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How I Make My Videos

This video is a bit of a departure from what I normally do - I’ve had a few people ask me to make a video about how I make videos so this video is about how I film, edit and produce my project videos on this channel.   Making the videos is time consuming – I spend at least as long working on the video side of things as I do making the project itself.  So here it is.

FILMING

So filming starts in the workshop and I use my home made mobile camera stand – there’s a link in the description box below for the build video for that, and I use a Panasonic HC-V210 camera. I bought this camera in asecondhand shop about 3 years ago for £85, so not a lot of money, and this thing has taken so much use and abuse, it’s fallen on the floor countless times and it’s usually coated in sawdust, and yet somehow it continues to perform.  It’s a 1080p camera, it has a wider lens than a lot of the similar cameras I looked at when I bought it which means I can capture more in the frame when the camera is quite to whatever I’m filming, which is useful. I’m really happy with it for what I paid. I do have more capable cameras that I use for stills, they are both Panasonic too - I have a GX80 and a GX7 but I don’t use them in the workshop as I don’t want to ruin them – I’d rather continue to use this one until it finally can’t take any more abuse.

On most projects I tend to start filming the project first, and then film any spoken intros or outros once the project is complete.  I have tried filming an intro and then filming the project, but sometimes projects take a slightly different direction as they’re progressing, so I find it usually makes more sense to do it at the end.

When I’m filming the project, I only film short sections of all the different activities I do, so for example if I spend 10 minutes planing a board by hand, I might only film about 1 minute of that activity.  Also within that minute of filming, I usually try to move the camera at least once, so I might film 30 seconds as a wide shot like this and then another 30 seconds of a close up shot like this.  Having  a few different camera angles just seems to make the final video a bit more interesting to watch in my experience. Filming absolutely everything that I do on a project wouldn’t really be possible as the memory card on my camera would be filling up too often, the battery in my camera would need replacing more regularly, and also when I transfer the video files from my camera to my PC, it would take a really long time.

Once the project is complete, I then film a spoken intro / outro if I feel the project needs one, and I also take some still photos of the project with my other cameras.  They are for use on my video thumbnails, and my website articles for each project, and sometimes I’ll show them as a slideshow at the end of the project video too.

All of my projects are filmed at the weekends, as I have a full time day job Monday-Friday.  Occasionally though I’ll do an hour or so woodworking in an evening – that tends to happen for two reasons – either I’m running late for getting a video done as I push myself to upload a new video to my channel every Friday, the second reason is if I’m really excited by a particular project and I just really want to work on it.  

FILE TRANSFER 

When the project is complete I need to transfer all the video files from my camera to my PC or laptop, and I do this by plugging it in via USB and I drag and drop all the files to a newly created folder to keep them all together and organised.  This process takes quite a while as the video files are large, so I tend to leave it processing and go away and get on with something else.

I’ll show the specs of my PC and laptop on screen.  I predominantly use the PC for editing, and it’s not the highest spec as it’s now about 3 years old, but it handles editing 1080 video files just fine.  My laptop is much newer, I bought it around 6 months ago and the reason I got this was because I have to travel quite frequently for my day job, so when I’m staying in a hotel room I can still be productive and get some editing done in the evening once my working day at my day job has finished. 

Both my PC and laptop would probably struggle a bit with 4k video editing, which is why I haven’t yet upgraded my camera.  But also I think 1080 is plenty good enough for what I do at the moment, I’m in no hurry to upgrade to a 4k set up.

VIDEO EDITING

For video editing I use Sony Vegas Pro 11.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this particular software, I just tend to use it because it’s what I’m used to using and I don’t dislike it enough to push me to go and learn how to use a different piece of video editing software.  My biggest problem with Vegas is that sometimes without reason it will crash while rendering a video for no apparent reason which is pretty frustrating.

