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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...

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General Woodworking

It’s finish time!

She Works Wood - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 7:27pm
I finished up all the details on the cabinet and started finishing.  Yipppeee!  After lots of edge softening, sanding and other detail work, I started with a base coat of shellac.
Categories: General Woodworking

Weekend in Franklin, TN

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:32pm

This weekend my wife and I traveled down to  Franklin, Tennessee to check out a pop up show called The City Farmhouse Market. If you’re not familiar with a pop up show, it’s basically an antique show where nearly all the vendors specialize in shabby chic decor. While a show like this may be a very boring show for most men, women tend to love it.

We were checking out the show to see if it would be something Anita would be interested doing next year. She was offered to set up a booth this year, but we wanted to scope the show out first to see if it would be worth the effort.

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There were plenty of vendors, about 150 in total, but nearly all the booths were the same. Plus the prices for the items were very high. Nothing to buy if you were a picker trying to resell something.

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Here is a close up of a particular booth. As you can see, the style is shabby chic to farm-house style. If you subscribe to Country Living magazine, you’ll know all about this style. If you subscribe to Wood magazine, then you probably have no idea what this crap is all about.

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During the day, I was able to spot a few old workbenches for sale. I have no idea what people do with these things. The only thing I can think of, is that they could be used as a display table in a small business that’s going after an industrial look. Whether or not people actually sell these things I have no clue. I have seen plenty of them for sale, but I’ve never seen anyone load one up in their truck if you know what I mean.

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These workbenches don’t come cheap either. They were $795 and $1,295 and neither one of them came with a BenchCrafted tail vise.

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The next day after the show, we decided to head into Nashville on our way home and check out American Picker’s Antique Archeology store. If you watch the History Channel then you’ve probably seen their show. Mike and Frank pick through random people’s property buying items so that they could resell them. I’ve followed the show since the first season and firmly believe that the current seasons are more scripted than actual reality, but that’s another topic for another day.

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The store is rather small and filled with more American Picker t-shirts and coffee  mugs than antiques they’ve picked for sale. Plus, if it was an item they’ve picked, you’ll pay a pretty penny for it. The place actually reminded me of a gift shop at a Hard Rock Cafe. It’s a very popular stop as the line to get into the store was fifty people long. Luckily we got there 20 minutes before the store opened and were the first customers at the door.

After viewing the items in the store, I bought my $27 t-shirt because I knew I’d never be back. After that, Anita and I headed out of town stopping at antique stores on our way back home.

Got to get you into my life

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 5:19pm

Last week a coworker asked if he could borrow one of my handplanes to add a back-bevel to a new door he had installed. I figured that my #7 would be the best tool for the job, so I inspected it to make sure the iron was sharp before I lent it out. I noticed that the plane had a bit of a neglected look to it. It was a little dusty, there was some grime on it along with a few spotty patches, and I also noticed that I hadn’t ever cleaned up the handle of the plane like I had planned on doing. The truth was that I hadn’t used it in a while, and it was about time to reintroduce myself to old #7.

My friend returned the plane letting me know that it had worked perfectly, and I gladly took it back, like finding an old friend again. I decided that I would give the plane a good cleaning and work on the handle a little over the weekend, so that’s what I did. On Friday night after work I took the plane apart, removing the tote and handle, the frog, and every screw and washer. I soaked the frog and all of the hardware in WD40. There was quite a bit of grime on the plane, a combination of oil, dirt, and wood dust. So on Saturday morning I filled a bucket with soap and water and gave the plane body a good bath, scrubbing every inch of it with the brush I normally use to clean my car’s tires. Once I was satisfied with the outcome I wiped the plane dry, used some q-tips to clean out any of the threads, and then wiped the entire body with oil.

I used sand blocks on the iron, cap, and chip breaker, removing any build-up and polishing them up. When finished I oiled those parts as well. I let the hardware soak for one more night, and early this morning I cleaned the parts with an old tooth brush, as well as filed away any burs that I could feel. With those parts clean I turned to the plane handle.

Handle before the cleaning/sanding

Handle before the cleaning/sanding

The handle didn’t necessarily look all that bad, but I had always planned on getting it back into shape. Firstly, I wiped the handle with lacquer thinner, and found it much dirtier than I had thought it was. Then I hand sanded it with 100/150/220/320 grit paper. I added one heavy coat of boiled linseed oil, wiped off the excess after a few minutes, and then let it dry for about six hours. After it was dry I added a coat of paste wax, letting it set, then buffing it off.

Putting some muscle into the cleaning

Putting some muscle into the cleaning

Looking cleaner, and better.

Looking cleaner, and better.

Closer view of the handle and adjuster

Closer view of the handle and adjuster

Overall view of the #7. It looks cleaner and more inviting.

Overall view of the #7. It looks cleaner and more inviting.

