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Which tool

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by Howard Caplan, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    which tool... or some diversion thereof...

    Yes, Doug's creek is a nice one, indeed. I just paddled a little bit, right behind his house, but the map looks great... One of those little, crookedy ones where you never know what you'll find around the next bend. Fun little boat he designed & built, too...

    I had a jointer a while back, but it was one of those tools that helped me re-learn that thing about cheap ones being more expensive in the long run. Let's not go there, it's Friday! When I need to straighten an edge, I use a straightedge (pieces of aluminum extrusion, courtesy of a former employer's trash bin), a router, and a top-bearing flush-cutting bit. If the board has enough warp/twist/cup that it needs to be faced with more than a few swipes of a plane, I leave it at the lumber yard. Or it gets cut into short pieces, like paddle grip ears... or firewood.

    The one thing that would be nice to have a jointer for is bookmatching -- getting the mating edges straight. For small pieces, like canoe decks & paddle parts, clamping the straightedge to them can be difficult. But I've managed without for several years, so have no plans to get another. And no space in the shop, for that matter... And a bandsaw would a much better investment...
  2. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Not the Red River of the North. That one flows right through Winnipeg.

    Mine is the Seine River. Makes me feel a little Parisen. I'm on the Left Bank.

    I use the jointer for: rabbetting gunnels (no tablesaw, remember...), rabbetting for picture frames, prepping the edge of decks, millling paddle stock, tapering paddles, lots of stuff.
  3. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Tools for Beth

    Ah wretched stich and glue, list as follows:
    pencil, metric tape, table saw, band saw, planer, drywall screws (to be removed once epoxy kicks), block plane, 8 sided guage and a hell of a pile of clamps.:D :D
  4. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Hmm, well, maybe I'll need to rethink the jointer thing, though simple rabbets are easy on the table saw. Being able to easily straighten wood would be nice.

    Course getting a jointer would mean that a TS would have to go to make room. :) (there's currently 4 1/2 TS in the garage, though 1 goes to my son's place when he's ready for it, and another goes if I can't cut planking in 1 cut with it (it's a 12" saw). The other is just for fun, it's a old 30-40's Delta tilting table saw. The main saw is/will be a Unisaw, a '58 version in nice condition I got for $500, that I need to either build a phase converter or replace the motor with a single phase. Both options are in progress.

  5. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I can see in a professional shop a jointer making sense, especially one that does a lot of cabinetry. I've managed just fine without one for well over fifteen years (and I've converted a fair chunk of rough lumber)... so, it's hard to recommend one to a beginning boatbuilder... You can joint on a table saw (if you have one). You can joint with Stanley No. 7 or 8, which will only set you back 50 bucks or less. Rabetting on the TS is easy, two passes over your regular blade or one pass over a dado set. for square rabbets, bearing guided router works fine (you can even use a Stanley 78 or wooden fillitster plane if time isn't the object)... I've occasionally thought about getting one, but have (so far) always passed in deference to something else I need more... Worst part is, I've just discovered I need to invest in tooling for a completely different shop!

    Dan (budding bronze caster)
  6. Pete Mathews

    Pete Mathews Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Interesting comments, and all pertinent. After much hemming, hawing and gnashing of teeth, I finally broke down and bought a Jet sharpening station, similar to the Tormek, only variable speed. I decided I had a woodworking shop, which requires sharp tools. The sharpening had taken on a life of it's own, but not a life I wanted. This device will sharpen almost anything (except planer/jointer knives) easily and consistantly, including turning tools. Spendy I agree, but I also agree with everything that's been said about hand tools, especially sharp ones. The one item I didn't see on anyone's list is the thickness sander. It's been the latest "stationary" tool added to my shop, and one of the most used. The amount of time and wood wasted making ribs and planking has been greatly reduced since I started using this tool. I had the space and, to me, the time and wood saved was worth the expense.
  7. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The Tormek will do those too - I regularly sharpen the knives from my 12" planer. I expect the Jet will too, as it is essentially a clone of the Tormek...

    That's a good addition for the advanced shop, certainly. I've got the Performax 16-32, and my only real complaint is that it is slow... A drum sander like in Rollin and Jerry's book, or a Grizzly dual drum sander would be worth considering...
  8. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    The first power tool I acquired (borrowed then bought) was an old Rockwell Beaver jointer. This makes short work of the blade thinning when paddle-making.

