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Updated: 28 min 40 sec ago

Rust Never Sleeps!

14 hours 29 min ago

Prevent rust from taking over your tools with these simple tips.

Summer heat and humidity can be tough on our woodworking tools, especially if you store them in an unconditioned space. The absolute best way to eliminate rust from the surfaces of machines and other tools in your shop is to stop it from ever really getting started in the first place. If you’ve already got a rust issue, we’ve got some solutions for how to completely remove it once it’s already formed.

Click here for rust prevention methods for all of the tools in your shop!

The post Rust Never Sleeps! appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Importance of Sharpening – Center for Furniture Craftsmanship

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 7:00am

Molly Bagby is an employee at Highland Woodworking who recently finished up a 2 Week Basic Woodworking course at Center for Furniture Furniture Craftsmanship (CFC). Although she grew up at Highland Woodworking from a mere 1 week old, her knowledge of woodworking skills is limited. With this class, she intends to change that.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, we delved right into Sharpening on Day 1. I quickly learned why Highland Woodworking has an entire section of the store dedicated to sharpening supplies. A lot of work goes into getting tools sharp, but a sharp tool really makes all the difference, especially when making joinery.

Peter Korn has an entire section on Sharpening in his book Woodworking Basicswhich discusses each step of the process in detail. What he taught us in class are the same methods he discusses in his book, but here are the main steps I picked up from the process (as a side note, I had brought up a brand new set of 6 Narex Chisels, which in their description say “like most edge tools, they’ll need sharpening before use”…they forgot to mention the words “A LOT” but apparently that is the case for almost all new chisels, and even if they do come “pre-sharpened” you’ll still want to do a little bit more yourself to get them in “perfect” working condition.

Flattening the Back – Your goal in this part of the process is to flatten the back of the chisel.

  1. On the two sides of a 5×12 piece of glass, stick a long piece of 220 grit adhesive sandpaper.
  2. Rub the back of the chisel flat on the sandpaper by holding it down at a slight angle and move it back and forth to remove the factory marks from the top 1-2 inches of the chisel (I found that I had a hard time keeping the chisel flat…this necessity was stressed time and time again).
  3. Switch to a 1000 grit waterstone and continue flattening the back of the chisel, taking out the 220 sandpaper scratches.
  4. Switch to a 6000 grit waterstone and continue flattening until the back of the chisel has a shiny, mirror finish to it (i.e. once you can see your reflection in the back of the chisel).

One of these chisels has been sharpened and one of them hasn’t…can you tell which is which?

-When sharpening on stones make sure you are using the whole length of the stone and are holding the chisel on the steel portion of it so that you are less likely to lift the handle and round the chisel back.

-Once you have flattened the back, you will no longer need to use the sandpaper or 1000 grit waterstone on the back of your chisel.

Honing the Front 

Once the back is flat, it is time to hone the front of the chisel. First you want to make sure your chisel is ground down to a 26-30 degree bevel angle. Anything less than 25 degrees will fail. I found the grinding process on the electric grinder to be very technical and won’t go into the details of the grinding process, but there are some great YouTube videos that show this process.

After you have the proper angle from grinding, go back to the waterstones to get the perfect edge:

  1. Start on the 1000 grit waterstone and make sure the bevel edge is flat on the stone, with only the front edge making contact with the stone.
  2. Again, keeping the chisel as flat as possible on the stone is key in order to keep from misshaping the edge.
  3. Move the chisel back and forth on the stone (making sure to use the entire surface of the stone), applying downward pressure when pushing it forward and no pressure on the return back. I found that I had to go back and forth for several minutes and sometimes counted my strokes to help pass the time (I think I got to over 100 one time).
  4. Remove the burr that has been created on the back of the chisel on the 6000 grit stone.
  5. Repeat Steps 1-4 on the 6000 grit stone.
  6. Once your chisel is sharp enough to remove hair from your skin, it’s sharpened.

Congratulations! You now have a sharp chisel….maybe. Unfortunately, this was not the case the first few times I was going through the sharpening process and I found the entire process to be very frustrating, detail-specific, and I felt like I had no idea what the perfectly sharpened chisel was supposed to look like.

