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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...

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.

General Woodworking

Spoons and more for sale, Oct 2014

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 7:28pm

makes me thing of RB merg

This view always makes me think of a red-breasted merganser; or Woody Woodpecker. I got some stuff photographed and posted finally. I struggle with the photos constantly; they are never to my liking. But after shooting this stuff three times in some cases, I figured it’s not going to get different enough to matter. I hope. There’ll be another batch sometime between now & Thanksgiving, maybe two if I get organized. Here’s the page, http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/ or the banner at the top of the blog’s front page. Leave a comment if you’d like to order something. Only one shipping charge per order for those who order more than one item. No need to get nuts about it…

Paypal is easiest, but I can take a check too if you’d rather, just let me know. 
Thanks as always for the support. I truly appreciate it. 

bowl & spoons

Studley Exhibit, Cedar Rapids Logistics Day 2

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 2:52pm


Today was a seamless continuation of the successes of yesterday, as Jameel Abraham and I first went to the Scottish Rite Temple in Cedar rapids, Iowa, which will be the venue for the exhibit The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley.  We spent about an hour in the exhibit hall, brainstorming about the actual layout and design of the event.


Can’t you just see it now?

Following that we went immediately to a theatrical lighting supplier to order the necessary fixtures to make sure the exhibit is visually compelling.  It will be.


I spent the afternoon heading an hour north to purchase some Select white oak to complete the purchase of materials for the Studley workbench replica I will build to use as a prop in the exhibit.


Now that is a bench top!

I can now leave Cedar Rapids knowing everything is moving forward.

The LED Magnetic Work Light: Always in the Right Place

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 7:00am

Have you ever been in your shop standing over a work piece, your eyes scrunched up and your body craned over trying to awkwardly not block light while also working on a piece? You will understand my struggles recently as I was attempting to cut some dovetails in my basement workshop. I have decent lighting in the shop but I have discovered that no matter how much light you have around it never seems to be in the right place. Enter the LED Magnetic work light that Highland has available.

First let me explain, my shop is a small room in my basement that I converted from an office space. The shop has a tendency to spill over into my garage and the rest of the basement, especially since my small shop space is dominated by my Powermatic standing Lathe (The 3520B for those keeping track at home.) What this means for my lighting issues is that, in my woodturning shop space, I have pretty solid light while in my semi-shared garage space the lighting is less than desirable.

I purchased the magnetic LED work light recently on a trip to Highland and have been experimenting with it around my shop as I work in the evenings. Having a day job really cuts into the amount of time I can devote to working in the shop and I find myself wanting to work on projects rather than hang a new light fixture or re-arrange my bench placement. The LED work light steps in and solves most of my lighting issues with the flick of a single switch.


The light itself has a magnetic base that, through the magic of science, can be turned on and off via a toggle switch on the base. This allows you to engage the magnet only when needed and keeps you from having to struggle to remove the lamp once you are done with it. Let me tell you, the magnet is strong. I have some wood storage over my bench and the magnet was able to support the lamp hanging upside down from the rack, pretty nifty.


The light also possesses a swiveling adjustable snake arm, professionals call it a gooseneck, that allows the light to be positioned in all sorts of contorted poses so that you get the light exactly where you need it. This means no more back aches from trying to contort myself around the bench and not block my overhead garage lights. It also means that when I am turning on the lathe I can swing the lamp around and get some light inside my bowls or deep vessels which allows for a better turning experience.

I’m still experimenting with the light, but it has proven to be a wonderful addition to my workshop. The LEDs are bright, the illumination strong and the ability to get the light where I need it priceless. The lamp stays cool so I can bring it in close to pieces without risking damage and everything is housed nice and tight so the ever-present and pesky dust won’t seep in. The model I picked up is currently priced at $59.99 and is worth every penny I paid for it. You can find the light here http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/flex-arm-magnetic-led-work-light.aspx so get them while they last.

