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Thread: What hand tool skill do you want to Learn?

  1. #1
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    What hand tool skill do you want to Learn?

    One of the things I enjoy about wood working is the potential to learn new skills that enhance my over all enjoyment of the craft.

    As a Neander, often these new skills don't require an extensive investment in new tools. I've been a hand tool wood worker for >40 years and early on everything was "for the first time". Over the past 10 years or so I've added carving (ball and claw feet, pulls, surface decorations etc.), Marquetry and string inlay as new skills and I've found them to be fairly easy to learn, (for me primarily from books), require fairly inexpensive tools and have been really fun. To be clear. I still enjoy well executed joinery and hand planed surfaces as much as the next Neander, but my non-woodworking friend's and family seem to notice and appreciate the more visible features of carving, marquetry and inlay, which to be candid, is something I enjoy.

    Recently I coped the mouldings for a set of frame and panel doors for the first time. Typically I've mitered them but struggle with avoiding gaps. The "Coping" technique worked well, let me use a carving gouge and yielded great results. I think I'll keep doing it that way.

    What new skills do you want to learn? For me, I would like to learn how to bend wood. I love the idea of being able to incorporate sinewy curves in my work but have been sacred away by what I think is the need for some kind of steaming set up and the need to build big plywood forms for clamping. I'm not sure that's correct, but it's been enough to keep me from trying. I welcome any suggestions for how to get started?

    If anyone is interested in how to get started with carving, marquetry or string inlay I'm happy to share what worked for me -it's easier than you may think!

    Cheers, Mike

  2. #2
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    Me too! I personally prefer simple things, but I bought a few gouges and a “Carving the Acanthus Leaf”. I plan to work through the exercises in that book, just to try it out.

    I’ve made a few stools and will probably try back chairs sooner or later, which may be an excuse to try steam bending or laminating. For steam bending, one of my hesitations is the waste associated with making forms when I will only use them for one or two pieces. One of the big attractions of hand tool joinery for me is that almost everything can be done without making a single-use jig.

  3. #3
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    Card scraper sharpening is one I havent crossed off yet.

  4. #4
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    I'll hit 52 years of woodworking in December. I think I've learned just about all the skills I need to finish out. I am still buying a couple machines, but the most fun was a machine that was crazy popular not long after I started. An Inca jointer/planer with a Tersa head. But that's nothing related here.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 06-10-2024 at 5:16 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Yetka View Post
    Card scraper sharpening is one I havent crossed off yet.
    Ditto

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    I also have picked up several carving gouges, knives, and books with the intention of learning that skill. Now, if I can just find enough time to get some of the other projects out of the queue.
    Chuck Taylor

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Allen1010 View Post
    For me, I would like to learn how to bend wood. I love the idea of being able to incorporate sinewy curves in my work but have been sacred away by what I think is the need for some kind of steaming set up and the need to build big plywood forms for clamping. I'm not sure that's correct, but it's been enough to keep me from trying. I welcome any suggestions for how to get started?
    Cheers, Mike
    Mike, my best experience bending wood came from a 2 part article in Fine Woodworking by Michael Fortune building a garden chair. It involves bent laminations with some modest sized particle board forms. He is expert and an excellent teacher. The 1/8 inch laminates are made using a well tuned bandsaw. Like you, I love hand tools. But the bandsaw is essential for this project. If I can give you any articles, tips or otherwise to assist in making this chair, let me know, You will be a wood bending wizard afterwards.
    garden chair.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Ditto

    jtk
    I’d encourage you to watch a video or read a description then just go do it. If you are used to sharpening planes and chisels, then it really isn’t more challenging. I found the first several times I did it one edge would work better than another, and like anything you’ll get better with practice. But, I think card scrapers are amazing and I can’t imagine not using them.

    You don’t need to do a perfect job to get a scraper that works well enough to be useful.

  9. #9
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    Two main topics are on my list: Chair Making, preferably a Windsor Rocker, and turning green wood. I built a pretty rough shaving horse a few years back and I have most of the chair making tools except an Adze and Travisher. Rumor has it, I’m getting a scorp for Father’s Day. A spring pole lathe is on the list. I have a lot of room to grow my basic hand tool skills. I’ve told my self no more draw knives or spoke shaves until I build my first chair! Though I may either rehab my froe or buy a “new to me” one.
    Last edited by Joe A Faulkner; 06-11-2024 at 2:42 PM.

  10. #10
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    I am happy with my skillset. Just wanting to remember them seems to be more of a challenge.

  11. #11
    My inlay game needs improvement. This came out rather shameful.
    I call the font "Stick and Poke Prison Tattoo". I kept telling myself "it should be obvious from across the room that it was not done with CNC". I succeeded. I also want make something with hand cut dovetails.

    IMG_2030.jpg

  12. #12
    Inlay fitting, that is actually quite good.
    Sanded flush should be even better.
    Although if it is dyed wood, might be messy/bleed?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Inlay fitting, that is actually quite good.
    Sanded flush should be even better.
    Although if it is dyed wood, might be messy/bleed?
    Thanks Stephen, I should have taken a wise Creekers advice and bought the dyed veneer from Mr. Gurian rather than trying to make my own. Skipping the pressure cooker for the dye was a mistake. I will try to put some red back with a sharpie.
    Now what about those hand chopped dovetails? Creekers sure make that a hard act to follow!

    IMG_2032.jpg

  14. #14
    Steam bending wood would probably be a big one for me. But for the most part, it isn't so much learning new skills as it is getting better with the skills I already have. For the most part, woodworking isn't hard. It's just a balance between speed and precision. And the great ones seem to be able to accomplish both at the same time. But for people like me, the biggest limitation is usually how much time I'm willing to invest in something.

  15. #15
    Dunno if .040"/1mm is thick enough for you, but Prather offers vibrant colors in small sheets.
    Atlas also has .030", .035" & .040"
    The problem is that these are supplied to cue builders to put between the prongs when gluing up. Often a stack of 4. So they don't supply much thicker.
    There is a supplier of thicker stuff, but it is not coming to mind at the moment.

    https://prathercue.com/products/vene...14017579548730

    https://atlassupplies.com/products/v...7023a22a&_ss=r

    Atlas sells Elforyn, too; among a number of other natural and artificial inlay options.
    Prather might, he mostly shows it in his pre-made prongs. But he's a good guy so worth asking

    Is that a banjo? Do you steam bend the rims before rolling? or?
    Last edited by stephen thomas; 06-11-2024 at 11:24 AM.

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