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This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer!  Their fundraising goal was met.  Our prayers are with you, Walt!  

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General Woodworking

Take Small Steps to be a Better Woodworker

360 WoodWorking - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 8:47am

IMG_2431Becoming a better woodworker means that you have to challenge yourself with each new project. Push harder to build your skills. It’s useful to take on a new technique, change the way you finish or choose a more difficult project.

The easiest way to become better is in the way you choose material. If you’re a pallet-scrap builder, make your next project from a nice looking hardwood. If you’re already working with great lumber, try improving how you use that lumber.

As an example, as I began building a project for the next issue of 360 WoodWorking – the first behind the pay wall – I found a thicker cutoff of flame birch (some know it as curly birch) that was great for the legs. In the photo below, you see the piece, and how the legs would come out if I were to slice the four needed pieces beginning at the edge.

The first two legs from the right would be rift-sawn, which is a better choice in legs. The next two would have grain running almost across the legs, resulting in a flat-grain look on two opposing faces and a quarter-sawn look on the adjacent faces – not as good a look. I could have easily slide to the extreme left side of the blank to pull a third rift-sawn leg from the piece, but I still would have had one leg that was not the quality of which I was after.


My solution was to twist the third and fourth legs in the stock to produce rift-sawn grain. To do so, I cut a square from scrap plywood that was the correct size of my leg. I then positioned it on the blank to get the grain selection that I was after before drawing in the squares. See below.


Cutting the legs from the blank is a bit more of a challenge, but the results make your work better. In this case, I tilted my table saw blade to 30° to make the cuts, then had to be creative in how I finished up the squaring process of the leg stock after it was cut.

It was more work, but I think it’s worth it to have four legs on a piece of Shaker furniture that all come from the same piece of lumber. The color of the legs match, and the grain all looks similar. You should see the end results coming in February 2015. If you’re not yet a member, click the appropriate button below.

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Monthly Plan

Build Something Great


Woodworking Resolutions for 2015 – Lee Laird

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 6:00am

Welcome to our 2015 Woodworking Resolutions blogger series. Every year we invite our bloggers to share their resolutions specific to their woodworking goals for the new year. Click each link below to read our bloggers resolutions!

Lee Laird

It’s that time of year again (already), and I thought I’d share my resolutions for 2015.

For those who don’t know (and anyone that read last year’s resolutions), I needed a second back surgery in April of 2014 (yep, almost all of the resolutions were a bust), which ended up being a game changer. This second back surgery resolved a number of issues that had persisted since my 2012 surgery, and thankfully most are a fading memory. I’m back (no pun intended) to getting around much more like I did before the back problem originally raised its head. I find it very interesting how quickly one can change their “norms” (e.g. Most people inherently know they can run if something requires it, like an emergency of some sort. This changed for me, when I knew I couldn’t run due to my calf muscles being non-responsive.) and how the body/mind will sort things into “I can do that” or “I can’t do that”. I’m now successfully working to shift as many of my “norms”, as possible, all back to “I can do that”. And for those who might ask, yes, I have actually “run” a bit. I’m sure anyone that might have seen me wondered why I moved so strange, and certainly nowhere near the sprinter speed of my teens and 20’s, but I was moving at a brisk pace compared to the last couple of years. No matter what it looked like, I was stoked to do something that had been completely out of reach. So, based on that long diatribe, my resolutions are as follows:

1. Stay healthy and work out regularly – This used to really be an automatic thought for me, as I loved to exercise and be active all of the time. It was so easy, before my initial back surgery. After the first surgery, it was amazing how hard it was to make myself go through the motions, as every little thing required crazy levels of effort. Now that the second surgery “reconnected” my calf muscles, I vow to keep applying healthy habits and work to regain/retain my strength to better enjoy a long retired life.

2. Upgrade my workbench – Still on the agenda from last year, but I purchased a BenchCrafted tail vise, so this will be part of my bench design. As I mentioned last year, my current workbench is fairly small, even though the base is sound and of decent size. I’ll update the top so it has more landscape to make working on larger projects much easier. Better work holding can directly relate to your safety and quality of work. Imagine what might happen when a workpiece dislodges during a powerful/critical operation.

3. Update my Moxon Vise – I made my current Moxon vise using some small press screws, but just received a birthday gift of the BenchCrafted Moxon Vise kit. The press screws have a fairly fine pitch, which require more time and effort to tighten, so the update will make it both quicker and easier to hold/release any workpiece.

4. Better storage for my hand tools – This is an issue I’ve had on my plate for quite a while, and was on last year’s resolutions list, but didn’t happen. This is totally doable this year!

5. Elevate my instrument building efficiency – My first guitar was the project of all projects, or at least it seemed to me at the time. About three years after the start, I finally completed a nice Les Paul guitar. Earlier this year I started building a Bass guitar of my own design, and I’m just finishing it. While this  4 – 5 month build time is significantly shorter than my first instrument build, I’m sure with focus, I can still improve my efficiency. This may transition into more than just building for my own use, so the efficiency is important.

6. I’ll continue to strive to make my writings (Blog articles, both for Highland and personal) easier to read, and still provide valuable information and entertainment to all.

