Hand Tools Practical techniques Saws

Saw till done!

All done. I’ll get this on the wall at some point, but for now it’s on the bench. I added some wood strips with saw kerfs cut on the table saw and the saw blades rest in those. I have a little space at the top right above the smaller saws, which I might use. But I think I will also add a slim drawer at the bottom in the near future, as I can use that for saw files and stuff. A nice project to do with hand tools. I’m going to make some Krenov-style ‘bents’ next.

Hand Tools Practical techniques Saws

Making a saw till (part two)

I worked on this for an hour or so, but I have just got the green light to get going on some paid work, so it will stay at this stage for a while. The basics are there, I will probably paint it and perhaps add a drawer.

The dovetails are cut back underneath to slim them down so that the front bar doesn’t show any gaps. A knife-wall to help my saw cut.

Now it’s cut back, any small gaps will be hidden.

Adding a cut back dovetail also helps with registering for the marking out. A bit like the ‘140 trick’.

Take your depth reference from the thinned down joint, not the full depth.

Marked out for cuts.

Nice tight fit.

Both ends fit well and I can plane off the ends later. Might leave them though?

I also added a chamfer on the top edges of the front bar as the horn of the saw totes will be sitting on it.

Taking another depth reference for the second rear rail.

Cutting out rebates for second rail. Place thse rails in the best possible positions which approximately match the common heights of your saws. The rails will have blocks added with saw cuts afterwards, but try to get them sort of in the right place.

Chopping out rebates for rear rail.

Chopping out rebates for rear rail.

Clean up with a decent paring chisel.

Take your time and you will get some nice, crisp rebates.

Looking good.

As it’s on the back, you can get away with glue and screws here for extra strength.

I’ve put the two rear rails in and it’s not far off.

I quite like these protruding ends. I might chamfer the edges with a sharp chisel and leave them on. What do you think?

Hand Tools Practical techniques Saws

Making a saw till

Glad to say I’ve finally found a workshop close to me that I can call home. The workshop is blessed with old machines and even better, other people from whom I can learn a lot about traditional joinery. It feels like every day I conquer a new technique with my hand tools, or learn a better way to do something on one of the machines.
I’ve been waiting on a client to give the go-ahead on the next job, so thought I would put together a saw till to get my saws neatly organised.
This wall-hung design relies on the saw totes resting on a bottom bar and the plates of the saws are held in place by kerfs in blocks further up. it will all make sense as you see it come together.
If you’re going to make one of these, I would choose something more hard-wearing than the Poplar I have lying around. I’ve gone with softwood, purely because I have a chunk left over. I plan to make another till in the future from a denser timber, but this will do for now.

I laid my various saws onto a piece of mdf and keeping the horn of the tote in the same place, sketched out where the saw would fall if it was leaning into the till. I have a mix of tenon, dovetail and larger saws.

I cut this out to a nice curve, the shape of which will be the side of the saw till. You don’t have to have a curve, just go straight if you like.

If you’re planning on using a router to cut your curve, you can of course use your mdf template. Just sand it nicely and clamp it over your timber with a bearing bit to follow the shape. I wanted to use hand tools, so I just used the template to trace the sides. Two sides fitted onto my scrap timber.

I made a concession to machines and roughly cut the sides on a bandsaw.

Out withe the spokeshave. When you get a spokeshave sharpened up and dialled in, there really is no nicer tool to use. The finish on the edges of these sides is glass smooth.

So there we are, two matched sides.

This will be the bar across the front of the till. It will tie the sides together, but as it’s also on the front, I’ll put a dovetail on both ends, rather than use screws.

Dovetails are cut, but I might also cut back the depth of the dovetail before I rebate it, so the bar definitely won’t show the joint.

I’ll do a bit more tomorrow. Then it’s back stretchers in too. They can be screwed as you won’t see them, but they do need to be rebated as well. There enough space below the bar to hopefully get a small drawer in here, so I can maybe use that for saw files, etc.

Hand Tools Joinery Practical techniques

A small exterior door project

This door was made for an outhouse. The client wanted an exact copy in timber that would last a little longer than the previous door. I was quite pleased how it turned out and I learned a few things, which is always good.

Not a bad match. The door will shrug off water as the panelling hangs, but I did make the bottom cut off a few degrees, just in the hope of slowing any capillary action. I always treat parts of exterior jobs with Tetrion wood hardener too.