Matthew York has been a woodturner since 2004 and has been interested in woodworking since he was a teenager. He currently lives in downtown Atlanta and has a small shop in his basement. He is an avid woodworker and is always available to talk about the craft. He can be contacted at fracturedturnings@gmail.com or visit his website at fracturedturnings.com. You can also follow him on twitter at @raen425

The post The LED Magnetic Work Light: Always in the Right Place appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

a palimpsest

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 5:19am

Reading Nick Hornby’s book Ten Years in the Tub made me throw out a bunch of spoons I had carved. There are no wooden spoons in the book as far as I know. It’s a compilation of ten years’ worth of his column “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” that runs in the magazine Believer. A few times in the book, Hornby points out that many readers pick up some books, start them, find out they hate them, but feel they have to finish…which leads to a lengthy drawn-out period reading a book you can’t stand. He urges people to ditch those books that are dragging your down, and go read something else.


One of yesterday’s chores was to photograph stuff for here and for Maureen’s etsy site. Among the stuff I shot was a bunch of spoons I’ve had in the works for a while. Turns out I hated 1/3 of them. So I threw them into the compost. A couple of the keepers, I turned into  a palimpsest of sorts; I recarved bits of them. This one had a large, boring-shaped bowl. Having nothing to lose, I picked up a knife, and had at it.

pailmpsest to be

So today, it’s a spoon day.. thanks to Nick Hornby. I’ll show you what happened to that large birch spoon later…


Mr. Langmaid’s Tool Chest

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 10:09pm

Antiques stores are often a draw for me and I’m sure for many fellow woodworkers. You can be sure to find inspiration and education in equal measure. While browsing through one of the local venues I found a smart-looking tool chest. Chatting with the owner I discovered the chest was brought in by a person late in years and was reputed to belong to their Grandfather, who was a lifelong […]

The post Mr. Langmaid’s Tool Chest appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

A little help from my friends.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 6:10pm

As a family, we spend a lot of time at Valley Forge National Park. The park is within driving distance from where I live, and many weekends we spend walking, or bike riding, or taking in the history of the area.

It is a beautiful setting, in particular during this time of year, and you could easily spend many weekends just taking photographs. We use the park to take photos sometime, but mostly it is a just a peaceful place to spend time walking and talking (as well as checking out the remarkable period furniture at George Washington’s Headquarters, among many other buildings). I often preach about civic virtue, though not necessarily on this blog. I firmly believe that civic virtue begins at home in the maintaining of your house, property, and neighborhood. Though it’s easy to talk about civic virtue, it means little if you do nothing but talk. For some time I’ve felt the need to “give back” to the park, so I would usually bring a small garbage bag with me during our walks to pick up any debris or trash I happen to find. Luckily, the vast majority of those who spend time in the park not only respect its natural beauty, they also respect it as a place that is sacred in American History.

Still, while doing my part to keep the park clean is certainly rewarding, I found myself wanting to do more, so we joined The Friends of Valley Forge Park organization, which is dedicated to maintaining, preserving, and promoting the park as a place of beauty, recreation, and historical significance. Through the group I was introduced to the Hut Brigade, a small group of volunteers who work with the park rangers in maintaining and restoring the many cabins throughout the park. That sounded like something I should be a part of, so I made contact with the group and they happily welcomed me as a new volunteer. This past Saturday was my first meeting and I’m happy to report that it was a great success.

Perfect fall day

Perfect fall day

The blacksmith cabin site.

The blacksmith cabin site.

It was a beautiful autumn morning to work, cool with crystal clear and sunny skies. I met with the other volunteers at the site of the Blacksmith Cabin, which has been undergoing intensive restoration since the beginning of the summer. Many rotted logs were replaced, as well as new doorway and window frames cut in and framed out. Under the direction of a Park Ranger, my job was to remove the bracing which was in place to hold the cabin up while rotted logs were in place. Once that was finished I mixed up the mortar and used it to daub the gaps between the logs along with the other volunteers. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I’m a pretty handy guy to have on a job site. My electrical knowledge was next to useless here, but I’m pretty good with a saw, chisel, mallet, drill, and mortar (I am part Italian). The work was not easy, and though I’m not young anymore, I can still work hard, and like the volunteers of the Continental Army I felt that it was my duty to do so. And I think George Washington would be proud of what the Hut Brigade does.

Working on the cabin

Working on the cabin

Yours truly daubing the gaps.

Yours truly daubing the gaps.

