Replacing my Tormek Sharpening Stone

After using my Tormek sharpening machine for the past twenty years, it was time for a new stone. When I researched replacement wheels, I read all about the new CBN wheels on the market that stay flat and don’t require water to use. The one disadvantage I saw with these wheels, is that the side of the stones are prettty narrow. When I sharpen old plane blades, I like to flatten the back of them as well, so I often grind the back of the blade with the side of the stone. I was afraid that the narrowness of the CBN stones wouldn’t do the job as well as my original stone. I’ve been happy with the stone that came with the machine so, if it ain’t broke, dont fix it.

I knew the hard part of replacing the stone would be taking the old one off. I grabbed a 3/4″ wrench and tried like hell to unscrew the nut. I whacked on the wrench with a hammer as hard as I could hoping not to bend the shaft of the machine. It was so tough to get off, my stone cracked and fell apart.

After about twenty minutes of cussing and using a half of a can of PB Blaster, the nut finally freed itself. Once I took the remainder of the stone off, I tried to put the new stone on, but the shaft was so rusted and corroded, I had to sand the shaft smooth in order for the new stone to slide on.

I slipped on the new stone and noticed that it moved up and down just a little bit. Curious, I removed it from the machine and also removed the stropping wheel on the other side so I could remove the shaft in order to get a better look at what was going on.

Sure enough, the plastic gasket that was next to the stone had wore a larger hole in it from use over the past twenty years. Not having a replacement gasket on hand, I simply switched the gaskets from eachother sides hoping they will still work.

Now with a “new” gasket in place, the shaft wouldn’t fit into the hole because of all the corrosion on it so, I carefully filed and sanded the rust away. After a few minutes, I was able to get the shaft nicely seated in the machine.

I checked the squareness of the stone to my crossbar and it looked much better than before. For years when I used the Tormek, it would cut slightly heavier on one side of the blade. I would compensate for this error by tilting the angle of my blade in the jig just a smudge. After messing around with the machine this afternoon, I finally understand why it would cut heavier on one side.

I turned the machine on and checked how everything was running. The stone wobbles just a touch but, from how hard I was hitting the wrench with a hammer in order to get that nut off, I’m not surprised. As long as the machine sharpens blades fine, I’m happy with it.

Stanley No 68 Rabbet Spokeshave

Yesterday, I went to an antique show and picked up the Stanley No 68 Rabbet Spokeshave in it’s original box. I’ve heard about the tool, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in person. The price the guy was asking was too good to pass up so I took it home.

When I got home, I noticed a fence inside the box. At first, I thought it didn’t belong with the spokeshave but after looking at it for a few minutes, I saw that it clips on the back. The fence looks crude as if it was made by the original user, so I looked in John Walter’s Stanley book, but saw no mention of a fence that came with the tool.

When looking online for more information for this spokeshave, I saw that the vast majority of them have no fence. Then I came across this photo on WorthPoint where it shows a similar fence as mine, except this fence has a screw to tighten it while mine has a bolt. So, I’m not sure if this was a user tip that people saw in magazines that they made themselves or not.

Here’s the spokeshave in action. It works quite well with the fence. I posted this video on instagram and people said that the spokeshave was used by boat builders and carriage makers which would make sense. Definitely an interesting tool.

Springfield Extravaganza

Last weekend was the Springfield Extravaganza. It’s one of my favorite antique shows that happens in May and September in Springfield, Ohio. The fairgrounds is full with over 2000 dealers selling all sorts of antiques and the occasional junk. I look forward to it as much as the World’s Longest Yard Sale up and down US127 in August.

Luckily, I found some planes this time at the show. Many times in the past, I would only be able to pick up a Stanley plane or two, but this year, the Antique Tool Gods were with me as I ended picking up almost ten Stanley planes. None are exceptionally rare but all will make nice users. In fact, the rarest plane I bought was a Union X6 vertical post plane.

Ironically, the only tools I bought this weekend were planes. I was looking for drills, chisels and saws but there weren’t too many available. The one saw I had an interest in was a Disston Thumbhole D8 rip saw that was in a barrel with 50 other saws. When I asked the guy what he wanted for it, he replied “$50 per saw, unless you want all of them, then they’re $7.00 each.” I quickly put the saw back and walked away.

