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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...

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General Woodworking

They Did It the Hard Way, Bodged II

The Furniture Record - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 8:24pm

Way back in February, I did a blog on bodged items. (See it here at Bodged, it’s not what you think.) The definition I used was essentially just doing what needs to be done to make it work. Maybe not pretty but functional. I have found a few new example I want to share. Why, because it’s what I do.

First in an interesting way to fix stripped hinge screws:

That is one way to do it.

That is one way to do it.

Most of us would addressed the stripped out wood. The average person might use the “toothpicks and glue” technique to reinforce the hole. Others might drill out the holes and use long grain plugs (but not a dowel). They chose to drill and countersink new holes on the hinge. Dang overachievers.

I like this one too. They centered the lock but didn’t notice the key wasn’t centered on the lock:

Technically a very well done repair.

Technically a very well done repair.

And you might have the non-standard use of a(n?) escutcheon:

Not as designed but it works.

Not as designed but it works.

Same here:

Who decides what up?

Who decides what up is? Who ordered the wrong lock?

And the improvised escutcheons:

This one is a bit rough.

This one is a bit rough.

I can almost believe this one was made this way.

I can almost believe this one was made this way. Hard to say.

And that’s all for tonight. I’m exhausted.


She Works Wood - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 7:59pm
I’ve had several folks ask that I give up my secrets on how I do the photography for this blog.  So here goes. First, my camera.  It is a Cannon EOS Rebel XSi. This camera is what I’ve been using since the beginning of my blog and, as you can see, its a bit dusty. […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Stupid, Simple Photography

The Logan Cabinet Shoppe - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 2:56pm
Salko asked about the setup I used to take the pictures of the marking gauges in my last post. So here it is. The setup is ridiculously simple and cheap to boot. It starts with lighting. I use 3 utility clamp lights from Home Depot. These lights are easily moved around the shop for task […]

Nostalgia, Part Deux…

The Kilted Woodworker - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 1:48pm
My maternal grandfather and I shared the same birthday. He was also a hobbyist woodworker, so that’s two things we have in common. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was very little, so I don’t really have any memories of him, just pictures and stories. I don’t have any of his tools, either; I’m not […]
Categories: General Woodworking

2014 Holiday Wish List – Terry Chapman

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 9:47am

Those of us who write for this Blog crave comments.  We celebrate when one appears and we hold our breath until we see what the reader has to say.  My personal record is the entry I wrote several years ago on The Zombie Apocalypse.  That one got upwards of 160 comments and I was ecstatic, giggling like a girl as they came in.  I don’t know if I will ever match that one.

Highland asks their bloggers to make a wish-list post this time of the year, all designed of course to get you to think about which tools you might want to purchase to add to your collection.

I was looking back over the last few weeks of blogs and the most comments recently went to “The Awesome Responsibility of Being a Woodworking Grandpa”.  I read most of them and there is a common theme.  Everyone remembers the woodworking experiences where someone spent some time in the shop with them.  It didn’t matter what they made, it was the time spent together.  Many people lament the time missed in the workshop with their kids and grandkids and hold out a desperate hope of the kids showing up one day.  Tools passed down through generations are treasured, always with the thought that the old ones are the really good ones.

When I was growing up my Dad had a farm and my brother and I spent many hours with him.  We had quite a hay-baling operation, where Daddy would cut the hay, I would rake it and my brother would run the hay baler.  Then we all hauled the bales to the barn together.  Later we had an egg farm, and picking up and processing eggs by hand several times a day certainly makes for lots of time together.  I suppose my love of woodworking first comes from Daddy’s skill at making slatted wooden bodies for his pickup trucks so he could haul livestock to the markets.  They were made from what I remember as 2-1/2” white oak strips, incredibly strong and bolted together with carriage bolts.  The other thing I remember is that Daddy never had all the tools he needed and sometimes had to borrow tools.  I suppose I was a little gotten off with about that, so now I make sure I have all the tools.  I don’t have to borrow tools but neither do I have any tools handed down from my Father.  I regret that.

My son has no interest in woodworking other than the bowls I make for him to give to the bridal couple when he performs a wedding ceremony.  There are no tools in the shop he wants me to save for him and I hold little hope of him joining me in the shop.  My best hope is apparently going to be some future grandchildren, or some “adopted” children.