I was so frustrated by sharpening that I tried to stab my benchmate’s mascot with my “sharpened” chisel…it clearly wasn’t sharp enough

I compared the process to making a magic wand work. If it wasn’t perfect made, no magic would come out of it. If the chisel wasn’t sharp, it was not going to cut wood the way you wanted it to. I don’t actually believe in magic, which is why I found this comparison to be true…a magic wand will never actually work, and the sharpening process was so arduous that at times I felt like I was never going to get my chisel sharp enough.

But with a little lot of patience, time, and wet/flattened waterstones, eventually you will get your chisels sharp enough to start making joinery. Keyword=eventually. It wasn’t until midway through week 2 that I handed one of my chisels to Peter who was showing me a dovetail technique and he specifically said “wow, you’ve actually got a really sharp chisel!” That was probably one of the highlights of my time at CFC.

The post The Importance of Sharpening – Center for Furniture Craftsmanship appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

My 2017 Summer Woodworking Reading List – J. Norman Reid

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 9:41am

I have a lot of interests, only some of them related to woodworking, so my reading plans for the summer are somewhat diverse. But let’s start with woodworking.

First on my list is David Esterly’s The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making. Having read this one previously, I know it to be a lyrical exploration of the craft of fine carving to replace a Grinling Gibbons carving burned in a Hampton Court fire. I am relishing the chance to revisit this favorite of mine. I also plan to read Aldren Watson’s classic Hand Tools, as much for his finely-executed drawings as for the many ideas contained therein. I recently bought the Stanley Tools Catalogue No. 34 from Lost Art Press and plan to spend some time perusing Stanley’s classic offerings. Finally, I have a copy of Joshua Vogel’s The Artful Wooden Spoon that is another fine example of the craft of making things of utility and beauty.

I’ve developed a passion for black & white photography and have set a goal for myself to master fine art B&W printing. I have a stack of books on this subject, the principal of which are Harold Davis’s Monochromatic HDR Photography, Michael Freeman’s The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography, and George DeWolfe’s B&W Printing. There are others in my library, but I’ll commence with these.

I’ve also set myself on a course to better understand the roots of creativity and the creative life. I’m starting with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s classic Creativity, a study of notably creative people and the factors that characterize their lives. I’ll follow this with historian Daniel Boorstin’s The Creators, which recounts the lives of historically important creators. I’ve already begun Michael J. Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, though because it is replete with exercises that will take me time to work through, I have no expectation of completing it this summer.

As if this weren’t fun enough, I’ll listen to audio books while working in the woodshop—my usual practice. Here my tastes run the gamut from Greek and Roman philosophy to military history and the latest Michael Connelly mystery. It should be an informative and entertaining summer of reading.

Norm Reid is a woodworker, writer, and woodworking instructor living in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife, a woodshop full of power and hand tools and four cats who think they are cabinetmaker’s assistants. He is the author of the forthcoming book Choosing and Using Handplanes. He can be contacted at nreid@fcc.net.

The post My 2017 Summer Woodworking Reading List – J. Norman Reid appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

My First Day at Center for Furniture Craftsmanship

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 7:00am

Molly Bagby is an employee at Highland Woodworking who is taking the 2 Week Basic Woodworking course at Center for Furniture Furniture Craftsmanship. Although she grew up at Highland Woodworking from a mere 1 week old, her knowledge of woodworking skills is limited. With this class, she intends to change that.

Since this is a 2 week class, the school sets up housing hosts for those who come in from out of town. I arrived in Hope, Maine around 10:30pm the day before my class started after a brief detour visiting my sister Kelley, a fellow author on this blog. I was easily able to find the house and my room, and my host was gracious enough to leave handwritten notes everywhere to tell me where everything was located. The next morning, she was in the kitchen when I came downstairs and she and I chatted a bit. Her name is Deb and she is active in the local arts community.

My residence for the 2 weeks I’m studying at Center for Furniture Craftsmanship

After a quick stop for some breakfast at The Market Basket (a deli I’ve frequented many times on my visits to the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks factory) it was off to my first day of woodworking school.

