About Galoototron

This journal describes my progress in woodworking with hand tools. Initially, I thought it would be helpful to chronicle stuff so that I can look up things that I forget. I also had a few friends who would occasionally read this thing when they were bored out of their skulls, and some family who read it when they wanted to make sure that I wasn’t selling crack on the streets or something.

When I first started at the end of 2006, I had read a lot of books, but had practically no experience. Therefore, not everything I’ve written here has been ridiculously well-informed. You have to start somewhere, though, and I’ve certainly learned a lot from others who have written about their own experiences in what works and what does not work.

I have put in a few editor’s notes in posts where I may have done things differently had I known better. For example, the way I tune planes has changed. However, they are just notes; I don’t change text in posts unless there’s a typographical error or something silly like that.

Contact info is on my profile page.

12 thoughts on “About Galoototron

  1. Just found your blog/site and I must say I am impressed. The level of your skill after only a few years is simply amazing and the writing is easy on the eyes also.
    I look forward to seeing more of your journey on the handtool trail

  2. Hi Brian, really enjoy your site. Being new to the hand tool way of doing things, I have a question regarding how you true up ‘wider’ panels, like those in your saw till, prior to dovetailing. Very accurate cross-cutting? Rough cross-cutting and a large shooting board? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  3. Hi Steve, I normally use a shooting board for those panels. It’s not strictly necessary. You can get the cut good and square right off the saw. However, I often work in fairly soft woods, which makes it more difficult to see your marks unless it’s a decently smooth surface. Harder woods are easier to work in this regard; you get a cleaner cut off the saw.

    (Of course, you could use a very fine-toothed Japanese saw to accomplish the same thing.)

  4. I thought you were some sort of pro who took the time to help us other guys out with our work. The best form of flattery is to copy something – I just stole your saw till plans – that is how I found your site. I am building my bench now too. I confess I also use power tools, yes the @#$%^&*&^%$$% dirty word. My new planer/joiner arrives today. I bought it after trying to flatten some maple with a LN #7. I’m 63 and it was quite a work out. (for the bench). I finished by using a friends j/p so I got one. So that makes me a sinner in the hand tool web page. But I’m kind of in recovery. I’m in it for the fun. Next month I’m taking a class in Shaker baskets. But enough about me. I like your web page and will stick around for a while and see what else I can steal. I’m going to lean how to do a blog as soon as my son gets back from vacation.

    • Hi Rick, no, I’m just like everyone else. You are right that it can be a lot of work to flatten and mill stock by hand. There’s really no shame in using power tools to do this (or anything else, really).

      Feel free to take anything from this site. though I do like to have attribution if that’s appropriate.

      A blog is a great way to chronicle your work and it’s easy to do on a service like Blogger or WordPress. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to write for anyone except yourself. Just put up what you’ve done, preferably with photos (don’t worry about how crummy they may be). Writing about it and being able to look back at that teaches you a lot about how you progress.

  5. Hey Brian,

    I really enjoy surfing around on your site, you have some really great peices of furniture.

    I have a question for you regarding finishing poplar with stain. I built a nightstand out of some extra pieces of poplar I had laying around and I am trying to stain them. I purchased a wood conditioner and I’m thinking about buying General Finishes antique walnut gel stain. Do you have any tips or pointers for staining poplar? What steps did you take in order to achieve such a nice finish on your bookshelf?

    Thank you,

  6. I am thrilled to have come across your site. At 67 and having a long time interest in woodworking but never having found the time to pursue that interest it’s now something I can finally start. I inherited a large quantity of hand tools from my Dad, many which were handed down to him by his father. Most of these tools were not well cared for but it seems ( to my novice eyes) that most can be brought back to a useful life.
    For some reason most of the hand planes have soles that are convex. Two questions; why did this occur, and two, after hours of trying to flatten the sole of a no name, very hefty 4 1/2 smoother using 80 grit paper I’m starting to worry if I’m taking off too much material.
    Thanks again for a great source for this beginner.

    Reply ↓

  7. Хочу купить тиски столярные Leg vise.
    Но сайт не работает.
    Подскажитегде можно в Америке купить эти изделия?
    I want to buy a Vice joinery Leg vise.
    But the site is not working.
    Подскажитегде you can in America to buy these products?

  8. Hi
    I just stumbled across this site and I really enjoyed your writing and approach to working with wood and hand tools. Not sure if you update this anymore but it’s really nice to see similar frustrations, solutions, and general galootedness.
    thanks a million from a few years into the future. Hope your still working with wood.

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