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Updated: 33 min 38 sec ago

Product Video: Hofmann and Hammer Workbenches

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 8:00am

Are you thinking of upgrading the workbench in your shop? Consider the Hofmann & Hammer line of workbenches, available at Highland.

In the video below, Mike Morton takes a closer look at all of the models of the Hofmann and Hammer premium German workbenches. Take a look and figure out which one would fit best in your workshop!

The post Product Video: Hofmann and Hammer Workbenches appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Festool Abrasive Mnemonics

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 7:46am

To help us remember the dizzying array of Festool Abrasives, Steven Johnson has given us a mnemonics lesson using word association. Click here to watch the video he made.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “mnemonic” as (noun) “assisting or intended to assist memory.” As an example, they give, “To distinguish “principal” from “principle” use the mnemonic aid “the principal is your pal.”’

I used it just the other day. I wanted to order some paper for my new Festool RO-90 that switches from delta sander to 90mm round random orbit sander, and Rubin2 was the first example that popped up in the 120 grit I wanted. I thought about Steve’s video for a minute, and said, “No, what I want is ‘general, gray,’” which helped me remember it was Granat that I needed, not Rubin2. A couple more clicks on HighlandWoodworking.com and I was on the right paper.

With that in mind, I asked Steve if I could publish a written form of his memory tool that you and I could print out and nail to our shop walls, or laminate and store with our sandpaper supplies. He said OK, so here it is.

Granat: “General-gray-blue color.” Steve says if you can buy only one Festool abrasive, Granat may be your go-to general sandpaper. It’s good on bare wood and finished wood and is supplied in extra-coarse to extremely fine (40 to 1500).

Rubin2: “Raw wood, russet potato red.” It has a special coating that sheds raw wood fibers. It is available from coarse to extra fine (40-220).

Brilliant2: “Between finish coats, beige.” Anti-static coating that works well sanding paints, fillers, varnishes, lacquers, shellac even water-based finishes. Its surface won’t load up or “corn” as some papers do with finish materials. Coarse to fine (40-180).

Vlies (pronounced like “fleece”): “Clean, scour, scuff and polish.” Steve says it’s thick, like a pot-scrubbing pad. Good for applying paste wax on equipment. Clean, scour, scuff, sand, polish, smooth out irregular surfaces. It doesn’t have dust extractor holes, but dust goes right through it. Grits are A100 to A800, polishing green and fine polishing white.

Saphir: “Shaping or stripping.” Aggressive, super-coarse to coarse grits. Removes a lot of material quickly. Grits 24-80.

Platin2: “Premium polishing pad.” Foam-backed for high gloss finishes, pumice and rottenstone. Used extensively in the auto industry, but Steve has used it on an ebony project. Grits range from S400 to S4000.

Titan2: “Tucks in” to curves and contours. Solid surfaces, couple with super-flexible latex backer. Steve says use it t polish your Bentley.

Find out more and purchase Festool Abrasives at Highland Woodworking!

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 Festool Abrasive Mnemonics appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Festool Heaven: Which Festool Should You Buy First?

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 8:00am

For this month’s issue of Festool Heaven, we asked Steve Johnson which Festool he would recommend for a friend if they had never owned a Festool product before. He said the question sounded strange at first, but after thinking about it awhile, he came up with a surprising answer.

Click here to read Steve’s recommendation

The post Festool Heaven: Which Festool Should You Buy First? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 8:00am

Improve the Comfort in Your Shop with the Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware!

In this video, Guy Dunlap explains how the new Benchcrafted Hi Vise hardware can dramatically improve your approach to carving tasks, cutting and paring dovetails or any detail work, allowing greater control. Guy also reviews the easy installation of this valuable addition to your shop.

Find out more and purchase your own Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware at Highland Woodworking.

