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things finished – the box w drawer (mostly, just needs one more board in the drawer bottom.) and a birch bowl.
This birch bowl has been around a while, but I just finished carving it yesterday, then chipcarved some of the rim last night. It’s big – maybe 20″ long or more. Great fun. It’ll be for sale soon, no paint – don’t worry.
I added a link on the sidebar to Plymouth CRAFT – where you can sign up for spoon carving, card weaving, lace making & more. http://plymouthcraft.org/
Maureen tells me there’s new felt stuff on her site too. So that’s what she’s doing while I’m here doing this… https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts
Sure, we have several excellent new woodworking books and videos in the works and I’m sure I should be writing about those. But with “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” sales coming up (and me hopefully off work most of next week to clean, cook and eat, then eat some more), I thought I’d take a few minutes while I’m still in the office to list what I consider “must haves” […]
The post ‘Black Friday’ & ‘Cyber Monday’ Backlist Suggestions appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Your hobby or vocation is woodworking. You love it. You think about it all the time. Woodworking is almost your “grand obsession.” You read the Highland Woodworking catalog on the subway, train, or in your car (only at stop lights, please!). You watch YouTube videos about woodworking at lunch. You are in your shop every spare minute. You live, eat, and breathe woodworking. And you know what gifts people are going to give you over the holidays? Socks. A tie. A gift card to a coffee shop. A pair of pajamas or a new sweater. Bah. Humbug.
Oh, you will, of course, be polite; you’ll ooh and ah, express your gratitude; and as soon as the gift wrap remnants are swept away, you will be back in your shop or deep into your favorite magazine reading… about woodworking.
It may be politically incorrect, but I suggest putting your altruism aside and consider making yourself a gift this year. Who deserves it more? Get what you really want! Maybe a new workbench? How about a new rack for all your clamps? Have you been selflessly building projects for others when what you really need is a new router table? Then damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead… make something for yourself… something for your shop!
|Figure 1 – Tidy Whities? Bah, Humbug!||Figure 2 – Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!|
Or perhaps buy something for yourself. Sound selfish? Well, it shouldn’t. Gift wrap it for the full effect. Try to act surprised when you open it. Try this… when the spouse and kiddies are away, grab the department store gift box (it is pretty obvious which one) and remove the giftwrap like a surgeon. Be careful not to tear the paper. Take the shirt, socks, underwear, or whatever out, toss it or return it, then place that new Woodpeckers Square in the box, re-wrap it, and put it back under the tree. When you open the gift everyone will be amazed… there really is a magical Santa Claus or philosopher’s stone capable of transforming plaid socks into cool tools!
If you are tempted to feel guilty for what some might consider selfish acts, don’t despair. The human mind can rationalize almost anything. A “selfie” gift is actually generous, since you are saving others the torment of trying to figure out what you really want. Plus, who wants a grumpy woodworker around with piles of useless tchotchkes? Better you go off to the woodshop to play with your new toys, grinning like a guiltless child.
The post The Down to Earth Woodworker: Politically Incorrect Woodworking Gift appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Like most woodworkers I have a bunch of jigs kicking around the shop and like most guys my age I have firmly held opinions. As a reader I’ve seen more than enough articles about jigs for this and fixtures for that. As an author I’ve tried to steer clear of writing too much about jigs, although from time to time my name has appeared. To me, jigs exist to make certain tasks (usually repetitious ones that require a consistent degree of precision) safer, faster or easier. A really good jig will do all three of those things. Some authors are specialists in devising intricate solutions and some woodworkers get sidetracked into making jigs as their hobby instead of using jigs to make things. I am neither of those.
At right is my set-up for drilling the cup holes for Euro hinges. It’s a straight fence glued and stapled down to a piece of 3/4″ thick plywood. There is a rabbet on the fence that keeps chips of wood from keeping the edge of a door off the straight edge. The three pencil lines are my intricate system for placing the holes in the same location on every door. The center line is in line with the center of the bit, and the other two lines are an equal distance away. When I have the jig positioned where I want it, I lower the bit 1/4″ or so into the plywood base. The next time I need to use it, I lower the bit into the hole and clamp the base down to the drill press table. That puts the jig back in the right position without any fuss or measuring. All I need to do then is set the depth of the bit and I’m ready to go. In use, I line up the corner of the door to one of the outer pencil lines and drill. This is a pretty good example of my philosophy toward making and using jigs.