I have a video file as a template which has my intro and outro and all my preferred audio level and video settings saved and I use this for each new project video I start to give all of my videos some consistency.  I won’t talk about the settings I use in too much detail, but basically for audio I use a hard limiter which helps to raise the volume and compress and even out the levels – I mainly do this because if you’re watching one of my videos without a proper set of speakers like on a mobile device for example, it helps keep everything audible.  And for video, I add a bit of contrast to the footage from my Panasonic video camera as the footage from it looks a little bit washed out without it.  Occasionally I also need to change some colour tones in a clip, but generally the auto white balance on the camera does a good job most of the time.

I’ll drag all my video files from the folder on to the project, and they are automatically arranged in the order that they were recorded, which is great – makes my life much easier.  Each clips has a video and an aidop track which gives you the flexibility of being able to work on them independently.

The first thing I do is edit down each clip to only the bits that want shown in the final video, and then I keep moving them all together. I’ll also speed up any clips that seem long winded and I do this to keep my video as short and concise as possible.   Generally I aim to get the content of each video down to around 10 minutes, as to me that feels about the right length for a YouTube video in my opinion.  If I’m working on a particularly long project then I’ll split in to 10 minutes sections and post the videos as part 1, part 2 and so on. 

I’ll also merge some clips together, for example if I’m just talking in the video clip but I want the video to show me doing something while I’m talking, I’ll overlap the clips, and then sort the audio levels out so that both the talking and the background sound is audible.  

SCRIPT WRITING

Once all the clips are trimmed and put together, I watch the whole thing back and type up a script which I’ll later use for narration.  I do this because I’m not a very good talker - I find I get my point across better when I write down what I want to say first rather than just freestyle narrating what’s happening in the video.  I have tried to narrate videos freestyle on occasion but that actually tends to take more time for me – but that’s probably just a personal thing.

NARRATING AND AUDIO

Next comes narrating, and for this I use a USB microphone which plugs straight in to the PC – this is called the Blue Yeti. I bought it on Amazon for around £100.   It works great and is well built – I’ve even travelled with this in my suitcase a few times if I want to get some narration done while I’m away in a hotel room somewhere and it’s always performed well.  I also use a pop filter in front of the mic which helps to eliminate any plosive vocal sounds.  This is just something I had left over from the days when I used to record music, but the microphone stand clip which used to be on it broke, so I made a little wooden base for it so I could use it at my desk. 

I create a new audio track in the project, set the microphone level to make sure that my vocals are not clipping, and then hit record and read through the script that I previously typed up. If I mess up a line, I’ll repeat it until I get it right.  When I’ve finished reading the script, I cut out any gaps and any bits that I got wrong,

Then I move the narration clips to wherever appropriate within the project so that what I’m talking about reflects what’s happening on the video.

I usually have three separate audio tracks on each project, one for background sound, one for vocals and narration, and one for music, which I usually put at the start and end of each video.  Having them as three separate tracks allows me to adjust the levels on each of them independently so I can get the video sounding exactly how I want it. The vocals are always loudest, the background sounds are usually quite quiet, and if I’m using a particularly noisey tool like my tablesaw for example, I also lower the volume of those particular clips.

FINAL EDITING

Finally, I’ll watch back the whole video and make final adjustments.  I might take out some clips that I feel are unnecessary to keep the video short and concise, tweak audio levels, that sort of thing. 

I’ll also listen to it through both headphones, and speakers to check that the audio levels are OK and everything that needs to be heard can be.

Like I said before, I aim to keep each video to 10 minutes. 

RENDERING

Next I’ll render the video, and that takes some time, usually over an hour so I leave it alone to do it’s thing.

FINAL CHECK

I’ll watch the video one more time just as a final check.  And once I’m happy that it’s as good as it can be, I can upload it to YouTube.  I schedule my videos so that they are uploaded every Friday at 5pm GMT and I’ve been able to maintain 1 video per week for well over a year now.  At the moment I’m doing really well as I’ve been doing lots of projects so you can see here I’ve got plenty of videos scheduled for the next few weeks which means I can chill out a bit and actually have some time at the weekend to relax and see my girlfriend! It also means I can go away on holiday and I don’t have to worry about getting behind – that that’s the way I like it. It’s not always like this though and often I’m uploading videos to YouTube the night before they’re due to be published and it’s all a bit of a mad rush.

