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Updated: 4 hours 49 min ago

Video: Dealing with Wood Knots and Other Defects

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

An Interview Heirloom Tool Maker Thomas Lie-Nielsen

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

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

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

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

Click here to read

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

How I Use My Honing Guide Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

Installing My Eclipse Bench Vise

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

Dedicating This Woodworking Shop to My Dad

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

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.

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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.

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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!

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Categories: General Woodworking

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