More views of the park

More views of the park

The cabin walls

The cabin walls


When I returned home I felt the need to woodwork a little. When I first decided to build an Enfield Cupboard, I decided to make a panel raising jig for my table saw, so I picked up a piece of plywood at Woodcraft for that purpose. When my woodworking got put on hold over the summer, so too did my jig. That all ended on Saturday, as I quickly had the jig built and ready to go. I’m not a big fan of building jigs, but they have their time and place. This jig should do just fine as a panel raiser for small to medium size panels, as well as useful for making tenons (if I choose to use a table saw).

Quick and easy panel raising jig

Quick and easy panel raising jig

The last thing I did on Saturday involved a walnut board I almost tossed in the garbage several times. I measured it and found that there was enough there to build a small rack for my screwdrivers. In the spirit of the day, I prepped the board by hand, sawing it to width, and planing the edge straight with jack and jointer planes. The board needed a lot of work, and it made a mess of shavings. When I finally got the edge straight and square I used the table saw to rip it to final width. At that I called it a day.

Warped Walnut

Warped Walnut

At the next meeting of the Hut Brigade there will be more daubing, as well as building some doors, which should give me the chance to do a little woodworking. Whatever happens, I will be proud to be a part of it. And if you would like to donate to a very worthy cause, please visit the Friends of Valley Forge web page and give the organization consideration for your generosity; it would be most appreciated.

*Sorry for the lack of woodworking photos, my staff photographer was out with her mom.

Categories: General Woodworking

Vertical Adjuster Done!

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 1:12pm

Making the first adjuster yesterday seemed to take forever, like four hours forever.  Making the vertical adjuster today took half the time.  I can’t decide if it’s because I already had my chisels laying on the bench, or I had headphones on listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins.  Either way, I should have time after lunch to make a bit more progress.

Layout done

Layout done

Add drilling, threading the pivot hole, chopping the mortises, sawing and a bit of tune up with a rasp and sandpaper, and voila!.  I';; go back and round-over the edges once everything is built and test fit.

Add drilling, threading the pivot hole, chopping the mortises, sawing and a bit of tune up with a rasp and sandpaper, and voila!. I’ll go back and round-over the edges once everything is built and test fit.

Categories: General Woodworking

Open-sided Mortises

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 12:42pm

Though I’m still coughing and sniffling a little, I just couldn’t bear to sit home while there’s work to be done in the shop. And I want my kitchen done. So, I came in to work on the base of my kitchen island. I won’t be writing about it for the magazine (the dimensions and purpose are too particular to my narrow needs), so I’ll share bits of it here. […]

The post Open-sided Mortises appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Building a Lutyens Garden Bench -- Assembly and Completion

Combray Furniture Studio - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 11:25am

This bench has sat around the shop, half-completed, for more than a year now.  I guess there is something to be said about deadlines driving results and how you can lose inspiration in the middle of a long job.  I also think the fact that it is a project built from purchased plans takes away some of the joy.  I mean, you just read the instructions and you are home free, right?

Not quite.

The art nouveau lines, as elegant as they are, often point to less-than-elegant construction techniques. All those curvy bits have to be joined together and there is no way around some less-than-stable short grain appendages.  That being said, the designer did the best he could with what ends up being a very nice piece.

I departed from Taunton's plans in a couple of ways:

First, once I had the skeleton of the structure built I ignored the plans and worked off story sticks and my own actual measurements.  This is sort of a given on all custom furniture, but it is easy to forget when you get in paint by number mode.  Plus, nearly every set of plans I've worked with have at least one error and this was no exception.  To their credit, I seem to remember Taunton sending out an email correcting the errors in the plan.

Second, I replaced some of the tedious double dowelled tenons on the intricate back with more integrated domino joints.  It feels more secure and it has little effect on the glue-up choreography.  As with all domino/plate joiner work the most important thing to keep in mind is not "Is this perfectly centered?, but "Am I referencing the same faces when I use the tool.  I referenced the bottom (using the bottom plate on the mft table to cut the rails; placing a stop to match the bottom of that rail on the stile.) and the front of the piece using one of the stops on the domino face.  With a little concentration it went quickly.