I have to say that I’m very satisfied with the outcome, and I’m glad I took the time to do the clean-up. The only disappointing part is the front knob. When I first purchased the plane the knob was in rough shape, so I removed it and sanded it down, and wiped it with three coats of polyurethane. While it didn’t look awful, it did darken the knob. Next weekend if I get a chance I will see if I can get the same results as I did with the handle.

In other news, Lee Valley was running a limited time offer for a small set of carving chisels, so I bit, spent the $60, and ordered them in. I don’t do much carving, almost none really, but the set seemed to be a good value, and considering that I had only one carving chisel, it would be pretty difficult to become any better at it without the correct tools. The set was advertised as “sharp”, but the really are “not dull”. I don’t own slipstones, so I will have to make do and learn to sharpen them on the fly with what I have. The handles are overly lacquered, and if somebody lit a match near them I wouldn’t be surprised if they went Gaylord Fokker and burst into flames. But, they seem to be very well made, and the steel appears to be of good quality. Furthermore, the chisels arrived just three days after I placed the order. I wouldn’t have cared if they had taken two weeks to come in, but, that quick ship time does show me that Lee Valley has top-notch customer service. I’ve spend many years dealing with tool vendors as part of my job, and Lee Valley has been among the very best of the lot time and time again.

Lee Valley carving chisel set

Lee Valley carving chisel set

I also picked up some maple and bubinga which I hope to turn into a block plane or two, one for myself and one for a Christmas gift. At that, believe that I have decided on my next project, though I won’t get into any details for fear of jinxing it. I’ll just say that it’s a small, but nice piece of furniture.

Future block planes

Future block planes

Categories: General Woodworking

Sunday ToolFoolery- My Festool Domino Work Triangle

Combray Furniture Studio - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 5:18pm

I've never been one to engage in the bloodsport that is the handtool-vs-powertool debate.  We each come to the craft from a different perspective, with varying objectives, and with specific limitations on our time and budget.  I have as much respect for the woodworking Samurai who shapes each mortise with a chisel,  as the one who creates the flowing lines of a rocking chair with a keen eye and a bandsaw.

So it was only a matter of time before I embraced the Festool Domino (btw, I get nothing from Festool; I pay their cosmically stated rate on every purchase.)

And while I have no intention of of adding to the long list of breathless reviews for the tool, I have found that it works quite well in my shop where hand and power tools work side by side.  I call it my Domino Work Triangle and I think that it is a good system for repetitive tasks such as attaching aprons on small tables, inserting slats in arts and crafts pieces, and constructing rails and stiles in frame and panel construction.  You may already take a similar approach for slip-tenon joinery.

1.  A Mitre Saw on the Bench
One of the happiest days of my woodworking life was when I exiled the chopsaw from the studio and sent it to the garage.  Rough stock is cut to length with an old Disston, surfaced, and then cut to final length on my renovated Stanley mitre box.  It rides in the tool tray, has an adjustable stop, and generates a tiny amount of dust.  When stock is marked with a knife you can get very accurate, square cuts.

2. A Mitre Plane in a Shoot Board
A truly perfect joint requires that each edge be square and true.  As the Domino creates the perfect internal bits of a mortise-and-tenon joint, you are left to focus on creating a perfect fit between the shoulder and its mating piece.  Never has a tool that feels like such an indulgence proved to be so necessary.  It is astounding.  Because it weighs in at something like eight pounds, it glides through 2"x3" white oak end grain with ease.  The shoot board attaches to the other end of my handtool bench and doesn't interfere with the mitre box.  A few swipes takes me to the knife line.

3. A Domino on a Festool Work Table
In for a penny, in for a pound.  With a couple of commissions looming and several ideas for spec pieces in my head, I just didn't feel like building anything else for the shop.  I laid out the money for the mft system and I have no regrets.  This third leg of the triangle sits to the right of my bench and is light, strong, and provides another dead flat worktop for the Domino.  I know Fine Woodworking just did an article about jigs for the Domino, but I just clamp the work to the top and let it rip.  Instead of referencing off the top plate, I often use the bottom of the tool riding on the worktop.  On small pieces this provides more stability.

It goes without saying that this combination of kit comes at a price.  It does save me a great deal of time and allows me to spend most of my mental energy on design and details -- and design and details are reasons why someone commissions a piece of custom furniture.  But even if you are just building for yourself, there is something elegant about working with tools that do their jobs well and make your time in the shop successful and rewarding.
Categories: General Woodworking

It Was a Bad Day in the Shop–So I Made a Spoon

The Literary Workshop Blog - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 3:12pm

Yesterday was one of those days in the shop.

I had a few hours I could devote to woodwork, so I decided I would work on another pipe.  As I began shaping it, I went to re-adjust the handscrew that was clamping the workpiece, and the whole thing (wood, pipe stem, and handscrew) fell to the ground, shattering the stem.