Each 2 week class at Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (CFC) accommodates 12 people (i.e there are 12 workbenches plus 1 for the instructor). When I entered the Workshop Building (1 of 5 buildings on campus), all but 2 of the workbenches were occupied with students ready and raring to go! I found an empty workbench at the back of the room and 5 minutes later, a guy named Mike Z from NYC showed up and took the last bench (and became my bench mate since our benches were butted up next to each other, as every 2 benches were situated in the classroom). Mike has been a really cool guy to get to know and we both have several things in common (being the 2 youngest people in the class and both having lived in NYC, among other things).

Mike brought this doll head from his school workshop in NYC. It stares at me a lot, so one day I tried to stick a chisel in its head so it would stop staring at me. My chisel wasn’t sharp enough.

Class started promptly at 9am when Peter Korn walked into the classroom and called everyone over to his workbench. He gave a brief overview of the school and then explained what would be happening over the next 2 weeks. He introduced us to Mary Ellen Hitt, the co-instructor for the class, and Eddie Orellana, who has the all-encompassing role of Shop Assistant. Then everyone taking the class introduced themselves. After I introduced myself, Peter noted that Highland Woodworking had donated many of the workbenches found throughout the school.

After introductions, Peter told us one of the most important things to know in woodworking safety: “Oily rags will spontaneously combust.” We haven’t even had our finishing talk yet, but already, this phrase has been repeated multiple times.

The rest of the morning included a basic overview of wood: “We’re going to start with wood…wood comes from trees…” This discussion included types of wood, types of grain, wood thickness, and wood grades. Next, he went right into discussing steel and chisels, which quickly led to the most important aspect of woodworking, sharpening.

I have quickly learned why sharpening is many woodworkers least favorite parts of the trade, but at the same time, I have also learned how important it is to have a sharp tool at hand. Peter went through a detailed step-by-step demonstration of his preferred sharpening process, which I will go into further detail about in an upcoming blog entry dedicated to sharpening and how much I hate love it. For now I will just say that Peter makes everything look really easy.

The last part of the day was spent touring the Machine Room and learning what each machine was used for, as well as safety measures for each machine. While I’ve grown up around power tools and machinery, I’ve never actually used any of it. I am excited to learn, but I am happy that the school likes to focus more on hand tool usage…

The Machine Room consists of the following:  a 10″ SawStop tablesaw, a 12″ sliding tablesaw, 8″ and 12″ jointers, 12″ and 15″ thickness planers, 14″ and 20″ bandsaws, drill presses, a lathe, a shaper, a chopsaw, a scrollsaw, a slot mortiser, grinders, a stationary disc/belt sander, and an oscillating spindle sander. There is also full dust-collection.

Every workday ends at 4:30pm with a class meeting to go over the next day’s schedule and then it’s time for shop and workstation clean-up. Peter made sure to note that according to OSHA standards, it is “illegal” to sweep a woodshop. Vacuuming it is!

The post My First Day at Center for Furniture Craftsmanship appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – July 2017 – Tip #2– Modifying a Portable Air Tank

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 7:00am

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.

This little modification will make your portable air tank infinitely more useful: Where it originally came with an attached hose, turn the air-flow shutoff to the closed position, then remove the hose at the fitting, using a tubing wrench. Save the hose.

New, portable air tanks come with the air hose attached. You don’t want to ruin the hose or the fitting, so utilize a tubing wrench to disconnect the hose. Be sure the tank is empty, or the air valve is in the closed position, or both.

Using the appropriate-sized brass nipple, attach a female quick disconnect to the tank. Be sure to cover the threads with Teflon tape or pipe dope, because you don’t want any air being wasted through leaks.

A quick disconnect will allow you to attach any sort of air tool to your portable air tank.

Now, install a male quick disconnect on the supplied hose. You did save the hose, didn’t you?!

Congratulations, you just increased the utility and versatility of your little tank!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – July 2017 – Tip #2– Modifying a Portable Air Tank appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Poll: How Do You Feel When Non-Woodworkers Call You a Carpenter?

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 7:00am

How do you feel when non-woodworkers call you a carpenter?

I suppose I was a woodworker in 7th grade, when I took wood shop in Mr. Boney’s South Park Junior High class, but I wasn’t very good at it. It seems I could never get anything square, or make good-looking joints. That was 1964, and I’m not even sure the term “woodworker” existed then. “Woodwork” dates to 1640-1650.

