§ by Joel Hess on April 30th, 2007
During this week’s Woodsmith Woodworking Seminar podcast, you’ll get to see a great new fixture that’s featured in ShopNotes Issue No. 93. Bryan Nelson (who is managing editor of ShopNotes magazine) will be routing machine-cut dovetails using the Porter-Cable 4212 dovetail jig.
And to make it even more interesting, he uses the new Dovetail Jig Workcenter. The workcenter is loaded with features that provide storage for the jig and all its accessories, imporved accuracy, and added comfort as you work. Once again, the jig is featured in the lastest issue of ShopNotes (on newsstands now).
After the podcast is finished, stop by the Woodsmith Podcast Store. You’ll find links to project plans, the seminar guide, and a few of the tools and accessories that Bryan used during the seminar.
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§ by Joel Hess on April 27th, 2007
Have you heard of the new, low-foam polyurethane glue called Bolder Bond (left photo)?
It works just like any other poly glue — it’s waterproof and bonds different materials together. But you can see the difference between Bolder Bond and a traditional polyurethane glue in the photo at right (click to enlarge). Bolder Bond has very little foam squeezeout (as shown in the upper glue joint). In the lower joint, you can see the high foaming action of typical polyurethane glue. Reducing the amount of foam makes cleanup less of a hassle.
Since Bolder Bond is new, there aren’t many places to find it right now. But the Woodsmith Store in Des Moines, Iowa carries it. Give them a call at 800-444-7527.
§ by Joel Hess on April 24th, 2007
Even the best tape measure in the world is only as accurate as the person reading it. To eliminate possible error, the DigiTape from Starrett has an internal optical sensor that accurately reads a bar code printed on the blade. This gives you two options. You can either read the measurement on the fully graduated blade or the electronic display located on the top of the case.
Your measurements can be viewed in either decimal inches, decimal feet, centimeters, or feet and inches (as shown in thumbnail at right). And they can be saved in the memory. It also automatically adds the length of the case for inside measurements and you can flip the display for easy reading from either side of the tape. All this with the touch of a button.
The digital readout is accurate down to 1/16″ and the tape costs less than $50. It comes with a replaceable long-life battery and a set of easy-to-follow instructions.
§ by Joel Hess on April 23rd, 2007
During my seminar on frames and panels a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a database program developed by a member of the Des Moines Woodworkers Association, who is also a regular at the Woodsmith Woodworking Seminars. He put together a program that makes it easy to calculate the dimensions for the rails and stiles of cabinet doors. It also helps you calculate the size of your panels.
The problem is, it’s an Excel file. This is an expensive program that most of us with personal computers at home don’t have. But, there is an alternative.
Last weekend, after watching the frame and panel podcast, a viewer named Kari contacted me about a good freeware download that allows you to open Excel files without having to spend lots of money.
In the email, Kari said: “…I just wanted to bring to your attention that yes, one does need a program to read and manipulate an excel file, but it doesn’t have to be the expensive one. The office suite I use is from OpenOffice.org and it is compatible with all other major office suites. The product is free to download, use, and distribute. Thanks Kari for the heads up.
§ by Joel Hess on April 20th, 2007
Jonathan Benson, a master furniture builder, designer, and author takes us step-by-step through some of his favorite methods for veneering during this week’s Woodsmith Woodworking Seminar podcast. Jonathan has just finished writing a book called “Veneering: A Comprehensive Guide.” (You can see examples of his work at his website.) He builds beautiful furniture.
When you’re done watching, be sure to check out the Woodsmith Podcast Store. You’ll find links there on how to purchase some great veneering project plans and this week’s seminar guide.
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§ by Randy Maxey on April 20th, 2007
It’s funny how we spend a lot of money to make our floors glass-smooth. Tile, laminate flooring, and prefinished hardwood are at the top of the list. And for those of us with 100-year old hardwood floors, we spend a lot of time sanding and refinishing to get a smooth surface for our stocking feet.
Well, as proof that what goes around comes around and that history repeats itself, HomerWood® Hardwood Flooring (a subsidiary of Armstrong World Industries, the vinyl flooring manufacturer) has come out with a line of “hand-scraped” hardwood flooring. Yep. Hand-scraped. By humans. The Amish, as a matter of fact. They’re calling this new line of flooring the Amish Hand-Scraped™ Collection. Now, I don’t know what HomerWood is charging for this flooring, but I bet it isn’t inexpensive. And apparently there’s a segment of our population that is willing to spend the money for a “hand-tooled” finish.
