We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks....

There is something about a truly sharp edge honed onto the side of a piece of metal that has fascinated mankind since he first discovered the ability to anneal copper during the 5th and 6th millennium BC.  Prior to the annealing process (heating metal to increase strength and hardness) most tools were stone, bone and sticks.  Metallurgy paved the way for a rapidly growing culture to begin using more durable metal tools for farming, construction, hunting, and warfare.  Of course the most important thing to come out of this new found technology was the ability to make the tools themselves!  Making tools...obviously more important than being able to hunt dinner faster and way cooler than being able to conquer your neighbors village because they still use sharp sticks rather than swords.


Universal Soldier...No Need for Dolph and Jean-Claude

It was either that or "Jack of All Trades."  Be glad I made the Universal Soldier reference, your day is now better.  Now for something on topic..  When I first started renovating my home I needed tools.  I knew a lot about tools, or so I thought.  I bought tools upon tools each for its own specific purpose.  A sliding compound miter saw for cutting all those complicated miter cuts, a set of pneumatic nail guns and a compressor, some beater chisels, mostly tools to slam and jam studs together to make walls.  I soon had a garage full of rough carpentry tools, but when I went to build my first piece of real furniture or do some detail work on the house I found that I didn't have the proper control over the tools at my disposal.  It was a bit like using a bulldozer to open a bag of peanuts...which I have done, and let me tell you not a peanut survived.



Living in Maryland means that I get to constantly wage battle against that ever present adversary...RUST!!


It's Log, It's Log...It's Big, It's Heavy, It's Wood

I have been wanting to mill some of my own lumber since it dawned on me that wood comes from trees, and hey, I know where some trees are growing AND I own a saw (or ten)!  The only drawback this provides is that while beautiful lumber grows all over the Eastern Shore, people tend to get upset when you show up unannounced and start cutting down trees in retirement communities.  Not that I have ever done that, but can you imagine?



Henry O. Studley.  You know, the guy with the amazing tool cabinet.  I can not express in words how excited I am about Christopher Schwarz' new collaborative effort with author Don Williams on cataloging, photographing and researching Mr. Studley's tool cabinet.  The book is titled “Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley.”

I, like many other woodworkers, have been fascinated by this magnificently crafted altar to his tools.  I am equally as interested in the tools themselves as I am interested in the box construction.  Mr. Studley used beautiful materials and exacting skill to craft this monument to hand tools.  He also made many of the tools in the box, which is something else I'd love to learn more about. 

The reason I am looking forward to this book's arrival is because it details all the nooks and crannies (great now I'm hungry) of the box, something that to date has been a mere dream of many craftsmen.  Christopher Schwarz has been doing a brilliant job chronicling the work on his blog at Lost Art Press.

Check out the Henry O. Studly toolchest-o-rama on Mr. Schwarz' "Lost Art Press" blog here:

Lost Art Press Studly Toolchest Blog Entries!!

When the book comes out I'll post a review as soon as I can read it and get a reasonable impression.  I'm a slow reader, but at least there will be pictures!  Really, it could end up being a cat calendar and I'd give it a good review as long as there were some of Mr. Studley's tools in there.  What does that do for my credibility...wait...what credibility?

Thanks to Fine Woodworking for this poster print, it's my computer background

The Camera Adds Ten Pounds...

A quick note about photography on this site.  I typically use one of three cameras for photographing projects.  I am a Canon fan, there I said it, I like Canon because that's what I have used since film cameras roamed the earth.  Since this isn't a photography blog I won't get into the debate of Canon Vs. Nikon Vs. Leica or whatever, although I would love to own a Leica of any sort.

The three cameras I will likely use for stills and video are a Canon D5 Mark II, a Canon G12, and on occasion my phone (Droid X2).  Unfortunately, I have used my phone for several recent projects as I wasn't planning on blogging the photos.  I will try my best to use one of my other cameras to photograph projects, materials, or anything I am going to post simply because the detail will be better
Adjustment Nuts On Some Beater Planes

If you would like to see additional photos or details of something I have posted just let me know and I'll do my best to get them.  Additionally, I will obviously ask permission and give credit for any photos posted that are not mine, otherwise, they will all be shots I have taken

I am also learning SketchUp (as well as some other 3D software), so when I figure out how to post the SketchUp models of projects and templates I will put them on the site.
Antique Japanese Chalk Lines


Begin, Be Bold and Venture to be Wise...

I often find myself putting off something that I really feel I'd enjoy because starting something new is inherently a pain in the ass.  The harbingers of my procrastination are the (often steep) learning curve associated with jumping head first into something I know nothing about, the all too prevalent fear of failure, and usually just a lot of work up front. 

Normally, when find my way to starting whatever it is that I have put off until tomorrow, I find that it was way easier than I thought and more fun than I'd expected.  This is what keeps me trying new things.  I'm hoping this blog is one of those things...

I decided to start this blog after my wife told me to stop being such a baby and just give it a try.  She is usually very good at nagging me until I pull out my hair pushing me out of my comfort zone by gentle prodding; this venture is no exception. 

I am a Civil Engineer by education but, "amateur woodworker, toolmonger and lover of things hand made" is probably a better description even though it is a terrible title.  By nature (and nurture I suppose) I am a jack of many trades and a master of none; don't you hate cliches?? 

I hope to steer this blog along my usual drunken path littered with varied types of projects, tips, videos, photos and mistakes (hopefully to learn by?), and fuel it with other peoples wisdom, direction and guidance.  If everything goes well there should be some learning involved in there somewhere, mostly by me, but hopefully also by those who aren't afraid to melt their eyeballs by reading my blog (hey, you have two right?). 

Well...here goes nothing... or something...  Thanks for reading.

Some projects I'll be blogging about in the near future... or whenever I get around to it...that's the future, right?!?
Stairs to Somewhere
Chainsaw Milling a Black Walnut Tree
"Renovating" an Old Warranted Superior Handsaw