I was a framing and trim carpenter for a time after my Air Force stint. That was really fun work, and I learned a lot.

This was my very first nail apron, purchased from Sears. Our local Sears is scheduled to close its doors after 45 years in Edgewater Mall.

I remember a homeowner asking our foreman, Jack English, whether he knew any carpenters who could make her some bookshelves. One of my coworkers, older and more worldly than I, said, “What she wants is a cabinetmaker, not a carpenter.” I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a cabinetmaker, much less a difference, but I didn’t let my ignorance show, I just filed the information away for future use.

When I went to the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss, I was carrying a heavy class load, so there wasn’t time for a job, but I did spend some of my weekends making picnic tables to sell. Po’ Boy spruce studs were 10¢ each, and were straighter and had fewer barked edges than today’s studs at 33 times the price. Treated pine, with real arsenic, made a premium dining surface, unless you wanted to spring for heart cedar or redwood, and even that was affordable.

Today, 23 treated pine 2x4x8′ boards to make this picnic table and matching benches would cost you about $110.00. In the 70s, I sold the completed table with benches for about $50.

Cedar’s price has gone up a bit. When I made this rectangular heart cedar table for our eldest granddaughter, the wood cost about $200. But, it was pure heartwood, and has stood up well to brutal Kentucky summers and winters…

…The lumber for this little round job, with curved benches, on the other hand, cost around $400, and I had to do a lot of selecting to minimize sapwood use in crucial parts. Fortunately, it will live on a porch, where it will have a bit more protection from Kentucky weather, though it will still have to stand up to the two youngest grandchildren.

In the time between the end of the spring semester in Oxford, MS, and the fall start time in Auburn, AL, I needed income. I couldn’t make a long-term commitment to an auto mechanic’s job, and it didn’t occur to me to look for a nearby dairy farm, but there was a lot of home construction in Auburn, and it was easy to find a job on a home-building crew. So, for a time, I was a carpenter again.

We established in a previous poll that most woodworkers are DIYers. Therefore, we’re doing a lot of carpentry on our own homes and businesses, and maybe some for customers, too.

For me, then, I’m proud to be considered a carpenter. Still, when I think of my role as furniture-builder, I consider the difference between what my wife, Brenda, produces, which is fine art, versus what you can buy at a flea market, which are craft-level items. Not every piece of furniture I build rises to the level of art, but it’s always what I strive for.

In carpentry, on the other hand, art is not usually my goal, but I still give it my best.

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The post Poll: How Do You Feel When Non-Woodworkers Call You a Carpenter? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – July 2017 – Tip #1 – Portable Air Tank

Sun, 07/09/2017 - 9:56am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

Sometimes you have a little job, but you just don’t want to do that job with a hand tool.

Take this little canoe repair. A crossmember needed a single rivet to supplement the existing rivets, but I ran out of the proper size and needed to put the canoe into storage instead of leaving it in the way until I went to the store.

Four rivets down, one to go. Darn the luck! I ran out of rivets when I originally repaired this crossmember, turning the final, single rivet installation into a separate job.

When I finally got the right fastener, I first reached for the manual rivet gun to pop it into place. Then, I remembered the pain in my arm, shoulder and neck from having hurt myself during a garage renovation project. That’s when I decided to put in a little effort now in order to achieve a long-term savings.

As you can read in my Highland Woodworking Blog post, after the injury I purchased an inexpensive, air-powered rivet tool. While it seems like overkill to pull out an air tool for one rivet, I’ve discovered that I can still aggravate that old injury with the wrong squeeze of my hand. The canoe repair was uneventful.

One of the ways I made it easy was by taking my air with me, instead of running a hose all the way to the canoe.

Enter: the portable air tank.

If your job isn’t too terribly big, you may be able to accomplish all you need to do with one good filling.

First, pump it as full as the attached gauge shows is safe. My compressor goes to 125 psi.

Fill the tank all the way, but don’t exceed the safe pressure limit.

Let your imagination fly! I finished my little riveting job in far less time than it took to set up, but, gained the two weeks that I would have been in pain. I’ve used the tank for impact wrenches and blowing small jobs that didn’t lend themselves to a brush or broom.