The post Product Video: Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworker Profile: Char Miller-King

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 7:00am

As an Atlanta resident and associate at Highland Woodworking, I have the privilege of meeting a lot of woodworker-customer-friends, both hobbyist and professional alike, who are making wonderful things. I’m pleased to introduce you to some of our fellow enthusiasts through this semi-regular dispatch of who’s who in the Highland community. -AH

I met Char in the store when she was signing up for Sabiha Mujtaba’s Fundamentals of Woodworking class, a perennial favorite among woodworkers of all stripes. She told me about some of the projects she had finished for her family and fitting in her woodworking into an already full schedule. She invited me to check out her blog, the Wooden Maven, where I encountered not only an avid woodworker, but an inspiration.

How did you get into woodworking?
I began woodworking soon after undergrad when I moved into my first apartment. There was a platform bed I was interested in purchasing, at the time I could not afford it. I thought, perhaps I could build it. I didn’t have much direction to go on, YouTube was still in its developmental stage. After a few trips back to the furniture store to further inspect the bed, I drew my own plans, borrowed a drill, and purchased a ten dollar battery-powered screwdriver. It took me approximately three months to complete the bed… I believe that experience was the beginning of my love for building furniture. The gratification that came from producing something with my own hands was invigorating. That was back in 2003, since then I’ve been learning everything I can about my hobby-turned-passion.

What are you working on now?
I always like to keep a few projects going at once. Right now I am working on two identical beds. They are twin beds that extend to king size beds. In addition [they have] accessible storage and non-accessible storage underneath. I needed the beds to serve several purposes: a place for my children, room for guests, toy storage, and of course storage for toys that shouldn’t be brought out every day. This was the largest project I constructed from only plywood. I used three-quarter inch PureBond plywood and a Kreg circular saw jig for rip and cross cuts. To give the bed a modern look, I used beadboard wallpaper on the headboard and footboard. To keep the beds as low as possible, I opted for furniture movers strategically placed on the bottom for easy gliding.

Along with the beds, I am putting the finishing touches on a matching children’s fold down desk. I chose pine for this project since it is lighter in weight and an affordable option for a place that will see a lot of use. The tabletop of the desk is covered with a thin polyethylene sheet to make for easy clean-up of paint, markers, or pencil marks. Both projects are paint sprayed with semi-gloss paint and a coat of polyacrylic, a touch of blue paint is used to accent the desk and tie in the bedding colors.

Lastly, I am working on a display case, in which I am using all the skills I learned in Sabiha’s woodworking fundamentals class. The case includes dadoes and the use of an ogee bit. It is made from oak and instead of glass to enclose any special object, I am using plexiglass. It will sit nicely on a mantle for many years to come.

What are your favorite tools? (do you prefer hand tools over power tools, or Japanese saws vs. Western style saws, or an old drill that has been passed down, or a brad nailer that’s just super handy)

I know that I truly enjoy woodworking because I fall in love with almost every new tool I experience. The versatility of each of them and the possibilities are all endless. I recently took a hand plane class at Highland after purchasing my first block plane. I never knew that hand tools could be so involved, it was an eye-opening experience. Hand tools allow you to interact with the wood and have a closeness to it, that you don’t get with power tools. I have to say that hand planes are my favorite for now.

Recently, I started turning and for someone who wants a finished project quickly, turning pens [is] the perfect answer. I do enjoy working with lathes and hope to get more involved in the world of woodturning.

For sentiment’s sake, I still have the little Black+Decker screwdriver I built my very first project with, it no longer works. It is a small reminder from whence I came and a nod to staying humble in my craft.

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 Woodworker Profile: Char Miller-King appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Rikon 8 inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 8:03am

 

Finally, an exceptional grinder at a reasonable price!

Take a look at the Rikon 8 Inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder in this short video tour with Justin Moon. Justin shows how the Rikon grinder runs quietly and smoothly and details how it could be the perfect sharpening addition for your shop.

The post Product Video: Rikon 8 inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Poll: How do you handle PVA glue squeezeout cleanup?

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 7:00am

When Matt VanDerList of Matt’s Basement Workshop was on the Wood Talk Podcast, he used to get a lot of grief about his use of exotic woods. What constituted “exotic” for Matt? Oak. Pine. Poplar.

That was about as radical as Matt would get.

And, every time he would say something about using those wood species because he was happy with those species, I would give him a virtual fist pump!

I’m an oak kind of guy, too. Red oak is my thing, although I’ve published reports on cedar and redwood projects before.

One of the challenges with oak, and other open-grained woods, is that PVA glue allowed to remain on the surface or, worse yet, soak in, will interfere with the appearance of most finishes. Everyone has his/her favorite technique for removing the glue, and we’d like to know which ones are Highland Woodworkers’ favorites.

Me? I usually go with wet rag wiping. Why? Because in the heat and humidity of deep South Mississippi, glue curing is unpredictable. While I like peeling skinned PVA, I find it difficult to get the timing right. Some days 15 minutes might be just right. Other days, come back in 30 minutes, lift the ribbon of uncured glue and a puddle ensues, spreading the mess even further (at which point I reach for the wet rag). As often as not, I forget to come back and check at 15 or 30 or 45 minutes, and then there’s a massive amount of glue to remove. For me, it’s easier to just clean it right away and be done with it.

Of course, there are those times when wet-cleaning pushes glue into the grain, and you’re still dealing with finish interference. That’s when I pull out the toothbrush.

While this is pine, and not oak, it’s an excellent example of PVA glue interfering with the look of polyurethane finish.

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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.

The post Poll: How do you handle PVA glue squeezeout cleanup? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Dehumidifier Draining Solution – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #2

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 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.

In the August 2017 issue of Wood News Online, Steven Johnson talked about needing his dehumidifier most of the summer thanks to heavy Wisconsin rainfall. In previous years, his average summer humidity was 38%; this summer he’s had 56% on average, with a high of 70%.

It’s not just Wisconsin. The Sun Herald, our regional newspaper, published a story in early July saying the first six months of 2017 have been the second-hottest and the second-wettest on record.

Steve, we feel your pain.

Except that my shop rarely drops to 50% humidity, even in the winter. It hovers around 85% most of the year and can reach 90% during a winter rain.

Not long after we built our home, 22 years ago, I had a little rust problem on an old Craftsman contractor saw, so I decided to invest in a Kenmore dehumidifier.

This 70-quart unit is the great-great-great grandchild of the first dehumidifier we bought 20+ years ago.

My wife, Brenda, was along for that shopping trip, and, when the salesperson offered a service contract, my knee-jerk reaction was, “No.” Brenda asked me to consider the harsh conditions the unit would be operating under, and the included annual cleaning that would remove what would surely be mountains of aspirated sawdust. Her argument convinced me to go from “No” to “Yes, give me the 5-year contract.”

What a money-saver that investment has been!

I have scheduled annual maintenance every August, because that tends to be our driest summer month. I would have sent it in winter, but Sears repair has no means to simulate hot, wet conditions in their Nashville, TN, facility, so the performance evaluation would have been worthless. Instead, almost every year, I got a call, saying, “Hi, this is Sears, we evaluated your dehumidifier, found it beyond repair, and need you to come to the store to pick up a replacement at no charge.”

I haven’t kept track of how many “free” dehumidifiers I’ve gotten, but it’s a lot.

Like Steve, I started out emptying the built-in bucket, but three emptyings every 24 hours times 22 years … that’s a lot. To say nothing of the fact that I’m lucky to get part of one day a week in the shop.

My solution was to utilize the built-in drain connection on the dehumidifier.

When our house was new, and we were trying to get grass and ground cover to grow (now we’re trying to get it to stop!), I purchased ten cheap, half-inch garden hoses and covered the entire yard with sprinklers. Once the yard was established, I stored the hoses under the house. Protected from ultraviolet light, they have aged well.