So my Wish-List for you and for me for this year is a little different.  I wish for someone to share my skills with.  Someone I can teach to turn bowls and build Windsor chairs.  Someone to spend time with in the shop.  A guy named George summed it up in his comment:  “Recently I made a pretty music box for one of my granddaughters. When I finished it and played it for the first time I cried.”

That’s on my Wish-List for this year.

The post 2014 Holiday Wish List – Terry Chapman appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How to use a Wooden Jointer Plane {Part 1: Jointing an Edge}

Wood and Shop - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 8:36am



Squaring up a board is one of the most fundamental skills in traditional woodworking. It involves (a) squaring the edges, (b) flattening the panels (faces), and (c) squaring the ends. Parts (a) and (b) should be finished with a long flat plane, like a jointer plane.


In my workshop I get a much greater satisfaction jointing board’s edges and flattening the panels using a wooden jointer plane.


Last year I took a wooden handplane making class from Bill Anderson at Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s School” in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

In the amazing three day class we built an 18th Century style wooden jointer plane, which was copied from one of Roy’s favorite jointer planes.  Pictured left to right: Stephen Slocum, Joshua Farnsworth, Aaron Henderson, and Bill Anderson. Look at those shavings!


I loved the class so much, and I love my jointer plane so much that I partnered with Bill and Popular Woodworking Magazine to film the DVD: “Building a Traditional 18th Century Jointer Plane with Bill Anderson”. It’s filmed on-location in Roy Underhill’s school. Thanks Roy! I wanted to film it in a way that almost anyone could learn how to make wooden handplanes. If you’re a regular follower, you would have seen the DVD release in last week’s post. If not, here’s the link to the DVD page.

I found Bill’s tutorial on using the jointer plane so helpful that I wanted to share it for FREE here at WoodAndShop. I’ve split the video tutorials into two parts:

  • Part 1: How to use a wooden jointer plane to joint a board’s edge (see the video above)
  • Part 2: How to use a wooden jointer plane to flatten a  panel (coming in a couple days)


Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below!


Third Time is a Charm (ish)

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 6:54am

While the turkey was cooking yesterday I turned another marking knife handle, this one out of Cocobolo.

It all came together fairly nicely, I was really gentle with the turning, and the wood was much stronger than the Walnut burl — much more appropriate for this application.  I’ll glue this up today and see how it works.

Marking knife handle turned in Cocobolo

Marking knife handle turned in Cocobolo

I polished the brass collar and sawed the slot for the blade.  I used an old gents saw that I had, to try to get the finest kerf.  That was a mistake because I know it’s impossible to saw straight with it.  Next time I’ll use my dovetail saw.

Parts ready for assembly

Parts ready for assembly and finishing

Categories: General Woodworking

Franksgiving Day Three: Router Table

360 WoodWorking - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 6:25am

FrankWhen Glen and Chuck were visiting Frank Klausz‘s shop a couple of weeks ago, they saw something that made them stop in their tracks. It’s an incredibly simple idea that neither of them had seen. When they told me about it and showed me the following video, I had never seen it either, and my reaction was the same as theirs; a smack to the forehead. As we wrap up our “Franksgiving” weekend, we want to express our gratitude to Frank for opening the doors to his new shop and sharing his experience with us and our audience. That experience goes back to 1959 when he completed his apprenticeship in his native Hungary. When Frank came to the United States in 1967, I was entering the seventh grade.

Many woodworkers tend to over-complicate things, but craftsmen like Frank Klausz recognize the beauty of simple solutions that let you get back to work on making things. That’s the big lesson I’ve learned from Frank; get to the basics of the problem, practice to get good at it, and move on to the next step. I first saw Frank in person at a woodworking show about 25 years ago, and I remember one of the things he said “If you’re having problems making dovetails because you can’t cut to the line, you shouldn’t be trying to make dovetails, you should practice cutting to the line. Once you can do that, you can do anything.” As always, Frank knows what he’s talking about because he’s done it more times than you can count.

–Bob Lang

Perfect Presentation Preparation

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 9:58am

"Even the furniture of the fifteenth century - rude as it appears to us - was an advance on that of the thirteenth, when goods and chattels were preserved in "dug outs," or chests roughly hewn out of the solid, and chairs were luxuries for kings alone."
 - "Modern Cabinetwork Furniture and Fitments" Wells & Hooper, 1909

This is from a book first published in 1909, written by a pair of Master Cabinetmakers in Great Britain (The honors they each list in the title page read impressively, though I don't fully understand their merit or significance, There is more information HERE). The way the words present, shrugging off the 13th century as a crude and ugly time in European history.