Not having time to assemble another stem, I decided to look in on that bit of dogwood I had salvaged a few weeks ago.  I figured it would still be wet enough to carve into some woodenware.  When I picked it up, however, I found it full of bug holes!  So I treated it with some borax and set it aside for something “rustic.”

Pecan Spoon 10-12 So I did what I always do when things go wrong in the shop.  I took out some straight-grained wood and made a spoon.

It’s something I can do quickly and confidently, though not without thinking about it.  My tools and materials rarely let me down.  This one is pecan–not easy to shape, but very strong and durable in use.  This one is a narrow stirring spoon.

It’s all probably just as well.  A recent spate of weddings has depleted my stock of wooden spoons, and need to build up my stock again.

What about you?  What do you do when disaster strikes in the shop?  Do you plow ahead, switch to something else, or just walk away?

Yale University Art Gallery Furniture Study

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 12:20pm

I’m going to write up my Connecticut trips backwards. The 2nd stop was to a Friday afternoon demo at the Yale University Art Gallery’s Furniture Study. What a spot. Readers and students often want to know where they can see period pieces in person. The Furniture Study is just such a place.



These are the works that are not on display in the museum, but are there specifically for study. Tons of them. Over 1,000 items maybe. 

aisle 3

Yale’s Furniture Study


down the aisle

Yale’s Furniture Study

You want to see some Guilford, Connecticut carved oak chests? Why not see 3 of them together – then you get to see what’s common, what’s idiosyncratic…

guilford chests

one of 3 Guilford CT chests

guilford w scratch stock molding

carved panel detail, Guilford chest


This one they had pulled out so we could look at it in detail; I have only generally studied Connecticut furniture, so it’s fun to look again at these. They are large, heavy stock – the stiles are over 2″ thick, by close to 4″ wide. Note the side top rail, how it has no relationship to the front one. Most often  the top rails are equal in height, but they don’t have to be. The linen is not going to leak out of the chest. 

guilford out front

Guillford chest

I always refer to these chests as prime examples of the use of a scratch-stock to produce the abbreviated moldings above the panels here. A plane would not be able to get the full profile then blend out and in so quickly. This molding was scraped – we just don’t know what the tool looked like, nor what it was called. I’ve been working lately on carving these designs, they are so simple, but very effective too. Maybe 20 minutes of carving? Notice the nail holes in the panels – not from a now-missing applied molding – the beveled framing means there was no molding applied; so I think it’s to fix the piece to the bench for carving. Didn’t see those when I was there, just picked them out in the photos. 


carving & molding detail


The till lid detail is nice; I usually put the pintle/hinge pin way out on spine of the till lid. Here the joiner shifted it about an inch or more in from the edge. Makes boring the holes for it easier; might make the whole thing simpler. I had done some like this years ago, then forgot it. So next time I make a till for a chest….


till lid

till lid

till lid pintle

till lid pintle

It goes on & on. I had wanted to concentrate my carving portion of my demo on these patterns – they are quite simple, but I like the result a lot. Some go for this understated approach to 17th-century carvings; unlike the “every-blessed-surface-carved” approach of my usual inspiration.  

Let’s not forget these drawer fronts – always picked on because they show what can happen!

cupboard base detail

drawer fronts, CT cupboard

If you are in the area some time, contact the folks there through the website – once you start looking around, you’ll have a hard time leaving. My thanks to the staff there for such a nice visit. 

Round Cut Tops (Almost) Always Split

Wunder Woods - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 10:29pm

All wood splits, some more than others, but it all splits. It even splits when paid professionals try to make it not split. This is good news for those of you wanting to snuggle by a warm fire, but not such good news for connoisseurs of  split-free wood. And, it is especially bad news for anyone wanting to make a round table top out of a slice of tree.

It seems easy enough to just slice a cookie, or coin, or round, or whatever you want to call it, off the end of a log and use it as a table top, but it rarely works out. The problem (especially when swimming) is shrinkage, and in the wood realm it’s uneven and unproportional shrinkage.

I talk to customers a lot about this uncomfortable subject, and even though it isn’t pleasant, someone has to do it. As woodworkers, it is critical to understand how wood shrinks (read an earlier post about shrinkage by clicking here), and as customers it is important to understand the limitations of wood.

Drying quartersawn lumber is easy, relatively speaking, and almost always produces wood that doesn’t split. Drying flatsawn lumber without splits is more difficult, but if the ends are sealed and the lumber is dried at a slow, consistent pace, it can be done reliably. Drying round cuts from the end of a log, however, is a totally different story, and almost always results in split wood, and not just a small split, but usually large, unsightly, unrepairable and often devastating splits. So much so, that I tell customers I will cut rounds for them only if they take the milled pieces directly from my sawmill as soon as they are cut. That way I can prove that I had nothing to do with them falling apart – they do that all on their own.

