Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The perils of punctuation

See? I knew blogging when nursing a slightly elevated temperature was a Bad Thing. It also confirms me in my view that the modern claim that "punctuation isn't important" is so much hogwash. What I should have entitled the previous entry is "I want to be a lawn - query". So thanks you for your best wishes and all, but I'm not currently taking the black dog for walkies (might do something unspeakable on the lawn ;-) and my writer's block is solely concerning a certain tool, grooves for the making of. The latter, well it's been cooking and all that's needed is the time to put it to paper. So yes indeed, rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated, or to put it another way - you ain't getting away with it that easily.

So in a bid to start getting back into the saddle of routine, what woodworking delights can I share? Well the latest Lee Valley newsletter currently being dispatched to subscribers proves there's no actual getting away from me unless you try very hard, but more exciting than that - the Wenzloff saws are On Their Way! Yippee! Be still my beating heart. Although my excitement is slightly tempered by wondering what I can throw out of the doorless saw till to make room for them. And, ye gods, I wonder what state the workshop is in after three weeks absence. What did I leave out that may have suffered from the damp? Is the dehumidifier working okay? Ooo, I think I may be relapsing...


  1. Just read the Lee Valley newsletter - it was interesting to read how my little mallet was made;)

    Tried out that grooving tool at the D&M show the other day - it certainly worked well.

    Look forward to reading what you think of the Wenzloff saws when they arrive - they will no doubt be superb.


    Paul Chapman

  2. Ahhh, what relief! You have been missed, so happy day for all who appreciate your mutterings, missives and mostly yourself!

  3. Lee Valley Newsletter? Sounds dangerous. Do I even want to know how one receives such a thing?

  4. Another interesting posting on Lee Valley. I must get a lathe, but like you, I am rather space challenged in the workshop department. Grrr.

  5. I know this isn't a forum, but I thought that I would let nick w know that there is a product which fits to your drill press called a vertical lathe. In Oz it can be obtained from McJings:
    (Check under woodwork, wodturning accessories and then scroll down - not the best website, but interesting products).

    I have and use one and for simple turning between centres (eg to make handles for files and chisels), it is very effective.



    PS I enjoyed your article in LV newsletter, Al.

  6. Having turned several carving mallets, I was inspired by your Lee Valley newsletter (Vol. 2, Issue 2) article on mallet key chains to try a tiny one. Not surprisingly, the actual turning of a miniature isn't a whole lot easier than turning a full size mallet, but it uses a lot less wood.

    The setup you show using a machinist's vise for boring the hole for the key ring inspired me to find your blog. I think I can help with an easier, safer way to drill the hole in the mallet, or in any wood or metal round stock. Use a V-block. It's a rectangular block of wood, cut to fit between the jaws of your machinist vise, with a generous 90° V-shaped slot lengthwise in the top.

    A photo, drilling steel for a frame saw, is at

    You don't need the illustrated c-clamp when drilling in wood.

    If you make it from cherry, like mine, or other stable hardwood, no padding is necessary. I cut the V with one setup on the table saw. I set the blade at 45°, raise it so it rips about two thirds of the way through the block, and center the top of the teeth half way across the width of the block. After the first cut, reverse the block end-for-end and make a second cut. Clamp it in your vise, and center the drill bit at the bottom of the V.

    Photo at

    If you've already parted off the waste at the end, so that you are drilling through a small diameter, just hold the head beyond the end of the V-block and rest the handle in the V.

    You can find further explanations and photos at

    Sir William of the Cohansey

  7. Rookster, you're probably better off not knowing, but if you want to risk it, have a look here

    Jeremy, go for it - any pushing down any slope is actively encouraged, forum or not :-)

    Sir William, good lord, long time no see. Hope you're keeping well.

    The V-block option was a victim of editing the thing down to a reasonable length, so thank you for filling the gap so admirably. Editing is the bane of comprehensive instruction :-( I must admit to a certain amount of cowardice when it comes to such small parts and rather like having the thing held securely in a vice. Pretty sure one of these days I'm gonna bleed yellow... ;-)


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