Journeyman’s Journal – This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand

Journeyman's Journal – This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand

Veritas has released a new depth adjuster or locking mechanism not rightly sure what is it correctly called back in 2015 and I only just found out about it. I’ve been literally struggling with the old version for years. No matter how tightly clamped I’d make it the damn thing would move. Now the upgrade has eliminated that and it’s all free. I also received some other thing I made mention of in the video and added the crappy service I received from Carba tec. I would rather pay the extra and receive great service than continue dealing with Carba tec

French polishing is an artistic medium. When utilising shellac, mistakes are common and nothing is more stressful than having to redo hours of effort to remedy issues that you once believed were beyond your control. However, most of the time, these issues were entirely preventable. Beginners frequently get into issues with cracking, slow drying times, blooming and many other issues. The simple answer to resolving these issue is to stop using methylated spirits. Methylated spirits means differently to those in other countries, but those in Australia I’m referring to the “Diggers” brand you will find on the shelves in Bunnings stores in fact in all hardware stores.

Up to 30% of water can still be present in methylated spirits while maintaining their “methylated spirits” name. The core of many issues with French polishing and effectively applying shellac is this high water content. Dissolving the raw shellac flakes can be the very first issue you run into when employing methylated spirits. Whilst methylated spirits may be a great cleaning agent, it is definitely not for dissolving shellac nor even using it once dissolved due to the high water content.

Now I’ve met many old timers who have used methylated spirits and swears by it. That being the said I have not ever seen their work to verify their oaths.

DAA which is Denatured Absolute Alcohol is 100% pure Alcohol. Alcohol dissolves raw flakes more quickly and has a shorter drying period than methylated spirits, which contain just 70% alcohol and 30% water, which can easily produce blooming and other potential issues. Blooming are white blotches that appear on the surface and is very difficult to fix. Blooming is caused by the water content in the Methylated spirits and the moisture in the air. Even though blooming can occur even with 100% alcohol it is some what minimised.


DAA in Australia is not sold in hardware stores like Bunnings or Mitre10. Only specialty stores that sells shellac and other woodworking stores sells them. Yes, even Diggers sell them. However, please be aware that there are many grubs, sods, skuz buckets out there that will over charge and ask as much as $200 for 20litre drums. The price is $90 for 20L and as little as $10-$12 for a 1L.

A wooden smoother from England. It was a gift sent to me from my beautiful nephew. The plane is like new, hardly used with a tight mouth. I’ve flattened the sole and worked the iron. I’m not entirely satisfied with it as I need to figure out why the mouth gets clogged after a few shavings. It arrived only today so there’s some figuring out to do before I open the mouth.

I would like to know your thoughts on it. Help me find a solution.

II created a new type of shooting board called “A Ramp Shooting Board,” which isn’t a new concept at all, but one that I felt was needed in my daily work. The idea behind this ramped board is that it will use 90% of the blade as opposed to 1/4″ or 10%. As I previously stated, this is not a new thing, and don’t let people convince you otherwise. The concept was first proposed in the 18th century, although few were built. In the late nineteenth century, craftsmen asked the same question as they did in the 18th century: how to use more of the blade while shooting and took an already existing design “the ramp” version.  However, not many were constructed. It is entirely up to you how many degrees it should be ramped. The greater the angle, the thinner the board you can shoot, and the lower the angle, the thicker the board you can shoot. I chose a happy medium of about 3 or 4°, but I can’t remember which one. I can’t shoot more than an inch and a quarter.

I was filming a video about it, but because it was taking so long, I had to turn the camera off. Now I’m working on another new shooting board, this time a flat one for materials up to 2″ thick. Anything thicker than that must be done by hand. When it’s finished, I’ll upload pictures.

While the edge glue on my new shooting board was drying, I decided to clean and polish some of my planes. After removing some of the rust and patina from the bronze, I lightly covered it with some blonde shellac. I’m hoping that this will keep the metal from rusting and the bronze from fading. Some people want patina, whereas I favour gloss. I know I could have done a better job, and I plan to perform a show room restoration one of these days or months.

The last six pictures are when I did do a proper restoration.

Another new news is I printed a new T-Shirt with my new final designed logo. I’m finally happy with it and I’m sticking with the new design.

That’s for now folks.

Author: Lee Phillips