§ by Randy Maxey on August 31st, 2007
Make all the fun you want to about all his “routahs,” but you have to admit that Norm Abram has done more to foster a worldwide interest in woodworking than anyone else. While I don’t always agree with his choice of construction techniques and joinery, he has made woodworking approachable and less intimidating for millions of people. I had the chance to meet him (actually, just a handshake) at a Delta/Porter-Cable gathering at the AWFS show in Las Vegas in July. He seems like a great guy and I’d like to have the chance to sit and have a cup of coffee with him sometime.
In Design News, there’s a great article about how Norm got started and how he managed to make it into his 20th season this year on New Yankee Workshop. Did you know that Norm attended college with the intent of getting an engineering degree? Here’s an intersesting quote from the article:
“I hated sitting in a class of 600 in a thermodynamics class, but I loved being in the lab working with metals. I hung in there for a couple of years and said this isn’t for me. You can learn a lot from school and books, but you really learn from experience,” he says. Going with a gut feeling, he switched to production management in business school, sensing he wanted to be a building contractor. He came close but never earned a degree because midstream in college he “felt it was time to go to work.”
And the rest is history, as they say.
§ by Randy Maxey on August 28th, 2007
I like old tools. It can be a 100-year old hand plane or a 50-year old table saw. I enjoy the history and reading about old tool companies. For power tool history, the Old Woodworking Machines (OWWM) web site is a great resource. There you can find photos, instruction manuals, and catalogs that tool collectors have uploaded to share with everyone. I’ve used OWWM frequently when I needed a manual for an old tool that somehow managed to find its way into my garage shop.
And if your a fan of old catalogs, photos, and other paper items related to old manufacturers of hand tools, check out Gary Robert’s Toolemera web site. Gary collects, studies, and enjoys old tools and related books and ephemera. There you’ll find old bills of sale, postcards, letterhead, books, pamphlets, and assorted other items from Gary’s collection. I’ve got one of his old photos as wallpaper on my computer screen. It’s fun just browsing through Gary’s site.
§ by Joel Hess on August 27th, 2007
This week, Dennis Perkins, assistant editor for Woodsmith and ShopNotes, is going to give us some pointers on using hand planes and scrapers for a smooth finish. He’ll also spend some time showing us how he likes to sharpen his scrapers during this week’s Woodsmith Woodworking Seminar Podcast.
As usual, all of the links to articles, seminar guides, and products that you’ll see being used during the seminar podcast can be found at the Woodsmith Podcast Store.
Flash Video [57:15m]: Play Now
| Play in Popup
MP4 Video [57:15m]: Download
WMV Video [57:15m]: Download
§ by Randy Maxey on August 27th, 2007
In ShopNotes 95, I wrote an article about some quick (and some unusual ways) you can keep rust at bay on your hand and power tools. For those of us with basement or garage shops, rust is an issue we have to deal with. I remember moving into our second home of our marriage and almost losing every tool I owned because I kept them in the basement. Actually, the basement was more like a root cellar and whenever it rained, water poured through the walls. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to jack up the house, replace the foundation, and finally have a dry basement for a shop.
Some months ago, I ran across this web page by Bob Neidorff. He does a great job of explaining what rust is, how to remove it, and how to prevent it. He also lists several resources for products and suppliers, including web links. Check it out.
§ by Randy Maxey on August 23rd, 2007
The editors here at Woodsmith and ShopNotes magazines see a lot of new products come across our desks. Some we have to laugh at, and others are really good ideas.
Eagle Jigs is a small company out of Kansas City, Missouri that seem to come up with some good ideas. They’ve got several products that you might want to consider for your shop. They seem to have a knack for developing products that solve real problems in the woodworking shop. Maybe that’s because they’re woodworkers themselves.
One such product is the Versa-Block. It’s one of those things that looks so simple, but the more you use it, the more uses you’ll find for it. It’s an octagon-shaped piece of solid alumimum. Each face has another octagon shape milled onto the surface. Each edge of the smaller octagon is offset from the corresponding edge of the main body. It’s easier to understand once you see the photos and hold it in your hand. On one side, the offsets are in 1/16″ increments. On the other side, the offsets are in 1/8″ increments.
You can use the Versa-Block for a number of things. The most obvious is setting bit heights on your router and blade heights on your table saw. But you can also mark offsets from the edge of a workpiece up to one inch. And you can use the Versa-Block as a square during glue-ups. Like their web site says, “This is an accessory that the more you use, the more uses you will find to use it.”
Another handy item they’ve come up with is the Laser-Cut Triangle. They come in 3″ and 6″ sizes. The triangles are similar to the aluminum Swanson Speed Square you’d use for framing a house. But these are plastic and laser-etched for accuracy. One side of the triangle has small holes — like the Incra Marking Rules — for the tip of your pencil for drawing and marking lines parallel to an edge. The base of the triangle is etched in 1/16″ increments. The “hypotenuse” of the triangle has angular markings etched so that you can use it as a protractor. The prices are reasonable enough that you can afford to have a few in the shop.
§ by Randy Maxey on August 22nd, 2007
If you’ve read Woodsmith and ShopNotes magazines for any length of time, you know that we’re a fan of threaded inserts. They make it easy to build jigs and fixtures and knock-down furniture or projects. They’re a great way to add machine threads for attaching screws and bolts.