It all goes back to the way wood shrinks and the way it does so unevenly. As wood dries, it shrinks twice as much with the rings as it does from the center. When viewing a log at the end (not a round cut off the end of a log but an actual log), this produces cracks that resemble spokes in a wheel. Sometimes there are larger cracks mixed in with the smaller ones, but they are always in multiples. The end wood wants to split, but since it is attached to a log which is holding it in place, the end cracks with many smaller splits to even out the pressure.

When still attached to the log there will be many smaller splits.

When still attached to the log there will be many smaller splits.

If that piece is cut from the end of a log all bets are off. There is no log holding things together, so the end result is usually one large split that relieves all of the pressure at once. With wood that is known to split easily, like oak, the round cuts will not only have large splits, but will often just break in two or more pieces.

Here are some examples of dried wood cookies. All of these were cut from the end of the log when the wood was wet and then air dried slowly in the shop. They are all about 18″ in diameter and 2″ thick.







What's this! No crack? Every now and then they don't crack. This walnut is half the diameter of the others.

What’s this! No crack? Every now and then they don’t crack. This walnut is half the diameter of the others.

So, now you know that the cool round table that you were planning to build is probably going to split if you do nothing about it, but can you do something about it? Well, maybe, kinda, sorta.

One way I know to work, from personal experience and from other local sawyers, is to cut the rounds at an angle. This will reduce or completely eliminate the cracks because the stress is going more up and down than in a circle, but it will turn your round table top into an ellipse. And, while a piece that stays together is probably better than a piece that falls apart, an ellipse is not always acceptable. I personally expect to see a round piece of wood when you tell me it was cut from the end of a round log, and find the ellipse shape a bit unnatural.

This slice (from roxyheartvintage.com) was cut on an angle so it wouldn't crack. The angle cut is evident on the outside edge and by the fact that the "round" is not round. Logs that start out round, will end up as an ellipse angled slice.

This slice (from roxyheartvintage.com) was cut on an angle so it wouldn’t crack. The angle cut is evident on the outside edge and by the fact that the “round” is not round. Logs that start out round, will end up as an ellipse angled slice.

Another alternative is to remove the pith (center of the log). Removing the pith can stop the devastating splits, but it obviously puts a hole in the piece of wood, and it is still a gamble because it is hard to tell from tree to tree how much pith needs to be removed to stop the splits from happening. A larger hole is better, but at some point the missing wood in the center will demand creativity, and perhaps more wood or glass to make a complete top.

The last and most widely used solution is to use a wood stabilizer like Pentacryl or PEG (polyethylene glycol). Originally developed to stabilize wood from archeological sites, Pentacryl works well to stabilize all kinds of wood from punky wood to crotches and will help with wood cookies. It works by replacing the water in the wood and keeping the cells at their original size, even when dry. Know that while Pentacryl will reduce and often eliminate cracks, wood cookies are by far the most difficult to dry and may still crack.

Pentacryl is a good option to keep wood cookies from cracking.

Pentacryl is a good option to keep wood cookies from cracking.

Pentacryl is not perfect. It works well, but it is expensive at $60 per gallon and adds a yellow tint to the finished piece. And, wood cookies which could normally be dried relatively quickly need to be dried extremely slowly. So slow, in fact, that thicker pieces could still take over a year to safely dry.

PEG is applied like Pentacryl, but has drawbacks that make it less than perfect too. Like Pentacryl, it is also expensive and the resulting wood surface may not accept the finish of your choice. It also takes extra time to apply and may require additional equipment to make it work correctly.

The bottom line is that you can make a table out of a round end cut from a log, but you’ve got to be prepared for failure and/or be prepared to throw plenty of time and money at the problem. I still steer away from cutting wood cookies and do my best to direct customers away from them as well. And, if I do end up cutting wood cookies for a customer, I literally cut and run.


Categories: General Woodworking

False fronts on and second lid cut

She Works Wood - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 6:06pm
More progress today.  I forgot to photograph the cutting out of the lid. I used a hand saw to make the cross cuts and my track saw to do the long rip.  Tomorrow I start finishing!
Categories: General Woodworking

Sniffle Island

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 12:10pm

I’d planned to go to the office/shop today (Saturday) to work on the personal project that’s been a millstone ’round my neck for months – a kitchen island/microwave stand. But I’ve got a bad case of the chest and sinus crud; the very thought of sawdust makes me cough (even more than I already am). And that’s OK (well, the staying home part – I’d rather not be ill), because […]

The post Sniffle Island appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Chevalet Progress

McGlynn On Making - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 11:08am

I’ve been grabbing little snatches of time this week, making progress on the Marquetry Chevalet.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much to show for it.  Lots of dimensioning 8/4 rough sawn stock and laminating it to make thicker beams.

