Ryan Saunders – Blogging for Classic Hand Tools


A Bit of Background

I don’t remember exactly when I realised I had a passion for woodworking, but I do remember the phases I went through at the time.

I started out, like so many others, having been bitten by the power tool bug. I remember constantly scouring the internet for more videos, more woodworking websites, and more free plans to feed my rapidly growing interest.

At one point, in particular, it was wooden gears and wooden machinery that fascinated me.

I remember thinking how much skill and invested time it must take to produce such incredible work. I eventually felt confident enough to give something a go but was quick to put myself down when I realised I didn’t have any power tools or even a half-decent hand tool to make the most basic of projects.

I began asking for whatever tools I was most interested in for Christmas or birthday presents, as well as pinching bits and pieces from my Dad’s tools. I had some decent files, screwdrivers, a hammer, various measuring devices, and a couple of hard point saws, but nothing I could do much woodworking with.

Finally, my parents got the hint, and for my birthday I received a 2100w plunge router! I’d wanted one from the moment I found an interest in woodworking, and I knew it could do anything and allow me to make anything I wanted or at least that is what I thought at the time!

So that was the start. Despite my many mistakes I haven’t lost my passion for woodworking, indeed I am as hooked on this thing more than ever! I am more of a hand tool guy now and I will be blogging for Classic Hand Tools over the next few months and years (I hope!) on all sorts of woodworking stuff – I hope you stay tuned!


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Flash Competition – Win a £50 Classic Hand Tools Voucher

​Just a bit of of post referendum fun
​(the building isn’t on the huh – just the photographer!)​

Flash Competition – Win a £50 Classic Hand Tools Voucher

All you have to do is answer 2 questions

What is this building?

Where is it exactly?

Competition closes on 8th July 2016

Only one winner which will be the first correct answer,

email your answers with your
name and contact telephone number
to newsletter@classichandtools.co.uk

Have fun!

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15% Discount off DVDs during June

There are still a few days left to take up the current offer of 15% off our DVD range during June.

We stock a wide range of DVDs covering all sorts of topics including sharpening techniques, carving by a number of different people including David Charlesworth, Chris Schwarz, Rob Cosman, Artisan Media, David Barron and Chris Pye to name a few.


Wide range of DVDs available here

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The Anarchist’s Design Book – Pre Orders Now Being Taken

The latest addition to the Lost Art Press stable is now available to order on our website, delivery expected early to mid March.ADB_Cover_The first 50 orders will receive a free hand-signed Christopher Schwarz letterpress book plate with their order.

Most of the American furniture we celebrate as the pinnacle of design is overbearing, over-embellished and a monument to waste and excess.

It also represents the furniture of people you probably dislike.

These high styles of furniture took hold in North America in the 18th century and persist to this day as both cult objects for collectors and as rites of passage for artisans. These are precious pieces that are auctioned, collected, reproduced and written about in exhaustive detail.

Or, to put it a slightly different way, the people who could afford this furniture also owned mega-farms, factories and (sometimes) entire towns. This is not a knock on their wealth. But it is a simple way of asking a question that rarely gets asked among amateur makers: Why would you want to imitate the taste of your boss’s boss’s boss?

“The Anarchist’s Design Book” is an exploration of furniture forms that have persisted outside of the high styles that dominate every museum exhibit, scholarly text and woodworking magazine of the last 200 years.

There are historic furniture forms out there that have been around for almost 1,000 years that don’t get written about much. They are simple to make. They have clean lines. And they can be shockingly modern.

This book explores 11 of these forms – a bed, dining tables, chairs, chests, desks, shelving – and offers a deep exploration into the two construction techniques used to make these pieces that have been forgotten, neglected or rejected.

You can build an entire houseful of furniture using these two methods – what we call “staked” and “boarded” furniture. They are shockingly simple for the beginner. They don’t require a lot of tools. And they produce objects that have endured centuries of hard use.

But this isn’t really a book of plans. “The Anarchist’s Design Book” shows you the overarching patterns behind these 11 pieces. It gives you the road map for designing your own pieces. (Which is what we did before we had plans.)

“The Anarchist’s Design Book” is 456 pages that are sewn for long-term durability. The book is 8″ x 10″, casebound and sheathed in thick hardback boards that are covered in cotton cloth. We’ve also painted the edges of all the pages with a black paint to protect them from moisture and damage – a detail common on early books.