The glue-up is complicated and you may want a patient assistant to ease the pain.  I used slow-setting epoxy for most of the large joints and dominoes but Titebond III for the dowels.  It was just easier to squirt glue into the round holes than coax the gooey epoxy into such a small space.  What can you say about a fancy glue-up?  As long as your marriage survives, and you arrive at the end with an assembled piece of furniture, it is best forgotten.

I used stainless steel screws, countersunk and topped by oak dowels to secure the seat slats and it will get several coats of Epiphanes Marine Varnish before it goes out in the Spring.  I hope to knock back the gloss finish with some steel wool to get a less plastic looking finish.

Categories: General Woodworking

Natural Playground for Preschoolers

Wunder Woods - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 8:29am

The final touches have been put on the natural playground structure for Immanuel Lutheran preschoolers and they have already been putting it through its paces.

The deck, climbing wall and steps are made from white oak, the posts are eastern red cedar, and all of the twisty branches are osage orange. The three species of wood were chosen for their ability to weather the elements, while the white oak and osage orange have the added benefit of being exceptionally strong.

The climbing wall is made from white oak with cedar chunks.

The climbing wall is made from white oak with cedar chunks.

In the back is a swinging piece of osage orange suspended from a u-shaped branch.

In the back is a swinging piece of osage orange suspended from a u-shaped branch.

The slide has white oak for the structure and an outdoor plastic for the top.

The slide has white oak for the structure and an outdoor plastic for the top.

The two steps are made from large pieces of solid white oak.

The two steps are made from large pieces of solid white oak.

Wind chimes hang from this corner.

Wind chimes hang from this corner.

Thanks to the staff at Immanuel for being great hosts. They always greeted me with a smile and sometimes, even with cookies.

Categories: General Woodworking

Chevy Horizontal Adjuster

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 7:31am

After noodling over the joinery between the horizontal support arm and the vertical riser yesterday I’d realized I needed to make the supports for the saw first and work backwards to that joint so that I ended up with the saw in the right position.

I printed our my measurements and laid out all of the critical bits on my wood for the horizontal adjuster.  And realized I had the orientation inverted.  Opps.  Erase, repeat.  The horizontal adjuster goes at the far end of the saw, the vertical at the near.

I was thinking I would break out the router to make the adjuster slot and recess for the steel plate, but that just seemed like too much trouble.  Setting up stops or making a jig.  Instead I drilled some ruled to remove the waste for the slip and chiseled it out (only half way through, because the slot for the sliding tenon on the other side will complete it).

The picture is fuzzy, but the adjuster slot it clean.  Note that it only needs to be clean down 3/4" because it intersects the mortise for the sliding tenon on the other side.

The picture is fuzzy, but the adjuster slot it clean. Note that it only needs to be clean down 3/4″ because it intersects the mortise for the sliding tenon on the other side.

Then I knifed in the outline for the steel plate, drilled out most of the waste with a Forstner bit, chopped the outline and finished it with my router plane.  This was fun.

Steel adjuster plate recessed.

Steel adjuster plate recessed.

The rest was just drilling/tapping the pivot adjuster hole and sawing out the shape.  I tuned it up a little with a rasp.  It’s not an elegant shape, but it will be functional.  I’ll probably round over the edges and smooth it out a bit more, but first I need to make the vertical adjuster.

Finished horizontal adjuster

Finished horizontal adjuster

Horizontal adjuster

Horizontal adjuster

Categories: General Woodworking

Another Break-away Joint

Woodworker's Edge - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 5:37am

In a couple of articles I’ve written and in my DVD on a Massachusetts High Chest of Drawers, I’ve shown and described a technique used to attach drawer blades to the case using a socket that is made as you break away waste material. While working on a sample project the new 360woodworking.com website, I used that same technique – but this time, I installed corner braces on a Shaker Stool copied from a Hancock community original.Stool_1 (You can get the entire sample project off the 360 website when it goes live later this week – register at the site to get automatic notification when the site does go live.)

The technique begins by positioning the braces and transferring the profile to the top and end of the stool. The process is simple as long as you align the braces in the correct orientation. Then it’s a matter of tracing the edges of the braces using a sharp pencil (or marking knife, if you prefer).