    Later I built my own drum sander using an 8x9 pneumatic drum from Sandrite in Chicago;
    See photo below

    See photo attached. In 20 years of paddle-making, I haven't yet used up the minimum order of 10 sanding sleaves.

    Attached Files:

  9. Jim Wilson

    Jim Wilson WCHA Member

    Nice work Rob. It looks like you can generate a ton of sanding dust with that!
  10. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I fashioned a "mallet/club" out of very hard piece of maple using my axe. With the axe I could only go so far and it needed some refinement on the handle section. I am using this club on the frow to split large logs into axe splitable pieces for burning.
    So, yesterday I stop by our local Rockler store and saw two spoke shaves. One, the Stanley 151 and the other a Kuntz shave. I chose the Stanley. 25 minutes of use on the hard maple gave me very good progress on getting that thing down to a manageble diameter AND chipped the blade, severely.
    I am going to try to get back to the store this afternoon and maybe they have a tougher blade? Or maybe that maple is too hard.
  11. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    For the most part, most of the new off-the-shelf tools have poor steel, and should be considered kits. The older tools (pre-1950 Stanley, Millers Falls, Sargent, etc.) are usually much better in terms of fit-and-finish and cutter quality. One of the best things you can do is replace your cutter with one from Ron Hock ( There is also considerable tuning you should do to your new shave as well... Another alternative is to consider a quality shave from Lie-Nielsen or Veritas.
  12. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    You chipped the iron? Or did you dent it on a nail or something? ... or maybe it was defective. Sometimes these things have hairline cracks that you can't see.

    But after 25 minutes on hard maple, it's past due for a good sharpening.
  13. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    After about 15 minutes of work I checked the blade and it was raggedy. I ran it over the stone but noticed there were still several irregularities in the blade. Then, shortly after that a huge chip came out.
    Very hard maple and either a defective blade or just poor quality. I went to the site Dan Miller suggested and saw their replacement blade is listed at $31, or so while the spoke shave cost me $24, yesterday. I get it though. Always better to get good quality.
  14. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    That sounds like it had a hairline crack when you bought it. :(

    Quality costs less in the long run. I'm really enjoying my Veritas shaves.
  15. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    I bought all three of the Veritas spokeshaves- flat, concave, convex- as soon as they came out, and have been thoroughly happy ever since. Prices have increased a bit (now $90-100 each), but they are wonderful tools, well worth the cost. I've got other less expensive and less well-made spokeshaves, and they readily show their shortcomings. I've not invested in any of the really high-end tools, and don't know that I ever will. Veritas represents the ultimate value for many tools IMHO- not cheap, but then not outrageous, and their products are generally of high quality and utility. These spokeshaves are nice for the price!
  16. garypete

    garypete LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Most used tools

    No question that my most-used canoeshop tool is the one Ted Moores mentions in Canoecraft--the moaning chair.

    My second most-used item is the cold 6-pack within reach of the first.

  17. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    I would add a loud AMEN to Michael's comments about Lee Valley tools. They have become my first source when looking for any hand tool. Not only are the tools of uniform high quality and fair price, but Leonard Lee has re-engineered many of the traditional woodworking hand tools with truly thoughtful improvements. Like Michael, I bought the spoke shaves as soon as they came out. They are my favorites for carving thwarts and I find the whole set useful in that process. My last acquisition was their new shoulder plane.
  18. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I'll second Andy's AMEN. Their spokeshaves are easily adjustable, feel great in the hand, and hold an edge really well. Don't overlook the scraper shave -- it's every bit as nice as the other shaves, and leaves an incredible surface on bird'seye, curly, & ribbon figured woods. Now they need to make a curved-sole scraper, and a... :eek:
  19. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    An update since Santa visited - well, I did have to drag her to the woodworking store and show her exactly which router would be best for my novice hands.
    Got a very basic Porter Cable router and a starter set of bits, a few of which I will use regularly.
    Now I have an email out to Bell Canoe asking them which three router bits they used on the rails of the Merlin 1, which hasn't been in production for about ten years.
    Hopefully they will respond by mid-April when I hope to have the length of ash I need to complete the repairs.


  20. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    It'll be interesting to hear how Bell responds to that request. They may have a custom-made shaper cutter to make the profile all at once.

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