We will release our first-ever poster of the H.O. Studley Tool Cabinet when Handworks opens on May 19, 2017. Then, after Handworks, we will sell the poster in the Lost Art Press online store to everyone else.
The poster features an image of the cabinet taken by Narayan Nayar, the photographer for the book “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of H.O. Studley.” The 13” x 19” poster will be printed on 80 lb. recycled stock with a matte coating. At Handworks, the poster will be a special price: $20.
If you are interested in buying one at Handworks, please read the next paragraph with care to avoid disappointment.
We will have 1,000 copies of the poster, which should be enough for everyone who wants one. We will not be able to bring protective tubes to Handworks; we simply don’t have the space in our vehicles. But we will have a table in our booth that’s equipped with newsprint and rubber bands so you can roll your poster in paper to then put it in your vehicle. Alternately, you can bring your own tube to transport your poster.
Hence, the special price. When we sell the poster in the Lost Art Press store we will have to charge for the mailing tube, shipping and a third party to carefully pack the item (did I mention how much I dislike selling posters?). My guess is the poster will be $27 when we sell it online.
I also don’t know if our retailers will be carrying this poster. We’ll have more information for international customers after Handworks. For now, all we can say is: We’re not sure who will carry it or if it will be available overseas.
Despite all the caveats above, I think you’ll find this poster to be worth the trouble and the wait. The resolution is fantastic. Heck, I’m buying one to hang in our storefront.
Recently on Facebook I was mocked for this gateleg table with the quip: “But in the picture, do not you see a Ikea style table?”
This table design pre-dates IKEA by about 150 years. Gateleg tables with clean lines and simple but robust construction begin to show up in the furniture record in the 18th century (the form might actually be earlier, but that’s as far back as I’ve found).
It’s a useful furniture form for the 18th-century home where a room would need to be converted for several tasks during the day – working, cooking, eating, relaxing. When folded up, this table is only 21” x 38” – it’s but a sofa table, really. Unfolded, it offers a tabletop that is 38” by almost 75” long.
It’s also useful for the modern home – it’s easy to move for an apartment dweller or student. With one leaf up it’s a great breakfast table for a married couple. With both leafs up, there’s room for friends and family.
This version is built using poplar for the base. All the joints are drawbored mortise-and-tenon joints. The base is painted with General Finishes Milk Paint’s buttermilk color (note, this is a water-based acrylic, not a casein paint).
The top is made from 30-year-old air-dried walnut that has been finished with three coats of garnet shellac (Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood) and two coats of organic beeswax.
The plans for the table will appear in a future issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine so you can make your own. Of you can buy this one if you like. When I write an article on a piece, I cut my hourly rate – this allows me to sell the furniture a bit faster and gives you a deal. The table is $750 plus shipping (free pick-up at our shop, of course). If you are interested, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note, this table is now sold.
Or you can buy one at IKEA. While I’m certain my table will last at least a couple hundred years, there are no guarantees like that on the IKEA version.
Warning: This blog entry contains medical information that might make you uncomfortable. If you are squeamish, here’s the executive summary: Yes, I’ll be at Handworks.
Perhaps because I have a lot of German blood, my body is like juicy, meaty clockwork. In the early 1990s, I used to attend and write about a political event in Western Kentucky called “Fancy Farm.” The problem: Every year I attended, I came down with an embarrassing and debilitating infection in my nether regions (the area of the body we call “The Good China”).
My doctor was puzzled but gave me this sound advice: “Don’t go to Fancy Farm anymore.” Since then I’ve had many other clockwork medical conditions, such as the “Thanksgiving crash” after turkey day.
Fast forward to 2015. During the last Handworks, I missed the entire second day of the event. The word among the snarks was that I was too hung over, due to to a beer bender.
I wish it had been a hangover. Hangovers last about a day.
Instead, I ended up in the emergency room in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dehydrated with a high fever and unable to eat or drink. Oh, and I should mention that I had the runs. Using the term “runs” here is an understatement. Like saying Catherine the Great “kind of liked horsies.”