I present to you the Sainte Chapelle, constructed in the early 13th c, at the behest of King Louie IX. I will grant this is the creme of the crop, but even the photos of it are breathtaking and to write that magnificent structures of beautiful architecture sit blatantly alongside crude dug out tree trunks in the next room are broad brush strokes of folly.

There was not a mythical lone day in the fifteenth century when a beam of sunshine lit down from the heavens and all the joiners and cabinetmakers looked up from the chunk of firewood they were diligently hollowing out and realized they could do so much more.

"and that, boys and girls, was how veneer was born. . . "

This common belief, about the "darkness" of the dark ages, is something I have always disliked. If you just look at the material record left behind you can see great works of intelligence, ingenuity, artistic ability, and masterful technique. The technology was different, more manual than CNC or 3D printing, but it was more honed and refined finer than many things I see created today. I have spent many years of medieval reenactment discovering this for myself and then trying to open other's eyes to this truth and sometimes succeeding.

And to anyone who calls the furniture fashions of the 15th century "rude" well that sounds uneducated to me as well. Proof to my regular statement that the smarter you are, the dumber you are.

This has been the underlying reason I've wanted to write a book about medieval furniture. I want a role in expanding how people think about this time period and giving some respect to the great things that have come before them. My wife has told me I have an overdeveloped sense of history, but there is a passion for it inside me. I spent years digging for photos and records of furniture that survived 800 to 1000 years on a continent that has seen more than its share of turmoil and war, including the main stage of two great wars, and a cultural predisposition to cast away yesterday for what's shiny and new today. (Different than Eastern culture's reverence for ancestry and tradition alongside the new) and constantly emerged frustrated.

My aha moment in this quest was deciding to stop trying to find my evidence in museums and look to the "photographic" record of the time. The artwork produced, especially books of hours, illuminated manuscripts and miniatures. The Maciejowski is one of the most detailed and fantastic records of the time. Well studied for a variety of things and it shocked me as I searched to see if anyone had studied it for the furniture shown and I couldn't find anything comprehensive.

I had my muse and I've spent hours researching, and drawing, and building. Just to get to the point of really understanding the scope enough to talk about it.

My first public presentation of the material and information I've gathered will be this coming Sunday and 2pm at the Castlerock Museum of Arms and Armor in Alma Wisconsin. I hope to see you there.

When I first pitched this program to the museum, just shy of a year ago, I thought I would be further along with this project than I am, no surprise that life gets in the way of progress. In my minds eye I had most of the pieces built and finished, but in the end it's more important to get the pieces done CORRECTLY than to just get them done.

It's difficult to pre-judge the reception a lecture or presentation you've never given before, but I have worked harder on this one than I ever have before. The subject is fascinating and I hope to do it justice. To add a second level of pressure, I hope to use a video of this lecture as bait to lure a publisher into agreeing this is research and a subject that needs to be shared.

Now, back to work on my powerpoints.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Franksgiving Day Two: Sharpening

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 6:36am

IMG_2090aA few weeks ago Glen Huey and I got to spend some time with Frank Klausz. Not only did we spend the evening of his birthday with him at his home, but we spent the bulk of the following day with him in his new shop chatting, filming and doing lots of fun woodworking stuff.

Frank wanted to show the 360 WoodWorking community a few techniques that he hasn’t show before. And while I’m not sure he’s never shown off his method for sharpening, Glen and I certainly weren’t turning down the opportunity to get Frank on film demonstrating his technique. For me, (not) surprisingly, Frank’s method is extremely similar to the method Werner Duerr taught to me when I began my apprenticeship decades ago. The part I like best, like Frank, I take my jig with me wherever I go – watch for it.

If you aren’t a free-hander, check out planeperfect.com for more info on the Universal Sharpening Jig that Frank demonstrates.

And the best part of the demo – Frank’s method not only works for chisels and plane blades, but for carving knives as well…turkey carving knives that is. Happy Thanksgiving to all our U.S. friends, family and fans. And the happiest of Thanksgivings to one of the most generous cabinetmakers I’ve ever known (and the most important “F” of them all), Frank Klausz.

— Chuck Bender

Strike Two!

