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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

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


test fitting the box w drawer

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 5:43pm

I did some more work on the box with drawer that I started the other day. First of all, this is as close as I get to having drawings to work from…and shortly after I begin, these are out the window. 

as close as I come


Today I had to finish cutting the housings for the till, and then bore the pilot holes for nailing the box together. These nails are the real thing, i.e. handmade nails. Rectangular in cross-section. Thin, wedge-shaped. Makes boring pilot holes tricky. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/for-some-work-cut-nails-dont-cut-it/

the real thing

One of the great things about oak is that it splits so well. One of the drawbacks of oak is that it splits so well. Here, I used a tapered reamer to open up the pilot holes. I wedged it back & forth more than reaming it around & around. Have to be very careful here, it’s easy to break out the wood beyond the holes. 

wedge em open


I have sometimes hit on the idea of installing the gimmals/snipebill hinges into the rear board before assembling the box. Makes it easy to get at them, and reduces the chance that you knock the box apart while setting the hinges.  (for more on these hinges, see http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/setting-gimmals-you-might-know-them-as-snipe-bills/ )

the real thing pt 2


I didn’t get a lot further than this – I assembled the rear-to-sides, then temporarily tacked the front board in place so I can measure for the till parts.


Then I cleaned up & went home. Won’t get back to this til the 29th or so. Off to Heartwood School this weekend for next week’s class in box-making. Here’s the test-fit, with some Atlantic White Cedar that will be the till side. 

got this far




Materials & Tools for the Knockdown Nicholson Workbench

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 1:58pm


I’m teaching two classes in building the Knockdown Nicholson Workbench in 2015 (details on the locations to come) and needed to prepare a list of materials and tools for the students. Because I received an S+ in “Sharing” in kindergarten, I am also posting it here.


  1. Ductile mounting plates for 3/8” x 16 threaded rod. You need 16. Available from McMaster-Carr.
  2. High-strength steel cap screws, 3/8” x 16 thread. You need 16. Available from McMaster-Carr.
  3. Plain steel 3/8” flat washers. You need at least 16. Buy a pack of 100 from McMaster-Carr.
  4. Plain steel split lock washers, 3/8”. You need at least 16. Buy a pack of 100 from McMaster-Carr.
  5. No. 10 x 1” slot-head screws (for attaching the mounting plates). You need at least 32. Buy a pack of 100 from McMaster-Carr.
  6. No. 8 x 2-1/2” wood screws to assemble the ends. A box of 50 should be fine. Here’s a link to the square-drive ones from McMaster-Carr.
  7. No. 8 x 1-1/4” wood screws for attaching the interior apron bracing. You’ll need about 20. You can also buy these from McMaster-Carr.
  8. Gramercy Holdfasts. One pair. Available from Tools for Working Wood.

For a 6’ or 8’ bench, I recommend you buy four 2x12s that are 16’ long. Buy yellow pine or douglas fir, whatever is available in your area. Buy the clearest, straightest stock in the pile. (And if there’s another 2×12 there that looks good, grab it too.) This will allow you some waste and to cut around knots, shakes, pitch and ugly. Note that this does not include the shelf – add a 2×12 x 16’ if you want a shelf. Yes, you will have leftover wood.

You will also need 1×10 material for the interior apron bracing. For a 6’ bench you can get one 1×10 x 8’. For an 8’-long bench, get two.

You’ll need basic marking and measuring tools, plus screwdrivers, a handsaw, a cordless drill, chisels and a block plane. Here are some of the specialty tools that will make your life easier. Plus:

  1. 9/16” socket set to assemble and disassemble the bench.
  2. 3/4” WoodOwl Nailchipper bit. Get yours at Traditional Woodworker.
  3. Forstner bit. You’ll need 1-1/8” for the counterbores.
  4. Brad points. Bring your set. Bench building is a lot about drilling holes.
  5. Tapered countersink bits. The Snappy set from Woodcraft is good.
  6. A pair of sawbenches or sawhorses to work on. (Barring that, a couple of 5-gallon buckets).

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Woodworking Classes, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

Video. Making a shooting board. In real time.

