Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

 

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.

Search

Highland Woodworking

Subscribe to Highland Woodworking feed
Helping you become a better woodworker
Updated: 41 min 40 sec ago

A Beginner’s Guide to Spray Finishing

11 hours 36 min ago

It can take just one or two successful tries at spray finishing to get why spraying is a great choice everywhere from the home shop to the industrial factory floor. Spray finishing is quite simply a fast, efficient and reliable way to lay down smooth, uniform coatings that adhere well, dry predictably, and require minimal further processing. It also turns out that spraying is easy to learn and not very hard to do well.

Take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Spray Finishing to learn more and then try it out yourself!

Click here to read

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Spray Finishing appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Highland Woodturner: Turning a Box

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 7:00am

In the March 2017 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Curtis Turner – yes, that is his real name – shows us how to turn a box with a lid.

A spalted tamarind blank floated around my shop for years waiting for the right project. Last month, it somehow made its way to the top of the stack, where it just happened to catch my eye. I could see a small lidded box hiding in the wood. I knew it was finally time to turn this blank.

Click here to follow along with Curtis and learn how to turn a box.

The post The Highland Woodturner: Turning a Box appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 4: The Tormek System

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:00am

Amy Herschleb attend Jim Dillon’s Hand Tool Sharpening class at Highland and came away with a new appreciation of working with sharp tools. In this series she will go into thoughtful detail on the 3 methods of sharpening Jim Dillon taught. Today she covers Method 3, The Tormek System.

The final technique covered in class was the Tormek system, specifically we used the T-8. The slow speed wet grinder put a new edge on a worn-out tool while the leather wheel, with abrasive paste added, polished the tool. It can be fitted with a wide array of jigs for different shapes of blades from knives to scissors to chisels to axes. A plastic gauge that rests against the grinding stone sets the angle at which you are removing material. In class I watched the principles of the operation, then put them to good use while in Florida, putting a new edge on my kitchen knives (a couple of them older than me) that had probably never been sharpened in their entire culinary careers.

Even with a jig, the process demands a great deal of attention, especially with long knives or those that end in a curve. In this instance, the use of a Sharpie is vital. By coloring the cutting bevel black, you may see where and where you are not wasting material. Often areas near the heel or the tip are ground away unevenly, because so much depends on consistent movement of the blade across the stone. By paying attention to the markings, the sharpener may check for inconsistency along the edge.

The Tormek system allows you to grind either toward or away from the bevel, toward for most knives and away for small knives. I ground the knives toward the bevel with the universal tool rest set up horizontally, keeping one hand on the jig and the other on the handle, floating the blades back and forth, keeping the jig resting on the tool rest bar.

Due to the shape of the wheel, sharpening on a this surface creates a concave bevel, that is, a slightly hollow shape. This makes for a narrower sharpening edge, and faster sharpening times. Over time, the sharpening bevel gets bigger as the blade gets shorter from sharpening. When sharpening takes too long, it’s time to regrind.

Beyond a couple false starts involving a flying carving knife (no one was hurt) and a gouge I tried to put into the leather stropping wheel and the part where I ignored Jim’s advice to test a blade on the arm hairs instead of a thumb tip (I wasn’t sure I’d done that good a job. Spoiler–I had) this went off without a hitch. For once, my kitchen is equipped with a selection of sharp and useful knives, and vegetables and meat may be cut down efficiently without gratuitous sawing and strong-arming.

After experimenting (in a supervised environment and then free range) with a variety of methods, I am most satisfied with the Tormek system. Sandpaper, though easy to come by and easy to replace, is absolutely repulsive to me in a tactile sense and will destroy a manicure. Knowing where there are two Tormeks at my disposal certainly helps things, as I can re-grind worn down tools, then keep them sharp at home with a 1000/6000 wet stone.

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 Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 4: The Tormek System appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 3: Waterstones

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 7:00am

Amy Herschleb attend Jim Dillon’s Hand Tool Sharpening class at Highland and came away with a new appreciation of working with sharp tools. In this series she will go into thoughtful detail on the 3 methods of sharpening Jim Dillon taught. Today she covers Method 2, Using Waterstones.

The next technique we practiced was with Japanese waterstones. Jim recommends Ian Kirby’s book Sharpening With Waterstones, which covers far more material than the title suggests. We began with 800 grit and worked up to 8000. A simple setup for waterstones Jim suggested was to make a wooden rack for the stone that will sit atop a 5-gallon bucket, so that the stone may be rinsed efficiently and the mess contained. In lieu of this in the classroom setting, after the initial soak, we wet ours constantly with a plastic squirt bottle and kept the stones on plastic sheeting.

The Japanese stone (specifically the 1000/6000 combination stone) is a great tool for touching up blades after using them, such as in the kitchen, before they can wear down far enough to warrant grinding a new edge.

