Pier Pour

The past weekend played host to a major event at LKW.  We broke ground and poured the piers for the new shop.  We ended up pouring 12 – 12″x30″ concrete piers to act as the foundation.  The building, as said before, will be 20’x24′ so this will be structurally adequate.  We did three rows of 4 piers and will begin setting the 6×6 posts and flooring this coming weekend.  Exciting times.

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Running the earth auger we rented at the local equipment rental.  Quick tip:  if your soil is rocky like ours, you will still need a spud bar and post hole diggers to clean the hole out.  This hydraulic auger was hung up several times on each hole but it was nothing the steel spud bar couldn’t handle.

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The better half of LKW hand mixing the Quikrete for the piers.  It took nearly 30 – 80lb bags to get the job done.

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All the piers have been poured, rebar set for the posts, and batter boards await.  Good times.  

Pro tip: It is of utmost importance to have your batter boards set and lines level and square.  We used a line level and the 3-4-5 rule to verify our markers.  The 3-4-5 rule is this: measure from where the lines meet out one leg of the string 3′ and mark (use a piece of masking tape to mark the string – you can see the blue tape in the photo above), then measure out the other leg of the other string from the same corner 4′ and mark (other piece of blue tape), next measure diagonally between these two string markings (from edge of tape to edge of tape).  Your measurement should be 5′.  If it isn’t then your strings aren’t square and need to be moved.  

Lumber Cuts


I do not remember where I found this photo, it was online somewhere, so I cannot provide proper credit but I like it well enough to share.  It is a decent example of what cuts of lumber can be taken from a log.  The heartwood makes a nice post while the sapwood layers are sawn for different sizes and types of lumber.  Can you see the quarter-sawn pieces?

Home Work

Lincoln Knobs new home is underway.  The site work has commenced, building boundaries struck, and foundation work to begin this week.  We, of course, are doing all the work ourselves.  It is an exciting time for LKW, busy, but exciting indeed.

The plan is to construct a 20’x24′ batten board shop on 12″ concrete pier foundation.  Most of the framework will be heavy timber, reclaimed windows, hand-built doors, and standing seam metal roof.  That is 480 square feet of heaven!


Doing some grading to prepare the site after the removal of the old home.  


Grading complete.  Hard to believe just a week or two ago a home sat here.

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The building is laid out, corners staked, and ready to start digging the piers.  We plan to do that and pour the concrete this week.  To get our building square we measured diagonally each way and moved our strings until the measurements equaled one another.  Now, we are good to go.


Storage Chest

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We were in Henry County, Ky. back in the Summer for a woodland owners course and visited the (Wendell) Berry Center Bookstore while there.  We took a quick tour of the original restored log cabin and upstairs found this old storage chest.  It does not have the best joinery, mostly rabbeted or butt joints with nails, but it has a ton of character.  What we found most intriguing is the small drawer between the large, lower drawer and the upper, main storage compartment.  We have yet to discover the history of this chest but I plan return, take measurements, and recreate it in our shop.  Those posts to follow.

Vintage Tools

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Starrett Dividers (great for laying out dovetails)

I have an affinity for vintage tools.  In my opinion older tools were made much better with much better steel.  Now, I’m not saying there aren’t some quality tools manufactured today, there are, however compared to a nicely made vintage tool they just don’t stand up.  Steel prior to WWII had a higher carbon content and resulted in better tool steel plus the manufacturing processes were different.  It seems quality was paramount then while quantity is paramount now.  They also feel better in the hand.

In addition, using a saw or chisel that is a century old evokes emotions in this woodworker that simply cannot be explained.  There is just something about holding a tool in my hand that has a history; I enjoy thinking about workmen past who may have used the same tool in a similar fashion.  Using a work of art to create, hopefully, another work of art is just amazing.  The fit, feel, and finish of a vintage tool just cannot be replaced with modern technology.

This is my opinion, take it for what it is.

Woodwright’s School


Laying out dovetails with the dividers

I grew up watching the Woodwright’s Shop on KET (local PBS station) and always loved the attitude the host, Roy Underhill, carried with him.  Sometimes when you meet someone you are disappointed in how they really are but in this case I was NOT disappointed.  Roy is a class act, a tremendous teacher, supremely likeable, and exactly how his demeanor is on the show.  I couldn’t be more pleased saying I now know this gentleman and have learned so much from him.  I spent the day learning hand-cut dovetails (through and half blind) and mortise-and-tenon joinery in his school shop in North Carolina and all I can say is if you have the opportunity to meet and/or learn from this master craftsman…DO IT.  I’m looking forward to going back and learning even more.

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The man in action.

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Now THAT is a saw.  What a character he is; such a likeable fellow.


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The old house on the land we purchased is coming down.  This was constructed in the early 1970’s and has sat in disrepair for quite some time.  This house location  is where Lincoln Knobs new wood shop will be.  We will reclaim as much lumber as we possibly can to use in either the construction of the new shop or for woodworking projects.  The rough-cut lumber you see here will most certainly be reclaimed.  We have removed all windows and will install them in the new shop and plan to use the front decking as well.  

Quick tip:  Older homes were built to last and stand strong…thus, not so easy to deconstruct.  It takes patience, time, and hard work.

New Home

Woodworking related posts have slowed down over the last month or so because Lincoln Knobs Woodworking (Hemingwood) is working on a new home.  We purchased 40 acres of woodland property that had a decent outbuilding and an old home on site.  This has led to many projects that have taken priority over strictly woodworking.  Because of this I will be posting updates on deconstruction/construction/woodworking/tools/etc. dealing with the process.  First up, the overhaul of the storage building.

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This is how it looked when we bought it.

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We first removed the side that was completely rotted.  This freed up the Redbud that had grown up and around the overhang.

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Then we put on a fresh coat of paint.

Amateur tip:  We used a custom tinted oil based paint to paint over the old surface.  We did this because we weren’t sure if the old paint was latex or oil.  If we had used latex and the old paint was oil, it would have peeled off.  Oil-based can be used over latex or oil so we opted for oil.  It covered with one coat and was dry within a couple of hours on a sunny day.  

Next up is to tape off and paint the trim and repair the remaining shed overhang.  To do this we need to replace all three of the support posts and fascia.  Keep checking back for those updates.

Rip Saw

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I picked up this vintage rip saw for $2 at a local estate sale.  The gentleman had many, many tools that he had accumulated over the years of craftsman work and I was fortunate enough to get there early.  This saw came in handy over the weekend and didn’t even need sharpening.  It ran through this piece of pine like butter, cut smooth and straight.  I love working with old hand tools.

Tulip Tree Mailbox Post

We wanted a new mailbox post for the woodland we just purchased and since we have an abundance of tulip trees on the property it seemed fitting to use that for the project.  Everything was done with hand tools; felling and all major work done with a 1950’s Craftsman’s axe, mailbox seat cut with an antique rip saw, and bolts drilled with brace and bit.  It was a fun project to complete.

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The Craftsman’s axe

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Fitting up the pieces.

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Our mascot posing with the mocked up post.

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The final placement.  Dug out the old fashioned way with post hole diggers and spud bar.