Pegboard Tool Storage Epiphany #4: Hand drill storage rack

If you’re like me, your workshop space is at a premium. Situated in an L-shaped portion of the garage, I have to make every square inch count. One day, I woke up and decided I was fed up with “drill sprawl.” My hand drills and braces were strewn hither and yonder across my pegboard landscape. So I sat down to design and build a pegboard brace rack to organize them.

My criteria were as follows:

  1. Minimize the space taken up on the pegboard.
  2. Include enough space between tools so that they don’t hit each other when docking and retrieving.
  3. Ensure that each tool can be retrieved without moving any other tool.
  4. Accommodate two hand drills and four braces. In other words, only tools that I use. This is not a display case for a boring tool collection, no pun intended. Here’s the lineup:
  • Stanley eggbeater No. 624 (5/8” slot)
  • Goodell-Pratt Hand Drill No. 53 (½” slot)
  • Skinner 6” brace (½” slot)
  • PS&W 8” No. 1203 (½” slot + ¾” spacer)
  • Skinner 10” brace (½” slot)
  • Millers-Falls 12” No. 321 (5/8” slot + ¾” spacer)

5.  Make an attractive design.

Storage Designs
Six boring tools can get heavy so I opted to make a sturdy construction. My wood of choice was alder-the poor-man’s cherry-to match the other storage racks I’ve made so far. My search for eye-catching brace storage designs turned up this one.

P1-Brace Rack Design I liked

Now that’s some good woodworking to be sure. But for me, it was overkill. I prefer to keep all my bits at hand in existing drawers. That obviates the need for any storage rack drawers. And because my pegboard includes ample space in the z axis (think from the wall toward yourself) I chose to dock my braces with the handle pointing out perpendicular to the wall. That would be consistent with criteria 2 and 3 above.

One of the critical questions for any storage rack is what is the spacing between the centerline of each tool storage slot? To get that answer, I measured the head diameters of the braces, as well as the shafts to determine the lateral space requirements of each tool.

P6-measuring head and shaft

To conserve a few more lateral inches, I opted to add ¾” spacers on top of two of the slots so that the head bottoms could sit above the heads of their adjacent neighbors. That yielded center-line to center-line spacing between brace slots of 2 ½ inches. In retrospect, that made things a bit tight when reaching for tools. So if I had it to do over again, I would allow 3 to 3 ½ inches between slots.

Here’s the design I came up with.

P2-Hand brace storage rack design

The cut list
1” x 6” x 24” alder (1)—(3/4” x 5 ¾” x 24 actual)

1” x 4” x 24” alder (1)—(3/4” x 3 ¾” x 24” actual)

The top shelf is 18 ½” long and supported by a cross brace along the bottom back edge along with two end brackets.

The build


Based on past experience, I do any work on the rack before cutting the slots. That way I don’t get any tear out or, worse, a break. With that in mind, I broke the sharp edges by chamfering them with a block plane, then I ran a smoothing plane over it. Next, I laid out the slots, then glued ¾” spacers over the last and next to last slots from the right. The spacers would allow the tops of two braces to sit under those of their spacer-elevated neighbors.

P5-Rack spacers to keep heads from hitting each other

After that, I cut the slots followed by chamfering the edges a wee bit with a very sharp chisel.

–Rack shelf support

For the perpendicular shelf support, I cut it nearly to length then zeroed in on the final dimension on the shooting board. To make the joint between the rack and support more pleasing to the eye, I ran a 3/8” bead along the top (criteria #5.)

P7-Bead detail shot


To eliminate a blocky appearance (criteria #5) I cut one corner off each bracket front.

P3-Side Bracket

After the pieces were cut and fitted, I finished them with Danish oil, being careful to mask the to-be-glued edges. After the finish dried, I glued up the pieces and reinforced the joints with screws.

P4-Finished Rack

Now that I’ve used it, I like the look and the brace rack works well. It’s a bit tight between braces, and I have to take a bit of care to see that the heads don’t collide. But it’s compact and holds everything just fine. Drill sprawl be gone!