E-Z Lok is a manufacturer of threaded inserts for a variety of industries and applications. And I’ve recently discovered that their web site is a valuable resource of information you can use when building projects that make use of threaded inserts. Their web site contains PDF documents that contain detailed dimemensioned drawings and complete charts listing dimensions and recommended hole sizes for their inserts. (They caution you to try out the insert on a scrap piece to get the exact hole size.)
Click here for a chart of their inserts for hardwood.
Click here for a listing of the knife-thread inserts for softwood.
I like to use press-in “Finserts” whenever I can (see photo at left). I don’t have to thread them and risk not getting them in straight. You can simply press or tap them in place. Click here for more information on finserts.
If you scroll to the bottom of these pages, you’ll see links for PDF documents of drawings and charts.
E-Z Lok’s products are sold through a variety of distributors like McMaster-Carr, Reid Tool, and MSC.
§ by Randy Maxey on August 21st, 2007
While I was browsing the AWFS show in Las Vegas last July, I spent quite a bit of time at the 3M booth. Most of the products they were showing off are geared toward the production shop, but they did have one item that I think will make it’s way into the home workshop.
3M is taking sanding to a whole new level with the introduction of its unique Clean Sanding Discs for woodworking. The new, innovative discs can deliver longer life than standard high-performance discs, thanks to their breakthrough surface configuration and abrasive technology.
Designed to be used with random orbital sanders, Clean Sanding Discs offer improved dust extraction when used with a vacuum system. Less dust contributes to improved cutting action when sanding. The unique, patented hole pattern on the discs’ surface helps to effectively remove dust from the work area, which prevents disc loading and provides a fast, consistent and efficient cut rate. I watched them in action during the show and was impressed with the fact that they didn’t load up like traditional discs. And the best thing is, they’ll work with any hole pattern and you don’t have to worry about aligning the holes.
Clean Sanding Discs are available in 5″ and 6″ diameters in grades P80 to P1000 and feature the secure Hookit attachment system from 3M.
You can find out more about them by clicking here. As for availability, Clean Sanding Discs are sold through distributors for the industrial market. But 3M reps tell me that they expect them to be available from their online eStore sometime soon. Let’s hope they make their way into woodworking catalogs and home centers, too.
§ by Randy Maxey on August 20th, 2007
There’s the old standby: Gorilla Glue. And there’s Elmer’s Ultimate Glue. And Bolder Bond. Now there’s another polyurethane glue on the market: Rhino Ultra Glue made by the folks at Liquid Nails.
Rhino Ultra Glue shares some of the same characteristics as other polyurethane glues: it’ll bond just about anything. But there is one important difference. This stuff sets up fast. After 40 minutes, you can “plane it, sand it, and stain it” as their bottle says. But get this — If you dampen the surface of the material to be bonded first, Rhino Ultra Glue sets up in half that time. That means that you only need to clamp it for 20 minutes.
There’s another difference. It’s higher-viscosity (thicker) formulation means it won’t run as easily as some other polyurethane glues. That’s real handy on complicated glue-ups where traditional glues run away from your joints before you can get things clamped together.
But what I like most about this product is the bottle. That’s right. The bottle has a flat side so you can store it on it’s side. That means that the glue will last longer because air can’t get to it. When the folks from Liquid Nails showed us this, we all said, “It’s about time.”
And there’s the long nozzle that helps get the glue where you need it. You can read all about the unique bottle features here.
Click here for more information about Rhino Ultra Glue.
§ by Randy Maxey on August 18th, 2007
In a previous post, I talked about the new professional jig saw by Makita. Well, they’ve got two more they’re introducing to the market.
Both jig saws feature anti-vibration technology for over 40% reduced vibration and noise than competitive models. The Makita 4350FCT (shown at left) and 4351FCT (shown on the right) combine power and superior feel, with less vibration and noise. Both jig saws include three orbital settings plus a straight-cut setting, and are powered by a 6.3 AMP motor for cutting in all varieties of materials. The electronic variable speed control maintains consistent speed throughout the cut for superior results.
Makita also engineered comfort and control features into the new jig saws. An L.E.D. light illuminates the line of cut, while a built-in dust blower clears the line of cut for greater visibility. The ergonomically designed rubberized grip on both the top handle and barrel grip models provides greater comfort and control. The 4351FCT model features a rubberized barrel grip design to provide a closer grip to the work surface during cutting.
The patented tool-less blade change system provides fast and easy installation and removal of tang-shank blades. The die-cast aluminum base adjusts up to 45 degrees right or left with a positive stop at 90 degrees for solid cutting performance. An on-board hex wrench is included for fast, accurate bevel adjustments. Both models are ideal for professional woodworkers, cabinetry makers, and specialized residential construction workers. They include a blade set, anti-splintering device, cover plate, and tool case.
§ by Joel Hess on August 17th, 2007
A European company called Miniot
is selling a nice wooden case for iPhones.
They offer a little bit of protection for your
phone and it looks cool. It’s carved from a
single piece of wood and available in oak,
paduak, cherry, mahogany, or walnut. The
price is around $80. If your cell phone is
dinged up half as much as mine is, this
might be a good investment!
Oh by the way, if you don’t have an
iPhone yet, they also make a case for iPods!