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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...

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

Matt's Basement Workshop

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A guy, a woodworking shop and a whole lot to share. Straight grains and sharp blades!
Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

528 Hip photo clipboards

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 9:05am

In the never-ending quest to answer the timeless woodworker question “what do you do with your scraps?” I have yet another answer, photo clipboards!

small wood clipboard

Actually, this one came directly from my beautiful and amazing wife Samantha, who was looking for something new to present to her wedding photography clients.

The concept is simple. Take a beautiful piece of scrap wood, shape it a little if necessary, clean up its surfaces so there’s no splinters, apply a simple finish to protect it and attach a clip to one face.

The result is an amazingly simple project that can be as big or small as you need for your presentation and a great way to clean out your scrap pile (or to just experiment with some pricey exotics without breaking the bank.)

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Categories: Hand Tools

Black Friday in July at Shop Woodworking

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 6:23pm

JulyBlackfridaysale
Shop Woodworking is having their “Black Friday in July” Sale. Save up to 40% off Storewide when you use coupon code Summer40 at checkout.

It’s a great opportunity to save big while picking up all those great titles and videos you’ve been wanting for a long time now. Hurry though, the sale ends 07/28/2014!

Click on the banner above or on this link to visit the “Black Friday in July Sale”

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Categories: Hand Tools

Business of podcasting “What make’s a good topic?”

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 4:00pm

The subject of topics is a popular discussion in correspondences I’ve had over the years. It’s kind of funny when I think about it, because the awesomeness of having your own show or blog is that the topic is whatever YOU want it to be.

choosing a topic

image courtesy blogthemeplates.blogspot.com

First of all, it’s your show, so that means you have more say in the topic than anyone else. I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard not to let others steer your content. Even when you have a clear vision of what you want to share and how to share it, there will always be a little voice in the back of your head saying “you should listen to them!”

Take it from me, it’s alright to listen to the suggestions from your audience, sometimes they will help steer a good conversation to a great one. But it’s probably more important to be true to yourself. If you find that your creating content about topics you’re not passionate about, you’ll eventually stop creating altogether.

Second; chances are if you have an interest in the subject…there’s someone else who’s interested in it too.

Trust me on this one! If you’re interested in some obscure and arcane subject, I can guarantee there are many more other people who are also interested in too. Probably more than you ever thought could exist.

Of course the problem with obscure and arcane is that the number of visitors will be minimal, but chances are they’ll be quality. The kind of quality visitor that becomes friends you’re glad you met, even if you never actually meet in person ever.

And third, if you’re still convinced no one will be interested in the topic before you write it, there’s a good chance they will AFTER you post it.

The truth of the matter is that sometimes we either don’t know the topic exists or we do, but perhaps the way you present it is in a way we never thought about previously.

In the end, regardless, chances are someone will find it useful and a conversation will most likely begin. Often this leads to even more information and the chance of new interactions, which can lead you to your next topic.

So what I’m really trying to say is, NEVER let choosing a topic be the limiting factor if and when you decide to start a podcast or blog.

Even when you have writer’s block or think what you’re currently doing in the shop is boring, someone will contact you and thank you for the inspiration and information.

Does this mean ALL the content will be good? No way! But that’s okay too. Because sometimes you just need to get it out there so you can learn. Of course this also means you’ll get the occasional jerky comment telling you the content isn’t great, but that’s okay too…it means someone’s viewing it and that’s what you wanted in the first place!

Categories: Hand Tools

CU WoodShop Supply’s Used Tool Sale and Swap August 2nd

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 9:30am

Coming up on August 2nd 2014 the folks over at CU WoodShop Supply in Champaign IL are hosting their first annual Tool Sale & Swap along with their co-sponsors, Champaign County Habitat for Humanity and the Preservation and Conservation Association (PACA).

