How to Inlay a Bow tie or butterfly in woodwork by hand

Whether you call it a Bowtie, a Butterfly or a dutchman (or many other names) it still does the same work to stabilize a crack in the woodwork or just to look good. this is a simple task that a lot of op people over think and it can take far less time than you think.

Tools Needed:

Marking knife:

Chisel Set:

Card Scraper:

Mallett: Just make one!

Panel saw:

Router Plane or make your own

Supplies Needed:

Carpet Tape:

Wood Glue:


Draw out the Bow Tie


Some people have deep formulas for this or extensive patterns. The only important thing is that the middle is smaller than the two ends. You can honistly make it almost any shape you would like.

I like mine where one end is longer than the other and the two center points do not line up. I just use a straight edge to draw it out until it looks good to my eye. Do not over think this step. This is where you can have some fun and be a bit creative. Straight lines are easier, but you do not have to stay there.

Cut the Bow Tie


I like to cut down to the center points on both sides then use a rip saw to come in from the corners to the waste of the shape. I often find the saw left a bit ragged of an edge and like to clean it up with a chisel.

Mark out the Bowtie

You can do this freehand but you have to be very careful that the Bow Tie does not move. come people use salt to help it stay in place, but my tool of choice is Carpet tape. The cheaper the better so that it comes up easier.

With the butterfly set where you want it, use a marking knife to trace out the shape. I like to undercut the block slightly but at first, just focus on transferring the line directly. This can be done with a single sided bevel so that the flat side rides along the knife.

Remove the Waste

Now with a larger (SHARP) chisel place the flat side toward the line and chop down one or two strikes. Stay away from the marking line 1/16″ or so. save that line for the very end.

Next, I come in with a smaller chisel bevel down and remove 1/16″ – 1/8″ layer. This should take you down to the depth of the chopped line.

Then repeat the prosses. chop in with a stop cut and remove the waste. this will take you down a bit each time. I like to go down 2/3 the thickness of the board but some like to go all the way through.

Clean out the Hole

I like to have a flat bottom for the glue to better adhere to the Bowtie. I do this with a Hand router. It will give you a clean surface ready for glue.

Last I put the chisel right into the marking line and keep the chisel vertical. I will slowly chop all the way down making sure to not move that line at all.

At this point, you can test the butterfly fit. but is should be so tight that it is almost impossible to get out. So don’t shove it in or you might not get to glue it.

Install the Butterfly

Glue is a good thing here. I spread a good amount on the bottom and around the edge. then drive it in place. you should see glue squeeze up around it on all sides.

Trim it off Flush

Last it is time to trim it flush with the surface.

I use a chisel to bring it close to the surface. be careful here. If the grain is not straight in the Bow tie it might dive below the surface. make sure to work with the grain.

Then I will use a plane to take it down to the surface of the wood. but the best thing to actually smooth it out is a card scraper. as the grain will be going in two different directions the card scraper can cut across that. now it is ready for finish!


How to Make a Router Plane

A router plane is an easy tool to make, and it was one of the first that I made. In this video, I go over how to make a router plane out of some scrap Cherry and some Eye Bolts. This is a quick Hand tool Woodworking project that most anyone can do, and the results can change a shop! With little more than a Brace, Bit and Chisel you can make one too.

I will not go into what it is for or how to use it other than to say it is an extremely useful tool even in a Power tool shop. here is a video on how to use it.

Tools Needed:


Bit set:

Coping saw:

Panel saw:

Chisel Set:

Block Plane:

File set:

Rasp set:




Supplies needed:

Scrap wood: Whatever size you want

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Past Wax:

wood glue:

Router plane Iron – You can make one too!

Eye bolts –

Lay-Out Design

This is the part where you can be creative.and make it whatever you want. All it needs is a larger flat surface, a hole to see the cutter working, and a small chunk at the back to attach the cutter head.

For mine I used a template I found that was about the size I wanted. About 7″ X 5″ but int he past I have need smaller ones and larger ones.

You can also find ornate stencils and designs online that you can copy but it does not have to be fancy.

For the viewing hole, I draw 4 circles in each corner then draw a couple notch outs for finger grips.

