
Dewalt DWE4011 Angle Grinder
Briwax Rustic Pine

Dovetailed wooden mallet from 2' of 2x4

Making a wooden mallet from 2 feet of a  2x4. There are a lot of mallet videos floating around out there, most of which involve a wedged through handle, which are great, but I wanted to try something a little different.

I routed a dovetail in the two sections that make up the mallet. I used southern yellow pine - a very hard species of pine which can be found at most local home centers.

Update: One year later, and the mallet is still holding up great, I use it nearly every day.

Tools & products used:
Delta Unisaw table saw
DEWALT DW716 Miter Saw
Rockwell 14" Bandsaw
Flexcut Drawknife
Makita random orbital sander
DEWALT DWE6000 Trim router
Titebond original Wood Glue
Varathane provincial wood stain