Sloyd Bench Hooks

I made some handy bench hooks based upon the teachings of Sloyd (which I don’t know much about, but discovered is quite an interesting thing). Actually, learning about Sloyd may be the most interesting thing about this project. Anyways, these bench hooks are really useful to hold wood of different lengths on the bench for, say, cutting dadoes, or to hold up long pieces level when crosscutting on the hook I use for sawing, or for holding wood for paring. 

slab of hard maple
I started out with a scrap of hard maple. Bad choice. This made a quick project into a several day project, because the wood was like granite. 
I cut out 12″ blocks and surfaced all the edges with a hand plane. Then measured 2″ from each end, marking the center points, then drew a line from that point to the far corner as seen here. Once I had the layout, I sawed in a bunch of relief cuts with a carcass saw.
two sloyd hooks in rough form
Here’s a shot of the two hooks, with the surfaces ready to be chiseled out.
Finished surface of one sloyd hook
Here is one finished surface. To get to this point, I chopped out the sawed parts with a bevel-down chisel, then pared down to my line with chisel and block plane. You can see the unfinished bottom surface here. This is a rinse, repeat operation for the other surfaces.
Finished bench hooks
To finish off the hooks, I rounded the corners with rasps, so it’s easy to hold with the hand. I also used a card scraper to get the show surfaces as flat and smooth as possible.
The hooks seemed a bit slippery, so I lined the bottoms with cork (secured with hide glue). Now they’re ready for use.

Fly Rod/Reel Case Build

Over the past few months (July-September 2018), I created a display case to hold a fly rod and reel for the Potomac Valley Fly Fisher club, of which I’m a member. The fly rod/reel this case is designed to display is raffled off once a year. The person who wins the raffle gets to use it for one year. The prize comes with a small book to log fishing experiences. At the club’s annual banquet, the person who used it for a year gives a short presentation of his or her experiences. 

To get me started on this rod/reel case, I was provided with some photos of a similar box from a fly club in Pennsylvania. That rod case has been in circulation since 1963! I like to think that the display case I made will also be in circulation for many decades to come.

a stack of unfinished walnut
Before: I started out with a stack of tongue and groove walnut panels. These are offcuts and rejects donated by a neighbor used in an 80s project to panel a living room in walnut.
finished case
After: this is the completed case, showing the interior.
finished case - exterior
And here is the completed case, showing the interior.

The following is a log of how I made the case. What this doesn’t show is how much trial-and-error was involved in the process. I spent a lot of time testing out different ways to hold the rod and reel in place, in particular. It also doesn’t show how much help, guidance, and inspiration I received from fellow woodworking members from the Hand Tool School.

Stack of walnut boards ripped and planned.
I used a 5tpi rip saw to cut the boards in half and to cut off the tongue and grooves. Then I used a #7 plane to get the panels to proper thickness.
Cutting boards to length with crosscut carcass saw.
I used a crosscut carcass saw to cut the boards to length.
cork liner on base panel
The bottom of the case was lined with cork, which I glued on.
cork liner installed, showing rabbets on side panels
Once the cork liner was in place, I measured the total thickness of the bottom panel. I then used a plane to get the total thickness to 5/16″. This is the size of the blade I used to cut the grooves for the side panels. To cut the grooves, I used a Veritas combination plane.
Paper sketch of dovetail set-up
I sketched out the dovetails on paper before I started cutting. I decided to go with half-blind dovetails. I used two dividers because one is set to step across the end grain and the other was set to mark the distance from the edges.
End panel with pencil marks for dovetail cuts
I marked out the tails first, then cut them out with a dovetail saw and 1/4″ chisel.
marking out the pins
Once I had the tails cut, I marked out the pins using a dovetail knife. I secured the bottom panel here in a Moxon vise.
sawing pins of dovetail
This is a shot of cutting out the pins. For half-blind, I cut at a steep angle down to my lines.
Chopping out pins with a chisel
Then I chopped out the pins with a 1/4″ chisel. It was a delicate, time-consuming affair.
Rough half-blind dovetail fit together
Here’s one corner completed, showing the half-blind dovetail up close. I color code each part of the project so I can keep track of how the different pieces fit together. Note that I also cut my grooves through because it’s just so much easier. I plug the groove holes at the end of the project and they are barely visible.
carcass assembly
This shot shows all the dovetailed corners connected up, without the bottom panel inserted so the bottom grooves are visible.
A rip saw and a thin strip of sapele
Next, I started working on the lid for the box. I used sapele for the mitered frame of the box lid, mainly because I ran out of strips of walnut! I cut the strips of sapele to size with a rip saw.
cutting miters
I used a miter box I made in 2017 to cut the mitered corners for the box lid frame. Here, I’m using a Bad Axe tenon saw.
using a plane to finish edges of panel
This is the inside panel of the box lid, which will be framed with sapele using mitered corners. Here, I’m using my #7 to finish up the long edges.
shooting ends of panel
Squaring up the edges of my panel using a shooting board.
box, all dry fit together
And here is the box with everything dry fit, showing the completed box lid with the miter frame in sapele and the panel in walnut.
fly rod laid out on bench
Next up, I had to figure out how to secure the rod in the box. Here, I’m laying out the rod sections on scrap wood to see where to place the inserts in the box that will hold it in place. I used sapele for the inserts (to match the mitered frame of the box lid) because I thought it balanced it out nicely with the contrasting walnut.
inserts that will hold the rod
And here are the inserts that will hold the rod. I used double-sided tape to hold the rod pieces in place on these blanks, then used a pencil to mark out the lines. I used a marking gauge to figure out how deep to make each groove.
filing out the rod holding grooves
I used Auriou rasps to file out the grooves to hold the rod in place. These rasps are expensive, but they are so worth it.
tapping thread in wood
For the center insert that goes in the box, I threaded the wood. Why I did this will be apparent in the next photo.
Center insert with holding arm
This is the center insert with the threaded hole. I used a brass thumb screw here from McMaster-Carr to attach a small swinging arm. This arm keeps the four rod sections held firm when locked down.
making a dowel
Next, I made a 1/4″ dowel, which is used to hold the reel in place in the box.
dowel attached to box, used to hold the reel
Here is the dowel attached to the inside panel of the box. I glued a small rare earth magnet to the end of the dowel. For the reel, I’m holding it with a reel seat blank, in which I  also glued a magnet. When the reel seat is slid down onto the dowel, it locks in place with the magnets so to hold it securely in place.
Interior of box with rod and reel in place
Here’s what it looks like when it’s all put together, with the rod and reel locked in place.
chisel cuts for butt hinge mortise
Now all that’s left i installing the hardware. Here, I’m cutting a mortise for a butt hinge. I used Brusso hinges for this project and they are worth the money. I started out with some gentle chisel cuts. The depth of the hinge mortise is set with a marking gauge.
router plane for butt hinge
Then I used my router plane to smooth the bottom of the hinge mortise after I chiseled out most of the waste. I slowly crept up on my lines and dry fit the hinges many times to ensure a tight fit.
butt hinge in place
This is one of the butt hinges in place after the mortise was completed.
All hardware in place
And here is the box with all the hardware attached. In addition to the butt hinges, I installed small box ball clasps from Woodcraft to hold the box closed. The chain support is from Rockler.
completed box
I finished the box with two coats of Osmo wood wax.

