Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway! Enjoy!
Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer! Their fundraising goal was met. Our prayers are with you, Walt!
Matt's Basement Workshop
It’s always exciting to see friends get featured and recognized for their woodworking projects, but it’s even more exciting when it’s something you they asked you for a little help with when they were first building it.
If you’re a subscriber to the Highland Woodworking Newsletter you probably already saw Dan’s Hockey Stick Bench, but if not, it’s a fun project to take a look at.
Dan originally sent a question into Wood Talk back in August 2013 asking for a little advice on attaching the goalie sticks (which were being used as the stretchers) to the sides of the bench. I can’t remember if we gave him the answer he was looking for, but regardless, the benches were so amazing that someone took notice and hired him to make quite a few more.
So congrats Dan! You did a great job and the benches look amazing. What’s next, one made from broken curling brooms?
Before we go further, I should point out that I have never been someone who understands motors. You’d think growing up in the Detroit area I’d be fluent in all things horsepower & RPMs, but I’m not and I’m okay with that.
But regardless of whether you speak motor, or not, a basic understanding of RPMs is important for woodworking tools like drills, routers, and lathes.
In fact, the more time I spend at the tool rest of my lathe, the more I’m starting to understand why I’ve been getting such hit and miss results with my router and drill bits. So in a nutshell, it turns out the variable speed dial on the drill press or router motors weren’t as much about “some highly advanced technique I’ll never employ” as I thought.
Okay I’m jesting more than being serious, but there is some truth there. I never took the suggested guidelines for RPMs serious because I was either in a hurry or more-than-likely I didn’t believe they mattered all that much.
Then, in the end, I’d look at my frayed or burned edges and either blame the bit manufacturer or the materials themselves. This would inevitably be followed up by cleaning them the best I could hoping not to accidentally alter its shape. But that’s all about to change!
Thanks to some great feedback about the latest turning project, the Wood Body Coffee Scoop, I’m starting to see just how much the RPMs can have an effect on the results.
And while I won’t claim to fully understand it, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that frequently the better RPM range might be the lower one. This is especially true for avoiding the burning effect of a larger diameter drill bit or even for rough turning square stock to a round shape.
I don’t know why it’s so counter-intuitive to me? But the idea that the larger the diameter the spinning tool or block of wood is, the slower the RPMs of the motor should be, it seems so wrong. In my mind it seems like you’d want it spinning faster so there’s more cuts in the same amount of time as a narrower bit.
But as I’m standing at the lathe and I have something large spinning around I start to see how unstable it looks at that higher speed. As a result I’m also realizing how dangerous and ineffective my cutting action can be.
So when I adjust the belt on my lathe to something slower, I immediately see what appears to be a more stable rotation and more importantly something much safer to work on.
To help further solidify this concept for me, I started thinking of two figure skaters spinning. One is a petite and graceful skater and the other is me. The petite skater can easily spin in a circle and stay balanced and upright at high speeds. Me, because of my extra bulk, could potentially spin at that higher speed but I would never be fully balanced, nor upright. But if I were to rotate at a slower rate I know I could.
Seeing this concept at work in this manner now makes me cringe at the thought of all those times I used a very large diameter router bit without slowing down the speed of the motor. Thankfully, the only damage ever done in those situations was to the stock and nothing more.
The hardest part for me to continue adjusting the RPMs to match my work will always be the fact that I’ll need to turn the lathe off and manually adjust the belt, but if it means I’m getting better results on the finished end, then I’m all about it.
Thanks to everyone for their feedback, it’s been fantastic!
Mornings can be rough for me, but a good cup of coffee can make all the difference. Over the years we’ve tried several different coffee makers, including the K-cups, but in the end we always come back to our good old Mr. Coffee coffee maker. As a result it’s important to make sure I get the right amount of coffee grounds in the filter every time for the perfect cup. This doesn’t sound like it should be a big deal, but when I’m doing it with one eye open (and that one eye is unfocused and sleepy) it can be a challenge.
For years we’ve used an old measuring scoop that I’ve never been convinced was giving us the right measurements (or at least for me it hasn’t,) so I decided to do something about it. And that something is to make my own coffee scoop from scrap maple I have laying around. Okay, that’s not completely true, part of the reason I want to make the new coffee scoop is that I want an excuse to keep honing my woodturning skills and this seemed like the perfect project.