CU tool sale and swap pic

CU WoodShop Supply’s first annual Tool Sale & Swap

According to the staff at CU WoodShop Supply “We’re working hard to make this the largest assembly of used tools and hardware for sale or swap in Central Illinois…EVER! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

There are three different ways to participate:

1. Set up a booth at the Sale & Swap. This provides you with an opportunity to sell or trade tools yourself. By purchasing a $50 gift certificate from CU Woodshop, you’ll be able to reserve a 10’x10’ space in our parking lot or yard to set up your booth. At the end of the sale, if your space is left clean, you can use that gift certificate to purchase anything in the store, or you can gift it to someone else…making your booth rental FREE!

2. If you have items you want to get rid of, but would rather not reserve a space or sell them yourself, you can make a tax-deductible donation on-site to one or both of our partners. Habitat for Humanity is happy to accept any items that can be resold at their ReStore location. If what you have doesn’t sell, or Habitat can’t use it, then donate it to PACA for recycling! Another great opportunity for a tax-deductible donation!

3. If you have nothing to sell or donate, but want to pick up quality used tools for your own shop or antique collection, come see what’s available!

For more information including directions, hours, and contact information visit CU WoodShop Supply’s Tool Sale & Swap webpage by clicking here!
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Categories: Hand Tools

Bandsaw blade tracking

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:00am

My post the other day about my recent experience with case hardened wood and the bandsaw got me to thinking about my own tool’s setup. I know I get a little lazy sometimes when it comes to readjusting the settings for a new blade, but I’ve learned to overcome my urge to be slothy and do the setup work anyways.

I’ve learned to never assume that just because I’m swapping one blade for another of the same size and configuration that the adjustments don’t need to be tweaked. I assume every blade is different and therefore needs to be adjusted.

Typically this means unplugging the saw (which will have already been unplugged anyways for the blade change,) loosening all the guides (top and bottom,) followed by adjusting the tracking mechanism to ensure the blade is centered on the top wheel.

Once it’s tracked and I can see it’s centered, I’ll then take the time to adjust the blade guides and shortly afterwards it’s back to work.

Not sure what I’m talking about when it comes to adjusting for the tracking? Checkout this video from the folks at Steel City Tool Works.

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Categories: Hand Tools

A case for “case hardening”?

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:00am

Over the weekend I was resawing with my bandsaw, for the project video I’ll release later this week. All was going well until I noticed the blade started to make an unusual sound. The wood felt as if it had gotten stuck, then ALL OF A SUDDEN…BAM!!! the blade came off the wheels and it all came to an end.

on and off switch for band saw

In a moment I went from happy woodworker, to a guy who was hurriedly hitting the stop button followed by considering whether he had to go change his pants before trying to figure out went wrong. The good news is I was all clean, no mess!

The bad news is that my blade was wedged in the kerf of the 5/4 Padauk I was resawing. At this point my only option was to unplug the bandsaw, and remove the blade/wood from the machine so I could attempt to separate them. After about 30 minutes, the two were apart and I was able to resaw the remaining 4″ of length using a rip-style panel saw.

As I returned to the bandsaw I started asking myself “what went wrong, how did this happen?” “Was it my technique, the wood, or the machine itself?”

Considering how deeply the blade was wedged in the wood, and the fact the kerf was completely closed around it tells me more than likely I was dealing with a case of case hardening or at the least some reaction wood.

In fact, I should have noticed how tightly the kerf had closed on itself after only a few inches of resawing. More than likely it was the combination of the pinching wood and my pulling back slightly to readjust the cut that pulled the blade off the wheels.

Next time I’ll pay closer attention and either wedge something in the trailing kerf to keep it open for the remainder of the cut, or I’ll just stop the process entirely and consider whether I want to continue using the stock or try something else.

In case you’re not familiar with either here’s a simple definition for you:
Case hardeningA term applied to dry lumber that has residual compressive stresses, it can cause planks to unexpectedly bind on a power saw blade during ripping because once the blade cuts a kerf, the open kerf area will close in itself.

