Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Anna's been coming down to the shop with me since before she could navigate the basement stairs solo. She has her own little bench, a collection of nails and screws and a her own stash of wood. She likes to sand wood and then glue it together. Her first serious project was a sign with her name on it for her bedroom door. Although she had lots of help from Mom and Dad she actually did a lot of the work herself. She did all the sanding, painted the stenciled letters and applied a few coats of varnish. Her next project is a similar sign for her sister; Becca doesn't like the shop nearly as much as Anna does. Today Anna did something that I didn't do until I was at least in jr. high school wood shop, she planed an edge and a chamfer (a pretty darn good one too) on a piece of pine at my bench. I showed her how to hold the plane and where the sharp bit was and she went to it. I guess now I'll know where to look when my Lie Nielsen 102 goes missing.

Contemplating the Chimney.

That's me standing in the machine room right in front of the new doors... but before any of that happens I have to smash out that darn chimney!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Timberframing Tools

Pictured is my small collection of timberframing tools. I've been gathering tools to use in the construction of my new house and these are most of the hand tools I'll need for the joinery in the 8x8 and 6x8 framing members. Most of these tools are antiques that I purchased on-line and refurbished as required. From the bottom are the following: 1-1/4" White chisel circa 1837. This one was in great shape and just needed a good sharpening to bring it to life. Next is an Ohio King 1" corner chisel to clean up the mortises. This chisel is also in great shape and as soon as I figure out the best way to sharpen it it will be ready to go. The 2" framing chisel needed a bit more work. This one took considerable flattening and grinding to get the edge to usable condition. Also, the handle it came with was not the greatest and didn't look like it would stand up to the abuse of pounding out mortises. I turned a new handle in ash from a baseball bat from my childhood and gave it a copper ferrule. It's now sharp enough to shave with. Next is my brand new 2-1/2" slick from Barr Specialty Tools. This is a real prize. I tried for months to find an antique slick in decent shape and for a decent price but most of them were very expensive. This hand forged chisel, complete with a bird's eye maple handle is just a joy to look at and to hold and I'm really happy that I went this route. Next is an inexpensive Ryoba that I bought at Lee Valley. This Japanese saw has both rip and crosscut pattern teeth and will get lots of use in the cutting of the frame; plus, if it gets bent or beat up it's no great loss and the blade is actually replaceable. Next up is an antique Enderes drawknife that I'll use to ease all the corners of the timbers. Doing it this way rather than with a rotor gives the frame a less formal feel and speaks to the handwork that goes into this type of project. Also pictured are two handplanes. One is a small block plane that I made a number of years ago. It's a fairly rough little customer but is great for quickly knocking off corners, especially on the large tenons before fitting. The other plane is a Stanley #191 shoulder plane that I'll use to clean up any tenon shoulders that need it. Finally, at the top right of the photo is a freshly turned maple mallet to drive those chisels deep into the pine. Take a good look because it'll be beaten to hell before too long! There are a few more things I'll use in the frame cutting process. These will most likely include a large (16-5/8"... no kidding) circular saw, a western style crosscut saw, an electric plane and my trusty belt sander. But hey, they're not nearly as photogenic as that beautiful Barr Slick eh?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello. Is there anybody out there?

So I know I'm not the best blogger. My posts could be more frequent and I'd like to write more about techniques and ideas as well as individual projects. Future plans, I swear! Now, I'd love to have an idea as to whether or not anybody is reading this blog. So if you're out there drop me a line via comments to this post. Say hi, tell me a bit about yourself and, if you're a woodworker, fill me in on what you do. Thanks for stopping by!


Instant Shop!

It's little, it's pink and it's mine. This is my new shop building; Morrison Woodworks World Headquarters, if you will. It's a 350 sq foot house that I got (for free!) after answering an add in our local trader. I contacted a local house mover and he hauled it to the property where I'll be building our new home. Follow the link to my house blog for more on that. I knew that I wanted a shop before the house was built so I'd have somewhere to work on all the woodwork for the house as well as the hand cut timber frame component of the house. The plan was to build a 24x24 building but when this came up (roofed, shingled, doors and windows and trim installed) I jumped at the chance. It's a bit smaller than I had hoped but the plan is to work in it for a while and decide if I need an addition in the future. More pics of the interior reno (and demo) to follow.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cutting Boards and Utensils

Here are some more cutting boards. Most of my boards are made from walnut and either birch or maple. The odd duck here is an elm board made with salvaged elm from King's Road in Sydney, NS. It incorporates some of the natural shape of the tree it came from. Also pictured are some wooden utensils. There are spatulas in walnut, ash and cherry (perfect for stir-frying) as well as a pair of elm salad tongs. These are about as close as I come to a production item. They are made in small batches, usually out of leftover wood from larger projects. The batch of cherry spatulas has just been soaked in mineral oil. Once the excess is wiped off they can be put to use. Enjoy!

Elm Bench

Here's a natural edge bench made out of Elm salvaged from King's Road in Sydney. This a simple small bench whose design lets the beauty of the material take centre stage. The slab is planed to thickness by machine and then the shape is eased, refined and reshaped by hand tools; spokeshave, block plane, chisel and scraper. The legs are cut to shape, a tenon is turned onto one end and then they are given their final form by hand. All surfaces are hand planed, scraped and given a light sanding before receiving several coats of and oil/varnish blend that I mix in-house. This bench will be on display (and for sale) in the gallery at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design.

Pair of Bookshelves

Here is a recently completed pair of bookshelves. Whenever I can I like to use a beadboard backer for casework. The texture adds a nice character