Kees - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 1:15pm
In real time. Not quite of course, I don't let you watch how the glue dries in real time. And I cut the parts on the table saw first. Otherwise, this is how you make a shootingboard in 10:40 minutes, without being in a hurry.

The materials. Birch ply wood 18mm (3/4") for the base. The same stuff in 12mm (1/2") for the plateau. An offcut of the 18mm ply is the cleat and a piece of Jatoba I had is the fence, about 3.5 cm square.

I use a few corns of grit in the glue to prevent the fence from slipping around when you tighten the clamps. Otherwise the glue acts as a lubricant and makes it very difficult to precisely position the fence. You can also use some coarse sand, or even coarse salt cristals. Not much, just a pinch. Let the fence stick out into the running surface just a tiny bit, so you can plane it in line with the edge of the plateau after the glue dried. When the fence isn't exactly square after assembly you will have to use a rabet plane or a shoulder plane to correct the error.

The only things critical in a shooting board are the straightness of the fence, the straightness of the edge along the running surface, and the square position of the fence in relation to that edge. The rest can be crooked, doesn't matter. The dimensions don't matter either. Don't finish the board, a rough surface gives grip to the wooden objects to be shooted. A bit of wax on the running surface won't hurt though.

Shooting boards are very simple. When you need one with a 45 degree angle, just make it. No need for fancy adjustable add on fences. A simple fixed board won't go out of allignment in a hurry, and when it needs a tune up that is easilly accomplished with  the rabet plane.

Or maybe skip it all together. Apart from precise miters, a shooting board is mostly a luxury that you can do without in most circumstances.

PS: Sharpen the blade before you make a video. That saves a lot of agravating screeching noises....

Categories: General Woodworking

Making the Tool Box

Paul Sellers - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:42pm

I catch myself sometimes trying to imagine a day without making and momentary panic hangs for a split second. Some men I know couldn’t wait to retire to “get off the tools” and sell them. One day perhaps I will indeed need to stop and put mine away but not for a decade or two I hope. Maybe three. It’s not a new feeling, but just occasional; the thought of not being able to work one day would be saddening had I not had the fulfilment I’ve enjoyed for so long. When I was new to working, as an 11 year old man, I sometimes considered the same things. Thoughts really, but I am glad my life has been so filled with wood and its workings. There were times when work necessitated a day or two away from the bench and the tools, days without making, but of the 15,000 days I have worked, 140,000 hours, I have only had but a few days when I wasn’t making something with my hands.

All of my work still demands I make things and even my teaching ensures I make something each day. Now the demand is even greater in that using hand tools places the high demand of more physical work squarely where I love it to be. My personal expectations levels are higher and so too my standards of workmanship and with that goes the self challenge and so on that doesn’t happen with machining.


I’ve been making the tool chest and planed the 13/16” stock down to 1/2” – quite a workout. By the evening I had everything to finished size ready for working out the dovetails and laying them out ready for cutting. So I will be starting the blog on the whole of this tomorrow, as soon as I have the cutting list together for you.


Today I looked at this hand made tool and stripped it apart to restore it. It’s quite lovely and I imagine a man at his bench making the parts and milling the components using hands that knew how to work wood, steel and brass. It.s cleverly devised inside with a dovetailed steel threaded rod tenoned into a brass plate and peened over and of course the well loving mechanism. It’s always been inherent to man to make.


People come in and say that they can’t make anything and its true, they never went through the discipline of working with their hands and therefor simply assumed that they never would and worse still never could. I see men come in the shop every day and find it hard to leave. Wistfully they seem to linger and listen and it’s this unfulfilled life I alluded to recently in my blog where people never have the opportunity to become what they really aspired to be. It’s a sad place to be if you come to a point where life seems unfulfilling and I see this more evident in people who have retired than almost any other societal group. On the other hand a lady came in today and stood there soaking in the ambience and then the smells hit her and then the sense of peace. The funny thing was she said that she would love to be able to make the dovetails we have on display. Then she said she’d like to be able to do it too but then she capped it of by saying, “I wish there was a machine that would do that.” I didn’t disabuse here by saying that there was. I did disabuse her by saying, “No, that’s the very last thing you want. Screaming noises that only substitute for developing skill and finding fulfilment.” Her eyes sparked at the thought that she might one day learn such skills so I am really hoping I managed to save her from ever entering the madness of routing dovetails. Phew!!!


