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I had this foolish notion that at some point, my new workshop would be all organized and tidy. Presentable. Then I was going to photograph it and post a tour of the shop here on the blog. But…it keeps gathering junk in piles, only to be cleaned up so I could work – and make another mess. I guess that means my shop is “done” as much as it’s going to get. I did write a short piece in Popular Woodworking about it – but here is a short glimpse of what it looks like these days.
Might as well start at the beginning. here’s the view to the door:
Looking through the door, into the room. The carving over the door is a place-holder. there’s a new one coming.
The main workbench. 8′ long. shelves underneath for large planes, boxes of tools like chalkline, hammers, mallets, bench hook and other bench accessories. Racks in the window for marking gauges, awls, chisels, squares – etc.
Same view, but extended to the left – showing the neglected lathe. More later on that.
Looking back toward the door – showing my version of Chris Schwarz’ tool chest. I couldn’t bear to paint it a solid color…small shelves wedged between the braces and corner posts. Auger bits, sharpening stuff, other odds n ends.
Here is that corner straight on – spoon knives and scratch stocks in boxes… random junk sitting on ledges til I figure it out. Could be years…
The view into the corner beyond the workbench. Cabinet for hatchets, chopping block below.
Patterns and story sticks. they’re everywhere.
I’ve taken this picture many times – it’s just beyond my workbench, the cabinet that houses the hatchets. Recycled wall paneling for the doors.
Inside the cabinet – hatchets, adze, twca cam in 2 sizes –
Like I said, the lathe has had little attention. The current plan is to make a set of shorter beds for it. Right now I can turn a 48″ chair post, but most of my turnings are under 32″ – so I’ll store these beds, make shorter ones, and save a bit of space. Right now, it is a place to pile stuff out of the way. Well, it’s not really out of the way. It’s just a mess. Books and notes to the left.
The old Ulmia workbench is not much better off than the lathe. There’s a shaving horse stuck behind the bedstead-in-progress. The oak desk box will go out of here soon. The baskets too. this junk-gathering place at least changes a lot, unlike the lathe.
that’s it mostly. A stove just after the Ulmia bench. A 12′ x 16′ building doesn’t require a lengthy tour…there is the loft, but I’m not going up there right now. It’s a rabbit hole…
UPS usually comes anywhere from 1600 to 1730 and the door bell battery is dead. I can't hear anything from upstairs when I am in the shop. I got my exercise tonight trotting my fat ass up and down the stairs every ten minutes or so checking to see if the man in brown had come. It made for a choppy night's work in the shop. Maybe I should just have the packages delivered to my wife's workplace? Just thought of that.
|has a secondary bevel|
|sharpened the block plane iron|
|my main stones|
|I start here first to raise a burr|
|this stone is second for raising a burr|
|the last stop for raising a burr|
|I strop everything I sharpen last|
|poly coat #2 going on|
|cheaper to get it with all the blades now|
|upgrade for the depth stop|
|the new and improved depth stop clamp is already installed|
|made a stopped grove out of the box|
|I want to replace this|
|the learning curve is going to be very short|
|still making a tapered groove|
Anyways it is almost 1700 and time to shut the lights out. I will have to add a box to the A+ list for this plane to be made. I'll have to reshuffle the batting line up some to fit it in.
What is opprobrium?
answer - harsh criticism or censure (came across this word reading the news today)
As promised we will look into the process of jointing, gluing, and inserting dovetail keys into the top of the table in part eleven of our journey.
The rest of this particular chronicle can be found here.
The Kershout boards in the picture below were prepared up to this point towards the end of last year and has since been kicking it with my 1969 MGB in a separate garage.
The first task is to arrange the boards as best as you can with regards to colour matching and balancing out defects. This is where you whip out your artistic licence. This is after all a tribute to the legendary George Nakashima.
I took the opportunity to see what the trapezoid leg would add to the overall look. The top looks very light in colour (in this picture), but I can assure you that it will be transformed to a very dark reddish brown once the finish is applied. The Kershout dovetail keys contrasts exquisitely with the lighter Witpeer boards that makes up the trapezoid leg. I also like the darker lines created by the defects on the leg. It was strategically place to balance out from an aesthetic point of view. We will see later in this post how the reverse of the mentioned timber combination has a similar effect with regards to the top.