Posted in Braces, Hand tool techniques | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The New Traditional Woodworker Project #3—Thin planing stop

Planing stops are an essential aid for a hand-tool shop like mine. A tip I saw in some magazine inspired me to make a couple. The first is a ¾” thick stop made with ¾” oak dowel stock spaced to fit in my bench dog holes. I also made a “thin” (5/16″) stop.

P7-thin planing stop

P8-thick planing stop

In practice, the “thin” stop gets the most use in my shop. I’ve obliterated several under the stresses of planing until the sole survivor was the ugly particle board one shown above. It doesn’t exactly make you wax nostalgic when you lay eyes on it does it?

Well, the frailty of my thin-stop along with its red-headed-step-child looks motivated me to whip to page 115 of my copy of Jim Tolpin’s The New Traditional Woodworker. His plane stop tutorial sported a design that looked both sturdy and purdy (think brass bling.) An added bonus was the fact that I could use the dividers I picked up in my East Coast Tool Hunt, to lay out the spacing of four fastening screws.

A trip to a specialty woodworking store provided the Alder S4S ¼” thick stock I wanted. One edge is affixed to a ledger which secures in a face vise. After laying the stock in the approximate position that the ledger will rest in the vise, I measured out a suitable distance to a bench dog hole. You see, the brass doggie will serve as a back stop for the far end of the stop.

Here’s what all this looks like in the vise.

P4-Secured in vise

I settled on dimensions of 5 ½” wide (that’s the width it came in) and 16″ long.

I plucked the ledger from a piece of 1 ½” square oak stock I had left over from a bench hook project.

From here, I beveled the edges of the stop and ledger. By trial and error, I used my Lufkin dividers to find the distance to step off five equal segments.

P3-Using dividers to step off the screw spacing

At four of the spacings, I depressed the sharp end into the wood to act as a layout mark for a screw as well as a pilot hole for my drill.

I’ve always loved brass appointments on tools and projects, so I took Tolpin’s advice and bought brass screws to attach the stop to the ledger.

I drilled pilot holes for the screws. Unfortunately, I underestimated the softness of the brass screws and made my pilot holes too small. This was obvious when I twisted the heads right off two screws. It’s not like they didn’t warn me…they squeaked in the wood before breaking. Nonetheless, a bit of wood glue secured the heads in place and no one but you and I are the wiser.

Three coats of BLO and here’s the finished piece.

P2-Finished stop and detail shots

Notice the 1/16th of an inch gap between the stop and the bench when it’s secured in the vise? Well, my face vise has a slight upper-jaw canter when it closes to ensure a tight fit. And that canter causes the stop to rise up a bit off the bench. A little planing with my Stanley No 5 was all it took to true the canter.

The stop is rock solid and so far has easily stood up to the tensile stresses of planing.

P5-face plane stop in use

And the brass screws and Alder appeal to my bling-loving side.

P1-Project shot

Mission accomplished.


Posted in Projects | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A utilitarian kitchen utensil holder that’s easy on the eyes

I hate fighting with my better half over kitchen stuff. Take this utensil holder for example.

P76-BEFORE Utensil Holder-Closeup-CLUTTERED view

See how it’s crammed full of spatulas, ladles, spoons, spoons and a spoon with a hole in it? That’s about half of what we’d like to have at hand. But noooooo. That circular ceramic holder just doesn’t have the real estate. And its enclosing circumference has the added frustration of packing the rubber utensil handles together. So that when you try to ease one out, it pulls the others out with it. Then there’s the slick bottom. It’s no good as a stop to prevent anything else around it from slip-sliding hither and yon.

P6-BEFORE Utensil Holder-Side view

So after the latest utensil-spill-that-triggered-an-adjacent-cutting-board-avalanche-into-the-knives, I resolved to build a utensil holder that even my lady wouldn’t mind having in the kitchen.

The available space was tailor made for a rectangular container…with two dividers to make three compartments. One for spoons, one for spatulas and one for…what look like surgical tools and such.