It’s funny how many views there are about woodworking and what it is to be a woodworker. Many people want to be woodworkers and earn their living from it and of course you can indeed do that despite those indirectly in the filed saying you can’t. I suppose that’s why I’m here. You can male your living from woodworking IF you are prepared to become masterful of the essential skills and work on becoming both a maker and a designer or are prepared to produce a line of pieces people can invest in and collect your work. I have written extensively on this over the past years and of course I am always concerned that people think that they can become something as a result of a few days enjoying a few days in the woodshop. Skill is developed by rote practice and many people hate to hear that. I don’t care what anyone says, skill takes practice and determination to establish disciplines that demand nothing less than total absorption and interest.
There are many woodworking types. there are those who make their living from it making traditional designs and then there are the furniture making artists who make lampshades from ties and chairs from leather suitcases. For the one group the design is already established and so the maker then relies only on the quality of his or her workmanship. The other group relies on developing something beyond the norm that narrows the market markedly and in that case the artist maker must create an appeal from the work. In both camps it’s most often an education process to persuade would be buyers to buy their work. I am always interested to hear from you about what you feel about those issues so I’ll just throw this out there for your views. Can the furniture maker with the up cycled tie lampshade expect people to understand all of his creations? Can the woman making a craftsman-style range of pieces earn her living from perhaps a tradition people might feel a little outdated? Of course I have presented two possibilities, but the idea is just what does it take to be a successful woodworker or furniture maker and this has absolutely nothing to do with making money but it does have something to do with selling your work?


I was thrilled with a gift of many wooden planes today. Will post pix when i get them. But here was a precious gift from Arthur who  brought the tools in. It’s a Leonard Bailey cap iron stamped with the Patent date of Dec 24 1867. I will treasure this and frame it I think.

The post Making the Tool Box appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Speaking of Gothic

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:28pm


One of the reasons I first became consumed by woodworking was the American Art & Crafts movement. Though I rarely build Arts & Crafts pieces anymore, I fell in love with the joinery and the oak about 1990 when a neighbor let me sit in his Morris chair.

I started collecting pieces, but there was only so much antique furniture you can buy on a $16,600 annual salary at a newspaper.

So I started building it.

The Arts & Crafts style was my gateway into the craft, and I’ll always be grateful for it opening the door into other furniture styles, especially Welsh chairs and the real early stuff I’m building now for “The Furniture of Necessity.” Some of these pieces remind me of looking under rocks at Wildcat Mountain Lake in Arkansas. If the creepy guys in the bathrooms didn’t get you, the copperheads might.

Like this aumbry I’m building this week. Some of it is so unfamiliar it’s just weird and difficult to see the pitfalls ahead. Like mortising into the edge of 12”-wide oak. That’s an odd feeling. And then discovering that the mortises graze the crease mouldings on the stiles. I didn’t see that coming.

Other stuff is just new territory for me. Cutting the crease moulding on the top rail felt weird – it was going to terminate abruptly on the stiles. Yet when the joints went together, the shop lights were off and it looked good – like a moulded apron between table legs.

Tomorrow I start the pierced carvings on the stiles. I’m not looking forward to doing it in dry oak, but that’s what I’ve got.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity, Projects
Categories: Hand Tools

‘Practical Woodworker’ 4-Volume Set – Now in Paperback

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:30am

Last year, we released an exclusive, limited run of the 4-volume set of Bernard Jones’ “The Practical Woodworker” in hardcover, which quickly sold out. But now, you can get “The Practical Woodworker” set in paperback; it’s the same great information, but at a more affordable price – just $65 for more than 1,500 pages of expert woodworking instruction (plus an index…thank goodness!). And, when you buy from ShopWoodworking.com, you’ll get […]

The post ‘Practical Woodworker’ 4-Volume Set – Now in Paperback appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworking in America 2014 Marketplace: Plate 11 Workbenches