- Don’t expect a jig to give you skills or precision you don’t have. Simply put, if you can’t measure accurately, make parts to an exact size or put a square line in the right place you won’t be able to make a working, reliable jig; you’ll end up spending a lot of time without getting the desired results.
- If it takes longer to make the jig than it does to perform the task without the jig, you’re wasting time unless it’s a task you’ll be doing on a regular basis. Knowing how long things will take is an essential element of successful jig use. If you don’t know, you’re better off working without jigs for a while. When you find yourself in the midst of a repetitious task, you’ll start thinking of ways to make life easier and you’ll probably come up with a good idea.
- Good jigs are one-trick ponies. Universal and micro-adjustable take way too long to make, take up too much room to store and usually don’t work as well as simple, quick and easy. These are the kinds of things you’ll see in print and if you’re tempted, ask yourself how often you’ll be tapering legs and what range of lengths and angles you’ll be needing. Chances are pretty good that it’s a narrow range and for me it’s a lot quicker to make a new dedicated jig each time I’m faced with this task. It isn’t likely that you really need the T-track extrusion and all the gizmos that go with it.
- Make jigs from material you have on hand. A trip to the lumber yard or hardware store can easily wipe out the time-saving advantages of making the jig. The exception to this rule is to keep some 1/2″ and 3/4″ plywood, a couple of hold-down clamps and an assortment of fasteners on hand so that you’re ready when inspiration strikes. It still isn’t likely that you really need that T-track and all the gizmos that go with it.
- Put the jig together quickly, glue with staples or nails, a couple of screws or hot-melt glue work just fine. One of my uncle’s favorite phrases was “you ain’t making a grand piano here” and it applies to jig construction. Get the job done, but don’t get fancy with it.
- Don’t make a jig for an anticipated need, wait until the task is in front of you. That micro-adjustable finger joint jig that will handle any size material and any size of fingers might look tempting but will you ever really use it? Most woodworkers make finger joints once or twice an move on. If I had a nickel for every finger joint jig gathering dust in American wood shops I could probably retire.
- Use a minimal number of pieces put together in the simplest possible way and don’t bother to apply a finish other than some paste wax where things need to slide. As the parts list grows, the chances of making something that actually serves a useful purpose diminishes exponentially.
Jigs are essential in most shops, and I’m not against them. I am generally opposed to wasting time and my thinking is influenced by experience making things for sale. In that world, I only get paid for the time I spend making pieces of wood smaller, so jigs are only worthwhile if they enable me to make more pieces of wood smaller in less time.
The problem with the simple jigs I tend to use is that they look a lot like scraps. So I tend to keep them piled in one place and I also like to label them. When I’m feeling really clever I give my jigs a name, generally what the thing is good for followed by . . . Master and a number with a lot of zeros at the end.
We’re already gearing up for the holidays and in this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner, we released our Woodturner’s Holiday Gift Guide – full of tools, books, and other gifts that would be perfect for any woodturner.
This month’s issue also includes:
- Tool Review: Silky Gomboy Saw - Curtis Turner gives an overview of the Japanese Silky Gomboy Folding Saw and how even though it isn’t made specifically as a “turning” tool, turners can definitely find benefits in this tool to help them harvest wood for turning.
- Temple Blackwood goes over the turning process of belaying pins, while also discussing the methods he uses when putting on a live turning demonstration.
- Bill Rosener has a great turning project for storing all the crayons and colored pencils lying around the house that need an easily accessible and aesthetically pleasing home. Check out his turned Grand Piano Pencil Holder project.
- Phil Colson has a helpful tip for always being able to find your pencil in your shop!
- Rodney Miller, a disable veteran, shares his beautiful turned bowls and other projects in this month’s Show Us Your Woodturning.
All of this and more in our November 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner.