So on today’s episode, we’re turning a maple bodied coffee scoop on the lathe. It’s surprisingly simple, and can be knocked out in less than an hour (if you’re not filming it to share with friends.) Perhaps the hardest part about the project is deciding how big of a scoop you’ll need, or even what species of wood to use. This one ended up being just deep enough to equal one cup of coffee per scoop, which is perfect for me, because the only math I have to do when I’m waking up is adding up the number of cups I think I’ll need to figure out which pair of pants to wear.
Need a break from all the chaos the Holidays bring? Here’s a good way to step back from the madness and enjoy this shared passion for woodworking we all have, it’s the latest episode of The Highland Woodworker with Charles Brock.
In this episode Charles and the crew visit with Don Williams in the Moment with a Master segment to discuss this recent efforts to translate Andre Roubo’s volumes from french to english (if you haven’t seen our interview with Don, and photographer Narayan Nayar, check it out afterwards by clicking here.)
Episode 16’s feature story is “They don’t build them like they used to!” Roger Gramm is thoroughly convinced of that statement. He loves vintage woodworking machines and shows a few of his favorites.
In the Generation Next segment Charles visits with Chris Barber, a young professional woodworker who turned to furniture making when he learned he didn’t have to follow mandated rules, to check out his gallery and learn how he markets himself to potential clients.
There’s also a visit with Popular Woodworking’s David Thiel in the Tips, Tricks and Techniques segment, and so much more. Don’t miss out on this episode!
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The jury is in, and the MBW Classic Logo is hands down the favorite design in the MBW t-shirt line-up!
And to ensure I can keep them in stock, and reordered in a timely manner, I found a new local printer (Citizenshirt.com) who’s in-house designer did a fantastic job of cleaning up the logo and text, then adjusted it’s size and positioning, and completed the new look by showing me some great color options to make the logo look even better than before.
The new version of the short-sleeved t-shirt is printed on an 100% cotton “Fruit of the Loom” shirt, with an antique white logo. The shirt is roomy, very comfortable, and available right now in sizes M-XL & 3XL (no 2XLs currently available in the new design yet…coming very soon.)
Plus, we’re offering a new long-sleeve version that’s a little more understated with it’s smaller logo, but equally amazing looking!
The long-sleeved version is a Gildan 100% cotton shirt that’s also roomy, and comfortable with a smaller antique white logo over the left pocket region, and it’s ready to order right now in sizes L-2XL.
We all struggle from time-to-time with coming up with gift ideas to make for loved ones and friends. But there’s no need to worry you won’t have any ideas thanks to “The Last Minute Elf!”
The guys over at the Modern Woodworker’s Association are sponsoring this year’s Last Minute Elf project and they’re looking for your ideas to share with other woodworkers:
“This year, mark your calendars for the week of December 7 – 13 for the fun…we are looking for you to submit some creative ideas for easy to build projects for the holiday season. We are looking for you to show off your absolutely awesome ideas for holiday gifts can can be built quickly, finished easily and shipped in time to make that special someone tickled to be the lucky recipient.”
If you have some ideas you’d like to share, there are number of categories for you to consider: Best Turned project, Greenest project (using recycled materials), Best project that will fit inside a large USPS flat rate shipping box (12 inches x 12 inches x 5 1/2 inches), Best gift for a child, Best gift for an adult, & Coolest tip to build a holiday project on time.
There’s even an opportunity to win prizes for your suggestions. For more information, including how to enter your ideas, visit Tom’s Workbench by clicking on this link.
With Christmas just around the corner it’s time to make sure loved ones know exactly what you want under the tree. To help you out I created a downloadable PDF filled with “suggestions” ranging from hand tools to power tools, and even some suggested reading.
It’s not a complete list of all the great ideas everyone sent me earlier this year, but it’s at least something to help out the loved one who has no idea what you’re talking about…
When you download the PDF, the text next to the pictures are clickable links that will take the user to the online store where the item is available. Depending on your computer’s security settings this feature may be disabled, but if you use the links to make the purchases you’ll be helping to support the show (and I greatly appreciate that about you!)
I get asked frequently if my kids are interested in woodworking as much as I am? The answer is an absolute NO, they have pretty much zero interest, and I’m totally cool with it.
They have their own things they enjoy doing and I completely respect them for it (that, and I don’t have to worry about sharing my tools, which I’m even more cool with than anything else.)
The other day someone sent me a link to a turning video, and made a comment about the woodworker’s young age. It’s not unusual to see kids posting videos of projects they’ve built, but typically they’re a little bit older. So I sat there completely engrossed watching Chip from “Chip in Action” turning a lidded box from a small tree limb he picked up on a recent hike.
New to woodturning, I found myself picking up a couple of pointers from Chip and even decided that maybe I need to branch out and try a lidded box myself sometime soon.
Thanks for the inspiration Chip, I’ve already subscribed to your channel and I suggest if you’re reading this that you check it out also. This kid has some mad skills, but more important, it looks like he’s having a lot of fun in the process.
For years I’ve been a hoarder of woodworking magazines. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out, even after I’d read and then reread them for all their woodworking goodness. The only problem I kept running into (aside from shelf space) was trying to remember which issue it was that I found that article I need right NOW.
Thankfully today it’s so much easier to search for “that article,” or just about any other that I either forgot about or completely missed my first time around, since most magazines are offering their entire libraries of back-issues on CDs and DVDs.
Many of these are completely indexable allowing you to search by term, date, author, etc. Another nice feature of a lot of these compilations is that you can store the articles, or entire issues, as PDFs on to other devices so you can take them with you and leave the discs safely tucked away…on a shelf perhaps?
This also means you can print them and take them into the shop with you for easy reference.
According to the description:
“Top information from some of the best in the business—this ultimate collection has pages, upon pages, upon pages of projects, tools reviews, instruction, and timeless information. Compiling top woodworking magazines from over 25 years of production, this is truly the biggest collection available.
With hundreds of projects in a wide variety of types and techniques, this collection covers all forms of woodworking for all skill levels.”
The collection includes the following DVDs and CDs: Popular Woodworking Magazine 1995-2013, Woodwork Magazine 1989 – 2014, American Woodworker Magazine 1985-2014, Woodworking Magazine Issues 1-16, Popular Woodworking Magazine 2014.
All of the compilation and collections are available separately, but you won’t get them all for the same price as this single value pack. Hurry though, there’s only 100 available for purchase and once they’re gone, their gone.
It’s official, the holidays are here, there’s no more denying it!
And if you’re like so many of the woodworkers I know, you’re either using your time in the shop as an opportunity to escape from the chaos (same excuse you use the rest of the year…but definitely more valid this time) or playing Santa’s little helper and hurriedly making last minute projects for loved ones.
If you’re one of the latter, than you either already have some projects in mind or you’re scouring the forums and blogs for ideas, and more than likely you’re really hoping they’re not expensive too.
Scrap wood is always a great source for some of these last minute projects. Their size usually guarantees they won’t take long to build. The stock is already acclimated to your shop.
If you’re holding on to them, chances are they’re from a gorgeous piece you just can’t bare to watch get tossed. And last but not least, they’re already bought and paid for…so the cost is low (let’s get serious, that’s probably the most important reason…right?)
Regardless of whether it’s around the holidays, or “just because,” scrap wood projects are a fun and creative way to spend time in the wood shop.
So for some great project ideas to use up that ever-growing stash of cut-offs checkout Scrap Wood City.
I already found a couple of project ideas that just might help me to burn through my own little stash.
We’ll return to our regularly scheduled woodworking programming starting tomorrow, but now that the holiday gift-giving season is upon us it’s time to make sure you’re all getting the bests deals imaginable (and as always, your purchases help support the show too…)
So many savings, so little time! Thank you for your support.
It’s insane out there! People pushing and shoving, all the shouting and crying, and that’s before we even left the house.
Do yourself a favor. Stay home, and shop online for all those great items you want for the woodworker on your holiday shopping list (it’s alright in my book if it’s for yourself, I won’t tell anyone.)
The first place to shop for Black Friday deals is Shop Woodworking, save 50% storewide and get eBooks and video downloads for $5.99
Next is some great deals from my co-host and good friend Marc Spagnuolo “The Wood Whisperer.” Save money at The Wood Whisperer Guild between now and November 30, 2014.
Mark and the staff at Bad Axe Toolworks are also offering some great deals between now and November 30, 2014. Save 10% off all new saw orders, according to Mark “Just go to any new Bad Axe Saw product page, and make a down payment for a saw. I will then take off 10% from the entire cost of the saw(s) upon billing you for the remaining balance due when I build your saw(s).”
Highland Woodworking is offering sale prices on a huge selection of woodworking tools and supplies now through December 3, 2014.
There’s also sales and savings at Woodcraft.com
And don’t forget the amazing deals to be had at Amazon.com (it’s not just for toys and games either!)
Of course, another great deal, and one that will make you look absolutely amazing is this lower price on a “Your Brain on Matt’s Basement Workshop” t-shirts.
|“Your Brain on MBW” – Sale Price!|
As always, regardless of what you buy and from where, all your purchases help to support the show while getting you something you’ve wanted or needed for your shop (or holiday shopping in this case!)
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow US compatriots! May your plate be overflowing with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and…I have to stop now because I just drooled on my keyboard and almost caused an electrical fire… but you get the idea.
One of the non-foodie things I’m most thankful for this year, other than family of course, is having a fun read in the form of “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” Roy Underhill’s “screwball comedy set in 1937 about a woodworker who heads the U.S. government’s agricultural “Broadcast Research” division.”
For more details about “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” including how to order your copy (hardbound or digital) visit Lost Art Press, order your hardbound copy by November 29, 2014 and you’ll get free domestic shipping. Quite possibly as an enticement to get you to pickup your own copy, Lost Art Press convinced Roy to record his favorite chapter from the book.
According to Chris Schwarz “we asked him to take a few minutes this week to read one of his favorite chapters from his new novel…Roy lit a fire, fired up the laptop and recorded this short 7-minute chapter for you to enjoy.
This weekend, Megan Fitzpatrick (who edited the novel) and I (who watched) will be filming each of us reading our favorite chapters and posting them here. I plan to read mine while wearing my tube top, if I can find it…”
So if you need a moment away from the family today, or you just really enjoy having someone read aloud to you, checkout Roy’s reading of Chapter 12 of “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!”
There’s no doubt the holiday season is upon us. As I’m posting this article I’m only a couple days away from posting links to some amazing “Black Friday” sales and deals, then a few days later it’ll be “Cyber Monday” and there’ll be even more!
But before I post any of those, I wanted to draw your attention to a group that’s using woodworking to make a difference in the lives of so many, especially during a time when we’re coming together with family and friends to celebrate all we have to be thankful for throughout the year.
The folks at Bowls for Good are dedicated to ending hunger through community service and year-round giving. As part of their commitment to carrying out a positive change in our communities Bowls for Good has come up with a creative solution to help end hunger one bowl at a time.
Bowls for Good raises money to help feed those in need by auctioning off turned wooden bowls made by volunteers at turning events planned over the year. Participants don’t even need to have a woodturning background to get involved, Bowls for Good offers basic skill-building courses.
Beginners are taught how to create stunning wooden bowls that are then later displayed and auctioned during their biannual fundraising events. All proceeds from fundraising events are then used to support successful hunger relief efforts, with their principal beneficiary being Feeding America.
I like to think after watching my video on making a custom razor, in honor of the end of Movember, you’re all so inspired to make one that you can’t imagine there being another option. But in fact, there’s always options, and I’m a huge fan of OPTIONS!
So here’s another version for you, this time with a safety razor head versus the cartridge style (at least that’s what I call it) like the one I built. In fact, this style of razor head looks very cool and I just may need to make one, because I can, and I have plenty of scraps and cutoffs to play with.
Huge thanks to Brandon over at the Weekend Wood Dust YouTube channel for sharing!
The end of Movember is rapidly approaching, and that means soon there’s going to be a run on razor blades as some men return to their clean shaven ways. I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to do that, but to each their own I guess?
So in today’s episode we’re making a stylish, and custom razor from a turning kit that’s readily available at woodworking retailers such as Woodcraft.com. It’s a fun and easy project that once again let’s you use up some of those scraps you have laying around, or maybe you found something in the exotics bin that looks just too good to pass up.
Whether it’s for yourself, or maybe for a loved one or close friend, these turned razor kits are a quick and easy project that you could batch out in a single day, and have ready for gift-giving in no time (so quick in fact, you could probably excuse yourself at the next family event to sneak out to your shop and finish just in case you forgot someone!)
As promised in the video, here’s a link to the kit available at Woodcraft.com. And to go along with it, here’s a link to an optional razor stand and shaving brush kit, also available at Woodcraft.com (and featured as the bonus footage and extra episode for some of the Patrons of Matt’s Basement Workshop, which you can learn more about by clicking here.)