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:01am

The WIA Marketplace is full of both power and hand tools and to use some of these tools to their full potential, you need a good workbench. This is where Plate 11 Workbenches comes in. Founder Mark Hicks was on hand this past weekend to discuss the story behind his company and how on a dare from Christopher Schwarz, Mark was inspired to start making his own workbenches:

Mark built a pair of Split-Top Roubo benches specifically for WIA, but by the time we met up with him, he had already sold the model at his booth. Luckily, the second in the pair was on display at the Sterling Tool Works booth and thanks to Sterling company founder, Chris Kuehn, we have some beautiful pictures of this bench to share with our readers:



You can find out more about Plate 11 Workbenches by visiting their website: http://plate11.com/plate-11/

The post Woodworking in America 2014 Marketplace: Plate 11 Workbenches appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How to Sharpen a Chisel – Part 2

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 9:45am

See our previous post, How to Sharpen a Chisel, Part 1, for basic sharpening techniques. Medium Diamond Stone So now the burr is gone–in fact, the burr is on the bevel side. Now go to the medium stone and–surprise! Work it the same way as on the coarse stone: find the angle on the bevel side […]

The post How to Sharpen a Chisel – Part 2 appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Vacation is Getting in the Welsh Stick Chair Building

Toolerable - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 9:42am
But with a day like this, how can you NOT go outside!
Near the Alpspitze in Garmisch today.
The Frau and I have a couple of weeks off together, and we decided not to go too far out of the area.  Instead, we are going to enjoy our surroundings in the area we live.  Luckily, we have had the first couple days of summer the whole year, or so it seems.

Before we headed off to the mountains, I thought I would try to get somewhere with my Welsh stick chair.  I have been able to spend only about an hour on it since I brought this thing home from Denmark.  Happily, I got almost a whole day in the shop with it.

Boring Arm Rail Holes
I left off having roughly shaped the arm rail and crest.  After some thought, I decided to take sandpaper to the sticks after all.  They were all a bit too 'rustic' and I don't think two of them had the same diameter.  This was easily fixed with some sandpaper.

I bored some holes in the arm rail.  I built the jigs in Drew Langsner's book to help hold it in the right spot so I could just eyeball the angles the holes needed to be.  That was easy enough.
Now the hard part.
I thought I would be clever, so I bought an 18" brace extension off of eBay.  It functions perfectly, but I realized too late that it was too big to fit in the 5/8" holes I bored in the arm rail.
Still a problem.
"No problem," I thought.  I'll just bring it in from the underside and bore that way.  WRONG!  I still can't lift the drill bit high enough to get started.

Plan 'B' was to take the arm rail off and eyeball the angles, so that's what I did.  I thought that if I used the extension, I might be a bit more accurate on the angles, which not only worked, it made me feel better about having blown my hard-earned moolah on a useless tool.
A bonus on this shot, you get to see the pristine state of my shop.
It seems to have worked.
I got all of the sticks in.  Next up, just drop on the arm rail and we're good.  Only problem is, putting the arm rail on this way was a bit hairy.  Since the sticks all fan out from the seat, they don't really line up with the holes on the arm rail until it is in place.  This mean that I had to bend the sticks into place one at a time, while whacking with my rubber mallet (Trevor the Mallet died not long ago).  This must have put an incredible stress on the rail, as I had a small issue:
Potential for disaster?  Naaah - I just squeezed some glue in there, got the sticks in place and clamped it back together.
We'll see what this looks like when I get the clamps off.

Here is the state my chair now is in:
Starting to look like a chair.
When I get back from vacation, I'll take the clamps off of that break and see how we're doing.  If it looks like doodie, then I'll heat it up (hide glue is great for this) and re-do it.  However, I think that I can probably make this work.

The only bit of construction left on this chair is to attach the crest, which glues directly to the arm rail.