So I gathered up some pine boards, which, of course, weren’t wide enough to give me the desired 6 5/8” of height I sought. You see, if the sides were too low, then utensils would splay all over like petals on a wilted flower. Since that would defeat the purpose of a compact holder, I opted instead to add a 1.5” wide border. What a perfect opportunity to add a nice contrasting hardwood. I set out the options of walnut, red oak, mahogany or cumaru (a Brazilian legume tree) for my lady to view. She went with the latter I suspect because of its reddish hue and beautiful grain.

Pretty though cumaru may be, it sure is a bear to work with in a hand-tool shop. It’s damn hard. Not unlike hickory, which makes it difficult to do anything with it except look at it. It also has some funky grain, which promotes nasty tear out no matter which direction I plane it.

To build it I rabbeted the ends being sure to drill 1/8” holes to accept brass rod “dowels” to reinforce the joinery. The plywood bottom and dividers seated into grooves routed to house them. I stop-dadoed the grooves for the dividers short of the hardwood border to maintain a cleaner look.

After glue-up and finishing, I cut rubber shelf-liner bottoms for each section and epoxied rubber bumpers to the bottom. Final outside dimensions: 14” long x 6 5/8” high x 5 ½” wide. Dividers roughly placed to yield two 4 ½” and one 3” compartments.

P5-Utensil Holder-Top view

The finished product passed Gail’s inspection…

P1-Utensile Holder Project Picture


P2-Utensil Holder-Side view

P3-Utensil Holder-Top view

…and it found a new home atop our counter.

P8-Utensil Holder-Filled for use view

It has room for all the utensils we use. Plus, with the rubber bumpers, it doesn’t slide around, which means it acts like a bookend to keep the cutting boards to the left in check. And it doesn’t bother the knife neighbors either. In fact, it works so well that we’ve stopped arguing over which utensil to put out, or why I knocked this or that over. Such is the power of wood to promote harmony in our house.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

An unexpected meeting with a Lumberjocks buddy

Last September, I received the email excerpted below:

“Greetings Brad, We have a new case study to create. It is with a system builder partner of ours in the UK…”

A fortnight hence, I had finished my work in Leicester, UK, and was traveling the 110 miles south by rail to London with my lady sitting next to me. You see, whenever I go on a business trip somewhere—uh, scratch that. Whenever I go on a business trip somewhere nice (Seattle, San Francisco, the UK) I encourage my girl to go along with me to take a few days extra for a mini-vacation.

After setting up shop in the Thistle hotel, we had an early dinner and crashed early to combat our lingering jet lag.

The next day, our touring began at the Tower of London, where wood-based housing still exists from the time of Henry the VIIIth.

P2-Tower of London-Henry VIIths housing

Some of the grounds’ chambers had open walls which I was sure to snap for my woodworking travel collection.

P3-Tower of London-Inner Wall slatsP4-Tower of London-Inner Wall woodwork

After we finished our tour, we walked back to the hotel, wanting to explore the city on foot and take it in. The thing about modern London is that it has all manner of architecture, ranging from modern skyscrapers to this very old brewery. Copious use of wood trim…

P1-London Brewery

But best of all, London has Andy, aka Brit on the woodworking forum Turns out that even though he hails from the southern wiles of the UK, he was on assignment in London for an IT project. Better still, he was a 10 minute walk from his hotel to ours.

It would be a woodworking crime to be that close and not meet him. So we emailed, and decided to meet up Thursday evening for some pints and fare. Wouldn’t you know it, we met in our hotel lobby, each bearing a gift for the other (I’ll get to mine below. :)

So Andy, being the consummate host, takes Gail and I to an ancient pub called the Flag and Lamb.

P9-Lamb and Flag SignP10-Andy and Brad with pint at Lamb and Flag

The watering hole got its liquor license in 1623 and sits in the posh Covent Garden district of the city. So with pints of Fuller’s London Pride ale in hand, we settled in and got acquainted. After draining our glasses and enduring a roaming mariachi band’s rendition of When the Saints Come Marching in, we headed to a nice restaurant. There, we talked about travel, woodworking, family, woodworking and all the cool things Andy’s wife has him doing. He was both delightful company and generous to a fault—picking up both tabs that night. When next we meet, I look forward to returning the favor.

