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Making a New Chisel Handle

One of the tasks that a hand-tool woodworker will be sure to tackle sooner or later is re-handling a chisel. If you’ve caught the antique tool bug – and it is a sickness – then you’re going to get more than enough opportunities to practice this skill. The handle of my 2" firmer chisel has suffered a few splits over the years through all of this hard construction work we’ve got going on over here. I’ve glued it a few times, which works just fine for a while, but I decided to squirrel away a few minutes to get a better handle on this thing. I invested less than 15 minutes in the afternoon, and I’ve done everything except final fitting,...

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A Quick Stopped Groove

The backs of these Boxed Sets we’re making are tapered and slid into a groove in the same way that drawer bottoms were often done in 18th-century cabinet shops. We plowed the 1/4" groove on the sides with a 7/8" groove plane (which was originally made to match a tongue plane). I prefer this tool for this task over the adjustable plow plane because fixed fences make the work consistent – all of my drawer bottoms are set 1/4" from the edge without ever setting a fence. The complication to backs being paneled into a groove is that the groove in the top board would be seen in the dovetails if it ran all the way through. In this case...

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Making Riven Wedges for Tenons

Building this staked Roman workbench was another opportunity to do one of my favorite woodworking operations: riving and paring wedges. I started with white oak that I’ve had sitting around since building my “Roubo” lathe (seen in the banister-back chair article) last year but any straight grain bone-dry hardwood would do. With a mallet and hatchet (a wide chisel also works), I split off several pieces about a ¼” thick. This only took one moderate ‘thump’ per piece. With my four pieces split, I placed each in my wedge shaping block. This is nothing more than a notched shelf on a block held in my front vise. I’ve seen Windsor chairmakers use a block like this but I’m not sure...

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