Woodsmith Survey

I received this email from Woodsmith Magazine today. They asked me to take a short survey, which being a Marketing major I usually oblige because I know that knowing the needs of your target audience can be helpful in understanding your customer base. I didn’t read the email close enough so, I figured the survey would mainly be about what kind of tools I own and what I plan to buy in the next year. Typical woodworking stuff.

So, I click on the link and it sent me to a third party website. It starts off with the usual questions of what’s your age, sex, nationality, etc. Then the next section is about what kind of car you drive and whether you plan on buying a new car in the future. I thought it was a little strange questioning, but I answered figuring it’s not a big deal telling them I drive a Ford Ranger.

But then, the next section starts asking me questions about my financial stability, how much money I had in the bank, and whether I own my own home. I quickly answered “None of your Business” and went onto the next section.

By this time, I was half way through the questioniare when it asked me about my health status and what types of medications I take. There wasn’t even an option not to answer and move forward. That’s when I got pissed off and left the survey.

Why the hell does Active Interest Media want to know about my financial status and my personal health? And why the hell would I tell them what type of medications I’m taking? My employer doesn’t even know what medications I take. How is knowing any of this going to sell more magazines? My guess is that they are planning on having more advertising in their pages in the coming issues and want to know what companies they should try to persuade to advertise in Woodsmith.

My privacy is important to me. I’m sure as hell not going tell you my personal information for a chance to win a $100. Hell, you couldn’t pay me a $100 to devolve that kind of information. I guarentee whomever fills out this survey will be bombarded by spam emails, texts and phone calls from various companies as their personal information will be bought and sold over the open market. What a joke.

Jorgensen Compound Miter Box

A few months ago I was browsing through my local thrift store when I stumbled upon this miter box. I’ve seen hundreds of miter boxes in my day, but this was the first handtool compound miter box I had ever seen.

It’s a Jorgensen No 64020 Compound Miter Box made during the 1980’s or ’90’s in complete condition with its original instruction sheet. The price at $15 was too good to pass up so I brought it home to play with it.

The miter box appeared to be well made with smooth action on the vertical axis swing, wood support, repetive cut stop, and a hold down clamp. After figuring out how the tool worked, I was excited to put it to use.

I grabbed a piece of pine and randomly set the angles on the vertical and horizontal axes and gave it a go. After a few minutes of cutting, I was finally able to cut the piece off. The blade is either dull or the teeth are set so fine, that it easily binds in the wood. I measured the teeth on the blade and they’re 20TPI. I’m thinking that maybe this tool was meant to cut woods like balsa for model airplane building.

I went online to find a replacement blade, but unfortunately they are no longer made. Craftsman makes a 16″ long replacement blade but this one is 24″. I guess I could make a new out out of old miter box saw blade and use this one as the template. That may be a fun thing to try someday.

So right now, it sits underneath one of my workbenches out of the way collecting dust. What a shame! It looks like a really cool miter box that would come in handy for cutting intricate molding that would be too dangerous to perform on a powered miter box.

Herb Drying Rack

Last Saturday, Anita and I, were antiquing up in Northen Ohio around the Medina area. We stumbled into an antique store Seville, OH where Anita saw this old herb drying rack. The price was $89 but the lady said she would take $75 for it. Anita looked at it for a few minutes trying decide whether or not to buy it and if she did, where she would put it.

The rack looked old, but whether or not it was antique, who knows? It could have been made 20 years ago and just left outside to weather. While Anita debated on buying the rack, she asked me if I could make one. I told her it would super easy to do so she left it there and didn’t buy it.

The next day, I ripped 1/4″ strips off an old pine shelf we had in the garage. I decided the spacing should be 1 1/4″ so I cut blocks by using a sled on my table saw and laid out the spacing to see how it looked.

Anita came downstairs and told me she wanted rectangular spacing so she two two blocks and put them together. We both liked the new design, so I started pinning the strips together with 23 gauge pins. After we decided the overall dimensions the rack should be, I built a 1″ thick frame with the rest of the pine board. I used 18 gauge brads to attach the grid to the frame. The overall size was about 22″ wide x 47″ long.

In a few hours, the drying rack was built and hung up in our kitchen between the back door and the basement door. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of my followers said that the rack would work great for drying his weed. Maybe I should make more and sell them to a niche market. ??? Nevertheless, now Anita has a place to dry her herbs (whatever you do with dried herbs).

Pennsylvania Secretary up for Auction

A few months ago I wrote blog post about selling my Pennsylvania Secretary on Facebook Marketplace. Some of you commented that the $1800 I listed it for was way too low, but I knew that these types of furniture are not very popular anymore.

After a few weeks of it being listed and not getting any bites, I lowered it to $400. Even then, I only had one person contact me about it. The person was asking if it was a real antique or not. After I told him I made it, he never responded back. So it just sat out there with very little fews and no likes.