Of course, the original intention of an air tank purchase was to pump up flat tires, but it’s far more versatile than that!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – July 2017 – Tip #1 – Portable Air Tank appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Intro – Basic Woodworking Class at Center for Furniture Craftmanship

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 7:00am

Me, Nick Offerman, and my Dad (Chris Bagby, co-owner and founder of Highland Woodworking)

My name is Molly Bagby and I have been involved with Highland Woodworking since I was a mere 7 days old (or maybe even sooner than that). Once my Mom, Sharon Bagby, recovered from pregnancy she started back to work right away and brought me with her. While I don’t remember much from those early days, growing up at Highland Woodworking has contributed to my passion for learning new things, as well as my crafting skills. But despite being around tools for most of my life I have never actually taken the time to learn basic woodworking. Now that I am more involved with the business side of helping to run the store, I figured it was about time to actually learn some woodworking skills.

An amazing opportunity recently came along to take a 2 week Basic Woodworking class at the Center for Furniture Craftmanship in Rockport, Maine. These classes fill up months in advance and when I called back in April to sign-up I was told that the class was full, but I could be put on the waitlist. I remained on the waitlist for several weeks. About a month before the class was scheduled to start, I gave them a call to see where I was on the waitlist. There were still 2 people ahead of me, so I figured my chances were pretty slim this close to the start. Last Tuesday, I got a voicemail while at work and saw that it was from the Center for Furniture Craftmanship. I called them back right away and they said a spot had just opened up due to a last minute cancellation and it was mine if I wanted it. It didn’t take me long to decide and I said yes right away. I mean, wouldn’t you have said yes to an opportunity to escape to Maine for 2 weeks and become fully engulfed in woodworking?

During these next 2 weeks I’m looking forward to learning as much as I possibly can about woodworking so I can become a better, more educated employee at Highland. I’m also looking forward to beginning a new hobby. Judging from what I’ve been able to see through the shared experiences of our customers, I’m sure it will be a very rewarding one.

Stay tuned to this blog to hear about my journey as a beginning woodworker! You can also follow me and my experiences on Instagram @highlandwoodwoman.

The post Intro – Basic Woodworking Class at Center for Furniture Craftmanship appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

My 2017 Summer Woodworking Reading List – Amy Herschleb

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 8:00am
Making Things Work, Nancy R. Hiller (Putchamin Press, 2017)
Hilarious, engaging, and relatable, Hiller shares her philosophy of work with anecdotes drawn from her life about what constitutes success and the bumps in the road getting there. For some, her coarse language and tendency to call a tool a tool might irk a bad conscience. But for others, her dry wit and tenacity offer a refreshingly honest look at life and work on her own terms.

 

Good Clean Fun, Nick Offerman (Penguin, 2016)
We had the pleasure of seeing Offerman in the store at the outset of his book tour, and it was doubly a pleasure to read his book. It’s a conglomeration of fun, from projects to anecdotes to offbeat asides. Open it to any page and find something charming or inspirational. Learn to properly gauge your manliness. Build a stool. Have a cookout. Meditate on the process of giving new life to a once-living tree. Just don’t stop having a good time.

 

Woodland Craft, Ben Law (GMC Distribution, 2016)
An inspired glimpse at permaculture in the UK, Law’s book brings an ancient craft into modern day. From coppicing and woodland management to furniture and yurt building, this book spans from heritage to sustainability. If only there were such a book suited to North American conservation and resource management—dare to dream.

 

Where We Lived, Jack Larkin (Taunton Press, 2006)
Using data from the 1930s HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey) and first-hand journal entries and letters, Larkin looks at the oldest surviving habitations in the United States (mostly from the 1700 and 1800s) to discover how our colonizing ancestors lived. Bounded in this way by the progression of colonization, Cincinnati is considered “the West” and Florida does not exist. We delve into regional peculiarities, roads and commodes, the atrocity of slavery, and the effect of all, large and small, on the living arrangements of our unwashed if industrious ancestors. Fascinating.

Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is the staff writer at Highland Woodworking. In 2015 she and her dad co-founded Coywolf Woodworks, their hobby shop in North Florida.