Coming up in the next episode I’m returning to the lathe to knock out a couple of projects to wrap up the whole Movember theme I started with the beard comb. I know you probably already have an idea of what the project will be, but just in case you don’t, I’m not ruining the surprise.
In the meantime, to help hold you over until I get it posted on Monday (that way you have something to watch if you’re traveling for Thanksgiving…because I’m a giver like that) I thought I’d share this turning video someone sent me a while ago.
The article is from a post on mental_floss:
“Kokeshi dolls are handmade wooden dolls that originated in Northern Japan. Originally created for tourists visiting the hot springs, they are made up of a body, head, and thin lines of paint, usually in red and black. The dolls are beautifully simple, featuring no limbs or unusual colors. Although there are many different types of these toys, the most dominant is the Naruko style, seen in the video above.
This tetotetote-produced video features Yasuo Okazaki, an artist whose craft has been passed down from his father. The artist carves the doll from spinning blocks of wood in a process not unlike pottery. There’s something extremely relaxing and satisfying about watching the doll being formed right in front of your eyes.”
After watching it I have to keep reminding myself it’s all about practice, practice, practice. I doubt I’ll be able to replicate one any time soon, but it’s a lot of fun to watch this craftsman make them.
Regardless of where your workshop is located, one of the key tools in there is most likely your workbench. Have you ever really given much thought to where it’s positioned in the floor plan? I know I haven’t, until recently.
Not so long ago it became very obvious to me that workbench placement can be a huge advantage in a project. For example, normally my bench is simply pushed against a wall.
This works for me, most of the time, but once in a great while I have a project where I need a full 360º access to it. Usually it’s during the assembly process when I need access to both sides for clamping and adjusting.
But in my small shop that means I need to give up valuable floor space, something I’ll do very begrudgingly, and only when I’m in a real pinch. So if that’s how I feel about it, then why am I even bringing up the subject? I’m glad you asked!
Well, I’m thinking about changing my mind and giving up a little bit more floor space to take advantage of the convenience of having the 360º access all the time.
The real question is whether or not I move it out into the middle of the shop floor, or maybe just perpendicular to the wall, or maybe just slightly askew from the wall?
All along, the reason the workbench has been such a wall flower is because my current version isn’t very heavy. Usually I need the wall to keep it from moving all around the shop floor when I’m doing any kind of hand planing.
Of course the obvious solution is to make a heavier workbench. Which, if you’ve been with me for a while now, know is on the to-do list and the tall stack of 6/4-8/4 maple in the back of the shop is for that purpose.
But in the meantime I have a hunch turning the workbench so it sticks out into the middle of the shop floor is my best option to get that increased access to my projects.
So where’s your bench usually placed? Is it a permanent fixture in one location or do you move it around as needed? Leave a comment and share with us your workbench situation.
At the end of October I had the opportunity to sit down and record a great conversation with Don Williams and Narayan Nayar all about the H.O. Studley tool chest.
Don and Narayan are hard at work documenting and photographing the tool chest for an upcoming exhibit happening in May 2015, along with writing a book scheduled to be released a couple of months earlier in March.
What does this have to do with H.O. Studley needing you? Well it turns out, according to a recent post at the Lost Art Press Blog there’s a small snippet of the tool chest’s history missing. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor one, but the guys are looking for a little assistance from the woodworking community to help fill in the gap.
Without going into great detail, if you happen to have attended an exhibit of tool chests on display at the Smithsonian Museum titled “Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution 1790-1860,” and you took a few pictures, you might have one that will fill in this missing snap shot of the tool chest’s history for the upcoming book.
For more details on what the guys are looking for, or if you already happen to know you have a picture from this exhibit, visit the Lost Art Press blog post titled “How to Become Immortal (and Help the H.O. Studley Book).”
When I posted the beard comb video earlier this month I mentioned I’d be happy to post some pictures of the ones all of you made, if you were to make one.
A little while later Brian Timmons of Big T Woodworks contacted me to show off his version…or should I say “versions?”
Brian blew me away with his collection of wood beard combs that are as beautiful to look at as they are beautifully constructed.
You don’t have to have a lush full beard to appreciate these beauties, they look as if they belong in the bathroom of any well groomed gentleman!
If you want to be inspired by beautiful woods, or you just want to purchase one so you don’t have to make your own, visit Brian and his amazing wife Rachel at his store’s website (which has a blog too if you want to keep up-to-date with what Brian is up to.)
Visit Big T Woodworks by clicking here! Tell them Matt sent you!