If you're working on something that's mostly hand tools...


Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
24 Aug 2015
Reaction score
...please post pictures. If you're working from home and dying to get up and do something once you're done with work (I hear from a friend working in london that this has become common there, too), hand tools (even for things you wouldn't normally do with hand tools) are excellent because of the level of physical involvement. Great time to use them.

I realize there's a project forum here, but it focuses on mostly less than hand-tool based work.

I've got some hand tool-based work coming up and will post it in the coming weeks here (rather than the project forum) as I don't gather that most folks in the main forums will get much out of all or nearly all hand tool work.

I hope others will, too.
Great idea David. If Mrs. memzey allows me some shed time in the coming weeks I’ll do my best to contribute.
Woodworking over the weekend - mostly dimensioning the wood for the bottom part of the case. half was already rough dimensioned (planed flat, but not finish prepped). I decided that I'd take it down to just over 3/4ths of an inch so that this case doesn't weigh 200 pounds (needed the exercise, anyway).

Not great wood, and most of the thicknessing had to be done with a jointer, but it's cherry, so you can still do it quickly. Perhaps half an hour to thickness and size each panel - at the most. Plane with both hands so you can set a rhythm and not stop - speed is gained by knocking off any high spots first and then planing full strokes keeping the plane feeding - not by machine gun super fast planing. The plane has to start the cut the same thickness as it hits in the middle and the back side of the cut - no skipping into the cut.

Don't forget the wax and focus on not leaning on the plane when you're getting tired - it just adds to the work. With breaks to sharpen every couple of panels and to clean up the shavings, and saw these to size, you can do this for hours. Being able to plane and saw with both hands spreads the workload.


Nice wide panels - jointer shavings are on the floor. smoother shavings generally on the bench. I had a mess like this probably 4 or 5 times over.

The panels -these aren't huge, but the long ones are about 36 inches for scale (18" wide):

Dovetails started for the top - didn't get to the sockets yet. Will this weekend. Knots will end up on the inside of the case and it'll be stained anyway. Just important not to horse over this wood with a jack plane and tear out a big chunk that doesn't end up coming out thicknessing.

A small side project. A member on another forum had a plane that didn't have the iron properly hardened. I told him to send it to me, I'd reharden it if it needed it and maybe make him a second iron. The only condition was that I'd accept no payment.

The second iron that I made for him was XHP. I figured he might not use it, but it was a single iron plane and small so it wouldn't take long to make (less than an hour to make and harden the iron - would be much faster for someone who had machine tools to do most of the work, but I generally work by hand on metalwork, too - and XHP hardens very easily and then once it does, you'll never get it annealed again - it's easier to just saw it by hand and file it, etc).

Well, he tried the XHP iron and now he's hooked. I can't remember the brand of the smoother, but it was an early to mid 1900s quickly made english plane and the iron just wasn't that great. I did reharden it, but it's chippy. I've never had any problem hardening decent steel of any type in oil because irons are a thin cross section. 1095, 01, XHP - they all tolerate oil well. Just a junk iron.

So, same person requested I fix an ECE plane of his ,and I agreed to look at it, and asked if I'd make another XHP iron for it (the iron is flat, so this is no problem). He offered something in trade (though it's not necessary).

The picture in the foreground is my plane (one that I've made). I dropped this plane and broke the handle and just glued it back on until I get a chance at some point to remove it and make another, so that looks sloppy - but you can do that when you're the maker. Like a mechanic can fasten an exhaust pipe with a coat hanger on his own car, but not a customers.


The ECE plane is really a rough animal for something that someone might buy new. The wedge covers the entire iron, and the handle is a shape that just makes the entire plane uncomfortable to use, gets you out of angle and out of place on it so that you have to use two hands. I don't really get it - these things aren't necessary to do wrong, even with cost constraints. You can make the handle rough and cheap like the plane is made, but put it in the right spot at the right angle. The iron is flat, which is a cost cut - it would be better if it wasn't (so that the cap doesn't get pushed forward on the plane). Not ideal, but livable, and the grain orientation is 90 degrees off of appropriate. Not terminal, but again, why? It'll make the plane wear twice as fast.

