The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Winter is coming.

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This past Sunday was the warmest December day we’ve had in my region for quite a long time. I decided that it would be a good day to get in some tool maintenance.

First and foremost was cleaning the workbench. I planed, scraped, and sanded the bench top, then gave the entire frame a light sanding as well, finishing it all off with a coat of linseed oil, which nicely darkened the bench and gave it a freshly-bathed look. Keeping with my theme of turning construction lumber into woodworking stock, I made a new end board from a 2×10 to tie the bench top to the tool tray and attached it with some screws (though I believe dowels would be better). I then turned my attention to some of my tools.

Last week I made a new “strop-block” for use with my chisels. So I decided to hone all of the bench chisels with the 8000 grit water stone and then strop them for good measure. Afterwards I gave them a light coating of tool oil, wrapped most of them in a tool roll, and symbolically put them away for the winter. My metal bench planes I also oiled and wrapped in cloths, with the exception of the #7 jointer. And while many of my edge tools are now “in-storage”, I may just break them out much sooner if this mild weather continues. In the meanwhile, I will continue to experiment with prepping construction lumber as well as sharpening methods.

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With the weather so nice, and an actual warm breeze blowing through the garage, I decided to clean up and organize some of my electrical and carpentry tools as well. Generally, I try to keep my things neat and accessible, so it was more of just a straightening up than anything else.

During this brief clean up I came across a Swanson try square that I don’t  remember purchasing or even using to be honest. It has to be at least a dozen years old and is nothing fancy. Still, I checked it against my little Starrett combination square and it was dead perpendicular. Just for the hell of it, I used the good old Pythagorean theorem (the 3, 4, 5 method for you landscapers and masons) just to double check, and sure enough it was right on the money. So I promptly hung it on my tool rack ready to be called upon. It will be a useful tool, in particular because I have been considering purchasing a “fancy” version for some time.

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So if the weather holds, I the tools will come out of hibernation a lot sooner than normal. In any event, no matter what the winter holds I will be prepping stock as soon as the holiday season ends. When the weather breaks, and it comes time to build furniture again, this time I am going to be prepared for it.

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6 Comments

  1. Wesley Beal says:

    When you say “tool oil,” what’s the difference between it and some other oil you might choose? I was wondering if you’ve found a preference for one that works best for storage.

    • billlattpa says:

      I use Starrett tool oil, which I picked up just because I happened to notice it at the hardware store in my neighborhood. It’s sold on Amazon

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KUA2FI?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00.

      To be honest, I’m not sure what would exactly makes it “tool oil” but the package states that it helps resist rust and corrosion. So I’ve been using it on all of my edge tools and so far I have no complaints. It’s inexpensive and seems to work just fine, and it doesn’t have any odor.
      Thanks.
      Bill

      • Wesley Beal says:

        I’ve got a quart of 10W40 motor oil that I’ve filled my oil cans with and have started using for lubrication and to prevent rust.

        I’m curious to know the pros and cons of using different oils. Haven’t seen discussion of it anywhere that I can think of.

      • billlattpa says:

        I don’t think there is an issue using most oils. It probably comes down to a matter of what is easiest to clean up. At my former job we used to keep all of the press parts soaking in motor oil, from the nuts and bolts to the gears. It was a bit of a pain to clean them off when it came time for installation, but once we started soaking spare parts we never had an issue with rust again, which had been a big problem for us. I’m not sure what grade it was, but I know it was thin viscosity.

  2. Art Watson says:

    I love discovering useful things that had been put away and/or long forgotten. The Swanson try square was a nice find 🙂

    • billlattpa says:

      I was pleasantly surprised with the accuracy. At that, I believe that “hyper accurate” tools are overrated when it comes to woodworking. But this will certainly be a useful tool, especially since I don’t have to buy it, because I already did 🙂

      Thanks.
      Bill

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