Sutherland Steam Mill-Hands On Courses

Screenshot (3)Interested in woodworking history and vintage machinery? Check out the Sutherland Steam Mill in Denmark, Nova Scotia. I visited the museum several years ago with my wife and have been meaning to go back in recent years but just never made it, even though it is less than an hours drive from home. While browsing the internet the other night, I googled the museum and found the website you see above. There’s lots of interesting info on the museum on the site, and an even more interesting addition to the site is a list of available day and half day workshops in traditional hand tool woodworking with craftsman Jonathan Otter. Set your GPS this summer for a trip to the museum…better yet, book a course and help support the Mill and further your skills at the same time!

Tool Chest-The Interior

Today I started picking away at the interior of the chest…been slow going because I’m not sure yet how I want to configure it, but I installed the divider for the saw till for starters. More stopping and staring than anything. I’m not sure yet if I want to put the dividers in it to hold each saw in position, or leave it open for future changes, all my saws have protectors over the toothline so there won’t be any damage that way.

I also screwed the cleats on the bottom of the chest to raise it off the floor approx. 3/4″ away from any dampness, thanks to Chris and his ongoing basement reno for the scrap 2X4 I planed and used for the cleats.

Here’s a pic of where I am so far…IMG_1741[1]IMG_1738[1]Jointer planes and shooting plane will go in the bottom of the chest along with my Stanley No.45 plow. Also my brace and canvas roll of augers, as well as my leather chisel roll and wood whacker.

On the other side the saws…a 28″ Shurly and Dietrich miter, a couple of Veritas dovetail saws and a rip filed Disston No.4  12″ backsaw. Also in the chest is a decidedly non vintage piece…a tensioned Nobex miter box saw with the optional Japanese Ikeda blade that…frankly, cuts like corn through a goose. And of course a copy of the classic ATC for your reading pleasure.

As far as the top floors, I haven’t decided whether it’s gonna be 2 or 3 sliding trays. Lots of winter left yet tho…

Tool Chest-Skirt Installed & Stained

I finally got around to working on the skirt for the chest…decided against dovetails and went with mitres since I don’t want to copy the ATC to the letter. My plan is to find some decorative aged brass corner straps to protect the corners of the skirt anyway, so the mitres shouldn’t be an issue. I wanted a dark, aged finish, and after a bit of experimenting i came up with a game plan…here is the result. Camera flash washed it out a bit…it’s quite a bit darker than in the picture. I really globbed the stain into the corners to try and give it an aged look and a bit of buildup.


Not sure yet what the topcoat will be, either wipe-on poly or an oil finish. Next: Fitting out the interior.

Tool Chest-Bottoms Up…

Been a while since I had a chance to get back on the chest…the carcass is all glued up, and the pins and tails were planed flush last time I worked on it. Today I started the bottom. My plan was to make up the bottom of the chest from shiplapped boards approx. 5 1/2″ wide. First I found half the thickness of the bottom boards using my marking gauge, then set my depth stop to the line. I planed the lapped joints with my Millers Falls No.85 (a copy of the Stanley No.78) set for a fairly rank cut to take as thick a shaving as possible without tearout.IMG_1665[1]After all the boards were shiplapped I lined them all up so I could see if any needed finessing:IMG_1667[1]Once I was happy with the way all the lap joints fit together I scribed a line to position the cut nails to and started boring pilot holes and driving nails!IMG_1670[1]After I’m done that I’ll start on the skirt around the bottom.