Cut Out The Shape


I use a bit and brace to drill out all the holes and notches. I start by boring from one side tell the screw comes out than bore from the other side to leave a nice clean hole.

In between the holes of the viewing hole I use a coping saw to remove the majority of the waist then come back to the line with a chisel and give it a nice clean line between the holes.

Make Cutter Support

The back on mine is 1″ X 1″ and I want it to be about 2″ tall to give the cutting iron more support.

To do this, I rip down a strip of Cherry 1″ square then cut it to about 2″ long.

Then with a bit of wood glue, I attach it to the back of the router body and clamp it.

Once it comes out of the clamp you can use a plane to flush up the block and make it look nice!

Shape The Body

At this point, most of the work left is just for looks. so it could be skipped, but who would want to do that. I want to round over all the corners and smooth out the grips to feel a bit better.

I start with a very coarse rasp to get the rough shape. then I use a series of finer and finer files to remove the marks. and for a final touch, I use a bow saw that is great for getting into the corners and curves. here is a video on making one of those.

Final Detail and Carving

For me, a hand tool is not done tell there is a bit of carving on it. it is too easy to over do it so on this one I chose to just outline the edge with a light V-Groove.

I use a Carving V-tool and just follow a line I drew with a pencil. Also for the top, I put in my double “W” logo just for fun! here is where you can have some fun!

Install Cutter Mount

For this one, I decide to use Eye Bolts to pull the cutter back against the rest. I start by drilling 2 1/4″ holed through the backrest. I make sure to keep them in line and one directly above the other.

Next, I need the heads of the eye bolts to recess into the back just a bit so that they can hold the cutter flat on the backrest.

You may need to change this back to fit your cutter. for this one in needs a flat back. but if you get one from Veritas you will want a v-Groove in the back. you can also make one to fit your style. I made my first ones out of old chisels you can see here.

Finish IT

For a Finish, I use Boiled Linseed Oil and Paste wax. it just feels perfectly on the hand and it my choice for all hand tools. here is more detail on the subject.

After that, you just need to install the cutter and take it for a spin.

Curved Seat for Photographers

A photographer friend of mine asked me to make one of these for her photo studio. It is a bit different from what I normally like to do, and as much as I dislike panted finishes I an mot a man to turn away a challenge. I learned a few things along the way and hope to share those with you here.


Long nosed marker:

Coping saw: You could also use a turning saw or jig saw

Panel saw:



Bit set:

#4 Hand plane:

Block Plane: 

Flat spokeshave:

File set:

Paint brush:

Pull saw:

Compass Pencil:


1 X 12 X 4′ Pine (1):

1 X 2 X 4′ Pine(2):

2 X 2 X 8′ Pine stud grade (2)

Flexible plywood:

wood glue:

Wood Filler:


Shape the Bananas

I start by making a template out of scrap cardboard. there is no hard and fast design to this I just drew something I likes with the seat 12″ off the ground. that seamed good for the kids. the circle has about a 24″ diameter on the outside and the ring is 1.5″ thick.

I use a marker to trace out the template onto the piece of clear 1X12 pine.

Next use a coping saw or jig saw to cut out the shape. You will need 2 of these curves (bananas).

Make Legs

I wanted the legs to be 1.5″ squared so rather then cutting them out of 2X2s I decided to laminate them so there would be a half lap joint at the top where it meets the bananas.

I cut 4 pieces at 11″ and 4 at 12.5″ then glued them up in pairs.

Glue up Assembly

it is important that the front and back match so when I glue the legs tot he bananas I want them to be perfectly lined up.

To do this I clamp the two bananas together. then I clamp two pairs of legs together so the half lap joints face each other.

With these in place I can add glue and slide the leg pairs on to the bananas and add clamps.

This way when I take the clamps off I am left with a matching front and back shape of the seat.

Attach Supports

Next we need to separate the front and back. this will be done with 2X2s they are the same thickness as the bananas. I place them every 4-6″ spanning between the two frames.

Start by cutting all of the spacers at 10.5″. Then pre-drill and countersink all the screw holes in the bananas. we do not want them splitting.

Then with 2 1/2″ screws and glue attach the spacers so they are flush with the bottom and top of the seat.

