The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Under the radar


Yes, I’m still here; I’m still kicking. The report of my death was an exaggeration, as has been said before. So what’s up?

In short, nothing.

In a crazy scheme to earn a living and support my family, I’ve been going to work every day, though in truth my work schedule has not changed much (yeah, I still complain that I work a lot, however). What I have been doing is spending a lot of time outdoors, which is no surprise considering that this is the nicest stretch of June weather we’ve had in recent memory. I’ve also been going to the gym because I still think I’m 23 years old, and yes, I’ve been getting in a pretty decent amount of woodworking as well; what I haven’t been doing is blogging about it.

I read a lot of amateur woodworking blogs, or at least I used to. Amateur blogs were a great source of inspiration to me, and I always enjoyed seeing what was being made by other woodworkers like me. The problem there, from my point of view, is that I’m no longer seeing many woodworkers “like me”. To be fair, maybe I’m the one who has changed, that is entirely possible, or maybe it’s a combination of the two. As I’ve said many times before (and many will say that it’s not my place to say this) but I do not like where woodworking media has gone, or where it is going. It all seems very rigid, and one dimensional, to the point where I’ve seen articles written telling woodworkers when it is acceptable, in a ‘real woodworker’ sense, to use sandpaper– In a side note, thanks for that, because I’m too stupid to figure that out for myself– My point in all of this being, many of the blogs I’ve come to enjoy reading seem to be going this route, and that is fine. I’m not a sensor, and I’m the last person to tell anybody what and how to write, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to keep reading  it blindly, either.

With all of that being said, I really have been woodworking quite a bit.

Firstly, I drew up the plans for my latest “tin panel” cupboard and I just need to pick up the material. I’m leaning towards oak, but I do have a small yet decent stash of construction lumber that I’ve been slowly turning into boards for furniture making, though even without a moisture meter it is easy to see that it still needs to dry out quite a bit. I’m hoping to start that cabinet in a few weeks, so that means I will likely need to purchase the wood from a dealer.

I’ve also filmed several new woodworking videos and I hope to do a few more. I recently came across some vintage woodworking tools that I’ve begun restoring, among them are (2) Fulton #3 planes, one Stanley #4, an Atkins #6 spoke shave, a spoke shave of thus far unknown make, as well as a no name rip saw. The price I paid for these tools was so ridiculously low that I will not even mention it here; I will just say that it was less than half the cost of a decent ½” chisel. The truth is that I really don’t need any of these tools. I will likely keep the #4, sell the two #3’s, keep the spoke shaves, and give the rip saw to my dad. The cost for these tools was so low that they are worth saving, and I also think the restoration will make for some interesting videos.  And when I say sell I don’t mean for profit, I would just like to get the money back I spent on them. On that note, I am trying to keep the woodworking videos short, 15 minutes or less being my goal, both for the sake of succinctness and the ease of upload.

Some of the tools that I recently picked up waiting to be restored. Not pictured are the Stanley #4 and the no-name rip saw, both of which are currently not at my house…

Restoration on one of the #3’s begun, and the other is also under way…

Otherwise, I’ve made few small but useful items around the house: a new ‘Sellers’ box, a hat rack (for baseball caps, not Stetsons), an ‘ingenious’ clamp holder that I will hopefully write about in a future post, and an American Flag from some craft boards as a decoration for Independence Day.

So that is my update, if anybody cares to know. I’ll try to post at least once a week as well as put up videos at the same rate. And I’ll do my very best to be true to myself, and to continue to not be or become the woodworker that I don’t care for so much.



  1. Jeff Whitaker says:

    Good luck on the Fultons (BTW in case you didn’t know it, they were most likely made by Sargent and sold by Sears before the Craftsman name got to be popular) I tried restoring a couple and at best they were mediocre. If you get one tuned and running well let me know, I might buy it just to see what your secret is.

    Is there any consensus on a good low cost moisture meter? I need one too, but on fixed income I need to stretch my pennies till Lincoln screams!

    • billlattpa says:

      I knew a little about the Fultons, though it is a plane I’ve only read about and never seen until now. Believe this or not, but I knew right away that they were both Sargents because of the cap nut. I’ve heard they take a lot of work to get tuned. I got both of the planes reasonably flat and that thankfully wasn’t an ungodly amount of work, but I haven’t worked on the irons yet. I paid $5 each for them, so I’m not overly concerned if they become “supertuned”. I managed to get them cleaned up pretty nicely, which I didn’t think was possible.
      I picked up a Stanley #4 as well, and that one is in much better shape, though I haven’t started working on it yet because I left it at the house of the guy I purchased it from (long story).
      I haven’t come across a reasonably priced moisture meter. I’ve looked here or there to see if I could find a pre-owned one, but I haven’t had any luck. I may just have to check ebay now that I think about it, as that is one place I’ve never actually looked for one. If I turn up some hits i’ll let you know,

  2. Greg Merritt says:

    Good luck with the restorations. Looks like you will end up with several good usable tools. That #3 is looking very nice.

    Hopefully you can find some content to your liking. Interests do seem to ebb and flow. The important thing is that you enjoy your own shop time.

    • billlattpa says:

      The #3’s will never be “great” planes, but I have no doubt that they will work just fine on common woods like pine, poplar, and oak. Though I will say that the adjustment screw on the pictured plane works very well, nearly as well as my LN jack plane, which I consider to be the best plane I own. I was expecting it to be a sloppy mess.
      The #4 will certainly be a good plane if I do my job correctly, though I don’t truly need it. I paid $10 for the tools pictured and the saw, and $20 for the #4. If I get one good tool out of the lot it will all be worth it. And the experience is invaluable.

      I’ve been laying off my regular blog list lately; everything seems to be going in the same direction. Not that it matters one way or the other, these are all amateur blogs so they certainly don’t owe me anything. Everybody has the right to talk about whatever they like. And beggars can’t be choosers.

  3. Kinderhook88 says:

    Nice tools! I’m looking forward to seeing them in use. I only closely follow a few blogs myself. A lot of it out there is elitist garbage. I especially love yours, Greg Merritt’s and this guy

    • billlattpa says:

      I’m interested to see how the spokeshaves turn out. One is in really good shape, one needs some work. The two #3 planes should turn out fine. I haven’t started the #4 yet, but I don’t foresee any major problems. My plan is to get one of the #3’s up and running, finish the clean up of the second, and then move on to the #4. The spoke shave that is in good shape really only needs a honing and some oil, the other I will save for last. The saw I’m just going to hang up for the time being. I have 3 rip saws already and the “new” one I’m just going to give to me dad.
      I’ll have the check out the apartment woodworker, I don’t recall seeing that blog before.

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June 2016
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