So Friday evenings are always quite exciting for me and I look forward reading the new comments on the video and getting some feedback on the projects.  I’m very lucky that 95% of the comments I get are either positive or constructive and I really like to see some of the same people commenting regularly too – so a big thanks to all my regular viewers. I’m happy to get negative comments too if they’re constructive but they’re often not - but that’s just what you happens on YouTube!

So that’s it, I hope you enjoyed this insight in to the life of a YouTube woodworker and what goes in to making these videos. 

 Normal service will be resumed next week with another project video.

Laying Wooden Flooring In A Kitchen

In this video I help a friend lay some spruce tongue and groove wooden flooring in his kitchen over a tiled floor.
 
The tiles in his kitchen extended in to his dining room where the tiles were laid over a wooden floor.  Over time, the tiles cracked as wood isn't a stable enough foundation for tiles, so he wanted a wooden floor laid on top to match the floorboards in his living room. 
 
I needed to raise the floor in the dining room where the tiles had been removed to the same level as the tiles, so work began in the workshop where I planed some scrap pieces of wood down to 10mm using my thickness planer.
 
The first thing I did at Alex's was to check how level the floor was. It was perfectly level in the direction the floorboards were running, but there was a slight drop off in the other direction from the kitchen in to the dining room, however we were confident that there would be enough give in the floorboards for it not to matter.
 
Next we unplugged and unplumbed the washing machine and removed the kickboards from the kitchen.  The washing machine was placed outside and it became a temporary workbench for the day.
 
After a quick clean up I could begin putting down the battens to raise the floor to the height of the tiles.  We used drywall screws for this as they were the right length and it's just what we had available.
 
I used a handsaw to cut the angles and cut the battens to length.
 
In one corner there was a concrete area that was slightly higher than the floorboards so I marked up where it was on to the batten and used the hand plane to slightly taper the board so that it would sit flush with the kitchen tiles.
 
I tried to space out the battens evenly as the areas in between would later be filled with underlay and we wanted to reduce the amount of awkward angled cuts we'd need to make.
 
Then we laid a floorboard and walked over it to check that it felt level and it seemed ok.
 
The next job was to go and get some underlay.  The stuff we chose was 5mm thick and it would help to even out any height inconsistencies before laying the floorboards.
 
Like a lot of old houses, none of the walls were square or straight so this meant the underlay and later the floorboards would all need to be cut to fit the shape of the room as best we could.  This ultimately made the whole job take much longer than we had expected it to.
As the battens in the dining room were 10mm, we put two pieces of the 5mm underlay in between them to bring it up to the same height, and then a third layer over the top of everything.
 
The underlay was easy to cut to size, you could just score it and snap it.
 
We later taped down the underlay with some masking tape to stop it moving around
 
Next I started cutting the floorboards. They were 3m long so I cut about 1m off some of them to give us some different lengths so we could stagger the joints. I made all the cuts with my cordless circular saw.
 
Before we started laying the floorboards, we were unsure which way up they were supposed to go down, and there were no instructions included.  On the groove side of the tongue and groove boards, there's a thick piece on one side and a thin piece on the other.  We checked on the internet and found that the thicker side should go at the top.  I had guessed that the thicker side should at the bottom, so it's a good job we double checked before laying them.
 
I used a bevel guage to set the angle so I could repeat this on to the floorboards at the dining room end.
 
