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Updated: 48 min 19 sec ago

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

Festool Vecturo – A Knife for Wood

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 7:00am

In the May 2017 issue of Festool Heaven, Jim Randolph shares a quick story on how his first use of the Festool Vecturo oscillating tool helped finish a challenging job quickly and easily.

I’d had my new Festool Vecturo for only 24 hours before I had a job for it…After several hours of clerical work, I was ready for some woodworking. A DIY job would be as close as I could get. When our plumber Terry assessed a job we asked him to do at the office, his first lament was that one of the framing members for this AC air-handler platform was right in the way of reaching the bathtub faucet inside this wall.

Our answer? “We can fix that!”

Click to read how Jim used his new Festool Vecturo for a quick and easy fix.

The post Festool Vecturo – A Knife for Wood appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Cutting Lamb’s Tongues

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 7:00am

I’m building a pencil post bed for our master bedroom. The four posts, cut from curly maple, were chamfered to a tapered octagonal shape, first on the table saw and then with a 45° chamfer bit using a jig that allowed me to use a handheld router. The router created a nice rounded transition at the point where the chamfers meet the square bottoms of the posts. That would have looked fine as it was, but I decided to add a traditional bit of decorative detail in the form of lamb’s tongues. Lamb’s tongues are, in effect, stops at the end of a chamfer, followed by an ogee shape.

Completed lamb’s tongues

My bed posts are 2-3/4 X 2-3/4″ at the bottom, tapering to 1-1/2″ wide at the top. At the transition point, the chamfers are 7/8″ wide.

The transition left by the chamfer bit

I made a wooden template in the shape of an ogee based on 7/8″ intersecting arcs.

The template

I drew lines marking the location of the stops at the end of the transitions and the baselines that extended out from the edge of the chamfers, then marked the shape of the lamb’s tongue on both sides of the leg.

Marked up leg ready to cut

I found that some adaptation was needed from one chamfer to another, since the width of the chamfers sometimes varied slightly.

Once marked, I made a vertical saw cut at the stop line with a Veritas 14 ppi crosscut saw, being careful not to overcut the baselines. Then, using a Shenandoah Tool Works 1 lb. mallet and a sharp 3/4″ bench chisel, I cut away the waste between the chamfer and the stop with the chisel bevel down.

Chopping the waste from the chamfer

I smoothed the chamfer up to the stop with the chisel held flat and bevel up and followed this with a Lie-Nielsen chisel plane and a card scraper to finish the surface. The goal is to get a sharply-defined stop at the edge of the ogee.

I then cut the ogees carefully by wasting away most of the wood with the mallet and chisel, again being careful not to overcut the line.

Chopping the waste from the lamb’s tongue

I followed this with a #9 and #13 Auriou rasp, then sanded the surface to 180 grit to eliminate any marks from the rasps. The result: a nice traditional detail to dress up my bed posts.

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 Cutting Lamb’s Tongues appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How Does Woodworking Affect Your Brain?

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 7:00am

What is the Actual Effect of Woodworking on Your Brain?

by Bob Rummer


For many of us woodworking is a chosen leisure activity that we take up because it makes us “feel good.” There may be challenges, frustrations, and hard work involved but overall woodworking makes us happy. Now, I am not a psychologist, but I have read a lot of scientific literature on this topic and would like to share some general perspectives on woodworking and your mental health.

Click here to read more

The post How Does Woodworking Affect Your Brain? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Book Review – With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 7:00am

Do you, like me, find hand tool woodworking intriguing? Do you wonder how the old masters went about their work? Are you curious to know what lessons can be applied to today’s practices? If so, With All the Precision Possible is the book you’ve been waiting for.

Andre-Jacob Roubo, 18th century Parisian joiner, wrote many works detailing then-current and past woodworking methods and tools, including his much-celebrated and previously-translated work on marquetry. But for cabinetmakers, this tome contains the material you will most want to devour.

Click here to read more

The post Book Review – With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Madcap Woodwright: Getting Comfy in Your Shop

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 7:35am

One of the first things that drew me to woodworking was the high school shop. Not the fact that I was taking “shop class” really, more the shop space itself. It was a large room with the machines and several “team” work benches. (large, square benches that had a vise on each of the four sides.) It had windows on the east side of the room, high up on the wall, that let the morning sunlight in and warmed the room nicely. It also had a couple of old Sansui speakers up on the high wall and a receiver in Mr. Rauh’s office that he had hooked up to a Walkman tape player. Between the smell of the wood, the natural light, the music, and the warmth of the sun, the place was an absolute oasis for me.

As I progressed in my career, I have worked in small shops with one or two other guys, bad light, and the need for super human physical flexibility in order to get any work done. I have also worked in CNC driven shops that had what seemed to be miles of floor space and many computer driven machines that spit out cabinet parts and MDF or particle board dust.

During my journeymanship, I often dreamed about what my own shop would be like were I able to actually put one together for myself. I knew I wanted to try to recreate the feel I got from my wood shop experience in school, but on a smaller scale. I also knew that it had to be a welcoming and pleasing place to come to.

As woodworkers, much of what we do flows from a culmination of what comes from our mind, our gut, and our hands. At least, that’s how I imagine it. Because of this, I think that we are often times affected, for good or ill, by the environment we choose to work in.

Now, I realize that for the vast majority of woodworkers the shop space is often limited by what basement space or garage space is available. My own circumstances are no exception.

With that caveat though, I submit that as woodworkers we owe it to ourselves to pay close attention to how our space feels when we are in it. In my opinion, the vibe and personality of the shop space is at least as important as what machines or hand tools we collect to put in it. The shop needs to be a comfortable place, lest our ability to work wood fearlessly be hampered.

So then, let’s take a look at some things that contribute to what makes my shop, “The Tiny Shop,” comfortable to me.

Disclaimer: I do not intend to give the impression that I feel that the attributes of The Tiny Shop are the end – all and be – all of a soulful shop. I assure you that I am not so brash as to assume that I have ANY of the answers, let alone ALL of the answers when it comes to cultivating a shop’s personality. I only wish to share my own experience in the hope that it may resonate with someone out there.

The Tiny Shop is actually the latest in a collection of shops that I have been fortunate enough to put together. I have helped others stand their own shops up, helped employers set up, start, and run their business, and had one other shop that was my very own prior to a “parting of the ways” in my previous marriage.

When putting my shop together I had a pretty small canvas to paint on. It is an old, brick, one car garage that came with the house that my wife and I purchased a few years ago. In terms of real estate, it lays out to around 250 sqft. Not a lot of space for a 6ft 3in, 260 pound man to move around in without some contortions and bruised thighs.

The silver lining though, is that it forced me to be realistic about the scale and type of work that I would be able to produce from this shop. There will be no large entertainment centers or banquet tables fashioned here. At least not with the ability to dry fit them and assemble them in their totality. I suppose if push were to come to shove I could build a larger scale item in sections, and trust that my measurements were accurate enough for the thing to be assembled successfully in the field. Thankfully, I have not had to test this theory as I have limited myself to working on free standing chests of drawers, small tables and boxes and other pieces that are of appropriate size for the limitations of The Tiny Shop.

I have found that this coming to terms with my shop’s limitations has proved profoundly important to my level of comfort in, and enjoyment of, my shop.

One of my main goals in putting The Tiny Shop together was to do so with aesthetics and comfort in mind. I wanted to be able to call the shop “my happy place.” I wanted to be sure that the time I spent in it was as enjoyable as possible and I wanted to eliminate as many discomforting distractions as I possibly could. It makes my experience much more enjoyable and rewarding to be able to shut out everything else but the task at hand.

To that end, I chose to leave the walls mostly bare. With so little space in a shop like this, the natural go-to is to mount plywood or OSB to the walls so that shelves or hooks or other means of storing tools is made more easy.

I like the brick. It stays cool in the summer…for the most part…and helps keep a modicum of heat inside during the winter. Plus, it looks cool. Having the brick naked gives me something of a “loft-like” feeling in my shop. It feels a little more soulful, and provides me with a little less sterile feeling than that of OSB or drywall clad walls.

My shop’s limited footprint also dictated the need to be thoughtful about my choice of tooling. With more square footage, I am quite sure I would have found a way to stuff a full sized planer, an 8″ ‘Pot belly’ vintage Delta jointer, a lathe, a shaper and far more powerful dust collection with collection drops at each dust making machine.

In the case of The Tiny Shop though, I only had a couple of things I was unwilling to compromise on. I wanted a full sized cabinet saw. Providence smiled on me and dropped a 1946 Delta Unisaw in my lap at a price that…well…was a downright steal. So a Unisaw was adopted as the first tool in my machine arsenal.

Next, a good jointer, planer, band saw, sliding mitre saw, and some sort of dust collection. All of which were selected for their quality of build, and their compact size. Knowing I would be building a rather large workbench (later adding a second of nearly equal proportions) I needed to buy machines that would provide a high level of accuracy as well as allow for ease of movement in the shop and the ability to stow them when not in use.

Lighting was another priority. Since my woodworking tends to be something of a hybrid of machine and hand tool, I wanted there to be good, bright yet warm lighting in the shop. I know fluorescent lights are normally the standard in a shop setting, both for their lumens per square foot as well as their economy, but I absolutely detest the quality of the light produced by traditional shop lights.

So I compromised a little bit. I picked up 9 or 10 “dish lights” cheap and clipped them to the exposed rafters in my shop. In them, I use those twisty fluorescent light bulbs. For my needs in such a small shop, it seems to fit the bill for the time being, the quality of the light being nearly as friendly as incandescent bulbs.

Since I spend so much time on my feet in the shop, I soon decided that some sort of matting needed to be used to ease the strain of standing on cement all day. I found some inexpensive foam mats, like the kind you can link together in a child’s play area, at one of the local hardware store on sale. Perfect. Now my tired tootsies would get a break, and I could pad about in style and comfort. The added benefit being that the padding provides a bit of protection to wayward Sheffield steel blades rolling off my bench.

For the most part the shop is fully outfitted. Truth be told, there really is no where to add any further freestanding machines even if I wanted to. So all that was left was to develop my flow of work and to begin the ever evolving methods of working wood in my shop. The flow has evolved as a natural outgrowth of my incessant need for a well thought out plan of procedure. (Insert heartfelt nod to my former shop teacher Don Rauh here). Because I plan out each step of my build process for a given piece, I can also manipulate the order of the procedures to be accomplished to best fit the layout of the shop.

By and large, there is very little that I am finding to be all that difficult to build in this space so long as I adhere to my stated limitations. This is especially so when I have good weather and can open the two main doors and also include the great outdoors as part of my square footage.

In taking the time to develop an image of how I wanted my shop to look and feel, in taking the time to imagine how work would flow through it, I feel as though I have been able to build an efficient and comfortable place that allows me to freely explore woodworking as well as to efficiently work through paying projects that come in.

It is adequately powered, has very high quality tooling, and has a personality that encourages as well as provides for fearless woodworking. Until such time as it makes fiscal sense to either add on or build a new shop, this space is comfortable and welcoming.

To other woodworkers out there I submit to you that your work space should be pleasing to the eye as well as to the bottom line. Make the place comfortable, easy to clean, and distinctly your own. Take the time to sit in it and just look around once in awhile. I suspect you will find yourself puttering here, and readjusting there, remembering that bit of maintenance that you wanted to do to the table saw, or that little pile of scrap bits that needed to be gone through and either discarded or squirreled away. All these little “putterings” are a way of making the space your own.

Also, in my case at least, this personalizing of the shop seems to continue beyond initial setup. Sometimes the originally imagined layout needs to be rearranged and tweaked in order to develop sound work flow and to maximise comfort. Never be discouraged from making large, wholesale changes. Just be sure that they add to the comfort and add to the shops personality. You will thank yourself later.

I love comments, feedback and any discussion. These are always welcome. I can be reached at:
madcapwoodwright@gmail.com

And, as always, remember to work wood fearlessly and with joyful abandon.

The post The Madcap Woodwright: Getting Comfy in Your Shop appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Show Us Your Shop Update: Tony Rumball Mens Shed

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 7:00am

Wood News readers may recall from our January 2017  “Show Us Your Shop” that Tony Rumball from Canberra Australia had access to three shops – one of which was his local (community) Mens Shed.

Mens Sheds promote the well being and health of men and play a role in the prevention of social isolation by providing a safe, friendly and welcoming place for men to work on meaningful projects, socialize and contribute to the wider community.

Tony has told us that in his Mens Shed there are a number of “woodies” with interests in woodturning, toy making, furniture repair and generally making wooden ‘stuff’.

For the first time, some of these members recently entered projects in the Craft competition in the annual Canberra Agricultural Show. The entrants had various levels of skill and experience but all wanted to ‘give it a go’  and they submitted these projects:

Geoff – ZZ TOP rolling pin

David – Double decker bus (Highly Commended)

Peter – Motorcycle

Malcolm – Spitfire aircraft ( 2nd Prize and Reserve Champion)

John – Surf Jeep

Keith – Spinning (Reversing) tops ( Highly Commended)

Myron – Genie Pot

Harry – Segmented Jar

All enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to next year’s competition!

The post Show Us Your Shop Update: Tony Rumball Mens Shed appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – May 2017 – Tip #2– “Free” Sanding Tools

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 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.

I love my scrollsaw. I’m not completely convinced it loves me, but I’m working to make it more of a friend. Someday, when I have the time, I would like to move up to fretwork and other, more intricate scrollsaw projects.

For now, though, I mostly use it to carve out initials of grandchildren and others I make stools for. And, I can’t say I’m particularly good at it. Therefore, I had to develop techniques for sanding inside lines and curves to fix the problems I create on the scrollsaw.

I use four main tools, three of which are, you guessed it…free! The first is a rasp (not free), and I use mine for the roughest beginning work inside letters.

A four-sided rasp like this is extremely versatile. Two round surfaces, two flat surfaces, coarse and fine.

By the time I get to this stage, I’ve created a panel, sanded close to a final finish, not-so-rough-sawn the letter or letters the stool needs, and I’m really not wanting to have to back up and make a new panel. Therefore, I’m taking no chances that I cut too far or suffer tearout. I’ve tried to fix minor tearout in a damaged letter before. Because it’s a focal point of the stool, the damage is nearly impossible to hide. What rasping I do is performed with a little angle, directing the cut to the middle of the board.

With patience in mind, I turn next to sanding, not being too concerned about how long it takes.

For straight lines, nothing beats a popsicle stick. It’s as flat as you need it to be, narrow enough to fit almost anywhere, and stiff enough to stand up to firm pressure while sanding.

If I need to cover more real estate in a hurry, I make a stick out of plywood. With the panel in a vise, you can even get a two-handed grip on either kind of stick.

Another universal sanding/shaping tool is the disposable foam brush handle. They come in a variety of diameters, so they can fit the broadest to the tightest of curves.

Wrap your sandpaper around and get to work.

With these three makeshift tools you’re ready for flat and round sanding. You can even alter the size.

Sycamore can be tricky to sand, so it’s best to start with a high grit and be patient.

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 – May 2017 – Tip #2– “Free” Sanding Tools appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – May 2017 – Tip #1– Bandsaw Blade Tensioning

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 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.

Rules.

There are a lot of rules in woodworking, and most of them exist for good reasons.

Wear eye protection. Use hearing protection. Don’t start the table saw until you take off your tie.

Some rules, however, are about protecting equipment. One of those is bandsaw blade tensioning. Don’t leave the tension on when not using the saw, lest you cause flat spots on your tires. Apply proper blade tension before starting the saw, lest your blade go flying.

These are important rules, but how many of us follow them? Some woodworkers risk flutter-inducing tire flat spots rather than remove tension at the end of the day.

Why? You can blame it all on that frustrating little handwheel most manufacturers provide for tensioning.

This is the culprit. Who has the time, the arm stamina or the patience to crank this knob until the bandsaw blade is tight?

Let’s put a stop to that.

And, of course, not spend a lot of money in the process.

I’ll even give you two choices, and neither involves buying a new saw.

The quickest fix, if it will fit your equipment, is to purchase the Quik Crank Bandsaw Tensioner. Just compare the parts in the product description to the components on your saw to know if it will work.

If not, you can do what I did, and make your own. My Craftsman saw’s knob engages a slotted end on an adjusting rod. I cut a 7/16″ bolt to a length of 1-1⁄2″ and drilled a hole perpendicular to the long axis, the same distance from the end of the original. A drift pin engages the adjusting rod, and the original 5/8″ hex head on top of the bolt faces up.

Check the opening in your saw’s adjusting rod, but a 7/16″ bolt fit mine perfectly. Accurately drill a perpendicular hole for a tight fit for a pin. Drive in the pin. You’re almost there.

Your modified bolt should fit much like the original equipment handle’s shaft.

Initially, I used my good Craftsman speeder handle, just to prove that the concept was going to work. I left it like that for several months, then replaced it with an inexpensive brand of handle and socket I could just leave in place all the time.

From a distance, no one can even tell this speeder handle came from “that” store, but the price was right, and, just how good does it have to be to tension and de-tension the bandsaw blade?

A discarded milk crate close by allows me to safely get up to a good working height.

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 – May 2017 – Tip #1– Bandsaw Blade Tensioning appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

POLL: What is your favorite or most important non-woodworking tool in your workshop?

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 7:00am

For me, my favorite non-woodworking tool in my workshop is my stereo. I’d be lost without the music, but, my television is hooked up to the stereo, so I can get caught up on the latest news, too, which is especially important when there is a late-breaking event.

This stereo setup is nothing to look at. A big, powerful amp in a box for AM/FM and video switching, connected to a 7.1 Surround Sound speaker system.

One night my wife came down while I was working and asked me to turn the music down some. The living level of our home is just above the garage and the stereo speakers are immediately below the living room. Too much garage volume makes watching TV upstairs, shall we say, “difficult.”

The 7.1 speakers make good sound, but, for some real volume, you need real speakers…

…and these babies move some air. And the floor of the living room above.

I said I would, and she smiled, turned, and went back upstairs. A little while later she came back, said I had looked like “a hurt puppy,” and it made her realize how important my music was to me, especially while I was working. She said I should turn it back up.

Which, I did.
Thank you, Baby.

As often as not, I listen to audio through headphones, especially when noisy equipment would drown out stereo speakers. Still, it isn’t the same. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for those big speakers to rattle some sheet metal.

One day, when I was at Ole Miss, I was working on genetics homework and playing some Neil Young. The Harvest album. Later in the day I saw my across-the-street neighbor in his front yard. I went over to chat.

“I heard you had the Stray Gators (Neil Young’s band on the Harvest album) on earlier, Jim.”

“Genetics. It’s more than the brain can handle without some dilution.”
“You were studying?”
“Homework.”
“OH! I was hoping you weren’t inside the house. Are your ears bleeding?”
OK, so I like my music a little loud. It started with our generation, but it didn’t end with us. Electronics were/are so enabling. And, electronics are cleaner than ever, which means loud can sound better than ever.

What about you? What is your favorite or most important non-woodworking tool in your shop? If your answer is “Other,” leave us a comment with some details.

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'));

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Categories: General Woodworking

Building a Clamp Rack

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 7:00am

Having trouble storing all of your clamps? In this 2-part video, Steve Johnson, aka the Down to Earth Woodworker, shares his plan for an adjustable, re-configurable, stacked Clamp Rack that is 5S compliant for his workshop. Turns out this new design allows for 2x the amount of clamps in the same space!

Take a look and see if Steve’s ideas can help improve the clamp storage in YOUR shop!

The post Building a Clamp Rack appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Tool-less Blade Guide Upgrade Kit for Rikon Bandsaws

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 7:00am

If you have a Rikon 10-324 or 10-325 14″ Bandsaw, and are sick of all of those hex wrenches, you need the Tool-less Blade Guide Upgrade Kit. Install this kit on your bandsaw in minutes and enjoy the simplicity of tool-less spring-loaded guides.

Find out more about the Tool-less Blade Guide Upgrade Kit in this 12 minute video.

The post Product Video: Tool-less Blade Guide Upgrade Kit for Rikon Bandsaws appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodturning Project: Turning Offset Candelabras

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 7:00am

In the April issue of The Highland Woodturner, we are featuring Ray Bissonette, a favorite contributor from past issues.

After having his turnings featured in the June 2013 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Ray Bissonette used his earned store credit toward a new Spindle Gouge, which helped him add a new design element to his already “eccentric” woodturned candelabras.

CLICK HERE to see how he made them

The post Woodturning Project: Turning Offset Candelabras appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Show Us Your Shop: 6 Shops from the Recent Archives

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 7:00am

Over the last year, we have featured some dream shops in Wood News. We recently collected a few from the archives, including Randy Cordle’s ‘minimalist shop’, Derik VanVleet’s ‘King in his Castle’ shop and more.

Take a look at these workshops for ideas and inspiration, or just for fun.

And to read about even more shops, click to check out our Shops Gallery.

If you would like to submit your shop, just SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800 x 600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.

The post Show Us Your Shop: 6 Shops from the Recent Archives appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Shop made Sand Paper Tearing Jig

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 7:00am

Most folks will use 9″ x 11″ sandpaper sheets at some point in their sanding endeavors. And most of us typically will cut the sheets down in size to suit some particular sanding pad size, or to make a more appropriately sized piece of sandpaper for hand sanding.

Ways to tear sandpaper paper down in size range from the “fold a crisp crease”, then pull it apart like spreading continental plates method, to folding it over a sharp 90 degree table edge (like on a machine’s cast iron table) and yanking down to tear the sheet. There is also the “use your spouse’s fabric scissors” method to cut sandpaper and is definitely one way I can attest to that should be avoided. Sometimes these methods give a clean “cut” and other times the “tear” ends up being ragged, jagged and anything but straight.

Wise use of a consumable commodity like sandpaper can save money in the long run and the more your sheets can be cut nice and clean, at just the right size, the farther your sandpaper budget is stretched. To that end, take some scrape wood and an old hacksaw blade (or a new one if your budget allows) and make yourself a sandpaper sheet cutting jig for making straight & clean sheet tears, right on your mark, every time.

Sandpaper tearing jigWe used 1/2″ plywood and glued on some 3/4″ scrap at the bottom to give a 1/4″ high lip to be a reference fence. Chisel out a small mortise to “let-in” the blade to the fence, keeping the mortise depth about 1/16″ above the plywood. Square the hacksaw blade to the fence and use a washer under the blade at the top before you screw it down, leaving space between the plywood and the blade for easily sliding your sandpaper underneath the blade. We oriented the teeth on the blade so pulling up the paper goes “into” the rake of the teeth.

Size marks on sandpaper tearing jig

Using a fine line marker, draw witness lines at measured dimensions from the blade’s cutting edge for half a sheet and 1/3 a sheet, in both lengthwise and crosswise measurements. Add any other dimensions you use regularly when cutting sheet paper down to size.

Avoid doing what we did, don’t spray lacquer onto the Sharpie marks to “seal” them. The lacquer made the marks run like the makeup on a crying mime.

How to use the sand paper tearing jig
How to use the sand paper tearing jig

Now go tear up your sandpaper in highly predictable ways!

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Categories: General Woodworking

Why Chip Carving?

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 9:16am

chip carvingChip carving has been around for hundreds of years, has been practiced by men and women of all ages and from all walks of life, and continues to grow in popularity around the world. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Chip carving has a low startup cost, does not require any special artistic ability, can be done anywhere, and does not take a long time to learn and to achieve good results.

Getting started in chip carving does not necessitate a large investment. Many styles of carving require the need for a wide variety of assorted straight chisels, bent chisels, round nose chisels, gouges, v-tools, skews, parting tools, mallets, vises, carving benches, aprons, gloves, thumb guards, paints, and brushes. This expense can quickly add up to many thousands of dollars. Chip carving appeals to hobbyists/carvers/beginners with any size budget. Complete chip carving kits are economical and include everything needed to get started.

chip carving crossesMany people I interact with who see my chip carved items respond, “I could never do that. I’m not artistic.” The good news is that no artistic ability is needed to become a skilled chip carver. It is all about technique! While some chip carvers enjoy the design aspect of creating patterns, this is not a requirement. A lack of artistic ability is no excuse for anyone wanting to learn how to chip carve.

Chip carving is also ultra-portable! At home you can chip carve indoors, outdoors, on the porch, in the workshop, in the living room while relaxing with your family, in the family room in front of the fireplace, in the kitchen, and in your favorite chair in the den. Pack your knives and project in a bag and bring your project with you on your next camping trip, when you take a road trip, or as a nice way to spend some down time on vacation. All it takes is your set of knives, sharpening kit, and projects and you’re all set. An important reason why chip carving can be done anywhere is because it does not make a big mess. Of the various types of carving, chip carving is probably one of the cleanest because there are fewer chips created. I chip carve regularly on a chair in my family room and simply vacuum up the chips when I’m done. The clean up is quick and easy.

Another reason why chip carving is a great style of carving to learn is because it does not take a long time to learn how to produce nice carvings. Chip carving is really quite easy. If you practice good technique, use beginning patterns, and regularly practice the basic skills, good results can be obtained in a matter of months. When I teach chip carving classes, my beginning students are always impressed with the good results they are able to obtain in just their first day, often in the first hour or two! Most students will have that “Ahhh” moment when their first chip pops out. This is much different than other styles of carving that can take several years and require a natural artistic ability to attain proficiency. This is one of the advantages of chip carving that makes it appealing to so many.

Learning how to chip carve is not difficult. You will quickly find that chip carving is a very enjoyable pastime and rewarding hobby that eventually you will want to pass on to your friends and family.

Marty Leenhouts has 30 years of teaching experience and is the owner of MyChipCarving.com and EZcarving.com. His videos have 2.5+ million views and he is the author of Chip Carving Essentials: A Step-by- Step Guide to Successful Chip Carving.

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Categories: General Woodworking

April Woodworking Poll: What tools do you have that you wish you hadn’t bought?

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:00am

What tools do you have that you wish you hadn’t bought?

The Wood Whisperer, Marc Spagnuolo,  says one is his Dremel tool.

I, on the other hand, use my Dremel tool and attachments all the time: cutoffs, buffing small items, engraving/signing my work, routing small areas with the burr, cleaning out knots to ready them for epoxy, the uses are endless.

Requiring no talent and almost no practice, a Dremel motor with a little round burr allows you to sign your work permanently.

A 4-inch or 9-inch grinder will cut off a nail in a hurry, flush or below the surface, if you don’t mind massive burning of the wood, but …

…a Dremel fitted with a cutoff wheel can cut a nail and never mar the surface.

My wife got this 75th Anniversary Dremel set for a birthday gift for me. As Hazel (Shirley Booth) would say, “It’s a doozie!” It also came with two grits of sanding drums, nylon and steel brushes, buffing wheels and compound, and a felt wheel. I added chainsaw sharpening stones, and they will put a super sharpening on a chain in nothing flat. It also features an adjustable speed.

For me, it would definitely be my jointer. I bought the little 6″ Delta because I thought it was sufficient. When Katrina took my first one, I bought another just like it. I really wish I’d stepped up to at least an 8″, possibly with a spiral cutterhead. Regret might be a term too strong, but I really would like to have a better jointer.

This Delta jointer does 90% of what I need it to do, but it’s definitely an entry-level unit.

Now, if someone wants to buy me this jointer, I promise I will never complain! It’s what dreams are made of.

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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.

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Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – April 2017 – Tip #2– Workshop Cleaning

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 7:58am

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.

I got this little vacuum attachment, you guessed it, for free.

I picked up this discarded vacuum on my daily walk, intending to set up the cyclone on a bucket for use with a shop vacuum. I saw a project like that on YouTube.

This little attachment came with my free vacuum at no extra charge!

I’d never used one before, but, when our regular carpet attachment (borrowed from inside the house) wasn’t working, and I needed to clean a rug in the garage, I decided to give it a try on the end of our whole-house vacuum hose.

Man! I had no idea!

There is a similar attachment on our vacuum at work, and I’d noticed it only in passing.

For some time I’ve fretted over getting these pads clean. Not any more! The little beater-bar attachment doesn’t grab the rug like the full-size floor attachment does. The difference in the cleaned and uncleaned rugs is more dramatic than the photo depicts.

My new “rug routine” is to gather all of them into one place (on top of an old card table) and put the attachment on the end of my Shop-Vac’s Dust Deputy-filtered hose. Then, I can clean the rest of the workshop, floors and all, separately.

Decades ago, I got this card table for free from the roadside. I use it for all kinds of trashy jobs. I replaced the original cardboard top with some salvaged 3/8″ plywood. It’s stored, folded, with my collapsing sawhorses, within easy reach.

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.

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Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – April 2017 – Tip #1 – Marking Pros and Cons

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 8:11am

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.

Recently, I was working on a little stool for an employee’s niece and it was a blast to make! To give it an extra sentimental connection, I chose 150-year-old pine salvaged from our clinic’s old baseboards. It was great material, except for the fact that its age makes it somewhat brittle.

