The simpler of the two squares I made

During the last surprise swap, Bill Berklich made Squares Everywhere and I thought that was fairly neat. I'm going to be building a bunch of bookcases for our home, and rather than dive right in, I figured I could procrastinate by building some of my own. I went back and looked up Chris Schwarz's writeup online, and then started digging through my scraps.

Back side of simpler square

I found a fairly nice scrap of mahogany, and a birch 1×3. Since I wasn't sure what I was doing, I slapped together the square you see above. Nothing fancy at all, but it's actually square and I can use it to mark edges, but only in one direction. And shaping the mahogany got me some practice cutting curves and such (and encouraged me to finish my spokeshave so I could clean up the curvy edges).

Side 1 of the fancier square

Next was putting a profile on the birch board so I could make a fancy handle. I cut a rebate and plowed a groove in the birch, then got out my hollows and rounds and made the profile you see on the handles in pictures 1 and 2. Then I cut another rebate in the back of the board and sawed off a couple lengths in the section where my profile worked cleanly. I got the mahogany shaped, and carved a few patterns in it. The longer lines are done with a straight gouge, stabbing in twice to make a V, which is a technique I want to get better at for carving letters. And it meant I had to find my gouges and carpet tape so I could hold the piece while carving it.

Side 2 of the fancier square

Then it was time to glue things up. I drilled a couple 4/16th holes, and used some dowels to align the pieces so they'd stay square. After gluing them together, I had to run a plane along the edges to get things actually square, and run a chisel along the joint to clean up the glue squeeze-out.

Then a coat of linseed oil, and a light coat of wax, and it's done, and I managed to put off the real project for almost a full week.

Update Jan 26, 2023: I still use these two squares on a regular basis. They're a gateway drug into making your own tools, and I'm definitely hooked.

#woodworking #handyTools

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