I will still have a lot of work left on shaping everything to it's final shape.  Things need to be a bit rounder for comfort, and I need to think of something to prevent me from winning a Darwin Award while it is sitting in my dining area. 
Categories: Hand Tools

New Videos on Carving Scrolls

Mary May, Woodcarver - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:31am

Mary May - Woodcarver

still final for web final ep 2 photo for web

Two new video episodes have been added to my online school on carving scrolls (or sometimes referred to as volutes). Next week I will be adding a third version (and maybe a forth after that because I just can’t stop!)

Since this design is often seen in period furniture and decorative elements of architectural carving, I focused these lessons on a variety of styles of just the scroll itself.

The first one is a style you might see on an arm of a Windsor chair or similar (but not exact) to a violin scroll. The sizes are not exact to what you might make on a piece of furniture, but these lessons simply go through the technique of getting a finished carved scroll. You can adjust these to whatever you are carving.

These are carved in basswood, cut out on a scroll saw, and attached to a backer board with double sided tape. After much testing and discovery, brushing along the edge with denatured alcohol seems to work the best to release the double-sided tape. It tends to leave the tape less sticky but releases the carving easily. It is also less smelly, but it is still VERY important to work in a ventilated area (outside is best) and use chemical gloves. Any of these solvents are nasty to work with.

Happy scrolling!

Spagnuolo's Glide M

Benchcrafted - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 7:48am

Video link

Late last night we received the following email from Marc Spagnuolo:

Finished up the final part of the retrofit today, including both the new Glide and the Crisscross. All I can say is wow!! I am able to close the vise from a full open position with a quick flick of the wrist. And the hold is strong enough for me to lift the bench with the workpiece. That's without the suede on the chop! Incredible. 

Just wanted to let you guys know you once again impress the heck out of me with the quality of the hardware! 


In case you've been sleeping under a rock for the past few years (and we feel ridiculous even saying this) Marc owns and operates the online woodworking community/school The Wood Whisperer. Marc built our Split Top Roubo as one of the Guild builds a few years ago. Until we get time (and develop a personal relationship with Francis Ford Coppola) Marc's video series is still the best option for building our bench if you need visual step by step instructions. Marc covers all the bases in minute detail, and gives you more info than you need (the good kind of more.) We imagine Marc will be covering his retrofit on the Wood Whisperer website in the future.

Categories: Hand Tools

Oak doesn’t go bad…for the most part

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 7:20am

trimming scraps


I have a collection of bits & pieces of oak that I have carved over the years. One is a panel 7″ x 24″ – I wrote about this design way back when = http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/incised-wgouges-versus-v-tool/

When I started planning for my next spate of joinery projects, it seemed logical to warm up with something simple, a carved box. I’m off next week to teach a class in fact; so the timing was perfect. But then I dug through some oak I have stashed, and found the carved panel above; begging to be a box with a drawer. This is something I’ve never made, and have wanted to build for some time. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/i-had-been-wanting-to-see-this-box-for-years/

box with drawer, Thomas Dennis, Ipswich, Massachusetts, made between 1663-1706


So right away, I’ve made it more complicated than originally intended. Mine will follow the format of the Thomas Dennis box; but different decorative details. When I briefly studied the the original, I didn’t record all the pertinent details of construction. So I have to make some stuff up – I learned on another project recently that when you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make mistakes. 

I gathered up some wood, carved new sides to go with the existing front.  



carved bits blog

Usually on a box, the carcass is fitted together, then the bottom nailed up to the lower edge of the carcass. In this case, the front is the same height as the side and rear. So I planed a rabbet in the inside face of the front board, for the box bottom to fit into. 

rabbet in front

Can’t have a box with this much pizzaz and not have a till, so I sawed & chiseled trenches for the till. Bored a hole for the till lid. 

till trenches

till bits

The front of the box is only 7″ high, but the sides and rear boards are 11 1/2″ high. On account of the drawer. The sides are glued up from narrower stock; as they were on the original. But the rear board I used a solid piece of 12″ riven oak – from this log http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/i-dont-have-time-for-this/

In this shot, I was fine-tuning the rabbets with a shoulder plane. I was going pretty quickly it seems. 

quickly trim rabbets


Then I plowed a groove in the rear board to further capture the bottom. This is one of the conjectural construction pieces – I didn’t handle the original box to see how the box bottom really fits. 