The post Now available: The November 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
I have to admit it – I’m having a rough time in this relatively new job. Not my actual work duties, but figuring out what new technique or project I want to try next. I’m a beginner/intermediate woodworker in that I’ve learned enough to get myself in trouble, but I also have learned enough to know how much I don’t know. So coming to work every day and looking over […]
I’m not seeking radio silence on the blog, but have been working on reviewing the edits for the manuscript and adding the necessary revisions, and selecting, editing, and captioning the almost 500 images for Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley. It is way less glamorous than it sounds.
I normally back up everything at the end of the day, but for some reason I had not done that since Saturday. So of course this morning was the moment my laptop fried. I mean sparks and all as I plugged in the printer USB cable. The geeks are trying to copy the hard disk, provided it did not get damaged. I will get their verdict in the morning. So, I am consolidating and duplicating files by the boatload using my indestructible but antique Dell 1525 with Windows Vista(!) and my three external hard drives (we do not have the connectivity required for Cloud backup).
At worst I will have to reconstruct three days worth of work. At best it will all be there. Either way I need a new laptop. It will not be another Compaq/HP.
Until everything gets resolved I will be a bit quiet.
One of the common questions I get regarding the upcoming exhibit of the Studley Tool Cabinet and Workbench is, “Will you take the tools out of the cabinet so I can see everything inside?” The answer to that is “No.” A second question is, “Do we get to handle the tools ourselves?” Apparently the folks who ask this question have never been to museums or artifact exhibits.
This is not to say that the visitor experience will be to view a static and lifeless exhibit. I’ll be making sure the exhibit is a rich and rewarding experience through a couple of avenues, one of which I address here.
One of the final tasks for the recently completed work session with the Studley tool Cabinet was to film a real-time session of me removing the entire collection of tools from the tool cabinet, one at a time. In doing this the video reveals every single tool in its place, and how that relates to the adjacent tools and the cabinet as a whole. This video will be running on a loop on a giant screen at the end of the exhibit hall at the Scottish Rite Temple in Cedar Rapids.
You can find more information and purchase tickets for the exhibit here.
I’m still working out the details of my teaching schedule for 2015 – there’ll be some new places. I think I mentioned before; Alaska, England, Indiana…and most of the usual spots; Roy’s place, Lie-Nielsen, Bob Van Dyke’s. I’ll have it nailed pretty soon.
One exciting new venue is right here in Massachusetts – local or semi-local people have always asked me where do I teach near home, and til now the answer was “I don’t.” Now I do. We’re in the midst of setting up the classes, workshops, etc that will be Plymouth CRAFT. And along with some food & textiles offerings, we’re ready to cut some spoons. January 17th & 18th; 2 days of green wood; hatchets, knives, spoons – what could be more fun? I’ll have hook knives, students will need their own straight “sloyd” knife and small sharp hatchet. I’ll send a list of possible suppliers..
Below is a link to sign up for classes; mine and others. If you’re from elsewhere, we can send you details about lodging and more…
Hope to see a full class of spoon-carvers!
UPDATE – WE HAD SOME WEBSITE PROBLEMS; AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, IT SEEMS FIXED NOW. THESE LINKS WORKED WHEN I CHECKED THEM MOMENTS AGO -
I swear that I will never use commercial veneer for any of my furniture work in the future. These veneers are a pain to work with because they’re too thin. Holding true to my statement, I cut a couple of strips at my table saw to use while making the inlay piece for the desk on frame that’s in the first 360WoodWorking.com release.
There are benefits to thicker veneer other than just not sanding through your inlay as you prepare for finish. Thick veneers operate similar to 3/4″-thick stock – you can saw the material using machines or hand saws. I tried each of these while making my inlay and they both worked great.
In fact, after the piece came off the band saw where I have a 1/4″-wide, 6 TPI blade installed, I was able to work with a plane to smooth the edges and dial-in the perfect line. (A file also produced nice results.) Just be careful and mindful as you work – your hands are in there close to the blade as you cut. Plus, a band saw insert that’s not too buggered up is a better choice.
Even though you can saw the thicker veneer, you also retain the ability to slice the veneers using a sharp knife. In the photo to the right, I’m using a disposable razor knife to make the cut. If this is the method you use, make sure the blade is sharp and make many slices. You’re not going to cut this veneer in a pass or two. And you’ll need to hold the straightedge (my 6″-steel rule in my case) tight in place for the first couple of passes. The remaining passes will follow the established cut line as long as you take it slow. Oh, make sure that you hold the knife 90° to the inlay so you don’t undercut the edges.
