A few years ago, Stanley introduced a commerative tape measure to celebrate their 175th anniversery. The tape measure was sold at Menards and independent hardware stores for about $8.00.
For one reason or another, the market took off and collectors were buying them up as fast as they could. Stores ran out of stock and prices shot up to $60.00 each on eBay. There was even a guy who was making custom leather pouches for the rule. It got so bad that well known woodworking bloggers were posting websites where you can still buy the tape measure for around $10.00
A year later, after the rage went down, Menards got more stock in but end up having to clearance them out for $5.99.
I bought one when they first came out and started to use it. It’s a nice rule but unfortunately it has no tape lock which sucks. But wouldn’t you know it, the bugger is really handy. We keep it laying around our house and it’s the first tape measure we grab when looking for something to measure. Plus, it’s easy to keep in my pocket when we’re out and about. The nice thing about its design is that it blends into our decor and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. We just have the rule laying around the house. Which picture below looks nicer?
You can still buy the tape measure on eBay for a reasonable price. If you need something that’s handy to have around the house, buy it. You won’t regret it.
Many years ago, I went to The Woodworking Show in Columbus, Ohio and bought this Dowel Crafter jig after seeing it being demonstrated.
I can count on my hand how many times I used it over the decades. There’s really nothing wrong with it, I just never got excited about dowel joinery.
The concept is simple. You draw a line on two mating boards and use it as a guide for the jig. You mark one piece “X”and the other piece “O”.
You then line up your mark with one of the alphabet letters on the jig and clamp it down. Then you flip it over and drill your holes through the circular black guides. The two guides spin and lock in place with a nut depending on how big of a dowel you’re using. Once you drill your “X” hole you repeat the process for the “O” hole.
You now have four holes that correspond with eachother. Next you can either use dowels or in my case, make a dowel with my Stanley No77 Dowel Making machine. I then cut the dowels and punch them through my Lie Nielsen Dowel Plate so they are the perfect diameter. When sticking them in the holes, they line up perfectly, giving me a nice tight fitting and strong joint.
This jig can also make dowelled miter cuts but you have to do it bass-ackwards. You first take your two pieces and mark your line. Then you drill your holes just as before. The jig had plastic 90 degree dowels you could buy as a kit. You can see how many plastic dowels I have used over the past 35 years.
After the holes are drilled, you cut your 45’s on the miter box and glue them together. The joint is remarkably strong. By far the strongest miter joint I’ve ever made.
You can buy this jig on eBay for about $20 but good luck finding the 90 degree plastic dowels. I love using this jig so much that I went out and bought a Festool Domino. Go figure. I hate dowel joints!
Last weekend while I was repairing the oak dresser we bought at the Springfield Extravaganza, I was working on this drop leaf table as well. The table was in bad shape with both drop leafs broken off. We bought the table to use in Anita’s booth so all I had to do was remove the two swing out legs and make it presentable.
I flipped the table over and started to unscrew all the hinges that were attached to the top and sides. Then I popped off the extra pieces of wood so that the sides would be one single piece of wood.
Taking all the hardware off, I made sure that I saved it all in case I need it for another project or even sell on eBay. If I sell the hardware, it will help offset some of the cost of the buying the table. If I’m lucky, I’ll sell it for enough to make the table free.
After a few minutes, the table was in good useable condition.
Anita bleached the wood so it would be lighter in color and stuck it in her booth. No paint this time. Really simple project and it makes her booth look nicer.
My wife, Anita, and I went to the Springfield Extravaganza Antique Show last weekend looking for some things to buy. Me, it’s always antique tools, and for her, it’s modern farmhouse decor items for her to sell. We bought this old beat up five panel oak dresser for $20. For some reason during its life, the legs were cut off to make it shorter. The problem with that is it made the bottom drawer completely useless.
So, once we got it home, I took a look at it and saw that the bottom drawer was trashed so I took it over to my fire pit to burn. I did take the wooden knobs off the drawer just in case we could use them someday.
I knew I wanted the dresser to have legs again, so I took my sawzall and cut out the panels on the sides and back and then removed all the wood in the grooves.
Since the panels I cut out were already the perfect thickness, I ripped them into thin strips and used them to fill the gaps. A few clamps and glue did the trick.