Generally, my parts are thinner than what is shown in the plans.  By the time I get the 8/4 stock flat and glued up it’s not thick enough.  I don’t think it’s a big deal really, certainly not worth the waste to add another layer of 8/4.  I hope.  We’ll see…

Great big blocks of Sapele, oozing Titebond III

Great big blocks of Sapele, oozing Titebond III

I have all the parts for the beam to support the saw glued up, and the parts for the saw frame itself rough dimensioned and “acclimating”.  I need the horizontal beam for the saw support done to finish the work on the front upright.  And I need my 14 year old to get out of bed so he can support the end of the upright while I cut the S-curve on the bandsaw.  And to do his homework, wish me luck…


Categories: General Woodworking

The Anti-Roy

The Furniture Record - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 10:24pm

I have been anxious about all the conflict and flux in the woodworking universe. To help calm myself, I went out seeking woodworking comfort food.

Klingspor is a global abrasives manufacturing company with an American division. This division has three retail woodworking stores in North Carolina. They are having their 14th annual Woodworking Extravaganza a third of the state away in Hickory, NC. It has all the usual extravaganza stuff, various manufacturers, demonstrations, competitions and lots of sandpaper. They sell roll ends, surplus, discontinued products. Boxes and boxes of the stuff. I am still working through my box of sheet sandpaper bought three or four years ago.

This year there was the added attraction of the (in)famous Scott Phillips. For those not familiar with Mr. Phillips, he has been the host of Public Television’s The American Woodshop for 17 years. This is a little unusual in that Mr. Phillips has been associated with Woodcraft. In North Carolina and on-line, Klingspor is a competitor of Woodcraft’s. Who knows how relationships in corporate America work.


Watching Scott work, I realized that there are some differences between Scott and the legendary Roy Underhill. The obvious one is that Roy eschews the use of power tools while Scott embraces them. Sometimes while they are running. Roy has studied and is a practitioner of traditional methods and techniques. Scott is not bound by tradition and is willing to stretch and experiment with ideas on the use and application of tools. Scott is a pioneer and I do not think we will see his like again.

There are similarities between the two. Both are entertainers and know how to work a room. Both are passionate about their woodworking. Neither is afraid of hard work. During a demonstration, Scott realized the Kreg Foreman was not plugged in. He didn’t raise a fuss and demand that someone fix it. He humbly crawled under the table and plugged it in. I also have never Roy ask anyone to plug-in any of his tools.

While I was there, Mr. Phillips was showcasing the year’s best new woodworking product. As luck would have it, the manufacturers of the best new products all had booths there. It just goes to show that Klingspor only invited the best manufacturers to their show.

Scott Phillips demonstrating the best new products.

Scott Phillips demonstrating the best new products.

A few years back, I had the chance to talk to Mr. Phillips at a Cincinnati Woodcraft the day before Woodworking in America opened. I think he really does understand his place in the woodworking firmament. He views himself as the guy that demonstrates that anyone can woodwork. He tries to keep things simple and fun. Many of us watch his show and roll our eyes. I don’t think those who do are his target audience. His show is always entertaining although perhaps not for the intended reasons.

It’s a living…

Fitting Fake Drawer Fronts for the 2nd Top

She Works Wood - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 7:19pm
One of the last thing is to make false for the 2nd top section on the TV Lift Cabinet.  It’s pretty straight forward but fun to do.
Categories: General Woodworking

The October issue of The Highland Woodturner now available!

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 7:00am

octoberhwtThis month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner is full of different project ideas including several for the upcoming holidays!

Curtis Turner’s column features an “extremely easy project” on Creating a Stropping Wheel, which is helpful in touching up knives and turning tools. Curtis lets you know the materials you need and gives an overview of the creation process.

Rick Morris has a very helpful step-by-step guide in creating a turned snowman ornament, which then links to two different blog entries on creating a bell-shaped ornament as well as a Christmas tree light ornament.

As an additional feature, Rick has included a two-part video accompaniment to his written article on turning the snowman ornament. So whether you prefer a written step-by-step guide, or watching a video, we’ve got you covered on creating some easy and fun Christmas ornaments for this holiday season!

As a change-up to our normal Show Us Your Woodturning column, Ben Hall has created a video showing off the creation of his turned magic wands. Ben goes through the step-by-step process of this quick turning project and even has his adorable daughter demonstrating how to properly use the magic wand at the end of the video.

Phil Colson has a great time-saving tip on using the Oneway Wolverine Grinding System, which is also one of our featured woodturning products this month, along with the Delta 2MT Live Center.