I mentioned using hand saws to make the cuts, and that’s the method that I prefer best. (You can see the technique shown below.) Lay the inlay onto a scrap board, then place a second piece of scrap – one with a straight edge – at the layout line of your inlay. Clamp the setup together then use your handsaw to make the cut. I use a Japanese dozuki from Lee Valley. The process is simple because the top scrap piece guides the saw as you cut. Plus, the small teeth of the dozuki tend to not rip out the sand-shaded areas at the tip of the inlay. And the clamping action holds everything in place as you work. Win. Win. Win.
Build Something Great!
Editors Note: This is a continuation of Temple Blackwood’s article from the November 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner, which you can read by CLICKING HERE.
I encourage you to engage in doing regular demonstrations as part of your woodturning service to others, both organizations and individuals, because you will ultimately gain in skill, confidence, knowledge, and reputation. Selecting something like a belaying pin or mini-baseball bat challenges you as a woodturner, while bringing that delightful understanding and surprise to the children of all ages in your audience.
Begin by identifying your audience in age, safety, and experience level:
- Potential Students
- Lathe, wood, tools, projects, time
- Minimal tools, equipment, and turning blanks
- Easy-to-mount, safe turning blanks
- Sharpening vs multiple tools that are sharp
- Travel, packing, setting up, taking down
- Wheeled carts and tool-totes
- Clean-up broom, dustpan and bag for chips and trash
- Face-mask vs Goggles as potential essential obstacles
- Your safety and protection
- Your need to talk and be heard during the demonstration
- Be mindful of how much time you have
- Be mindful of how much time your project will take
- Be prepared to give away incomplete pieces
- Be prepared and practice for failure/breakage/accident
- Anticipate questions and be prepared to stop and answer them
- Practice in advance
- Prepare “before” and “after” samples
- Present demo items to a devoted audience member
- Noise (yours and others competing in the same area)
- Dust and chips (yours and others competing in the same area)
- Splatter management (moisture from wet wood and excess finish)
- Workbench or table
- Clean-up and leave the area cleaner than you found it
Why do these demonstrations?
- Share the passion for working with your hands in wood
- Offer others the gift of your knowledge and talent
- Expand your own turning knowledge and experience
- Welcome others into the community of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW), its regional clubs, and the many woodturning resources for tools, supplies and lessons
The post Doing a Turning Demonstration – General Information and a To-Do Checklist appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
While putting a new tool through its paces for a future review, I was reminded just how important the basics are and what a fine job a regular bench plane will do when sharp. I was delighted with the new tool I was using but I was equally delighted with my normal “go to” planes. I’m very pleased to see the options we have now regarding specialist planes for shooting […]
While passing through Nashville last year, I stopped in a very nice antiques shop, saw the following and was stumped:
It is a form I hadn’t seen before. Obviously factory made and not a one-off. Too heavy for a quilt rack or screen. I poked at it a bit and discovered the panels on either side swung up. It seems to be a drop leaf table of a unique type.
From below you see the works:
It is a two-legged trestle with a central spine from which the two drop leafs are hung. Also hanging from the spine are support wings.
Wings supporting the drop leafs catch the battens that keep the leafs apart when lowered.
An elegant design with some elegant engineering. The finish at first made me think of the late lamented(-able) Bombay Company but it is much, much better than that.
I wasn’t smart enough to take a picture of it opened but it was larger, rectangular and brown.
Tomorrow, more different tables.
Bob Lang mentioned in last week’s recap of 360 WoodWorking that Glen and I took off for parts east and north last Monday morning. I thought it might be good to fill you in on what we did and why – as much as I’m willing that is.
It began some time back with three invitations. The first invitation I got was from the Atlantic Shore Woodturners to come give a presentation on turning for furniture makers. Next, I got asked if I wanted to come to Salem, MA for a preview of the Nathaniel Gould exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. But this was no ordinary preview; it was a pre-preview party viewing of the exhibit. And the third came from the legendary Frank Klausz when he called to make sure I was alright after my departure from the magazine. The invitation from Frank went something like, “When you are in the area, you should stop by. We’ll do something in the shop and you can stay here.” Honestly, if these invitations were extended to you, would you turn them down? Yeah, neither could I.