Next we laid the floorboards in the space between the cabinets where the washing machine would go.  There was a gap left over which was 50mm on one side and 30mm on the other, so we marked up another board and ripped it on the circular saw.  This was the first of many angled cuts we'd need to make. Alex slotted it in and pushed the boards back in place and it was a nice fit.
We closed any the gaps between the boards as the project went along using some gentle taps with a hammer.
One of the boards met a door frame too, so I offered it up and marked it up by hand and cut it out with the jigsaw.  I wasn't going for perfection here, really I was just looking to close the gap tight enough so that after a bit of sealant had been applied, it'd look nice and tidy and it turned out OK.
 
At this point I realised that in one area of the floor the end joints between three of the boards were close together and it didn't look right aesthetically, so I removed the middle one and later replaced it with a longer board 
 
On day two, we started fitting the final boards, this one needed some cut outs in order for it to fit around the kitchen cabinet legs so I marked them up and cut them with the jigsaw.
 
The next job was to make some edging trim pieces for the ends of the floor boards.
 
We took down measurements and also measured the angle in the dining room with a bevel guage and protractor and it was exactly 45 degrees which meant we'd need to cut an angle of half that - 22.5 degrees to the trim pieces for them to join nicely together.
And at the other end we would need a piece of trim between the edge of the boards and the bathroom door.
 
So we went over to my workshop.  I had a piece of spruce I'd been storing behind my sofa, it was pretty long so we took it out through the window then we cut it to a more manageable size with a handsaw.  
 
We started making the trim for the dining room end.  I ripped two pieces to 80mm wide, and then we used our reference drawing to mark up a shape on to the end of the workpiece.
 
I cut the rebate joints on each piece at the tablesaw with two passes. And then I cut a sloped angle, and did a bit more shaping with a block plane to round it over.
 
Then we cut the 22.5 degree angle at the mitresaw.  We had to use a sacrificial fence here because the workpiece was now a bit of an awkward shape to put up against the main fence.
 
To fit this piece I marked up some screw locations I think they were 15cm apart, and drilled, countersunk with a 10mm drill bit as we didn't have a countersink with us, and then added the screws - I think we used70mm ones at the top and 50mm at the bottom
 
Then I offered up the longest piece and needed to make some more adjustments with the block plane to get the two pieces flush with each other.
 
For the second piece of trim we used an offcut from the slope that we cut on the previous piece of trim and this would be used for where the flooring met the exterior door.
 
Again I marked up screw locations and secured it in place just screwing it to the floorboard.
And this is the final trim piece for where the kitchen meets the bathroom door.
 
This piece needed cutting to fit around a door frame which I did with a handsaw.  It also needed to be secured to the tiles so Alex drilled the holes with a tile cutting bit, added some wall plugs seated in to the tile and then secured the trim down with screws.  And after a bit of sanding the boards were stained with this oak tinted polyurethane varnish.
 
The final job was to rip down the kitchen kickboards to account for the difference in height.  Some of these were in pretty bad shape as you can see. We made some cuts with the jigsaw, some with the circular saw and we also used the handplane to make gradual adjustments and get a nice snug fit on each piece.
 
The washing machine could be squeezed back in, and it was a really tight fit but eventually we got it back in there.  Not sure if he'll ever be able to get it out again though.
Images: 

Restoring A Mid Century Modern / Ercol Style Coffee Table

In this video I restore a mid century modern / ercol style coffee table that was given to me at car boot sale. 

It had one or two broken legs, and the top had some heat marks and stains and generally looked dry and in bad condition.

The legs had wooden threads which screwed in to the leg mounts on the bottom of the table.  I didn't really like this method of construction so I wanted to come up with something better and more solid.

I started by sanding the top starting with 80 grit and then on to 120. It cleaned up really easily and revealed a nice bookmatched graindesign..

Next I started working on the leg mounts which were glued and screwed.  I used a mallet to knock them off after removing the screws.

When I removed the mounts I could see from the tearout that the table top was plywood.

I next worked on the solid wood legs, cutting off the threads at the bandsaw, and sanding them down, 

I then glued up some scraps of beech which I would use to make the new leg mounts.  When the glue had dried I cleaned up the work piece with a scraper and hand plane, and cut the leg mounts to size at the mitre saw.