All of this and more in our October issue of The Highland Woodturner. And don’t forget, we are always accepting reader submissions for both The Highland Woodturner and Wood News Online. CLICK HERE for more information on how to submit and how you can receive store credit at Highland Woodworking for your submission!

The post The October issue of The Highland Woodturner now available! appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Carved Red Oak Box

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 9:44pm

I finished this earlier this month. It was a quick build because the client was hot to trot to get their hands on it. Originally I conceived this box as one half of a pair. Both boxes born from the same board. But the client came to me desperate for something fast and I'd already started this one at a demo. So I finished it up in a couple days and it's gone now. All I have left are the photos.

The box is red oak with black walnut trim. About 20 x 12 in dimension. I'm beginning to feel really good about these when they're done, I've started to dial in the details to where I want them. There are still things I want to explore in this form so I'm not done with it by a long shot.

As originally envisioned, I was going to build two carved boxes from the same board. The carvings were to complement each other or whatever I was going to do with those. But the insides, at least the inside of the lid, were supposed to be my first foray into parquetry.

 But one hot to trot person with money in their hands and I cave to my ideals. Oh well, I have some friends who are having a benefit for their son who has recently been diagnosed with Hodgekin's Lymphoma. I think I'll finish up that box and donate it to the benefit.

The number one question I get when people see my boxes in person is "Wow, how long did that take you." I've gotten wise enough so the first words out of my mouth are, "Well, it's not the first time I've done this." which softens the blow when I tell them the time.

Truth is I can knock out a box like this in a weekend. I cut parts and dovetails on a Friday night and spill some Danish Oil on it Sunday night. Carving and glue ups happen in between. The puzzling thing to me is the reaction I get when I admit something like this.

That I can be both efficient and proficient in getting something like this done seems to result in diminishing it's value. Non woodworkers want me to tell them I slaved over the carving for six months. Woodworkers want me to tell them it took me four hours to cut the dovetails by hand (an hour per corner without a router is the average guess)

It's a paradox I simply cannot wrap my head around sometimes.

But that rant is probably for another day.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Second top – TV Lift Cabinet

She Works Wood - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 9:10pm
I’ve finally gotten my computer situation worked out which means .. hopefully .. more blog posts.  I’ve been working away on the TV Lift Cabinet and making progress.  The end is in sight and I’m very excited to finish this project up.
Categories: General Woodworking

In Search of the Perfect Wax Finish

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:53pm

My four-decade-long desire to identify, understand, replicate and develop new analogs to historic furniture-making materials has led me on some interesting quests and situations. Included in these would be learning a lot about tropical insects whose “sweat” is the foundation for the most amazing finish ever (shellac); studies of sausage casings, artificial skin and corneas as I tried to (successfully) create a convincing alternative to tortoiseshell for my own Boulle-work […]

The post In Search of the Perfect Wax Finish appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

If Bad-Luck Brian were a woodworker

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:04pm

By now, just about everybody with a computer and internet access has seen or heard of the “Bad Luck Brian” meme. Bad luck Brian is a hapless lad with a bad yearbook photo that can seem to catch a break. I have to think that poor Brian may have once or twice thought about giving woodworking a shot, so here is my take on that very idea. Some of them are obvious, some a bit more subtle.






Categories: General Woodworking

Quick, Easy, and Great-looking Turned Christmas Ornaments – Part 3 -The Christmas Tree Light Bulb

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 7:15am

In the most recent issue of The Highland Woodturner, I gave the step-by-step instruction of turning a wooden snowman ornament. In Part 2 you can find out how to turn a wooden bell ornament here on the Highland Woodworking blog. Finally, here in Part 3 I will turn a wooden Christmas tree light as seen below.


Making the light bulb ornament follows the same steps as the two earlier ornaments: mount the blank, use the template to lay out the parts, mark off those lines with a parting tool, and start shaping the bulb. See Figures 1 through 4 below.

Figure 1  -  Use the bulb template to mark the sections of the ornament

Figure 1 – Use the bulb template to mark the sections of the ornament

Figure 2  -  Use a parting tool to make shallow cuts at each marked line

Figure 2 – Use a parting tool to make shallow cuts at each marked line

Figure 3 - Use a spindle gouge to shape the bulb...

Figure 3 – Use a spindle gouge to shape the bulb…

Figure 4 -  Taper the bulb just like the tree lights from the 1960's

Figure 4 – Taper the bulb just like the tree lights from the 1960′s

I’ve found the skew is quite useful in the small curve at the top of the bulb (Figure 5). Once the bulb is shaped to your satisfaction, use a parting tool to waste away material on the socket area.