For the last two on eather side of the seat I used 2X4s but you could also use 2X2s there too. just make sure it is flush with the bottom and top and sticks out on the end of the banana seat.

Trim off End Supports

You will want to trim the last space back to be flush with the bottom top and outside edge of the banana.

I did this with a panel saw and hand plane. it made quick work of smoothing it out.

Face Seat

I decided to use this roll wood used for facing columns in the basement. I got it at the local home center, but if I had to do it again I would use 2 layers of 1/8″ ply wood like I have listed int he supplies.

With a flexible tape measure, measure the width and length of the seat. then cut it to dimension. I decided to make mine about 1/2″ larger in both directions so I could cut off the excess.

To attach it down I just used wood glue and clamps to hold it in place. you could also use brad nails.

After letting the glue dry overnight I trimmed off the excess with a pull saw or flush cut saw.

Trim Off and Fill Edges

Now it is time to smooth out all the edges. I used a spoke shave to round over all the edges. and give it a smooth look.

Then I used Wood Filler to fill all the cracks, voids, and screw heads. and after it dried I sanded off the wood filler with a file.

Paint and Refill

This is the step that does not end. I applied a thin first coat of primer, but this shows off all the imperfections.

Once that coat dries, you can add more wood filler.

then let that dry and sand it again and paint again. I did this 3 times tell I was satisfied the look.

Trim Legs

I had left the legs long tell now to let any wood movement have its way.

I set the bench flat on a table and put a spacer under the one leg that wobbled tell the bench was flat.

With a Pencil Compass, I marked all around each leg with a line that is parallel to the surface.

With a hand saw I can then cut the legs off at that line. last, I want to add a chamber to all the bottoms so that they will not chip out when moved across the floor.

Final Paint

At this pint it just needs a final paint. take your time and make it look nice.

It is not a difficult project if broken down int the steps and taken one section at a time.

How to Make a Layout Square With Maple and Walnut

The layout square is the predecessor tot he carpenter’s square as we know it today and this simple design goes back pre-history. They are found in every culture and time. almost all built the same way just different decorations and sizes to match the culture and use. we decided to make this out of Maple and walnut as it is a bit cliche but still a strong contrast! this can be built in a long afternoon and if treated well can last the rest of your life. it is also a fantastic learning exercise as you get to play with two different joints and a few simple angles. Then you can do whatever you want to the finished look.

Tools Needed

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:


Marking Gauge:

Panel saw:

Marking knife:


Bit set:

Chisel Set:

Flush Cut Saw:

File set:


Router Plane


Supplies Needed

2 Maple beams 2 1/4″ X 3/4″ X 22″

1 Walnut Cross member 2 1/4″ X 3/4″ X 22″

3/16″ oak dowel:

wood glue:

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Past Wax:

Dimension Lumber

If you are working with rough sawn lumber you will want to dimension the lumber. this is done by flattening one side then squaring one edge to that side then bringing the other edge and face to the appropriate dimension. I have a full video on this step with a lot more detail, but most people will skip this step as they either have pre-dimensioned the lumber or buy it that way.

Cut Bridal Joint

The bridal joint is a simple joint. it is much like a mortice and tenon but it is only captured on 3 of the 4 sides of the tenon. This is the joint that holds the main corner of the square. There is far more here to go into than one step can handle so I have a full video on this joint. with a simple hand saw and chisel these can be made quickly!

Cut Half Lap Joint

The half lap joint is very similar to cutting a bridal joint but you are only cutting one-half of the tenon on either joint. with the beams in place and square set the cross member on top of the beams and trace it out with the making knife both where it intersects the beams and the cross member. then just like with the tenon cut down on the shoulder and the cheek. For the main beam, it is easier to cut the cheek with a chisel and router plane than with a saw. do not let the angle complicate this in your mind it is still cutting straight lines to depth just the wood is turned 45 degrees.

Shape Beam

Here you can get creative. I wanted mine to look a little Celtic so I drew a circle on the end of each beam with a cup that was in the shop. some like to do ogies or other decorative designs here. This is where you can have fun as they really do not matter. I used a chisel to take it down close to the line but you could as easily use a coping saw or turning saw. After cutting it out, you can use a file to smooth out the shape. Last, use the first beam to transfer the design to the second beam.