A spirit level
At dinner we opened our gifts. I lost my “before” pictures, but it’s a spirit level 10” long by 1 1/8” wide by 1 1/8” high. The brass top plate had that black-gray patina that comes from being decades removed from any polish. I could see writing, but wouldn’t be able to make it out until I got home.

I told Andy I liked it the way it was, but he suggested that I restore it…and I’m glad I did.

P5-John Rabone and Sons Level-Overhead full viewP6-John Rabone and Sons Level-three quarters side viewP7-John Rabone and Sons Level-end view

Turns out it was made by John Rabone and Sons of Birmingham England.

According to Grace’s guide of industrial history, the “company had its origins in Birmingham, as rule and tool makers in 1784. The business was continued by John Rabone and his grandson, Eric Rabone. It operated under the name of John Rabone and Sons c1784-1953.”

The brass plate is a bit ornate, a manufacturing flair that hints at an older 20th century vintage. It does has steel screws to hold the plate in place. Maybe that would help date the tool, but I’m not versed on the nuances of the use of brass versus steel screws and when.

I think that the wood is mahogany, though from looking at various ones around the Internet, some were made of rosewood.

P8-John Rabone and Sons Level-detail collage

I love this level, and keep it on my desk to remind me of my trip to the UK and meeting Andy. It amazes me how commerce and affordable jet travel have shrunk the world we live in. So much so that I may get the chance to show him Colorado’s finest brewpubs. I think that he’ll find that while they lack the century’s history that permeates London, they make up for it with an uncompromising passion for the art of brewing.



Posted in Rehab, Travel, vintage tools | Leave a comment

Putting tools within arm’s reach—Two under-bench drawers

Maybe it’s because I’m a type A personality. But when I work at my bench, I like to have the tools I use most all within arm’s reach. I find that this setup maintains the flow of work.

However, as my tool kit grew, it soon overtaxed the capacity of the pegboard storage above the bench. It was the same story for the three drawers I built last year for my workbench.  Full, full and full.

Alas, well-used tools continued to languish on a dusty shelf across the garage. And since I don’t have the wingspan of a LeBron James, my project work found me fetching tools to-and-fro with concentration-breaking regularity. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, so I let the need simmer.

Then, one day I read somewhere that for woodshops, square footage of storage space is superior to cubic footage. In my mind that equates to more drawers and/or shelves. And that thought had me jealously eyeing the space under the bottom of my workbench. At the time, paupers in the form of rags and a seldom-used hardware storage box were squatting on the precious real estate.

P01-Space Under workbench

“What a waste,” I muttered to myself dreaming of the molding planes I wanted to bring into my life but didn’t have the space for. “You know what?” a little voice inside my head said to me, “You could build two drawers deep enough to hold molding planes down there. And instead of interrupting your board-flattening activity to retrieve your #6, you could just pick it out of the drawer. Along with all your joinery planes too.” Hmm. That’s a good idea Little Voice.

A bit of measuring, followed by a bit of designing resulted in this.

P15-Drawer Design

Building the carcass
For the carcass, I selected some wide pine boards salvaged from my parent’s soon-to-be sold home. They were cupped so I spent a bunch of time flattening them. Of course I had to walk across the garage to retrieve my Stanley #6 to do that. But once that was done, I scooped aside the shavings to edge glue the boards that make up the top, bottom and side panels.

P19-Shavings after flattening panels

I don’t have bricks to keep the boards flat while they dried so I used planes…lugged from across my shop.

P02-Edge gluing panels

Then I flattened the panels…

P03-Flattening edge-glued panel top

…and cut rabbets to seat the carcass sides.

P07-Rabbetting for side supports

Boy my Veritas skew rabbet plane is a dream to use. A huge step up from my blister-inducing Stanley #78.

P08-Rabbet is square

Nice and square.

To cut the dado for the center divider/support, I clamped a board to guide a tenon saw while taking each side’s cut to a depth of 3/8”.

P06-Cutting dado for center support

A Type 9, Stanley #71 routed out the waste a bit at a time to sneak up on the dado’s 3/8” final depth.

With the joinery done, there was nothing left to do but dry-fit everything to satisfaction, then glue up the carcass.