As you can see here my bench really came into it’s own working on the edges of these boards during the jointing process. I first prepared the edges so that they were close to the desired configuration, which is a very slight bow in the length.
Then the boards are clamped together with the two edges that will mate (so to speak) flush with each other and folded much like book-matched pieces before opening the “book”. This nifty trick leads to a cancelling out of the minute error that might arise in squareness of these edges with regards to each other. This technique is sometimes referred to as match planing.
Didi gave me a few pointers.
The Kershout is so ridiculously hard that I had to resort to using an alternating attack with my Lie-Nielsen low angle Jack plane armed with a toothed blade and a Shaw’s Patent Sargent no. 14C armed with an aggressively cambered blade.
Once the artillery softened up the enemy, I moved on to this shop made jointer plane to finish off the job.
I find my Festool Domino to be a very useful tool to keep the edges flush during glue-up.
It has become my custom to do only one of these edge joints at any one time given the short window to get the job done in our dry climate. Each joint is then left in the clamps for at least 16 hours. In other words, I tend to leave the glue-up for my final task each day. It is usually done at around 17h00 and left over night until around 09h00 the next morning.
Ready for the final glue-up.
I had to buy a set of 1.3m long 1″ pipes for my pipe clamps in order to do this final glue-up. Of course, as you would expect, my 1.2 meter wide assembly table was too narrow to accommodated the clamps for this glue-up. The situation therefore necessitated some problem solving on my behalf.
As you can see here a piece of wood (for each of the bottom clamps) was cantilevered off the edge of the table held in place by a clamp through a dog hole. Oh! … and yes, in case you wondered, it is my daughter’s “Biscuit finds a friend”. My English is not advanced enough to indulge in such haute literate.
As I have mentioned before, a mere mortal tends to sweat like a Gypsy with a mortgage during our sweltering rainy season. Didi is the master of African Climate Control (aka toplessness).
… and Bob’s your Uncle.
I modified the strip of wood that links my trammel points to draw a curve to soften the appearance of both ends of the top.Marking the location of the dominos like this helps to remember where they are when further shaping is done.
The waste was removed with an electric jigsaw. It is a crappy old Black & Decker that I bought many moons ago while still living in New Zealand. I do not use it very often to start with and do not recall ever calling upon it to munch through Kershout. As most things you do for the first time there were a few lesson to be learnt. These things (for lack of a better insult) cut on the pull stroke, which translates into a messy splitting out of fibres at the top edge. Therefore (in hind sight) it is desirable to have the bottom of the top facing the jigsaw when doing this job. Secondly, I realised that I used a blade that was too aggressive, which did not help either.
On the flip side, this indiscretion coerced me into a design tweak that might (or might not) add an interesting twist. You will have to wait and see just like me.
Another reason I chose this shape for the ends of the top, is to enhance the appearance of it being sliced from a massive tree trunk. The idea is that this shape resembles the end of a trunk that was chopped off by axe. If you imagine a board cut from a trunk like the one in the first photo below, it would probably resemble the top of my table as seen in the picture below. That is in my mind anyway, you might feel different.
Then it became time to fashion a few dovetail keys to stabilise the obvious cracks in the top.
I worked out how many is needed of each size.
Here I tried to work out where to place the keys with regards to my sense of (randomly planned) artistic balance. The picture below was not the final version that was decided on, but somewhere towards getting there.
For the design of the keys I chose an angle of 9º, which repeats all through the design of the table. This is an idea you might want to consider. You draw only one key, chopped off at different lengths, and write on the template the number of keys needed of each length. It is then cut out, traced onto the wood as many times as the key tells you and then you chop off the ends and repeat on the next sized key. This way they all have the same shape, but of different lengths in an attempt to add visual interest.
The keys were liberated from the above Witpeer board by means of a bandsaw.
Another useful trick is illustrated below. Clamping a piece of scrap wood across the top to hold the dovetail key firmly in place while it’s exact configuration gets marked out on the top.
Drilling out the waste by hand in such hard wood is no joke. “Trust you me”, as they say around these parts.
Enter: Lie-Nielsen merchandise in tandem with my trusty shop made Assegaai mallet. I chose the mallet as I needed a bit more heft than what the so-called Je ne sais quoi Persuader can deliver. When working “stone”, the extra heft is a must.