The post My 2017 Summer Woodworking Reading List – Amy Herschleb appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Lie-Nielsen Open House, July 7-8, 2017

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 8:00am

We are excited to be attending this year’s edition of the Lie-Nielsen Open House. The annual event never disappoints, with a great group of hand tool event staff showing off the latest additions to the Lie-Nielsen line. There will also be a diverse group of guest demonstrators present, showing off their wares and creations. And don’t forget to enter the Open House raffle for a chance to win one of three great prizes: a bevel edge chisel, a 102 low angle block plane or a honing guide.

The Saturday night lobster bake dinner may be sold out, but the rest of the open house is still well worth a visit. See you in Maine!

The post Lie-Nielsen Open House, July 7-8, 2017 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Coffee Tragedy: Turning a Lid

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 7:00am

This article first appeared in the December 2013 issue of The Highland Woodturner.

There was an accident involving a ceramic coffee container, which was a gift from my in-laws. More specifically, I accidentally dropped and shattered the lid of the container. After pondering this tragic accident, I realized I could turn a replacement lid.

CLICK HERE to read Curtis’s lid-turning process

CLICK HERE to take a look at the Highland Woodturner Archives

The post A Coffee Tragedy: Turning a Lid appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Split Turned Sanding Block

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 7:00am

The technique of split turning is most commonly associated with furniture from the 16th and 17th centuries but can be used for any project that requires a half round column. Curtis Turner recently used split turning to turn a curved sanding block, and he wrote about it in the June issue of The Highland Woodturner. This is a great project for practicing this technique while also creating a useful tool for your sanding needs.

Click here to read how to use split turning to make a curved sanding block

The post A Split Turned Sanding Block appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Video: Dealing with Wood Knots and Other Defects

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 7:00am

Repair knots, cracks, bark inclusions and other defects in natural, live edge, wood tops. In this video Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, shows us how he fills knots and stabilizes bark inclusions with two-part epoxy… and he shows us how he messed one up and fixed his own mistake!

The post Video: Dealing with Wood Knots and Other Defects appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

An Interview Heirloom Tool Maker Thomas Lie-Nielsen

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 8:00am

Over the course of the past 36 years, Thomas Lie-Nielsen has become America’s preeminent toolmaker. His woodworking tools are highly sought-after today not only for their proven performance, but also for the superb standard of excellence incorporated in their manufacture, a quality that has been recognized by discriminating craftsmen worldwide. Highland Woodworking has taken delight in providing Lie-Nielsen Tools to our customers for almost three decades.

One does not have to be a professional craftsman to appreciate the beauty and functionality of these fine tools. Indeed, exposure to this level of quality has been an effective source of inspiration for many amateur woodworkers as they equip their workshops and refine their joinery skills.

In honor of Lie-Nielsen’s upcoming Open House celebration in Warren, Maine next month, we are sharing here our interview with Tom that first appeared in Wood News a number of years ago.

Click here to read

Click here to see Highland Woodworking’s wide selection of
Lie Nielsen Hand Tools

The post An Interview Heirloom Tool Maker Thomas Lie-Nielsen appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How I Use My Honing Guide Board

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 6:53am

In a previous article I wrote about updating a honing guide board so it would work with my new  Lie-Nielsen Honing Guide, and to make sure the angle blocks match the reality of my new tool. In this article, I’ll try to provide enough basic information so that anyone reading this can hopefully glean enough to start using the Honing Guide and the Honing Guide Board, for repeatable sharpening and honing.

First, lets talk about what all the rectangular blocks on the Honing Guide Board are for, and how it all works. On one edge you’ll see I have one block for 25-degrees, 30-degrees, and so on up to 40-degrees. These are the most commonly used angles in my shop, but there is still a block for 45-degrees on the left side, and one for 20-degrees on the back of the board. When you put a plane iron (or chisel for that matter) into a honing guide with its bevel facing down (towards the side of the honing guide that has the wheel), the cutting edge of the tool will make contact with the block for whichever angle I’ve chosen (30-degrees this time), while the front side of the honing guide is up against the front edge of the Honing Guide Board (Note: the protruding iron is also laying flat on the board between the block and the edge)

While the iron and guide are against their respective surfaces, tighten the honing guide so the iron is held securely. You have just set your iron for a specific angle. Each and every time you go through this process, as long as you have the cutting edge up against a block, the honing guide against the board’s front edge (as well as keeping the iron flat on the board), you will get repeatable results, like I mentioned earlier.

