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In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking Asa Christiana drops back in to talk about woodworking tips published in his book, “Build Stuff with Wood.” Topics include how to improve acid brushes to what are the best castors for shop carts. Plus, the the idea of moving woodworking beyond a solo event, and the benefits thereof are discussed.
Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).
|another after dinner outing|
|replaced the screws with miller dowels|
|I'll put a piece of foam on top of it when I ship it|
|sawing this is as easy as ripping a piece of paper|
|didn't even clog the teeth|
|the most important part|
|sawed the proud off on the bandsaw|
|ready to address and ship|
The big storm we were supposed to get turned out to be the big bust. The forecast was for 3-5 inches of rain and 50 MPH plus winds wednesday night. When I went to work this morning it didn't even look like it had rained. And I saw no wind damage anywhere on the drive in to work. The next few days will be cloudy with off and on rain until sunny skies come back on saturday. What I went through is nothing compared to what the people in the south had to endure.
What is a milquetoast person?
answer - someone who is meek or timid
This week, beginning on Monday, I have a couple of woodworkers in the shop building Pembroke tables. Frankly, these guys are kicking A@$. It’s been only three days and the Franks – that’s right, both guys in the class are named Frank – are owning these tables.
As you can see in the photo, the tables, complete with oval drop-leaf tops and fly rails with knuckle joints, are all but finished. Because they plan to breakdown the tables to transport them back to their shops, they decided to build without assembly, which is why the aprons are not yet installed.
My acquaintance Bill Robertson, maker of astonishing miniatures, is featured in a new TED Talk. Watch, and prepare to be astounded.
One of the perks of working at Popular Woodworking is the unlimited access to the decades of content in our library. The shear number of books, magazines and videos that I have access to is remarkable. Brendan Gaffney started at the magazine about three months after me and it’s not uncommon to see one of our monitors running a video from videos.popularwoodworking.com in the background while we work. There’s just […]
The post Live at Lunch! Build a Sturdy Workbench is LIVE on Facebook appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
With a little logistical cogitation John and I, both 60-somethings and neither of us mesomorphs, managed to maneuver the 300+ pound top of the French Oak Roubo Project workbench out into the light. Immediately I was struck by both the magnificence of the 240(?) year old white oak slab, and the waney void adjacent to a glue line on the underside of it. I suppose at one time I was just going to leave it as-is, an admittedly foggy memory going back four years, but given that one of the leg mortises needed to go right through the flawed region I decided instead to fill it. I could have grafted in another piece of oak but instead fell back on a tried-and-true method of repair that I have employed several times in the past as it was especially well suited for a repair of this size.
I first sized (primed) the margins of the effected area with standard West System epoxy, thinned about 25% with acetone to get deep penetration. One of the reasons for any potential epoxy failures, whether in adhesion, consolidation or filling, is that the epoxy does not penetrate adequately to knit the entire construct together nicely. What then often happens also is that the density differences between the high density inelastic epoxy and the less dense, much more elastic wood, may result in a fracture at their margin when they are intimately bound together in a cyclic stressful environment. The diluted epoxy addresses the first of these problems, the filling of epoxy with large wood flakes addresses the second.
In this case I ran a scrap of oak through the power planer to yield the typically large shavings you would expect from the machine. I took handfuls of these shavings and packed them down into the void that had been previously primed with the thinned epoxy.
I then drizzled un-thinned epoxy on top of the wood flakes, then sprinkled on more shavings and packed them again through some wax paper. I let the entire fill to harden overnight.
An additional feature of fills like this is that when the volume is large enough, the exothermic reaction of the epoxy hardening causes the adhesive to actually boil in place, aerating the fluid as it hardens, reducing further the density of the hardened fill. This is a very good thing.
The resulting repair is much closer in density to the wood, thus reducing the risk of a system fracture at their interface, and yields a repair that can be easily smoothed with a rasp or Surform tool.
The success of the repair can be clearly seen in the edges of the mortises I drilled and pounded through the slab and the repair (next blog post). It held together wonderfully and had working properties nearly identical to the adjacent oak.
I've been working with wood since I was a kid. I took my first woodworking class at the 92nd Street Y when I was 6 years old. I've been taking classes and building stuff for over 35 years. For the last 17 I have been working at Tools for Working Wood. In that time, new tools and new techniques have come on the market. By and large I have ignored them in my personal work. However, I haven't ignored everything, and my methods of work have in certain areas changed dramatically for the better. I've broken up my list of ten things into three posts so I don't drone on and on here. This is part two. Part 1 is here
When I studied in school, the idea of a powered joining system was an anathema to teachers and students of traditional methods. At the time, there weren't many options -- dowel joints were the most prominent. The Metropolitan Museum's Study Collection had Frank Lloyd Wright chairs that used dowel joints to hold the backs together. What made me notice this? The chairs were coming apart.
Towards the end of my studying time, Lamello biscuit joiners started gaining popularity, and by the 1990's biscuits had become the go-to method for joining cabinets. Many cabinet shops had stationary mortisers for floating tenons for stronger joints.
Then Festool introduced the Domino into the US in the first years of the 21st century. It was a portable, accurate machine for installing floating tenons. This was a game changer. I was so impressed with Festool's innovation that when I opened TFWW, a center for hand tools, I decided to add Festool to the mix. Over the years as a Festool dealer and user my faith in the system hasn't been challenged. We routinely use Dominos in our own shop for all sorts of construction. There are cases where manually cutting a mortise is easier, usually when working with bizarro angles, and there is the satisfaction of chopping a mortise by hand. The system isn't cheap, either. But for me, the Domino me is an enabler of projects I would not ordinarily have the time for.
I am getting older - better than the alternative - and for the past five years or so I haven't been able to see detail. My eyesight has been bad since third grade, but worsened with time. About ten years ago I started wearing continuous bifocals for reading. I also have a pair of computer glasses for focusing on my computer screen and reading . Close-up work become impossible until I re-discovered what everyone else in the same situation had already re-discovered: Magnification! Specifically, the Optivisor, which we now stock. They are surprisingly comfortable. I use a number 5 (2 1/2x magnification) with a headlamp. It makes a huge difference for small work. For just doing things like sharpening a saw, lesser magnification a #2 (which only magnifices 1.5x which isn't much at all) is a game changer for me. The lower magnification gives me a greater working distance which is nice. I wear them over my glasses. They are US-made and are of sufficiently high quality so I don't get eyestrain. I don't know what I would do without them. The game changing was especially sweet because between the time I noticed I could not do close work anymore and getting the Optivior, I went through an unhappy period of thinking that my woodworking days were behind me. I live in an apartment and I don't really need more furniture, but carving and miniatures have always held an attraction. I had been hoping that I would become good enough at relief carving to really enjoy the results of doing it - something not possible without magnification.
My first encounter with shellac was with a small bottle of hobby store shellac that might have been purchased during the Eisenhower administration. When I tried to use it during the Johnson administration it seemed to just lie there and not dry at all. Shellac was a mystery until maybe ten years ago. At that time I started understanding the difference between what you got in bottles pre-mixed, and what you could do if you mixed up shellac flakes with good alcohol yourself. While I had seen French polish in museums, it was only then that I saw fellow woodworkers finish their work with French polish. For the first time I really understood how wonderful shellac could be. Since that time I basically have three go-to finishes. Finishing oil, for anything that I want a matte finish on and anything walnut. Polyurethane from a can, for anything I just need to keep clean of fingerprints and I don't care about. And fresh shellac, mixed up from de-waxed shellac flakes as needed, French polished, or just brushed on and rubbed out. That's my classy finish. I still love my oil finishes but a shellac finish is just classier on so many levels.
That's all for now. More to come next time. What are your gamechangers?
I moved to Kentucky/Cincinnati on July 1st, and by the 15th of the month, I was already starting out on building the furniture for my new house here. Josselyn (my partner) and I had committed to leaving behind the cheap, second-hand furniture we had bought since leaving college years ago, and in doing so, arrived without a dining table, dining chairs, coffee table or a proper bedroom set. So, for […]
These are the dovetails I expect of myself each and everytime I do them. On the times I fail to meet this standard, I have to use epoxy.
|top edge flushed and cleaned up|
|till fits and slides easily R/L and L/R|
|the determining factor|
|the way I wanted the rule to go|
|got his herd of planes in the box|
|it's temporary home|
|first temporary home|
|is it ok to change your mind on tools|
|Lee Valley throw away|
|old time marking knife|
|back is flat and shiny|
|this is what I've come around to again|
|cleanly incised line and easy to see|
|clean and neat line too|
|my squares are getting chewed up|
I also have a Lee Valley spear point marking knife with a wooden handle I forgot to snap a pic of. The business end of that has a broader, shorter profile than my big knife. I tried that for a few days and put it away. I didn't like that one at all. I will try to do all my marking with the old knife for now and see what shakes out with it.
|one of Miles panel saws|
|I like the hang on this saw|
|getting an idea for the saw till size|
|as is it is 6"|
|until I make the saw till|
|screwed the corners|
|glued and cooking|
What are Stratocumulus, Stratus, Cumulus, Cumulonimbus clouds classified as?
answer - Low Level Clouds (0 to 1.25 miles)
Improve the Comfort in Your Shop with the Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware!
In this video, Guy Dunlap explains how the new Benchcrafted Hi Vise hardware can dramatically improve your approach to carving tasks, cutting and paring dovetails or any detail work, allowing greater control. Guy also reviews the easy installation of this valuable addition to your shop.
Find out more and purchase your own Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware at Highland Woodworking.
The circumference of a 12” bowl (2πr) is about 38”. Multiply that to a lathe’s speed and you’ll realize that wood turners are making almost a mile of shavings a minute. I think it’s fair to say that turners sharpen more than any other woodworkers. Like other areas of the craft, religious sects have developed around sharpening in the turning world. Yet few fanatics outside of skew maniacs ever discuss […]
The post Diamonds are a Turner’s Best Friend: My Favorite Slipstone appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
|Tom on the right and me on the left. Paul Nyborg is a good friend in the middle.|
He's demonstrated with us in years past but won't make it this time around.
But next week Sunday Sept. 24th. I get to do something I've come to like even more. For the past few years Tom Latane and I have partnered up in ap presentation called "Forest To Furniture" We show the process of taking logs and producing furniture from the rough parts. In the past we've tackled, general techniques, joined stools (to varying degrees of success), and a small corner shelf, (the two produced are used in the museum)
This year I'm extra excited, we are working on a three legged staked stool based on patterns found in numerous Viking Age archaeological digs. Here's a LINK to google images. It's a simple stool in a staked furniture fashion but I rarely like the reproductions I see done. Last spring I revisited the form myself using Chris Schwarz's work on staked furniture as a guide and I was able to create a prototype I felt better about.
This coming Sunday Tom and I will go about improving on my prototype as anyone who wants to come can sit and watch us sweat and talk sawdust and anything else. The show does cost a nominal fee for the museum but the bad jokes are all free.
Please consider joining us!
Ratione et Passionis
With our ambitious agenda awaiting us for the Man Week at the barn, our first task was to begin the Tetris game that always seems to be on tap for any type of reorganizing the shop. The ripple molding machine was easily accessible for John but I had to move a ton of stuff to get to the FORP I workbench parts that were behind the parts for all the other workbenches that are not yet finished, and a large pile of old oak salvaged from the shack deconstruction that we were working on when I crossed paths with the cranky wheelbarrow that put me out of commission for the better part of a year.
The first thing I noticed from the pile of salvaged oak was the presence of frass in between each piece of the stack. It might have been old frass from a no-longer-active infestation or it might not. It was not an extreme amount but I was not going to take a chance as I was going to be making furniture for the cabin from it.
I mixed up my typical batch of insecticide with a gallon of marine anti-freeze and two 8 oz. cups of dry borate-complex powder (Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate), then mixed with a paint stirrer in my cordless drill.
I used a cheap garden sprayer to saturate the boards and stacked them under plastic to let it all soak in thoroughly. After 36 hours I set them against the barn to dry, and two days later moved them inside and will put them to use when that project moves to the top of the pile.
I am not going to put saws in the toolbox. I had watched a toolbox presentation on the evolution of them from about 1660 up to the late 1800's. According to the person presenting he said saws were not commonly kept in toolboxes. I found that hard to understand when all the tools a craftsman needed were supposedly in the toolbox. How did he saw anything? The presenter said saws were kept in a separate saw till. Although he did show a few chests with saws stowed in the lid and in the interior bottom.
I like the idea of a separate saw till to hold Miles saws. I have a crosscut and rip saw for him already and I am going to get a dovetail, carcass, and tenon saw too. Making a saw till for him will free up that space in the toolbox for other tools.
|blue tape to the rescue|
|I can't see it|
|cleaned and flushed up the top|
|gluing on the bottom|
|glued, clamped, and cooking|
|the before and after|
|found some screws|
|set my 4" square to the depth|
|screw holes done|
|should have erased that pencil line|
|laid it out right on this side|
|they work well|
|I don't like the flat look on the ends|
|my backyard maple tree|
On the Bob Newhart show (1970's), what was the apartment number he lived in?
answer - 523
I was talking to Peter Follansbee about life, woodworking and this blog when he asked my why I didn’t take pictures of anything really old? My threshold for old is pre-McKinley (1900) while Mr. Follansbee’s is 16th century. The obvious answer is that the places I have access to don’t often have anything old. The number of Empire chests-of-drawers far exceeds the number of jointed English stools in the retail/auction market.
To address Mr. Follansbee’s concerns, I offer here two dealer-confirmed old pieces. I completely trust antiques dealers. What possible incentive would they have to lie or deceive?
Is it a cupboard if it was built before cups were invented? Could it be a jelly if all they had was preserves? It’s that old:
Equally old or even older is this chest:
The thing that really hooked me on "The Anarchist Tool Chest" when I first opened the book was the title to the prologue.
Those two words, impossible to follow one way or the other, distilled most of my attitude for this world. I was fortunate I traversed my public school education when the term Attention Deficit was only beginning to gain traction and understanding. If then were today I'd probably carry the boat anchor labels of Oppositional Defiance Disorder, or Rage Disorder, and most certainly ADHD. To be clear I don't believe I'm any of these things, I'm simply more willful, emotional, and free thinking than your average bear.
Whatever you tell me might be right, but I pathologically refuse to accept things without taking my own punches and learning for myself. If I'm wrong I'm happy to admit it, but I have to find out I'm wrong first. Sometimes it takes me a long time to figure it out.
When I went to install the hinges on my version of The ATC I was mindful about the hardware I was using. I knew Chris advocates slotted screws in furniture and the best argument I've heard from him for it is "because they look right." I debated in my mind for a little bit and came to a thought that went something like this:
"F U Chris, this is a modern take on a traditional tool chest. Slotted screws are the right thing for replacing or replicating an older or period piece, but this is my take built today and I'm gonna use the phillips screws that came with the hinges"
I've been working out of this chest nearly everyday since 2011 and at first my decision didn't bother me, but in the last six years I've changed. Maybe it was the impetus of building the chest itself, maybe it's just the natural progression of the way my mind works, but soon after I started really studying furniture and woodworking on a deeper level than what the magazines were feeding me. I started finding books recommended by woodworkers I admired and then combing the bibliographies of those books to find that source material. The size of my personal library grew, now somewhere in the range of 250 books.
And the more I've read, and the more I've paged through volumes of furniture, the more I've realized that god dammit Chris you're right, alongside the nail head, the clocked slotted screw just looks like it belongs and the rest, phillips, square, torx, or hex, they stand out like a red devil in a crowd of nuns.
A few days ago I picked up some replacement slot headed wood screws, and I replaced the crappy phillips screws, and now my obsessiveness can move on to a different victim. Oh until I have a chance to redo to redo the compartments in the bottom level of my chest. turns out over time I was wrong about them too. . .
Ratione et Passionis
Note: This is the second of a series. The third will deal with mitered and rounded corners. Measure Be sure you take into account any desired overhangs at the front or end of a cabinet run (or table base) as well as radiused corners, and be sure you note the farthest points in all cases (such as areas along the length of a wall where the wall dips in), to make […]
If you’re paying attention you might know by now I will be one of the presenters at the upcoming Colonial Williamsburg annual conference Working Wood in the 18th Century, January 25-28, 2018.
I have two time slots, the first being a discussion of the acouterments of a Parisian woodworking atelier in the late 18th century, including Roubo workbenches and ripple molding machines. If all goes well we will be demonstrating these machines, making ripple molding right there on stage. My second session will be the concluding presentation of the conference IIRC, reviewing and demonstrating the practice of woodfinishing of the era.
I hope to see you there. Say “Hi” if you make it.
Varnishers of The World, Unite!