The lazy winter sun give us a better idea of the warm colours of the Kershout as it infiltrates my shop during the late afternoon.
It seems as if this post is riddled with tips, so here is another one. In order to see the scribe line better, one can have a small torch lying on the top to cast a shadow into the line. On my bench this is usually accomplished by positioning the bench light in a similar fashion, but clearly this top is too big to take to the bench.
Once the key enter it’s mortise like this I stop refining the fit. The key is then clobbered home after a frugal application of Epoxy, which acts as lubricant as well as an adhesive. The clobbering is done with a heavy mallet furnished with a thick sealskin face (not pictured).
As you can see here (minus the heavy mallet).
One week later the keys were planed flush using the two planes pictured.
As you can see the Witpeer keys contrasts nicely with the Kershout, much in the same way as the opposite combination works splendidly in the trapeziod leg.
We will get into preparation of the top for finishing in our next riveting edition of this series.
Today it’s easy to make glazed doors and mirror frames by using a router to rabbet a mortise-and-tenon frame after assembly: Cut your joints, glue the frame together, rout the inside edges on the back using a special rabbeting bit, then chop the corners square with a chisel and mallet. Before the invention of the electric router, frames for glazed doors (which include doors with mirrors) were built from rabbeted stock, […]
I do not like doing yard work. We pay to have the lawn mowed and just about any other yard related chore. My wife plants flowers and bushes and I will prune and take care of the lilac bushes. Other than this you couldn't get me do any yard work even if you put a gun to my head. Today I broke that golden rule and trimmed the brushes in the driveway.
|before the haircut|
|90 minutes later|
|this is easy stuff to do|
|Miller Falls on the left and Stanley replacement on the right|
|Miller Falls on the left and a bit from the Yankee|
|Miller Falls in the middle|
|it fits and it is secure in the chuck|
|drilled a hole in the side ok|
|ok drilling in the face|
|end grain not a problem neither|
|it fit in the holder portion of the Miller Falls drill|
|how I lost the first bit|
|cleaned #2 handle and knob|
|met the first goal|
|4th batter sharpened today|
|my new big 8K polishing stone|
|my old 8K polishing stone|
|side by side|
|flattened after each use|
|block plane iron|
|had to use the 80 grit runway|
|couldn't squeeze it in|
Who was Alexander Bain?
answer - a scottish clockmaker who invented the 'fax' machine in 1843
If you missed the June meeting, you missed a lot: a drive into the mountains and seeing more walnut slabs than you’ll see in a lifetime. Guild member Steve Noyes has the vision to look at a tree and know what forms it can take. After our visit to Steve’s place, we left with an understanding of what is involved in obtaining trees, processing them, converting them into usable lumber and, finally, turning that lumber into beautiful furniture.
Steve sees the potential of a log like this
Steve “harvests” trees before they meet the fate of the chipper, often scouting them out in and around the valley. When he spots one he knows will not be long in this life, he waits – sometime years – for that moment when a new home owner or a contractor decides it needs to go. During our meeting, we learned about Steve’s process in a reverse order: first, seeing his shop, then learning how he designs and makes furniture, and finally the process of harvesting and processing the wood.
The Wow Factor
The first thing evident to anyone walking into Steve’s 2,206 sq. ft. shop is that he loves wood, especially walnut. Seeing the lumber and slabs he’s processed is stunning to those accustomed to lumberyard fare.
And there’s more …
and more …
Tools of the trade
From logs to luxury
Whether it’s making desks, counter tops, or chairs, Steve considers all aspects of a piece of wood – the curve of an edge, the nuance of the grain, the color – and seeks to blend those characteristics into an eye-pleasing piece of handmade furniture. While at his shop, we studied the first two of the following forms:
While everybody else was talking slabs, Chris Church and Jeff Dilks were scrutinizing the Maloof joints in the rocker.
Using an unfinished rocker, Steve explained how he created and shaped the joint.
Graceful touches on a finished rocker:
The headrest made out of a beautifully grained piece of walnut root:
And we tried one out:
Steve’s tractor-seat bar stool
And a new version he is working on:
Acquisition and milling
Before darkness settled in, we went outside, and Steve showed us his two mills – the Lucas Mill and the Brand X. We talked about how he acquires trees and the process and expenses involved in taking a tree from its place of origin to a completed piece of furniture.