It’s a lot of fun being back at the task of joinery…and photography. 

old & new

Furniture Styles: From Gothic to the 20th Century

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:30am


After reading Charles H. Hayward’s writings during his tenure as editor of The Woodworker, I think he was of two minds about furniture. While the magazine was filled with plans for up-to-date pieces that would look at home on the set of “Mad Men,” Hayward also took pains to educate readers about old work.

One of the ways he did this was by drawing pieces from the collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum, and all of those drawings will be featured in our upcoming book on The Woodworker magazine.

He also published one-page drawings that showed how a particular form of furniture – tables, beds, chairs – changed during the centuries.

Today we offer a free download of seven of these pages compiled in one pdf. You can download it using the link below.


One of the things you can see from the pdf is why we are so keen on publishing this book. The acid-based paper that these are printed on is deteriorating rapidly.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker, Downloads
Categories: Hand Tools

WIA Day 0 – An Exhibit and Setting Up

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:04am

Since we were planning on taking all my stuff to WIA late in the afternoon, we decided to follow our hosts’ recommendation and view a local museum exhibit of Chairs at The Reynolda Museum on the north side of Winston Salem.  Unfortunately they did not allow photography, but it was a terrific exhibit.  We were accompanied by old friend and brilliant furniture maker Freddy Roman.


Later in the afternoon we navigated the clogged pathways of the WIA Marketplace in the convention center to get all my demonstration supplies up to the room I was using for teaching, and noted several things along the way.


First, I must admit it was quite a kick to see the video front and center in the Popular Woodworking bookstore.  I had actually only seen the released version two weeks ago; it was not terrible.


Second, even though I have given scores (hundreds?) of talks it still is a bit of a jolt to see my name listed on the room schedule.  I don’t know why, it just does.


Third, there were a lot of great folks exhibiting mighty fine tools in The Marketplace.  Somehow I managed to emerge from the weekend with zero dollars spent.  Not that I wasn’t tempted…

We wrapped up the day with some good old North Carolina barbecue and bluegrass music a Prissy Polly’s, a renowned local eatery a few miles away in Kernersville.  Ummmmmmmmmmmmm.

I see that according to WordPress this is my 200th blog post.  Who knew I had that much to say about anything?  I mean besides anyone who actually knows me.


A Card Catalogue – Part Eight

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:16am
  Moving right along with the Card Catalogue, I thought I’d post this next video while the last one is still fresh in everyone’s mind. It completes the back panel work and from here we’ll get into the main carcase glue up and the interior...
Categories: Hand Tools

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

Plane Shavings Blog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:02am


If you are within traveling distance of Manchester,  CT Friday or Saturday please stop in. There is a lot to see and learn. Be sure to stop by the Hardware City Tool booth and say hello. I will be there both days.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave leave a comment.

Categories: Hand Tools

“The Woodwright’s Shop” Episodes on DVD {Best Traditional Woodworking Books & DVDs}

Wood and Shop - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:01am


I have my brother-in-law Dan Gearhart to thank for getting me interested in woodworking when I was a little boy, but I have Roy Underhill to thank for reinforcing that passion and getting me excited about working wood in the way my ancestors did. In the 9080’s, When my friends were sleeping in, I would spend my childhood Saturday mornings watching The Woodwright’s Shop. 


So a couple years ago, while in a moment of 1980’s nostalgia, I wrote a letter to PBS to beg them to release the old seasons on DVD. I also wanted the valuable teaching’s from Roy Underhill’s earlier episodes.


Well, within a relatively short period of time the episodes started to flow forth onto discs, like dew from heaven.  Around 6 hours of traditional woodworking classes (per season) for around $35…worth every cent! Thank you Popular Woodworking Magazine!


I highly doubt it was my letter that engaged the process, but I’m so happy to have this amazing resource. You can buy most of the seasons here or here for the best price.

