This post is long overdue. I’ve been postponing this one, because it’s a lot to write about. In turn, it became a lot more to write about by postponing. I’ve decided to give a short summary of this project. It’s not a success story, but I learned a lot and I’m still pretty happy with the results. But if you’re planning on splitting a big log, especially if it’s your first, you might want to read this post to see what I did wrong and how I solved the problems I ran into.

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On our way to our holiday destination in the south of Slovakia, my girlfriend an I visited Dictum last summer. I think it’s the largest store for traditional tools and supplies, located in southern Bavaria. Judging by the prestige and fame of this shop, I was hoping for a massive store to wander through for hours, picking stuff off the shelves and stacking them in my cart. Sadly, it’s more of a small showroom where you can see and try many of their products. The store is clearly more internet-oriented. Half the stuff I was interested in was not at the actual showroom, but in the warehouse nearby. This was especially so for the materials, such as leather and wood. These I was most hoping to see and pick out myself. Next time I’ll order online.

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As I said in my post about a leather case for my essential leatherworking tools, I’ll be doing some travelling soon, and I want to take some of my tools with me. For this, I made a lightweight, Japanese-inspired toolbox. It’s made out of tulipwood (or yellow poplar, liriodendron tulipiferia), which is not native to my area, but cheap as chips, lightweight, easy to work and still quite tough. I used it for my second lap steel as well. The darker wood I used for the little planks across the top are quartersawn English elm (ulmus procera) , which does grow locally. It was also quite cheap and it’s quite hard and I think it’s pretty. The joinery on the box is big dovetails on the corners, glued and nailed together with big forged nails. This thing won’t fall apart soon. The elm planks were glued and doweled onto the top with birch (darker) and ramin (gonystulus, lighter) dowels. The box locks by sliding a piece of wood between two of the elm planks. I made the thing without the use of power tools, hand tools only. I finished the box with a 50-50 mix of boiled linseed oil and natural turpentine.

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This is a plough plane I picked up at a flea market a couple of weeks ago. It was in pretty good shape, just a bit rusty and dirty. And it had a lacquer on it that I didn’t like, and some parts had dried up glue stuck on them. Other than that, it looked good to me. It was made by Nooitgedagt, a former toolmaker in Ijlst, Friesland. I bought the plane in Makkinga, which is about 50km from Ijlst. Nooitgedagt went out of business in 1990.  I find a lot of Nooitgedagt planes on my hunts for tools. Some are from their early days, the late nineteenth century. These are premium tools, but often have been forgotten and left neglected in grandpa’s shed. The newer tools are not great. Not bad either, just plain average if you ask me.  This plough plane looked late nineteenth century to me. I still haven’t found out how to exactly date these. I know they used several brands, stamps and stickers on their tools, and this plough has the oldest brand that I know stamped in it. In the 1920’s or so they started using another one, and stickers.

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