I was diagnosed with c. difficile and sent home to recover (thank you Megan Fitzpatrick for driving me home on what we now call “The Trail of Smears”). It took me eight months of treatment and tests to get clear of the bacteria. And another three months after that to feel like a normal person.
So I am not looking forward to Handworks next month like I should be. It really is the greatest woodworking event I’ve ever attended or been involved with. If you aren’t going, I hope you have a good excuse (such as c. difficile).
I’ll be there – and I hope I’ll be there for both days. Though I’ll be bracing for the worst.
During the 2015 Handworks it was so crowded that John and I were unable to go to the bathroom. Every time we took a step away from the booth we got mobbed. This year if you see one of us headed for the men’s room, you might just want to steer clear.
As many of you know, I’ve had great success building workbenches using thick slabs that are wet (extremely wet) with less than a year of air-drying. Read more about that here.
I purchased my bench kit from Lesley Caudle (email@example.com), a sawyer in North Carolina. Read more about his sawmill here.
Now Re-Co Bkyln is also offering slab bench kits using lumber that has been reclaimed from the New York City environs. The kits include all the stock you need to make a bench, including a single 6”-thick slab top plus stock for legs, stretchers and a vise chop.
The kit is $999 plus trucking fees ($200 to $400 depending on where you live).
The two-foot rule was the standard measuring device for woodworking for hundreds of years. The steel tape was likely invented in the 19th century. Its invention is sometimes credited to Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Conn., who patented his device in 1868, though the patent states that several kinds of tape measures were already on the market.
Tape measures didn’t become ubiquitous, however, until the 1930s or so. The tool production of Stanley Works points this out nicely. The company had made folding rules almost since the company’s inception in 1843. The company’s production of tape measures appears to have cranked up in the late 1920s, according to John Walter’s book “Stanley Tools” (Tool Merchant).
The disadvantage of steel tapes is also their prime advantage: They are flexible. So they sag and can be wildly inaccurate thanks to the sliding tab at the end, which is easily bent out of calibration.
What’s worse, steel tapes don’t lay flat on your work. They curl across their width enough to function a bit like a gutter. So you’re always pressing the tape flat to the work to make an accurate mark.
Folding two-foot rules are ideal for most cabinet-scale work. They are stiff. They lay flat. They fold up to take up little space. When you place them on edge on your work you can make an accurate mark.
They do have disadvantages. You have to switch to a different tool after you get to lengths that exceed 24″, which is a common occurrence in woodworking. Or you have to switch techniques. When I lay out joinery on a 30″-long leg with a 24″-long rule I’ll tick off most of the dimensions by aligning the rule to the top of the leg. Then – if I have to – I’ll shift the rule to the bottom of the leg and align off that. This technique allows me to work with stock 48″ long – which covers about 95 percent of the work.
Other disadvantages: The good folding rules are vintage and typically need some restoration. When I fixed up my grandfather’s folding rule, two of the rule’s three joints were loose – they flopped around like when my youngest sister broke her arm. To fix this, I put the rule on my shop’s concrete floor and tapped the pins in the ruler’s hinges using a nail set and a hammer. About six taps peened the steel pins a bit, spreading them out to tighten up the hinge.
Another problem with vintage folding rules is that the scales have become grimy or dark after years of use. You can clean the rules with a lanolin-based cleaner such as Boraxo. This helps. Or you can go whole hog and lighten the boxwood using oxalic acid (a mild acidic solution sold as “wood bleach” at every hardware store).
Vintage folding rules are so common that there is no reason to purchase a bad one. Look for a folding rule where the wooden scales are entirely bound in brass. These, I have found, are less likely to have warped. A common version of this vintage rule is the Stanley No. 62, which shows up on eBay just about every day and typically sells for $20 or less.
The folding rule was Thomas’s first tool purchase as soon as Mr. Jackson started paying him. I think that says a lot about how important these tools were to hand work.