P09-Glueup of carcass

The box’ surfaces were a bit rough, so I donned a dust mask and used an orbit sander (another trip across the garage) to smooth all the surfaces to 220 grit. A dousing of shellac will protect the carcass from Colorado’s dry winters and sometimes humid summers.

The Drawers
While I prefer to make drawers using poplar, I went with ¾” Baltic birch plywood because it was half the cost. I regret that decision. Plywood is a bear to work with. It sheds splinters like my black lab Bella sheds fur. I retrieved a circular saw (a trip across the garage, plus three steps up a ladder) to chew through a 2’ x 4’ x ¾” plywood sheet to make eight, a smidgen-less-than 6” high drawer sides.

P05-After cutting drawer sides to size

To join the pieces, I broke out an estate sale box joint jig (three steps to the right of my workbench and underneath the router table) and used a 3/8” bit to make alternating slots. What a mess. Tear out was terrible. And the dull bit burned the wood, throwing off sawdust-encrusted embers to smolder and smoke up my shop.

That earned a “what the hell are you doing?,” look from my lady after emerging from her BMW X3, groceries in hand. I must have looked sheepish wielding the spray bottle to extinguish a pile of smoking sawdust. There simply isn’t a manly way to put out a shop fire when your lady is looking at you all accusatory like. Helping her to carry in the groceries didn’t do much to help my case either.

Back at the router table, I cut a ¼” wide groove, ¼” deep and 1/4” from the edge to accommodate the ¼” plywood bottom. With the joints cut and the sides dry-fitted, I measured the inside dimensions to calculate the length and width of the drawer bottoms. A gaggle of clamps held the gooey glue up mass until everything set. My Veritas LA jack—conveniently located directly above my bench, and recently refitted with a PM-V11 blade, nice!—smoothed the joints.

P10-Drawer box joinery

Drawer fronts
A while ago, I standardized on alder for all my shop storage saw tills, chisel racks and bench drawer fronts. However, I wasn’t willing to pay $32.00 for the wood to make two front panels, so I opted for figured poplar instead. By “figured” I mean the coolest, funkiest grain pattern I could find at the local big-box store. The drawers required 8 ½” wide panels which I made by edge-gluing two boards. These were trimmed to size and flattened after—yet another trip across the garage to fetch the #6.

P16-Drawer fronts after glue up

At the router table, a ½” round-over bit made the drawer edges pleasing to the touch and eye. With the machining done it was time to finish the drawer fronts. And you can see by the picture above that my earnest search to find two boards with matching grain failed.

So when the going gets tough, the tough get staining. So to at least try to match the brown/amber color motif of my other drawers, I went with a pecan stain…followed by some matte polyurethane.

While the fronts dried, I set about fashioning some drawer pulls.

P18-Shopmade drawer pull

I freehanded draft lines for the inside arc, then cut them out with a coping saw and smoothed them with a drill-press-mounted sanding drum. A ½” round-over bit at the router table (you’ll recall it’s three steps to the right) made the edges easy on the hands.

The center-lines of the pulls (from attachment point to attachment point) measures about 4”. I carefully centered the pulls on their respective drawer fronts, then marked and drilled their mounting holes. These holes served as guides to drill through the plywood backing that the fronts are secured to.

To position the false drawer front for this drilling operation, I used 1/8” spacers placed on the floor and to the left and right sides respectively. And that worked quite well for the left-hand drawer. I did the same for the right drawer front. But for some reason, I failed to catch that it was out of square. Either the spacers weren’t properly seated or the concrete floor was uneven. Next time, I’ll space the drawers from a level reference surface, like the top edge of the carcass.

The cockeyed drawer must have put me off my game, because before I realized it I had broken a long-held family tradition dating back to colonial times by—needlessly, Dad would say—reading the instructions that came with the drawer slides.

P21-Drawer slide attachment

Don’t tell Pa, but this worked well and the drawers open and shut smoothly.

No more cross-shop hikes
With the finish dry and the slides operating as designed I lined up the carcass and sighed with relief when it slid neatly into place under the workbench. The final touch was to add rubber kitchen liners to protect plane irons and such.