Like all Lost Art Press books, “The Anarchist’s Design Book” is produced and printed entirely in the United States.

Pre-order here for delivery early-mid March. Please note that pre-orders containing other products will be held until the book arrives.

For those of you interested to read more from Chris on American Anarchism please click here to view his blog.

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Bad Axe Tool Works Saws Coming to Classic Hand Tools

BA_MEDBad Axe Tool Works makes saws as they would have appeared fresh out of a 19th Century American sawmaker’s shop. Why Bad Axe? Well the answer is quite simple….. Bad Axe is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan where the saws are made.

10″ Dovetail Saw

(will be here in time for christmas)


“You’ll love the balance and the way it cuts with the hammer-set thin-plate toothline. Moreover, you’re in the drivers seat in determining how the look of the saw conforms with your personal aesthetic.” 

There are 5 handle sizes for this saw – X-Small, Small, Regular, Large & X-Large. With Brass slotted nuts “Bad Axe Tool Works” medallion inserted into handle.

The Hang Angle gives you complete control – Comfortable highly-figured 19th-century patterned hickory handle with the kind of hang angle that gets you behind the push stroke instead of riding awkwardly on top of it. The Bad Axe regular handle is based on a hand size range from 3 5/8″ to 3 7/8″ (approx 88 – 94mm). The weight & mass of the carbon steel back provides just the right heft & balance for starting & maintaining a straight cut-line without forcing the cut.

The .018″ gauge plate with its hammer-set toothline slices through wood like a new razor, leaving behind an exceptionally clean, thin kerf. The .018″ gauge is able to cut effectively up to 1 1/4″ (32mm) stock while still dealing with thin stock just fine. Premium-grade Swedish Spring Steel, RC50-52.

The Pitch on these dovetail saws is 15ppi (points per inch) and that hits that sweet spot where action meets heft, balance and smoothness of cut.

If you are interested in placing an order, head over to our website to see more details.

Limited stock will be available from December 18 2015 in time for Christmas. If you pre-order this saw with other items, we will hold your order and ship together.

We will be stocking more Bad Axe Tool Works Saws in 2016 – if you have any specific requirements please e-mail us and we can add this to our next order.





This what the maker says:

“Why a 12″ dovetail saw? Because you’ve never tried a 12″ dedicated dovetail saw before. Have you? You’re going to love the way a longer toothline in a lighter, yet longer saw makes for a far more accurate cut with fewer chances of dithering off course?”

So it is 2″ longer which may be for you. In all other respects (handle size, PPI, gauge etc) it has the same specification as the 10″ dovetail saw.

Prices include VAT

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Build a Campaign Chair with Christopher Schwarz

Finally arrived in the UK,
……just in time for Christmas 2016!

Build a portable chair that will be passed down as a family heirloom with Christopher Schwarz. Designed in the 19th Century, this chair collapses to a small bundle (like the inexpensive football chair in your boot) but it is both durable and beautiful enough to fit in with your living room furniture. You’ll learn:

  • Basic turning techniques – the simple steps to create the legs for chair
  • Simple, modern hardware options for this 19th-century project
  • How to select and work leather (even if you are new to it) using tools familiar to any woodworker
  • How to add buckles and rivets to bring all the pieces together
  • And more!

Read more from Lost Art Press


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How to: Sharpen your Woodcarving Gouges

In this video Gerald Adams shows us how to sharpen a woodcarving gouge using traditional oil stones. Gerald runs local wood carving courses and is a member of Masters Carvers Association.

In need of some inspiration over christmas?

Gerald demonstrates useful carving techniques through one of the projects he uses in his Beginner carving class, “The Scallop Shell”.


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Pine Feroda

Pine Feroda is the collective name used by five artists working together in the South West of England to make large scale, dramatic woodblock prints. Pine was formed in November 2013 as a four day experimental workshop in the making of collaborative prints. The stimulus and energy of this collaboration has resulted in the creation of a new identity – Pine Feroda.

“Our ‘first phase’ has been to make a body of work with stylistic and technical coherence. To this end we have made, so far, five large prints inspired by the extraordinary coast of North Devon. This film captures a part of the process, which has resulted in the sixth print ‘Morning Light’. We are now working towards a major exhibition (to be announced in due course) in May 2016.”

“All creative decisions are taken collectively, and this requires a great deal of coordination, discussion time and tact. The benefit of this way of working is that, with five artists collaboratively engaged, a tremendous creative energy is unleashed and things get done fast.”

Pine Feroda video by Artisan Media

Artisan Media are a small independent production company based in North Wales, UK, specialising in films about craft.

They also produce and publish DVDs & Books on various crafts including woodworking and quilting, which we stock at Classic Hand Tools.

Making Woodblock Prints by Meryln Chesterman & Rod Nelson

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Veritas Mitre Plane with PM-V11 Blade

Inspired by antique Scottish mitre planes, this plane offers a comfortable grip whether you use it on its side or upright. When shooting, the side-mounted horn lets you push the plane with the web of your thumb while holding it tight to the workpiece with your fingers, leaving your other hand free to hold the workpiece. The shooting horn can be attached on either side of the plane for right- or left-handed use. When using it upright, deep finger grooves in the sides and the front knob provide a secure grip while the rear knob provides a comfortable palm rest for driving the plane forward. Both the knobs and the shooting horn are made of torrefied maple.

The body is fully stress-relieved, ductile cast iron, with both sides machined flat and square to the sole. Its mass and size are advantages for shooting and creating mitres for larger work such as moldings. Weighing almost 5 lb, it has a heft that provides good inertia. Its 10-1/2″ long and 2-5/8″ wide sole, with a toe fully one third the length, gives it solid registration even when used at an angle for a skewed cut, such as on a mitre jack.

By loosening the front knob, the plane’s adjustable mouth can be set to a fine opening; a brass thumbscrew retains mouth settings and prevents the toe from contacting the blade.

A bevel-up plane, it has a low 12° bed angle and 25° blade bevel that give it a combined cutting angle of 37° for clean end-grain cuts. The 2″ wide, 3/16″ thick lapped blade is available in PM-V11® tool steel. The Norris-style adjuster extends under the rear knob to allow easy adjustment while staying out of the way. Two blade guide screws prevent lateral blade shifting.

Chuck Bender, Senior Editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine,
shows you some of the features he likes most about this new plane in his video below.

Made in Canada
Price: £263.96 (Including VAT at 20%)

Click here to Buy

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The Angel Roofs of East Anglia: Unseen Masterpieces of the Middle Ages

With an eye to our local woodworking heritage, we were delighted at the publication of Michael Rimmer’s breathtaking photographs of the amazing angel roofs – 70% of the national total –  which grace around 100 Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire churches.


The roofs, often of hammerbeam construction, huge in scale and over 600 years old, are eloquent testimony to the skills of medieval framers in laying out, transporting and assembling the colossal timbers which still span the church interiors. The angel carvings, outstretched across the rafters or gazing out from the beam ends, mercifully out of reach of 16th and 17th century image-breakers, are revealed in Michael’s photographs in astonishing detail, some still carrying traces of the brilliant colours in which they were finished. And there are often other complementary types of ornamentation on the roof timbers themselves, offering us rare evidence of the superb skills and sophistication of the medieval craftsmen who created them.

Michael’s work is available on his website, www.angelroofs.com , and also in his new book, from which these pictures are taken. While the variations in framing methods can often be studied from ground level, the carvings are frequently half-hidden in shadow, their features – often highly individual, and of the highest technical quality – remote from the eye and easily passed over. We can now see details which will have been visible to few people in the centuries since the carvings’ creation – the elaborate suits of feathers worn by many of the angels, the items they carry, the cascading locks of their hair, their facial expressions as they watch us, and the years, pass below them.

The book also contains information on the roofs’ builders and carvers, some of whose names are still known, and on the likely links between Hugh Herland, who built the first angel roof at Westminster Hall in 1395, and the Norfolk and Suffolk merchants and businessmen who commissioned these splendid creations. Some undoubtedly did so to celebrate their worldly success or buy a smoother passage in the afterlife; but we particularly liked the words of John Baret, who died in 1467 leaving money for the fabulous roof of St. Mary, Bury St. Edmunds, “for a remembrance of me and my friends”. A result, then.

The Angel Roofs of East Anglia , published by The Lutterworth Press, offers inspiration not just for framers, green oak enthusiasts and carvers, but for woodworkers in general. Enjoy it, then come and see the roofs for yourself – and drop in on us while you’re at it!

Written by David Thornton

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Click here to view Angel Roofs Blog

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