I’m going to tackle the invitations in the same order I received them and give you a bit more insight about what went on once Glen and I arrived at each destination (which means you’ll have to wait a bit for the Frank story). So, today, I want let’s talk turning.
Wood turning is one of those fundamental skills I think every person that wants to make furniture needs to explore. Sure, joinery and stock prep are important, but if you want to break out of the mold of straight, square furniture you need to pick up explore two additional areas; carving and turning (a third area might be bending; I digress). Most people I’ve met tend to gravitate to the lathe before the carving tool(s). I mean, how hard can it be after all? You just chuck the wood between the centers of the lathe and jam a tool into it and you get a round shape, right? Au contraire, mon capitaine!
The biggest problem you’ve got if you use the chuck and jam method is detail. At that point your tools are scraping and, by the time you’re done sanding out the roughness, you’ve lost any definition you managed to get. The concept is simple really, if you use the chuck and jam method it’s like taking a card or cabinet scraper (and, yes, they are two different things) and scraping across the face of a board perpendicular to the grain direction only, because the wood in cylindrical in nature, there’s little support for the outermost fibers and they tend to roll off taking hunks of your turning with them. If you want to do it right learn how to cut with both the skew and gouge and you’ll leave a glass smooth surface.
And that, gentle reader, was the subject of my talk with the Atlantic Shore Woodturners in Lakewood, New Jersey. I talked about my methods for sharpening and using the skew and gouge to cut rather than scrape. Once you’ve given it a try, you’ll see it equates to the difference between prepping the surface of a board by rubbing it on your driveway versus using a sharp, properly tuned hand plane.
What follows is a short video on how I use a skew. You’ll see I make a practice piece where I turn a series of beads. It’s a great way to learn how to use a skew, or to warm up before turning if you already know how.
Next up, a seriously prolific (yet almost unknown) cabinetmaker from Salem, MA. Stay tuned.
One of the enjoyable things about building in the arts and crafts style is that you are offered a wide variety of joinery options. As I was working with a friend who was newish to furniture building and who was interested in construction techniques, I thought we'd go through the paces with both full on machine, machine-assisted, and hand-cut joints.
The Back and Side Aprons
When I bought the Domino I was afraid that I would lean on it a bit too much when I designed a piece, but this is the only place where I broke it out, Very straightforward using the largest size bit.
The Bottom Stretchers
Wedged through tenons give the table a solid look and feel. I used my newly improved mortise router jig to do the bulk of the removal and squared it with a chisel. We rough-cut the tenons on the table saw and my friend Andy used a router plane to dial in the fit. We will wedge the tenons after the initial steps of the finish are applied.
|The slight gap at the top and bottom will be closed when we drive home the wedges|
The Front Apron/Stretcher
Old school dovetail joint is hand cut assures that the table stays square. It is narrower than the back apron to provide easy access to the shelf. We also decided to eliminate the drawers in order to maximize this space.
|Double sided tape hold the tail in place to mark the mortise|
The Lattice Shelf
Flat-sawn white oak is cut into 1 1/2 strips and then turned ninety degrees to expose the ray pattern. Once one is marked we gang them up on the tablesaw (equipped with a dado blade) and cut the lot. These will trimmed to size and chamfered during our next work day.
|Everything is left oversized until we look at the final proportions|
All that remains are a few final steps and to begin the multi-step finishing process.
In general, I like Shaker furniture. I like how it is constructed, and I like how it looks, and it is a piece of furniture that my house could really use. Before I started constructing the Enfield Cupboard, I had only made two other pieces of true Shaker furniture, so my experience in building in the Shaker style is limited.