Glue Frame

For gluing the frame I use F-Clamps to hold the joints. Also, at thes point I want to make sure it is close to square so I use a square to check before clamping it tight. then let it set before going further.

Pin Joints

I like to add pins to the joints more for look than function. I just drilled 2  3/16″ holes per joint. Then, cut some oak dowel to fit the holes. With a little bit of glue, they will not come lose.

Trim Off

Using a flush cut saw you can cut off the dowels and the ears from the cross member. Then I use a smoothing plane to smooth out all faces and edges.

Square the Square

This is the critical point where we turn it into an actual square. If you have a square you trust, you can use that to make the adjustments, but if not you can use a board with a straight edge. By drawing a line with the square then flipping it over and drawing the same line at 90 degrees to the straight edge you can see where material needs to be removed. You can use a smoothing plane to bring it into square so that when you draw the two lines they line up perfectly with each other.

Carving and Finish

For my hand tools, I like to add some carving. this is a lot easier than it looks and a lot of fun. with a V- tool it can be done quickly.  You can see more about it here.

For a finish, I use Boiled Linseed Oil and Paste wax. It is a simple finish and feels great in the hand. here is a full video on my finishing method. 

How To Make a Finishing Mallet

I recently made a joiner’s mallet, but it has a hard face and can ding up work easily. I needed a mallet for finishing with a leather face and softer head. Much of this build is just like the last one with more carving and leather. Also, rather than building it out of firewood I am using a scrap of cherry that was perfect for this build. one can never have enough Mallets.

Tools Needed:

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:


Marking Gauge:

Panel saw:

Bevel up Low angle plane:

Round bottom spokeshave:

Marking knife:


Bit set:

Chisel Set:

Block Plane:

Carving V-Tool:

Card Scraper:

Supplies used:

Firewood: free craigslist, look for dried or something that has been sitting out for a year or more.

Scrap leather:

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Past Wax:

DAP Contact Adhesive:

Glue Stick:

Related videos:

Joiner’s mallet from firewood:

Frame Saw Build:

BLO and Past Wax:

Paul Sellers Mallet build:

Cut A Block For A Head

For a finishing mallet, you will want a softer head like Cherry or Douglas fir. Most of the time for me the best place to get stock is out of a piece of dried firewood. But in this case, I had a slab on hand that was the perfect size. It should be about 2.5-3″ thick about 6″ long and 4″ tall. Cut one side and square it up then square the other sides off of that first reference piece.

Cut the Handle

The handle should be about 14-18″ long about 3/4-7/8″ thick and 1 1/2″ wide. mine is made out of a scrap of white oak I had in the shop but you can make it out of whatever you want. Then, start by drawing a line from one corner to a point 3/8″ in on the other end. this will turn the handle into a long wedge that will self-hold itself in the head of the mallet. You can then use a plane to bring it down to that line.

Cut Mortise for Handle

Start by placing the head on the handle with about 1 1/2″ of the handle sticking up above the top. Next, use a marking knife to mark either side of the handle on the head. This will give you placement marks that tell you how wide the wedge of the handle will be at that point. With a square, draw those lines across the top and bottom of the mallet then place the handle on top o the mallet and draw its thickness. this will give you a rectangle on the top and bottom of the head that you can now cut out. Use a brace and bit to remove most of the waste then come in with a chisel and slowly cut back to those marks. Next, test the fit with the handle. you will see where more needs to come out. keep repeating this till you have a nice fit between the head and handle

Shape the Head

I like to put a bit of an angle on both faces of the mallet so that it strikes flat on the work. I draw a line that starts in 3/8″ at the bottom and goes up to the top corner. Then follow the line with a saw and cut it out.  save these wedges, you will need them in the next step. After that, I can smooth it out with a low angle plane, and put a chamfer on all the corners. you may also want to shape the handle to feel good. For that, I use a spokeshave.

Glue on Leather

I have some scraps of leather left over from other projects that will work perfectly. Whatever you have will work great.I apply the contact adhesive to both the head and the leather and let it set till it gets tacky. I use the wedges from the last step to clamp it in the vice and let it sit overnight. But while it is in the vise I think it is time to do a bit of carving.