P17-Install drawer lining-Not quite square

Double-sided tape at each end keeps the matting from “ridding up” on the drawer bottom.

Pausing for a moment to determine what came next, I realized that I was done. Only my favorite part of every project remained. It was time to fill the drawers and put them to use. So with a smug smile, I walked across the garage to pick up my #6…for the last time.

“Arm’s reach fits the bill doesn’t it?” Little Voice said as I settled the #6 into her new home. The joinery planes were next, followed by Little Voice’s approving “That’s much better.”

P23-Filled left-hand drawer

Let’s see now.

–Most-used tools within arm’s reach? Check.

–No more to and fro hikes across my shop? Check.

–Room for the molding planes of my dreams? Check-a-roonie!

P20-under workbench drawer for molding planes


Posted in Projects | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rehabbing a Millers Falls No. 9 Smoother-And comparing it to my trusted Stanley No. 4

You’d think that Kay’s cooking would be enough to land her the title of “Life-long Friend.” And you’d be right. Her Thanksgiving spreads are legendary in our social circle. But then she shows up one day with a nice Millers Falls No. 9 smoother from an estate sale. In my book, that earned her a hefty deposit into her Karma account…plus my beaming and grateful smile.

But this is the real world and I’m a woodworker addicted to vintage hand tools. So what was Kay’s reward when her back was turned to chat with my lady? My tip-toed retreat to the shop to inspect my loot. She took it well. I’ll make it up to her. That’s what friends do.

“Estate-fresh” from the previous owner’s garage
Here’s my prize as-found.





A straight-edge confirmed that the sole was pretty flat with no wind or obvious issues. For the second time in five minutes, I smiled broadly. “Not bad at all.”


I’m a marketer by trade (copywriter.) So I appreciate Millers Falls’ approach to differentiating their products in what was a crowded marketplace at the time. Take the lever cap. The recessed lettering proclaiming “Millers Falls” on it was a great start. So was emblazoning their brand name in bright red letters—though my example lacks that eye-catching detail. Which makes it a Type 3 made around 1941—1949 according to Old Tool Heaven’s type study.    

Inspecting my 65-year-old plane
Overall, I was impressed. Let’s see…some surface rust on the sides and sole.



Add to that some minor pitting in insignificant areas.


After a minute or so, I got the inkling that this plane hasn’t seen much use. Why? For one, the blade is at full length and had but one minor nick in the edge. The back was untouched, showing prominent machine marks from the day it left the factory. The bevel wasn’t polished either. That alone doesn’t prove the plane was hardly used, the blade could have been a replacement. But it’s what I saw next that clinched it in my mind.


When I first inspected the cap-iron and iron assembly something struck me as queer.

 Then it hit me. The chip breaker was affixed backwards to the iron, with the bevel up rather than down. ***shudder**** I can only image how crappy the plane performed with that setup. I’ll bet the owner cursed it too. I can just hear him saying, “I must have bought a lemon. This thing doesn’t work worth a damn!” And so it sat around his shop unused for the next 65 years, preserving its excellent condition before making its way to me. Thank you kind sir!

The jiggered iron assembly aside, the overall condition of the plane is excellent. The japanning sits at about 98% and the plating on the cap iron and chip breaker is 99%. The stained hardwood knob and tote are in great shape too, so I let these be. The brass adjuster knob got a basic polishing while the knob/tote retaining nuts kept their patina. With the cosmetic bases covered, it was time to focus on making this a good user.

 By definition, a smoother needs to have a very flat sole. So to identify potential low spots, I marked it up.


After a few strokes on a granite plate, I discovered a slight hollow spot in front of the mouth as well as a deeper one on the left heal portion of the sole.

Five more minutes of lapping—checking—lapping on 150 grit paper was all the flattening it needed. The edges show a few remaining low spots, but nothing to get worked up over. In fact, they will help prevent catching an edge in use.


After progressing through 220, 320 and 400 grits I had this.


Next, I sanded the sides. I did not sand them square to the sole because that would have taken far too much material off. Plus, I won’t be using this plane for shooting so there was no need to do it. I simply sanded the rust off free-hand using the same grits as the sole.