I then rounded over the corners of the blocks on the disc sander to match the old mounts.

Next I needed to create a simple jig which would allow me to fix the tapered legs at a slight angle.  I used a wedge of wood to get the angle I wanted and mounted it to a scrap of plywood.  I then placed a leg mount on the wedge, and added some small pieces of wood around the mount which I attached to the plywood with brad nails.

The jig could then be clamped to my drill press table and would allow me to keep all of the holes in each leg mount nice and consistent and centred.

I used a 35mm faustner bit to drill the holes - the top of the legs were around 36mm in diameter.

I drilled all the holes and could then work on getting the top of the legs to the right size to fit the mounts.  I used the belt sander to remove material from the top of the legs and eventually got them all fitting nicely.

I glued all of the legs to the leg mounts, and then trimmed off the excess leg material on the bandsaw. Then I sanded the top of the mount on the belt sander to make sure it was flat.

Then I could glue and screw the leg mounts to the bottom of the table.

Because the leg heights had been altered, I next needed to level the legs.  I placed the table on a flat surface and used my electric file to remove material until the table sat on all four legs with no wobble.

I did some final hand sanding with 400 grit wet and dry paper.

I then applied Teak oil (two coats) with a cloth.

Finally to give the table a more hardwearing finish, I applied 3 coats of spray varnish, gently wet sanding with 400 grit wet and dry in between each coat to keep the finish nice and smooth.

I posted a photo of the finished table on facebook and the same day someone got in touch to buy it and I took it to it's home - the buyer seemed very happy with it.

I was happy to be able to give this nice looking table a new lease of life.

Images: 

Jewellery Box made from pallet wood (Part 3 of 3)

To finish off the tray that would sit inside the jewellery box, I first cut a centre section with a small handle (shaped by drawing around a large washer) that would be used to lift the tray in and out of the box.  This was cut on the bandsaw and shaped using a file and some sanding.

I glued the partitions in to the tray.

I then wanted to make a decorative inlay on top of the lid, so I used some sapele and oak offcuts to cut some very small pieces at the bandsaw, glued them together in to a bar.  I then cleaned up one face on the bandsaw.

To cut a housing joint in to the lid which would accommodate the inlay, I used the tablesaw by setting the blade height to less than  the thickness of the inlay, and made a series of cuts until it was the right width.  I needed to clean out the joint using a chisel because my blade doesn't have square teeth so it left some grooves.

Next I glued in the inlay.  Once the glue was dry I could then make it flush with the top of the box using my hand plane.

After some sanding, it looked great.

Next I added some brass butterfly hinges to the back of the box and lid.  

I added a roundover to the top of the lid using my trim router,

Then I added a hook and eye style catch for the front of the box to hold the lid closed.

Finally I finished the box using some teak oil.  I later (off camera) gave the box two coats of spray varnish, wet sanding in between the coats with 400 grit wet and dry abrasive paper to give the box a bit more protection and a harder seal, as the wood seems quite soft.

This was quite a long project I think I spent 25-30 hours on the box in total.  I enjoyed making it.

Images: 

Jewellery Box made from pallet wood (Part 2 of 3)

The next job was to cut some splines at the mitred corners to re-enforce the strength of the box.

I set my tablesaw blade to a height to ensure it wouldn't cut through to the inside of the box, and used my frame spline jib to cut three slots on each corner, equally spaced.

I cut some splines out of some scrap pieces of sapele and glued them in place.  To cut them to the right size, I used a spare tablesaw blade to set the distance between the blade that was fitted and the tablesaw fence ensuring that the blades were tooth to tooth.  This gave me perfectly sized splines which I cut out on the bandsaw before gluing.

I trimmed off the excess spline material at the bandsaw and sanded them flush with the sides of the box.

Next I marked up where I wanted to make a cut for the lid, lined up the mark with my blade and made the cut at the tablesaw,

To make sure that the lid and top of the box were perfectly flat I sanded them on a flat board covered in sandpaper with sticky back tape.