After the layout is extended down the two faces of each part, saw on the waste side of the lines to define the socket. Next, cut the waste area into small sections around an 1/8″ in width, working from end to end of the socket. Stool_3Because one end of the socket is angled and the other straight, it’s better to slightly angle your saw position as you cut – I begin on the square end of the socket, and twist my angle as I work toward the angled end, all the while maintaining the 1/8″-wide sections. Make sure to cut to the base line and not any farther. Staying short of the lines means you’ll have more paring to do to clean-up the bottom, but going beyond the lines could result in making new parts.

To break away the small sections, simply slide a chisel into the saw cut that defines one end of the socket. Stool_4That action alone should snap the sections right at the base line. I slip my chisel into the opposing end of the socket to make sure the sections are all loose. To complete the socket, pare the waste as you would a dovetail socket – be dead flat or a little sloped toward the middle of the board. With the waste removed, the braces fit in position and hold the stool square and strong.

If you’re wondering how the braces were cut to shape at the beginning, that’s a nifty jig shown below. You can get the entire run down of the jig and how to set it up and use it when the 360WoodWorking site goes live. Sign up today.


Build Something Great!

Categories: General Woodworking

Chevy Migraine

McGlynn On Making - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 9:26am

I’ve been stalled the past couple of days on the Chevalet.  The blueprints are missing the level of detail that I tend to put into plans.  It’s all stuff you can figure out, but I like to have a specific plan before I start marking out and cutting.

I have all of the “beams” glued up and trued for the saw support arm, and I was going to start with this joint here.  In the Chevys at school this was, I believe, a “triple tenon” joint, although that’s not called out in the plans.  Since my parts are different sizes as a result of working with the wood I have available, I needed to make some adjustments in the joinery here.

I thought this joint was my next step...

I thought this joint was my next step…

Because my horizontal arm is slightly thinner and wider than the plans, there isn’t enough meat to cut a through mortise and two half mortises on the faces, so I’m going to do a bridal joint.  But that got me thinking about the length of this vertical riser…

The horizontal piece I have is a little different in size than the plans too.  Crud.  Which means that the vertical adjusters on the ends need to be sized differently.  In short, I needed to re-design and build from the opposite end of this assembly.

I sat down at the computer yesterday and drew of the horizontal arm that supports the saw adjusters, and then drew those up too.  I tried to include the critical dimensions from the plans, I need to have the saw itself end up in the same position relative to the vise jaws when I’m done jiggering around with everything.  Once this assembly is done I can make the vertical member to ensure this is at the right height for the upright.  I’m going to make one more check of the measurements before I lay out and cut the two vertical adjusters and the horizontal piece.

My CAD mockup of the saw support arm, based on the wood I have and the hardware kit.

My CAD mockup of the saw support arm, based on the wood I have and the hardware kit.

Categories: General Woodworking

Workbench 2014 Base Day One

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 8:04am
Day one of the bench build started with a deep breath. I knew it would be a whirlwind of a build to get things done so I could get the shop back in order and return to working on the other things I have hanging over my head. Before a big day starts I like to stop for that deep breath and make sure I have my thoughts collected and a plan of attack solid in my mind. Later in the day, when I've fatigued some, and I may or may not be thinking clearly as I'm engrossed in a detail. I will be able to fall back on that mental list and check off the things accomplished and organize the next step.

The benchtop finished out at just under 3 1/2" thick by 22" wide and 12 foot long. Alone I could lift each of the beams to move them around the shop, now joined together . . .it's all I can do to flip it over on a set of saw horses. Moving it around requires applied physics. (levers and mechanical advantage)

Those who've seen the benchtop so far have asked about the holes already in the top, woodworkers have asked why I pre-drilled my dog holes in such a way. These beams came from inside a barn and it was obvious from where they were being used, and the variety of the sizes of beams around them, they had been recycled before, probably from another even older barn.

The barn I got them from was around 80 years old, I wonder how long the previous barn stood and how long it's been since these Fir beams were standing trees.

The holes in the beams must have been related to the joinery of the first barn. You can see evidence of the joinery in the larger leg beam as well. Big mortises 2" by 10" in size with a hole for a peg through the sides. Massive joinery with no apologies.