Figure 5 - Use a skew at the top of the bulb area (a gouge will also work, of course)

Figure 5 – Use a skew at the top of the bulb area (a gouge will also work, of course)

Figure 6 - Start cutting down the socket area of the ornament

Figure 6 – Start cutting down the socket area of the ornament

Figure 7 -  Take the socket down to around 3/8 inch diameter

Figure 7 – Take the socket down to around 3/8 inch diameter

If you have a fluted parting tool (Figure 8), it is excellent for cutting small beads that simulate the threads of the bulb’s screw connector. If you don’t have one, a skew can be used to cut sharp threads with a V-cut, or a small gouge can be used.


Figure 8 – A fluted parting tool


Figure 9 – Use the fluted parting tool to cut the socket

Figure 10 - After shaping the bulb and socket

Figure 10 – After shaping the bulb and socket

Apply finish and wax

Figure 11 – Apply finish and wax

Finally part off the ornament (Figure 12). I’ve drilled the hanger holes on the drill press for the bulb ornaments, as discussed above, so with a drop of glue, the hanger can be screwed in place. (Figure 13)

Figure 12  - Part off the light bulb ornament

Figure 12 – Part off the light bulb ornament

Figure 13 - Put a drop of CA glue on the hanger hole, then insert the hanger

Figure 13 – Put a drop of CA glue on the hanger hole, then insert the hanger

The Christmas tree light bulb ornament is finished!

Figure 14 - The completed bulb ornament

Figure 14 – The completed bulb ornament

CLICK HERE to return to the October 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner.


The post Quick, Easy, and Great-looking Turned Christmas Ornaments – Part 3 -The Christmas Tree Light Bulb appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Quick, Easy, and Great-looking Turned Christmas Ornaments – Part 2 – The Bell

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 7:00am

In the first part of this article, I showed how to make a Christmas tree ornament shaped like a snowman (see Figure 1). In this part, I’ll show you how to turn a bell ornament (Figure 2).


Figure 1 – The Snowman Ornament


Figure 2 – The Bell Ornament

Ornament Sizes

Figure 3 below shows the size of the blanks for the bell ornament, and details the location of each major division of the piece.

Figure 4 - Ornament Sizing

Figure 3 – Ornament Sizing

If you, like me, are making lots of these ornaments for Christmas gifts, I suggest making a sizing template for each ornament (Figure 4). This makes it much faster to lay out each new blank when you’re ready to turn it.

Figure 5 - Templates for the 3 Types of Ornaments

Figure 4 – Template for the Bell Ornament

Preparing the Blanks

Part 1 of this article has more detailed instructions on preparing the blanks for the ornaments, so I won’t repeat them here.

For the bell ornaments, cut lengths of 1 ½ square spindles to 3 ½ inches; for the bulb ornaments, cut lengths of 1 inch square spindles to 3 inches. Mark the ends for center, mount them between centers, and rough them down to round. On one end, cut a ½ inch long tenon to fit whatever chuck you’re using.

You may wish to drill a hole for the hanger right now (Figure 5); it’s easier to do it now, rather than waiting until the ornament has been turned and doesn’t have a flat surface to sit on. Remember that for the bell and bulb ornaments, the top of the ornament is on the chuck end, so the hole needs to be at least an inch deep (to account for the tenon which is parted off).

Figure 6 - Drill a hole for the hanger on the top of the ornament, either before turning (shown) or after

Figure 5 – Drill a hole for the hanger on the top of the ornament, either before turning (shown) or after

Making the bell ornament

To make the bell ornament, take one of the bell blanks and mount it in the chuck. Then use the bell template to mark off the parts of the bell (Figure 6). Use a parting tool to cut in a half inch or so at the first line (in the waste area) to mark the end of the turning (Figure 7)


Figure 6 – Use the bell template to mark off the sections of the bell ornament

Figure 8  - Use a parting tool to delineate the top of the ornament

Figure 7 – Use a parting tool to delineate the top of the ornament

The bell ornament is laid out so that the bottom of the ornament is toward the tailstock. After making shallow cuts at the marked lines, I start by working on the bottom, cutting a shallow curve across, going in about 2/3 of the diameter, and then, right in the center, turning a small “bump” (Figures 8 and 9), which is the clapper of the bell, just visible below the bell’s body.

Figure 9  - Using a spindle gouge, start a shallow curve on the bottom (rightmost) part of the bell

Figure 8 – Using a spindle gouge, start a shallow curve on the bottom (rightmost) part of the bell

Figure 10  - Cut in about 2/3 of the diameter, to leave a rounded "bump" on the bottom

Figure 9 – Cut in about 2/3 of the diameter, to leave a rounded “bump” on the bottom

With the clapper shaped, move left to the body of the bell. Using the spindle gouge, begin cutting a slope from the bottom edge to the marked line to the left, which is the top edge of the body. For a decoration, leave a raised flat area at both the bottom and top edges of the body.

