Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all and to all a clean shop.

   With luck and planning I will be posting to this blog too, but if you really want to hear from me, check out




cheers Ian W

Friday, September 13, 2013

Opinel Knives - a Quality Traditional Tool

  This evening my Mother and Brother came for supper.  As is always the case my Mom brought me a special treat to eat. She is diabetic too, probably inherited it from her, and so she makes good low sugar baked treats.  Also they brought a small something for me to fix in my shop, this time a new handle for a hatchet. And they brought the knife that my father used to have in the glove box of his car.  
  In this case I think I gave him the this knife 25 years ago.  My Father valued quality knives highly and he had several, he also introduced me to the value of a sharp knife and started me on the long journey of learning how to sharpen blades.

 I remember seeing these knives at a Lee Valley store, buying one for myself and then buying this knife for my Father.

   I admired this Opinel knife for several reasons.   I like carbon steel blades on knives because they are easier and faster to sharpen than stainless steel, which is harder.  I used to buy Old Hickory kitchen knives for the same reason.  Yes, carbon steel dulls quicker but I always felt that the trade off of sharpening  more often but faster was worth it.  I also found that I was willing to sharpen more often when it was easier.

 Another aspect of the Opinel knife I liked was that it was a single bevel edged blade.  It made it even easier to sharpen and super easy to hone.   

 This particular knife has a story, a story that I actually can share because my Father has passed away and so can’t be embarrassed by its telling.  As I said my Father kept his knives sharp and well cared for.  This knife comes from the store pretty sharp, but with room for improvement.  My Father had never dealt with a single bevel edged knife and I will never know why he choose to invest the time and effort to reshape the blade to a double bevel.  When I was mad at him I used to think it was because he was dumb.  I know he wasn’t dumb so I guess he was just so tradition bound that he couldn’t get comfortable with a new blade shape, so he worked this knife’s edge until it is two sided.  I am not going to change in back, not now.  

  I took the knife down to my shop.  Cleaned it up a bit and sharpened it with a diamond stone,  it is so sharp and so easy to sharpen. (even with the reshaped blade).  And the other bonus, these knives are still very reasonably priced.  For a straight knife I love my Frost knives from Sweden,  

but for a folding knife Opinel is super value.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cutting Dados on Site

  Once again I turn to the internet to find good ideas.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel when there is such a useful resource available.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

McQueen's Mutton Tallow - Woodworking

     I have had my shops in basements for a few years now and have had the damp effect some of my tools.  Tallow is very old school but it works to lubricate and protect my tools. I even use it with steel wool to touch up rust spots on "Big Iron" in my shop.  

   Another trick that works is the candle on the plane bottom or hand saw face.  There are high tech solutions but I haven't found one that is better than these low tech solutions.
   It is a good product at a very good price, and a little goes a very long way.  You aren't a Luddite if you like some old school ideas.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Clara's 2nd Birthday Cake.

   Clara's 2nd birthday cake.  On the inside Anna Olson's chocolate cake.  Come for the cool icing and stay for the amazing flavour.  Great Job, Sweetie.