Last year I got some old, rusty hand planes at a swap meet we went to. I knew I wanted a longer hand plane for slab surfacing, which is why I got this one specifically. I wanted to use the parts off of it to put on a new longer body and make some better handles for it as well.
The first thing I did was take it apart and spray some paint remover on the parts that had paint and then wipe off as much as I could. It then ended up sitting in my shop for a little while after that until I could get back to it about a month or two later. When I did get back to working on it I started making the body. I used two pieces of mahogany with a thin piece of walnut in the center to tie in the walnut handles.
After the glue dried I started shaping the body, It took quite some time, but I was very happy with the outcome. I wanted kind of a surf board look to it and I wanted it long enough to be a good plane for surfacing slabs. I wanted to clean up the metal parts of the plane so I used the wire brush I have on my bench grinder. It really shined up the brass parts of the plane so I decided to go even further and use some polishing compound to bring it to a mirror finish. I ended up going back a second time to clean things up even more on the steel parts which made it look even better.
I then started on carving the mouth of the plane, this is where the blade will come out. To be able to mark everything to start carving, I adjusted the metal body exactly where I wanted it, drilled pilot holes for the screws, screwed it in place and then marked the area to carve. The carving took quite some time as well, but it was worth the effort.
After finishing the carving I put everything together using the old handles to see if it worked. After some adjusting I got the planer working nicely. I then started on the handles. I started turning the front handle/knob since I new that would be the easiest to do first. I started with one half of the block I used, but took a little too much off, so I used the other half instead and that one "turned" out great.
After that I started on the back handle/tote. I cut out a shape I liked on my band saw and did some of the heavy carving with my belt sander, but I did most of it with some rasps. After the heavy carving was done I went over it with some sand paper starting from about 120 grit to 1500 grit to really give it a shine. I did the same sanding process with the knob as well. The handle needed a hole through it for the bolt to attach to the brass nut, to keep the handle secure. I screwed the bolt in and used a hand drill and tried to eyeball it to see if my angle was right while I drilled through the center. I used a lager drill bit first for the nut to go into and then the rest of the way with a smaller bit for the bolt. It wasn't perfect but I got it to work after some trial and error. I then cleaned up the edges around the hole and finished everything off with an extra coat of mineral oil.
I was really happy with the outcome of this project and hope to be doing more of my own hand tools in the future. I hope this plane will benefit me with surfacing slabs and many other things as well.
So far this year I have been taking a break from my woodworking and taking the opportunity to work on and plan out this year's garden. I have already gotten some seeds started from last year's harvest and also some new heirloom seeds that I purchased online. I also found some new plants I have wanted to try growing for quite some time. All that said, with new plans for the garden and more plants I will be keeping up on, I will not have enough time to do as much wood working as I did last year. So, I will be taking turns doing a post on woodworking then one on gardening and I will also put a post up if I am going to be participating at an event.
Already this year I have expanded my garden beds and plan on doing some more. The reason we have raised garden beds, mounds and hugelkulturs is because our soil has too much clay and a high water table, which does not drain well. With all the things that we have done in the gardens and around the yard it has helped a lot, but, a raised bed of some sort is still the best options for us. Raised beds give you a good division between the planting soil and the walking path which you could cover with shavings, woodchips, sod or anything else you can think of. This also gives things a sharp and clean look as well as making it easier to push wheelbarrows of compost\dirt to any bed you hope to fill or top dress. Raised beds make it easy to transfer plants from bed to bed as well. Every year changing the location you plant things is not necessary but beneficial as different plants take and add nutrients to the soil; such as planting root crops in the bed that you might have had beans or tomatoes in the year prior. I always try to top dress all my beds in the fall or winter to add extra nutrients to the soil and it will make the beds better and better every year, along with all the compost tea I use as well. A new way of garden beds that I'm trying is hugel-beds. Just like it sounds, it's a hugelkultur garden bed. I get the sides of my bed up using some split logs, dig it out 6 to 12 inches, cover it with wood, add mulch of any sort (I use manure), then the dirt you took out and some compost on that. This should give you the same benefits as a normal hugelkultur and should also be mole proof if enough wood is added.