I will probably eventually just make an entire plane for this fellow (his trade was generous and very thoughtful).
Less progress than expected this weekend, but maybe I should've expected less progress!!

The result of the plane - ECEs irons are kind of duds compared to much that's available (run of the mill modern steel - the're OK - just capable, but less good even than a decent O1 iron). In a jack plane, I'd have used the stock iron, anyway - jack irons take a beating. But the owner of this plane wanted (I think I said above) the front of the gigantic handle trimmed off - a magic XHP iron made for it and just some general fitting, so I did that. All of this took about two hours (making irons by hand out of powder stainless is kind of a pain, but it's also a forgiving process and a lot like planing itself - time to think about what you're making so gigantic mistakes never really happen).


The bottom case - hoped to get it all dovetailed yesterday, but with other things this weekend, didn't get there. There's no real rush. One more corner of dovetails to finish and then contemplation on whether or not installing the shelves again with full length dovetails will be worth the trouble - probably not as the top case relied on them to hold its sides in, but the bottom of the bottom case will be hidden so dovetails on the corner do that just fine.


And unexpectedly on friday (while we're in lock down) someone bought a moving fillister that I listed long ago on ebay. Mid 1800s buck that I got from England. I'm trying not to fit all of these tools before I send them out, but it occurs to me that the buyers of these things often don't know how to use them. Sure enough, the dealer who put this plane together installed a nicker and iron that are not original to the plane, and their slight misfit wasn't a matter of setup, but they needed significant modification.

Because of this, I offered the user the service of setting up the plane (for free, of course). I would have really struggled with something like this early on as it involves setting the skew on the iron freehand and by eye, cleaning up the back and then some metalwork on the nicker which was too wide for the plane and would've been problematic.

Nothing works for rebates for a hand woodworker like a wooden moving fillister - at the end of a few dozen feet of rebates, no metal plane can come close in terms of effort and speed.

Proper setup of the nicker (slightly outside of the blade), and blade (slightly outside of the body of the plane) makes for near perfectly clean rebates. If the grain is going the wrong direction, a light set rabbet cleans up the bottom of the cut to the marked line without any problem. Fast and physically satisfying, and the surface is devoid of chipout.

Last row of dovetails complete. This will hide in the base. Not glued, but tight enough to be rigid because i forgot to leave some slack in them to make glue up easier. The other 3 corners have more room and won't require caution with the glue.

not much time the last couple of days. Got a visual migraine last night before bed, and it seemed minimal - minor for what's become an old friend of mine over the last couple of decades. Woke at 3:20 with searing pain in my head (usually dull ache follows for several days, but not this) and couldn't go back to sleep. Around lunch (9 hours after waking up!!) i wandered into the shop as I was dead in my chair. Just enough time (10 or 15 minutes) to cut the rebates for the tongue and groove back in the under cabinet, and then that's it.

no lights needed on a headache day.


As a fellow migraine sufferer I feel your pain, I am totally useless the next day rather than just useless.

Hopefully yours just disappear! That was about the max of what I felt like doing yesterday, though I sometimes work through migraines just to see what the result will be (it's often not that much different - just slower processing and everything feels much more torturous). Especially when my wife says "when you get a migraine, it doesn't help anyone here, so don't expect any breaks!".
I have suffered migraine from a young child. If it's any consolation, I found that when I reached my fifties the incidence and severity reduced quite a bit. I now seem to have a visual migraine which takes the effect of a reversed, angular letter C made up of shimmering blue and silver triangles which lasts for about fifteen minutes and there's no headache.

That's intesting. Sounds very similar to mine - it's like a curled prawn, but in comic book lightning zigzags and electric yellow :)
If I take paracetemol within minutes and go relax, I can generally supress it, though sometimes it will fight to get out for 4-5 days. If it takes hold i'm useless for 24 hours.
My ocular migraines some times go middle diagonally up or middle diagonally doen, it's a nice sparkling shape but after I am knackered totally.

Sideways":3jl7qhu9 said:
That's intesting. Sounds very similar to mine - it's like a curled prawn, but in comic book lightning zigzags and electric yellow :)
If I take paracetemol within minutes and go relax, I can generally supress it, though sometimes it will fight to get out for 4-5 days. If it takes hold i'm useless for 24 hours.

