My hand saws and panel saws are starting to act like they need some attention, so I spent the last day and a half building a new vise for sharpening them.
I originally intended to build a replica of the “swinging saw vise” featured on The Woodwright’s shop a season or so ago, but I decided that even though I’ve allowed my handtool operation to spill into the livingroom of my house, I couldn’t really justify the space (and with time flying by, I couldn’t really justify the added complexity either). Instead, I designed a smaller vise that is held in place by my leg vise and clamps (for now) with a pair of hex bolts and wingnuts. I will probably still throw a coat of finish on it, but it is basically ready to go to work now.
Things I would do differently if I were to build a second one:
- I would move the vertical posts closer to the center to allow the biggest handsaws to be clamped along the full length of their toothline. As it stands, the left post interferes with the tote on my D-8, so I will be filing the last for our five teeth unsupported. Oops.
- I might make the posts longer and leave some extra material at the bottom where the hinges attach. I believe this would help create beter clamping pressure on the sawplate. I’m not sure if this is a problem yet. The vise seems to hold the plate securely, and it is unlikely I will be bearing down on a file so hard that the plate would shift, but I won’t know how well things perform until I start sharpening. Luckily (I guess), I have six saws or so that need work, so I’ll find out soon.
- I would consider making the vertical posts a little wider. I was thinking of using the Moxon vise hardware from Tools for Working Wood instead of the (much cheaper) hex bolts and wingnuts. I know this would give me better clamping pressure, but I worried that half inch holes might be a bit much for the narrow posts (my hex bolts are 3/8″).
- I’d use something stiffer than alder for the posts. It’s pretty soft and flexible. However, I had enough scrap to use on this project (and not really enough for something more substantial), so here we are. At least it’s pretty. The hard maple jaws will certainly hold up to some abuse.
- Even though I would make a smaller vise for sharpening backsaws (especially my dovetail and carcass saws, which have too shallow of a plate to be accomodated by jaws as large as these), I would probably cut some recesses on the insides of the vertical posts. Without doing this, this vise will not accommodate the back of a backsaw. This would be an easy enough modification for me to make to this vise, and I still might do it. I could then use this vise to sharpen my larger tenon saw.
I’ve been fiddling with spoons for a while. This is the first one I have completed without breaking or hating so far.
Table 752 with wooden vase of dried lavender
This side table is well sized to stand in your entryway or to serve as an accent piece in a sitting room. I’ve constructed it from figured, hard maple with a walnut drawer front. The secondary interior wood is clear, Eastern white pine. I’ve finished it with several coats of high quality tung oil and hand buffed wax.
If you would like to own this piece, you can view it at Wildwood Floral Creations in Dillon, MT, (406) 683-2618.
I never got around to posting pictures of my tool chest after completing it last spring. Here they are now.
New bench in maple and walnut
I’ve been building a new bench on and off since the spring of 2014. While I still plan to install a shelf inside of the leg stretchers, a deadman, and a planing stop, the bench is now basically complete and functional for the work that is at the top of my queue. I estimate that the bench weighs between 500 and 600 pounds. It’s pretty solid. The wooden screws are both by Lake Erie Toolworks and the holdfasts are by John Switzer of Black Bear Forge.
I’ve also decided to convert my living room to a hand tool woodworking shop. For now this just means my bench and toolchest are the two nicest pieces of furniture in my house and that I have moved the television to a much less used room. My machines still live in my carriage house and I still use them for heavy stock preparation.
Everybody needs a tea chest to keep their tea organized. I built one from white oak and Douglas fir as a Christmas gift for my parents in 2012. This one is sized to hold three boxes of Tazo tea, but I have found that other brands fit as well. In any case, the design can be modified as needed. I plan to make more. Some might be for sale.
A few years ago, I built a small display table from a few boards of Khaya (a species of African “mahogany” that isn’t really a true mahogany, but still has a pretty grain). This table is one of the few pieces of furniture that I have built and am still in possession of. It stands about 31 inches high and has a top that measures 20 1/2 inches wide by 10 1/4 inches deep. Currently, it lives in the entryway of my house with a small bowl I turned from purpleheart several years ago and a wooden Buddha that I cannot claim responsibility for. One of the projects I hope to start in the near future is a display cabinet for the Buddha and the bowl and a matching table with a drawer and reverse taper legs for it to rest on. I will most likely build them both from walnut. Once they are complete, I might consider selling the Khaya table.