I have been making compost tea for many years now and have found it VERY beneficial to the garden. It not only adds minerals and microbes to the soil but also gives your plants an extra boost making them grow bigger and more nutritious. Compost tea is simple to make, you can use compost, manure, plants high in minerals such as comfrey and nettle, or anything else you think of. I like to use full size burlap bags and fill them half way with manure, put them in water and let them steep for about a week in a bucket or a barrel. You can use this directly on the soil or dilute it in water and use on your plants to strengthen them against insects and disease. Compost tea, depending on what you use, can have too much nitrogen in it which is why you should dilute it in water so it won't burn the plant's leaves. The water you use is important. If you use tap water the chlorine can kill the beneficial microbes that your plants need. If possible, use fresh water to make your compost tea. Spring water will work great and will bring in more minerals, but rain water will work just as well if that's all you have. You used to be able to let your tap water evaporate out the chlorine over night but they have new chlorine now that does not evaporate and there's also fluoride and other chemicals they add in as well.
Starting Plants Early
Artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, leeks and many other types of plants have long maturity dates and need to be started early. This could mean starting them indoors, in a greenhouse, hoop house, cold frame, hot beds, or even under some garden fabric. I'm starting my seeds indoors even though I've built a greenhouse in my garden as we don't get that much sun in the fall to early spring. Along with that, I also have plants I put in there to over winter which I plan to get some seeds from later this year. Starting your plants indoors means you need to have grow lights and if necessary a heating pad for plants that require warm soil. You can start seeds in pots, trays and soil blocks. Good, rich soil helps the seeds get a healthy start. Making sure they get transplanted to bigger pots as needed helps plants grow faster as their root system is not bound and will allow them to gather all the necessary nutrients they need. When the plants aren't root bound they spread their roots faster and get a better start when you transplant them outside, unlike root-bound plants that you have to pull apart to open up the root system for them to grow. As the root-bound plants work to spread their roots, the plants that aren't root-bound will be thriving and growing making any extra work worth while.
Grow Your Plants From Seed
Growing starts that you buy from a nursery and being able to harvest a crop from them is wonderful and exciting. I find growing plants from seed is more satisfying, as you see the plant go from a sprout to something on your dinner plate or just a delicious snack as you walk through the garden. Although you may be growing those plants from the nursery, there's still something you're missing out on and you might take for granted the value of your own healthy seeds, as the price for them isn't getting any lower although the quality is. Along with that, every year you grow your own seed it becomes more adapted to your soils & climate. In turn, your plants will keep growing bigger and better in your garden each year. The best option for all organic heirloom gardeners is keeping your own seeds, as there are many benefits to doing so, such as not having to buy more every year. Another perk to growing plants from seed is that you are not limited to anything as long as you can grow them in your area. Even things you usually can't grow in your area can be put in a greenhouse or brought indoors. Every plant, big and small, brings joy to a gardener by being able have them in your meal, as a snack, or even just to admire their beauty. I hope to be able to grow all my plants from my own seed and to have a wider variety of plants to learn more from and experiment with all the wonderful flavors and colors they have to offer.
Custom orders have kept me busy all year and I have had great feedback on all of them. I have continued to learn a lot with each one and really enjoyed the challenge of making them.
Next year I would like to get into some furniture making and maybe some personal things for my workshop. Keeping a good supply of items on hand for local events would help with a potential online store as well.
Looking back at how I did things at the first event to now, just 8 months later, I see how God has grown me and how differently I do things. All the things that I have done have really given me confidence to tackle new things. As much as I would like to spend all my time making things in the workshop, I also like to do gardening along with some landscaping. I really missed doing a lot outside this year, although I tried to do things in my free time. I also enjoy taking photos and I would like to make frames for some of my work as well.
With all this in mind I need to be able to balance everything and also run a business to be sustainable into the future. I think offering all these things would be more than enough to do so and would allow me to do all the things I love at the same time.
I would like to thank all those who have supported me and my new business. I would love to hear how your items are serving you and hope to bring even more variety to the table soon.