Carve the Sides

While it is in the vise I apply carving patterns with a glue stick. I like the Celtic weave and this was the perfect opportunity to put my logo on. for the carving, I use a V-tool and just follow the line on the paper. With light quick taps on the chisel, it is really easy. most people can pick this up in 20-30 minutes of work. For the weave, I run it along both sides of the thick black line. Then when done I use a card scraper to remove the pattern and smooth that side of the mallet for finish.


I use a knife to remove the excess leather at about a 45-degree angle. then give the whole mallet a Boiled linseed and paste wax finish. I just love the way it feels in the hand! and there you go now you have a finishing mallet ready to lightly pound on things.

The simplest way to hand cut dovetails

Dovetails can be complex, but they do not need to be. This is the simplest and easiest way I know to Hand cut a Dovetail joint. As Hand tool Woodworking skills go this one is very easy once you master a few basic skills. Also, there are thousands of ways to do it. this is just one method that does not require much thought or a pile of jigs.

Tools needed:


Marking knife:

Chisel Set:

Dovetail Saw:

Moxon Vise: How I made mine: 

Mallet: How I made mine:

Mark the Depth

For the depth of the pins and tails, I like to use the actual thickness of the board rather than a marking gauge. This si far more exact, and it requires fewer tools. on top of that, there may be small differences from board to board. this will give you exact measurements to go off of. to make these marks I set them on the back side of the Moxon vise and make the mark on both sides of the board. It is fairly quick to mark both sides of both boards, and you are making a line that you can trust.

Mark out the Tails

I like to use a storyboard to transfer the marks tot he end of the board. This way I can make the same tales on all the boards. Then with a square, I transfer those marks across the top square tot he face of the board. Make sure to x out the segments that need to be removed. It is no fun to cut out the wrong pieces.

Cut Tails

I do not mark out the angle to cut the tales at. In all honesty, it really does not matter.  I just put the saw on the cut line and lean it a bit till it looks good to me. A lot of people get all bent out of shape about the angle on the tails and it makes no difference in the world at this point as long as it looks good to you.

Remove Tail Waste

I start with a chisel set back about 1/16″ or so from the depth line and make a quick down stroke along the line. then come in at about a 30-degree angle and pair back to the stop cut that was just made. Then, repeat the presses tell you are down about half way. Next, flip the board over and do the same thing from the other side till you break through. Last. I put the chisel right into the stop line and clean out the wood right back to the line under-cutting the joint slightly for a better fit.

Mark the Pins

Set the pin board in the Moxon vise just slightly above the top of the vise and with a block the same height as the Moxon vise you can set the tail board on top and line them up. While keeping pressure on the board, use a marking knife and transfer the marks tot he end of the pin board. Again, make sure to X out the segments that need to be removed.

Cut the Pins

Sometimes I will use the square to put vertical lines down the face of the board to follow with he saw, but most of the time I just use the reflection in the saw to make sure it is square to the face. Next, it is time to just cut. Keeping the reflection flat to the work piece, I cut down to the depth cut line.

Remove Pin Waste

First, I will rotate the board int he vise 90-degrees and cut down the depth line to remove the chunks on the outside edge. Then, I chisel out the waste the same way I did with the tails.

Final Fitting

For most people you are not going to get it to fit right off the saw the first time. Once you put the two boards together you will see places where they are tight or overlapping. I use a chisel to slowly remove material tell the fit is tight. Be sure to not remove material from any edge that will be a final show edge. you can remove material from either the pins or tails. give it a try and see what it does. I will often remove material from both. This way you can maintain a tight show face. Remember less is more. This is the make or break step where te skill is developed. If you take off too much too fast you will have large gaps.

Fit The Joint

After going back and forth with the fitting presses and testing the fit you will eventually have a fit that works. it should require a bit of force to put together and be a bit of a struggle to take apart. Remember this is not a skill that can be developed overnight. The more you do it the better it will get.

How to Learn Small Sculptural Carving

Every year I try to stretch myself in my woodworking skills to make something new for my wife for Valentine’s day. this year I decided to dabble in sculptural carving.

