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

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

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

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

Dear Mr. Randolph,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Tips from Sticks in the Mud – March 2017 – Tip #1 – Changing Leaky Tool Batteries appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

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

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

By Steve Johnson

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

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

Click here to read more…

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

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Festool CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

Wooden Platonic Solids

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

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

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

Here is a picture of all five of them

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

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

Tetrahedron

Cube

Octahedron

Icosahedron

Dodecahedron

The post Wooden Platonic Solids appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Summer 2015 Woodworking Project: Youngest Grandkids’ Picnic Table

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

Let The al fresco Dining Begin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several layers have built up the epoxy.

Several layers have built up the epoxy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

Introducing the Madcap Woodwright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

First Steps on a Beginner’s Journey to Handcut Dovetails

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

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

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

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

CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery from the exhibition

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

CLICK HERE for additional info on the exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

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

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

January is the month of resolutions.

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

What are your resolutions for 2017?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2017 – Tip #2– Cheaply Putting Together a Mobile Grinding Station

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 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.

How cheap can a project get? Let’s look at the mobile grinding station featured in this month’s 1st tip. It starts with a free Craftsman tool stand from a Sears dumpster. Then, use some 2x2s salvaged from a friend’s trash down the street.

All of these 2x2s were already cut and painted, sitting by the side of the road for someone to pick up and give them a home. I was happy to oblige. To boot, I got them on my predawn walk; no pride was sacrificed in the making of this project.

All of these 2x2s were already cut and painted, sitting by the side of the road for someone to pick up and give them a home. I was happy to oblige. To boot, I got them on my predawn walk; no pride was sacrificed in the making of this project.

Add a scrap piece of plywood for the top.

Some of my best finds occur in the dark. I toted this back home one morning, adding calorie burn to my walk and a beautiful half-sheet of CDX plywood to my stores.

Some of my best finds occur in the dark. I toted this back home one morning, adding calorie burn to my walk and a beautiful half-sheet of CDX plywood to my collection.

A half-price grinder, a full-price mobile base, a few bolts and the rest was free. Not a bad deal for a mobile grinding station.

A half-price grinder, a full-price mobile base, a few bolts and the rest was free. Not a bad deal for a mobile grinding station.

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 – February 2017 – Tip #2– Cheaply Putting Together a Mobile Grinding Station appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2017 – Tip #1 – Benefits of a Mobile Grinding Station

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 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.

Mobile bases are terrific. I like being able to move a tool to the location of the work, or, sometimes, just move it in order to clean.

Last month I posted about the new sharpening center. This month, I finalized something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In the sharpening center post, I mentioned that I’d considered putting a low-speed grinder on the deck, but worried that it might be crowded, as well as the risk of mixing water and electricity. Still, I wanted to have the grinder close by when it was needed, and this is how I fixed it…

When our Sears store had a local repair center, their dumpster was sometimes a gold mine. They would throw out things that seemed to be perfectly useful. One day I’d been there to drop off my dehumidifier for annual maintenance, when a grey object caught my eye. I wheeled around to check and, sure enough, a Craftsman tool stand was just outside the dumpster. As the proud owner of a Craftsman radial arm saw, I thought I’d pick it up in case I wanted to mount the saw on it. I’d already built the saw into my “saw table,” but it was a prize too good to pass up.

Over time, the stand was in my way, and I was happy with the saw table setup, so I started looking for other uses. It seemed ideally suited for a grinder, so I took a scrap of plywood and bolted it securely. To the plywood I attached my little Craftsman grinder. It was a good working height as- is.

For many years after I started woodworking, I was a terrible sharpener. In an effort to improve, I looked at a Work Sharp 3000 Sharpening Center, Scary Sharp sandpaper and several Tormek sharpening options. While I’m convinced that Tormek is worth every penny, I just couldn’t quite convince myself to drop the necessary coin. Since Steven Johnson’s excellent video on the Tormek T-4 Sharpening System, I’m now a believer, but I was already committed to a slow-speed grinder.

When my Steel City slow-speed grinder arrived, I was at first elated, then deflated. During shipping, the grinder must have fallen on its left side, because there were several parts bent. I called the company, and they were glad to take care of the problem. In fact, they sent me an entirely new grinder, and didn’t even want the old one back! I couldn’t be happier with the replacement. It was easy to unbolt the Craftsman, move it 90i, and have grinders back-to-back.

As Christmas approached, my wife asked me repeatedly what I wanted. Since I didn’t need anything, it was hard for me to produce ideas, but I settled on a DMT diamond plate and a universal mobile base. In no time I had a moveable grinder setup that could follow my wet sharpening system around the shop whenever and wherever they were needed.

Mounted on a mobile base, this grinder setup is ready to go wherever the work is, or just get out of the way of an oncoming vacuum cleaner.

Mounted on a mobile base, this grinder setup is ready to go wherever the work is, or just get out of the way of an oncoming vacuum cleaner.

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 – February 2017 – Tip #1 – Benefits of a Mobile Grinding Station appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: David Barron Dovetail Guide

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

davidbarronIf you are struggling to get a good fit on your dovetails with a handsaw, the Barron Magnetic Dovetail Saw Guide can help. Use the guide as an assist if you are just starting in your dovetailing, or keep it in your toolbox for foolproof angle cutting even when you have your technique down.

In the video below, Mike Morton takes a closer look at the Barron Guide, demonstrating how it works and showing us the best way to use it to cut pins and tails on your next set of dovetails. If you have been frustrated in your attempts to cut close-fitting dovetails, try the Barron Magnetic Dovetail Saw Guide, available at Highland Woodworking.

The post Product Video: David Barron Dovetail Guide appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Video: Getting Started with Sharpening Stones

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 7:00am

If you are overwhelmed by all the choices for sharpening and honing your plane irons and chisels, we can help. In the video below, Justin Moon takes a closer look at the many different options for sharpening, including water stones, diamond plates, oil stones, ceramic stones, sandpaper and more.

Watch the video to learn pros and cons of each sharpening method, and get started sharpening with confidence in your own shop today.

The post Video: Getting Started with Sharpening Stones appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Roubo Bench Build with a Twist

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 7:00am

John McBride is a self-described hopeless addict when it comes to vintage woodworking equipment, hand tools, and building workbenches. Already well-versed in European style workbenches after building two and working on several others, John discovered Chris Schwarz and launched the build of his “Madcap Roubo”.

Follow John’s journey in this build series – click here to read part 1 of The Madcap Woodwright’s’Roubo Build with a Twist’

The post A Roubo Bench Build with a Twist appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Come to Wood Works – A Regional Exhibition in Watkinsville, GA

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 7:00am

woodworksfront-1Last weekend was the opening of Wood Works, a gallery exhibition at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) in Watkinsville, GA, running from January 20th-February 17th, 2017. Highland Woodworking is presenting this event full of woodworking projects from some of the Southeast’s most talented woodworkers.

Over the next few weeks, the exhibition will be hosting several special events which we’re sure will be of interest to many of our readers.

On Saturday, January 28th at 10:30am, there will be A gallery talk by Philip Moulthrop and Sabiha Mujtaba at OCAF, which is free and open to the public. Sabiha is both a class instructor and employee at Highland Woodworking whose work is being exhibited at Wood Works.

On Friday, February 3rd at 7:00pm, there will be a PechaKucha, a series of short, fast paced, graphically illustrated commentaries by multiple wood artists hosted by Sons of Sawdust co-founder Matt Hobbs at OCAF. This event is also free and open to the public, and will include refreshments.

Wood Works has been written up by several media outlets, including:

WUGA, the local NPR affiliate, did a short interview with Alf Sharp and Abraham Tesser by Michael Cardin.

The Flagpole, by Barbette Houser.

BOOM, by Theresa Rice on the show: Romancing the Wood .

The Athens-Banner Herald, the local daily paper had a wonderful story by Wayne Ford.

The Oconee Leader, by Wayne Ford on Abraham Tesser, the organizer of Wood Works.

The post Come to Wood Works – A Regional Exhibition in Watkinsville, GA appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Video: How to Flatten a Workbench

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 8:33am

Have you ever flattened your workbench? If you have an old bench top that has endured a lot of use, it might be time to return the top to flat so you can maintain the accurate reference surface that so many of us need from our workbenches.

In this video, Morton walks through the process of returning a workbench to flat, using a Jointer Plane, a Sander and a Jack Plane. Take a look and get your own workbench back to flat today!

The post Video: How to Flatten a Workbench appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

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