All in all, a great meeting. Thank you, Steve, for hosting us.
Our last two days of Ripplemania 1 were spent in trying to fine tune the older machine into a real working tool, and tinkering with the design for the new one into a working device.
While John and Travis and I were fiddling with the new machine, Sharon was trying out the new cutter on the old machine. She was able to raise a huge pile of shavings, but the wear between the pattern rail and the follower bar (the rod protruding from the cutter head in order to allow the latter to rise up and down, cutting the ripple pattern in the work piece) was getting too bad to bring about a satisfactory result.
Meanwhile we were trying to perfect the carriage and cutter head for the new machine. In the end we got to within an eyelash of getting a ripple molding to completion, but we definitely had “proof of concept.”
John and Travis fabricated a carriage that was compatible with ripple patterns (up and down), wave patterns (sideways motion), and even a simultaneous ripple/wave action.
In order to test the carriage and cutterhead, we had to have a pattern to work with, so I dove into that undertaking. I was rethinking the need for a metal pattern rail in favor of a wooden one, so I began by assembling a long rail sandwich consisting of southern yellow pine on its length as the outer laminae to serve as the backing for the pattern and bearing surface, with end grain black cherry as the contact surface.
With the pattern rail sandwich assembled it was time to cut the ripple chatter pattern into the rail. Using half round rasps, floats, and carving gouges we were able to create several feet of pattern on the blank sandwich.
I ripped the sandwich on the table saw, resulting in a matched pair to install on either side of the box to induce the pattern on the workpiece via the undulating cutter head. (I will certainly give it a try to have a CNC machine create any new pattern rails).
With the pattern installed, we gave it a try. It sure looked like it was working, but still we had some hurdles to jump in order to make it a reliable high-function machine. Cranking it by hand was interminably slow even though the movement at the point of cutting was fine. We decided to motorize the device to take it to the next level so we attached a motor to a stool and hung a belt around the motor shaft and the pulley we made for the drive screw on the machine. The motion was certainly accelerated without any obvious loss of performance, although there was the issue of an unprotected motor and belt drive.
Travis demanded a protective cowl for the drive unit, so he installed one. We found this to be much safer.
Like I said earlier, in the end we came within an eyelash (or a half day) of getting the new machine to operate with efficacy. Given my continued and growing interest in the capacity to produce ripple moldings for clients I will certainly expend more energy to make it happen.
Over two months ago, I lost my everyday knife. I looked everywhere and came up empty. I decided it either broke off the strap, and fell, or got dropped into a bag of shavings & went the way of all things. I have lots of slojd knives – so I could keep carving spoons without any discomfort. But usually I like wearing one for everyday use. I finally gave up looking, and ordered some new blades. I tried to be positive about it, thinking maybe someone found what would become a really good knife for them.before it was lost
I had the blade since about 1992, it was on its 2nd handle. (I split the first one using the knife like a little froe). When I replaced the handle, I made the sheath. That was about 12 years ago. A friend at the museum made the leather work. Once the new blades arrived, I made a new knife and sheath. It was OK, but not the same. This one, I tried my hand at the leather, but for one thing my model was gone! Here I am boring out the blank for the handle, to fit the knife’s tang.
Paring the new handle.
here is the end result, works fine. But doesn’t feel right one way or another. The leather I used was too thick for one thing, so it didn’t conform quite as well as I wished. Handle is the only piece of boxwood I had. Why did I try that?
Here’s the knife out of the sheath. It works, I was carving spoons yesterday with it. Clicks into the sheath like it’s supposed to do. I was thinking I’d do it over at some point, but things are getting busy around here right about now.
Today I was sorting & cleaning inside & out. In the shop, it came time to climb up & hang this year’s Greenwood Fest poster. I’m not a huge poster fan, but Greenwood Fest is a pretty special affair for me, so up it went. Right above last year’s version. While I was there, I grabbed that basket for the tools & materials in it. I made some basket rims & handles from the hickory I wrote about last time, and this week I’ll install them. Needed the clips and other bits in there.
And don’t you know – in the basket was my old knife. Made a good day a great one.