I like the character of this ancient pine, but it has its challenges. However, the beautiful end products make the struggles worthwhile.

To give it plenty of stability (we didn’t want little Kessa taking a tumble!), I mortised the top to accept the legs.

When I make stools, I take the time to mortise all of the parts together for maximum strength. There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to children’s safety. Sometimes I use the stationary mortise chisel, but other times I use the router, followed by cleanup with a sharp chisel.

The two sides were not interchangeable, as the legs were not exactly the same thickness. Frequently, antique lumber isn’t uniform. There wasn’t enough difference for one’s eye to tell, but enough that the mortise fit wasn’t identical.

To keep myself straight, I put chalk marks on all the pieces through the milling process. I’ve seen chalk used by a lot of very talented and successful woodworkers, and it had to be easier to remove than pencil marks, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Chalk is cheap if you get it at the everything’s-a-dollar store. Four huge sticks of chalk and a holder for a buck. A cheapskate’s dream.

As the kids nowadays say, “How’s that working out for you?”

Not so great.

I managed to keep the top on the top and the center section in the middle. Additionally, the center puts its best face forward, which also establishes the front and rear of the stool.

Somehow, though, in the middle of gluing up, I managed to get the big leg in the small mortise, which wasn’t the end of the world because it fit, nothing split, and its mortise for the center section fit, too. But, when the little leg went into the bigger mortise, the slop was immediately evident.

And, the gap around the leg was evident. Not huge, mind you, but evident.

Like a Lego fort, the interlocking parts already installed and glued were too intimate to disassemble, so rearranging was out of the question at this point.

While there might be other projects where chalk is a viable marking option, I’m going with bits of blue shop tape next time.

As long as you’re sure it’s not going to fall off, there’s no down side to blue-tape marking. More robust than chalk and unlikely to be accidentally removed.

As Olive Oyl once said, “All’s well that ends in the well.” I think everyone is happy with this end product.

According to Steven Johnson’s study on adhesion and cohesion, we shouldn’t need to worry about residue interfering with finish after using painter’s tape, because its cohesion exceeds its adhesion. Of course, tape sticks better to smooth wood better than rough, so, it’s not going to be the universal marking answer. I’ll let you know how the tape works out.

And, I won’t be throwing my pencils away. Did you know that acetone is an excellent graphite remover?

  • Be generous when applying the acetone to a rag or paper towel.
  • Work quickly, because acetone evaporates rapidly.
  • Keep moving. By that, I mean, once you’ve removed some or all of a mark with a spot on your paper towel, don’t try to continue using the same spot. Apply more acetone to a clean area and begin again.
  • Remember, acetone is an organic solvent, and, thus, is subject to spontaneous combustion. Allow the vehicle to air-dry in an open area and/or immerse it in water in a plastic bag.
  • Some woodworkers report that mineral spirits are also effective at removing pencil marks.

    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 – April 2017 – Tip #1 – Marking Pros and Cons appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Follow Friday: Highland Woodworking Class Instructor, Jim Dillon

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 11:18am

Jim Dillon has been involved with Highland Woodworking for quite some time now as both a customer and a class instructor in the Highland Woodworking classroom, where he teaches monthly classes ranging from hand tool skills to building bookcases, and much more!

He became a full-time woodworker in 1998 after he taught writing, which stemmed from his college English degrees. When not teaching at Highland, you can find Jim as the resident cabinetmaker at Fernbank Science Center here in Atlanta.

Jim keeps up a regular blog, The Thousand-Dollar Shop, where he discusses his current projects, new tools, and how he accomplishes woodworking “on a less than infinite budget,” something I’m sure we all strive for.

If you’re in Atlanta anytime soon, sign-up for one of his classes! Below is his upcoming class schedule. All classes are held at Highland Woodworking.

Saturday, April 1st – Build a Tool Storage Box

Tuesday, April 18th – Wednesday, April 19th – Build a Bookcase

Sunday, May 7th – Using Hand Planes

Saturday, May 13th – Hand Cut Dovetails

Tuesday, May 16th – Hand Tool Sharpening

You can follow Jim on Twitter (@jimdillon6) and Instagram (@from_ogema), and make sure to check out his blog!

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Categories: General Woodworking

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