My wife was sick of the piece sitting in the garage so I decided to contact a local online auction company. After I sent them a few pictures, they responded that they would love to sell and I should bring it down to their warehouse.

When I met the owner of the company, he swooned over it. He thought the desk was the coolest piece of furniture he had seen in a long time. He even told me that he was going to feature it as his beauty shot for the auction.

I woke up this morning and checked my email. Sure enough, there was my secretary on the front of his email. I’ll get 60% for whatever it sells for which probably won’t even come close to the amount it cost me to make back in 2004.

Here’s the link to the auction. The desk is lot No 27. My guess is that it will sell for under $500. What’s yours?

https://thevelvetcricket.com/search/product-buyer-auction/982?Airport%20Rd%20Auction%20#311Pickups:%2010/29%20&%2010/30%20(11-4pm)

New Life for a Display Piece

A couple years ago I wrote a blog post about building this huge display cabinet for my wife. She wanted it to use as a backdrop for doing shows. Being 7′ long, it was long enough to stick in the back of a 10′ x 10′ booth with a little room on the sides.

She was hoping to use it for a show in the spring, then Covid hit and the show was cancelled. We waited for everything to go back to normal, but the further things went, Anita decided not to do the show anymore. In the end, we never ended up even using the piece.

It sat in our garage over the months so Anita decided to get rid of it and told me to post it on Facebook Marketplace for dirt cheap. One of Anita’s customers saw the post and came by the next day to buy it. She owns a specialty shop and was planning on painting the piece gray and using it in her store.

Anita stopped by her shop this morning and saw the piece painted. It looks amazing in her store. At least someone got use out of it.

I’m thinking now that I should make these display pieces and put a big price tag on it instead of the garage sale price this lady got. What do you think?

Ash Display Cabinet

The ash display cabinet I’ve been building for Anita is finally done. Took longer than I wanted but, working full time, restoring and selling antique tools, and doing honey-do lists around the house has eaten up all of my time. Anita will eventually put handles on the doors once she figures out which ones she wants, but for the most part, it’s done.

The cabinet is 48″ x 66″ x 16″ and is the first piece of furniture I made without using a single piece of plywood. I would have at least liked to have made the shelves out of 3/4″ plywood but my lumber supplier doesn’t carry it. The piece is extremely heavy and cost me about $500 to build. But, it’s still way cheaper than the $1600 price tag that was on the one at Pottery Barn. Plus, this is made from American hardwood and not some junky looking Chinese lumber.

To help speed up the build, I went out and bought a Festool Domino. I waited ten years to buy one until the day I could afford it, but that day never came. So, I bit the bullet and bought the tool as well as the Domino kit with the extra drill bits. So far, I love the tool. I was told by the sales rep at the store that you set the tool on the first setting one one side of the board, then switch to the second setting for the other side of the board. The wider slot gives you a little bit of play when aligning the boards similar to using a biscuit joiner.

I used the machine for the case as well as the joinery on the glass doors and it performed wonderfully. The Domino is one of those tools you wished you would have bought sooner.

The other thing I did differently on the piece versus others I have built was to put feet on the cabinet. In years past, when I built something, the sides of the case would be the feet of piece of furniture but, after studying antiques over the years, I noticed that the well built pieces would have feet glued to the bottom. This helps protect the sides by lifting them off the floor by a 1/16″. Having square feet also makes sticking furniture pads on the bottom a lot easier.

I already wrote about the wooden shelf supports a few weeks ago here. They work exceptionally well and can hold a massive amount of ironstone. I can’t even imagine all that weight on little brass pins.

Anita loves the cabinet, I love the cabinet, her friends love the cabinet, people on Instagram love the cabinet. It’s been a big hit and the money I saved building it, paid for my Festool Domino.. (see what I did there?)

Board and Batten Bedroom

Over the past few weekends, Anita and I have been busy updating our spare bedroom. We use the room as our home office but even that is a stretch since the only thing in there is our printer and WIFI cable box. We don’t even have a desk in the room so it’s been more of a holding area for the antiques she sells online and a table for packaging things up to ship.

She got tired of the drabby feel of the room and wanted to give it some style so she asked me if I could cut up some wood for board and batten trim work. I went out and bought two sheets of 1/4″ mdf and ripped 4″ wide slats for the top of the trim. We nailed the top boards about 5 feet from the floor.

Next I ripped 3″ wide slats and nailed two of them next to eachother in all four corners of the room. I knew the fit in the middle wasn’t going to be perfect due to the bow of the wall so, the gap in the middle was going to have to be filled with caulk.

Playing around with painters tape, we calculated the spacing in between the slats. We took the measurement between the two slats in the corner, minus the 3″ per slat and divided by the number of slats we wanted on the wall. It took a little bit of time to figure out how many slats per wall looked the best, but in the end, the slats on each wall were around 18″-22″ apart. Obviously, each wall had it’s own measurement so no two walls were the same. On a couple of walls, we had to fudge number a little bit so that the slat would miss an electrical outlet but, your eye will never see the difference.

After the slats were nailed up, I ripped some pine 1/2″ thick x 3/4″ wide and nailed a ledge on top of the top board. This finished off the trim with a nice clean look. We played around with molding at Home Depot trying to determine which molding would look the best, but in the end, simpler was better.

Once all the nail holes were filled, everything was lightly sanded. Then Anita caulked and painted the bottom of the walls an off white color.

She decided on a color called Carbon Copy for the top and applied a couple coats to the top side of the wall. The room has a lot more style now and it only took about $200 in material and paint to do. Now we finally have an office that looks like an office, except we still don’t have a desk or any other office furniture.

Shelf Support Brackets

The past few weeks I’ve been building a display cabinet for my wife out of ash. Things have been going well with the build and when it came to adding a way to hold the adjustable shelves, I wanted to use an old method that I’ve seen numerous times on antique furniture.

It starts with a couple of pieces of 1 1/2″ wide wood laying out 1″ diamter holes down the middle. The holes are 3″ apart on center. I taped the two pieces together so that when the holes are bored, the pieces mirror eachother.

I then ripped the pieces apart in the middle giving me four brackets that are similar to one another. I then installed each piece in the corner of the cabinet with glue and a few 23 gauge pins. This gives me perfect alignment when I install the shelf brackets.

The brackets are nothing more than a 1″ wide ash with a roundover on each end. I decide to add another 1″ piece of wood onto the stretcher. This gives me the opportunity to adjust the height of the shelf inside the cabinet by one inch. It’s helpful if the shelf needs to be a little bit higher, but I don’t want to move the stretcher three inches to the next notch.

Overall, I love the look of the wooden shelf dividers. I’ve done the 1/4″ holes drilled up and down the sides with brass pins for years and was never a big fan of them. To me, this looks a bit more authentic.

Soupin’ Up a Stanley Surform File

Last weekend I bought this Stanley No 296 Surform File at a local antique show. When I first got into woodworking, I would use these things to round over boards when making wooden sailfish and ducks in junior high shop class. I hadn’t used one in years but for $5.00, I figured I’d play with one again.

I hated the handles so I grabbed a piece of 2″ square cherry and turned a new knob. The diameter of the knob is a little bit bigger than the original, but I had to keep the base the same diameter so it would sit it the recess of the body.

I then grabbed 1″ thick cherry and used an old Stanley tote as a template for the new handle. I then cut it out on the band saw and shaped it smooth with my oscillating spindle sander.

I then shaped it round with chisels, rasps, and files. I could have used a 1/2″ round over router bit but then again, I could also have cut it out with CNC machinery like most modern tool makers. The rasps and files worked just fine.

I drilled a couple of holes underneath to fit on top of the fitted body. I simply used the original tote as a template of where the holes needed to be drilled.

A quick spray paint job on the aluminum body did the trick. After a few coats it was done.

After assembling the parts back together and buying a new replacement blade, the rasp looks better than ever. What’s nice about these tools is that Stanley still makes them so buying replacement blades are super easy as every hardware store sells them.

I now own the coolest surform file in Cincinnati. It was a fun little weekend project.

World’s Longest Yard Sale 2021

Last week, my wife and I spent the days traveling up and down US127 for the World’s Longest Yard Sale. It’s something we’ve down for the past seven or eight years and we have an absolute blast doing it. We get up at 4:30am and drive 150 miles to start our day in a different part of the country to see what we can find. After 1200 miles in my truck and five days of picking, this is what I came home with.

As much fun it isto pick, it’s frustrating that I can’t find as many Stanley Bailey planes that I used to. Even nice planes that are out of my budget were few and far between.

I was able to find a couple of good deals on miter boxes. One is my favorite Stanley No 150. It’s great little miter box for cutting wood that too small to cut with a powered miter saw. The other is a Miller’s Falls No 70 miter box along with a Disston saw. Both will take some time to restore but I’ll eventually get it done.

I also picked up a blacksmith post vise. The price was too good to pass up. The jaws are a touch small at 3 1/2″ wide but it’s a perfect size for a woodworker who needs to do a little metal working from time to time.

The other things I picked up were some large jaw Bessey clamps for $8.00 each. (I couldn’t whip out my wallet fast enough). Then, I found some old Fine Woodworking magazines and old testbook for a few bucks. One thing that’s great about woodworking is that the old books and magazines are still relevant because wood is wood and steal is steal. Been that way for thousands of years and it’ll be that way for a thousand more.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchases, I’m just getting a litttle nervous about not finding any decent tools on the yard sale anymore. I know damn well I haven’t bought them all.