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 12:20am

Pardon please for a momentary distraction from our regularly scheduled, interminable, update on the construction of the Marquetry Chevalet. It’s nearly done after all, you wouldn’t want to rush it right? (As if…)

I’ve been following the dovetail tool swap over at Lumberjocks, I really enjoy seeing that community in action. I’m tempted to participate in the swap, but holding off so I don’t overcommitted. Meanwhile I’ve had Brother Cadfael designing tools I could make for the swap, so go figure.

One (of many) detours I’ve been down was to make a dovetail marking knife as laid out by David Barron. I love my Blue Spruce knives for general layout, and my Rob Cosman knife for dovetails — but this seemed like a quick and fun project.  I’ve been gathering the materials over the past week, disposable scalpel blades from the UK, brass tubing and some pen turning blanks, so I decided to give it a shot after work yesterday.

Design for David Barron's marking knife

Design for David Barron’s marking knife

I’d never pretend to be a competent wood turner, mostly because no one would believe me.  I’m having some issues with the spur center holding the stock firmly enough. The first blank I tried, in Cocobolo, was a fail. I hammered the spur drive in, started turning and had it spontaneously split.  I must have driven the spur in too far, although it certainly didn’t seem like it.  The Cocobolo was turning really nicely though.

 the Cocobolo blank split due to too much pressure from the spur drive

First try: the Cocobolo blank split due to too much pressure from the spur drive


On the second blank, in Claro Walnut, I was careful not to drive the spur center too far. Just a light tap, ok? For the entire time I was turning, it was slipping. I tightened the tail stock to apply more pressure, and it would be ok for a moment, then it would slip again.  It was a dance.

But I got it turned. Ish.

The neck where the brass ferrule goes was a little undersized. Just a little, maybe 10 thousands, but it was workable. The shape was a little fat and graceless, but ok for a prototype. The Walnut was really hard to turn too.  In places it cut nicely, in others it was really prone to chattering.

 Claro Walnut blank.  Not enough grip from the spur drive made it hard, plus this wood didn't seem very lathe friendly

Second try: Claro Walnut blank. Not enough grip from the spur drive made it hard, plus this wood didn’t seem very lathe friendly

The next step is to saw a kerf for the blade. I went gently, but it snapped off. I’m not surprised, I could see it was weak and the Walnut was really brittle.

The small tip snapped off when sawing the kerf for the blade

The small tip snapped off when sawing the kerf for the blade

I’m enjoying this process though.  I like figuring out how to make things, and there are lots of little nuances to this.  Figuring out how to use the lathe to turn a small part like this, how to turn section that is accurate to .002″ or so.  I have another couple of pen turning blanks that I picked up, two feet of Brass tubing and a box of 50 UK scalpel blades so I’m confident I’ll get this figured out.  Or, if not, I’m not out very much money or time.

I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving day.  I’ll be making shavings while the bird cooks on the smoker!

Categories: General Woodworking

Would Duncan Phyfe have used Masonite® or Luan?

The Furniture Record - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:55pm

Well, maybe not Duncan Phyfe or the Seymours  (John the father and Thomas the son). They had very well-heeled customers paying top dollar and expecting the best. Like Thos. Moser today, all their furniture was finely made from superior material with impeccable finish. But not everybody could afford the best. There had to be the equivalent of Ashley and Basset furniture.

I first started think about this while walking through a local consignment shop. One quick check for the age of furniture is to look at the back. Plywood or hardboard means it’s most likely 20th century. Plywood might have been available in the  1880’s.

Really nice plywood.

Really nice plywood.

Old plywood.

Old plywood.

Luan, not mahogany plywood.

Luan, not mahogany, plywood.

Traditional Masonite®.

Traditional Masonite®.

Horizontally texture hardboard.

Textured hardboard.

Cardboard is the ultimate low end material. Mostly for RTA (Ready To Assemble) furniture. Cheap and can be folded to fit in boxes.

Cardboard is the ultimate low-end material. Mostly for RTA (Ready To Assemble) furniture. Cheap and can be folded to fit in boxes. I don’t love it but it has its place in the retail hierarchy.

I was feeling smug and superior knowing respectable furniture makers from back in the day wouldn’t use plywood when it occurred to me they really did. Not plywood or other sheet goods, but certainly wood that couldn’t be used anywhere else. For examples:

Not prime or select.

Not prime or select.

Not even full boards.

Not even full boards.

Big, ugly boards.

Big, ugly boards.

