Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event

Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool EventA friend of mine recently let me know about a Lie-Nielsen hand tool event that was sponsored nearby in St. Petersburg, Florida at a local sculpture studio called MGA Sculpture Studio. I had heard about Lie-Nielsen tools before, as they are one of the premier hand tool manufacturers along with Lee Valley’s Veritas line, and a few other fine tool makers. I have never had the opportunity to see find hand tools of this quality being used prior to this, being mostly a power tool woodworker up until this point.

I arrived a bit before 10AM at the studio, and everything was already mostly set up by the on-site Lie-Nielsen staff. I had a chance to ask about Lie-Nielsen’s A2 tool steel vs the other types (O1, PM-V11). Deneb Puchalski, a staff member and expert on Lie-Nielsen took the time to explain the differences in tool steel and why Lie-Nielsen’s philosophy is geared around A2. As other people started to trickle in, I got to browse around the displays and touch and feel the tools that Lie-Nielsen manufacturers.

As another gentleman in the group also had the same questions I did, Deneb took us as a group through the basics of getting started with Lie-Nielsen tools (and hand tools in general) and what types of hand tools we should start out with. This was valuable information for me, as I have very little experience with hand planes, and Deneb’s explanation helped to guide us in the use of a Jointer plane, a Smoothing plane, and a Jack plane. He also explained a bit about angles of the various types of irons in planes, and how to sharpen them using his recommend method – involving waterstones and a bevel honing guide.

Coming out of the presentation, I must say I learned a great deal about hand tool use and selection – and a little more about sharpening. Lie-Nielsen’s tools are well known to be among the very best in the industry, and after experiencing them first hand, I can see why. They are solid, well-built, and very precise. The staff there was very knowledgeable about the craft and their tools and it seemed like they enjoyed what they do for a living, which is important. I highly recommend going to one of these if you’re a novice, and I have to say that Lie-Nielsen is high on my list of tools to buy as I progress to more accomplished woodworking in the future.

Workbench Vise and Mount

IMG_20140119_160147I did a little shopping around, since I needed a workbench machinist’s vise for my workbench – as I plan to start doing some light metalworking (hush hush secret project) in the near future. After looking at Harbor Freight’s poor showing for vise options (mostly due to poor quality), I found a suitable 4.5 inch vise made by Record (Irwin) at Home Depot for a very affordable price. It’s a light duty workbench vise, so it’s not going to be a heavily used item. Once I got it back to the shop, I dreaded drilling holes directly in the bench and permanently mounting it – so I came up with a mount for it so I can clamp it to the work surface without permanently affixing it. I also made a front apron on it so I can use a leg vise I’m planning for in the very near future. The surface of the mount is 3/16″ hardboard over 3/4″ plywood, with a skinny wrap of cherry for edging to make it look nicer on the bench. It should come in handy. I also ended up purchasing a set of magnetic soft jaws at Lowe’s made by Bessey (a popular clamp manufacturer), so I can clamp oddly shaped items.

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Workshop Stools

IMG_20140112_132549After cleaning up my shop, I realized I had nowhere to sit at the workbench. While standing is supposed to be better for you, I also enjoy having the kids join me from time to time, and visitors, and everyone needs a place to settle occasionally. So I found a nice, simple plan from Ana White for a stool. I had to enlarge the top of the stool to 12″ x 12″ to allow the cushions my wife had made me years ago to sit on top. I ended up using walnut for the legs and rungs, and sapele for the top, with a few contrasting poplar plugs in the screw holes.

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Bushwood Workshop Refit 2013

workbenchRecently, the Bushwood workshop got a refit. We hadn’t had much time over the past year or so after buying the house to do much, but I’ve been wanting to get back into the swing of my favorite hobby. Once the Craft Room project was completed, I was able to get back into my shop and clean it up. I refinished the workbenches with hardboard and plain old paste wax, and wrapped the edges with SYP (southern yellow pine). I tidied up and threw out old junk that was needed. I made a window. I put my tools away and made some cabinets and other things.

It’s a work in progress, but I’m satisfied for now.

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Craft Room Addition 2013


So I built my wife a craft room. Having done some minor carpentry before on an earlier room project, and after moving to a new house (see earlier posts), we decided to enclose our carport into a room for my wife to have a space for her very own to do craft projects, sew, knit, hang out, and decorate as she sees fit.

All the work on the project was completed entirely myself (with a few friends coming over for special parts like conduit work, etc.). I learned a lot throughout the project. I had to learn how to use Trimble Sketchup, draw up plans, navigate the permit office and inspections for our city codes, frame and hang windows, run electrical, drywall, and insulate. My brother helped with the concrete work.

It came out nice. The last bit of work we need to complete is the flooring, which will be done this year.

Lots more pictures (LOTS!) at the link:

Craft Room Addition 2013