WIth the box finished, I started working on some partitions to sit inside the box using the left over panels of meranti.

I ripped them to the width I wanted on the tablesaw and used my bandsaw to resaw the material to give me more pieces. to work with Then I sanded the pieces and cut them to length on the mitre saw. 

I wanted two of the pieces to cross over to form a cross so I cut out a joint on the bandsaw in the centre of each piece and pushed them together, getting a snug fit by using a file.  Then I could glue the partitions in place.and weighted them down using a brick.

I wanted to make a tray which would sit on top of the partitions, so I made another mitred box with another slot and 5mm plywood bottom in the same way as I had made the main box.  I glued and clamped this together.

Once it was assembled I needed to do some sanding to get it to fit inside the box.

 

 

 

 

Images: 

Jewellery Box made from pallet wood (Part 1 of 3)

In this video I make a jewllery box out of some pallet wood which I believe to be Meranti.

I started by cutting out all the bits with nails in, and then used my electric planer to get one edge and one face of each piececleaned up and square.  

I glued the pieces up in panels with the flattened sides face down and the jointed edges together, and when the glue had dried I ran the panels through the thicknesser to clean up the other side.  Unfortunately the grain on the wood tore out quite badly so I ended up using a sharp cutting edge in a hand plane which had much better results.

Next I cut the panels down to the size I wanted the box to be and mitred the panels using my panel sled on my tablesaw.

I cut a slot near the bottom of the box to accommodate a 5mm plywood bottom which I cut to size at the tablesaw..  

Then I could assemble the box with the plywood bottom in the slot.  I used some elastic bands to hold it all together until the glue dried as I only had one strap clamp.

Next I cut a top panel to length at the mitresaw.  I wanted to set the top panel inside the box so I made some reference marks and cut some rebates at the tablesaw so that the panel would fit snugly inside at the top of the box.  I cleaned up the cuts with a chisel and then glued on the top panel using some claamps to apply pressure.  Once that was dry I made it flush with a handplane.

Images: 

Hand Plane Set Up - in seven simple steps

In this video I talk about how I set up my hand planes in seven simple steps. At the end of the video I talk about my hand plane collection.

Flat sole
 
The sole of the plane needs to be as flat as you can get it. 
 
The easiest way that I have found to check for flatness is to tape down some 120 grit sandpaper to a known flat surface – you could use a piece of glass, or a tablesaw table, or even a ceramic tile for example.  In the video I use a piece of 12mm MDF.
 
Back off the iron so that it’s well clear of the throat, you don’t want to sand the cutting iron.  But it’s better to leave it in rather than taking it out because the tension of the lever cap can slightly alter the shape of the sole very slightly, so if you flatten the sole with the lever cap on, then you know it’s flat with the cutting iron in which is how you’ll be using it.
 
Draw some lines on the sole with a sharpie pen from one side to the other all the way down the length of the sole.
 
Then sand the sole and if the pen marks are visible in some areas, that means it’s not flat, so you’ll want to do some more sanding.  If it appears to be badly out of shape then you might want to start with a more aggressive paper like 80 grit which will remove material more quickly, and then when it’s flat move up to 120.
 
There’s really no need to go above 120 grit as that is plenty smooth enough but you can if you want it to look more polished.  Once the sole is flat, it’s really important to lubricate it, which I’ll talk more about a bit later.
 
 
Sharp Cutting Iron
 
A sharp cutting edge will make the plane cut cleaner and the hand plane will also be easier to use as there’ll be less resistance.
 
The method I use for sharpening is to use a honing guide like this one, I set the tip of the cutting edge to be around 35mm from the front of this honing guide which gives me an angle somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees.  Then I sharpen on a 360 grit diamond plate, using some water with a drop of washing up liquid to lubricate the stone and checking to make sure that I’m cutting along the whole length of the cutting edge.  Then I do the same again at 600 grit on the other side of the plate.  Then I use a waterstone at 1000 grit, and then the other side at 6000 grit. Then I hone the cutting edge using this green cutting compound on a piece of leather glued to a block of MDF and I do this free hand without the honing guide.  Then I remove the burr from the back of the blade with one stroke.  I test it’s sharp using a piece of paper, and when it cuts cleanly I know I’ve got a good cutting edge. 
 
Here are some links to the items I use for sharpening - all of them are inexpensive.
 
Taidea 360/600 grit diamond plate http://amzn.to/2pXfLZX (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2o9cudt (Amazon US)

Japanese 1000/6000 grit whetstone http://amzn.to/2oHw3pm (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2pIpzIb (Amazon US)

Green polishing compound http://amzn.to/2oHwtvW (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2pIa7LQ (Amazon US)

Honing Guide http://amzn.to/2pXgLgQ (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2pIiqY4 (Amazon US)
 
 
Chip breaker / Cap Iron set
 
Once your cutting iron is nice and sharp you’ll want to attach it to the cap iron, also known as chip breaker which is this piece here, and it’s job is to deflect the shavings out through the top of the plane and reduce tear out.  I like to set mine so that it is 2mm away from the tip of the cutting iron.  To adjust it, you can unscrew the thumbscrew that holds both irons together and manoeuvre it in to place being careful not to let it rub against the tip of the cutting iron as that can dull the blade, then tighten the screw to set it.  You can also flatten the tip of the cap iron to make sure it makes contact with the cutting iron from one side to the other which will help prevent chips getting caught in there.
 
 
Lever Cap setting
 
The lever cap allows you to quickly remove and re-fit the cap iron and cutting iron at the flick of a lever.  There's an adjustment screw which controls how tight the mechanism is and also how tight the blade adjustment knob is to turn, which is this part here.  Tightening the screw will make the adjustment knob and the lever mechanism tighter, and loosening it will make the knob turn and the flipping of the lever more easy and you can adjust this until you get it operating just the way you want it.  I like to set mine so that the adjustment knob can be twisted with one finger which allows me to adjust it quickly and easily.
 
 
Blade cutting depth and alignment
 
Next it’s time to set the blade cutting depth using the screw knob on the back.  To do this I hold the plane right up to one eye and hold it up towards a light, I close my other eye and I sight down the length of the sole turning the knob until I can see just the very tip of it protruding from the throat.  If one side is protruding more than the other, then I use the alignment lever to angle the blade so that it’s level and straight.  Then I back off the blade by half a turn or so and give it a try on a piece of wood advancing the blade with each pass until I get a shaving.  Then to test I first use the right hand side of the blade, and then the left and I look for both shavings to be the same thickness – and when they are, I know my blade is correctly aligned.
 
 
Mouth width / frog adjustment
 
The distance between the front of the throat and the cutting iron can be increased or decreased depending on how much material you want to remove with the plane.  I like to set mine so that the distance between the cutting edge (when it's able to take a light shaving) and front of the mouth is 2mm. 
 
If you find that shavings get caught in the throat as you’re planing, and you’re having to pull them out all the time by hand, then that’s usually a sign that the opening is too narrow, so you’ll probably want to open it up a bit.
 
To adjust it, this part of the plane is called the frog, and at the back of it you’ll find an adjustment screw at the bottom.  This can be turned clockwise to advance the frog or counter clockwise to back it off and make the opening wider.
 
 
Lubrication
 
This one is sometimes overlooked, but makes a huge difference. I regularly lubricate the sole of my plane between and during use, it makes the plane glide much easier and take a lot less effort and it also protects it from rust.  I either use some regular oil or a lubrucating wax on a cloth. For the sole of the plane though, I like to use some candle wax.
 
 
If you follow the above steps then you should get decent results.
 