There is a cool bit of evidence the joiners who cut the mortise were human. You can see below the big mortise three holes were drilled, two of them are still filled with plugs. I was able to liberate one of the plugs before the beam was planed

Before planing you could also make out the remaining pencil layout lines for a mortise. They had drilled for the mortise and before chopping out the waste, rechecked the measurements, realized they'd drilled on the wrong side of their line, plugged the holes and made the new mortise correctly. I'm not sure what makes you check one more time between drilling and chopping, I'd like to assume a apprentice/master type relationship where the master or a journeyman checked the young lads work and found it wanting.  

I hand sawed the legs square at one end and found a problem to solve. I'm a good hand sawyer. I like to do it even, but I am human and that leads to small inconsistencies. These legs are too big to shoot the ends to achieve the same length so I had to find a reliable way to get repeatable consistency.

I've owned and used a tablesaw for nearly 15 years, I've never found a good enough reason to make a crosscut sled jig until now. I hate making jigs, but I decided it was the best way to accomplish the task with such heavy stock. I used the tablesaw's fence (with a spacer block) to set a consistent length of cut.

Some left over 1/2" plywood and an end of 1x6 and 2x6 joined to a couple oak runners and the jig was done. Now I guess I have one, so now I'll have to find a place to store it. Ughhh.

The results were very good. All four legs came out to the same dimension, and I was able to sort them into front and back legs and pick which one would be best for the eventual leg vise.

Getting the legs to length had eaten up nearly the entire day. I had enough time for one more task. Cutting the ends of the bench top square. I used the largest of my Benjamin Seaton Squares to square a line from the front face. I cut one end, measured down twelve feet . . .

. . . and cut the other.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Another pochette

Finely Strung - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 7:16am

A few years ago, I wrote about pochettes after learning about them from my friend Michael Lavelle, who had just made one. It was a copy of the famous Clapisson pochette made by Antonio Stradivari in 1717, with an intriguing variant – it had an owl’s face instead of a scroll. That instrument was bought by a musician from Belgium, which encouraged Mike to make another, as shown below.


pochette 1


Pochette 2


Mike’s second pochette is now looking for a good home. If you are interested, send me an email (info@finelystrung.com) and I’ll put you in touch with him. The price, which includes a bow and a case, is £850.

Has F & W Crossed the Rubicon?

The Furniture Record - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:26pm

I hear voices. Or I did. I’m better now.

I was sitting in my office this afternoon when I suddenly heard unexpected (and unwelcome) females voices coming from my laptop. I usually have many open windows and tabs, and on occasion, more than one browser. The female voices would start to talk for a few seconds, stop and then restart an arbitrary time later. One sounded like somebody named Kirby Johnson telling me about the only cream I will ever need. The other voice was an unnamed female starting to tell me that Britney Spears was starting a line of lingerie.

It took me a while to track down the offending tabs. Turns out it was the Editors’ and Chris Schwarz’s blogs from the Popular Woodworking website doing something called ad rotation, the practice of showing multiple advertisements in a single location on a web page. Seems that every 8 seconds or so, one of the eight ads on a blog page is replaced by another ad. For some reason, the offending ads kept getting in the queue and reloading.

I did a search for ad blocking software and was surprised to find that there were many more articles written about bypassing ad blockers and using the ad blocker to form a strategy for bypassing the ad blocker than there are about ad blockers themselves. Reading the articles leads me to believe that people with a second amendment level fervor believe that they have a right to place ads on our screens. I understand that there is a quid pro quo, you provide me with content and I accept that I must tolerate some ads. They have bills to pay and need to make a reasonable profit. But they also run the risk of alienating their readers and annoying us to the point that we believe that they content isn’t worth the assault.

I don’t blame the editorial staff at Pop Woodworking for this. I do not believe that they are the masters of their fates. They have owners. And the owners have owners. And those owners have investors. All are out to serve the investors. In May, 2014, F & W, the parent of Popular Woodworking, was acquired by the private equity company Tinicum Capital Partners LP. At around the same time F & W Media (formerly F & W Publications) rebranded itself as just F & W. F & W bills itself as a media and e-commerce company.