I’ll spend the next few weeks cleaning my planes up, but I’m not too sure how long that’ll take me as I just started my new job today (I got promoted) as I may end up working more hours with this new gig than I did before. However, I’m optimistic I’ll get back in the shop soon.

You can follow me on Instagram to see how the planes end up looking. I’ll remove the rust and sharpen the blades so that they can be put back to work. In fact, I just posted a couple of pictures of a Stanley No 71 Router Plane I restored after finding it at a yard sale earlier this month.

The Worst Plane Blade

Every once in awhile I’ll come across a plane blade that is so heavily pitted and corroded, the best thing to do is to simply throw it away. This blade that came off a Stanley No 6 plane was no different. The problem was that I didn’t have a replacement blade to go with the plane I was restoring, so I was forced to see if I could get the blade to work again.

The first thing I did was take the blade over to my 8″ speed grinder and grind the face and back of the blade to remove the corrosion. I paid special attention not to heat the blade up too much so, I occasionally cooled it off in a bucket of water. Fortunately, the blade’s face had about a 1/4″ of metal at the bottom that wasn’t pitted, so I was hopeful I could still get a good edge out of it.

I took the blade over to my Tormek and ground a 25 degree bevel on it and honed the face flattler on the side of the Tormek grinding wheel the same way as I did with my 8″ speed grinder.

After the grinding was finished, I took the blade over to my water stones and sharpened it just as I do with any other blade. When I was done, there was a clean line of light at the tip of the cutting edge so I was hopeful it could achieve a nice cut.

Placing the blade back into the plane, I tuned it up, and sure enough, this crappy blade cut pretty well. I took out my dial calipers, and the shavings measured .002″ thick. The blade will eventually need to be replaced, but at least the plane can function properly now.

The plane performed so nicely, I used it to flatten my workbench.

Repairing a Rosewood Knob

Sometimes when buying a plane, all the parts will be in good shape until you look at the front knob and see a big chunk missing from the bottom. I’ve repaired dozens of totes over the years, but I’ve never really tackled a knob as it looked like a big pain in the ass. So, I decided to give it a go and see how it turns out.

The first thing I did was shave the broken area smooth with a bastard file. It didn’t have to be completely clean, just good enough to hold some glue.

Then I took a piece of cocobolo scrap wood and glued it to the surface of the break. I paid careful attention to the orientation of the grain so the repair would look nicer. I used Gorilla Super Glue Gel as it works well gluing all type of rosewood woods together.

Once the glue dried, I cut off the excess with a dovetail saw and shaved the thick areas away with some chisels and gouges.

I wanted to shape the new area perfectly round with the rest of the knob so I created a little holding jig to be used on my lathe.

I measured the inside diameter of the knob’s mounting hole with inside calipers and transferred that measurement unto outside calipers, then turned a tenon to the measurement. Then I stuck the knob onto the tenon and stabalized the top of the knob with the lathe live center point.

With the knob spinning nice and true, I carefully used a round scraper and gently turned the new piece of wood concentric with the knob. After a few minutes, and a little bit of sanding, the knob was finished.

I noticed that the knob had split just a little bit while it was turning, so I applied more super glue gel to the bottom of the knob to stabalize the wood.

The final step was to apply a couple coats of shellac to the knob and stick it back on the plane. Because the piece of cocobolo was a little lighter in color than the rosewood, I colored the cocobolo darker with a black Sharpie marker then wiped off the excess with some fine steel wool.

The end result came out fine. The knob looks complete and you can only notice the repair if you really look at it. In fact, the knob on the right was also repaired the same way, and you can hardly see it. Looks like I’ll have to start repairing more knobs from now on.

The Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture

Yesterday I went to an antique show in Columbus, Ohio when I stumbled upon this book in one of the booths. When I first saw it, I thought the book was huge so, I browsed through it to see what was in it.

After looking through the pages for a few minutes and seeing the book originally sold for $125.00, I decided the $20.00 the guy wanted for it was too good to pass up.

I’ve had several books on Shaker furniture over the years, but none are as comprehensive as this one. The first 85 of 576 pages in this book goes into detail of how the Shakers came to be, their daily life, the tools and practices they used, and the different types of furniture each community made. There were over twenty different Shaker communities during the 18th and 19th century with a few of them only lasting a few years. The book talks about the different design and building practices the Shakers brought to their community as no one was born a Shaker. When you compare the furniture of one community to another, you can see suttle design differences between the two.