Personally, I think they misnamed it. Why? Because in the photo on this page, the Amish man is using a hand plane (looks like a No. 4). And in the photo on this page, another Amish man is using a drawknife. A drawknife?! Neither of which can be called a “scraper.” When I think of a scraper, I think of a Stanley 112 or at least a No. 74. Or the modern Lie-Nielsen Large Scraping Plane or the Veritas® Scraping Plane.
In any case, I think “Hand-Tooled” might have been a better name. Maybe we ought to offer to go teach the marketing folks at HomerWood a little about hand tools.
§ by Randy Maxey on April 18th, 2007
I think every home has a piece of furniture made from one of those particleboard kits in a box. I’ll admit that even though I call myself a woodworker, I had a computer desk like that for many years. But then it started to sag and chip apart, so I trashed it.
The two big manufacturers in furniture kits have been O’Sullivan Industries and Sauder Woodworking. During the last few years, O’Sullivan has apparently had some financial trouble. On Monday, it was announced on crescent-news.com that Sauder will purchase key assets, or parts, of O’Sullivan Industries.
I find it interesting that Kevin Sauder, president and CEO of Sauder Woodworking wasn’t interested in O’Sullivan’s manufacturing facilities. “I was interested in the customer base,” which includes companies such as Lowe’s, Staples, Big Lots and Wal-Mart.
§ by Randy Maxey on April 17th, 2007
August Home Publishing Company employees came to work on Monday only to be greeted by a surprise. Sometime during the weekend, a water pipe had burst on the top floor of the three-story brick corporate building. It wasn’t discovered until Sunday evening. (August Home is the publisher of Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench magazines.)
The suspect was a tankless water heater. As water poured out, it flooded the third floor and cascaded like a waterfall along walls and stairwells to the lower floors.
Needless to say, it was a tragedy, but all affected employees have been temporarily relocated and it’s “business as usual.” (None of the editorial staff for the magazines was affected.) In the meantime, construction crews are already at work removing damaged items, drying out the facility, and rebuilding the interior. It’s amazing how much damage water can do.
§ by Joel Hess on April 12th, 2007
When it comes right down to it, most cabinets are just boxes made out of plywood. Add a drawer and a slab door and you’ve got utilitarian storage for a garage or workshop. But if you’re building cabinets for your kitchen or bath, chances are you’ll want something sturdy that also looks good. That’s when you’ll want to build a door using frame and raised panel construction.
So get out the router table, during this week’s Woodsmith Woodworking Seminar podcast, Joel Hess shows you how to build a frame and raised panel door using three highly specialized router bits.
After the podcast is finished, stop by the Woodsmith Podcast Store. You’ll find links to project plans, the seminar guide, and a few of the tools and accessories that Joel used during the seminar.
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§ by Randy Maxey on April 12th, 2007
Doug Hicks sent me this link to The Internet Craftsmanship Museum. As their homepage says, they exist for “Presenting the best craftsmen from around the world and their miniature projects in metal and wood.”
Just like a brick-and-mortar museum, you can browse the works of craftsmen from all over the world. But unlike a brick-and-mortar museum, you can view these works from the comfort of your own home and at your own leisure. For example, you can look at the wood reproductions of heavy equipment by Chuck Hoggarth. You can see one of his projects in the photo on the left.
And speaking of craftsmanship, Bill Gould wrote a great article on our society’s perception of craftsmanship. Does our culture shun true craftsmanship? Why bother to strive for perfection in our craft? He defines craftsmen as “those who make things by hand, in a manner that exhibits mastery of their craft, whether as an avocation or profession.” Bill sums up the article with some things you and I can do to share our passion and value of true craftsmanship.
I hope that as you spend time in your shop, you give some thought to the projects you’re working on and apply your skills as a craftsman. Strive for perfection. Be patient in your work. Take your time to plan every move and every cut with a tool. Your work will show the difference. And even if nobody else appreciates your craftsmanship, you can take pride in the work of your hands, mind, and heart.