The Enfield cupboard on the surface seemed to be an attractive project that was relatively straightforward to build. I’ve so far spent about 12 hours on the construction and I can now say that this piece is not as easy to make as it looks on the surface. Firstly, there is case construction using dado/rabbet joinery. The face frame is constructed using mortise and tenon joinery. There are some decorative arches and curves. The mouldings are shop made and require miters, and the back of the case uses tongue and groove boards. Maybe the most critical part of the construction requires making an inset, paneled door. In other words, this cupboard is by no means “easy” to build. I had gone into this project with the mistaken notion that it would only require time to make. I underestimated the project, which I honestly never do, and I was wrong.
This cupboard probably falls into the “intermediate” level of construction for the reasons I described above. As there is nothing on this project that I can’t really handle, I consider myself an intermediate level woodworker. What would I consider “advanced”? I would call advanced any project that would require all of the major forms of joinery: dovetail, mortise and tenon, dado. An advanced project would have moving parts such as drawers and doors. An advanced project would also require some inlay work, as well as turning or carving, or both. An advanced project would also require the milling of parts to many different thicknesses. An advanced project will likely require several different finishing techniques. Most importantly, and advanced project needs to look like a piece of fine furniture.
My point is that this project is not an advanced project, but it is still a challenge, and it’s a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. I have to admit that this cupboard is going to take twice as long to build than I thought it would. That’s a big mistake on my part, and one I’ve always prided myself on not making. The humble Shakers and a humble piece of their furniture have managed to humble me. They’ve managed to accomplish what few people alive today can do. For that, I have to give them some credit.
Ah, the glamor of being on camera. The trailer with your name on the door…M&Ms separated by color to meet your needs…people hustling around to keep you happy and hydrated. Fans swarming you at openings and asking for your autograph. Relaxing at the pool and waiting for the reviews to come in. Right! Tell it to Alf Sharp. Alf spent a week with us shooting “Create a Newport Tea Table” and […]
A conversation between Bob Rummer, Ken Rummer and Don Burnham
BOB: I just became a Grandpa. As I am working in my shop to complete a rocking chair, hopefully before my grandson enters pre-school, it strikes me that I have some critical Grandpa responsibilities. I am using a plane that belonged to my Grandfather, chisels that were used by my great-grandfather, and skills and methods I learned from my father. Now it is up to me to influence the next generation. What are the rules? What important lessons do I need to share? Should I get the Playskool workbench for his first birthday? Where could I go wrong? At times like this I turn to my big brother for advice–
KEN: Well, I’m still a newbie grandpa myself, with just a shim and a shaving’s head start. We may have to put our heads together on this.
We would love feedback from readers on this topic. How were you impacted by your grandpa in the workshop? What do you see as your responsibility to pass on the love of the craft? Add your thoughts to the comments below.
The post The Awesome Responsibility of Being a Woodworking Grandpa appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
It becomes a funny diversion; what are these called – both today & in the 17th century. The old name is easy – we have no idea what the joiners who made ‘em called ‘em. Furniture historians often call them “glyphs” – but most architectural definitions call a glyph a vertical groove or channel.
whatever they’re called, here’s how I made some today for the carved box with drawer. This batch is walnut. Essentially I make a run of molding that is peaked, then cut it up. I took a scrap about 15″ long, by about 9″ wide. Planed a straight edge, then marked the middle of it, (this board is just over 1″ thick.) also marked the thickness of my glyph – 3/8″. Then planed two bevels down almost to the scribed lines. I needed about 4 feet of this stuff; so I did this to both edges of the board, a couple of times. I made extra so if something went wrong in trimming I wouldn’t need to start over.
Here’s a close up view of the planed result.
here’s how I held the board – the single screw is next to useless – it just pinches the board while I get a mallet to whack the holdfast. Then I sawed down both edges, I sawed in the waste area, leaving stock for planing the backs of this molding.
This is one of those rare instances when I will say to you – be careful if you do it this way. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but I’m pulling the molding to plane off the saw marks – much like a cooper will plane the edges of his staves. Need a sharp plane, set fine. And focus. One slip…and you feel real stupid.
Then saw the pieces to length, and use a chisel, bevel down at first, to shave each end of the glyph. Or whatever it’s called.
Here’s some from a chest with drawers made in Plymouth Colony, c. 1680s or so
I have mine cut and glued onto the box with drawer. so that’s the first piece built for the next joinery book. Next week I’ll apply a finish & photograph it.