Jul 282015

Hand planes work best when they can glide easily across the surface of the wood. Lubricating the plane’s sole can make a dramatic difference in the amount of effort expended in planing. There are several ways to do this. You can make X marks or scribbles on the sole with paraffin, beeswax or candle wax.


Or you can use imported camellia oil, jojoba oil—a domestic product—or mutton tallow.


If you do a lot of planing, you may find it convenient to make a plane oiler. Prepare a board or piece of MDF of about 4″ X 12” and attach a piece of carpet remnant with contact cement. Also glue a piece of non-skid material such as drawer liner to the bottom to hold the oiler in place during use. While the cement is drying, clamp the oiler in a vise or between a pair of boards; the pressure will help the cement to adhere firmly.


To use the oiler, spray the carpet lightly with camellia oil or jojoba oil. Then, draw the plane across the oiler, backwards so the blade does not catch the fabric. This will put a light coat of oil on the plane’s sole. The plane should only need to be lubricated every couple of boards, or whenever resistance against the wood begins to build. The oil will not affect the finish you apply to your project.

The author is a woodworker, writer, and woodworking instructor living in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife, a woodshop full of power and hand tools and four cats who think they are cabinetmaker’s assistants. He is the author of the forthcoming book Choosing and Using Handplanes. He can be contacted at nreid@fcc.net.

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Jul 242015

Who says you can’t read a good woodworking book on the beach? We asked our bloggers which books they are looking forward to reading this summer, and they provided us with some great answers. See below for Lee Laird’s summer reading list:

I have a number of “woodworking” books I’ve added to my bookcase, that I just haven’t had the opportunity or time to really dig into yet. It is starting to look like things are slowing down, since my recent trip to Germany is (sadly) over, and a couple of other issues are resolving. As you will probably notice, some of the books I purchase are how-to’s, but others are design elements I’d like to incorporate in future work. Here are my target books:

Finishing” by Jeff Jewitt

This is a fairly comprehensive work, that talk about surface preparation, repairing and hiding defects, custom dye and stain colors, glazing and toning, and brushing and spraying finishes. As most know, the best furniture/work can be reduced in worth and desire, if the finish is lacking. Working on your finishing abilities is no different than say, improving your sawing techniques or perhaps perfecting your dovetails. A facet of your overall work you don’t want to overlook.

A Marquetry Odyssey” by Silas Kopf

At one of the Lie-Nielsen events, I was visiting with Frank Strazza, who turned me on to this amazing book. I’ve never really done any marquetry to speak of, but when I build musical instruments, I can see this as a great way to enhance their looks. This can be as simple as a basic idea on the headstock, to full adornment. The book has photos of current works, as well as period pieces, so covers a great deal of territory.

The Furniture of Gustav Stickley” by Joseph J. Bavaro & Thomas L. Mossman

This (sadly, out-of-print) book provides history, techniques and projects, relative to Gustav Stickley. Included in the projects, are tables, chairs, different casework, as well as other items, with very in-depth information on the included pieces. There is also a section talking about methods used, which might help the chops one might need before building one of the projects.

Sam Maloof – Woodworker” by Sam Maloof

There is something about Sam Maloof’s designs – they look great, and are very functional. It is easy to see why his work has always been in high demand, and I’d love to have some of his organic feel to rub off on my hands. There are images, photos, drawings as well as the ideas of Sam Maloof. (This is actually a book I’ve owned for almost 25 years, but it is time it should be back in the “read” rotation.)

Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 25 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. and worked for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as a show staff member, demonstrating tools and training customers. You can email him atLeeLairdWoodworking@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LLWW

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Jul 202015
Anne Briggs: My Woodworking Summer Reading List

Who says you can’t read a good woodworking book on the beach? We asked our bloggers which books they are looking forward to reading this summer, and they provided us with some great answers. See below for Anne Briggs Bohnett’s summer reading list: The Anarchist’s Tool Chest By Christopher Schwarz If you are a woodworker, […]

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Jul 172015
Our newest issue of The Highland Woodturner- July 2015

We just released our July 2015 issue of The Highland Woodturner with articles and tool specials aimed specifically toward turners. This month’s issue includes: Helpful Accessories for Turning– Curtis shares some accessory ideas for your turning shop including task lighting, a center punch, edge protectors for your skews, and more! The Sailing Vessel Solution– Living in […]

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