It’s always the last place you look, my father used to say.
|there was a bench underneath all the crappola|
|trying out my 8000 grit Japanese stone|
|chisel is ready but this isn't|
|appears to be square|
|it was the small rabbets|
|chiseling away at 45°|
|I trimmed this miter with the template|
|now it is where it should be|
|a little better fitting|
|now that is a gap|
|right side is gappy|
|chewed up a little|
|new miter template stock|
|rift sawn at this end|
|got my 45 laid out|
|I've got a good feeling about this|
|the opposite face that was down|
|pretty good on the top too|
|the other face|
|the first step|
|one teeny hump in the middle to remove|
|problem with the new miter template|
|it's rolling outboard|
|sawing the 45 first|
|two strokes and I was through|
|squared the sides to the face|
|no rolling and no gaps|
|one small and one big|
|my stash of good brushes|
|roll back brushes from Wally World|
What is duende?
answer - the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm
I do have some good news. Amazon shot an email to me saying I'll be getting my camera on July 3rd. They haven't taken the money yet so I'm not sure that they haven't gotten them yet neither. I am having it delivered to my wife's work place. There is always someone there to sign for it. And if they won't sign for it, they can call my wife to come do it. This way I don't have to worry about someone stealing it if it is left on the stoop.
|prepping some practice stock|
|two long pieces of practice stock|
|slight rabbet on the side|
|the iron needs work|
|what are the odds?|
|the 3 practice pieces|
|quick outing on the shooting board|
|back up practice stock for just in case|
|marking the miters on the side frame|
|marking gauge line|
|miter laid out on the face|
|the vise action is still working|
|the top one is easy to do|
|one easy and one not so easy|
|second marking gauge line|
|most of the waste is sawn off|
|I need to spend some calories on the sharpening stones|
|I should have waited|
|this miter is dead nuts 45°|
|why this miter is toast|
|this is must|
|got the flat done good|
|flush at the top|
|I won these|
How are seedless oranges propagated?
answer - by grafting because the original seedless orange was a mutant
It’s time for another book giveaway! This week I’m giving away a book on making wooden toys: “Making Classic Wooden Toys: 21 Step-by-Step Projects.” Who hasn’t at some point been inspired by a kindly yet mischievous woodworker who gave them a mysterious wooden puzzle and challenged them to figure it out? These days I have my suspicions whether some of the “puzzles” my own grandfather handed me actually could be solved […]
This article first appeared in the December 2013 issue of The Highland Woodturner.
There was an accident involving a ceramic coffee container, which was a gift from my in-laws. More specifically, I accidentally dropped and shattered the lid of the container. After pondering this tragic accident, I realized I could turn a replacement lid.
First off I would buy another of these in a heart beat even though I only have one days worth of experience with them. I've got other replacement Stanley irons, one from Hock and another from tools from Japan. The Hock is an excellent iron. Good steel, takes and holds a good edge, but it is thicker than the original Stanley as is the one from Japan. The Japanese one I haven't tried yet but I expect it to rival the Hock iron.
Let me get this out before I go any further. I am not a plane iron expert nor an expert in metallurgy. This is just my opinion on a subject, right, wrong, or indifferent. For well over one hundred years Stanley made plane irons thin. I have yet to read anything saying that thin irons are prone to chattering. It is my belief that thin irons are/were more difficult to make from what I have read on the process of making them. The thinness while hardening them could cause them to warp. Stanley must have found a way to control it because they made boatload after boatload of these irons. Thicker irons don't have the warping tendencies that thinner iron do.
And this is my big opinion on why thicker irons came into use. It was because they were easier to manufacture. Now that they were saving money in the manufacturing costs they had to justify why they were selling thicker irons. This is where the marketing gurus came up with the thicker irons don't chatter BS.