After the glue dried, I trimmed and sanded the legs and threw the dresser upright. Boom! Now the dresser had legs again and didn’t look so pathetic. I then worked on the drawers to make sure they opened and closed well. I even rubbed paraffin wax on the bottoms of the drawers to make them slide easier. After a little bit of work, this dresser was useable again.
Now the part you hate! Anita painted the dresser white with milk paint and turned into a piece of shabby chic furniture. You may hate it, but some farmhouse decor lady will love it.
I built this Pennsylvania Secretary back in 2004. It was an article in Fine Woodworking Magazine by Ronnie Bird. I fell in love with the idea of making a piece as complicated as this with it’s intrical cubbies and drawers.
The door panels and desk lid were all sliced from a single piece of 2″ thick walnut. I sliced the wood by hand with my hand saw because the 13″ width of the wood was too wide for my band saw that could only rip stock 12″ wide. I remember it being a major pain the ass.
I used a bread board edge on the lid so that it wouldn’t warp. The joint works well because seventeen years later, the lid is still perfectly flat.
I cut the curvature of the drawers on a band saw and smoothed them with my oscillating drum sander. The panel on the small door was a piece of crotch walnut.
There are a few hidden compartments inside the desk where I kept my silver dollar coins that my Mom gave me before she passed away. The columns slide open to keep important documents but I never stored anything in them.
The drawer fronts were sliced from a single piece of curly walnut that I laminated onto a walnut substrate for each drawer. I cut the cabriolet feet on the band saw and then glued each side together.
The lid opens up to act as a working desk but it actually sucks as a desk. The lid is too high off the ground for my liking.
I built the sides and case with 7/8″ thick walnut with red oak secondary wood. I used red oak because I had a boatload of it when I bought a bundle of it from the company I used to work for. They sold it as oak fence boards so the quality of the wood was not the best. I didn’t care because it was seconday wood but it made the piece extremely heavy. I should have used white pine or poplar instead.
I used plywood on the back and drawer bottoms because the expense of making it was getting out of hand. I paid over $600 for all of the brass hardware and the walnut cost me over $800.
As nice as this piece is, it’s been used as a junk drawer all these years as we just store a bunch of crap in it. I used to store my cd collection in the top cabinet but I sold a lot of them a few years ago on half.com when I was uploading my collection into a digital format.
The secretary has been sitting in our garage ever since we got hit with the tornado last year. After the tornado, we had to take all of our furniture out of the house and into pods in our driveway while our house was being put back together. When everything was done, we never brought it back into the house because it’s too big and heavy to move.
I currently have it for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $1800 but I’ll be surprised if anyone buys it. It’s not an antique so it doesn’t have any value in that way and no one buys big pieces of furniture like this anymore. I may have to donate it or just keep it in the garage.
The secretary was fun to make, but I wouldn’t make it again. All it’s good for is to take pictures and show people “look what I made.”
UPDATE 7-16-21. After zero bites on Marketplace for weeks, I lowered to $500. We’ll see if it sells.
I made this table for my wife last year but never blogged about it. Kind of stupid to call yourself MVFlaim Furnituremaker if you never blog about making a piece of furniture. While I was building it, I took a bunch of pictures of the process and intended to show all the steps, but apparently a bug crawled up my ass and for some reason, I deleted all the photos I took. I guess I was having a bad day. So, I had to search my Instagram account to find some pictures to load here.
The five foot long table is a common table you’d find in any furniture store. The table is really nothing special. In fact, the most unique feature of the piece is the drawer fronts with chair caning panels.
I simply made three drawer fronts with a rabbet in the back. I then glued chair canimg on a plywood panel and stuck it in the rabbeted recess. Since the drawer fronts are stuck to the front of each drawer box, the plywood remains stable inside the rabbet and doesn’t move around. I had photos of the entire process but that bug was in my butt pretty far up so they’re gone forever.
I fitted the carcass together and glued and screwed the bottom rails and shelf.
Joinery I used was mortise and tenons I cut on the table saw and chopped with a 3/8″ mortising chisel. The top rail was joined with a hidden dovetail.
