Tour de shop and project inventory 2015


Once again, as per usual, it is time to review what happened this year at Je ne sais quoi Woodworking. It has been without a shadow of doubt the most exciting year since starting on this journey in March 2013. The most encouraging aspect was the increase in exposure of the website. Until February 2015 I had no clue whether anyone out there has ever even seen the website.

In February I saw a comment by Siavosh Bahrami on Joshua Klein’s website were he invited woodworking bloggers to contact him if they wanted to be included on his aggregator I wrote to him and he was most helpful in adding Je ne sais quoi Woodworking straight away. It had an immediate effect on the site’s exposure. I want to thank Siavosh sincerely for the gesture.

Another major bonus of my inclusion was that all of a sudden I found heaps of other blog sites that I did not know of before. In particular, I became good friends with Jonathan White at I really value his thoughts as we have discussed various topics via e-mail since becoming acquainted. Thank you Jonathan, it is a real pleasure to correspond with such a passionate and precise woodworker.

I also met Brian Eve of Toolerable. He seems to be one of the woodworking blogosphere’s glitterati  who knows just about every noteworthy blogger. I was humbled by his gesture to include my site in his Blog list, but he did give me a lot of grief over my choice of string for a bow saw and shop carpet! 🙂 Thank you Brian.

Another new woodworking friend I would like to mention is Robert (Bob) Demers of The Valley Woodworker. He is a real legend in terms of his knowledge of hand tools and allround demeanour. I really appreciate the regular correspondence we’ve had over the past year. Bob and his wife Heather is currently going through a very tough time with her illness and treatment so I would urge everyone who is part of this wonderful online community to show them support. Thank you Bob!

At some point I also wrote to Leif Hanson at Norse Woodsmith. He runs the other major woodworking blog aggregator on his site. Again I was in luck as Leif was so kind as to add Je ne sais quoi woodworking to the aggregator. It led to even more exposure and I would like to thank him immensely for that. Thank you Leif!

Tour de Shop at the end of 2015

The area in front of the shop did not change much, apart from the decking timber added to the sliding gate for more privacy.


This part of the shop did not change at all, but it is clear from the amount of stuff one the assembly table that I am juggling too many projects at present.


It has been the first year of working on my shop built bench and it is a real pleasure.


The bench against the far wall was also built this year.


As you can see here my collection of kids art grew significantly over the past year.


No changes here either.


Project inventory 2015

I started on this chopping board at the end of 2014 and it was probably the first project that got finished in 2015.


My first real workbench was already assembled by the end of 2014, but received all of it’s armoury in the first few months of 2015.


Who can forget the inauguration party of the bench.


An important step in my slow journey towards a hand tool dominant approach was to build two excellent saw benches.

Part 0ne

Part two

Part three


At Je ne sais quoi Woodworking it was the Year of the Saw. This is a 700 mm blade from Dieter Schmidt in an Assegaai bowsaw based on a L’ art du menusier plate.


Based on the amount of hits, these holdfast boots I made was definitely my most popular idea/post of the year.


Speaking of woodworking fame, the series of posts I wrote on building this frame saw earned me an honourable mention by one of my personal icons. Tom Fidgen is one of the leading hand tool woodworkers around the globe. He posted a link to my posts on his site and I want to thank him sincerely for that.


Part one

Part two

Part three


Reconditioned this pre-1900 Stanley no. 66 Beadingtool.


Reconditioned this Shaw’s Patent Jack plane from Sargent.


Unexpectedly, building another bench ended up being the major project of 2015. I just had to utilise the unbelievable Scotts Pine (Pinus sylvestris) timber I came across by sheer luck.


Seeing that I am a huge David Charlesworth fan, I just had to find and restore a Bailey no. 5½ Jack plane.


A rolling pin for the beach house.


Restored this exceptional type 8 Bailey no. 8 Jointer.


Built this 12″ bow saw (Please note the string that earned me so much abuse from Brian Eve).


Hovering skeleton tool chest.


Japanese toolbox inspired knife and fork carrier.

Part one

Part two

Part three


Boorish pencil sharpener


Seeing that the concrete floor in my shop can be harmful to any tool that gets drop, I decided to use this old carpet as a temporary solution. It is hideous, I know.


Finally, I want to thank everyone who drops in from time to time to read what I am up to. It is much appreciated and I hope that you will come across stuff that will inspire new ideas for your own journey.

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  1. Hey Gerhard,

    Looking back it is clear to see that you have had a very productive year. It’s impressive to have accomplished so much in just a year especially with a full time job and a family. I love reading your blog and learning of the interesting challenges of woodworking in Africa.

    Thank you for your kind words. I have truly appreciated getting to know you better and have greatly enjoyed our email correspondence.

    I hope your 2016 is filled with even more sucess than 2015.

    All the best,


    • Hey Jonathan

      I really mean what I said, it is a real pleasure to have a long distance woodwork friend.

      I hope you have a wonderful festive season with your family. Next year we can continue to conquer the woodworking blogosphere!
      Kind regards

  2. Thanks for the kind words Gerhard, it is greatly appreciated. I too enjoy this on line camaraderie.
    Nice work you did in 2015, cant wait to see what the new year will bring.
    That bench inauguration party shot look like a good time was had by all, nice idea. I guess I would have had to wear my full mess kit with medals to fit in 🙂

    I’m afraid I would have to side with Brian about your choice of cord on the bowsaw, tst tst 🙂
    On the other hand, while I’ll agree with him that the carpet is, shall we say…hideous 🙂 I whole earthly agree with you, any carpet is better than a cement floor. My sore back with deteriorated disks pinching my sciatic nerve, remind me all too often if I don’t take some precautions.
    Proper posture, proper height to work and importantly floor cushioning is very important to me. And as a bonus, it can save our tools when dropped, bonus 🙂

    Keep the carpet, ditch the string on the bowsaw haha

    Bob, glad to be back home with Heather and Rudy

    • Hi Bob

      Very good to hear from you again. Thanks for taking Brian’s side on these issues!!:)

      How is Rudy getting on, sweeping floors yet??

      Speak to you soon.

  3. Rudy has not been in the shop yet, let alone anywhere in the basement. Still need to be puppy proof first, too much stuff for him to get into troubles 🙂

    I badly need to get into Santa workshop ASAP, so i may introduced him soon…

    Bob, and his faithfull companion, Rudy

  4. I bow humbly before you Gerhard for the massive tour de force you accomplished this year, I really like your blog, it’s full of information, shop tips and great projects! I look forward to next year. Happy Holidays!

    • Hey Aymeric

      That is a huge compliment my friend, I really appreciate it. Hope you and your family have a wonderful festive season.

      Please stay in touch.