I will always go with thin because of my opinion on thick vs thin,. The couple of times I recall (a bazillion moons ago when I was belly button high to a 7 foot cigar store indian) getting chatter was because I had the iron set too deep. It wasn't because it was thin. It was operator error.
|Ray Iles spare iron for the 5 1/2|
|it isn't square|
|see the out of square|
|the Ray Iles on the left and the Stanley on the right|
The Ray Iles iron is 0.099 inches thick - 2.49mm thick
The Stanley iron is 0.0735 inches thick - 1.89mm thick
The difference between them is 0.0255 inches - 0.6 mm. I did all the measurements just behind the bevel on both irons.
|I have to road test it now|
|starting to get shavings|
|a little too thick|
|from thick to wispy|
|thin stock in the vise|
|I prefer the fractional calipers|
|checking to see if it is laminated|
|same thing on both sides|
|front side of the iron is the same as the back|
|might as well see how flat the back is|
|these feel better today|
Who is David Adkins?
answer - it is the birth name of the comedian Sinbad
A workbench designed for hand tool woodworkers but made (partially) with a CNC. Each bench features a unique 3D carved leg vise. Here’s a video introduction into how they were made. The BARN workbench was designed for the Bainbridge Island Artisan Resource Network. BARN is a Seattle area community group that built a wonderful community facility for artisans to share resources, education, and workspace. To give them a hand, I […]
Traditional chairmaking starts with a shaving horse and a drawknife. Used with both green and dried wood, woodworkers have relied on these two tools for centuries. Simple to use, there are just a few things to be aware of before getting to work. In this short video, Windsor chairmaker Elia Bizzarri gives a valuable overview of what features are important when choosing a shaving horse and talks about proper grip, […]
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, American Association of Woodturners (AAW) board member David Heim shares the benefits of membership to AAW, discusses an upcoming AAW event, which is held in Kansas City on June 23 – 25 in 2017, and explains what his responsibilities are as a member of the board.
Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).
I had posted a query on the Saw Mill Creek site about plow planes. I have the Record 405 (Stanley 45 equivalent) and it has 26 irons. I have only used 3 grooving irons so far. I like it and I don't like it. I am a single purpose use tool type guy and don't mind that. The 405 does a lot of things and is a multipurpose tool. It can be finicky and pain to set sometimes but it does work once those frustrations are dealt with.
I wanted to get some feed back on guys that have used a 405 or 45 and also used the Lee Valley small plane or other plow planes. And as an added bonus, also had used a wooden plow plane. I am letting the 405 go to greener pastures shortly. After reading through the comments, it became clear to me that small LV plow was a favorite. Didn't get any comments on wooden plow planes.
I had seen and fondled the Lie-Nielsen plow plane at the Second Hand Tool gathering in Amana a few years ago. It was a damn good looking plane. Lots of mass with a great presence in the hands. I haven't heard anything more about it since then. I'll probably be dead before it hits the street so I pulled the trigger on the Lee Valley small plow plane. I looked at the Lee Valley big plow plane coming soon but I like the simpler, uncluttered look of the smaller plow plane.
Ken Hatch left a comment saying I wouldn't regret the LV plane. He uses it and he also has experience with a Stanley 45 and 46. I respect his opinion and I pretty much had my mind made up after reading it. I would like to have the LN version but I'm not waiting. I should have the LV maybe by monday. After I get it I will offer my 405 for sale first on the blog and then elsewhere.
|the shelves are clammy feeling too|
|cleared customs ok|
|iron for a 5 1/2 and a Preston spokeshave|
|it's about 2 1/4" wide|
|almost as thin as the Stanley|
|ground at 25°|
|don't like this|
|old Preston iron on the left and new replacement Ray Iles iron on the right|
|the slot sides and top cutout line up (new on top of the old)|
The slot on the Ray Iles is bit longer and the concave slot at the top lines up perfectly with the old iron underneath.
|it's too wide for the Preston chamfering spokeshave|
|new spokeshave iron on the left and Preston chamfer iron on the right|
|the two slot long sides line up|
|replacement chamfer iron?|
|just a few spots on the front to touch up|
|small detail brush|
For Mike Hamilton: I'm an idiot because I removed your comment when I thought I was publishing it. My apologies for that mind fart. If I remember you asked if I was going to bake the frog? This is oil based black enamel paint and I won't be baking it. On the flip side of the coin, can you bake this to make it more durable? Now I have a bug in my ear to silence.
Who was Gary Knox Bennett?
answer - he invented the roach clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFaot87a7CM)
Woodworkers often find themselves doubling as the resident fixer-upper. As the go-to person who has the tools you’ll often be asked to “fix this” or “build that” for the house. I recently did some window repair on my own house, and I must say that all of the things I’ve been learning about the craft helped me do a better job than I might have a few years ago. Regardless of what you […]