Several weeks later, when I had the chance to visit the shop in Florida, I tried Dad’s DMT Duo-Sharp diamond stone. This one also had a plastic base and was reversible, with a grinding grit on one side and a polishing grit on the other (Dad’s is Fine/Extra-Fine). This I simply kept on the counter near the sink to rinse, then thoroughly dried the stone and base after use to protect the nickel from corrosion.

I found this technique to work very well, when I had the angle set by a guide. Without it, I managed to dull a kitchen knife significantly, simply by sharpening at the incorrect–or even an inconsistent–angle. This episode in the kitchen particularly emphasized the importance of careful setup and attention to detail in what risks being considered (by the uninitiated) the least vital of tasks. Meticulous preparation does indeed save you time down the road, as our buddy Young Thomas learned 178 years ago.

Check back tomorrow to read Amy’s thoughts about the last of the three basic systems of sharpening she learned.

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 Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 3: Waterstones appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 2: Sandpaper on Glass

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 7:00am

Amy Herschleb attend Jim Dillon’s Hand Tool Sharpening class at Highland and came away with a new appreciation of working with sharp tools. In this series she will go into thoughtful detail on the 3 methods of sharpening Jim Dillon taught. Today she covers Method 1, Sandpaper on Glass.

The first technique we learned was sandpaper on glass, the simplest and cheapest way to get started, though the most expensive method when used over time. The price of sandpaper eventually will exceed the short-term savings of a quick setup. We used wet-dry sandpaper (dry to minimize the mess in the workshop) beginning with 180 grit.

The first directive was to flatten the back of the blade. By drawing the blade at an angle in a single direction, a diagonal hatching is achieved. When the entire back is thus marked, we move on to 220 and change the angle of the blade so that the scratch marks now make a cross-hatching. When the back of the blade is entirely changed to this opposing diagonal, we move up a grade of sandpaper, and so on until we reached 2400 grit.

At 2400 we achieved a mirror-like surface, from which no further refinement was necessary. All that remained was to remove the burr left on the front of the blade by dragging the front of the edge, ever so lightly, against the sandpaper, then gently wiping the back on it. This technique, called “backing off”, prevents the edge from being crushed or otherwise deformed by being pushed against the burr, which is barely detectable.

For the beveled edge we tried two different honing guides: a side clamp honing guide and the Veritas MK II standard honing guide. These guides support the blade at a consistent angle against the sharpening medium and require a simple measurement to set up (side clamp) or have predetermined settings (Veritas). Chris Schwarz recommends sharpening everything to 35° in his blog, Jim Dillon 30°, and both have made a wooden gauge set to their angle of choice.

Check back next Monday to read Amy’s thoughts about the second of the three basic systems of sharpening she learned.

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 Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 2: Sandpaper on Glass appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 1

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 7:00am

With the constant jokes circulating the woodworking workplace, there ought to be an award for who gets to be “the sharpest tool in the shed.” And as a newcomer to the field, until lately I would rank a non-starter.

I have been catching up on my reading, and being drawn to the attractively-bound volume, recently picked up The Joiner and Cabinet Maker, reissued and expanded by Lost Art Press. It contains not only the original 1839 text, but also an historical analysis of the techniques and tools, and then the process of building the three projects contained in the text by the apprentice cabinet maker “Young Thomas.” In one passage, the young apprentice is tasked with making a packing box, and finds the tools common to the apprentices to be in poor shape, befouled by shavings, edges dulled and dinged by nails, and the hone dry and hollowed. Instead of regrinding all three planes he needs, he is helped by his journeyman friend Robert, who lends him a hone to sharpen one plane and a second plane of his own to complete the commission. The protagonist immediately recognizes the necessity of beginning a task with tools prepared to do their job, rather than risking the outcome with poorly cared for tools.

I am not the person to teach you to sharpen. I am perhaps more an object lesson for the maxim “anyone may learn to sharpen,” just as Katy, age 8, is in Schwarz’s reworking of the Joiner and Cabinet Maker. Katy can sharpen, I can sharpen, you can sharpen.

Unlike Katy, I spend my childhood rigorously sheltered from the shop where straightforward carpentry and house-building occurred, and sharp objects in general. At the age of 13, my grandad gifted me a buck knife, I imagine, to the horror of my parents. But I grew up in the grip of that horror, and never did anything interesting with the knife, or anything else sharp, beyond slicing open my knuckle and never telling anyone (… oh).

And so I have carried on into adulthood. I never attempted nor considered it within the realm of possibility that I could sharpen until recently, when I took Jim Dillon’s sharpening class.

As I was not in the habit of bringing an assortment of tools to work every day, I chose a couple bench chisels from our workshop that needed a little TLC (tender loving care, not the 90s girl group. Though woodworking would definitely benefit from an infusion of feminist R&B).