Legs were cut from 2″ square poplar boards I glued up and tapered on the band saw. I then cleaned them up with my smooth plane.
This is the table before Anita painted it dark gray and applied the gold handles. Maybe the next peice of furniture I make I’ll be in a better mood and won’t delete the pictures of my progress.
I bought this plane on eBay this week. Probably the first plane I bought on the bay in two years. The seller said it was marked 904 and was similar to a Stanley No 2 plane. When I opened the box, I immediately saw that it was actually the size of a No 4 plane. It’s my fault for not paying closer attention to the pictures and not doing my research. I looked over the plane and saw no makers mark of any kind. To me, it looked like it was made by the Sargent Tool Co.
When I took the plane apart, I saw that the frog on the plane was identical to early Stanley Bedrock plane. I knew it wasn’t a Bedrock because it would say “Bedrock” on the bed. The only other plane company that made planes that I knew of that had a Bedrock style of frog was Vaughan & Bushnell but all their planes had flat side walls similar to Bedrock planes.
The lateral adjustment had a twist on the top. It reminded me of a Sargent plane but I don’t think Sargent ever made planes with a Bedrock style of frog.
The back of the frog was similar to all other Bailey style planes on the market back in the day. The one thing I noticed was that the threaded rod for the brass knurled nut was really long like that of an Ohio Tool Co plane. Was this an Ohio Tool Co plane?
The only identification mark on the plane was 904 on the chip breaker. Since I thought it was a Sargent or Ohio Tool Co plane, I researched “904” for each company and came up empty. Sargent’s No 4 size planes were labeled 409 not 904.
The blade had no marking on it. The only unique feature it had has a polygram shaped hole at the bottom. So, I went back to Vaughan & Bushnell and searched “904”. Sure enough, I found an early example on the internet of a Vaughan & Bushnell No 904 with round sides. Mystery solved. Why Vaughan & Bushnell didn’t mark their planes is anybody’s guess but mine would be that they sold their planes to hardware companies who would then label the plane under their own brand name. Similar to that of companies who use to make tools and sold it to Sears to be sold under the Craftsman brand. Maybe this plane was packaged in a box with the hardware store’s brand on it.
I sharpened the blade and put it to use. After a quick honing, the plane performed well. It’ll make a nice user however, I’m still kind of pissed it was sold as a number to 2 size plane. I overpaid for it but that’s my fault.
About 12 years ago, we decided to update our kitchen from the 1980’s colonial style cabinetry into the new century with a new Tuscan style of cabinetry. It looked great for years but, after we got hit with the tornado last year, Anita wanted to use the opportunity to update the kitchen again into a modern farmhouse style of kitchen. This is the only photo I have of the cabintery I made when we were reinstalling them after the tornado.
Luckily, the only thing that really needed to be done was simply paint the cabinets, get new hardware and update the backsplash. Anita went with a two toned cabinetry with white on the top and dark gray on the bottom.
We took down the Tuscan style tile and installed ship lap as the backsplash. It’s been up for the past eight months and has held up better than I would have expected. There has been no staining on the wood whatsoever even though the kitchen gets used on a daily basis.
The biggest issue we had with the update was the that I had to make a new drawer front for underneath the sink. Before that, we had a wooden fluer de lis applique nailed on the kitchen base.
Making the drawer front was going to be a challenge since I no longer owned a router table. I had to jimmy one up real quick so I grabbed a piece of plywood and laid where I wanted the router to sit.
Then I drilled a few holes so that I could install the router with an opening large enough to accept my panel raising bit.
I then grabbed a piece of scrap wood and routed out the underside to act as a fence.
Adding two clamps to hold down the fence, BOOM!, an instant router table. Using a router table like this can be a bit dangerous as I had no safety shields above the bit, but it just kept me on my toes.
After a little trial and error with scrap wood, I was able to route the edge of the panel with ease.
I needed a round over for the edge of the drawer front so I stuck a 3/8″ round over bit in the router and grabbed another piece of scrap wood for the fence.
My sample board looked great, so I was confident I could get this bit to work well.
After taking a few passes and cleaning up the edge with a rabbet plane, the drawer front was done.
My wife painted the piece dark gray to match the other cabinets and I nailed it onto the kitchen base with 18 gauge brads. Nearly a year after we got hit with the tornado, our updated kitchen is complete.