Completed a new shelf: top and bottom shelves with sliding dovetails, two middle shelves with stopped dadoes. Shiplap back panels. This was quite a challenge for me using only #handtools and happy with how it came out. #handtoolschool

Cheap Scrub Plane

Here’s an example of a really cheap scrub plane. I made it with a $5 old hybrid I picked up from an antique store. The hardest part of this was grinding the iron into a concave shape using a (you guessed it) grinder. I had some trouble getting mine evenly ground, but it worked great after I sharpened it up on my stone. I did have to widen the hole in the bottom up so it didn’t get all clogged up.

Here’s a pic of it in use on a slab of maple.

scrub plane in use

Here’s the iron after I ground it with a grinder and sharpened it up on a stone.

angled iron

And here’s the mouth I opened up with a chisel so shavings don’t get stuck.

base of plane

One of these days, I’m going to pick up a weightier plane for a few bucks to make another one with more mass.

New Ladle Handle

Here’s a small project to replace a handle on a Chinese-style ladle. The handle I had to replace was a cheap bit of pine pushed in to the metal part of the ladle. Instead of trying to replicate that, I decided to make a handle that would house the ladle. So I grabbed a scrap of walnut, cut it down to size with my rip saw, and then scratched my head for a while figuring out how to secure it.

My solution was to first drill the hole that would house the ladle. I locked it in my vise and used a brace I recently picked up for a few bucks to drill the hole. I also got an auger file recently and had just sharpened up some bits I had also picked up at the local flea market … so I was eager to try it out. It worked surprisingly well.

Then I took a length of 3/4″ oak dowel and used a spokeshave to shave it down a bit so I could mount the new handle on the face of my workbench to work on it. I shaped the handle with spokeshave, chisels, and a file.

This is the handle in rough form mounted on a dowel. I used a chisel to slim it down.

Handle1

Then I worked on it with the spokeshave.

Handle2

I tapered it with the spokeshave, then smoothed out the rough edges with a file and chamfered the edges with a chisel. I finished it off with some flexible sand paper.

Handle3

And here it is attached the to ladle.

Handle5

Handle4

Moxon benchtop vise

I recently completed a new vise Moxon benchtop vise.  The hardware and a good portion of the design inspiration is from Tools for Working Wood. It’s hard maple, 23″ between the screws, cork lined, and finished with Danish oil. It was made with hand tools only, as part of my online apprenticeship with the Hand Tool School.

Drilling the Holes

The holes in the front and back jaw were easy to drill, but the right side was just a tad off when I put the screws in and tested the alignment and it was causing it to stick. So the second shot is a dowel with sandpaper I used to open up the rear jaw hole just a bit so there was no rubbing or sticking on the wood.

Hidden Mortises on the bottom

Here are the mortises on the underside of the vise that house the nuts. These were chopped out, of course, with mortise chisels.

Rabbets

Since I didn’t own a rabbet plane when I made this, I used a saw to cut the top and bottom rabbets. This took forever. I had to a lot of clean up work with the router plane to them square.

Angle on front jaw

I made a 45 degree guide for the cut, but it was only really useful to eyeball things to ensure I was at the same angle all the way across. Since I wanted a lip at the top of the front jaw, I couldn’t cut all the way to the angle guide in the back and it was too much of a hassle to get the guide at the right height in back to match up with cut I was making. So I really just relied on cutting down to the top and bottom lines marking the angle on the front jaw. Then I just planed it down. I figured I didn’t really care if it was exactly 45 degrees, anyways…as long as it was uniform and about 45 degrees, I was good. The angle is there so there’s room to angle saw cuts without cutting into the vise wood.

And here’s the final product

Front:

Side: (the cork is to keep the vice jaws from damaging wood)

Back: (the top piece is so that there’s a flat surface for dovetail joinery)