About 1 in 10 for me is minor. They do seem to be getting less severe with age and I've read (heard) that often, age cures them when nothing else does.

I get exactly what you're saying about them fighting to "Get out". I call that slippery brain - it seems like lack of a headache isn't on solid footing, but once I get a big one, they're gone for a while. Not sure I've ever gotten a big one within 3 weeks or a month of another big one.
I very rarely need to resort to tablets now, and the visual migraine has no adverse affect on me other than the visual disturbance. Twenty five years ago though, nothing would touch them, they just had to run the course, which was severe pain across the forehead and eyes accompanied with nausea which would last for a day followed by the next day feeling as if I'd been in the ring with Mike Tyson.

MikeG.":1c09e1ak said:
Fans of hand tool woodworking might like the latest video from Doucette & Wolfe:


I notice he's using those namby-pamby Irwin quick-clamps - what a lightweight!! :lol:

I've watched just about all of their videos at least once - they're very skillful, and the projects are usually impressive (if not necessarily the kind of stuff I'd want in my house!).

I do have reservations about some of the (absolutely exquisite) timber they use and how sustainable its use is.
There's no shortage of high quality wood here in the states, especially coming off of private land, but there's probably a shortage of customers for wood like that at the price it would command (thick or wide wood) at different kiln schedules, etc.

It has to cost at least twice as much to make it worth the while for a good processor whereas the demand for uniform width smaller boards is probably a lot more constant.

It'd be a different story if there was a widespread demand for things made of really good wood here (but there isn't - most large logs go for veneer and get made into plywood).

(side comment - our land was stripped at one point by the railroads. Am I correct that the UK and a lot of europe were stripped during the war? Because of the time difference, there is a lot of large second growth wood here, from pine to sycamore to whatever. People who own walnut trees tend to want the moon, and a lot of the mahogany that grows in towns in florida is still discarded or only specialty marketed - as in by one-man operations who don't have much cash flow needs. Taking me a long time to get the point - there is a sawyer on youtube who lives in north carolina in the furniture industry area - furniture has gone overseas and demand has gone down, but he can cut boards about 26" wide on his circle mill. In one of his videos, he had a giant second growth pine that he cut into wonderful wide boards, and then he had his outfeed person load them back on to the mill flat and sawed them down the middle into narrower boards :?

He said something to the effect of everyone loving to see the big wide boards, but marketing them and finding a buyer is too hard and not worth the time. In the state that I'm in, our wooded acres are greater now than they were before the state was settled by europeans. Lots of large wood falls in our woods in my development - and everywhere around here, and most of it is never even cut for firewood. The market is hit or miss. The cherry that some of us dearly love is only in demand intermittently and right now the hot wood on the stump is white oak as a couple of distilleries in the south had disasters and now they're building barrels at a high rate. Several years ago, it was beech for railroad ties - which is unusual here. Beech has almost no market value at retail or for industry - it falls in the woods here and rots)
D_W":nrytashh said:
......Am I correct that the UK and a lot of europe were stripped during the war?.........

Yes, but not the war(s) you are thinking of. 16th and 17th century wars against the French and Spanish did much of the damage. The "Great Re-building" at the same sort of time added to the loss. That's the UK. Europe wasn't stripped, and has huge deciduous forests in constant and sustainable production.
woodlands scale in the united states, about 1.28MM square miles are forested or classifiable as timber in the united states.

There could be a different method of collecting data, but wikipedia suggests about 12K square miles of timber in the UK.

I can see why there would be a conservation mindset there more so than there is here. There are things here that need to be protected, and are (sequoia), but much goes to waste here standing dead, falling over and rotting on the ground. It's really incredible to me - as a kid, if we had standing dead timber in our "back yard" (a 21 acre hilly area), we harvested it and used it for heat.

There's still firewood consumption in rural areas, but the cheaper energy gets, the less of it there will be.
A lot of dead or fallen wood is left on the woodland floor over here in the UK. The reason is to create habitat for insects, fungi and birds, and it is frowned upon now to go "wooding" as we used to call it when I was a child in the 1950s.