As some of you know I have been working with a fine furniture store now for quite some time, taking their cut offs to bring you new products and further sharpen my skills in all areas of wood working. Just one year ago in November of 2016 I brought some of my creations to show the manager at the furniture shop. She was very pleased to see someone as young as me doing wood working and was very impressed with my work and said she would love to see some pictures of the things I made as I progress. She also gave me a few small pieces of wood to try including some Koa which I was very happy to have and was excited to see how it would look once finished. Since she gave me some wood I wanted to give her something as well, so, I decided to make her a pen. I made her a pen with the Koa she gave me along with one I made with some lace/leopard wood for the office lady there as well. I later emailed her with some more pictures of my work, she was very pleased to see what I had made and also said she loved the pen I made her and uses it every day. On my birthday in me and my dad went to the shop so I could look at some of the wood they had in the lobby there. Although they put the scraps out for free, they also had larger pieces of wood for sale available inside if anyone was interested. I ended up finding several pieces of wood I liked with some beautiful color in the grain along with other unique qualities. Later in October we stopped by again before taking some of my items to the knitting store for the first time. when we got there the manager had informed me that sadly they where closing there doors and it would probably be good to get any more wood if I needed any. After going inside and looking around I somehow managed to find some more wood. Getting all of the wood that I had I wanted to make something for the manager, although I had already made her a pen I wanted to make her something that was a little more special and would show the skills that I've learned. The office lady there told me that she collects model cars, so, I started thinking of things I could make. I decided on making her a wood picture of a car and framing it with a different piece of wood. I chose some curly Koa for the picture and some Walnut for the frame. For the picture I traced an image of a Ferrari on a piece of paper to wood burn through it onto the piece of wood. After I finished cutting and gluing everything together, I cut around the car so I could place it on my wood exactly where I wanted it to go. I then taped it flat on the wood and started wood burning over the picture I had traced. I ended up needing to go over the burning a second time because it didn't burn enough through the paper. I then signed my name on the back and oiled it with mineral oil, which really brought out the curls in the wood.
She loved the picture and was happy to have it, she was especially impressed by my miters and glue lines. This was a fun and new project and I very much enjoyed making it. Although they have closed their doors I still have plenty of wood to keep me busy. I am very grateful for all the wood that I have received from them and hope to use some of my own wood harvested from our homestead in the future.
Recently I found some old things I made and comparing them to the things I am making now I can really see how my skill level has changed. Below are a couple of crochet hooks. As time has passed I've gotten better and also implemented some laminating into my projects for a better and more professional look.
The newer spindle style on the Left The new crochet hook style on Right!
Now that I have everything organized and put in there, my Uncle had a request for a wood pen he wanted me to make for him. I had not done any pens before so I did some research on them and got the parts I needed. What I needed was a pen mandrel for my lathe, which I found at our local wood working store. I also got one of each color of the starter pen kits. I did his in gun metal with some curly looking walnut. After I had practiced with all of the colors, I also made him a lathe turned case to go with it. He liked it a lot, so I also made one for my wood supplier to thank her for all the wood, and I got a request from my grandma to do one with Mahogany and copper.
My Dad got me a designer pen kit he thought I might like to try, so I laminated some woods together to try out on some pens, and see what I could do. I tried one to see how I liked it, and saw what I needed to do on the next one to make it work, and the next one I did was the designer pen kit. It came out really nice and my Dad liked it when I gave it to him, and I also made one for my Mom. So, after learning a new skill and doing some projects in between, I am happy that things have been turning out well! Pun intended - LOL!
As some of you know, just over a year ago a tree fell on our house, and we are now one year away from what we used to have. With the new house in and most of the work done, I have been able to do more wood working. During late summer, I started out just working outside on a table and covering it up at night just in case it was to rain. My second shop was under our RV canopy, which was a little bit crammed and was somewhat exposed to the elements. Just before Fall, my third shop was a 10x20 carport canopy, I made my own custom work bench out of free woods I got from a couple pallets and some other recycled woods. It was the perfect height and I had all my woods organized which worked well at first, but then the moisture was getting underneath and coming in through the sides, things were getting ruined! Now into Winter, I moved everything to our homesteader's cabin. It has plenty of room for everything as long as I keep it organized. I was pretty frustrated I couldn't fit my workbench in there, but I managed to make something that works well for now. I am glad I got everything in there because it has a wood stove which we had in our old house but not in our new one. I didn't really know how much I enjoyed the wood stove until I had it back again.
During these various moves I had been working back into my projects. I started turning regular and larger crochet hooks for rag rugs and a HUGE Tunisian Crochet Hook for a cowl my sister made with roving. I also made my first Niddy Noddy (to wind home spun yarns) and I also worked on some bowls, and found that I was able to do a better job than I had in the past; keeping my tools sharp also played a big part in it. I got excited about a project my mom saw and I made a small acorn ring box. It was challenging to figure out how to make two parts fit together and making the stem was my smallest piece yet. After that I wanted a more 'manly' project and made a wooden butterfly knife! It was not that dangerous because it was made of wood. I am pretty exited to see what projects I will be doing in the future, and what type of setup I might have then, since I wouldn't have ever expected to be where I am today.
Who am I?
I am a 16 year old woodworker always sharpening my skills and bringing new projects to the table. I hope you enjoy reading about my custom creations, personal projects, and shop progress. Plus you can check out my gallery here.