Reaction woodWood that has different characteristics than normal wood because it is formed a process in which trees bend and grow in abnormal ways due to external stresses. Reaction wood is not JUST a response to gravity; it also occurs when branches are weighed down by snow for long periods and it can occur in trees that are in an area that has strong prevailing winds and have to brace themselves against it.

case hardened wood

image courtesy of Richard Jones Furniture

Regardless of whether it was case hardening or reaction wood, the end result was the same, a momentary scary situation that turned out with a happy ending…this time.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Shop Woodworking’s “Hand Tool Builder’s Collection” value pack

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 9:00am

All month long the folks at Shop Woodworking have a fantastic deal on a value pack filled with tons of great information for the hand tool user looking to further expand their knowledge of how to get the best results from their tools with the “Hand Tool Builder’s Collection”.

According to the description, you’ll save up to 64% on this collection:

“Using hand tools in your woodshop is a fun and traditional way to make interesting projects. The pride that comes with making your own tools is something that can’t be explained. This collection comes with instructional videos, downloads and books to help you complete your collection of tools and set you on your way to making new and interesting projects. This collection contains 14 of our best hand tool guides to teach you to build a multitude of tools; a custom backsaw, a wooden smoothing plane, work benches of varying styles, tool cabinet, bench hook, and so much more!”

From DVDs like “Build a Custom Backsaw DVD with Matt Cianci” to “Build a Sturdy Workbench in Two Days with Christopher Schwarz” all the way to Jim Tolpins’ book “New Traditional Woodworker.”

This is a great opportunity to add some of the best titles in this genre of woodworking to your library, don’t miss out on the savings!

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Categories: Hand Tools

The business of podcasting “The Beginning…again”

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 9:00am

I’ve been podcasting in one form or another for over 8 years, and in that time I’ve seen plenty of shows (both woodworking related and otherwise) come and go.

I always tell the story that Matt’s Basement Workshop started for one simple reason, because there was nothing in the podcast directories that focused on woodworking and I couldn’t imagine I was the only one wishing there was something out there.

toy microphone

Not the same model, but very close!

So I set out with a toy microphone plugged into my computer and recorded my first show, never imagining it would go any further than a couple of episodes.

I have to admit I’m slightly embarrassed to be called the “Podfather” simply because in my mind that title implies somehow I had something to do with the creation of the whole genre of media we now know as podcasting.

When in fact the only thing I did that could be considered “innovative” or “pioneering” was that I was one of the first people to imagine woodworking could be shared in a podcast format.

As an aside: my biggest inspiration to start podcasting wasn’t a woodworker at all, in fact he was a pilot and an ex-MTv VJ. The man I call the “Podfather” is Adam Curry.

Here’s another little known trivia tidbit for you. At the time, Adam would frequently wish his audience good luck by wishing them “Tail winds.” Why “tail winds?” Because according to Adam that’s one thing pilots like having, a tail wind to help push them along and make their flight smoother and less complicated. So frequently when listeners would send emails or voicemail into his show “Daily Source Code” they would wish him “tail winds” at the end.

Eventually Adam asked if it was possible for non-pilots to come up with their own sign-off, incorporating something of their own passion into it. Immediately I thought of the two things I wish every board I worked with had…“Straight-grains.” Then I thought about how useless those straight-grains would be without “sharp-blades.” The result was what you hear today, all thanks to Adam Curry’s request.

I’ll be the first to admit Matt’s Basement Workshop is not the highest quality show or that you learn a ton of useful information from it. But then again, I never intended it to go as far as it has.

In fact, a question I get asked periodically is if I ever see a day when I’ll stop producing the show? At this point I know someday I’ll retire, but I have too much to learn and too much to share as I learn it.

Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t know? Perhaps it has to do with all those times I’ve been asked “how” to get a show up and running. How many times I’ve tried to help someone with all the little behind the scenes things that go into producing content and getting it out in front of an audience.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve seen a lot of shows come and go, and I can honestly say I’ve probably helped quite a few fledgling podcasters by offering some very basic advice on getting started.

I’ve toyed with this idea for a longtime now and I finally figured it was time to take the plunge and share some of my own experiences with podcasting.

I don’t expect it to be a “how-to” series of posts that tell you all the does and don’ts, but simply me once again, sharing my own experiences with the craft. So over the next, however many posts I write on this topic, I’ll share some history of the show and how I produce it.

Topics will range from equipment, to hosting services, to maybe even episode inspiration. I’ll share with you all the things I’ve learned, and maybe even some of the things I’ve forgotten too.

Is it a topic everyone will be interested in learning about? Probably not! But you never know who’ll read the posts and then become the next big podcasting sensation. Then I’ll be even closer to retirement and able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of everyone else’s labor.

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Categories: Hand Tools

The Hand Tool School “Remodel” discount

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 9:00am

July is typically not the time of year that you’re thinking about school, but then again semesters at Shannon Rogers’ Hand Tool School is not your typical learning environment.

Feature Banner

If you’re not familiar with The Hand Tool School this is a great opportunity to visit and maybe take advantage of this great offer: 30% off any semester or bundle deal from now through July 31st.

According to Shannon’s recent email “Act now and get lifetime access to your semester(s) of choice plus the every growing archive of live sessions. And you get free shipping!!!”

To take advantage of this opportunity to become far more proficient in hand tools, through tutorials and projects, just use the coupon code “remodel14″ at checkout to claim the discount.

Hurry up and claim this discount code before Shannon starts up the next semester and changes his mind (not to mention the fact you help my show out by using the links on this website and I earn a little commission to keep the lights on.)

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Categories: Hand Tools

527 Another bottle opener?

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 9:02am

Short of having a bottle opener in every room of the house I don’t really have a need for another one. But when inspiration strikes, who am I to stand in its way?

small bottle openers

Rosewood and a burl sure are pretty!

So on today’s episode we’re making another bottle opener. Except this time, I know for a fact you can easily find this version just about everywhere (even Amazon.com), and in most cases for under a $1.

Plus, with this style of opener, there’s a lot of ways you can dress it up or have a little a fun with the scraps you’ll be using.

In fact, you can use scraps that might ordinarily be tossed simply because they’re practically the size of cutoffs and chips that probably go flying across the room when you use your mitersaw.

So crack open a cold one (grape-soda or otherwise) and kickback for a quick project you can knock out in an hour or two and literally for just a few dollars.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Just in time for summer vacation “The Highland Woodworker” Episode No. 13

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 9:00am

Are you still in summer vacation mode? Looking for something to kickback and watch while you’re relaxing poolside or out in the Adirondack chairs you built a while back?

Charles Brock and the crew of The Highland Woodworker knew you would be, so they wrapped up filming and editing of the most recent episode just in time for your summer vacation.

This time around, they’re bringing you:
Moment with a Master: Glen Huey is a marvelous period furniture maker, author and magazine editor. He invited us to his Cincinnati workshop to talk about his humble beginnings as a woodworker and the road he took to becoming a senior staff member of one of the most popular woodworking magazines on the stands.

Feature: An amazing masterpiece in the making! Wood Artist, Scott Thompson, carved out some time and gives us a sneak peek at his extraordinary McIntire Chest on Chest project in progress.

Popular Woodworking Magazine’s Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Megan Fitzpatrick quickly gives you the edge to help terminate handplane tear-out! You won’t believe how quick and easy this almost full proof solution is!

Generation Next: Jalen Waggoner took on a Sam Maloof Inspired low back chair, a Greene and Greene arm chair and game table and did it masterfully…and he’s not even out of high school! You just have to hear his inspiring story!

Tool Box: We put Rikon’s 12” Helical Planer/Jointer to the test. See how these special cutters handle our wide boards!

Make sure to plan some time with Charles Brock and the crew of The Highland Woodworker. You won’t be sorry you did. Click here to visit The Highland Woodworker website and checkout all their previous episodes.

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Categories: Hand Tools

FullPro’s “SoundVision” eye protection

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 9:00am

Protective eyewear is an important piece of equipment in the woodshop. We never think about it until it’s too late. I know I’m guilty of assuming my everyday glasses are more than sufficient protection, but there are definitely operations where you need more.

And it’s not just in the woodshop that you need adequate eye protection either. Now that the grass is growing and I’m doing yardwork around the house I find myself in all kinds of situations where there’s a chance something could be thrown back in my face.

Soundvision on MBW

My biggest complaint with traditional eye protection equipment is that it’s either too bulky or it interferes with my hearing protection, especially when I wear something like the over-the-ear muffs I use when mowing the grass or doing heavy milling with my thickness planer.

Not too long ago I heard from the folks over at FullPro and they asked if I would be interested in trying out their new eye protection system “SoundVision”.

I’m always a little skeptical of some of the promises companies make about their “new & innovative” eye or ear protection systems, but I’m also open-minded enough to give them a try when I get a chance.

So here’s what you need to know about “SoundVision”. Unlike traditional eyewear that has to be worn UNDER hearing protection, like earmuffs of all kinds, FullPro’s “SoundVision” attaches via velcro to the outside of the hearing protection.

FullPro review at MBW Podcast

photo courtesy FullPro.com

The result is no more painful pressure points on the side of your head from the eyewear being pinched against you by the hearing protection. And according to FullPro this also means there’s no loss of the full hearing protection “Ordinary eye protection breaks the seals of earmuffs and headsets, letting in 3-7 decibels of sound…

From my own experience wearing the “SoundVision” I found they were comfortable to wear, even longterm and on hot days. They were easy to remove without interfering with my earmuffs and because they come with a couple of extra velcro patches I could easily swap them from one set of earmuffs to another if I needed to change or share them.

The only downside I experienced was that they didn’t fit over my prescription eyewear as well as I had hoped, but with a little adjusting of the velcro strips I was able to get them in a position that worked for me.

Depending on what kind of hearing protection you use, in and around the shop, FullPro’s “SoundVision” just might be that something you’ve been looking to add to your safety gear.

To find out more information about SoundVision and FullPro click here. You can also purchase them at Amazon.com by clicking here.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Wood movement catastrophe averted

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 9:00am

I’m sure you all remember the bedside tables I built for me and Samantha (if not, here’s a link where you can checkout the first episode in the series.) Many of you have asked what finish we went with, and I probably replied we plan to paint them…as soon as Sam figures out which shade of white she prefers.

Well, as things tend to happen around a busy household like ours, they have yet to be painted (sorry if I gave the impression to anyone who’s asked that they were completed.) The truth is, we’re just finally getting around to it…they might even be done by Thanksgiving this year!

stuck drawer due to wood movement

STUPID SWOLLEN DRAWERS!

Perhaps it’s a good thing they did sit this long unfinished? As it turns out, the drawer fronts needed to be a tad bit narrower than they were. How’d I figure that out? Easy, by attempting to open them. They were so tight, I seriously thought I’d rip the handle off long before it would budge open!

Does this mean my design was flawed or that I’m a horrible woodworker masquerading as an expert? Nope, it just means I should’ve been more willing to accept a wider gap on the top and bottom of the drawer.

If you remember correctly, I started the tables in November and wrapped it all up in January. And around my neck of the woods that’s the time of year wood tends to be contracted the most. So what looks like a WAY TOO GAPPY opening to the naked eye, is probably spot on when the expansion seasons of late Spring and Summer roll around.

Thankfully, since we still hadn’t painted them, it was a matter of carefully prying the drawers open and planing a little off the top-edge where it stuck the most. A couple of passes and they slid into place just as I had intended them to.

planing a drawer to fit

a couple of passes with a plane solved the issue

Worst-case-scenario? I would have already painted or stained them and then had to do a little touch up work. No biggee really, but not something I want to do frequently. It’s just another reason to remind myself to “Mind the Gap” when I’m fitting inset doors and drawers.

One solution to this problem is that I’m planning to use scraps of the most common woods I use in my projects as wood movement gauges. How?

simple wood movement solution

scrap wood solution…

Wood movement is predominenently an issue across the width of a board (there are exceptions to the rule we can talk about later.) My solution is to take an off-cut at least 4-6″ wide, measure it with my favorite tape measure. Note the day of the month and set it aside. Then I’ll measure it again each month on the same day and keep track of any changes.

It’s not the perfect solution, but it’s quick and easy and can help me gauge just how much gap I might need the next time.

What’s your solution? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to get some more ideas.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Save 30% at Shop Woodworking’s “Red, White and Blue” sale

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 5:00pm

It’s time to free yourself from high prices for your favorite woodworking content!

Okay…that’s pretty sensationalized but why not take the opportunity to save big?

Save 30% at Shop Woodworking with Offer Code RWB30

This is a limited time offer, so don’t miss your chance to save 30% at Shop Woodworking with Offer Code RWB30

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Categories: Hand Tools

Happy Fourth of July!

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 6:54am

Fourth of july clipart
Happy Independence Day to my fellow US compatriots. I hope you’re day is filled with all the fun and frolic we’ve come to enjoy on this date.

May your grills be hot, the beverages cool and the fun never-ending. Go forth and celebrate!

Categories: Hand Tools

More summertime woodworking suggestions…

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 10:47am

It’s the first week of July and having grown up in the great state of Michigan it’s also the time of year most of the automotive industry gets a two-week furlough for changes to the assembly lines.

Of course, I don’t work in the automotive industry so I’m at work and writing this post on my lunch break (explains the occasional mustard stain on my keyboard) instead.

But considering I’m posting this on July 2, that means those of you in the Great White North have just celebrated “Canada Day” yesterday and my fellow citizens of the USA will be celebrating our Independence Day on July 4 in just a couple of days.

What does this have to do with summertime woodworking? Not much, unless you’re like many of the folks I know who are taking time off right now to enjoy the warm weather and the fun and activities of the holidays.

In that case, you’re probably carving out some time in the woodshop or maybe trying to figure out what to do in there if starting a project just isn’t something on the list at the moment.

Steve Johnson Summer Tips

Steve Johnson “The Down to Earth Woodworker” kicks back for the summer, photo courtesy Highland Woodworking

I just saw this post written by Steve Johnson “The Down to Earth Woodworker” over at Highland Woodworking titled “4 Ideas for Summertime Woodworking.”

Without giving away all the details of Steve’s great advice, he shares suggestions about tackling tool maintenance, cleaning out the shop, stocking up on materials and more. He has some great ideas for getting in the woodshop and getting stuff done without having to miss out on all the fun the warm days of Summer has to offer.

Visit Steve’s article “4 Ideas for Summertime Woodworking” at the Highland Woodworking Blog by clicking here.

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Categories: Hand Tools

“The Trade of the Joiner” from Finn Yarbrough

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 9:00am

A big project around the house that I’ve been putting off for a little too long is some badly needed window repair. Nothing major, just a little cosmetic repair.

windows needing repair

Yeah window repair!

In fact, completing this project should be motivation to save up the money and buy modern replacement windows. But for the time being, I’ll continue to buy a tub of glazing compound, scrape away the old and keep these clunky old wood frame monsters in working condition for now.

As I work on these I keep imagining the craftsman who originally made them. Working hard at their bench, cutting all the parts and joinery for each pane of glass, then assembling each just in time for the carpenter to pick up and bring to the job-site for installation.

Then, just before I finish the last pane on the current window, I remember these were factory-made and I’m thinking of this video instead…

The Trade of the Joiner from Finn Yarbrough on Vimeo.

www.arnoldzlotofftoolmuseum.com

The beautiful traditional art of joinery, brought to life in the construction of a sash window frame from raw pine boards through completion using only hand tools.

Commissioned by the Arnold Zlotoff Tool Museum in South Hero, VT and featuring joiner Ted Ingraham.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Bob Lang’s “The 6 Most Important Woodworkers I’ve Ever Known”

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 10:32am

Inspiration comes to us from many different places. The materials we buy, the tools we use, the mentors who guide us and above all the people we meet along the way.

