Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Celebrity Deathmatch: Aldren Watson - 1, Charles Hayward - 0

I really like Charles Hayward.  I downloaded one of his books from the Toolemera website a while back and have thought the articles in there were all gems.

Until today.

Not having a drill press, I needed to drill some accurate 3/8" holes to finally finish off my leg vise install.  Looking through Hayward's book, I found a jig that does just that, "For Boring Accurate Holes."

Building this was fun.  I used walnut, maple, and mahogany scrap.  It took about two hours, and I learned a lot making it.  Especially the part of excavating a big square hole.

It worked, too! Sort of.

It takes a long time to set up just so, there is a lot of play, and you have to readjust it after drilling about 1/4".

After boring the first half of the four holes I needed, I gave up and went free style.

Thanks to the practice I did before ala Aldren Watson, I am now skilled at drilling holes freehand.

The result:  All of the holes I drilled were as perfect as they need to be.

The moral of the story:  Don't waste time building jigs to help you with operations that are basic skills.  I guarantee you if you practice boring straight holes as Aldren Watson says for the time you need to build this jig by Charles Hayward, you will have the skills you need for accurate boring on this project and all to come.


  1. Amen brother! Those basic skills will make everything easier in the long run. It's no wonder period cabinetmakers were so fast. They didn't stop working to build jigs and such. They just did it.

    1. Funny you should say so, Shannon. It was a video you posted a while back about freehanding chamfers with a block plane rather than using a storebought jig that gave me the idea for this post.

      Your point was that basic skills should be where you turn first before wasting money on a jig that might increase the time required, and also rob you of a skill that you would have then mastered.