Tools Needed

Carving Chisel Set:

Dovetail Saw:

Bench Chisel Set:

Long-nosed marker:

Coping saw:

Carving Knife:

Supplies Needed

Basswood used:

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Draw Out Pattern

I found a picture of what I wanted to try to make online and printed it out. Next, I freehand drew out what I wanted with a pencil untell I got the shape the way I wanted it. then I finalized the shape with a sharpie.

Remove Most of The Waste

I start with a saw to cut in curfs at the low and high points along the sculpture. These are stop cuts so the majority of the wood can be removed with a large chisel. I come in with the bevel of the chisel down and slowly remove large portions of the in wanted wood tell I get close to the line. always keeping in mind the grain direction so you do not take off more than you want to.

Remove Waste On faces

Next, I repeat this on the front and back. On this side, I used a large gauge to quickly bring it down close to the shape in my mind. Do not worry about perfection.just have fun and be willing to learn and try new things.

Shape the Main Body

At this point, it is all about experimenting. Try different chisels and see if they give you what you are looking for. always remember to make a stop cut and the remove the waste down to that stop cut. A bent neck is great for getting down into spaces that are hard to reach. Also at this point, the grain direction becomes very important. Cut across the grain, not into it. Just slowly chip away at it untell you get close to what you like.

Shape Base

For the base, I could have done something fancy but I decided to keep it simple with a heavy smooth chamfer. Just using a straight chisel works fantastically on this basswood. feel free to experiment. Remember, your wife will love it because you spent the time to make it for her, not because it is perfect.

Work on the Delicate Parts

For the heads, they were too delicate to use a chisel to remove the waste between them. For this, I found a coping saw was perfect. then it is more of the same. Using a gouge to remove the majority of the material, then, flip it over bevel up and use it to round the surfaces. For the space between the two bodies, I found a carving knife to make quick work of it. again do not be afraid to try something new and experiment.

Final Surface

Initially, I was going yo give it a smooth surface and sand it, but I decided to leave it fairly rough. I like the aesthetic of the chipped surface. if you do decide to sand make sure it is the last thing to touch the wood. Any embedded sand will dull the tools. I also decided to use the V-Tool to put in a grove on the front of both bodies. it was a last minute idea that I am glad I added.


For a finish, I just used Boiled Linseed oil. the basswood soaked it up fast and I ended up putting on 4 coats with about 15 minutes between till the wood stopped soaking it up. I let it sit overnight, and sure enough, she likes it! be willing to have fun and try new things. you might be suprised.

Roubo Style Frame saw

I made a frame saw a year ago. It worked fantastically, but one day I dropped it and busted out one of the mortises. Oh well it is just a good reason to remake this one even better. A frame saw is the traditional way of resawing lumber. This one is meant for one person but some of the larger ones are designed for two people to run.

Tools Needed

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:

Scrub or foreplane:


Marking Gauge:

Panel saw:

Marking knife:

Chisel Set:

Block Plane:

File set:

Long-nosed marker:

Dovetail Saw:


Carving kit:

Supplies Needed

Frame saw kit:

White Oak: or whatever wood you want to use.

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Past Wax:

wood glue:


The Frame Saw Kit

I built this saw with a kit I bought from BlackBurn Tools and am in love with the kit. I purchased the 32″ size kit as that is easy enough for one person to run by themselves. in this case, I am actually reusing the kit that I used in my last one.

Laminate Lumber for Beams

You will need stock about 1 1/4″ thick. Unfortunately, I did not have enough of it on hand to make this so I need to laminate two 3/4″ thick pieces. I flattened one side of both pieces with a scrub plane and number 4. then enough glue is added and the two boards are clamped and set aside to dry. after the glue cures the stock can be flattened and smoothed on both sides.

Trace the Pattern

In my case I used the old frame saw to trace out the pattern I wanted to follow, but you can download the pattern at Balckburn tools where the kit came from. With a paper pattern,  I find it easiest to just glue it to the stock and cut out to the pattern.

Shape the Beams

I start by making a series of relief cuts down to the marking line. if the grain is running well I will use a mallet to snap off the large chunks. A large chisel can make quick work of bringing it down to the line. In some cases a turning saw is useful, but most all of the work is done with a chisel and mallet for me.

Shape the Handel

For the handle, I will use a chisel to do the majority of the shaping. Then I will come in with coarse rasps and then a coarse file and then a fine file and finish the surface with a very fine file.

Insert Pressure Plate

On one end of the beam, there needs to be pressure plate inserted for the screw to push against. I set the plate on the beam where it should go and then trace it out with a marking knife. Next, the waste can be removed with a chisel down to the depth so the plate is flat with the surface of the beam.

Shape the Two Stretchers

The two stretchers that separate the two end beams are about 1 1/4″ square and made to match the length of the blade you chose. it is a simple prosses of ripping them down and mill them to dimension. I made them 1″ longer than needed for a 1/2″ tenon on either end of the beam.

Cut the Tenon

I use a marking knife to mark out a half inch long tenon that is 1/3 the width of the stretcher. then use a back saw to cut them to shape.because these are so small I chose to use a dovetail saw.

Cut Mortise

In either end of both beams, there needs to be a mortise cut to fit the tenon. I start by chopping either side with a chisel to sever the fibers, the come in with a smaller chisel to remove the waste. Kepp testing the fit and make sure the stretcher seats all the way down to the beam. Be very careful now to blow out either side of the mortise.

Add Some Carving

A little bit of carving can make the whole difference in the world. I added a bit of carving to both beams. and total it added about 1 hour of work to the task but was so worth it in the end. For this, I just used a V-Tool to follow a line. With 15 minutes of practous, you can do this too. It is so much easier than it sounds.


For the Finish, I used Boiled linseed Oil and paste wax. It just feels great for a hand tool. then you can put it together and have some fun.

Carved Pen With No Lathe


This is not just any pen it is MY pen, and few Out there have one like it. for Christmas, I made a bunch and gave them out for gifts, but I wanted one for myself and thought it would be a good time to experiment with a bit of carving in the shaft. So this is kind of an experiment for me.

Tools needed;

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:

Combination Square:


Drill Bit Set:

File set:

Digital Calipers:

Supplies Needed;

Pen Kit:

Pen blank:


Super glue:

Drill out Blank

First, use the calipers to measure the brass tube in your pen kit and find a drill bit with that exact size. Mine was 13/32″ Next. drill out your blank as straight as possible from end to end. The brass tube should be a tight fit in the hole. Some people like to roughen up the tube before inserting it and adding a bit of super glue to make sure it does not move.

Shape the Blank

I love a hexagon on the pen shank as it feels fantastic in the fingers. To mark it out I find a bolt that fits nicely in the tube, then use the head to mark out the shape of the bolt head on both ends. Next, I can clamp it into the Vice and plane down each face one by one down to the line. With a sharp #4 this takes no time at all. Last, I will round over the ends untell they match up with the head of the pen.

Carve the Shank

I wanted a simple spiral wrapping up the shank so I used a combination square to draw 45-degree lines that wrapped up the shank. Then, with a fine file is follow those lines to carve in a bit with the file.


I like to keep the corners sharp so I use a file to do a  final smoothing on the faces. To apply the shellac I put it on a bolt int he vice so it can spin. I apply 2lb cut Shellac in 6 thin coats. I stand between coats 2, and 3, then between 5, and 6 with 400 grit sand paper. Last I use the bench vice yo press the parts together. and there you have a personally carved pen.

1-31-17 Weekly Inspuration

Videos that made me think this week

Finishing Methods

ZH Fabrications has one of the best grasps on Finishing and what to use at different times. I love watching his methods to get just that look it is very impressive and this project is no exception.

Hand tools Done BIG

I love the quick and dirty methodology of Chop with Chris. We often over think projects to make them perfect, and that costs the project in time or even being built in the first place. Chris’ projects always impress without having to be perfect. This cart is no exception. It may look rough but it has no need to be fine furniture, it needs to move a log. Don’t let perfection cost you a project.


I love the idea of customizing things for your use and taste. nothing is made from a factory perfectly, but if you can customize it to fit you even the ordinary becomes extraordinary!

What a Genius Idea

I have seen other drawers kind of like this, but how do you keep a drawer over your head from falling down when it is pulled out. this slide system is just a fantastic example of ingenuity and keen thinking.

If you would like to be notified of weekly Inspiration videos you can do so below.

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