Jim’s philosophy on sharpening grew out of taking classes with Drew Langsner at Country Workshops (or, we could say, was honed by). Langsner proved to be so particular in his sharpening that he would prepare all the tools himself before the class began, but when asked about the angle of a particular tool would answer, “oh… about 30 degrees.” Jim’s takeaway was that “sharpness is crucial, and the way you get there matters, but the precise angle (within a certain range) isn’t nearly important as the edge formed by two highly polished surfaces intersecting.”

In Jim’s class we covered three basic systems of sharpening, from low-tech to high-tech, on which I’ll elaborate: sandpaper, water stones, and the Tormek grinder. I had the opportunity to both learn about these in the classroom, and later, to try them out in the wild, unsupervised and at my own peril. The good news is everyone survived. The better news is that my forays into woodworking are safer and more effective because of learning this vital skill.

Check back tomorrow to read Amy’s thoughts about the first of the three basic systems of sharpening she learned.

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 Tool Sharpening for a Beginner, Part 1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

3 “Rules” To Joyous Woodworking and Life

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 7:00am

RULE 1 – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I have heard this saying over and over throughout my life. It always made a kind of sense to me, but had never become real to me until I stitched it together with the next two “Rules” .

Not sweating the small stuff could be taken as a polar opposite to what constitutes craftsmanship. The taking of the time and the effort to “sweat the details”. This is NOT how I choose to use the phrase here. I insist that a craftsman deliver their own, best effort, at all times and in all their projects. No corner cutting.

Rather, by embracing rule 1, it sets the stage for a woodworker to free themselves from fear. What I mean here is that in woodworking, and in life too for that matter, Fear is often times the major stumbling block to those good and satisfying things we wish to have in our lives. Fear is a barrier to attaining what we want in our heart, to accomplish.

Fear of failing, fear of embarrassment, fear of not measuring up to our peers. There seems to be no end to the number of things that we as people, let alone craftspersons, can convince ourselves to be afraid of.

By adopting a philosophy of “not sweating the small stuff”, we open ourselves to possibility.

Sure, all those things we convince ourselves to be afraid of don’t just go away. The chance that we might fail or be embarrassed surely do exist and may indeed come to pass.

The difference is, if we adhere to these three rules, and do so with genuine and honest effort, we can reach a place of Madcap Nirvana. That is to say, we just don’t care if we fail, we just don’t care if we do something embarrassing. We embrace the failure, we embrace the embarrassment.

A key element of Madcap Nirvana is redefining failure or embarrassment or other negative, fear driven outcome, as an outcome other than what we initially had hoped for. In embracing the possibility of outcomes other than what we initially had hoped for, we open ourselves to what is, rather than what should be.

Taking this a step further, it is in the acceptance and willingness to embrace what is, over what should be, that we can find avenues of creativity and discovery that would otherwise have been unavailable to us were we to remain fixed in the focus of what should be. Learning to operate in acceptance of what is creates an environment that allows the artisan savor each moment in the creative process fearlessly.

RULE 2 – It’s ALL Small Stuff

It’s all small stuff, and I can prove it…If you woke this morning, were able to open your eyes, see the dawn, wiggle your toes, stretch, feel the sun on your face, smell the lilac, walk to the kitchen and make fresh coffee… those things, are BIG STUFF.

Everything, and I want to emphasize this, EVERYTHING else is small stuff. The rest of your day is icing on the cake. Just realizing that having the ability to do those things I mentioned above, is reason enough to take the rest of the day as something to be grateful for, enjoy, and hypothetically would make the rest of the day something of a vacation day.

That is in spite of having to go to a job we dislike, or having to interact with people that leave us with a bitter taste in our mouth. We are ALIVE, and…and this is another big one… we are alive and have the ability to go out to our shop and make shavings or make sawdust.

What an amazing gift that is!

So if those dovetail joints don’t fit just right, or that board is not as square as you had hoped it would be….so what? So what if it looks like a failure?

It isn’t.

It’s a demonstration of effort. It is a celebration of our ability to take advantage of having opposable thumbs. It’s an example of a creative soul attempting something different. That alone makes the attempt worthy and worth doing. Everything else, just as in the example above, is gravy.

RULE 3 – NEVER FORGET RULE 1 & 2

This rule sounds almost flippant, or as something said as a joke or tag line, but is actually the most important rule of the three.

I try every day to remember not to sweat the small stuff. I try every day to remember that it is ALL small stuff.

Am I successful? Sometimes yes…and…sometimes no…and that’s just fine.

Sometimes I forget that it is amazing that I woke up in the morning. Sometimes I forget to wiggle my toes. Sometimes I forget that each day is remarkable simply because I am alive to experience it. It’s natural. It is part of the human experience to live some days with less than monastic meditation and gratitude each and every moment.

However, on those days when I remember rules 1 and 2, I find that I enjoy, even the smallest victory, more vividly. I find that things seem to flow more smoothly. In those times when the inevitable mistakes are made, I try to remember to embrace them, and look for the lesson in them. Or look for the discovery in them. Or look for the creative method to manage, or even fix the mistake. If i’m faithful in this, I nearly always find what I am looking for.

Remembering these rules has absolutely changed the way I experience the world. I would be willing to wager that it may be a game changer for others as well.

I would say this though, take the three rules and make them uniquely your own. Don’t take my word for it. It is through the prism of an individual’s experience that these rules should be applied. Apply them to your own experience in a way that makes the “rules” yours.

Or not.

I submit them as an example of my own experience, and fodder for contemplation and consideration, not as gospel. It would be presumptuous of me to make the assumption that these three rules are universally applicable. They may very well not be. They are truth in my own experience of life, and it is my hope that they are in someone else’s as well.

John McBride is a professional woodwright, blogger, and writer, living and working joyfully and with abandon in Denver, Colorado.

The post 3 “Rules” To Joyous Woodworking and Life appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Which Festool Track Saw is Right for You?

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 7:00am

In Issue #6 of Festool Heaven, Our Sticks In The Mud (SITM) tipster Jim Randolph and our Down To Earth Woodworker (DTEW) Steve Johnson got into a discussion over which is the best Festool Track Saw, the TS-55 or the TS-75. We’re not sure who won the argument, but they both scored some pretty good shots. We just hope they’re still friends after this!

So which Track Saw is better? Click here to see what Jim and Steve had to say about it!

 

The post Which Festool Track Saw is Right for You? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Caliper Comparison: Fraction Dial vs. Digital

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 7:00am

 

In the March 2017 issue of Wood News, Jeff Fleisher changes up his normal review process and does a comparison review of two of our most popular selling calipers, the 6 inch Fractional Dial Caliper and the 6 inch Fractional Digital Caliper.
This will not be a typical review of each tool but rather a listing of the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision when purchasing one, or both, of the calipers.

Click here to read more of Jeff’s article

The post Caliper Comparison: Fraction Dial vs. Digital appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – March 2017 – Tip #2 – Twist Ties

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 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.

When you purchase a new garden hose it comes with some really long twist ties. Forget those little things that come on your bag of bread, I’ve seen some over a foot long. Save them.

This new garden hose has three very long twist ties that I will save for many future handy uses.

Twist ties can even be used to hold, well, twist ties.

Long twist ties are worth having around for organizing all kinds of things around the shop, from wires that need arranging to those little flags AT&T put all over your yard when they ran your new phone cable (and cut the TV cable with the Ditch Witch).

Don’t ever throw these little flags away, they can be so handy! Once, I needed to dig a winding drainage ditch. Nature had already shown me the path the water wanted to take. To accommodate its natural tendency, and make sure I didn’t go off course, I put flags in the ground on that natural path to make it completely clear where I needed to dig. Not only is there no point in buying flags, but when the time comes that you need them, you won’t want to have to stop what you’re doing to go to the hardware store.

This big roll of electrical cable could be wrapped with two zip ties joined together. but there is no need to waste those expensive little buggers. One of these (free) twist ties will go around the whole thing.

Maybe you need to temporarily hang a power cord from the ceiling. Loop and twist around a screw in the ceiling, then loop and twist around the cord. Problem solved!

If the cord is too heavy for a twist tie, use a coat hanger. Stretched out straight, one end can go on the ceiling screw, the other around the cord.

For a more permanent solution, like this outdoor spot where I do a lot of sanding, I’ve used screw hooks permanently installed in the joists of the deck overhead. I can manage an entire 100-foot extension cord with none lying on the table in my way.

And, when you just need a little encouragement, nothing fills the bill like a pelican. In the absence of a pelican, a cat like Max makes a great stand-in.

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 – March 2017 – Tip #2 – Twist Ties appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

March Poll: Selling Tools (continued)

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 7:00am

Are you a tightwad, like me?

I know there are many of us out there. We pinch pennies and we are so attached to them we lose our appetites when the government talks about doing away with them. (Can you imagine what a government program to discontinue pennies would cost taxpayers? I shudder to even think about it.)

I once asked Alan Noel a paintbrush-cleaning question. He replied that “Since I am the world’s cheapest !*&/$#?\, first I dip the brush into lacquer thinner then I use Ivory bar soap (very cheap!) and rub the brush onto it under water then lather it up, rinse and repeat until the lather is absolutely snow white. This is how I clean a brush”…. I knew I liked this guy for a good reason!

Last month we talked about how to sell tools, and this month we want to think about how much we expect to get for them.

As of this writing, 21% of us said they wouldn’t even try to sell their old tools, but would give them away as gifts to our fellow woodworkers, like Jimmy Diresta did in this video.

Another 11% of us couldn’t bear to part with their old tools. I can relate. I have some surgical instruments and an old stethoscope that have simply become worn out, but I won’t throw them out. Maybe I’ll make a shadow box collection one day.

I could no more throw away this old Skilsaw than I could throw away my little Willie.

Somebody said you could get a pretty good price for a little poodle on Craigslist, but Willie’s not for sale. Or giveaway.

The Osborne Excalibur miter gauge I have, still in the box, sells for $120 to $140 at various outlets. I know no one will pay full price for it, even though it’s not “used,” which leaves me thinking, what would it take for me to part with it? For fifty bucks I’ll let it hang around, in case I want to assemble it one day, even though I couldn’t be happier with my Incra 1000.

Last month we asked how you sell your tools. This month, we’d like to know how much you expect to get for them:

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://blog.woodworkingtooltips.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

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 March Poll: Selling Tools (continued) appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – March 2017 – Tip #1 – Changing Leaky Tool Batteries

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 7:00am

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.

“This call may be monitored and recorded for better customer service.” Apparently, it’s true. Ever the frugal consumer, when a battery company puts a guarantee on their packaging that says they will repair or replace equipment damaged by battery leakage, I found out they do keep track of those claims. How? One day, I got this notice in the mail:

Dear Mr. Randolph,

In covering our batteries’ warranty to repair or replace items damaged by leakage, we have reimbursed you many times for electronics you have sent us. Along with cash reimbursements, we have included coupons for free batteries, redeemable through local merchants.

Each time, we have advised you to be sure to change batteries prior to their expiration date, and to quickly remove batteries when their charge is exhausted. Your latest warranty submission contains leaky batteries that are far beyond their printed expiry.

Unfortunately, we are unable to continue to provide warranty protection when the end user repeatedly ignores proper battery use instructions. In gratitude for your loyal use of ‘XXX’ batteries, we have enclosed your ruined radio and coupons with which you may obtain new ‘XXX’ batteries.”

I now use two techniques to prevent having electronics become ruined by leaky batteries.

One, I put a reminder in my computer (a phone reminder would work just as well) that tells me to change the batteries in certain equipment every-so-often. Each piece of equipment has its own reminder. By dating the batteries as they are installed in each piece, I am able to determine how long the battery will last in that particular item.

Every battery-powered thing I own has dated batteries. It’s easy to tell when batteries have gotten old.

Dates on the AA batteries in this transmitting shop monitor have shown me, over time, that they will last about 8 months. A computer reminder tells me to change the batteries before they discharge and leak, ruining the device.

By contrast, the receiving half of the same unit has an internal monitor that turns on a light when its 9-volt battery is low. Why can’t everything be like that?

I don’t need a battery-changing reminder for the receiver, but I do need a Post-It Note reminder to tell me why I don’t need a reminder.

My Nissan key fob, this micrometer, the microphones in the breathing monitors at our clinic and the glucose meter all use the same button battery. I keep one brand new battery in the clinic and one in the car, always ready, rather than each item having its own standby, with all of them getting older, and weaker.

I don’t use this little battery-powered Dremel much, but when no wall power is available, or in wet locations, it’s mighty handy. It takes less than a minute to slide the batteries back into their holster and into the Dremel.

Months often go by that I don’t need to use the metal detector. Therefore, I take the battery out every time I use it. Ditto for the electric screwdriver in the electrical belt.

Some items need to have their batteries in all the time, especially devices requiring battery backup. For the bedside clock and weather station, we have computer reminders to change the batteries before they can go bad.

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 – March 2017 – Tip #1 – Changing Leaky Tool Batteries appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Great Combination: Festool Kapex Miter Saw & CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 7:00am

By Steve Johnson

A highlight of my visit to Highland Woodworking a couple of years ago was the chance to spend a little time with the Kapex KS 120 EB Sliding Compound Miter Saw and make a quick video review of the tool.

In short, I liked it. I wanted it. But, alas, I couldn’t afford it. More accurately, I couldn’t justify it. While my brief time with the Kapex demonstrated some apparent advantages over my current miter saw, what I had was working fine. I will admit, however, to prolonged disappointment like a kid with a long list of toys for Santa that finds nothing but clothes under the Christmas tree.

Click here to read more…

The post A Great Combination: Festool Kapex Miter Saw & CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Festool CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 7:00am

One of our favorite new tools this year is the compact dust extractor, the CT-SYS, from Festool. The portable unit makes workshop cleanup so easy (not to mention other cleanups around the house, in the car and anywhere else you can think of!)

Find out more about the Festool CT-SYS dust extractor in this short, 8 minute video.

The post Product Video: Festool CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Wooden Platonic Solids

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 7:43am

The Greek philosopher, Plato, was also a mathematician and he discovered and proved that there are only five regular solids. A regular solid is one that is made up of all the sides being made of one simple regular plane figure such as an equilateral triangle, a square or a regular pentagon. The five regular solids are:

  1. Tetrahedron made up of four equilateral triangular sides,
  2. Cube (or Hexahedron) made up of six square sides,
  3. Octahedron made up of eight equilateral triangular sides,
  4. Dodecahedron made up of twelve regular pentagonal sides,
  5. Icosahedron made up of twenty regular triangular sides.

Here is a picture of all five of them

These shapes have fascinated me for a long time and I decided that it would be an interesting project to make a set of these using different exotic woods for each face. The project required having to design and make two different fixtures to assure that every face was exactly the same size and that the side angles were also exactly the same. (The cube didn’t require any special fixture. I just used my normal table saw settings for that.)

Here are pictures of my five Platonic solids made from different woods. (Each face is about 1/4″ thick.) As an added “secret” touch, I added small beads into each piece before adding the final face. Each piece has the same number of beads as it has faces, so for example: the cube has six beads and the tetrahedron has four beads.

Tetrahedron

Cube

Octahedron

Icosahedron

Dodecahedron

The post Wooden Platonic Solids appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Summer 2015 Woodworking Project: Youngest Grandkids’ Picnic Table

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 7:00am

Let The al fresco Dining Begin!

When our youngest grandchild, Sara Riley, was only a few years old, I got some rough-sawn cedar, planed and sanded it, and built the cutest miniature picnic table with two separate benches. A few years later our second grandchild, Charlie, came along, and his big sister now graciously allows him to sit with her.

After I finished this table, a lady saw it and said she wanted one for her grandchildren. She asked me, “How much?” I said, “For one exactly like this? Five hundred.” I put a lot of sweat and love into this little project. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures while it was being built. Here, it shows the effect of aging in ten Kentucky summers and winters.

After I finished this table, a lady saw it and said she wanted one for her grandchildren. She asked me, “How much?” I said, “For one exactly like this? Five hundred.” I put a lot of sweat and love into this little project. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures while it was being built. Here, it shows the effect of aging in ten Kentucky summers and winters.

I wanted to make a picnic table for our two youngest grandchildren, Audrey and Owen, but I didn’t want it to be the same. When I found the plan for a round table with curved benches, I knew all I had to do was scale it down to their size.

The kernel of the project came from an old project book copyrighted 1970 titled, Wood Projects for the Home Handyman, by the editors of the Home Handyman’s Magazine. Its asking price was 60¢ at newsstands, 75¢ by mail. There is a collection of projects that you can make from the “durable, decorative and workable woods of the western lumber region.” To encourage the timid and the tightwad, the book proclaims “The table with benches can be easily constructed by the average home craftsman and will cost far less than comparable units available in retail outlets.”

I was shocked when I picked up the Western red cedar. So much for this project costing “far less.” Cedar had roughly doubled in price since the first table. But, so what? It was for the grandbabies. That’s always good justification.

Memorial Day weekend, 2014, I had the wood, the shop was clean, Brenda was out of town, the Forrest Woodworker II was sharp, and I thought, “I can start Friday night after work, go all day Saturday plus Monday and probably be finished by the evening of Memorial Day.”

I’m writing this January 25, 2017, and I just loaded the pieces onto the trailer last week. It was not a long-weekend task.

It was a fun project, though. One of the great things about having young grandchildren as your “customers”… they don’t keep track of time.

In fact, a serendipitous thing happened between 2014 and now. Granddaughter Audrey learned the term, al fresco, an Italian phrase that means “in the fresh air,” and she loves dining outside on the deck whenever she can. She and her little brother, Owen, will love sitting at their new al fresco table.

There were some interesting experiences during the two-plus years of this build, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

First, I learned that, although cedar’s price was up, the quality went down. Knots, on the one hand, are simply part of working with cedar. I knew that when I chose the medium. Other defects were not so expected.

Like the giant void that appeared in the edge after circle-cutting the top with a router.

I suppose that black epoxy is going to become a “trademark” for me, as I seem to find a way to incorporate it in nearly every project, much like Ernie Conover uses ebony plugs in the center of his drawer pulls. But, I’m used to having a defect to fill that provides its own retaining wall, such as a knot that has fallen out. To fix this edge, I was going to have to provide a wall. As Steven Johnson would say, I “noodled” on it for a while, and came up with this plan. Start with a curved retaining wall. As someone who finds roadside buckets nearly every time he gets in the car, I wasn’t shy about cutting a bucket to pieces. The shape is already curved, and, even though it isn’t the same diameter as the 48″ top, it is flexible. I cut enough of it to go well beyond the defect, stretched it tight with clamps, then put pan-head screws through pre- drilled holes in the bucket-dam, into the edge of the table, applying even more tension. The defect was bad enough that it went all the way through, so I needed another dam on the bottom of the table. For that, I used some off-brand Play-Doh. Building up epoxy in seven layers, I gradually filled the void. I was hoping that I’d avoid bubbles by using thin coats of epoxy. Alas, there were some, but they were small and not terribly noticeable. Epoxy is sandpaper-friendly, so no techniques have to be changed to accommodate it.

The bucket strip is stretched tight against the wooden edge with clamps and screws. Dollar-store Play-Doh is acting as a dam against uncured epoxy dripping out, and we’re ready for the first layer.

