I’m starting woodworking. Is been a complicated road and seems that I cannot improve.
I’m doing everything in my balcony using a table and I use some Japanese saws, some chisels and stanley no 4.
I have problems cutting the wood straight. Same for planning, is just make me crazy. I will not stop, i found it relaxing, but I dont know how to improve.
Any advice will be amazing.
Hello and welcome Claudiu.
You wrote that you work on a table. Is that an ordinary table?
Sawing by hand applies remarkable forces and planing as well. These forces are one of the reasons for the sturdy and heavy construction of workbenches for work with hand tools. I strongly recommend to build your own workbench which can handle those forces with ease.
If you can apply some struttings to that table, it will improve your situation.
An other step up would be to build a Paul Sellers trestle as a temporary workbench to build your “real” workbench.
In both cases your saw cuts probably become more straight.
Those japanese saws are usually of good quality so that I assume that your saw isn’t the root cause for the sawing problems.
The third factor is the sawing technique, which improves with every conscious saw stroke. I tried with a japanese saw, but it isn’t my cup of tea. So I don’t know whether there are good resources on the internet about sawing techniques with japanese saws – but probably there will be some good content covering that topic.
Can you please write more specific where you are struggling with the plane?
Hello, and thx for message.
I use this: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0001GRVKA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
in my tiny flat in Berlin 🙂
Saw’s are from here: https://www.feinewerkzeuge.de/set.html –> Sägenset Universal, bestehend aus 3 Japanischen Sägen mit einer Segeltuchtasche
Hi there Claudiu,
Just keep practicing. I had exactly the same problem. I could not saw straight so I began to go down the power tool route until I came across this site. It gave me the urge to try again. I began practicing with dovetail joints and showed me how to use a knife wall. Eventually it all came together. There will be days when it will all go wrong but just push on and they will become fewer and fewer.
Your saws are good good saws, that’s for sure. 🙂
Your Wolfcraft work table is a light and portable bench made for work with power tools. I started similar with a Bosch PWB 600, which is probably a bit heavier than your actual work table, but way too flimsy.
Applying struttings to your table probably neither is possible nor makes much sense – imho.
So I warmly recommend the temporary workplace way with a Paul Sellers trestle. It’s relatively easy to build (literally!) from the ground up as he shows in the “How to make Trestles” videos: https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/videos/trestles/
Due to your space restrictions it might a reasonable option to build only one trestle, but with slight modifications, eg. generally wider profiles of the wood, longer feet, larger plywood triangles for connecting the feet with the legs and a wider top rail.
If you visit “Feine Werkzeuge” next time – you probably already noticed the Hornbach DIY warehouse nearby. The sell wood. 😉
PS: My wife and I regularly visit Berlin – and one day is reserved for shopping. Of course I visit Feine Werkzeuge every time. 😀
- This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Ecky H. Reason: reducing grammatical errors
Like any other instrument, (and tools are instruments) it is practice, practice, practice…and then practice more. 🙂 I too, have had some of the very same frustrations in the beginning. Take a look at Paul’s new site called common woodworking for some skill building excercises. Also, make use of some of Paul’s techniques for various applications such as Mortice guide and dovetail cutting.
For cutting parallel to a line, I use the reflection of the wood in the saw plate. For dovetails. I have used the tape trick in cutting the dovetail pins with great results.
And as others said….build a bench..with a good vise. Even a smaller version is perfect. You could also lay sandbags over trestle stretchers to weigh down and just build a 2×4 laminated top.
Take a look at the book “Hand Tools” by Aldren Watson. Especially, his bench in a closet design for apartment dwellers. Not to mention his wealth of knowledge tools and proper use.
Don’t give up…you can do this!
- This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Kurt Schultz.
[quote quote=550344]Take a look at the book “Hand Tools” by Aldren Watson.[/quote]
Thanks for that recommendation – the first look into the book (via a well known online book seller) makes a very good impression.
And yes, practise will bring improvement, but in the situation of Claudiu I think that literally the base is the wobbly chief culprit.
Thx all for the kind word and advice.
Will be really difficult to build a workbench as space is not so great and my wife wants to use the balcony… 🙂
I guess will add some sandbags to make it more stable, and practice more. Here(Berlin) difficult to buy cheap wood, maybe soft wood is cheaper but still 🙂
A thought. A bench you can set on or kneel on to use your weight to belp hold the material. Kneeling above wood sawing will help keep things straight.also a v shaped block mounted to the bench will make planeing easy when you set behind it
Google roman workbenches they may work better in your tight place. No disrespect to paul but his bench takes room a roman bench could be tipped in a corner or covered and utilized for other stuff. When using your weight to hold stuff you need to be able to werk closer to your work. Also watch some japenese videos. They work without aany bench hardly. Interesting different thoughts.
+1 on the Roman workbench idea. Simple, compact, effective, Roman.
My thought to recommend is this: build first what you know you can make (with enhancements, of course, from Professor Sellers’s sage advice), and that which your or your family needs, and will enrich your lives. Focus on function, and turn to looks in the fullness of time. The beauty of wood, as of most natural materials, is that you can, at times, turn back the clock and remake again, from the same primordial stock.
Also, make sure your wife has her balcony space.
(A Roman workbench could also be a good balcony sitting bench, when not in use as a bench.)
I think making pauls bench would be a much better solution, just make a scaled down version say 4 foot with a smaller tool well and vice and it’ll fit in an apartment no problem, you only have to buy the wood some clamps and a vice, it’s not as hard as it looks.
Are you just making cuts and saying, “not good enough,” or are you building joints and finding they don’t go together? If you’re just making practice cuts, then make some joints. Often, joints don’t require perfection and we do a final clean up with the chisel or plane. If you practice without the context of making a joint, you may frustrate yourself aiming for more perfection than you need. Also, there is satisfaction in bringing pieces and projects to completion, even if they are imperfect, and that helps to motivate you. Don’t rob yourself of that. Try the carrying tote project or a simple dovetail box. Practicing has its place, but working on projects helps give a lot of context for what is important and what is good enough. Also, there’s more to a project than the joinery, like gluing and clamping, finishing, working from drawings, etc. Might as well practice them all together, eh?
I found sandbags (20kg of kids sandpit sand) made a huge difference to my temporary bench’s stability for planing. To the extent that I couldn’t bear working on it after my wife tipped the sand into the kid’s sandpit (until I got another bag).
Saw set does make a big difference to sawing straight. Minimal set that’s symmetrical is important. I had this issue with one saw until I reset it and hammered down the set: huge improvement. As others have said you can always cut away from the line and plane down, though it’s a bit painful.
On planing, I think 75% of it is about tool setup. An hour or two spent emulating Pauls plane restoration video may make a big difference, particularly ensuring flatbess of blade, frog, and base. How sharp is your blade? After sharpening I can easily shave the hair off my forearm in a single pass. Lastly, make sure the blade is set properly, Paul has a shorter video about this, do make sure you’ve set it up on a narrow scrap piece before planing your project.
Don’t forget the definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result 😉
Good luck and keep trying, Andrew
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