Doing some more poking around, I found the following in an article from Folio, a multi-channel industry magazine:


For F+W, the change is more representative of the company’s ongoing strategic shift into e-commerce. Not long ago, it was known simply as an enthusiast publisher in the craft, art, writing and outdoors markets, then called F+W Publications.

As the company expanded its commerce product lines—related third-party products, pattern kits, digital downloads, etc. F+W also began to de-emphasize its media designation, instead using its brands as a way to support communities and their product purchasing power.

One thing that reading the Columbia Journalism Review for 40 years has taught me is that media companies like to make money. It’s the American thing to do. Many of them run with margins that would make manufacturers cry. Editorial content is often viewed by top-level management as what is needed to keep the ads from running into each other and to turn readers into customers. The people at the magazine level care about what they produce and do the best they can to balance the needs of the owners with interests of the consumers of their content. It can’t be easy.

This explains why I get two or three e-mails a day from Popular Woodworking or Shop Woodworking. Offering to sell me stuff I already own. They produce more marketing than content. For a while I was getting roughly the same e-mail from American Woodworker. This has tapered off.

I have gone to Woodworking in America for five years. I usually register the day registration opens. Yet I still get three to five e-mails a week singing the praises of WIA and encouraging me to register. I understand the need for marketing; I just wish they would do it more intelligently. It might cost more but it would be far less annoying.

The voices have stopped. For now. It could be the ad blocker plug-in is working. It could be that there was a browser/Java error that caused me to get the ads. Or a server error. I just know I am enjoying the silence.

Epilog: I didn’t think I was going to post this blog. I wrote it as a catharsis, one of those that gets written and left in the drawer. Then Friday I got five e-mails from my dear friends and posting it became necessary. One of the e-mails was an invitation to subscribe. I am one of their premium subscribers and my subscription runs through November, 2015.

They should know that.

a plain chair

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 5:28pm

There’s a bunch of stuff going on around here. I shot photos of the carved box with drawer project for a couple of days; then had to set that down for the back half of this week, so I could build one of these “plain” chairs. I built this one here at home, so there’s no photos of this work. Maple legs, ash rails, oak slats. If I backed up any further to take this photo, I’d be tumbling into a pile of who-knows-what…


rush chair sans rush

Time to trim the legs’ tops; then add a rush seat. I was trying to think how many tools it was – splitting tools; hatchet, drawknife, spokeshave, brace & bit, crosscut saw, mortise chisel – I used an awl and knife also. Maybe that’s it. If pressed, you could drop a couple of those tools…but I guess I should add the shaving horse, and a low bench for boring & assembly. 

This one is based mostly on Dutch paintings of the 17th-century; this style of chair was the first project I ever made when I was at Plimoth Plantation. Indeed, this one’s for them, too. Here’s one that has been in use there for many years:



I came to calling them plain chairs because of a reference in the Turners Company of London, about pricing for chairs, “plain matted” and “turned matted” – so if the difference is the turning, then here’s what an un-turned chair might look like. There’s a few surviving oldies around, but they are hard to date; and most did not survive. I have seen a few die out at Plimoth after 15-25 years. You can patch ‘em back together some, but sooner or later, it’s just easiest to chuck ‘em and make a new one. 

Typically I make them with low seats, best for working in, rather than sitting at a table. Like this photo Gavin Ashworth took when Trent, Alexander & I co-authored an article about such chairs in American Furniture. I think it was 2008. 

110 West 80 St-4R, NY, NY 10024 212 874 3879


Other stuff in the works – finishing up a bunch of baskets I started this summer, (there;’s some in the background of the top photo) finishing some hewn bowls also. Spoons as usual; and I just started cutting out stock for a chair different from anything I’ve done in nearly 30 years.  Next week I’m going to finish assembling the carved box with drawer -just received some quartersawn sycamore (plane tree for you overseas readers) for the lid. Wow. 

This weekend is time to photograph stuff for sale; mine & Maureen’s. She has added some new felted autumn stuff,  if you’re inclined, have a look. More soon both here & there. 




1800’s Archaeology Tour of Adam Kersh’s Cabinet Shop

Wood and Shop - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 1:27pm



In the above video I share an amazing archaeological tour that I recently embarked on into the archives of the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia.


