It’s Time to Say Goodbye–for the 14th Time

Each year, for the past 14 years, we have produced a limited edition Commemorative Tool with the pledge to never make its identical version again. Last year’s edition, one of the more radical designs in the series and one of the most unique, was inspired by my first real fox sighting (you can see the stylized fox profile in the rear of the tool). Commemorative Tool #14, the Fox Tail Shoulder Plane, is now completely sold out (with the exception of a couple of blems with minor cosmetic flaws) and it is time to move on–again. If you missed it the first time around, here is a detailed review of the Foxtail Shoulder plane by David Mathias.

Farewells are often softened with strong memories. The images below, courtesy of our talented photographer, Joe Felzman, are provided as a final tribute to one of my all-time favorite tools.

-John











HP6v2 and the Jointmaker Pro, Silent Woodworking–Endless Possibilities

Our HP6v2 owners are a passionate group. The really smart customers take my summer classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and upon completion enter the enchanted world of creativity and return home a woodworking genius. (I hope my kids are reading this…).

Take Rutager West for example. He bicycles twenty miles to work each and every day, all year long, in MINNESOTA! Yikes! Rutager also happens to be an equally dedicated woodworker who cannot stand the noise, the dust and the risks associated with power tools, particularly routers. Rutager makes boxes and cases. He recently told me in my “CAD for Woodworkers” class that our HP6v2 has changed his life–and cannot wait to receive his Jointmaker Pro. Now that is pretty cool, and speaking of cool, check out some of the things he has been making with the amazing little HP6v2 Mini Multi-Plane… these are details of the frames and components he shows prospective customers–all without sanding! And if you are as impressed as we are, I am certain he would appreciate reading your comments.



The above frame used HP6v2 Mini Multi-Plane corner bead and rabbet kits. It is stunning craftsmanship.



The multi-bead soles (available in four sizes) are a great way to add texture. These shavings in ebony and an unidentified hardwood speak volumes for the capabilities of the HP6v2.



Using the V-groove sole, Rutager plowed a recess to receive the molding made with the corner cove sole which also made the cove on the edge–beautiful work. I don’t know how he makes his laminations!



This frame detail uses the following sole/iron kits for the HP6v2; rabbet, corner bead, and corner radius–all without a grain of sandpaper.



Another view–THANK YOU Rutager for sharing your work!

If you have an HP6v2 story to share, please do!

-John

“Indiana is the veneer capital of America…”

I’ve been teaching classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking for about 187 years now–give or take a few weeks. Mainly I enjoy the free lunches. And my students. And Marc Adams. And the occasional blank check he sends me–in that order.

Tuesday evenings feature an informal dinner where teachers respond to woodworking questions with their mouths full of food. Around 7:00 post meridian time, instructors share their work with overly satiated students who need sleep. It is really interesting and if you don’t believe me, take a class–it’s a great school.

This year I shared a working prototype of our new Jointmaker Pro saw. It is a hybrid tool, part miter box/chop saw/table saw. It requires no power, is unbelievably accurate and conversationally quiet. I was a bit nervous because I really needed live feedback by real woodworkers–hopefully positive feedback. Afterwards, in my tent by the freeway, I faded believing the demonstration went well.

The next day, Marc Adams, who ironically goes by the name of Marc Adams, shared that my presentation went well. I asked him what he thought about the new saw.

DETOUR: Marc has informed me on numerous occasions that he lives in Indiana and it is no coincidence that Indiana is the largest veneer producing state in America. It’s a long story–take my word for it and don’t bring the subject up in his presence.

So he blurts, “I bet it won’t cut veneer.” (Hallmarks of friendship include confrontational challenges, brute honesty and the assumption that your friend is listening…)

Imagine my surprise when Marc supplied me with a stack of veneer, and taught me AGAIN that IF this works, it would be called PARQUETRY, not MARQUETRY. Thanks Marc.

The picture below illustrates how cutting veneer on the Jointmaker Pro is not only fast but dead-on perfect.

I asked Marc what he thought of the results…

“They are perfect. But we don’t do it that way.”

This made me smile.

-John

Parquetry using the Jointmaker Pro

Insomnia has its rewards…

I don’t know why, but I wake up in the middle of the night so frequently I wonder why I go to bed in the first place. Last August, while you were likely asleep, I was wide awake fretting how woodworkers tend to put their fingers at risk when sawing small stock. Then an idea came upon me…

With patents pending, we will soon introduce a completely new way to crosscut wood and make joinery entirely by hand. And although this saw really shines with small stock, it will cut hardwood or softwood up to 6″ in width and 1-5/8″ thick, which is the vast majority of crosscuts for most. It is quiet, accurate, and the cut is so smooth no further work is necessary for cleanup. It is rather remarkable because accuracy like this has never been possible without power. There is also no need for hearing protection, dust collection and it is very safe.

Many woodworkers view new ideas with a bias towards their own skills and techniques and are slow to embrace change–woodworking is the most anachronistic hobby in America. So, over the past four months I have given demonstrations to several different groups of woodworkers to determine interest in this new way of cutting wood. We also demonstrated the saw in Cologne, Germany in March. I will write more later, but until then, check out the two images below – all of these cuts were hand sawn! We think you will agree, these images are strong indicators of a tool that rivals, and exceeds in many cases, the capability of power-hungry alternatives.

-John

Hand cut, stacked chamfers

These two boards were cut entirely by hand with a new handsaw from Bridge City. The cuts are smooth, accurate and depth is consistent within .002″ on every cut. Each board took about 10 minutes and is comprised of 88 individual cuts.


An amazing array of saw cuts made entirely by hand.

In an effort to fully understand the capabilities of our new saw, we quickly cut angled cuts into two pieces of wood and nested them. This is amazing when one considers no power was used. Each piece was cut in approximately 5 minutes and consists of 42 individual hand cuts.

Ideas are everywhere when you’re hungry…

Last fall I crossed paths with a sandwich board on my walk to lunch (O.K., I tripped). As I walked around the sign I had one of those moments where I saw something that wasn’t there (typically I imagine IRS agents—they’re everywhere you know…) The offending culprit is pictured below.


Sandwich Board/Honing Guide


Empirically we understand concrete is a painful abrasive (knees never forget) and while regaining my balance I imagined the sidewalk as an endless… abrasive… honing stone… and I was tripping over a… crude honing guide! Sounds weird, but a ray of light leaked into my cranial garden and in that instant, an idea germinated.


I returned from lunch, grabbed a chisel and mocked up the idea using my Razr cell phone. That was all the validation I needed to pursue the development of our HG-1 Honing Guide. And we are thrilled with the results. (In a pinch, a cell phone makes a crappy honing guide, but as you can see, schematically it worked out very well. Don’t be surprised if the “Woodworking Taliban” embraces this ridiculous cell phone alternative …)


Cell phone/Honing Guide


The HG-1 is completely different than previous designs. Most significant is the built-in squaring guide which will keep cutting edges that have to be square to the sides in perfect alignment (shoulder plane irons are one example). The other new development is the infinitely adjustable micro-bevel system controlled by the knob at the back of the plane. This was a crucial development for this tool because of the profiled irons our HP-6 Mini Multi-Plane employs.


We will formally announce this new product (and the reference set-up guide for precise primary bevels) in a couple of weeks, with many more details and pricing. Needless to say, it will work well for chisels, irons and really shines when used on our aluminum profiled stones for HP-6 molding irons. Below are a couple of pics to see how the guide unfolded.


Oh, and I forgot, the yakisoba was delicious.


-John


HG-1 Side View


HG-1 Rear View


HG-1 w/chisel