I placed the dehumidifier as close to the center of the shop as I could, while also compromising on a position that’s out of the workflow and reasonably near the cast iron tools that need the most protection.

The nearest floor drain is 30 feet away, so I elected to go through the wall. I know, drilling a hole through one’s home isn’t ideal, but I couldn’t come up with a better solution. (A replacement model I received one year had a built-in pump that utilized a little 1/4″ hose, but that feature wasn’t offered on future models.) Step One was to drill the hole, high enough to miss the wall’s floor plate, but low enough for gravity to do its part, with a little bit of an angle, too.

A short length of PVC hose guides the garden hose through the wall …

… and outside, to go under the house.

That went well, and the back half of our house is on pilings, so it was easy to direct the hose under the house to drain into the wetlands.

Because all of this area is adjacent to wetlands, the environment doesn’t even notice the added water from the dehumidifier.

Granted, I had to buy the first dehumidifier, and I’ve had to renew the maintenance contract every five years, but Sears has provided all of the subsequent units. That’s an expense even a cheapskate can love!

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 Dehumidifier Draining Solution – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #2 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Making a Handy Sandpaper Tote – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #1

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 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.

I suppose you could say I have two sanding centers. One holds the oscillating spindle sander and, because it has drawers, stores all of the disks for various Festool Sanders, too. It may be too fancy for some folks’ taste, being made from “real wood.”

This “sanding center” is on a universal wheeled base and can be rolled almost anyplace. The dust collection can connect to the cyclone or a shop vacuum, and the assortment of sanding disks can be close by wherever the sanding is taking place. If you’re constantly changing grits, that’s a really handy feature.

Mechanization is fine, as far as it goes. Sometimes, though, a job calls for hand sanding. Because we don’t want to be walking back and forth to our sandpaper supply, I made a sandpaper tote.

Our dear friends at the local Mexican restaurant saved some big steel cans for us. I spent about a million dollars (sorry, Steve) on Rust-OLeum rusty metal primer and Rust-OLeum flat black to coat the cans well before putting them to use. After all, they were going to be holding abrasives.

I attached the cans to a scrap piece of treated pine, and used the handle from an old Stihl string trimmer to complete the tote.

Fortunately, the old Stihl string trimmer handle was black, so the whole project was color-coordinated.

In the cans I put 1/3-sheet sanding blocks, scraps of sandpaper in Ziploc bags and a variety of other items that are used in sanding. Each can has a grit number assigned, with the appropriate Ziploc of scraps and a sanding block with that grit installed. The scraps all have their grit marked.

The cans are marked with Post-It Notes, just in case I want them to hold different grits in the future. One can holds a miscellany of sanding-related aids. For example, the rod can be slipped into the sanding block to lift the “lid” without ruining the ends of the paper. That way, they can go into the scrap Ziploc assigned to its grit, and not be wasted. Old scissors are handy for cutting sandpaper, or anything else that gets in your way. There’s an air blower for cleaning the paper when it clogs.

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 Making a Handy Sandpaper Tote – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Show Us Your Shop: Peek Inside These Woodworkers’ Shops!

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 8:00am

Over the last year, we have featured a wide variety shops in Wood News. We recently collected a few from the archives, including Scott Wilson’s spacious home shop, Tony Rumball’s shop options (he has access to 3 different woodworking shops!) 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: Peek Inside These Woodworkers’ Shops! appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Highland Woodturner: Woodturning Finishes

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 8:00am

In the August 2017 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Curtis addresses a regular topic of discussion among his woodturning students: What kind of finish should they use?

As a new woodturner, I gravitated to products marketed to turners. These were generally shellac and wax based products blended with other chemicals to aid with application and drying. These were very easy to apply with almost instant results. The sheen or polish was dazzling to my eye. I soon learned these were not the best finishes for everything.

Click to read more of Curtis’s thoughts on finishing options for woodturners.

The post The Highland Woodturner: Woodturning Finishes appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

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