I don’t believe that mid and lower level furniture makers worried much about the backs of furniture. The function of the back is to keep the carcass square and keep the dust out. Sheet goods do this quite well. These makers used what they had on hand including wood that couldn’t be used anywhere else. Wood had to be purchased and these people couldn’t afford to not use what they bought.

Think about it, they often didn’t even paint or finish the backs:

No faux graining.

No faux wood grain.

No paint.

No paint.

No finish.

No finish.

The backs are against the wall and once delivered are rarely seen. It just doesn’t matter. I think that if sheet goods were available, they would have been used.

And they didn’t worry too much about drawer bottoms either.

Made to fit and that's about it. Not pretty but it works.

Made to fit and that’s about it. Not pretty but it works.

It just didn’t matter. It’s just commerce.

The Winter Shop

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:43pm
I'm beginning to believe I'm just not happy unless I'm working in a new shop. 

When we moved into our new home roughly a year and a half ago I was very excited to have a two car garage to move my shop into, and the new shop has been fantastic. More space. Room and power enough to run both my hand tools and the occasional power tool. Assembly area. Dedicated sharpening space!!  I'll say that again,  Dedicated sharpening space!!

I know there is no perfect shop set up and no perfect shop. Everything has upsides and down sides, but I have come to very much understand why some more evolved shops have a dedicated and separate machine room and bench room. There's the possibility of some big updates to the house here in the future and I have been considering that option seriously. 

But the toughest thing about the garage shop has been the lack of insulation, and heat in the winter. Last year's polar vortex really sucked the wind out of my sails as my little kerosene R2-D2 heater just couldn't cut the mustard most days. I came to a stand still on work and inspiration and I hate that. I need the natural inertia I maintain hitting the shop regularly, Stopping makes it difficult to start again. 

This year I needed an answer to the cold. Dropping the money to insulate and install an upgraded heating system was way beyond our means, but what I did have was an oddity of our house and a wife who is entirely too indulgent of my hair brained ideas. 

We have two back porches. Outside our back door is a small four season porch about 12' by 6'. This was populated by some overly large and inconvenient to use cabinets left from the previous owner. Then there's a sliding patio door between at porch and a larger three season porch before you get outside. 

I convinced my bride to let me move the cabinets out to the back porch and let me move some of the shop into the four season porch. After all I have an extra workbench now. 

My kerosene heater warms the new winter shop to a good temp in less than fifteen minutes and after that, with the back door of the house open and the patio door closed, it's just like working inside, and I'm only three steps away from the coffee maker. 

There is another door in this room, completely un-needed, I screwed it shut permanently when we moved in. now it supplies some natural light.

But not as much as this great, south facing window. 

 I had a demonstration dovetail corner laying about so I hung it up as a combo pencil sharpener, phone shelf. The space is small enough I can listen to my music and audio books without additional speakers.

The patio door is my favorite. Last year we started shutting it in the winter to help keep the house warmer and people kept walking into the glass. So I asked my daughters to paint something on it so people could tell if it was open or closed. They chose a TARDIS door. Now it's the new door to my shop and I love it. 

I know. It's supposed to be bigger on the inside. I guess that can't always be true. 

The weather changed fast this year with not much of an autumn at all and the space is cozy. But honestly a smaller shop is easier to keep neat and orderly than a large one. I'm considering making this area a permanent shop space. Naomi rolls her eyes when she hears me say this, but she probably won't stop me. 

A small window unit air conditioner and it will work just as well as a summer shop. 

Ratione et Pasionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Not An Optimal Day For Solar Power

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 6:26pm


We had a heavy overcast with more than a foot of snow today.  No solar, but hydropower is working fine.  Actually it was nice having the power house under a foot of fluffy snow as it made the soft turbine whine evaporate altogether.


The view out the dining room window was pretty impressive.


I ventured out only long enough to pick up my new computer, onto which all my old files were transferred without a hitch.  Tomorrow morning I will finish setting it up with the printers and get my nose back to the Studley manuscript grindstone.


Spoons, bowls & more for sale – November 2014

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 2:01pm

hewn bowl 14-05 carving


When Chris Schwarz left his job some time ago, I remember him writing later that he never knew what day it was. That’s the boat I’m in lately…and I got around to photographing and posting the spoons & bowls I have for sale, then realized everyone’s on the road in America – it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. Oh well…this stuff will be here. Here’s the link, http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/late-november-spoons-bowls-for-sale/  or the top of the page on the blog will get you there too. 