Before you let a tool touch a honing stone, make sure it is flat! An out-of-flat stone will transfer its shape to whatever you are sharpening and it is much easier and quicker to flatten the stones than to work to remove all the steel needed to get a tool back to flat.

Before I start sharpening, I put some dark Sharpie onto the bevel of the tool, just so I can confirm I’m sharpening at the correct angle.

With a splash of water on my 1000-grit stone, I set the honing guide’s wheel down onto the stone first, gently letting the iron’s cutting edge touch the stone. I set the iron/honing guide at the far end of the stone, with the iron’s cutting edge away from me. With no real downward pressure, I pull the iron/honing guide combo towards me. Just one stroke. Pick up the iron/honing guide and look at the iron’s bevel. Was the Sharpie removed from the existing micro-bevel?

If not, like you can see, take the iron/honing guide and move to the block for the next higher angle (35-degrees in this instance), slightly release the pressure on the honing guide, and then re-tighten when the cutting edge is against the block, as well as the honing guide against the front edge of the board. When I tested the setup with it set at the 35-degree block, all of the Sharpie was removed from the micro-bevel, with my one stroke test.

Since all of the Sharpie was removed, this indicates we have the correct angle to match the previous sharpening, and we can proceed to work on our 1000-grit stone and then our 8000-grit stone.

There are times when you purchase a new iron, where they may intentionally blunt the iron for safe shipping. I bring this up as some folks like to tell themselves that they should take ten strokes on the bevel, and then move to the next stone. Is this a good idea? I’ll let you decide, but I find a better method is to only shift to the next higher grit stone (1000-grit to the 8000-grit, for instance) when you can feel a burr all the way across the iron, on the back side of the bevel. To feel for this burr, hold the iron vertical with its cutting edge at the highest point, and this part is critical, you always move your finger lightly from low to high. (Note: You never want to move your finger along the cutting edge from side to side. This latter move can cut you extremely quickly.) If you do not yet feel a burr, you should go back to the 1000-grit stone and continue working until you do. Move to the 8000-grit stone when you feel a burr on the full width of the iron.

After you complete the sharpening/honing on both the 1000-grit stone and then the 8000-grit stone, the back of the iron also needs some attention. I use the David Charlesworth method called the ruler trick, where I use a very thin metal ruler laid along one edge of the 8000-grit stone.

The iron is removed from the honing guide for this, and placed so it is across the stone’s width, while resting on the ruler. Since the honing of the bevel created a small burr on the back of the iron, start with the cutting edge just hanging off of the stone, and move it straight back, so the cutting edge comes onto the stone, but no more than ¼” or so.

I repeat this process a couple of times, then shift to moving the iron up and down the stone, while the iron is still laying across the stone, and riding on the ruler. This creates a very small micro-bevel on the back of the iron, which only takes a few moments, taking the place of all the time spent honing the whole back of the iron, which literally has taken me hours.

Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 25 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. and worked for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as a show staff member, demonstrating tools and training customers. You can email him at LeeLairdWoodworking@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LeeLairdWW

The post How I Use My Honing Guide Board appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Installing My Eclipse Bench Vise

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 8:00am

In the June 2017 issue of Wood News, Forrest Bonner shares how he installed the 10 inch Eclipse Quick Release Bench Vise onto his 40 year old workbench.

When I made my workbench some 40-odd years ago, there were no readily available workbench plans as there are today. I had been reading Tage Frid and James Krenov and those books did have pictures, so I laboriously starting trying to scale a workbench based on them. It has served me well.

Click to read how Forrest improved an already great workbench with his new Eclipse Quick Release Bench Vise.

The post Installing My Eclipse Bench Vise appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – June 2017 – Tip #2– Free Carpet Padding for the Workshop

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 7:00am

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.

Free stuff is everywhere! Especially on garbage day. Just this very morning I picked up some perfectly good spruce 2x4s sitting on top of someone’s garbage can.

We’ve previously discussed using carpet padding as a “router pad.” The same free pad makes a good, cheap cushion to stand on while you work. You can find it on at the curb on almost any trash day, when people change out their carpet. With a regular office stapler, you can put two (or even three) layers together for some extra padding. Why not? There is no limit, no “one to a customer,” you can take all you want.

Anything that relieves stress and fatigue will allow you to stay in the shop longer.

If you use the same material for your router pad, be sure to keep it separate, so that you don’t introduce dirt, and thus, scratches, into your work.

If you’re willing to swallow your pride, or get up before dawn so as not to be seen by your neighbors, there is an unlimited amount of carpet pad, free for the taking on trash pickup day.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – June 2017 – Tip #2– Free Carpet Padding for the Workshop appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – June 2017 – Tip #1 – Lag Technique for Drilling Wood

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 8:05am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

Linguists don’t agree on the exact origin of the word lag. It may have been a variation on “last,” or it may have originated from the Norwegian word lagga, meaning “go slowly.”

For woodworkers’ purposes, we mostly use the term in relation to lag bolts or screws, meaning a fastener without threads on the upper section of the shaft, which allows one or more of the fastened parts to not be constrained by that section of the shaft.

In this example, a properly-drilled hole would allow the threads of the lower part of the screw to engage wood block #3, while lagging, or slipping through blocks #1 and #2. All three blocks would be tightly bound together.

In this example, unless block #1 and block #2 are overdrilled, threads may engage block #2 and prevent a snug fit.

Here, the top piece of oak was predrilled with the same diameter pilot bit as the bottom piece, which allowed the threads to engage, holding the two pieces apart.

An alternative to using a lag fastener is to overdrill the workpiece, preventing the screw from engaging. That can be done with a drill bit of the appropriate size in a process called “lag technique.”

Even though this screw doesn’t have a lag (threadless) section, drilling a larger hole in the top piece of oak prevents thread engagement, allowing the two jointed surfaces to meet beautifully. The top piece of wood is ready for its countersink bit.

You drill a hole so that your screw can “lag” through one piece as you attach it the other. But, if you don’t have a drill bit handy or you don’t want to have to go down three flights of stairs just to make this one hole, here’s a way around that predicament:

Run a screw through the piece of wood you’re attaching. Drive it all the way in. If the wood is really soft you can often strip the threads it has created, and, voila, you have an unthreaded hole. If that doesn’t work, or if the wood is so soft that the head of the screw just continues to get deeper, reverse your drill and back the screw out.

All it took for this thin piece of oak to strip is a quick reversal of the drill-driver.

When only the tip is in the hole, continue to run the drill in reverse, but push down like you were driving the screw in. In most cases it will push right through the wood, creating the hole you seek.

Note: this is a good technique for a DIY construction project, not recommended for fine furniture!

One of the best things about a drill index is having an accurate hole to help determine which bit to use for a specific screw. If the threads engage in the index, they will engage in the wood. If the screw slides through the hole, that bit will work for lag effect.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – June 2017 – Tip #1 – Lag Technique for Drilling Wood appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Dedicating This Woodworking Shop to My Dad

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 7:00am

Jay Brown’s dad was one of the most inspirational people in his woodworking career. Starting with the ‘tater bin’ they built together when Jay was in his 20’s, the father-son team collaborated on more than one woodworking shop, including their ‘dream shop’, featured in the April issue of Wood News.

Take a closer look at the shop Jay has dedicated to his dad.

The post Dedicating This Woodworking Shop to My Dad appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Highland Woodturner: What Type of Turning Tools Should You Purchase?

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 7:00am

In the May 2017 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Curtis Turner answers a question many new woodturners ask – what types of turning tools should I buy?

My students often ask what type of tools they should buy. Specifically, should they buy inexpensive tools or go straight for the expensive ones? I think this question deserves a bit of discussion and does not have a single best answer that fits everyone, but this does not mean one should sink into analysis paralysis.

Click to read Curtis’s thoughts on the tools a woodturner should purchase for their own woodturning shop.

The post The Highland Woodturner: What Type of Turning Tools Should You Purchase? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

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