Here are the after shots.





The iron had a nick in the middle of the cutting edge which took a minute at the grinding wheel to remove. After that I reestablished a 25 degree bevel using my Veritas honing guide and polished it to a mirror finish using the scary sharp method. The back was also lapped to a mirror finish followed by a few strokes on a naked leather strop. That was sufficient to shave hair off my arm.

How does it measure up to a Stanley smoother?
I’ll be honest. I was so eager to compare this baby to my trusted Stanley Type 11 that before I did any of the sole lapping described above, I sharpened the iron. Then I plopped it in to give it a test run.

Hmmm. It was not good. And a few minutes of playing with it didn’t help any. I didn’t want to give up on it just yet so I finished my tuning activities and dropped the iron back in.

What a difference lapping the sole made. And closing up the mouth (duh!) to 1/32 of an inch. How did I miss that before? The mouth was set to 1/8” wide—yet another indicator that the previous owner didn’t know how to properly adjust his plane.

Now that the plane is properly tuned and set up it takes some very nice shavings.



And it leaves a near-mirror finish, though it’s difficult to see that in this picture.


It feels as comfortable to use as my Stanley No. 4, Type 11. And even though their date of manufacture is separated by about 25 years, there are a lot of similarities.





There are several differences too. For example, the Stanley side walls are thicker than those of the Millers Falls (MF.)


The MF’s lateral adjustment lever is much looser than the Stanley, though this doesn’t seem to affect performance. The MF’s depth adjustment feels like it has less back lash than the Stanley and it is easier to dial in the desired shaving thickness.

Based on my experience, I’d have to give the MF’s No. 9 the nod over my Stanley #4. Despite hours of fettling, I’ve never been able to get my Stanley to perform to my satisfaction. Compare that to an hour of tuning with the MF smoother which resulted in nice, fluffy shavings floating over the chip breaker.

It’s a good thing too. Because that leaves me more time to tune up my friendship skills. So the next time Kay comes over, I can practice being the attentive friend she deserves. I think I’ll start by asking, “What would you like to drink?” Yes. Marketing friendship with liquor is always a good start.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Drill press table drawer organizer

If your shop is anything like mine, it slowly accumulates tools and accessories. Take my drill press for example. After completing a drill press table to be woodworking friendly, it needed two stops and two hold-downs to secure stock.


At first, I kept all four items on the table but found that I was removing two or three of them to complete a drilling operation. An endless cycle of remove 1, 2, 3 accessories, conduct the boring then replace all the pieces. What a waste of time.

In addition to the table accoutrements, there’s the multitude of drill press accessories that need a home.

Drum sanders, matching inserts and replacement inserts; not to mention overly long bits.


So after removing/adding table accessories for the thousandth time I decided to build an under-table drawer. In theory, it would provide a convenient home for many of my accessories and replace the remove-most-everything-then-replace-it cycle with, add-only-what-you need convenience. And it would reduce some clutter by getting accessories out of site.

Fueled by those hopes, I picked a wide pine board from my stash and built a U-shaped carcass to accept the drawer.


The overall dimensions are 6 ½” wide by 13” long by 4 ½” high. I used simple butt joints secured by glue and wood screws.

This I affixed under the table by driving screws from above. I inset the carcass so that the drawer front plus the pull were a hair recessed from the front lip of the table.

For the drawer, I used butt joints as well.


And I fashioned a drawer pull out of walnut. In fact, I used a piece of left over “pull” stock from the computer monitor pedestal project I recently completed.


After that, I lined the ¼” plywood bottom with rubbery shelf liner, and loaded up some accessories.


The pine I used came from my boyhood home, and I think it was originally harvested in the 1970s. So after a coat of tung oil, the grain took on a pleasing appearance.


So far, it’s performing as I had hoped. It keeps the accessories I use most close at hand and has reduced clutter in my shop.

So if your drill press area looks like an accessory bomb went off, propelling accoutrement fragments all over the place, you may wish to add a drawer to help clean things up a bit.

Happy boring brothers and sisters!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment