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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

523 Bathroom cabinet part 2

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 3:31am

bathroom cabinet construction
In today’s episode we’re moving along on the bathroom cabinet by constructing all three doors. The two on top and the flip down version below.

All three are a form of frame and panel construction, but the biggest difference is in how I chose to assemble them. For the two larger doors up top, the panel is actually 3/4” plywood glued to the stiles creating one large piece.

Then for the flip-down door I used a more “traditional” construction technique and turned to a rail and stile router bit set to create the joinery.

Once all the doors were constructed, we also need to drill the holes that will make up the adjustable shelving system behind the two doors on top.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Chicago Lie-Nielsen Tool Event part 2 “Scott Meek Woodworks”

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 9:00am

As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I had a great time at the Lie-Nielsen Tool Event hanging out with Jeff Miller and everyone. But as soon as I walked in the door I made a bee-line right over to the bench where Scott Meek had his hand planes set up and on display.

I’m just going to go ahead and say it, Scott’s planes are absolutely gorgeous! They’re so well made, their fit and feel is amazing and the stock Scott uses is so beautiful it’s hard to believe they’re an actual tool and not an ornament (although we did half-jokingly point out how much easier it would be to hang one them on a wall for decoration versus the LN metal-bodied planes.)

For a lot of woodworkers who are first delving into the world of handplanes, wooden bodied planes are both a mystery and maybe even a little intimidating. Unlike the vast majority of metal-bodied planes there is no mechanical adjuster for positioning the blade. It’s all about tapping them in place with a mallet and learning how to set the wedge (two tasks I still struggle with!)

But aside from the steep learning curve on proper blade adjustment (which is less steep than I’m making it out to be and more about just practicing) wooden bodied planes are fantastic tools. My two favorite characteristics of using one is first, the immediate tactile feedback you get while planing.

What do I mean? A wooden bodied plane transfers the feeling of the wood being milled directly to your hands. You know immediately if you need to alter your depth of cut or even the angle of attack by the “feel” of the surface and how the plane is reacting to it.

Unlike a heavier metal bodied plane that gives you the advantage of mass to barrel through most situations, a wooden bodied plane is almost an extension of your fingertips. Giving you that immediate feedback on what you might need to do to get the result you desire.

My second favorite characteristic has everything to do with their weight. Depending on the stock itself, in almost every situation, wooden bodied planes will be lighter and easier to hold versus a comparable metal-bodied plane. This is a big reason for all that immediate feedback, but also it’s why you can work longer with the wooden bodied planes and not feel like you need a rub down at the end of the day.

Don’t take my word for it though, if you have an opportunity try one out for yourself. I think you might agree the wooden bodied planes are a nice way to go.

If you’re not familiar with Scott’s planes, checkout his website at www.scottmeekwoodworks.com.

There you’ll see the complete line of planes he builds and sells to interested woodworkers, and you’ll also find some other great options for plane making including online classes taught by Scott himself.

If you don’t have the time to take a class, consider picking up his recent DVD “Make a Wooden Smoothing Plane”.

Scott Meek DVD cover.

Did I ever tell you about the time Scott and I were in a car and he told me about this crazy idea he had for starting a wooden hand plane business? I knew I should’ve offered to purchase one of his first planes just to say I had an original before they became as cool as they are now!

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Categories: Hand Tools

Chicago Lie-Nielsen Tool Event was AWESOME!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 9:00am

Over the weekend I traveled to Chicago for the Lie-Nielsen Tool Event at Jeff Miller’s studio and had a great time hanging out and chatting with everyone. When I originally posted I was planning to visit for the day I mentioned it had been a few years since my last visit, and man am I glad I made it this year!


First of all, I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy having an opportunity to hangout with fellow woodworkers and being able to get a little hands on with some tools. But the chance to stand around and have a conversation with Jeff is like the cherry on top.

I know I mentioned this years ago, but one of the first classes I took in woodworking was with Jeff. I can easily say I walked away with a ton of information (way more than I ever expected from an afternoon-long class) so I can only imagine what those of you who have taken classes spanning several days, especially on the topic of chair design and construction, have experienced.

Jeff Miller's Toccata Chair

Jeff Miller’s “Toccata Chair” image courtesy of J. Miller Handcrafted Furniture

Speaking of chairs, this picture posted above is of one of Jeff’s latest masterpieces. The “Toccata Chair” was on display in the showroom, but the prototype was in the heart of the workshop and received a lot of attention. I couldn’t resist sitting in it myself and can only say that if I ever attempt to build a chair as beautiful as the Toccata I hope it turns out almost as nice as the rough “prototype” I sat in!

Jeff was an amazing host for the tool event and was more than happy to answer questions about the tools themselves. And not just questions regarding which to purchase but also a lot of advice on the best way to use them, a topic Jeff is very familiar with considering he wrote a book on it. “The Foundations of Better Woodworking” which is all about “How to use your body, tools and materials to do your best work”

Another topic that came up, partly because I asked and also because Mark Hicks from the Plate 11 Bench Company was at the event too, was some suggestions about workbench vises.

It’s no secret I have plans to make a new bench for myself this year, when exactly it’ll happen I can’t say but this visit was a great opportunity for me to pick Jeff’s brain on the topic, especially when it comes to workbench equipment like tail vises.

What makes Jeff such an expert on benches? Well for starters he wrote an article on it for Fine Woodworking Magazine and the plans are available thru Taunton Press.

Oh…and he was part of this group of guys building a French Roubo Bench that was highlighted over at the Benchcrafted Blog

If you’re still not familiar with Jeff Miller, he has an impressive resume of articles he’s written for some of our favorite magazines. You’ll find them in both Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking and they range from tool tests to design and even some articles on some amazing jigs for helping you get the most from your hand tools.

And of course for even more information about Jeff, including upcoming classes, visit his website at www.furnituremaking.com.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Fans of MBW can save 10% at Toolstoday.com

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 9:00am

tools today logo

The folks at Toolstoday.com have a great offer for fans of Matt’s Basement Workshop. Save 10% on your first purchase of $50 or more by using CODE: MATTSB10 at checkout.

Toolstoday.com has been a show sponsor for a few months now and if you haven’t visited their online store yet you’ll find a wide assortment of router bits, saw blades, boring and drilling bits, along with planer and jointer knives and even CNC inserts.

The staff at Toolstoday.com are friendly and knowledgeable about the tools they sell and available to answer your questions through email or by calling their toll free phone number.

Take advantage of this great discount before they come to their senses!

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Categories: Hand Tools

MBW T-Shirts are coming soon a.k.a. “pre-sale”

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 7:00am
MBW t-shirts

Mock-ups from the printer

I’ve always had “Matt’s Basement Workshop T-shirts” for sale, but none that I kept in stock. That’s all about to change, as coming very soon I’m taking the plunge and opening a small store on the website.

For now the items will be limited to a couple of t-shirt designs that you can see above. Occasionally I plan to add a special run of a fun design (I have a few on the back burner waiting for that special moment) and eventually I’ll even add other items like coffee mugs and other things once I get my feet wet in this whole online store thingee all the cool kids are doing.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to place my first order for the inventory I’ll have on hand to get started. I’m taking pre-orders starting today, but I won’t have a set delivery date right away for when they’ll start shipping.

I can say for sure, with the way these things have gone before, it should be about 4 weeks at the most (I’m hoping I’m being really conservative and they’ll come in even sooner.)

The price for each shirt does not 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”Yourbrainsmall

“Your Brain on MBW”
Small to X-Large $15.99 USD 2XL $17.99 USD 3XL $18.99 USD

MBW Classic Logo ShirtMBWClassicLogo

“MBW Classic Logo”
Small to X-Large $15.99 USD 2XL $17.99 USD 3XL $18.99 USD

Thanks for all your support and I’ll keep you informed along the way about when they’ll be arriving in the basement workshop and eventually out to you.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Chicago bound April 12, 2014

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 9:00am

It’s been far too long since my last visit to the annual Lie-Nielsen Tool Event at Jeff Miller’s studio in Chicago so this year I made it a point to mark my calendar and plan to be attendance on Saturday April 12.


If you’re not familiar with a Lie-Nielsen Tool Event the best way to describe it is simply that it’s a traveling showroom of all they have to offer.

But perhaps the best thing is that it’s a chance to try the tools yourself and to talk directly with instructors about HOW TO use them correctly, and equally important, how to care for them to ensure they’ll be around for years to come.

And if you’re concerned this is an event with a hard sale, the kind with pushy sales people walking around and making you uncomfortable, you can rest assured it’s not!

In the past I’ve even overheard conversations between staff and customers where they made suggestions for tools that weren’t even Lie-Nielsen at all. In other words, the event is an amazing opportunity to ask a load of questions and get more answers back in return.

Of course a big reason for my visit isn’t just to play with all the bright and shiny tools on display but also an opportunity to meet with fellow woodworkers, learn from any of the instructors that come along and especially a chance to meet up and hang out with Jeff himself.

For more information about the event, which runs Friday April 11 Friday (10am – 6pm) and Saturday April 12 (10am – 5pm) visit the information page on the Lie-Nielsen website by clicking here. You’ll find a list of expected demonstrators and vendors along with directions, times and so much more.

And for more information about Jeff and classes that he offers at his studio on the weekends, visit his website and blog at www.funituremaking.com

My current plans are to be attendance on Saturday starting around noon or shortly thereafter, I hope you’ll come out and visit.

Categories: Hand Tools

522 Bathroom cabinet part 1

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 9:00am

My next big project is already underway, a “commission” piece for an old neighbor. After they did a little bathroom renovation, there’s now a need for a cabinet that can store towels and all those things you don’t necessarily want hanging out making the place look all cluttered.

bathroom cabinet construction

The cabinet itself is a pretty good sized piece. In fact a lot bigger than I had originally envisioned, but so far it’s coming together rather nicely.

The body of the cabinet is being constructed of a premium cherry veneered plywood, so the big question on my mind was what would I cover the exposed plies with? Veneer edge-banding or a thicker solid wood edge-banding?

I chose the thicker solid wood version and decided to try a technique to cut it repeatedly and accurately on the table saw that I hadn’t tried before.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Veneered projects in my future? Maybe…

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 9:37am
rolls of veneer

4′x8′ sheet of vertical grain fir and 4′x4′ sheet of cherry waiting for inspiration to strike!

I remember early in my woodworking experience thinking that working with veneers in a project was somehow like cheating. Of course at the time I had very little understanding of how much solid wood moved and especially no idea of how expensive highly figured and exotic woods could be…in a nutshell, I was pretty naive!

My first experience with veneers is probably the same as many of you, an edge treatment for plywood. Like me, you probably used some of those pre-glued versions that are heat activated and surprisingly messy if you’re not careful. As an aside, it’s never good when you use the same iron for laundry!

My next experience with veneers was when the kids and I built some skateboards from a Roarockit kit (click on this link to checkout that post). This project led to my first experience with a vacuum press, a small one but a great experience none-the-less.

I’ve since had mixed results with this technique, but that’s probably more to do with my lack of experience versus the materials or technique.

Now a days I’m starting to appreciate even more the flexibility and possibilities that exist using veneers. Not just for it’s stability and versatility, but especially for the possibility of saving me money.

Yes, I could find similar figured and exotics as a solid wood, but the cost would be dramatically higher and the thought of a mis-cut or just the waste itself is more than I care to think about.

The one obstacle I still run into with veneers is understanding all the different types out there. Not the variety of species available as veneers, but more like the types of backings attached to it and understanding which adhesive works best in specific applications.

Recently I heard from the folks over at Oakwood Veneer and they were nice enough to send me a couple of samples (see picture above) they carry.

They’re absolutely beautiful, and thanks to the videos they produced for their YouTube channel I’m feeling a lot more confident that whatever I decide to use the veneers on I’ll be able to choose the right substrate to attach them to and the best adhesive to ensure the job goes well.

If you’re looking for more information on veneering checkout Oakwood’s YouTube Channel for a great primer on selecting the right veneer and adhesive for your next project.

And if you’re looking for a great resource to purchase veneers of all kinds, including 29 different species of edgebanding, visit Oakwood Veneer’s website at www.oakwoodveneer.com.

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Categories: Hand Tools

April’s Value Pack “The Essential Videos for Woodworkers”

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 8:13pm

For the month of April the folks over at Shop Woodworking put together another value pack that I’m confident a lot of woodworkers will be snatching up as soon as they see it, “The Essential Videos for Woodworkers” Value Pack.

15 woodworking videos in all, ranging from topics such as “Building a classic drawer” with Alan Turner, “Build an Elegant Writing Desk” with Mario Rodriguez, “Make an Inlaid Gallery Table” with Rob Millard to “Mastering Your Table Saw” with Kelly Mehler and many more.

According to the description on the Shop Woodworking website for this month’s value pack:

“Advance your skills by watching master woodworkers in action. Join some of the country’s top craftsmen as they clearly demonstrate tips, tricks and techniques in this exclusive offer of 15 of our top woodworking videos.

Discover excellent video instruction on some of the most popular topics, from dovetails and joinery, to sharpening and hand tool us—and much, much more.

Easily see complex steps with watch-and-learn lessons-stop, start, even rewind whenever you need.

Gain access to hours and hours of how-tos from some of the best in the business.Uncover tons of entertaining and informative how-tos by Roy Underhill, Chris Schwarz, Ron Herman, Alan Turner, Rob Millard, Graham Blackburn and other top woodworkers.”

Don’t miss out on this great deal, they’ll go fast! And of course as always, when you make purchases through links here at the website, you’ll not only get the tools and resources you need for your next project but you’re helping the show too.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Woodcraft introduces SPLINTER!

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 4:01am

Now this is a techie product woodworkers can get behind…literally!!!

Photo courtesy Woodcraft

Photo courtesy Woodcraft

For more information on this cutting edge tool and so many more, visit Woodcraft.com by clicking on this link. Save 15%*** Now through April 4, 2014 with Coupon Code: 41414

***the code is complete legit, save 15% now thru April 4, 2014***
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Categories: Hand Tools

“Ham Hands” revisits the scene of the crime part 2

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 9:00am

If you’re like I was when the hand tool bug bit, you looked at the premium hand planes and thought “…there’s no way I’m spending that much money for those!”

My…how times have changed!

Photo courtesy the Renaissance Woodworker "Putting Vintage Tools Back to Work"

Photo courtesy the Renaissance Woodworker’s “Putting Vintage Tools Back to Work”

And just like me you probably decided to do a little research on “vintage” planes, because you heard they’re a lot cheaper as long as you’re willing to put a little elbow grease into restoring them. Then once you finished indulging in all of those articles and posts you found on the topic you were probably even more confused than before!

I’d love to tell you this post will somehow answer all your questions about buying vintage tools, but the truth is I still have plenty myself. In a nutshell…I have some and I’ve attempted to restore them myself with varying degrees of success and absolute failures.

One thing is for sure on this topic, it can be a very slippery slope if you’re not careful!

So if you don’t mind me giving a little unsolicited advice, I’ll share a few things from my own experience and include links to some previous posts on my website and some outside resources you might find useful also.

Are you a user or a collector?
As tempting as it is to own one of every hand plane ever made, the truth is you probably only need maybe two or three at the most. Even then that may be one or two more than you end up using on a regular basis.

So unless your goal is to dive headfirst into a hand tool only shop, most woodworkers can easily get away with owning just a block plane and smoothing plane. If you plan on occasionally breaking down rough stock, for whatever reason, adding a Jack plane might be worth your time too…or not…

Resources like the website Patrick’s Blood and Gore or books like The Handplane Book by Garret Hack might give you the impression your shop isn’t complete without an entire collection of every odd-ball and specialty plane ever made. But in reality, these will more than likely just sit on the shelf and collect more dust than they make.

So before you start bidding on anything unusual on eBay or stalking a specific booth at the antique store, ask yourself if it’s really something that you need or just something you want for bragging rights on a forum someplace.

So you inherited some tools huh?
Over the years I’ve received my fair share of emails describing how someone just inherited a family member’s hand plane(s) and it turns out they must not have made any attempts to ever take care of them over the years.

Frequently the emailer will then ask what needs to be done to make this tool(s) as beautiful as the day their loved one first brought it home.

So let’s talk a little about that first part. In some situations, the tool was originally a real workhorse of this individual’s workshop. They used it all the time and it has all the tell-tale signs of a life of hard but satisfying work. Eventually it was neglected and fell into disrepair because the owner simply stopped using it for a large number of reasons, perhaps something new came along (possibly with a cord) or they just stopped woodworking all togther.

There’s also the very really possibility that this tool worked great until it was damaged and then never repaired or maybe it was simply a lemon right out of the box and your loved one just shrugged their shoulders after a few failed attempts to use it and set in on the shelf.

Whenever faced with an email asking about how to bring an old tool back to life, my first question is “do you plan to use this plane?”

Because if that’s the situation, then as far as I’m concerned all you have to do is get rid of the surface rust. Make sure the moving parts work, sharpen that blade and then get back in the shop and enjoy your inheritance!

This reply is often then followed up by at least a few more emails asking about how to do more with the plane than scraping off the surface rust. Frequently there’s questions about reapplying the original Japanning and restoring the tote and knobs.

Unfortunately for these emailers, my only suggestions are to consider purchasing spare parts from a few websites that deal in plane restoration or to do a Google search on home Japanning for DIYers.

I don’t want to sound mean about it, but quite honestly, my goal with a hand plane isn’t to show it off and take it down to wax and buff it, my goal is to use it. So if it looks like it’s seen better days…it probably has, but for right now it has some work to do to earn its keep in my woodshop.

If your goal is to get your vintage plane in tip-top shape for whatever reason, a resource I like to point people towards is a series of articles a listener posted on his own website years ago. I think you’ll find everything you need to know right over there at www.baconfatlabs.com “Refurbishing old hand planes pt 1″.

Two DVDs you may find useful on this topic are Buying & Restoring Hand Tools with Ron Herman and The Great Hand Plane Revival by Rob Cosman.

I was at an antique store/flea market and bought a box full of planes. What are they and how much are they worth?

Again, not to sound mean, but I’m a hand plane user and not a hand plane collector. But fortunately in this day and age there are a lot of resources to help you figure these questions out. I mentioned Patrick’s Blood and Gore a few paragraphs ago, if you haven’t visited this website yet make it one of your next stops by CLICKING HERE.

Also, a really good book for helping you to identify the style of hand plane and maybe pique your interest in others is The Handplane Book by Garret Hack (I mentioned this previously also).

When it comes to pricing the value of a given hand plane it might be surprising but a lot of dealers and serious collectors will gauge the market value of items by looking for them on auction sites like eBay. Definitely check over there, just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when it comes to quality and descriptions.

I know a few folks have recommended field guides that contain identifying information and price ranges for specific tools. These are usually updated each year and can be found online at Amazon.com or in bookstores.

Thankfully a few years ago a good friend of the show sent me some great information about what he described as his “Hand Plane Hunting Kit”. It was such great information I asked for permission to compile it together and share it with everyone.

If you’re interested, checkout the original post from June of 2008 “279 Wayne’s Hand Plane Hunting Kit”.

And finally, another question that typically accompanies emails about vintage tools is whether or not you should attempt to restore a plane you plan to turn around and sell. As a grandson of former antique “collectors” DO NOT do this! If the tool has value, the collector will want it “as-is”.

I hope there’s a little something in here that you find useful. Vintage tools are a great way to go when it comes to hand tools, but as I mentioned previously, it can be a slippery slope if you’re not careful.
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Categories: Hand Tools

Save on Festool before the price increases in April!

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 7:18pm

I hate it when something I really want goes up in price rather than down. But with some things it’s just inevitable that it’s going to happen.

Don’t wait until after the regularly scheduled price increases happen on the Festool tools you’ve been planning to add to your shop later this year. Take advantage of current tool prices and use that money for something else…like wood to use your new tool on!

Highland Festool ad

Want to save even more money…for say more wood? Ground shipping is free in the lower 48 states on Festool purchases through Highland Woodworking!

Highland free shipping

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Categories: Hand Tools

Dear Universe…UNCLE!!!

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:08am

broken component

One wrong slice of the chisel sets you back…

Some days are better than others, unfortunately none of the past few have been one of them. Truth be told, I’ve had a few moments where I’m wondering what I’m even doing in the shop?

Without a doubt we all have these days, some are just so much worse than others. If we’re lucky, the worst thing that happens is we end up scrapping a part of a project and starting new…if we’re not lucky…

For myself a streak of bad luck (or extremely poor planning) has set in and I’m having one of these “worst-ever” moments right now with a project I’m working on behind the scenes (there may or may not be a video to accompany this build, that’s how bad it’s going).

In my situation I’m fortunate so far in that it’s only costing time and materials and nothing else. In fact, you may have heard me reference this project in Wood Talk episode No. 175 “Lazy Woodworker”.

At the time of recording the episode I had gone through at least 2-3 attempts at getting the particular components right. Shortly afterwards, I headed back in the shop and managed to mangle at least 1 more set before finally getting it right.

good components gone bad

Two of multiple sets of “completely-cut” components…that won’t work!!!

Unfortunately I’m already way behind schedule for this “client” and perhaps that’s the reason for the streak of bad luck? Maybe subconsciously I’m aware of just how far behind I am and in an effort to get caught up I let the fear side of my brain kick in and the rationale and reasoning side can’t keep up?

Whatever it is that’s going on right now, I’ll be happy when the project is done and I can make a fresh start of the next catastrophe…I mean project. How about you? What’s happened with your projects that makes them unbearable to work on, but you just can’t stop?

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Categories: Hand Tools

“Ham Hands” revisits the scene of the crime part 1

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 9:00am
Photo courtesy Popularwoodworking.com

Photo courtesy Popularwoodworking.com

A lot of time has passed since I originally posted a couple of videos on the topic of lapping your hand planes, and while it’s not unusual to revisit a given topic every now and then this is one that I’ve gone out of my way to avoid.

So why finally revisit after all this time? It’s simple, with the re-release of a large number of older videos on YouTube I included an annotation on this two-part series prompting people to “ask me about my current feelings on this topic.” And as I expected (but secretly hoped no one would) some of you asked.

Even revisiting this topic is making me a little nervous, but I want to share with you as much of my “insight” as I can. So over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting my thoughts on this topic, starting today with the first thing I always tell people when they ask about purchasing premium hand planes and whether or not they need to lap the soles and tweak the bodies.

“Don’t do it!!!” Some might take this answer as a cop-out on my part to avoid further discussion. But it’s not! It’s a simple truth that can save you a lot of time and heartbreak.

Because of the revelation of my mistake, thanks to the help of Chris Schwarz and Thomas Lie-Nielsen (read all about it in the Popular Woodworking blog post “Plane Soles: Ham Hands Make Iron Bananas”) it brought to light for me why paying a premium for a modern manufactured hand plane is so worth the price.

Manufacturers such Lie-Nielsen and Veritas are frequently criticized for their “exorbitant” prices. But when you look at how the tools arrive and how little you have to do to make them work correctly right out of the box, you can quickly appreciate the value immediately.

In a nutshell, the process is simply a matter of honing the blade. That’s it, end of story. Hone the blade to your likes, place it back in the tool and then smile as you make beautiful wispy shavings.

Not convinced? Let me ask you this. Would you buy a brand new car if you knew you’d have to go home and then straighten the frame or tear apart the engine to deburr and then reassemble the engine parts?

I’m sure for some of you if the automotive manufacturer offered this option to save you a few thousand dollars you might consider it. If that’s the situation, then chances are you’re already a bit of a gearhead so it’s not that big a deal for you.

But in reality the vast majority of us wouldn’t know where to start, let alone have the right tools to do it. In the end, I’d probably have a post written about me on a car site titled “Ham Hands turns pistons into bananas…”

Just like any major manufacturer, tool makers like Lie-Nielsen and Veritas know that what you want when you buy one of their hand planes is a tool that works from day one. So they don’t make tools that require a lot of TLC to get it to work, they just make tools that work.

So my advice is simple, if you purchase a brand new premium hand plane and it appears to have obvious visible physical flaws. If it’s twisted or bowed or it’s moving parts aren’t moving properly…send it back!

You’re not being difficult and you’re not a lazy tool-user, you’re a customer who purchased a tool with a specific expectation and they’re a manufacturer who want to live up to that expectation.

And on top of it, if you had a problem, there’s a chance there could be others. It’s their reputation on the line and someone claiming a tool is bad without giving them the opportunity to make it right isn’t good for them or us.

Next week: “Inherited or used tool shopper beware”

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Categories: Hand Tools

Save up to 75% at Shop Woodworking now thru March 30

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 9:01am

Learn how. Discover why. Build better.

Spring is just around the corner and that means for a lot of you it’s getting close to being able to work out in your garage shops without fear of frostbite!

While you’re waiting for the last of the cold temps to disappear you can get stocked up on project ideas and shop technique know-how by taking advantage of the Spring Clearance Event at Shop Woodworking.

Between now and March 30, 2014 you could Save up to 75% at Shop Woodworking on items like value pack collections, DVD compilation discs, back-issues and topic specific PDFs for projects and tool techniques you wanted to learn more about for your upcoming projects this summer.

Don’t miss out on saving big, and as always; please remember, purchases made through these links help support the show while getting you the tools and supplies you need for the projects in your own shop!

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Categories: Hand Tools

Steve Johnson webinar “Choosing the right ductwork”

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 9:08am

steve johnson.

A frequent topic request that comes up year after year is dust collection, more specifically “choosing the right ductwork” for dust collection. I’m no expert on the topic, I’ve only used flexible hose.

Thankfully there are people out there who have some familiarity with the various options. One such person is Steve Johnson the host of the YouTube Channel “Down To Earth Woodworks” and frequent contributor to the Highland Woodworking newsletter.

Steve will be hosting an one-time-only live web seminar Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 8 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. MT available at Shop Woodworking.

According to the description:
“Join host, Steve Johnson for this one-time live webinar as he covers the efficient transport of wood chips and dust through a dust collection ductwork system, looking at choices of materials, comparing costs, and considering the tools and techniques needed for assembly.

Dust collection should be considered a holistic “system,” not just a machine. A good system starts with effective capture of dust at point of generation, includes efficient transport of the chips and dust, and depends on thorough separation and collection of dust and wood chips, leaving only clean air behind. Many woodworkers choose to use PVC pipe for dust collection, so the design, layout, assembly, dealing with static electricity, and other special considerations for a PVC ductwork system will be covered in detail.

Anyone who has, or is considering installing, a centrally located dust collector with ductwork to individual machines will benefit from this entertaining live event.

If you’re interested in checking out the seminar, you can register for it by clicking on the image at the top of this post or by CLICKING ON THIS LINK.

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Categories: Hand Tools

521 Thickness planer “Death Match”

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 7:34am

Now that I lured you in with that “misleading” title here’s what today’s episode is really all about, a side-by-side comparison of my old Rigid 13” thickness planer and the new-to-me Steel City Tool Works 13” thickness planer with helical-style cutter head.

Actually that description is also a little misleading considering the only thing being compared are the cutter heads. The Rigid planer has a traditional 2 straight-blade cutter head while the SCTW has a helical-style cutter head, which features numerous smaller cutters laid out in a helical pattern.

Really my goal today was to demonstrate (to myself and you of course) that there is a noticeable difference between these two styles of cutter heads. So to achieve this goal I grabbed some scrap highly figured curly-maple, ripped it in half and fed one through each machine. The result? I guess you’ll have to watch to find out.

***FOR THE SAKE OF COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY: I originally received the Steel City Tool Works 13” planer for a review segment in 2013. Then after working with the staff of SCTW for an event at their Head Quarters, I received the tool as partial payment for my time and assistance. But I can assure you, my opinions on the tool are completely my own and cannot be altered by the manufacturer***

Looking to purchase either of these machines? You can find them at the following retailers (please remember, purchases made through these links help support the show while getting you the tools and supplies you need for the projects in your own shop):

Amazon.com – Steel City Tool Works 40200H 13-Inch Planer with Helical Cutterhead
Highland Woodworking – Steel City thickness planer

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Categories: Hand Tools

Table Saw Techniques with Gregory Paolini & SawStop

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 9:00am

“Cut a board for a man & help him with a project. Teach a man to cut a board on his own table saw and he can do it himself…so you can work on your own dang stuff!”

If you don’t feel like teaching that man yourself have them checkout some of these videos Gregory Paolini put together for the SawStop YouTube Channel.

Gregory covers topics from cutting dados and grooves to jointing on a tablesaw, making a raised panel and pattern cutting. There’s a little something for everyone in this playlist.

Not familiar with Gregory? I hope you have some time to spend checking out his own website at www.gregorypaolini.com, and of course all these videos…YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Categories: Hand Tools

Toolstoday.com – “Water Cabinet Doors” CNC Project

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 9:00am

This project reminds me a lot of an amazingly beautiful art piece I saw at the 2013 Art Prize in Grand Rapids Michigan titled “Grand” by Sophia Collier. Of course, that piece wasn’t meant to be touched like this one.

In fact there were a few times I think the security guards spent most of their time just watching the Vanderlist family.

Regardless of whether you think CNC designed projects are cheating, you have to admit this is a pretty cool cabinet! Thanks to Toolstoday.com for sharing.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Alex’s shop made air cleaner

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 9:00am

Alex Knappenberger of the “KillerSoundz” YouTube channel built an air cleaner for his woodshop. The most expensive thing in the project was the 8″ 800cfm blower.

Over the years people have asked for alternatives to an expensive pre-manufactured air cleaner, and typically I recommend something as simple as a box fan with a furnace filter and then setting it near where the work is happening.

Alex’s design is taking that idea a few steps further and making something a little more permanent and a lot more powerful! Checkout his two part series on the build.

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Categories: Hand Tools


by Dr. Radut