Archive for the ‘On the Road’ Category

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WMT will be guest demonstrators at the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event this weekend just outside Cincinnati.  We will have our prototype 2500 router to try out and will be taking pre-orders.  If you can’t make it to the show, orders can also be placed on our website beginning at noon on Wednesday, March 9th.  Hope to see you there.

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In:On the Road

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2 years ago I had the good fortune to attend Handworks 2013.  Last weekend I attended round 2 of this awesome handtool extravaganza.  If it comes up again do everything in your power to attend.  I only captured a handful of the tools on camera and the pictures aren’t all great… apologies for that, it wasn’t easy getting pictures with so many people moving around.  In any event, here’s a taste of Handworks 2015 and here’s hoping many more will follow.

Entering the main barn. Most vendors were set up here, but others were in the Amana woodshop or an open-air structure that basically looked like an old stable.

Inside the main barn. Pretty much packed from open to close both days.

Several infill plane makers were there including Konrad Sauer (pictured here), Ron Brese, and Daed Toolworks.

Vesper made the trip from Australia. Sweet stuff.

Lie-Nielsen was set up on the large stage just like 2 years ago.

I finally got to sample the prototype plow plane Lie-Nielsen has been working on for years. No official word on a release date.

Vintage tools available for purchase

Don Williams polissoir and hand made wax.

Also on display was an exquisite chest built by Chris Schwarz, the lid was made by Jameel Abraham.

On day 2, Roy Underhill gave an amusing lecture promoting the handtool side of woodworking… in a way only Roy can pull off.

Over at the “stables” there were the chairmakers including Tim Manney, Claire Minihan, and Peter Galbert.

The deluxe edition of Galbert’s new book (sold out). I bought the standard edition and it looks amazing.

Also had a spring pole lathe which I’ve never seen firsthand before.

Mary May setup in the Amana woodshop along with Blackburn tools and Sterling toolworks.

One of the major side attractions this year was the chance to view the privately owned H.O. Studley Tool Chest.  Tickets had to be purchased in advance and the viewing was about 20 minutes from Amana, near Cedar Rapids.  Guests were given a 50 minute slot to hear a brief talk from Don Williams (who wrote the book and arranged the viewing event) and photograph the chest.  The owner of the chest also owns Studley’s bench which was there for the viewing pleasure as well.  Finally, Don made a reproduction version of this bench and mounted his collection of piano-makers vises to it for people to play with.  Don also molded some replica parts used by Studley so people could get a better look at the details incorporated into the Studley chest.  Overall, it was well worth the price of admission (a mere $25) and it was a woodworking experience I won’t soon forget.

Original Studley bench

Original Studley face vise

Original Studley tail vise

Studley tool chest in the dark.

Don William’s reproduction bench with collection of wagon vises attached.

They had a Studley look-alike giving a brief background on the life of Studley… he looked so similar it was creepy.

Details of the Studley chest.

Some reproduction calipers, the caliper holder was made by Jameel Abraham

At the end of the 50 min session the house lights were turned out for better photos.

This is the actual chest and bench, photographed during the prep for the book.  None of my well-lit shots of the chest look nearly this good so I’d rather show this photo than one of my own.

The H.O. Studley chest

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We’re back from our first Lie-Nielsen event.  Being a guest demonstrator was a lot of fun and we were able to meet several enthusiastic woodworkers, many of whom follow us on instagram (@walkemooretools).  It’s always nice to put real faces to the virtual identities shared through instagram, so thanks for making the effort to come see us.

In addition to the Lie-Nielsen staff, we were also able to meet several other woodworking professionals for the first time including Matt Kenney (from Fine Woodworking Mag), Christopher Schwarz, and the folks from Tools for Working Wood.  Overall it was a great time and if you ever have a chance to attend a Lie-Nielsen event, I encourage you get there.

-WMT

Saws by Blackburn Tools

Large veneer saw, hardware kit sold by Blackburn Tools

 

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In:On the Road

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WMT will be a guest demonstrator at the Lie-Nielsen event in Brooklyn from Jan 2nd-3rd, 2015.  This promises to be an exciting show with a slew of talented demonstrators, plus all the Lie-Nielsen swag you can handle.  So head out to the big apple for New Year’s Eve, take Jan 1st to recover, then enjoy some sweet hand tools on the 2nd and 3rd.  More info available here.

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Comments Off on A great time in Winston-Salem

WMT just returned from an action packed weekend in Winston-Salem, NC, which hosted Woodworking in America for 2014.  This was our first show, but thanks to a strong presence from the Instagram woodworking community, it felt like we were old pros.  We were located within a booth or two from several popular and/or up and coming tool makers who we’ve known through Instagram for some time, but were able to meet in person for the first time this weekend.  (Check out their sites and their instagram profiles: Texas Heritage, Sterling Tool Works, Caleb James Planemaker, Peter Galbert, Scott Meeks Woodworks, & Plate 11 Bench Co)

We had a great time, met countless enthusiastic woodworkers (who were very gracious with their feedback on our tools), and drank some of the local brew (which was delicious).  If you didn’t make it this year, try for next year.  It’s worth the effort.

Setup:

The WMT booth along side Texas Heritage and Sterling Tool Works, Thursday night.

Our main display table.

Lie-Nielsen

Lee Valley

They’re not for the power-free woodworker, but Bosch really seems to be stepping up their power-tools-for-woodworkers game.

The night life after setting up on Thursday.

The Show:

Finally got a look at Lie-Nielsen’s sharpening jig. Not yet released, but I’ll be buying it asap.

Got to try out a few of Caleb James’ wooden planes, very nice.

Blue Spruce had a few new tools to test out as well.

Chris from Sterling Tool Works at his bench, lots of goodies to play with (including his new bench).

Travishers by Claire Minihan (pictured), find them on Peter Galbert’s site.

Lee Valley announced a new line of modular planes. You pick the handle type (two styles, three sizes each), knob style (three to choose from), frog angle, and blade material (O1, A2, or PMV11)

…and an interesting display to try out the various tote and knob configurations so you can decide what’s best for you.

An infill plane by Juan Vergara, the first of his I’d seen in person.

The Instagrammers:

Despite all the great tools and woodworkers, the best part of WIA14 for us was meeting all our fellow instagrammers in person.

Todd Nebel was there for the show… and walked away with the Jet bandsaw door prize. Not bad.

Marco Terenzi brought some of his miniatures… I’m not jealous at all of how little time it would take to flatten that bench, except that I am.

Bradley Workshop’s guitar was on display and put to use briefly mid-show thanks to…

…Anne of all trades.

See you next year. -WMT

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In just a few days WMT will be on the tool floor of Woodworking in America.  This is our first public event with a fair amount of preparation leading up to this point, but we’re excited and will be sharing a booth with some other premium tool makers who are also relatively new to the woodworking world.  We will be side-by-side with Sterling Tool Works and Texas Heritage Woodworks with several other makers very near by such as Blue Spruce Toolworks, Vesper Tools, Scott Meeks Woodworks, Plate 11 Bench Co. and the list goes on.  So if you’re at the show be sure to stop over and say hi.  We’ll have some tools available for sale at the show, other new tools and prototypes to try out and pre-order, and all unfilled orders placed at the show will ship for free.  Hope to see you there.

-WMT

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In:On the Road, Tool Review

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One of the best parts about attending Handworks last week was the opportunity to try various brands of similar tools or variation of the same tool by the same maker.  Here are my thoughts:

Dovetail Saws: While there weren’t many individual premium saw makers at the show (Bad Axe, Wenzloff, etc) the bigger companies like Lie-Nielsen and Veritas were there, as was Gramercy.  Veritas saws don’t do it for me, period.  I’m not a fan of the black backs or brushed saw plates (but you can’t argue with their price-point if you’re on a budget).  As for Gramercy, their teeth are too fine for my liking when it comes to a dovetail saw and the handles feel a bit thin for me, but that’s obviously going to vary person to person, hand to hand.

What I really want to talk about is the wide variety Lie-Nielsen now offers.  When I bought my dovetail saw from LN I only had one choice to make, 15ppi or progressive pitch teeth (I chose progressive).  A few years later, the 9″ saw I have is discontinued as they are all 10, both dovetail and carcass.  This is a definite improvement.  When you consider most people only use 7″-8″ of their 9″ plate (if you’re good at sawing, some only use 3″-4″) adding the extra 1″ is around a 13% increase in your efficiency.  The saw does not feel unbalanced in the least, in fact I felt it balanced the saw slightly better than the 9″ version.  About the only thing going for my 9″ at this point is that it’s now a collectors item (if someone wants to offer me $500 it’s theirs).

Anyway, beyond the increased length, LN also offers a thin plate version (0.015″ thick vs 0.020″) as well as tapered blades.  I’d not had the opportunity to try any of these until last week and the differences are noticeable.  After playing with all the variations, two stand out to me as my favorites: The progressive pitch and the thin plate, no taper for either.  The taper, in general, I do not care for on backsaws.  I understand why it’s there, but it’s a preference thing and I prefer a non-tapered blade.  The thin plate cuts faster than the standard saw because it’s removing less material, and it cuts very smoothly at 15ppi.  The progressive pitch also cuts smoothly (with fine teeth getting the cut started) but also quickly (with the aggressive teeth at the heel of the saw).  And again, thanks to the 10″ plate, they both cut faster than the saw I use today.  I still do not care for the standard plate at 15ppi.  It’s fine teeth cut smoothly, but without the thinner plate it’s a bit slow.  How should you choose?  If you’re new to sawing go for the progressive pitch, the blade is less kink-prone.  If you like super-fine pins, get the thin plate.

Hand Stitched Rasps: Most woodworkers are aware of the French rasp manufacturer, Auriou (pronounced are-you).  These are most readily available through Lie-Nielsen and come fitted with a LN maple handle.  More recently, Tools for Working Wood started carrying their own hand stitched rasps under their Gramercy label.  These are made in Pakistan, handles made in USA.  I tried the Gramercy rasps at Handworks and noticed a couple of things I thought were worth mentioning.  First, they are nice tools and could be a welcome addition to any shop.  However, when compared to Auriou, I felt that the Gramercy handles were too small (and I don’t have particularly large hands either).  A woman or younger woodworker might prefer these handles, but I immediately felt like the handle needed replacing.  As far as the cutting is concerned, these bite the wood more than I’m used to after using my Auriou rasps for a few years.  The teeth seem taller, more pointed than the Auriou rasps and made starting the cut a little more difficult.  Once moving, however, they removed material in a hurry.  This can be a good thing, but I’m more of a mind set that if you want to remove material faster get a courser rasp, not taller teeth (if that makes sense).  I would imagine you could get used to the feel of how these rasps cut and they do leave an excellent finish, but I’d have to give Auriou the edge in user-friendliness.  Auriou also has a wider range of rasp sizes, grain, etc. if you have extensive rasp needs.

Gramercy rasps

Infill Hand Planes: The most unpredictable part of traveling to the Handworks event was winning one of the door prizes… in fact, I took home the most valuable door prize being awarded, a $1,200 Ron Brese block plane.  I spent a few minutes trying out some of Ron’s larger planes at his bench (which cost between $2,000-$3,000) and they are sweet.  But now that I’ve had some time to play with his block plane at home and compare it to my Lie-Nielsen low angle block plane, a lot of people have asked the obvious question, “does it work better than the Lie-Nielsen?”

Ron Brese planes at his bench at Handworks

The block plane I won as a door prize… wow.

In short, my answer is no, an infill block plane cannot do anything for you that any other well tuned plane can do.  My Lie-Nielsen is just as sharp as the Brese plane, the bed angles are comparable, the soles on both tools are flat, and the mouth opening is very tight on the Brese plane, the Lie-Nielsen is adjustable.  I planed some cherry and both tools gave fantastic results, as they should.  So if the wood doesn’t care what is being used to cut it, why is a premium Lie-Nielsen $165 (already too much for some people) and a Brese plane $1,200?  And why even buy one if it doesn’t leave a better finish?  Here are my thoughts.  First understand Ron’s price is not over-inflated.  It’s a high price tag because each plane is hand made, the machining and woodworking are impeccable, and the tool performs beautifully.  And that’s what you’re really paying for, the privilege of owning a functional work of art.  Most woodworkers will never even see an infill plane in person, far fewer will own one, if you want to be in that group it comes at a cost.  If all you’re after, however, is high-end performance, buy a Lie-Nielsen and don’t look back.  It works great and to be honest, it’s more comfortable to use than an infill plane, it’s easier to adjust the depth of cut, and the mouth can be opened up for heavy material removal.  So while my Brese plane will be put to use in my shop and cherished for generations, it will not be the workhorse.  That remains the role of my LN 60.5 block plane.

Lie-Nielsen cut on the left, Ron Brese on the right.

That’s all for now, have a great day.

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I recently returned from the Handworks event in Amana, Iowa, held on 5/24 & 5/25.  It was an awesome trip featuring only hand tool vendors and only the best of the best.  The chance to meet so many talented tool makers and try out so many premium tools in one sitting was unparalleled.  Hopefully this becomes an annual event and maybe even moves around the country year to year to give more people a chance to attend.

The event was held in a large barn in the Amana colonies.

Benchcrafted leg vise

Moulding planes from Old Street Tools

Infill planes by Daed Toolworks

Various Lie-Nielsen tools

Veritas took the opportunity to get feedback on their shooting plane prototype. The body of this tool was rapid prototyped, not cast metal.

Jeff Miller was also there to talk a little shop

On Saturday, a brief presentation was put on by Don Williams and Chris Schwarz covering an upcoming H. O. Studley book.

 

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Comments Off on Visit to Hearne Hardwoods

While travelling to Baltimore recently, we swung by Hearne Hardwoods to pick up some lumber for our Drawer-Slip Cramps.  It’s a worth a visit if you’re ever in the Oxford Pennsylvania area (about 40 mins from Philadelphia).

Main entrance (from HH website)

Large burled slab

More burl

Lots of lumber, the boards standing up are roughly 10′ tall.