Let me know if you’d like to order any of these items; just leave a comment. Paypal is easiest, but I can accept checks too. Just let me know. Any questions, speak up. 

Happy thanksgiving to those who celebrate it…


I also have some DVDs of the wainscot chair project left – let me know if you’d like that…

The newest DVD I’ve done with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is available now. “17th Century Wainscot Chair”

wainscot chair videp

Over 200 minutes, it shows how to make a full-blown wainscot chair based on a 17th-century example. The chair is carved, but that work is covered in earlier videos I did with Lie-Nielsen. I have one batch for sale, or you can order them from Lie-Nielsen if you need other stuff too…

here’s the blurb:

17th Century Wainscot Chair

with Peter Follansbee

The Wainscot Chair is one of the hallmarks of 17th century joinery. In this DVD, Peter demonstrates how to prepare material from a section of oak, shape the chair pieces using bench tools and a pole lathe, and join them together with drawbored mortise and tenon joints. He also offers two traditional approaches for making the angled joints of this chair.

Peter Follansbee specializes in 17th century period joinery and green woodworking. He spent over 20 years making reproduction furniture at Plimoth Plantation, the living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching the craft at schools around the USA, Peter co-authored the book, Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to 17th Century Joinery, with Jennie Alexander. He is also featured in three other Lie-Nielsen DVDs: 17th c. New England Carving (2010); 17th c. New England Carving: Carving the S-Scroll (2011); and 17th c. Joined Chest (2012).

218 minutes (2 discs), Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Productions, 2014.


The new video, 17th Century Wainscot Chair  – is now available. $40 plus $2 shipping in US. Email me if you’d rather send a check; but the paypal button is right here…

Buy Now Button


Franksgiving Day One: Finish

360 WoodWorking - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 1:08pm

Experienced woodworkers develop techniques that are simple to use and easy to remember. Sometimes those techniques provide a smack-your-forehead moment. That was the case when Chuck Bender and I visited with Frank Klausz in early November.

Sitting on a shelf in his round, water-tower workshop was a new can of Waterlox (Water tower and Waterlox?), which I was amazed to find out is Frank’s favorite finish. He has a multiple-step process by which he applies the finish, but Waterlox is the only finish he uses – that’s keeping it simple.

Sitting next to the new can was a Waterlox container that had seen its better days. I asked Frank what had happened and why the can was crunched. His reply reinforced the fact that we were in the presence of an experienced woodworker.

“I squeeze the can,” Frank said, “to remove the excess air, which keeps the finish fresh.” I officially smacked my forehead. Think about this as you slip into your turkey-induced coma on Thursday.

Build Something Great!


You can do that!

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 12:45pm

Some time ago I wrote a post detailing the steps required for your everyday, average woodworker to make the difficult transition to  “cool woodworker”. The path I set wasn’t an easy one to follow, even for experienced woodworkers with many projects under their belts. The truth is there are many talented woodworkers out there who will never attain that lofty status. But, I thought, what about those who just want to appear to be cool woodworker? Even better, what if you just want people to think you are a cool woodworker even though you’ve never even picked up a saw or chisel? Let’s be honest with ourselves, being a cool woodworker doesn’t necessarily make you a better woodworker; it’s all about bragging rights. So with that in mind, I came up with a few suggestions for the wannabe to look like a cool woodworker without ever having made a piece of furniture.


It all begins at the workshop. To look like a cool woodworker you need a cool workshop. Firstly, your workshop must be solely dedicated to woodworking, otherwise you may as well just give up and not even make the attempt. Your workshop cannot double as a garage, or your wife’s yoga studio, or your kids playroom. It has to be a woodworking shop that looks like a woodworking shop, preferably a wood barn with tongue and groove walls, a wood rack, a hanging tool cabinet, and the most ostentatious woodworking bench you can purchase. You’re looking for wow factor. You want even the most casual observer to walk into your little slice of woodworking heaven and know immediately that a high level craftsman is residing there.


It gets a bit tricky here only because even the average DIYer may have chisels, saws, a table saw, and a hammer. What you need to do firstly is be sure to have at least 5 times the amount of tools that the average homeowner may have. For example, if the average home owner has 4 chisels, you will need at least two dozen; if he has 2 hand saws, you need at least ten. In fact, hand saws are the one tool that can really set you apart, because you can easily pick up a few dozen old hand saws, the older the better, and hang them prominently along your wall. Remember, they don’t even have to be sharp, as long as they look great.