Finally I thought I’d talk about my own hand planes, and I only have three.  I have a vintage Record No. 5 which I use the most, probably 90% of the time and I have this set up as a smoothing plane to take mostly thin shavings.  Then I have this unbranded No. 4 hand plane which I tend to use for rougher work with more questionable materials (in case there are nails embedded in the wood). And finally I have a Draper block plane which I tend to use predominantly for bevelling edges, or creating subtle roundover edges.
 

My Tools - Corded Hand Power Tools

In this video I talk about the corded hand power tools that I use, where I'll cover what I like about the tools, what I dislike about them and ultimately whether I'd recommend buying them or not.
 
Tools featured in this video are:
 
Bosch PKS 46 Circular Saw (no longer available)
 
Bosch PST 700E Jigsaw: http://amzn.to/2luNNX4 (Amazon UK) 
 
VonHaus Oscillating Tool: http://amzn.to/2luUPLi (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2kzfv5g (Amazon US)
 
Black & Decker CD115 Angle Grinder: http://amzn.to/2lXHGYv (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2lh1x4Z (Amazon US)
 
Silverline Silverstorm 247820 Power Belt File: http://amzn.to/2lXIPzw (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2kJ91Mj (Amazon US)
 
Ryobi EBS 800 Belt Sander: http://amzn.to/2lXLMzL (Amazon UK) 
 
Draper 75303 Biscuit Jointer no longer available but they now make this one: http://amzn.to/2lXzs2B (Amazon UK)
 
Makita BO5021 Random Orbit Sander (no longer available)
 
Makita TR0 700C Trim Router: http://amzn.to/2lXKp4m (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2lV8MCY (Amazon US)
 
Draper 90088 Plunge Router (no longer available)
 

My Tools - Cordless Hand Power Tools (Makita and Bosch)

In this video I talk about the cordless hand power tools that I use, where I'll cover what I like about the tools, what I dislike about them and ultimately whether I'd recommend buying them or not.

Tools featured in this video (affiliate links):
 
Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Drill with 2 batteries: http://amzn.to/2lv1K7j (Amazon UK)
 
Makita DTD 152 Impact Driver: http://amzn.to/2luW2lI (Amazon UK)
 
Makita DSS 610 Circular Saw: http://amzn.to/2lXP5ac (Amazon UK)
 
Makita DBO 180 Random Orbit Sander: http://amzn.to/2o3P2tD (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2mP9cqp (Amazon US)

Wooden YouTube Play Button (mahogany and poplar)

In this video I make a wooden YouTube Play Button, because I hit 20k subs and 100k subs (which is when YouTube will present an official plaque) seems quite far away!

I chose mahogany for two good reasons - firstly, it has a reddish tint and secondly I had some small scraps of it to use up!  These pieces came from some reclaimed wooden hat and coat stands - the pieces I used were the feet that supported the upright piece.

I started by ripping them square on the tablesaw, to remove the tapered face.  

Then I jointed one side and ran the other through the thickness planer.

I glued the pieces together and clamped them with bar clamps

When the glue had set I used a hand plane to clean up the faces of the new block.

Then I trimmed the excess off each end.

I used a pencil to mark up the play icon, and a round object to round over the corners, and then cut the edges on the bandsaw before refining the shape at the belt sander.

Next I drilled a recess in the play icon using a forstner bit on my drill press table before routing out the rest of the icon shape.  I then needed to chisel out the rounded over corners to form the triangle.

I made a rubbing of the shape on a piece of paper, and then stuck that piece of paper to a piece of poplar which came from a pallet collar.  I chose poplar as it is pale in colour and will contrast well with the mahogany.

I cut out the shape on the bandsaw and I could then glue it in to the recess.

I used the bandsaw to trim off the excess material (as the poplar was quite thick).

Then I used the hand plane to get the inlay flush with the mahogany face of the block.

I tilted my tablesaw blade and cut bevels on all 4 front edges of the block and used a hand plane and orbital sander to smooth over the bevels.  

I used teak oil to finish the play button.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.

 

Images: 

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