Furniture reproductionist and historian George Lott discovered a priceless pre-Civil War cabinet maker shop in Rockingham County, Virginia. that belonged to Adam W. Kersh (1828-1905). This abandoned cabinet shop is a rare glimpse directly into the history of furniture and instrument making.


See the articles & videos from my previous woodworking tours with George Lott at the amazing Frontier culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia: Traditional Woodworking Tour: George Lott’s Shop at the Frontier Culture Museum (Part 1) Traditional Woodworking Tour: George Lott’s Shop at the Frontier Culture Museum (Part 2) Traditional Woodworking Tour: 1600’s English Furniture & Timber Frame Farmhouse Traditional Woodworking Tour: 1820s Tool Chest at the Frontier Culture Museum

And here’s a link to the Frontier Culture Museum’s Website so you can see how great it is.


Adam Kersh was a Virginian Cabinet Maker, Luthier, & Chairmaker who fought in most major  battles of the Civil War. He was not only a skilled craftsman, but also a veteran of most of the major battles of the civil war. He was also of German descent and a life-long bachelor.

Here is a link to the enlightening letters that Adam Kersh wrote to his family members from the Civil War battlefields.


Below you’ll see many of the photos that were mentioned in the video:


A very large foot-powered treadle lathe




Adam Kersh’s workbench and tools that survived the 1905 estate sale














The table that Adam Kersh used for finishing and painting





A foot-powered grinder shows that Adam Kersh was interested in keeping up with the technological advances of the bigger cabinet shops.





One of the violins made by Adam Kersh. He was apparently a talented violinist and was often engaged to play music for his fellow confederate soldiers during the Civil War.


This form was likely used to shape the body of Kersh’s violin’s:



Perhaps the most impressive tool that survived the 1905 estate sale, a Spiers Scottish Infille Panel Plane. See how much these planes cost now, at this eBay link.



Adam Kersh’s patterns are a rare find and teach us more about the process of fine woodworking. Tools were usually sold off at the death of a craftsman, but patterns were usually seen as worthless and therefore discarded.




This Kersh chair shows the woodworking skill that Kersh had gained over the years. It also shows us the layers of paint that were applied over the years.


George Lott is certainly a multi-talented guy. He makes and plays bagpipes. My heart grew fond of backpipe music while I lived in Scotland years ago, so George was kind enough to entertain me. Thanks George!



A woodworker by any other name…

The Kilted Woodworker - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:10am
If you haven’t yet stumbled across Darbin Orvar, then you need to step right… over… here. If you’re more of a watcher and not a reader, then do note she has a very active YouTube channel. One of her latest videos, which covers 15 uses for bees wax, is not terribly long, but so useful […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Studley Exhibit/Cedar Rapids Logistics Day 1

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 7:50am

As I write this I’m in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for a few days of running around making arrangements for next Spring’s exhibit The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley (tickets available here).  In the company of Cedar Rapids native and vise-maker extraordinaire Jameel Abraham I made excellent progress finding the perfect shops to build the exhibit case bases and plexiglass vitrines.  Jameel took me to a plastics shop he frequents in Cedar Rapids, and the manager said, in essence, “Yes, we can make this case for you, but the guy you really need to be talking to is down in Iowa city.”  Since Jameel had other business in Iowa City, off we went.




The first stop in the Iowa City area was the cabinet shop Jameel had recommended for the base of the display cabinet and the platform for the Studley workbench.  It was the right choice.  Any shop that can do the sort of work they do is fussy enough for me.

Next we visited the plexiglass shop, and yes indeed he was the right guy.  We speced out the job and he has it on his calendar.  Another great thing is that the cabinet shop and the plexi shop guys know each other and have worked together in the past.


Our final stop int eh area was one of Jameel’s lumber dealers, and while he was doing his business I purchased some mahogany for the replica of Studley’s workbench I will be building to include as part of the exhibit.


I will be hanging a number of piano-maker’s vises from the replica, and they will be “touch-able” by the exhibit visitors.

Finding the perfect shop for the plexiglass work was one of my prime concerns, and it feels great to have it resolved.  Even though the cabinet work for the exhibit will be minimal and fairly simple, it was a real treat to visit a woodworking shop that makes exquisite cabinetry and architectural elements.


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by Dr. Radut