Before I started work on the copy of this door, I wanted to check how the upper corner joints went together, as the client specified an exact match. The ‘long and short’ shoulder joint is what’s used here, as the next shot shows a little better.

Part of the joint has broken off here, but essentially the face of the door that is rebated for panelling has a rebate that is run right through the joint in both stiles and rails. The joint has to accommodate this, so the shoulder one one side reaches further than the other. This picture is not a great illustration, as the chunk of wood behind is part of the rear profile of the stile, but you can see the stepped shoulders of the top rail.

This is a better example! From Charles Hayward’s ‘Woodwork Joints’ book.

My choice of wood for this job was Accoya. A very stable engineered wood, commonly now used in joinery applications, particularly exterior jobs. The timber should experience next to no shrinkage or movement and takes paint well.

Setting out on a kitchen table. Sigh. This job came in while I was searching for a new workshop. I’ve since signed on the new space, but the door had to be made in the interim. Sometimes you just have to ‘make do’. Here’s I’m ganging up the two stiles and marking out for mortices. I already know the thickness of the panel material, as I’ve measured from the existing door.

I treated myself to a Bridge City Tools square some years ago on eBay. It needed a bit of work to clean it up, but nice to have.

When you don’t have a workshop with a strong bench and a mortiser, you have to work out how you are going to cut deep mortises. I wanted to avoid chopping out by hand, as I was restricted to a workbench in the garden. The deep pocket cutter from Wealdon Tools turned out to be a lifesaver.

Plunging the mortises with a Triton TRA001 router and the deep pocket cutter produced a lovely result. I took a deep breath here as things started to look a bit more achievable in the time frame. This joint is the lower rail in the stile, so the mortice is equal both sides. This rail allows to the panelling by being thinner and the panelling simply passes right over it.

Not glued, just cramped up in the hallway so that I can check for square. Thankfully, it was.

I got on with the panelling next. I had already taken the Accoya panelling down to 13mm on a thicknesser at a ‘day-rate’ workshop local to me. I dropped each piece into a simple jig which allowed me to make a tongue on one edge with my bargain Katsu router. (These small routers are one of the best bargains on the internet).

Normally I would expect shiplapped boards on these doors, but the original had tongue and groove fitting. Hence I copied that and using Accoya, there should be little or no shrinkage hopefully.

The stiles are made long, so in this picture you have to imagine them trimmed back to the top of the rail, but you can see that the rebate is run straight through on the stile and the rail. the panelling drops into the rebate and I will add a groove all around the inside of the rebate later. This will mean once I cut a tongue onto the tops of the panelling, all the panels can ‘lock’ into the groove for a snug and strong fit.

The tongue and groove panelling. If this wasn’t Accoya, I would leave a 2mm expansion gap everywhere, but with engineered wood, I’m closing it right up.

Everything locked into the grooves and skew nailed into the rails. The outer strips of panelling have been cut so that they have tongues to go into stile grooves.

Some minor filling here and there and I added a few front nails too, just for good measure. Only because this is going to be a painted job.

Not a bad match. The door will shrug off water as the panelling hangs, but I did make the bottom cut off a few degrees, just in the hope of slowing any capillary action. I always treat parts of exterior jobs with Tetrion wood hardener too.

From the back.

The offset joint on the top corners. Mid and lower rails don’t need this, they are just finished thinner by the depth of the rebate so that the panelling goes over them.

Hand Tools Practical techniques

Mini-Workbench Plans

This is a nice project you might want to make if you’re pressed for space, or if your current setup doesn’t include a sturdy bench top with a vice.
Steve Tomlin of SBT Design recently won first prize in the worldwide ‘Masters of Wood’ plans competition 2017, organised by Triton tools. His ‘Mini Workbench’ has some neat storage ideas, integrating an area for Festool systainers and also featuring the ‘holy’ worktops where you can use Festool clamps and dogs.
The bench also looks useful for traditional hand tool use, which is why I like it, with a good-sized vice and nice use of hardwood in the frame. Steve uses oak, but as the plans show, you can use whatever hardwood you like. There’s some storage for your bits under the worktop and I understand Steve is also working on a second version with a drawer included.
The plans are free, so you can download them and store them for a winter project maybe, or just crack on and get one built.