It’s been slim pickings buying antique tools the past few months. So much so, I had to close my eBay store and just list things when I had a few tools to sell.
Scrounging around my shelves in my workshop, I found an old miter saw I bought at one time but completely forgot about. It was in pretty rough shape when I bought it but the price was right. Being out of inventory, I figured it would be a good time to clean it up
If you know me, you know I like dipping old rusty tools imto a ctric acid bath for a few hours. The process works great on old cast iron plane beds but when I try it on saw blades, it turns the steel really dark.
I heard about guys who scrunch up a piece of aluminum foil and use mag wheel polish to buff out the rust using nothing but elbow grease. I have tried this method on previous saws and have enjoyed the outcome so much that I no longer dip my saw blades in citric acid.
I started with a piece of aluminum foil but the blade was so tarnished and rusty, that I decided to use a scotch brite pad instead. It took a lot of elbow grease, but I was happy with the outcome after a few days of scrubbing.
You can see the etching was saved using the mag + aluminum polish. Sometimes when you use sandpaper to remove rust on saw blades, you lose the etching as well. You can also see the oxidation on the blade from all the rust.
When I bought the saw, I thought it was a Disston but it turned out to be a Simonds saw for a Millers Falls Langdon Mitre Box. Turned out to be a nice find.
The handle was already in nice shape. All I had to do was remove the old cracked lacquer finish with paint removal gel and buff it with steel wool. Then I applied a few coats of shellac to it.
The saw cleaned up nicely and is ready to be put back to use. Just needs a quick sharpening.
I was reading Journeyman’s Journal blog this week (if you don’t follow him, you should) and he had a quick post about someone who submitted a tip to a woodworking magazine about sharpening a block plane blade with a drill press. The tip shows a block plane blade in a drill press vise with a drum sander attached in the chuck. You would raise and lower the handle grinding a bevel on the blade while sharpening it at the same time. I looked at the tip and laughed thinking there’s no way that would work. But after thinking about it for a minute, I wanted to see if it actually would work. I knew I could try it but instead of using a drill press, I could use my oscillating drum sander. So, I grabbed an old plane blade and gave it a go.
I have this old Ryobi oscillating drum sander. It’s nothing special. In fact, I think I bought it at Sears about 30 years ago. It still works fine so I’ve never bothered buying a new one. I decided to sharpen the blade with 150 and 220 grit papers.
I wanted a 25 degree bevel on the blade so I clamped the blade into a hand clamp and set it up to the sander at 25 degrees to the table. This actually didn’t work because of the diameter of sanding sleeve changed the angle of attack. I probably should have used a larger diameter of a drum in order to get a more accurate bevel on the blade but I really didn’t care since I wasn’t going to use the blade full time in a plane anyway.
I carefully sanded the blade taking it on and off the drum every few seconds so not to burn the edge. After I ground the bevel with 150 grit, I switched to 220 grit paper and repeated the process.
Here’s the edge after I took it off the sander. You can see the heavy burr on the back side of the blade however, the grinding is nice and consistent.
I then took the blade and removed the burrs and honed the edge with my oil stone. It turned out well enough to see how it performs.
As you can see, the bevel turned out to be 35 degrees. I don’t care as I was just trying to determine a proof of concept. If I did care, I would have played with the angle of attack at the sander until the end result was 25 degrees.
I stuck the blade in a Stanley a No 5 plane and tried it out. Sure enough, it took a nice shaving even though the cutting edge was a little too high for my liking. Even though it works, I’ll still stick to my water cooled sharpening machine for grinding a bevel on blades for it’s ease of use.
On Salko’s post, one of his followers posted that a popular woodworking blog-gist, Derek Cohen, sharpens his router plane blades with a drum sander so I had to try that out as well. Below is the blade I’ve been using in my router plane for years but never bothered to sharpen it properly. I sharpened this blade the same way as with the block plane blade. I did this just free hand and didn’t bother to make a jig or holding device for it.
After a few seconds grinding the bevel, I honed the edge on my oil stone and stuck it back in the plane.
Sure enough, it worked like a champ. The router has never cut so nice. Who knew!