Live tweets from the Design Build Show in Boston

I will be live-Tweeting the Design Build Show all this week on my Twitter account @zdillinger using the hashtag #zdatdbs2013. Follow along as we demonstrate hand tool techniques and show off some of the finest furniture in the country.
I will be demonstrating hand tool sash making. My fellow demonstrators will also have interesting things to show. So if you are in the Boston area this week, come on down and see my spice chest before it hits the newstands in Popular Woodworking Magazine.
If you can't make it, you can still play along by following on Twitter!
The view from my hotel is prety sweet! Yes, that is the ocean :)

A boxwood oil marker

One of my favorite blogs is written by Stephen Shepherd.  It is called Full Chisel.  If you don't follow this blog, stop reading my meager offerings right now and click over to his site.  Worth its weight in gold.

Anyway, a few weeks back, Mr. Shepherd mentioned a recent Lee Valley purchase he had made.  He bought a few lovely little boxwood storage tubes and a nice chunk of slate.  I too enjoy the soft sheen of boxwood, so I immediately ordered a few tubes and the slate.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the slate, but the tubes were bought with no clear intention.  Looking at them shortly after they arrived, I had an idea...

I like to oil my tools in use.  This helps prevent rust and makes them work so smoothly.  I also use paraffin wax for this, but lately I've been using the traditional lubricant, linseed oil.  I don't like to leave oily rags laying about in my shop.  Not only do you have the risk of fire, but the oil attracts dust and dirt, which is then wiped all over your tools the next time you use the rag. So it isn't for me.  But I would like a nice marker with which to spread the oil.

I found a chunk of wool fabric (thanks to my wife's obsession with hoarding fabric).  I cut a small chunk then rolled that chunk inside of some serran wrap.  This will help keep the boxwood from absorbing the oil.

Then, shove the chunk of wool / Serran wrap into the half of the tube with the threads. Then load the wool with as much oil as it will absorb.  You're done.

This is a very handy little tool for putting a small amount of oil on my saw blades and the soles of my planes.  This makes using the tools very, very simple.  You should close up the tube after use. This will help prevent the oil from drying and will stop the dust from getting on the wool.

As for the slate... just wait and see. For now, just understand that I've discovered an excellent fine sharpening stone for $4...

c. 1690 Tavern table

Many, many months ago (ok, it was almost two years ago.. but who's counting?), I blogged about building a table for my wife.  I finished the woodwork quite quickly, but never could decide on a finish. I knew that it would be milk paint, not strictly historically accurate, but I'm not going to fool around with oxides of lead. I enjoy not having cancer.  But the color confounded me.

Original tavern tables run the full range of colors, from reds to blues, even pastels.  Ultimately, I decided on Bayberry Green Milk Paint from Old Fashioned Milk Paint.   I think it looks pretty good.

One thing I really like about milk paint is that, if mixed on the thin side, the grain will still peak through in some areas. That's kind of neat, and actually simulates quite nicely the wear and tear on a piece over 300 years.  I helped that along with some judicious rubbing with steel wool.  This represents three coats of milk paint, 3 rubbed in coats of linseed oil, and a hand-rubbed amber paste wax over it all.

There are some areas that are missing paint.  This is done with calculated indifference.  I don't want total coverage, as the originals I referenced were not painted carefully. They were working tables and, as such, weren't made fastidiously.  The top shows plane marks and plenty of tearout, if you can see past the nail heads that hold the top down to the stretchers.

I like my stuff to look old, beat up, and well used. I think this table qualifies.