There must be over 1000 pictures of furniture along with the dimensions and descriptions of each piece. If nothing else, it makes an excellent reference book on Shaker design.

The book is so nice, it’s no wonder why it still sells for over $100 on eBay and Amazon. If you can find one that’s affordable, get it, you’ll be glad you did.

Here is the Introduction from the author himself to get a better understanding of the book’s purpose.

Lie-Nielsen vs Stanley No 140 Plane

Apparently, Hell has frozen over as I bought a Lie-Nielsen plane. I never thought I would own one as restoring old Stanley’s is my gig but, I found this at an antique mall and couldn’t resist even though I already own a Stanley No 140 Rabbet Plane.

The two planes are very similar to eachother with the biggest difference is that L-N is a low angle plane. The other differences is that L-N has a thicker blade made from A2 tool steel, a cutter on the side to slice the wood fibers when using it across the grain, and a fence. This plane’s fence was missing so, I contacted Lie-Nielsen to see if a replacement fence could be bought. They told me to send them a picture of the plane to make sure it is the current version they produce. After they saw the picture I sent, they informed me that their fence probably won’t work as my plane is the earlier version. Oh well, I never wished my Stanley No 140 had a fence so maybe I would never use it anyway.

The planes are nearly identical in size as well, with Lie-Nielsen being a touch smaller. However, the Lie-Nielsen is a little bit heavier since it’s made of bronze as opposed to cast iron. The Lie-Nielsen feels much nicer in your hand. You can tell the difference in quality between the two as soon as you hold it.

I wanted to see the difference of how each plane cuts, so I grabbed a piece of white pine and chopped a rabbet on the end. I then planed the rabbet clean with each plane.

The Lie-Nielsen cut extremely well as it shaved the wood fibers like butter. Lie-Nielsen planes are extremely well made and worth the extra money if you’re not interested in restoring old Stanley planes.

My tuned up Stanley No 140 also cut the wood fibers well. Not quite as nice as Lie-Nielsen but well enough to get the job done. You can see the shavings between the two planes are nearly identical. My Stanley No has user made bronze lever cap. It works so I never replaced it with a real lever cap. I’m cheap!

So, which is better? Lie-Nielsen wins hands down however, the price of the plane is nearly triple than that of a Stanley No 140 plane. You can find old Stanley No 140’s on eBay for around $100-150. Lie-Nielsen lists their No 140 for $385 on their website but is currently out of stock. Some used Lie-Nielsen No 140 planes have sold on eBay for over $500.

Whether or not the Lie-Nielsen is worth the extra money is up to you. Honestly, if I was a professional woodworker, I would buy Lie-Nielsen planes and depreciate their expense on my income statements. Being able to depreciate your tools is one of the nice benefits of being a pro. It’s no wonder why Lie-Nielsen tools are on backorder.

Repairing a Stool

Back in the summer, my wife bought a stool for $5.00 at an antique show. I honestly forget which show it was as we go to one every weekend. The stool was in decent shape, it just had a broken rung which is why it was only $5.00. She asked if it could be fixed and I told her I could fix it pretty easily.

The first thing I did was clean out the hole the rung sat in with small drill bits and awls. I then cleaned up a bit of the glue residue with a small wire brush.

I needed a rung that was 3/4″ in diameter so I grabbed my shaving horse and went to work. I hardly use this thing so anytime I get a chance, I jump on it. Shaving horses are a blast to use.

I used my drawknife and spoke shave to get close to the final diameter, then I used a scrap piece of wood with a 3/4″ hole to check final dimension. I could have just bought a 3/4″ dowel, but where’s the fun in that?

I removed the rung from the other side of the chair to determine the length my piece needed to be. I then glued and installed the rungs back into the chair while using strap clamps to hold everything tight while the glue dried.

The seat needed to be reglued a bit as well so some glue and clamps did the trick. When everything was dry, the stool was sturdy as a rock.

I thought Anita might have painted the stool, but she decided to keep it natural. She didn’t even stain the new rung dark to match the other rungs. The stool looks nice as a plant stand and for $5.00, I’m not complaining.

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.

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.