Hand planes are a bit trickier. Once again, the average Joe off the street will generally know what a hand plane looks like, and he may even have one or two in his tool box. What you need to do is have a plane collection that screams “serious woodworker”. Of course you have your numbered Stanley’s, and for those I recommend #1 thru #7. But you really need to stand out. Wood bodied planes are certainly welcome; moulding planes appear to be “woodworkery”, but I suggest you kick it up a notch and pick up a few exotic infill planes. Be sure they are big, shiny, and visible the moment you enter the workshop.

Other tools to consider are hand braces and drills, many hammers and mallets, and of course you want a nice cabinet saw, planer, and drill press. An added bonus powertool would be a lathe, which is instantly recognizable to most people. A nice added touch would be some rasps and floats, which look like woodworking tools to the layman yet at the same time are obscure enough to emit air of “craftsman”. What you are going for is a large group of specialty tools that can be hung throughout the workshop in a highly visible manner.


This part is tough, because I’ve yet to discover a true cool woodworker “dress code”. I’ve found that it’s not so much the clothes, but how they are worn that set apart cool woodworkers from the rest of the population. For example, most of us wear t-shirts, but a cool woodworker will generally wear some type of logo t-shirt, and like all things cool woodworker, the more obscure the logo, the better. A shop apron is a must, and shorts are another staple. “But”, you say, “we all wear shorts!” True. But a cool woodworker will wear shorts year round. Why? Because wearing shorts year round  is an indicator that you spend much of your free time in a climate controlled workshop. Also, clogs, sandals, flip-flops, or any unconventional footwear is always a good choice. Work boots are generally a no-no. A good rule of thumb is any footwear that is completely inappropriate to the task, sort of like wearing sneakers to a wedding.

Maybe the most important look you need to cultivate is your coif and facial hair. The coif is actually easy, you only need not get a haircut for approximately 6 months. The key is not to have long hair, but wear a hairstyle that tells the world you are too busy woodworking to actually care what your hair looks like. Washing (or not washing) your hair on a regular basis is completely optional. The facial hair is a bit more challenging. The goatee doesn’t really fit the bill, and neither does the neatly trimmed beard. I’ve found that the most accepted form of facial hair is either the wildly unkempt beard, or the stubbly, near-beard that never quite fills out. Also acceptable is the late 70’s/early 80’s era Kurt Bevacqua mustache.

In all cases, a beer belly is a must. You also get added points for being skinny with a beer belly, which obviously isn’t easy. Though cool woodworkers are supposedly on their feet and working with their hands all day, they still somehow manage to look like the least physically fit people on the planet, so that is the look you should be shooting for. Think the opposite of muscles and you will be okay.

Once again I’ve laid out a course that isn’t necessarily easy. However, looking like a woodworker should be a bit of a challenge. Still, I have no doubt that if you follow these steps, you will easily convince most people that you are, in fact, a cool woodworker.

Categories: General Woodworking

Plane sailing

Finely Strung - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 8:34am

A rather good joke by artist Colin Baxter. Made out of an old beech wood block plane, drift wood and some scraps of veneer, it’s in an exhibition at Bell Fine Art, Winchester, who kindly let me take a photograph.


Where’s Joe?

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 7:41am

I didn’t have time to post anything this past weekend – my parents were in town for a visit.  I didn’t expect to get any shop time, other than the traditional shop tour to show off what I’m doing.  Neither of my folks have the same “need to make something” affliction as me, so I was slightly surprise when my mom announced she wanted to make a candlestick holder.

My son has made these as Christmas gifts in previous years, and it’s a pretty foolproof project, so I gave her a quick overview and chucked up a piece of Chakte Koc (AKA “mexican red heart”) that I had just for this purpose.  I guided her in the process, but she did all the work, donning my flannel shirt and standing fearlessly in the billowing stream of damp wood shavings spraying out.

Mom working at the $75 lathe

Mom working at the $75 lathe

She sanded the part through a series of grits, ending with 600 and then a final burnish with the shavings from the part.  We finished it with a coat of oil & wax.  Unfortunately we didn’t make time for dad to make one too, but he and I made ribs one night, and pulled pork another.

Mom's Candlestick

Mom’s Candlestick

Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut