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General Woodworking

Grizzly 6″ Spiral Cutter Head Jointer – Impressions from Yoav Liberman

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 7:57am

First a disclaimer: This is a recollection of impressions following the installation and test running of our new 6” Grizzly spiral Cutterhead jointer, that we bought at full price this fall.  As many of you know, I teach woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. Our program is mainly geared towards hand tool work. To help us prepare stock for projects, shop furniture and to create projects for our […]

The post Grizzly 6″ Spiral Cutter Head Jointer – Impressions from Yoav Liberman appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Turning Pain into Passion with Woodworking

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 7:00am

Editor’s Note: This heartfelt story was submitted by Lynda Cheldelin Fell, the wife of one of our customers. The moment we read it, we knew it needed to be shared with the rest of our woodworking community! 

In 2009, our 15-year-old daughter, Aly, a competitive swimmer and straight-A student, was tragically killed in a car accident while returning home from a swim meet.

Overcome with grief, my dear sweet husband, Jamie, buried his heartache. Managing commercial development projects, he escaped into 80-hour work weeks, more wine, more food, and less talking. His blood pressure shot up, his cholesterol went off the chart, and the perfect storm arrived on June 4, 2012.

Just minutes after we returned home from town, Jamie began drooling. A strange look came over his face. I asked if he was okay, but no words came. He couldn’t answer.

My soulmate and hero, my strong adorable, funny, brilliant partner in life, father of our children, and rock of my world was having a major stroke. At age 46, he was suddenly unable to speak, read, write, or walk. My world had come to a complete standstill.

Jamie was hospitalized for 17 days. When he finally came home, we faced an uncertain future of outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapies to help Jamie relearn activities of daily living. Our days became filled with appointment after appointment with catnaps in between.

Little by little, Jamie’s hard work and determination paid off. He graduated from the wheelchair to a walker to a cane to solid footing. He relearned how to feed himself, bathe, pour a glass of water, and change his shirt.

It’s been five years now since the devastating stroke that robbed us of so much. Although Jamie has regained mobility, his entire right side remains numb. The speech center in his brain, which was destroyed by the stroke, is permanently affected. But his mind remains keen, and his intelligence isn’t wasted. He keeps it active by puttering around in his workshop—a workshop that once sat neglected due to an overworked scheduled. Now with nothing but time on his hands, my dear sweet hubby turns his pain into passion by making beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts for family and friends.

Slow moving and frequent rest periods prevent Jamie from making gifts as gainful employment, but delighting others with his woodworking brings joy to his day. A natural craftsman at heart, his attention to detail is unparalleled, and it’s evident that everything he creates with his hands comes right from his heart.

The American flag table below was a wedding gift to our niece. It took Jamie nearly a year, but his patience and determination produced a wedding gift unlike any other. A second American flag table is now underway for another newlywed niece.

Through losing our daughter and Jamie’s devastating stroke, his workshop has become a symbol of our own personal silver lining: what once sat neglected due to an overworked schedule is now a source of pride and joy—and serves as a powerful reminder that obstacles are often opportunities in disguise.

The post Turning Pain into Passion with Woodworking appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Steve Latta Dishes on Fine Woodworking

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 3:35am
Steve Latta Dishes on Fine Woodworking

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking writer, furniture maker and instructor Steve Latta is back to talk about Fine Woodworking Magazine.  Listen as he talks about the various editors he has worked with at the magazine throughout the past 30 years, and learn about a few of the articles he is most please with writing. Plus, he shares his method of work. Are you “process” oriented, or “project” oriented?

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).

Continue reading Steve Latta Dishes on Fine Woodworking at 360 WoodWorking.

made lots of progress......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 1:05am
Picked up a couple more techniques or methods of work tonight.  That brings my total to working on the box to three. There was a certain bit of trepidation doing them because they were new to me. I hadn't done anything like this before and screwing it up would render the box useless. I have never shied away from much and I am a firm believer in trying. I came through it ok and I think I can thank all my previous hand tool work paying off here.

my miter saw
This section of the teeth look to be ok. On the rest of the saw the teeth vary in height. I can see that the teeth have been recently sharpened as they are still shiny and are sharpened for crosscut. That explains some of the rough cuts on the miters. Maybe if I get all the teeth even it will improve the cut. I'll try to sharpen it this weekend.

pit stop at the post office
Made a quick stop at the PO to pick up a couple of boxes. I stole borrowed some packing stuff from my wife and got some planes packed up. I'll ship them on saturday.  I have a few more to pass on but these boxes are too small and the PO was out of big boxes.

out of the clamps
The first thing I look at with miters is how tight is it where the toes and heels come together. A bit ragged out looking here but the toes are tight.

the opposite kitty corner
The nubby looking crappola is dried hide glue. The miter looks pretty good and I'll plane this after I saw it apart.

marked my saw line
This will be my first time sawing a box apart with a hand saw. I've done this before on a tablesaw and have gotten good results. Which type of rip saw should I use? Paul Sellers used a panel saw when he sawed his big box but this one isn't even a tenth of that size.

carcass rip saw
I have a small rip panel saw but I think the box is too small for it. I opted for this because it is smaller and I have better control with it. I started on the top corner and went around the box from there.

I strayed off the line in 3 spots but I saw them and was able to correct it.

the lid has some twist
The far left and the near right are high. I knocked those down first and checked it again. I then went around the lid and stopped when I got a continuous shaving.

bottom is twist free
both parts planed
This is the one part of this I wasn't too sure of. Paul Sellers did his box/lid planing in a casual manner while I was sweating bullets that I was planing too much off. The small horizontal divot on the left joint line is where the saw tried to make a errant trip into La La Land.

the backside looks good too
It looks like I was fretting over this for nothing. This only the first time and maybe I got lucky. After I have repeated this several times, I'll consider myself a good beginner.

miters rough sawn to length
I will trim them fit on the donkey ear jig.

tight fit with the miters - time to see if the lid mates
this side slipped on
back side isn't cooperating
The walnut is too wide and I'll have to thin it some. I'll do that after I get the lid to slip on and off.

pulled the lid off and the walnut came with it
Every box I've seen like this has had the inner banding on the bottom. The top does seem to like having it though.

a bit of fussing and I got it to go
I don't have to trim the height of the walnut as much as I thought I would have to. It is a tight fit and it'll take a few trimming and fitting dance steps to get it to fit. I'll have to decide whether to glue the walnut in the bottom or the lid.

got wax on the walnut
I only cleaned the wax on the bottom and not the lid. I cleaned it out of the lid and the walnut so I can glue it in either one now.

got it
I got the lid to fit onto the walnut with it in the bottom. Still a tight fit and much too tight to use as is.

where I left off
I couldn't decide where to glue the walnut, whether to trim the width now, do a round over on the walnut now or after the glue up, or chisel a slight chamfer on the bottom inside of the lid. Miles just woke up from his nap so I shut the lights out and headed upstairs.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the longest river in North America?
answer - The Missouri River ( it beats the Mississippi by over 20 miles)

Soon With Less.

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 8:46pm

I've struggled with whether or not to write this, but things will be obvious over the next year, and because I do my own stunts in front of the camera here at the Oldwolf Workshop there will be no hiding the changes. So this is an effort to cut past a hundred separate conversations to one.

Next week I will be undergoing a surgical procedure known as Gastric Bypass. Essentially the intention is to surgically shrink the size of my stomach by ninety percent. If you want to know more the Wikipedia entry is very thorough. Because of this I should see significant weight loss in my near future,and admitting it now will lessen my immature (and inappropriate) response to claim I'm undergoing chemotherapy or high colonic cleansings.

But why do that, just eat a salad fatty. I can hear it even if it isn't said out loud, but it's only half the story. i've always been a big bruiser of a person. As a senior in High School I was strong and svelte with a six pack and still weighted in at 190#. After high school I gained weight, but was able to stay active and comfortable. Several years ago I blew out my knee and it was the start of a bad cycle.

The thing about the weight isn't just social acceptance or fitting into an airline or auditorium seat. The thing no one discusses is the pain. Up until a few months ago I had reached a point where everything I did hurt. I know cry me a river snowflake, but the pain isn't short term "oh I passed a kidney stone" it's chronically grinding and never ending. It makes every effort cost you twice as much and alters the scale on which you weigh just how much anything is worth it.

The toughest challenge is admitting you're not enough all by yourself to keep slogging through and gain any measure of sustainable success. I can see the lighthouse but I need help to turn this ship around. After several years of discussion with my doctor and my wife, this is my best option and once the decision was made to pursue surgery it was still almost a two year process to here.

This is anything but a rash and quick fix decision. I work in surgery, I have for almost 20 years. The only outcomes I ever see are bring back complications and usually bad ones. If I'm honest I'm scared to death about this, but I'm so tired of battling the grinding pain everyday I will face anything. The upsides of losing weight, resolving diabetes and high blood pressure and living a more comfortable, possibly longer life seem better than a poke in the eye too.

After next week I will be on weight lifting restrictions for four weeks. That limits what I can really do in the shop. Maybe I'll sharpen a few saws. I also picked up some models to put together in between scheduled walks and high protein meals. I'll keep myself busy and it's possible I'll write more here too, catch up with some of the things I've accomplished without recording here. Mostly I hope I can mangle my concentration down to read. I haven't managed to do more than scan the newer Roubo Tome from Don Williams and company. It's time I fixed that.

So from here on out it will still be the Oldwolf Workshop, only concentrated, with less fillers.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Moon Sister Pipe

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 7:44pm
We are a big geek household. Many of us sit around a table and play Dungeons and Dragons every few weeks. We discuss comic book characters and storylines. There are the toy, tabletop game, and book collections.  We quote geeky movies ad nauseum and there is so much . . . so much more. The best part is it gives my a continued stream of things to keep connected to my daughters even as they stand on the edge of true adulthood.

Soon my two oldest are cosplaying the Moon Sisters from the movie "Kubo and the Two Strings" They have the hats and masks and are finishing up cloaks made of feathers, but one of them needed a replica of a magic pipe.

I split off a section of riven red oak, mostly because I have a ton of it. and before I put it on the lathe I did what I considered would be the most difficult thing, drtilled a hole through the center. Well not exactly center, that is nigh impossible, but I drilled it close enough. Then I located the drill hole in the center points as I chucked the piece into the lathe.

I understand common sense thought that the conical points would spread the holes and cause the wood to split. I figured what the hell I'll try it and if it fails, I'll try something different. Turns out it worked just fine. This time. Will I be lucky in the future, I don't know. Probably not. But it was a cool way to center a hollow hole in a spindle.

A little time at the lathe and I worked down the bamboo-ish look of the movie pipe. A lot of skew chisel work which I find to be a fun challenge. After sanding I rubbed on and buffed off some lamp black oil paint.

 I finished up the end of the pipe with my sloyd knife. Then turned my focus to the bowl

 I chucked a small section of 1 1/2" diameter maple dowel into the lathe. Turned a 1/2" round tenon on one end and shaped a bowl shape on the other.

 Then it was off to the drill press, Using forstner bits I drilled a 1/2" round mortise into the stem. Deep enough to expose the hole passing down the center. Then I drilled up from the bowl's tenon with a 1/4" bit, about half the thickness. Then down from the bowl's top with a 3/4" forstner bit.

The above pic shows the inbetween of the finishing. The bowl is done, the stem is about to get re-chucked on the lathe to undergo the final finishing stages, For the gold I used some gold buffing wax my daughters found at the local art store. It was very dried out and difficult to apply but kind of gave the burnished, well used and weathered look I liked. I finished over the wax with a coat of CA glue to give a shine finish, a fake Japanese Urushi if you will.

 I assembled everything then passed my long drill bit back down the end and into the pipe bowl's tenon. This opened up the air passage between the stem and the bowl. I suppose you could really smoke out of this thing if you wanted but I'm certain it wouldn't be that pleasant.

 I used a propane torch to burn and blacken the bowl and bubble the wax and CA glue finish. The weathering and wear this provided was spot on.

 Best of all, Number 2 daughter was very happy with the result. And with stealing my sweatshirt to hang out in the shop on a cooler autumn night.

 An enjoyable couple hour build, that kept me occupied and made a minimal mess because the shop was already prepped for the next day when . . .

. . . TA DA!!! The electricians showed up to run copper from the house to my new sub-panel. Four new outlets inside, one outside, and lots of room to run more in the future. I can become 220 capable now should I choose to be.

Very exciting times in the shop.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

mostly birds, back to wooden stuff next week

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 6:48pm

I’ve been back & forth lately. Maine, here, North Carolina – now here, then Martha’s Vineyard. Then here for a few weeks. Here’s some non-woodsy shots, mostly. This flock of shorebirds wheeled & spun – moments later Marie & I spotted a peregrine falcon bearing down on them. I love how they turn this way & that – and the color changes. this is the backs of these birds:

This is the same flock a split-split second later, from the fronts/bellies. So when you get to see this, it’s light/dark/light/dark until they land again to feed some more.

Semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) silhouetted against the water.

Those were at Plymouth beach. We went to Maine to see the Common Ground fair – took the kids for a walk one evening. The ocean is always the best place for playing – no place we go is more consistently engaging.

This is an island reached by a causeway. Lots of driftwood, which we don’t see at Plymouth much. Daniel peeked inside. I noted what happened to this log – the growth rings are separating completely. Some mad twist too.

Spoons growing everywhere. No cutting allowed though…

Back at Plymouth Beach, stretching is important. This is, I think, a Laughing gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)

And we hit the beach just right to see a bunch of migrating butterflies – many were monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus)

A couple weeks later, I was at Roy Underhill’s to teach a spoon carving class. Long drought has dried up the creek at the dam. Fish were dying, and black vultures (Coragyps atratus) came to clean up. There were turkey vultures there too – but these were the smaller black vultures. 

Earlier, at home, found this cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) under the bird feeders one day.

and a rare moment when the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was quiet and still.

Our friend Rick DeWolf has been infected with the horror vacuii – and made this gate to keep his dog in (or out, I forget which). Despite being able to make this, Rick is still coming to our hurdle-making class later this month. A couple of spaces left. there will be no carving though. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/riving-hurdlemaking-weekend

Martial Arts Candle Holder

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:57pm

File this simple project under quick things to do with a couple of offcuts. A martial artist friend of mine asked for a candle holder for the sword class she teaches at Cincinnati Taekwondo Center. Students are challenged to put out the candle flames with their sword without striking the candles. The holder needed to accommodate 7 candles and include a way to adjust each candle’s height (the tops need […]

The post Martial Arts Candle Holder appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

“Building the Collapsable Trestle Table with Will Myers” Released!

Wood and Shop - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:32pm
I'm excited to announce the release of a much-anticipated DVD and Digital Download:  “Building the Collapsable Trestle Table with Will Myers”! Will Myers came up with this original trestle table design, based on historical designs that he studied. But he decided to improve upon the designs and aesthetics that

Product Video: Tormek T-4 Sharpening System

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 8:00am

Are you thinking of upgrading the sharpening in your shop, but don’t want to break the bank? Consider the Tormek T-4 Sharpening System, available at Highland.

And for a limited time, you can get the Bushcraft Limited Edition T-4, that includes a $40 Knife Jig, $20 Axe Jig and a $49 Mora Kansbol knife, all for $425 while limited supplies last (a $93 net savings!)

In the video below, Steve Johnson takes a closer look at the Tormek T-4, walking us through the new sharpening process he has adopted for his shop.

The post Product Video: Tormek T-4 Sharpening System appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Finishing Workshop @ CW – Grain Filling 1

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 6:55am

One of the aspects of  finishing that has occupied the interests of woodworkers for centuries has been the quest for executing a smooth and glossy surface.  Part and parcel of that effort has been to diminish the texture of the wood itself, hence the need for grain filling.  Its importance and vagaries were such that I have introduced two disparate exercises into my teaching, both of which were pretty explicitly described in the historical literature.  As done by the ancients, the quest for a non-contaminating grain filler with both enough hardness and flexibility to fulfill the task led them to employ purified beeswax as the backbone for the fill material.

The first exercise was to prepare the base for spirit varnish pad polishing, sometimes known in our vernacular as “French polishing.”  In this instance the objective is to flow molten beeswax onto the surface, then scrape off any excess in readying for the pad polishing.  Historically they would have used a tool similar to a roofers’ soldering iron, albeit a bit more flattened at the end such that it resembles more closely something like our modern electric tacking iron.



So that is what I use.  First the molten wax is drizzled onto the surface by rubbing the hot iron against the block of beeswax, followed by working the iron over the entire surface.

When the entire surface has been saturated with molten wax, the heel of the iron is used to squeegee off any excess and the piece is allowed to cool.  Then using a scraper sans burr, the surface is cleaned fully down to the wood fibers.  Historically this scraper would have been steel or brass, but equally viable now is a piece of plexiglass with a nicely prepared edge.

With a final buffing with a piece of coarse linen or something similar, the end result is a surface ready for the spirit varnish pad polishing to come.

An Introduction to Hand Tools - The Instructor Confesses

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 4:00am

Tomorrow night (I am writing this on Monday evening, October 9th), I will be teaching dovetailing. This Saturday I will be teaching a free class called "Introduction to Hand Tools" for the first time. So I have teaching on my brain. I've taught the dovetailing class before, so I know what's on tomorrow night. It's the second session, and we'll be learning about body movement and sawing straight. This afternoon I checked to make sure that all the wood we need is ready, and Tuesday need to double check that class saws are ready to rumba.

It's the Saturday class that preoccupies me a bit. The class is in response to the many people over the years who have come to our showroom, for themselves or looking for a gift, who are trying to wrap their heads around the idea of using hand tools. They sincerely want to expand their horizons. Sometimes they are familiar only with what Home Depot stocks and hand held power tools. This applies to professionals and amateurs alike. Many are perplexed by the idea what you can actually build anything by hand. Of course, misconception about hand tools are formed by never seeing the tools in efficient operation. You can drill a hole with an electric drill even if the bit is dull and the drill is noisy. But it isn't patently obvious how to work a brace or a bit so it's fun. We have a reputation and a lot of showroom and warehouse space devoted to hand tools, so the curiosity is natural.

What can I do to give people what they've come to discover? I have to get and hold people's attention. I have to make hand tool skill look like obtainable. I have to show the distinction between cheap knockoff tools that don't work well and quality hand tools. And - particularly for the amateurs - I have to show that the basic operations of woodworking by hand, operations that can be performed in a small apartment or shop, don't have to be painful, and can result in good results.

I try to be practical, not (just) philosophical.

I should teach how to measure accurately but I am afraid it isn't sexy enough to keep a class engaged. People want to see sawdust!

I think I want to teach people how to start a cut with a handsaw. That's a big problem people have. They try cutting something and since they can't start the saw they never get to the joyous moment when they can advance easily through the wood.

I think I want to teach people how to set a hinge because that gives me a chance to demonstrate marking out and chiseling to a line. And it's easier than setting up a router.

I think I want to show people how to clamp their work. It's not very sexy but it's pretty useful. I know some tricks with a few clamps that let you set up anywhere even at the kitchen table.

I will have to plane something - wood shavings are sexy. And if I rub the shavings on the wood I can show a wonderful burnished surface.

And of course I plan to drill a big hole with a brace and bit, showing how to not splinter out at the end and also how a ratchet brace really helps with those large holes.

I think that's all I can do in a couple of hours. My main goal, of course, is to inspire. I hope that at least a few of the attendees will look at what I am doing, try it themselves and then go home, take the plunge and start building stuff.

If you are in the area this Saturday, you're invited to the class! For more details click here.

another box......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 1:14am
My best friend says that I am the box king and I make the same kind of box all the time. However, comma, slant, backslash, and double ditto marks, this box is different. 99.99% of the boxes I do make are dovetailed but this box is mitered. I'm not a fan of miters and I tend to avoid using them. But now that I have a miter box and it cuts a good 45° miter, I may be banging out a boatload of mitered boxes.

I made a mitered box tonight and I made one with a method I have seen many times before. I had thought of making it in the past but I felt it was something beyond my capabilities. That was mostly due to the box being mitered. The other part has to do with how the lid is secured, sans hinges or some other contrivance of that ilk.

my box
I will use this box at work to store my rubber bands in. This drawing is a side view of the one of the box parts and the interior on all four will be same. The box will be sawn apart down the middle of the 5/8" dado separating the box into a lid and a bottom. I will then fit a piece of wood into the bottom half of the dado and extend it up over the top of the lid a 1/4". The lid will now be secured and held in place by that. That is the plan and we'll see how it shakes out.

find a couple pieces of 1/2 stock
I plowed the grooves at the top and bottom and the dado is next. I had been thinking about this during my lunch break and how to best go about making it. The tried and true marking knife, chisel, and router would work but I decided to try something new for me.

marked where the 5/8" dado will go
this isn't carved in stone
The measurement for the dado and the distance down from the top isn't critical. I did them by eye and I was more concerned with the bottom storage being maximized. I also didn't want to make the top too narrow as it will get stressed a bit taking it off and putting it back on.

used the 043 to make the dado
 I plowed the two outside grooves first and then plowed another one down the chunk left in the middle.

last dado done
I removed the bulk of the waste with a chisel and then finished with the router.

two long sides done
I am going to put the box together off the saw. I haven't done any saw cuts at 90° and the 45's  so far appear to be accurate but very rough.

can't forget to mark the dado
Once this is glued up I would have to ask Superman to tell me where the dado is.

all the parts are sawn and I'm ready for a dry fit
wee bit too long
The first dry fit looked ok but I couldn't completely close the miters with hand pressure. I did a couple of plane and check dance steps with the fit  before it closed up. It easy to get the right size for the plywood. It has to end exactly where the groove exits on the 45 slope.

this is ready to glue up
The miters closed up and looked pretty good on this dry fit. I see myself using the miter box a lot more now. One thing I'll be looking at a bit closer is the saw. It feels sharp, cuts easily, and I can feel set in the teeth. But it leaves a very rough cut surface in pine. I haven't tried it in a hardwood yet but I think a touch up sharpening may be in the future.

wax protection
I put some wax at the ends of the dado to help with removing any glue squeeze out that may end up there. On the bottom half I'll be gluing in a piece of wood but not the top. I will clean up the wax with mineral spirits.

glued with hide glue
It appears success with a band clamp is helped by good miters. This is the first time I can recall that I glued something up with these clamps and I didn't cuss up a storm. As I tightened the clamps the box got drawn up on the miters. They did not slip and slide by each other and  they all stayed aligned as I cranked down on the screw.

Tomorrow I'll saw it in two and fit the bottom piece in the dado.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
The President of the United States rates a 21 gun salute. How many does the Vice President get?
answer - 19

Book Signing at LAP Storefront

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 5:34pm


I’ve decided to trek to Covington KY this coming Saturday to sign Roubo and Studley books at the Lost Art Press storefront open-house (and pick up my own copies of the Deluxe version of the new Roubo volume).  I should be there from mid-morning through mid-afternoon if you want me to sign your book.

Actually, I’ll be there even if you don’t want me to sign your book.

Corner Chairs. Or Are They?

The Furniture Record - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 3:03pm

This is another situation were we need some Federal regulation as to the standardization of furniture terminology to avoid confusion and indicate the actual use and derivation of a furniture type. It is commonly called the corner chair but there is not indication that these types of chairs were used  exclusively in corners:


Circa 1740 – 1765, probably made near Dover, Delaware. From the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover.

There is speculation that this design was meant to allow men wearing sword to sit comfortably. Many doubt this. It can also be called a writing chair, a smoking chair, a roundabout chair or simply Edgar. My personal belief is that exist to promulgate manspread.

There are many variations of corner chairs out there. The common design elements are that the legs are rotated 90° from typical, the side legs continue up to become the arm supports and that the chair arm goes from one side leg to the other. I now believe that some of those odd chairs I came across are just corner chair variants.


A previously undiscovered variant or mutant, if you will.

Some are more functional:


A wide apron indicates it probably concealed a chamber pot. From Winterthur.

Some are more elaborate than others:


Twists and splats and beads, oh my.

Some aren’t rounded:


This one would fit well into a corner.

Some are less than utilitarian:


Ugly with a certain lack of grace.

Some are more modern in their approach:


With a touch of Asian influence.

Whatever they are and however they’re made, you can find more in a photo set HERE.

Washington Monument

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 12:33pm

Do we ever reach an age where we become too old for heroes? And I don’t just mean every day heroes such as firemen, policemen, and teachers (not that they aren’t important), but legendary heroes such as King Arthur or Babe Ruth. Maybe you all have, but I haven’t.

Growing up in Philadelphia, stories about the American Revolution was pretty much second nature for me. Some of my earliest memories revolve around Valley Forge Park, the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin, and the Liberty Bell. The battles of Brandywine and Germantown were fought basically at my back door, so it was just a normal part of growing up, for me, to learn as much as I could about the War for Independence.

However, of all the legendary names from the War for Independence that I can spout off automatically, George Washington stands atop the list.

As a child, Washington was a mythical figure, a larger than life titan, a legendary demi-god who descended from Heaven, led America to a glorious victory, and rode off into immortality in a chariot of fire. As I grew older, my hobby of researching the American Revolution turned more towards the battles and tactics of the time. I loved the political intrigue, the clandestine spy operations with code names and invisible ink, and the sacrifices of the common soldier. Yet, I always found myself coming back the Washington, even if in passing.

Fast forward into married adulthood. Four years ago my family was going through a difficult time. A very close family member had become ill, I was not feeling so hot myself, and it was quite frankly very difficult on all of us, in particular my wife. Living so close to Valley Forge National Park, I found myself there often, taking long walks just to ease my mind. And though I had been to VFP many times, and though I had known the story of the park since before I could read, the park was still to me in many ways a place of legend, in much the same way that George Washington had become a legendary figure. But it was during those walks that began to look around, and not just inwardly. I found myself reading the many marker stones and inscribed monuments to those who served there; I spoke to park rangers and historians, I attended park events, and soon after I found myself once again engrossed in history. It saved me.

I read at least 50 or more books on the Revolution. I volunteered at the park whenever possible (and still do to this day). I took it upon myself to become a steward of history, learning whatever I could whenever I could. And in doing so I came to admire George Washington more and more, not just for his war time exploits, but as the leader of a new nation.

I don’t know how many books I’ve read just on Washington to be honest. I now count 22 on the book shelf right behind me, and at least that many more in my Kindle reader. A few of those books were little more than fluff pieces, but the majority of them are true in-depth studies, and just as I chose those books specifically to de-mystify the legend and learn more about the man, instead his legend grew in my eyes and I now hold him in greater esteem more than ever. He was far from perfect, and I am not implying that he was; he had faults like all of us do; I am only doing my utmost to understand the man in context to the era he lived in, and I found perhaps the greatest leader of men the world saw in the entire millennium.

So this is a woodworking blog, right, and not an ode to historical figure? Why then post a fanboy crush diary entry on George Washington and his ragtag band of rebels? Glad you asked.

A few weeks back I went with my family to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. It was a geek-out heaven for me, and among the thousands of artifacts were some of George Washington’s personal belongings. Of course, there were also replicas, and among those was a desk that was believed to be similar to the furniture that would have been used by the officers, and perhaps Washington himself, during the American Revolution. I made the decision right then and there to build it myself.

Washington desk

Washington’s campaign desk?

It just so happens that I have been planning for the past year to dedicate a section of our family room to my love of history. I have collected dozens if not hundreds of historical artifacts on the era: artwork, newspapers, broadsides, books, lamps, and tools. Admittedly, most of those artifacts are replicas, but they are of high quality. As of last month it was my plan to restore a desk which belonged to my father-in-law’s family and use that to house my collection. Though I still plan on restoring that desk, I have decided to make the “Washington” desk my centerpiece.

Even better news is that in doing some more research, I’ve found that most of Washington’s campaign furniture was made from walnut, which I thankfully have plenty to use ( I had planned on using it regardless). I’ve recently consulted with my first and best woodworking mentor, his excellency Chuck Bender, on some of the construction details, and he was, of course, a huge help.

With any luck I am hoping to not only have the final measurements down, but the material milled and the desktop panel glued up this weekend. The top I will make using breadboard ends. The legs may be a bit of a challenge in that I don’t plan on making them foldable because I have no intention of moving this desk throughout the colonies. So I may make those using a ship lap joint, which is a joint I’ve generally only made perpendicular. Otherwise, I plan on staying pretty much true to the photo.

I’m hoping this turns out well, because even though it may not be my most ambitious project, I can already guarantee that it will be my favorite thus far. George Washington has inspired me much of my life, even more so as an adult than as a child, and I cannot think of a better way to adorn my home and continue my research than to create a piece of furniture inspired by the man himself.


Categories: General Woodworking

Amish Furniture Styles: Mission vs Shaker

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:31am

Amish furniture has been present in North America since 1737 when the first Amish families arrived from the Netherlands. As more Amish settled in America and applied their gift of wood craftsmanship, they soon made a name for themselves as master furniture makers. It wasn’t until 1774 that the arrival of Shakers from England began to change the way the Amish designed their furniture.

The Shaker brought with them a style of furniture that was simple, unadorned and visually appealing to the way of life the Amish chose to live. Amish furniture makers adopted this new style, aptly named Shaker style, and began to craft this type of furniture. The long history of the Shaker style amongst the Amish communities is reason why this particular design is most often associated as the classic Amish furniture type. However, there is another type to consider.

The second style of Amish furniture is Mission style. Mission furniture was adopted by the Amish in 1898 and appealed to craftsmen that wanted that heavier, dark look in their work. This style was adapted from the furniture commonly found in Spanish missions. Despite being so heavy looking, overall the designs of Mission furniture are very simple, similar to why the Shaker style is so beloved.

While both Shaker and Mission style furniture are made by Amish craftsmen, and they’re both very similar in terms of simplicity, there are some significant differences between the two. If you plan on investing in something like an Amish living room furniture it is important you understand what sets these two styles apart from one another.

Features of Classic Shaker Furniture:

Tapering and Turnings

In effort to keep furniture as light as possible tapering and turning of furniture, especially the legs, was done. Tapering is the graduation of the wood piece to a small size while turning is the removal of excess material, often on the inside part of table and chair legs. When tapering is done it is very gentle and gradual, not ornately or sharply tapered.

Wooden Drawer Pulls and Knobs

Shaker style is most often finished with wooden drawer pulls and knobs. This maintained the overall simple, understated look for the furniture. It also allows the craftsman to use one product for the entire piece of furniture.

Plain Wood Finish

Majority of Shaker furniture is made of light colored woods like pine, maple or cherry. These were sealed and finished but never stained dark. The purpose of this is to allow the quality of the wood to speak for itself without relying on a heavy stain to show the beauty.

Hidden Joinery

The Amish are not prideful and do not do work to appeal to the ego, which is the main reason why their furniture is fairly basic. Joinery requires meticulous skill and is often hidden from sight. For example, a half-blind dovetail will be used on drawers, which could only be seen when open.

Graduated Drawers

If you’re purchasing a dresser, buffet or some other type of Shaker furniture with drawers you’ll notice that, more often than not, the drawers are graduated. This means the drawer at the bottom will be the largest while the drawer on top will be the smallest. This design is practical and also looks appealing.

Features of Classic Mission Furniture:

Thick Wood Stained Dark

Oak is one of the more common types of wood used for Mission furniture, but regardless of wood type Mission work tends to consist of thick pieces. Mission furniture is also stained dark, varying from a rich brown to a deep stain close to black. This really makes the furniture stand out and look even stronger.

Exposed Joinery

Rather than having hidden joints Mission furniture tends to really showcase the joinery. The mortise and tenon joint technique is very common with Mission furniture, and for good reason. This joint is incredibly strong and also very beautiful to look at.

Straight Lines

Most Mission furniture relies on straight lines, with very little tapering or curvature present. This is an even more simplistic design than Shaker, though it requires just as much skill to design.

Parallel Slats

Since Mission furniture is thicker the use of parallel slats on open portions of furniture, such as the back of a couch or chair, to make it lighter. Slats are very popular and highly requested on custom Mission furniture.


While not exceedingly common, some Amish to incorporate the use of leather into their Mission furniture. This was done in the Spanish style and has been carried over in some shops. Most often you will see leather touches on chair seats or perhaps even on a headboard.

Choosing a Style

Shaker furniture is the epitome of Amish craftsmanship. It retains the very original designs of tapers, all-wood construction, and plain wood. In a way Shaker furniture settles more into the room and is more neutral. Mission style furniture is bold and stunning, easily becoming the statement pieces in the room. The use of hardware is more traditional of what most Americans are accustomed to in their furniture.

Both Shaker and Mission style furniture are beautiful as well as equally appealing to anyone that appreciates minimalistic, handcrafted furnishings. Choosing to go with Amish-made furniture is a guarantee of quality, expertise and traditional design.

Categories: General Woodworking

Wood Stain is Not Wood Finish

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:05am

I often come across people who are confused about the difference between a stain and a finish. They’ll use a phrase such as “I want to stain the wood,” or “would you stain the wood for me?” when what they really want is some color added to the wood and a finish applied to deepen the color and protect the wood from moisture. They’re including the finish within the word […]

The post Wood Stain is Not Wood Finish appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Making Floating Shelves

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 5:45am

My wife, Anita wanted me to make some custom floating shelves for the dining room. We had some floating shelves from Ikea, but she wanted something that would match the coffee bar I made her.

Making the shelves were super easy. I grabbed 3/4″ pine and a couple of 2 x 2 select pine from Home Depot. I made the width of the shelves 3 1/8″ thick so that the 2 x 2 would fit inside nicely without getting jammed inside.


I used my miter jack to make sure the sides were a perfect 45 degrees so all the pieces would fit nicely together with no gaps. Most people make these shelves with simple butt joints on the ends, but I didn’t want end grain showing so I took the time to miter the corners.


After making sure everything fit together well, I glued and clamped the whole assembly together.  Anita then stained the shelves with apple cider vinegar, steel wool solution and gel stain to match the coffee bar.


When it came to install the shelves, I attached the 2 x 2 frame to the wall by securing it to the studs making sure it was level.


I then slid the shelf into place and secured it in place from the bottom into the 2 x 2 frame.  I then did the exact same thing on the second shelf.


Here are the shelves installed with a bunch of Rae Dunn pottery on them. Anita was planning on writing messages on the chalk board wall to give it some pizzazz, but decided the wall is too dark and will eventually paint it back normal. What do you think? Should she give the chalk board wall a shot with fancy chalk board writing on it?


New hay rake tine cutter

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 4:51am
I’ve been making wooden hay rakes for several years now. To make the rake teeth, called ‘tines’, a cleft ash billet is knocked through a sharpened steel tube called a tine cutter. As the wood is split from a larger … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking


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