The bucket strip is stretched tight against the wooden edge with clamps and screws. Dollar-store Play-Doh is acting as a dam against uncured epoxy dripping out, and we’re ready for the first layer.

Several layers have built up the epoxy.

Several layers have built up the epoxy.

The first two of seven coats of finish are on, and the repair looks more like an accent than a mistake of nature.

The first two of seven coats of finish are on, and the repair looks more like an accent than a mistake of nature.

Some of the bench boards had defects that went all the way through.

Some of the bench boards had defects that went all the way through.

Repair of these through-knots started with fake Play-Doh, reinforced with plywood clamped in place.

Repair of these through-knots started with fake Play-Doh, reinforced with plywood clamped in place.

Then, the defect is ready to be filled. I use “charcoal” concrete-coloring powder in my epoxy to make it black.

Then, the defect is ready to be filled. I use “charcoal” concrete-coloring powder in my epoxy to make it black.

Sometimes you get lucky and two defects are right across from each other. Before filling, I used a Dremel tool with a burr to clean out all the loose material.

Sometimes you get lucky and two defects are right across from each other. Before filling, I used a Dremel tool with a burr to clean out all the loose material.

During the project I read about a home builder who epoxied a penny into the framing of houses he built. The year of the penny matched the year of the build. I expanded that idea and put state-specific quarters in the edge of the table. A “Kentucky” quarter from the years Audrey and Owen were born, a “Mississippi” quarter for the year the table was made, and a Texas quarter to represent the state of my birth. My Texas coin couldn’t be year-appropriate. Quarters hadn’t been invented yet.

During the project I read about a home builder who epoxied a penny into the framing of houses he built. The year of the penny matched the year of the build. I expanded that idea and put state-specific quarters in the edge of the table. A “Kentucky” quarter from the years Audrey and Owen were born, a “Mississippi” quarter for the year the table was made, and a Texas quarter to represent the state of my birth. My Texas coin couldn’t be year-appropriate. Quarters hadn’t been invented yet.

 Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, topped with three coats of gloss Epifanes and two coats of matte Epifanes.

Loaded and ready for delivery. The finish is two coats of CPES: Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, topped with three coats of gloss Epifanes and two coats of matte Epifanes.

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 Summer 2015 Woodworking Project: Youngest Grandkids’ Picnic Table appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Introducing the Madcap Woodwright

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:00am

mcbrideIn this new monthly column the Madcap Woodwright, John McBride, invites both seasoned pro and novice woodworkers alike to stop and reevaluate their perspective on woodworking.

Each month, the Madcap Woodwright column will explore issues that encourage you to examine time worn attitudes and approaches to woodworking.

In his first column, John starts by telling the story of how he fell deeply in love with woodworking, starting from shop class in his sophomore year of high school.

John is also in the process of building a Roubo Workbench “with a Twist“, and documenting the build in stories and pictures in his column. Part 2 of that build is also included in this month’s column, along with a link to part 1.

Make sure you subscribe to Wood News and get the Madcap Woodwright and much more delivered to your inbox each month!

The post Introducing the Madcap Woodwright appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

First Steps on a Beginner’s Journey to Handcut Dovetails

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 8:00am

dovetails1smIn this month’s issue of Wood News, Amy Herschleb writes about her own journey learning how to cut a dovetail by hand. Amy is a staff writer for Highland and a relative beginner to woodworking, but her current surroundings working at the Highland Woodworking retail store make for a perfect environment to immerse herself in all things woodworking and learn various ways of approaching the basics.

Amy will be providing a beginner’s take on a number of different woodworking topics, including joinery, sharpening, hand planes, carving and much more. Keep your eye out here for more articles to come!

In the meantime, you can read about Amy’s entertaining exploration into different ways of cutting a dovetail.

The post First Steps on a Beginner’s Journey to Handcut Dovetails appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Photo Gallery from Wood Works – A Regional Exhibition thru Feb. 17, 2017

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 5:03pm

Wood Works Sign
If you are within driving distance of Athens, Georgia, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this delightful woodworking exhibition that is open Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM thru Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation in Watkinsville, GA.

CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery from the exhibition

Highland Woodworking is honored to be the presenting sponsor of Wood Works, a first-year exhibition that showcases a wide spectrum of woodworking with over 100 pieces by 35 southeastern artist craftsmen. Retired University of Georgia professor Abraham Tesser is the event’s curator.

CLICK HERE for additional info on the exhibition

A Statement from the Exhibit’s Curator, Abraham Tesser
Wood is a medium that has been appreciated by mankind since the discovery of fire and the first use of tools. We still use wood to make fires and tools, but along the way we have come to appreciate this medium in many different ways. And that is what the show is about: The appreciation of wood. I have tried to present you with a broad swath of wood objects that I hope will compel your interest and delight.

The Southeast has an abundance of talented artists working in wood. But what they love about the medium varies widely across artists. Many artists are attracted to the beauty in wood that is revealed as lumber is sliced from the tree. Often a slab of wood or a thin slice of veneer reveals a palette of colors or an interesting grain pattern; or, reflecting the irregular growth of the tree, an interesting overall shape. Several pieces in the show feature such beautiful lumber; several showcase the rare beauty of exotic veneers. Even tree branches that we are likely to ignore, discard or casually drop on the fire can be fashioned into beautiful, interesting and functional pieces of furniture. Some artists are concerned with preserving the environment and use reclaimed or salvaged wood. Age, weather and usage often give wood (and us!) a special character that enhances the interest value of pieces constructed from it.

Other artists are attracted to wood because of its properties as a medium. Not only is wood warm and beautiful, it is also relatively light, durable and easy to shape, sculpt or turn. What a wonderful material in which to express one’s own vision. And, those artistic visions in wood go from the functional to the whimsical to the purely esthetic. Artists differ in their favored approach to processing wood. There are turners, sculptors, and joiners. They work in solid wood and wood composites. Their work appeals to your brain and to your eye. And, if a piece has soft curves and is finely finished, it appeals to your hand; it is very difficult to resist running your hand over such a piece. (In this venue I hope that you will resist this urge!)

So this is the show. Pieces of wood that have been skillfully, artistically transformed into the objects before you. Have these objects engaged you, captured your interest, piqued your curiosity or perhaps even delighted you? To the extent that they have, our efforts have been successful.

CLICK HERE to see our other write-up of the event with reviews from local media organizations.

The post Photo Gallery from Wood Works – A Regional Exhibition thru Feb. 17, 2017 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

February Poll: How Do You Sell Tools You No Longer Use/Need?

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 7:00am

January is the month of resolutions.

February is the month in which you know whether you’ve kept up with what you’ve resolved, need to improve, or have failed miserably.

What are your resolutions for 2017?

I’m confident that a lot of woodworkers have intentions of being cleaner around the shop in the new year. We could sweep more, we could pick up cutoffs and other trip hazards as we create them, we could store the things that we use infrequently, and better organize the things we leave out.

Some of you might be like me, and have tools that you no longer (or never did) use.

Take my first Skilsaw. It runs, but the bushings (I doubt it has bearings) seize on the armature and it howls when it spins. I might be able to send it somewhere to be rebuilt, but how would I justify the cost and effort? I have a TS75, and a newer Skilsaw. Still, I can’t seem to let it go. I bought it at the Keesler Air Force Base Exchange in the 1970s and, if I remember correctly, paid less than $25.

With the exception of the TS75, this is still the best circular saw I’ve ever had. Not for sale. If I could solve the seizing problem, it would still be my go-to all-around circular saw. It would beat the pants off the Skilsaw I bought in 2005.

With the exception of the TS75, this is still the best circular saw I’ve ever had. Not for sale. If I could solve the seizing problem, it would still be my go-to all-around circular saw. It would beat the pants off the Skilsaw I bought in 2005.

Speaking of the BX, I have a Black and Decker one-speed, one-direction (neither reversible nor variable speed had been invented yet, I don’t think) drill that I paid just $8 for, also in the 70s. It still runs as well as it ever did. Well, maybe a little noisier. I’ll probably keep it if it ever dies. It holds some really good memories.

This is one tough drill. It came with a 1/4" chuck, but I exchanged it for a 3/8" chuck from a dead drill. Not for sale.

This is one tough drill. It came with a 1/4″ chuck, but I exchanged it for a 3/8″ chuck from a dead drill. Not for sale.

I have an Osborne Excalibur miter gauge that I’ve never used. Heck, it’s never even been out of the box. I won it in a contest and I already had a nice Incra miter gauge that I’ve always been happy with.

Somebody could have been using this fine miter gauge for all the years it’s been sitting in my office. I’d like to sell it, but I’m not sure where to start.

Somebody could have been using this fine miter gauge for all the years it’s been sitting in my office. I’d like to sell it, but I’m not sure where to start.

I’d like to have a bigger jointer than the 6″ Delta that I have, but what would I ever do with the old Delta? It would be cost-prohibitive to ship, but I could deliver it if I sold it locally.

Sometimes a 6" jointer is all you need, other times, it’s just not enough. Still, no one needs two jointers. Or does he?

Sometimes a 6″ jointer is all you need, other times, it’s just not enough. Still, no one needs two jointers. Or does he?

I’ve also been torn about miter saws. I took the plunge into a Festool Kapex, for a variety of reasons, but I’m still attached to my DeWalt. It’s not a sin to have two miter saws, is it?

There’s nothing wrong with the DeWalt miter saw, and the Norm Abram stand is the cat’s meow. But, does one need two power miter boxes? I doubt it.

There’s nothing wrong with the DeWalt miter saw, and the Norm Abram stand is the cat’s meow. But, does one need two power miter boxes? I doubt it.

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://blog.woodworkingtooltips.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

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 February Poll: How Do You Sell Tools You No Longer Use/Need? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Pages