Hand Tool Shelf

I built another project for my hand tool nook in the apartment. Naturally needed a place for small tools and accessories.  I made a hand tool shelf, out of cherry, to hang above my petite Roubo.  This is the second project I’ve done completely with hand tools (with the exception of milling the boards).

As with all things the idea developed in my head for quite some time, but I did draw it out and made some adjustments, such as loosing the center drawer.  One thing I did not really do, surprisingly, was to figure out where each and ever tool was going to go. Something I slightly regret, but overall I am very happy with the design.

As much as I needed a shelf, I wanted to create a project to challenge my hand tool skills and joinery.  I decided the carcass would be held together with dovetails,  the shelves would get rabbets (or grooves), the dividers would get stopped rabbets and the drawer fronts would get rabbets.  A little bit of everything, but only if it was appropriate in the design.

Box Details

It wasn’t until I was nearly done that it occurred to me to add rare earth magnets to the size to house my dovetail saws.  I may add a few small magnets to the bottom shed to hold my marking gauge and similar items.

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Next up, a bow saw from the Tools for Working wood kit.

The Complete Encyclopedia of Spill Planes

This weekend I did a few small projects. Nothing really,  I turned a handle, I milled a few boards from firewood and I played with my spill plane.

My wife bought me a Veritas Spill Plane several years ago and I’ve only used it once, so it was time to break it out.  I added a tiny bench hook that kept it from sliding around. 

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Ready to light our six burner Garland stove.

What’s a spill plane you ask? If you are interested you can explore more about spill planes here:  The Complete Encyclopedia of Spill Planes.

Nah… I’m just kidding….. I did a little of googling and came up with the same three sentences.  

In essence– a spill is a long, straight curl of wood that was used to transfer a flame from a fire to a stove or a lantern, before matches came along in 1860.  Seems simple enough. Easy to light and easy to extinguish. 

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Apparently the name “spill” comes from the way the wood spills out of the plane as its cut, curling as it exits. 

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Of course like everything else in woodworking there are a variety of designs. The best examples I found can be seen here at the Tool Shed.

Spill pic - 1 (1)Also in my research I discovered others are able to make much tighter, cleaner spills than me. What else is new??

What could be better?  A woodworking plane that isn’t even used to build anything– except maybe a fire.

For more info check out these videos:

Give me Liberty or give me Tools!

This summer I made the pilgrimage to Liberty Tools.

I had to drop my son off for camp in Portland, Maine.  I was by myself so I figure I’d trek a little further north and check out the hand tool mecca I’ve read so much about.  I’ve gotten more into hand tools lately and thought I would see what I could find.

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My brother has a place in Maine, so I’ve made the trip to Lie Nielson, stopped in at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship and enjoyed all that Maine has to offer.  I figured there would be some quaint place along the way, a place by the road to grab a killer lobster roll, perhaps do a little antiquing, ya know– Maine stuff.  Well not so much.  I love a road trip and  I am always up for an adventure,  but this place is out there!  As always the anticipation was enough to keep me going.

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After turning down a nondescript road I finally arrived in Liberty. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.  There are approximately five buildings in the town, two of them belong to Liberty tools.  I started out in there main building, an old general store I presume.  It has that old antique store summer smell to it and is jam packed with tools!

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It is overwhelming at first and your not sure where to start.  It had never occurred to me but woodworking tools are just a portion of the inventory.  Every trade seems to be represented.

The really stunning part is to stop and think for a moment at how many jobs these tools have done.  How many houses, barns, shelters, furniture,  vehicles, toys….wow, the stories these tools could tell!

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I love this stack of saws.  So beautiful.  Its fun to think how many people owned each saw.  Were they handed down from father to son, borrowed from a neighbor,  spent all of its time in one trade-man’s shop, abandoned in a barn?  What caused all that wear and tear? Each one has so many stories.

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As you wonder the shop, it fascinating to pick up an odd looking tool and wonder “Hmmm,  now what was this for”

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But I have to be honest.  As I meandered through the shop I grew rather disheartened. I had hoped to find a few woodworking braces,  a set of tiny awls and perhaps a small treasure.  Instead I found a massive assortment of well used tools.  Tools that showed more than their age, but rather battle scars from a century of use and abuse.  I was on search for a tool that I could proudly bring home, take apart, remove the rust and restore to a working tool on my bench.  I came home (almost) empty handed.

Its not that those tools can’t be found, especially at Liberty, or don’t exist anymore, it’s that someone else has come though and beat me to it.  I got real sense of what pickers and Ebay has done to a place like Liberty. Perhaps its even financially good for the proprietors and they’re thrilled to see a professional buyer come through the doors and walk out with a truck load of profitable antiques, but for the rest of us, the scavengers looking for a bargain, its a little disheartening. Someone has beaten us there.

I’ve been hesitant to write this, because I don’t want to spread anything negative about a mom and pop establishment, one of the last of its kind for sure.   Perhaps it just wasn’t my day.  After all, as with any antique hunting, its always hit or miss.  So if you find yourself in that tiny corner of the country, by all means, take the time to stop in.  I am sure I will again.  Perhaps we can beat the pros to the next pile of treasures!