Figure 11- Start turning the body of the bell

Figure 10- Start turning the body of the bell

Figure 12  - Slope the body from the bottom (right) to the top (left)

Figure 11 – Slope the body from the bottom (right) to the top (left)

After shaping the body as desired, move left again to the crown of the bell (between the waste cutoff and the body). Turn a large bead in this area.

Figure 13 - Begin shaping the crown of the bell

Figure 12 – Begin shaping the crown of the bell

Figure 14 - This is turned as a rather fat bead

Figure 13 – This is turned as a rather fat bead

Using a narrow parting tool or the toe of a skew, cut a couple of very shallow lines at the top and bottom of the body, and use a burning wire (a length of steel wire with a small handle on each end – homemade of course, although you can buy them) to burn in two dark black lines for decoration (Figure 14). You might want to increase the speed of the lathe up to 1500 or 1900 if you’re having trouble getting a burn. Be aware, you’ll get smoke, as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15 - Burn a line at the top of the body

Figure 14 – Burn a line at the top of the body

Figure 16  - And burn a line at the bottom of the body

Figure 15 – And burn a line at the bottom of the body

Unless you want to do more decoration, the bell ornament is ready for finishing. As with the snowman ornament, put on a coat of friction polish with the lathe off, polish it with the application cloth, put on some wax with the lathe on, and polish it with the wax applicator cloth (or paper towel).

Figure 17 - Apply a friction polish…

Figure 16 – Apply a friction polish…

Figure 18 - …and a coat of wax

Figure 17 – …and a coat of wax

Part the bell ornament off (Figure 18), and in the same manner as the snowman ornament, attach a hanger on the top.

Figure 19  - Part off the bell ornament

Figure 18 – Part off the bell ornament

Figure 20 - Be sure to catch the piece as you part it off

Figure 19 – Be sure to catch the piece as you part it off

(If you haven’t already drilled the hanger hole, you’ll have to do that first, of course.) If you’re mass-producing, however, set the ornament aside, turn all the other bells, then drill all of them for the hanger.

The bell ornament is finished!

Figure 21  - The completed bell ornament

Figure 20 – The completed bell ornament

CLICK HERE for Part 3 - The Christmas Tree Light Bulb (seen below)


The Christmas Tree Light Bulb

The post Quick, Easy, and Great-looking Turned Christmas Ornaments – Part 2 – The Bell appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Bench Design; What's In A Name?

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 9:11pm
With the help I received getting the bench top done, I had to make some decisions on what I wanted from the bench and I had to decide now. The longer the benchtop sits and waits the better chance it will warp, or fall on the floor, or be confiscated by the underwear gnomes. (It's a side business for them)

Noah building the Arc at his workbench. From the Maciejoski Bible circa 1250AD.

What I need the bench to do is easy. Workbench Whisperer Chris Schwarz has a list of ten rules for workbenches that lays out everything you need to know. Really, it's everything. trust me, if it's not on the list then forget it.

Want to cover the ankles of your workbench with lace so the sight of it's slender ankles doesn't unduly excite the men-folk? Your answer is on that list. . . trust me.

My issue is in all the names. There are so many names, and fads, and trends when it comes to workbenches. Sometimes it's like hearing the well off doctors at work talk about their cars.

"What kind of workbench do you use?'

"Oh, I'm into a standard Roubo now, but I may upgrade to a split top next year."

"Have you seen the specs on the Nicholson? I understand it's back in vogue again."

"Did you see Jim was still planing on a Holtzapffel. . . that's so ten years ago."

As I reflect on it, I find it a little over the top. I don't remember my grandfather's workbench having a name, It was his workbench, it did what he needed it to do or he modified it. It wasn't a near and dear thing. It was a workbench, a tool, a place to work. Sentimentality need not apply.

But there is sentimentality for an old bench. I have enjoyed the hours I've spent working at the one I'm using now, but I can do better and I've grown as a woodworker, so much since I built the first bench. I need better. As I make the decision moving forward on my new workbench, I try and take the lessons I learned from my last bench and step forward.

The only name I've truly considered is Dominy.

On display at Winterthur Museum is the preserved remains of the historic Dominy Brother's workshop. Included is a 12 foot long workbench. It's that correlation in length that has made me think about it.

In the end, I'm not that interested in a twin screw vise for my workholding. I have a moxon vise that does that better (hmmm another name). I like a leg vise myself but I like the sliding deadman a lot especially considering the 12 foot span. The trouble is every picture I can find of the Dominy bench is obscured by the rest of the museum and that damn tall clock case.

Then I saw this bench, called "The Workhorse," from Richard Maguire, a man who makes traditional workbenches for a living, and it seems like the right configurations. Mine will be a little different yet. I want a traditional saw toothed plane stop. and I'm not so sure about a tail vise. I don't have or use one now.

In the end I say, forget the name, figure out what you like and name it yourself.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut