Hand Tools Archive 2007
Jim Shaver Oakville, Ont.
Over the years I have been a woodworker I have made a lot of projects. I have always learnt a great deal from project to project and felt that I was doing well in my learning. Up until now though I had never made a project from stock to finished work with only hand tools and methods. This project represents my first attempt at just that, and of course instead of just practicing I went for a finished project right out of the gate (when will I learn!).
It’s a simple basic lap desk, it features curly soft spalted maple. The wood was bought at the Woodstock wood show in 2005. I was attracted to the idea of using wood that this certain vendor was selling, he harvests urban woods.
I had the few boards set aside for door panels or the like until I got the idea to build a lap desk. The wood was milled prior to purchase but I planed it to an even 3/8”. The wood was cut to length with a hand saw and I discovered the importance in a true bench hook in establishing square stock.
The finish is simple, several applications of a clear Danish oil. The top coat is 3 coast of clear shellac, rubbed out with 0000 steel wool followed with a furniture wax.
The tops are hinged with solid brass hinges from Lee Valley, I also incorporated some rare earth magnets as catches for the tops. I fully morticed the hinges into the case as the top is 3/8” and I could not find shallow enough hinge screws…and so it made it easier.
Lesson Leant: Support the dove tail pin when trimming the rabbet recess for the bottom panel.
The desk is a gift and I know it will be a special occasion when it is opened.
I learnt a great deal building this simple project. I have developed more confidence in my work with hand tools although I know now I need to work on some process details for my next work.
Working with hand tools offered me a few other rewards, mostly which I now have the sense that I control what I am making more completely than I have in the past. This first project will defiantly encourage me to do more hand work in the future.
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- My First All HandTool Project