Practical techniques Uncategorized

Nearly finished…

Finally getting to the end on this house renovation. This week I got to finally work with some wood, albeit only plywood.

Love these Festool tools. Routing in the sun!
Love these Festool tools. Routing in the sun!
This is the right hand space. The wall at the back of the room has been left alone throughout the renovation and now has a sort of Cy Twombly/Basquiat feel. 🙂

The front bedroom needs some built-ins in the alcoves to right and left of the chimney breast. I’ve already made some plinths, because the idea is to stand cabinets in the holes, rather than try to deal with hanging shelving onto the wall. The walls in these corners are in quite bad shape, as is often the case with older houses. The walls elsewhere are great, but one had to be entirely re-plastered.

I built the cabinets with birch ply and have routed out the rear to accept a ply back board. I did all this on a rare sunny day in London and I have to admit I was very pleased I’ve recently invested in a secondhand Festool router, (so old it’s actually pre-Festool and called Festo). I also have a secondhand TS55 plunge saw from Festool and these two tools are worth their weight in gold for this type of work.
All the sheet stock is now prepped to size and I lipped the shelves with tulipwood, so that you don’t see the raw ply edges. The shelves have had two coats of clear varnish.

To add the lipping I cramped three glued-up shelves up at once, for speed.
Adding lipping. I shaved back the lipping after the glue went off. Went as close as I dared with a sharpened plane, before taking it right down with glasspaper.

When I get to put the cabinets together, (I don’t have a Domino), I’ll screw the main parts together and maybe even screw the shelves in too. Not sure they’ll need to be moved much, so might avoid doing the shelf-pin-hole thing. I figure I’ll then add pocket holes around the outside and once I’ve sized up for a face frame to hide the cabinet edges, I can attach in that way.
Only other decision is whether I should attached the doors to the face frame, or size the face frame so it’s nearly flush and add hinges to the inside of the box in the conventional way.

This little Grex pinner is a great tool to have around when making cabinets on your own. You can hold elements flush and pin them, while you find you drill and screws. I watched the late great Joe Fusco do this. God bless you Joe, you will live on through YouTube!
All the stock cut to size and routed out for back panels.
Giving the shelves two coats of clear varnish, sanding in-between with 240 paper.

Any thoughts on both methods would be appreciated. The first method will require some proper face-frame hinges and would also require face-frame material of a good quality. Something like maple with good strength, which would be more resilient to knocks. I could circumvent this by going down the second route, the face-frame being decorative with Euro-style hinges attached to the box. I’ll have to decide on this.

Hand Tools Paul Sellers Practical techniques Saws

Paul Sellers on crosscut saw sharpening

Paul Seller crosscut saw sharpening
Paul Sellers is always worth a watch in my book and slowly I’m finding more and more reasons to sign up for his Woodworking Masterclasses. My lack of available space to put anything into practice is the only thing that holds me back. I know once I have watched his Tool Cupboard series I would be dying to make it.
For the time being, the free video about sharpening crosscut saws is of interest, especially the idea of using a paper template for the sharpening angle.
It’s worth scrolling through Paul’s videos, because he done a lot and a good proportion are free.


The Shaper Origin Handheld CNC

Shaper Origin_2
This is interesting. This is really interesting. We’ve had a few CNC shops close to us in east London for some time now, but they are mainly focused on large cutting processes for furniture, such as Unto This Last, or they are a shop that happens to have the equipment and they pick up outsourced projects and handle their production and delivery, such as the Open Desk project.
I picked info up on this on Twitter from Linn at Darbin Orvar. If you haven’t seen Linn’s projects (mainly on Youtube), you really should. She is an incredibly productive and creative maker.
The video she referenced was this one, which is a channel called Applied Science, (can’t find the guy’s name) and he is using this incredible tool called the Shaper Origin.
It uses a trim router, which you install, then you give it tracking with labels on your work, so it can find and track it’s x-y axis. The most incredible thing is, it sort of takes the slack out of the problem, by smoothing out the natural human wiggles and jiggles as you try to cut.
Shaper Origin_3
Anyway, watch the video when you have time. I’m sure this tool and many more like it, will form a major part of the next wave of tools designed to augment the work we do.
Shaper Origin_1



The photo are a little blurry, but the top of the tube is marked ‘Gabriel’ and ‘Birmingham’. Not sure if it’s connected with carpentry or woodworking. The ‘Birmingham’ stamp would in any case distance it from the Gabriel we all know, but any ideas as to what this is?






Lie Nielsen


I recently purchased a Lie Nielsen Honing Guide. I really love the build quality, but I’m getting a poor result with my sharpening.
I’m hoping that by putting this out to the ‘hive mind’ of the internet, someone might be able to help me identify my problem.
I’ve checked the jaws of the tool close tightly, (they do) and they also close without any wayward flexing or offset.
When I clamp a chisel in the jaws, the chisel is perfectly square, as you can see in the photo.
However, after some sharpening, the honing is definitely not square.
Am I doing something wrong here?
Lie Nielsen Honing Guide problem_2
Lie Nielsen Honing Guide problem_1
I really want this to be my ‘go to’ system and I have two very decent diamond stones which I’m pleased with for the actual cutting. I just want to move away from freehand sharpening and I figured this would be a good guide. However, I’m wary about buying to extra set of jaws I need for some different chisels, before I can rectify this problem.
Hope someone out there can advise.
Thanks, Gary