Hand Tool Headlines
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...
Matt's Basement Workshop
I knew it was eventually going to happen, the temptation is far too great to avoid.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about turning to the darkside and taking up knitting (although I wouldn’t mind making my own matching wool scarf and woobie set for winter, especially if it’s as cold as last year.)
Instead, I’m talking about another blackhole of woodworking that I’ve been very vocal about avoiding for years…WOODTURNING!
Sure I’ve had the lathe for awhile now, and yes I’ve dabbled a little bit with it here and there. But I’ve never taken the plunge and unleashed the full power of the turning tools.
Recently I moved the lathe up and out of the basement workshop and into the garage where I could enjoy the warm summer evenings and not feel like I had to stop every five to ten minutes to vacuum up the accumulating chips and sawdust.
On today’s episode you get to witness the fruits of my dabbling. The result of what happens when a woodworker decides to make more than a dowel and attempts to learn what each woodturning tool does (preferably without hurting himself in the process.)
You’ll see plenty of mistakes in this video and probably laugh at my fumbling with the tools (especially when I attempt to identify which gouge I’m using) but hopefully more than anything else, you’ll enjoy seeing the first of what I imagine to be numerous woodturning projects to come.
Have you been looking for great information and tutorials on the construction of furniture components such as drawers or frame and panel doors? Look no more! Well, actually DO TAKE A LOOK!
Take a look at the two new DVD titles released recently from woodworking expert Hendrik Varju of Passion for Wood. Both titles are filled with hours of great information.
And since Hendrik doesn’t skip out on the details these DVDs live up to their sub-title “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box” with over ten hours of footage each.
“Making Drawers” includes numerous topics such as “types of drawers,” “orders of operations,” “cutting rabbets on a tablesaw,” along with bonus footage on “fitting and installing drawers.”
“Making Frame and Panel Doors” includes topics such as “designing a frame and panel door,” “making and joining stiles and rails,” “decorative routing and panel grooves,” and many many more, including exclusive bonus footage “fitting and installing doors.”
These two new DVDs make the 13th and 14th titles in Hendrik’s DVD library. To learn more about them visit passionforwood.com/woodworking/dvds. Click on the title you’re interested in learning more about and watch the sneak peek video snippet.
If these are a topic you’ve been searching for more information on, then these are the titles for you!
Several times a year it’s inevitable I’ll get asked if I ever experience “woodworking burn out?” So let me state without a doubt “YES!”
At some point we need to step back and do something different. It happens in all aspects of life, with a variety of activities, so it only makes sense it’s going to happen in our hobbies and passions.
Personally, I’ve identified a few times throughout the year that it’s almost certainly guaranteed to occur. The beginning and end of summer, and right around the Christmas/New Year holidays.
These are times of the year when my focus is anywhere and everywhere else but in the wood shop, and if I’m working on a project at that time, I can assure you I’m completely miserable until it’s completed.
In fact, the more I think about it, I also experience a little short-term burn out towards the end of any large project I’m working on. It kind of makes sense if you think about it.
Typically the beginning and middle of a project is exciting and new because you’re very active in getting the process underway. Lumber is to be milled, joints are to be cut and eventually assembly is just around the corner.
But once it hits the glue-up and finishing stages, I’m still excited to see all my hardwork come together, but frequently it’s starting to feel like “work” instead of relaxation.
It’s very counterintuitive really, given that all the milling and joinery work can be so tedious and time-consuming, but I think what makes it a little bit exciting is that you’re kind of uncovering something new.
Every new layer of wood revealed by the milling process is turning a rough and dirty board into something beautiful. And everytime you shape the pieces, for the joinery, you’re creating and manipulating the board.
You’re creating something unique and different out of something that was rather ordinary.
Still, without a doubt, at some point burn out hits us and we find ourselves struggling to get into the shop. Should we force ourselves in at this point? Or is it better to stay away and wait for the muse to draw us back in?
I addressed this issue back in 2008 in episode 313 “Downtime Monday”, and while I might not always agree with some of my earlier advice, this still sounds like exactly what I do today.
How about you? What’s your way of overcoming or avoiding burnout?
“Your Brain on Matt’s Basement Workshop” t-shirts are being marked down to make room for more inventory.
As the cooler weather isn’t that far away, some of you are asking for long sleeve shirts, and there’s even the chance a special “CHORTLE” design could be in the works too!
The “Your Brain on Matt’s Basement Workshop” t-shirts are a lightweight polyester/cotton blend that are comfortable to wear in OR out of the shop.
Sizes are limited to what we currently have in stock, ranging from Medium to 3XL. So hurry before they’re sold out.
The price per shirt doesn’t include shipping and handling. Shipping and handling charges are a flat-rate fee* for domestic shipping in the USA that will be added to the order at checkout.
For international orders please contact me directly to order so I can determine the proper shipping charges prior to purchase. Email me using this link.
|“Your Brain on MBW” – Sale Price!|
Want to order both “Your Brain” and the “MBW Classic Logo” shirts together? CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE MBW T-SHIRT PAGE.
*Why a flat-rate fee? The weight of the t-shirts and packaging take them very close to not being eligible for 1st-class shipping rates, so to make it easier for the shipping department (me) and to keep costs low, I’m currently only offering the one form of shipping unless indicated.
I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but I have ZERO musical talent (ever hear me attempt to “sing” on the show? Not pretty!) The next best thing for me might be making one instead. But where do you start?
Looks like the folks over at M&M Tool Parts have been asked this question before. That might explain this great “How to Build a Guitar in 3 Easy Steps” infographic they posted recently on their blog “Shop Talk”.
I don’t know if I’ll ever actually make a musical instrument, but regardless, it’s nice to know there’s resources like this to help me get started when I do.
Between now and August 27, 2014 you can save up to 75% on purchases at Shop Woodworking. This is a great opportunity to start stocking up for the long cold winter ahead or even to get an early jump on the holidays (yes I said holidays!)
Don’t miss out on this chance to get something for your shop while helping to support the show.
Before we delve deeper into the topic of podcasting we need to discuss equipment. Depending on the podcast format of your show; video, audio or both, will dictate the equipment you’ll need.
Let’s start with a simple audio podcast (I say simple, because as far as I’m concerned they’re the least complex to produce compared to some of the extra equipment you’ll need with a video show.) When I started in 2006 there were primarily only audio shows, so all you really needed was a microphone and recording software (which we’ll cover in the next post.)
As I mentioned previously, my first microphone was a little plastic mic from one of my kids’ toys. It worked well enough to get my feet wet, but I discovered quickly that I needed to step it up a little.
Still reluctant to take the full plunge I didn’t actually improve things all that much when I ran out to a big box electronic store and picked up this same exact microphone pictured here, the Sony Omnidirectional Microphone.
Let’s just say it didn’t improve things all that much and move on. I won’t bore you with the long list of mics I tried until I finally decided to spend the money for an USB mic like the Samson G-Track.
Let me just state this as clearly as possible. While the Samson G-Track is not the ultimate mic on the market, it’s been well worth the money and has been my microphone of choice since I bought it in 2008.
What makes it a great mic for podcasting?
- It’s a USB mic - this means you don’t need a mixer or some other intermediate piece of equipment to get your voice into the computer and on to the recording.
- Onboard volume adjustment - the Samson G-Track has it’s own input volume dial so you have more control over the level of your voice or another piece of equipment.
- Line-in jack - not only is it possible for you to record yourself into the computer, but because there’s a secondary line-in jack on the mic it’s possible to have a sound board with sound effects or even another microphone plugged in for easy interview recordings without having to mess with a mixer.
- Supercardioid pickup pattern - unlike an omni-directional mic which picks up sound from all directions, the supercardioid pattern means it pretty much picks up what’s directly in front of it (trust me, there’s been plenty of times I’ve worried about someone else in the room making noise only to discover it was never picked up.)
- Zero-latency monitoring with volume control - or more specifically, you can hear yourself in real time with headphones. This is great so you can hear the recording happening in real time as your audience will eventually hear it when you post it. This is a huge bonus if you’re concerned about picking up background noise or simply for monitoring any feedback.
Another important piece of equipment to consider when looking at microphones is the stand. Without a good stand, even the best mics won’t work to their full potential. With that said, of course I started out with the most basic desktop stand, which is nothing more than a weighted base and short rod with a clip.
This was okay, but I wanted (and recommend) something with more versatility and reach. A mic stand such as the RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm is a great investment.Regardless of which one you pick up, the main thing to remember is to make sure you can get the microphone in a position that’s comfortable and out of the way…just in case you’re a hand talker!
Last but not least is whether you need a wind screen or pop filter. If you’re prone to POPPING your “p’s” when you’re talking or are afraid you may “spray it when you say it” a pop filter of some sort is a great investment to keep your audience from cringing at the sound of spit hitting your microphone.
We could easily go into a discussion about headphones, I recommend you get some if you use a mic or system with zero-latency monitoring. They’ll give you a true feel for how you’re show will sound before the audience can tell you in a not-so-nice way.
There is other equipment audio professionals might say you can’t live without, but this is the equipment I’ve used for Matt’s Basement Workshop – “the early years”, Spoken Wood Podcast, & Wood Talk for all these years.
Next post, we’ll expand the discussion of audio podcast equipment to recording software. There’s EXPENSIVE or SHAREWARE. Guess which one I’ll potentially recommend?
If you haven’t noticed yet there’s a bit of a theme to my videos this summer. Have you figured it out? It’s “Scrap wood projects!”
What I find great about this project is that it’s an opportunity to use some of your smallest scraps and you’re truly only limited by your imagination when it comes to shape and size. Okay, maybe you’re a little limited also by the strength of the magnet, but that’s easy to fix too with the purchase of a rare earth magnet or two.
And just like all the other scrap wood projects we’ve seen over the years, this is a great opportunity to not only use material that might ordinarily get tossed or burned, but it’s an inexpensive way to familiarize yourself with a new species or two.
If after watching the video you decide to make some yourself, please feel free to share pictures. I’d love to see what you create!
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to pickup great titles such as:
Christopher Schwarz’s classic reference book “Workbenches”
Jeff Miller’s “The Foundations of Better Woodworking”
Steve Latta’s “Fundamentals of Inlay: Stringing, Line and Berry DVD”
Whatever your choice is, remember to use checkout code THANKYOU30 to save 30% on your purchase between now and August 14, 2014.
Are you ever confused about which saw blade is the right one for your table saw or miter saw? With all the different tooth configurations, hook angles, or thin kerf versus wide it gets confusing right out-of-the-gate.
Personally I’m a fan of a 40 tooth combo blade on my table saw and preferably a 60 to 80 tooth blade on my miter saw. But even after using those styles for years I still look at all the blades on the market and find myself wondering if I could be using something different?
Because understanding and then choosing the right saw blade can be so difficult if you’re not already familiar with them, the folks over at Rockler posted a nice tutorial earlier this year.
Saw Blades 101 is an easy to understand guide and glossary of the most frequent terms you’ll run into when looking for the right saw blade for the task and tool you have.
The folks at Rockler have done a great job of breaking down the basics and helping you understand the terms you’ll see and hopefully help you make the right decision with the least amount of confusion.
My only question is, where was this when I started woodworking?
For more information and to read the post, visit Rockler.com/how-to/blades-101 by clicking here.
Woodworking in America is turning 6 this year and to celebrate they’re moving the entire show east to Winston-Salem, North Carolina! Okay, they’re not actually moving because it’s their sixth year, it’s moving because the Winston-Salem area is an amazingly beautiful destination and has a ton of variety to offer attendees.
Not familiar with Woodworking in America? It’s described as “…the ULTIMATE woodworking weekend. The nation’s best woodworking show and conference… Learn from woodworking legends and discover new techniques. See the latest tools and talk shop with other woodworkers.”
I’ve had an opportunity to attend quite a few of the conferences and it’s never let me down in expectation. The instructors have always been great. They’re informative, easy to approach and cover a wide range of topics any woodworker would want to know more about.
Throw into that mix the location of the event, the attendees and ESPECIALLY the tool marketplace (which is where all the magic happens) and you have all the makings of a perfect woodworking weekend!
For more information, especially on the speakers; who now include the Popular Woodworking Magazine editorial staff, and woodworking icon Roy Underhill. Along with WIA favorites Frank Klausz, Don Williams, Graham Blackburn and Peter Galbert.
And this year acclaimed woodworkers Phil Lowe, W. Patrick Edwards and Drew Langser, among many others, will be speaking at WIA for the first time.
You won’t want to miss this event! Tickets are on sale now. For more information visit the Woodworking in America website.
Since my workshop is located in the basement it makes sense that I might be a little concerned about the potential for explosions or fires due to the exposure of sawdust, woodchips & shavings to pilot lights from our gas furnace and water heater. But I’m not!
Am I being cavalier about the topic?…Maybe. Do I know something others should in a similar situation?…Always a possibility. So why am I bringing up this topic if it’s something that doesn’t bother me?
Because it’s a topic many of you have asked about in emails over the years, and since I’ve never written about it before I thought it was time.
Let me start by saying that “YES!” Yes I am concerned about fires or explosions due to the exposure of sawdust to ANY flame source in my house. But I also know from years of experience that you’re more likely to slip and fall on the sawdust than you are to have an explosion.
So my first piece of advice to anyone concerned with this situation is that they should be diligent about keeping their shop clean. I’m not saying their shop should be spotless (mine always has a fine layer of dust on the shelves and chips & shavings under the bench) but instead I’m suggesting they should take the time to sweep up the big piles off the floor at the end of the day or even in between heavy dust/chip-making operations such as planing or sanding.
In fact, you don’t even need a heavy-duty dust collection system for this operation. A broom and dust pan are just as effective. And this is important not only in keeping things from getting volatile, but again, it can keep you from slipping and falling (or even from it becoming a haven for unwanted critters like mice and bugs.)
The next thing I would recommend to think about is the location of the tools. Position them furthest away from the pilot lights, or orient the tools so the sawdust and chips are being expelled AWAY from the flame.
For example, my tablesaw is located next to both my gas furnace and water heater, about 3-4 feet away to be exact, and it can throw a lot of sawdust on me when I don’t have the dust collection turned on. To keep things from getting all fired up, I have the saw positioned so that when I’m making a cut, the sawdust is expelled away from the appliances instead of towards them.
I’ve done plenty of dado cutting action that throws an amazing amount of sawdust on the floor. Then because I’m in a rush to get out of the shop for whatever reason I end up leaving those piles on the floor and not cleaning them up for a day or more (sometimes up to a week) without fear of a fiery demise.
If you find it’s the fine dust you’re most concerned about (given its tendency to land everywhere) I’d recommend using an air-cleaner of some sort. I happen to have an overhead air cleaner that works amazing at grabbing a lot of it (of course if you don’t remember to turn it on regularly, like I forget to, it doesn’t do you any good.)
This is actually the stuff I’m most worried about, but again, not for explosions or fires. Instead, I’m more concerned about it getting in my lungs.
If you can’t afford an air-cleaner something as simple as a box fan with a furnace filter taped to it, or even an open window to help circulate fresh-air will make all the difference. Having decent air-flow through your shop is something we might not think a lot about, but good air-flow will actually help to keep that fine dust a little more under control.
In fact, in my first basement wood shop I had some amazing basement windows I could open wide, set a fan in and have it suck a ton of sawdust out that otherwise would have accumulated all over the shop.
There are of course obvious reasons why we want to have some sort of dust collection on our tools. But for a lot of us there’s no way we can justify a huge “whole-shop” system with drop down duct work and supply lines. But something as simple as a shop vac or a bag outfitted under an open bottom tablesaw will help to keep the sawdust and chips contained enough until you empty it.
And for sure there will be streams of sawdust flying out if you’re only using a small shop-vac, but you’d be surprised how much more would be if you weren’t!
So in closing, from my own experience, the flames on gas furnaces and water heaters aren’t as worrisome for starting fires or explosions with sawdust and chips as slipping, falling or even longterm respiratory disease is. What are your thoughts on the topic?
Want a chance to win a $250 gift card at Toolstoday.com? Here’s your opportunity!
Between now and September 1, 2014 visit the Toolstoday Facebook page, like the page, and then submit a photo of one of your projects.
Rules for entering the contest include the following:
- Project must of been created using router bits, saw blades, boring/planing/hand tools or shaper cutters. Project can be made from wood, composite materials, aluminum, plastic, foam or a combination.
- Please be prepared to know what tools you used to work on these projects.
- Submit by clicking to enter below. Submission period ends September 1, 2014. By submitting your photos you agree to the Consent & Release of images included in the contest rules.
- Share your entry and vote. Voting ends September 15. You must upload a picture of your woodworking project to qualify for the contest.
- The project with the most votes wins! Good luck!
Once you’ve entered invite others to visit, like the page and vote for their favorite project (they don’t have to upload a picture to vote), it couldn’t be easier!
Every month the folks over at Shop Woodworking offer up some great value packs filled with tons of useful resources on specific projects or woodworking techniques.
For the month of August 2014 they’re changing things up a little by offering a chance to get Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s Shop Volume 11 – 20 DVD Collection.
Enjoy hundreds of classic episodes from seasons 11-20 of The Woodwright’s Shop any time of the day! With 20 discs, and over 60 hours of woodworking tips, techniques, and projects, you’re going to enjoy a multitude of interesting projects. Whether you’re a life-long woodworker, new to it, or rediscovering the joy of woodworking all over again, you’re sure to find inspiration, encouragement and valuable information every moment you spend with Roy.
Please remember, your purchases through our links help to support the show!
I’ve heard of “Storage Wars”, “Locker Wars”, “Shipping Wars”, and even “Star Wars!” But “Whirligig Wars” is a new one to me.
Actually that’s not true, I have heard of it and I’ve just chosen to pretend it’s fallen on deaf ears because I don’t want to embarrass myself attempting to enter a competition with guys like Steve Carmichael of the “The Carmichael Workshop.”
This could explain the pounding in my head lately!
To learn more about the 2014 “Whirligig Wars” being hosted by Laney Shaughnessy and Steve Ramsey, which is benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation watch the following video.
Thanks to Steve for including me and best of luck to all the entries.
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!
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.)
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”
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.
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!
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).
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!
Help support the show – please visit our advertisers
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.