Currently you can buy seasons 1-29 (1980-2009…more coming this year), but to wet your appetite you can watch about 136 full episodes from recent seasons for free on the PBS video page here. Here are two of my favorite recent full episodes:

However, the early seasons (like 1980’s) are my favorite because Roy Underhill introduces many of the fundamentals, like producing your own lumber from a tree – season 1, episode 2:

When Roy discovered that I was born the year that his first episode was filmed, he let out an expletive and slapped his head. Too funny. Here’s a few minutes of that very first episode of The Woodwright’s Shop:

Don’t think for a minute that you won’t learn much from a 30 minute PBS woodworking program. Yes, Roy teaches in a way that beginners can understand, but many of my fundamentals and advanced techniques were learned by watching this show. And I’m not alone. These DVDs will be an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn all about traditional woodworking.

And to add in huge measure to learning by video, I highly recommend that you try out a class from Roy Underhill down at his Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, North Carolina. You can see his list of 1 day, 2 day, 3 day, 5 day, and 6 day classes right here.

Roy Underhill, Bill Anderson, & Peter Ross

My skills grew leaps and bounds from the classes that I took there. I recommend the “Benchwork Week w/ Roy & Bill” class because it teaches many basics of hand tool woodworking, and you walk away with a nice tool chest. And I built relationships because of those classes. Now I have about 5 DVDs being published by Popular Woodworking Magazine that I have filmed (or will be filming) at The Woodwright’s School, featuring several of Roy Underhill’s teachers (Bill Anderson, Will Myers, and Elia Bizzari).



The Furniture Record - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 8:22pm

For reasons I’ll go on (and on) about later, between now and around October 1st, I will have even more limited internet access than I have with AT&T DSL. (“More limited?” How did that make it past the editor?) If I can get a blog out, I will, but don’t expect anything until October 2nd.

Don’t worry, I’m not sick or dying. It is possible that I might die between now and October 2nd, but that’s not at all expected and nothing going on would lead me to believe that I might pass on. Of course, one never really expects it, does one?

In the mean time, there are some blogs back in the archives worth reading. Just search for Porsche, tractors, dovetails, hardware…

Enjoy and I’ll be back just as soon as the techno gods allow.

On Our Homestead!

Traditional Skills - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:22pm

I just wanted to do an update to let everyone know what is happening.

We made it up to our property in northern Minnesota back in the middle of July. We spent 6 weeks camping on the property in a tent with our two small children while we got all the permits and so forth filed and approved for building.

Then my father and brother came up and spent about two and a half weeks helping me get the place framed up and dried in. We did everything from the concrete up ourselves.

I would like to have posted a few blog posts during that time but living in a tent with a small child and baby did not give me much time to do it, let alone the ability while living without electricity or so forth.

For the past week we having been in the cabin shell and working to get things ready for the winter. There is so much work to be done and the temp’s have been getting below freezing at night already. Without insulation it has been in the low 40’s in the cabin which is hard with the kids.

I am going to break down the cabin building process into several parts and try to catch up to where we are now. I am working on that series of post right now and should start getting them up this week.

For now here is a picture of our story and a half 16×28′ cabin we are building on our 40 acres.


This is just the beginning and we hope to have a small scale organic farm set up in the next few years. There is going to be a lot of exciting things coming up in the new few years so keep watching and follow us on our journey to a more sustainable and hands on lifestyle.


P.S. – If anyone is interested I am typing this on a tablet sitting at a card table using an old Rayo oil lamp as light. I tried uploading a picture but this old tablet is extremely frustrating and nothing seems to be working right. Plus I am trying to get this thing to work over a spotty wireless space connection.

Categories: Hand Tools

We'll Get There

The Workbench Diary - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 6:32pm

 Weather’s been nice and fall-like the past couple weeks. I love it. My favorite time of the year. Nights get chilly, the woodstove gets cleaned out, I transition from iced coffees to hot. Big changes. I got to drive to Prospect Harbor today to deliver some chairs. What a great driving day it was. 

I also got a chance to make up the lid for my tool chest. I now have it all glued up and have started to get the last skirt details knocked out. I hope to be able to bang that out tomorrow. We’ll see how things go. I still gotta keep my client’s furniture moving out the door but Leonard’s Mills is coming up soon. I wanna make sure the chest is finished before then. We’ll get there.

Categories: Hand Tools


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by Dr. Radut