I can honestly say that in my life I’ve been very fortunate to have opportunities others could only dream of having. And sadly, I can also say that I’ve squandered many of them because of a complete lack of understanding how important they were and any appreciation for them.

6 most important woodworkers

Bob Lang’s 6 most important woodworkers, photo courtesy readwatchdo.com

Last week Bob Lang (executive editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine, accomplished woodworker, author and instructor) spent time with an extraordinary group of teenagers who should inspire all of us.

Not just inspire us to want to be better woodworkers, but to inspire us to be mentors and supporters of students who find themselves in tough situations and choose to improve themselves versus giving in to their surroundings.

Over the past week Bob spent time with a group of five amazingly talented teenagers from the woodworking program at North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon. They, along with their instructor came to a chair building class at the Chidwick School of Fine Woodworking in Stevensville, Montana.

I can’t begin to do justice to the story that Bob tells of this experience, so I’ll stop here and invite…no…I INSIST you read this story. I think you’ll find it just as inspiring as I do, and in the end, you’ll probably agree with Bob that these kids are “The 6 Most Important Woodworkers I’ve Ever Known” CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE.

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Categories: Hand Tools

526 A bottle opener’s wooden makeover

Sun, 06/29/2014 - 8:01am

For sure the warm days of summer are upon us in the Northern hemisphere, and as I mentioned in a recent post, that means it’s time for me to start spending more time out of the shop.

I’d love to say all that time outdoors is devoted to hanging with the family; swimming in the big lake, riding bikes and just all around having fun. But typically the summer is usually filled with plenty of yard work and home repairs too.

While shop time can get limited in the summer, I still manage to head into the basement during the hottest parts of the day to escape the heat and enjoy this shared passion of ours for woodworking by tackling smaller projects I can knock out in an hour or two or over a few evenings during the week.

Last year, around the 4th of July, I built the six-pack made of scrap wood that was lying around the shop. This year I’m taking some of my smaller cutoffs and scraps that I bought from the folks at Bell Forest Products and decided to spruce up a rather ordinary rubber gripped bottle opener I picked up at my local big box grocery store.

Wood handled bottle opener

So many wood scraps to choose from…I guess I need to make more of them!

This is one of the projects that reminds me how much fun it can be to be a woodworker. Being able to take something that looks rather plain and ordinary and making it my own.

I was looking around at the store where I originally bought it and I can’t find any more. I also looked online and at the manufacturer’s website, but apparently this must be a discontinued item?

However, I did see this model is available from the same manufacturer, and it looks like it could work just as easily. Perhaps another video in the making?


In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little project and it inspires you to do something similar with items laying around your house.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Short and sweet summer projects

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 7:38pm

As I’m writing this post Summer has officially arrived. For a large number of you this is the time of year your woodworking projects get into full swing because your shops are located in garages or portions of the house that are difficult to keep warm during the cold months.

scrap wood projects

Scrap wood project coming soon…

For me this is the time of year when I want to be outside the most, and then head back into the shop as a way to escape the hottest times of the day.

This year my son is at an age where he’s asking if he can earn money by mowing the grass for me? I’m pretty excited by the idea because it should free up even more time for me to get back in the shop and start working on projects I’d ordinarily put off until the fall.

Of course as usually happens, as one opportunity arises something else gets in the way. Actually, a better description would be to call it an unplanned opportunity.

I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s really just another level of yard work that’s been on the back burner for years. Something with a possible outdoor build too.

So what does this have to do with woodworking? While I was thinking of tackling another big project with some of this new-found free-time, instead I’m going to stick to a summertime favorite of mine…scrap wood projects.

Because I want to enjoy the care-free days of summer I’m on the search for small projects I can knock out in under a day or even over a few hours spread across the weeknights.

The first of these projects is something I’m currently editing video for release later this week. I’ll give you a small hint, it’s something to accompany this project from last summer.

In the meantime, what are small projects you’re working on? Maybe it’s something we can build on the show and share with the rest of the audience?

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Categories: Hand Tools

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by Dr. Radut