I hope some or all of my intended resolutions might hit a chord with some of the readership, and we all make next year even better.

Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 20 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. You can email him at lee@lie-nielsen.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/is9582

Click below for more bloggers 2015 Woodworking Resolutions:

The post Woodworking Resolutions for 2015 – Lee Laird appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

One Book - Three Editions

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 1:00am
As someone who collects books on woodworking I am routinely faced with the conflict of Cost vs. Space vs Ease of Use. While many people love their E-Books - and I have a bunch myself, the physicallity of an actual printed book makes the world of difference for me. That being said I have run out of room for books in my apartment and any new volume really has to be worth the space. For me at least, I find that a well made and well printed book is a joy to read and that joy makes assimilating information all the easier.

The Dover reprint of Paul Hasluck's 1908 Traditional Woodcarving has been a staple in our store for years. It's an important book on woodcarving, not so much for the beginner, but for carvers trying to expand their options in architectural and furniture decoration. There is nothing really wrong with the reprint. It's about the same size as the original, The photos are OK for a reprint, but I've never found it engaging. The writing is Victorian crotchety, and the reprint being a modern, even if well made, paperback just doesn't make the connection for me. Before the Internet, and both the worldwide accessibility of the used book market, and Google's insistence on scanning every book on the planet, the reprint was the only game in town.

The Google scan - which is freely available here , when viewed on my ipad is an immediately easier to read volume than the reprint. The scan is fine, but the text seems larger and reading it I don't feel strained. Maybe because the medium is so removed from the original I don't expect anything and it's easier to concentrate on the book. However being able to view just one page at a time, and getting no sense of the volume, or not being able to easily flip through pages, for me is a vastly unsatisfying experience. It might really be just the glass screen that sits between me and the text that makes it appear distant. I am not sure if this is a generational thing and younger folks might not feel this way but I do.

Finally, just arrived, is a luscious original copy, bound in leather with gilt edges, from 1908. It's basically the same size as the reprint, but for some reason it's easy to assimilate. The book lies flat, the photos are clear, but it's not immediately obvious why I find that it just begs my attention. Is it the off white of the paper? The feel of the leather cover? The immediate physiological connection with its history? I don't exactly know but I find myself wanting to sit and read it more than my other copies.

Now I understand the with the availability of the scanned version my sales of the reprinted version will drop, and I know original copies like that I just bought are not readily available. But here's what scares me: Ebooks, no matter how nice, are still read behind glass on a machine full of distractions. Unless you have multiple screens you can't have more than one book open at a time. And for me at least, the assimilation of information is less. A cheap reprint may present the information but but the involvement isn't there. Of course if publisher feels they can't make a profit in print, there won't be nice printed books. And if publishers feel they can't earn enough money from a book, they won't pay much to get it written and the working writer with something to say might need a day job. All that's bad news. My original hardback Hasluck reminds me of what a craft book can be. It's not the best book ever written, but the presentation makes it a lot easier to learn from. I don't know what the future holds.

But here's some great news:
I want to shout out to Megan at Popular Woodworking for the latest issue! In it are two of the best furniture projects I have seen in print in ages. And in the same issue!! An aumbry by Chris Schwarz and an article by Peter Marcucci on how to make a reproduction of an 1898 chair by Charles Rohlfs. Everyone here I showed the issue to wants the pieces, and wanting the pieces is the first step towards inspiring new woodworkers and getting the old ones off their duff. The rest of the issue has great stuff on shooting boards, tung oil and etc. Really a job wonderfully done and I am looking forward to more of the same!! You can get the issue at a lot of bookstores and newstands and through the - Although the current issue they show is the previous issue - I am writing about the Feb. 2015 issue.

While I am on the subject of great news. We stock all the books from Lost Art Press. Chris Schwarz, the publisher, understands the important of a book not just containing useful information, but also looking the part. Lost Art Press books are more expensive that typical books on woodworking, but they are hardbound, elegantly done, and a joy to read.

Parquetry Requires Patience

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 9:24pm

One of the surgeons I work for often uses a line I love.

"I'm not interested in making a meal out of a snack."

A more poetic way of saying Keep It Simple Stupid.

I suck at listening to that advice and the humble nail cabinet has paid the dear price. It's like putting a ball gown on a dancing bear. There is no need to add frills to something that is already a spectacle. Still, I have been looking for the proper canvas to experiment on.

Alas the humble nail cabinet.

I'd veneered the drawer fronts and painted the inside of the cabinet is black, You can see it HERE. It was time to start on the door. The original had simple mitered corners. It never matters how careful I am, getting miters as perfect as possible is a challenging thing for me. I didn't want to struggle and I wanted something that felt a little more like me.

I went with hunched mortise and tenon. I will even peg them once everything is put together. I like the permanence of this joint.

I ran out of my pine stock and needed to go buy a board to make the door. I picked up a piece of Aspen because it was more economical than clear pine and because I'd never worked with it before. The stuff works like styrofoam complete with the sticky static cling. It's glaring white clearness makes me consider using it in the place of holly stringing for future inlay projects.

I used the same string inlay cutting device I used to cut the circles on the drawer fronts to cut my variety piles of commercial veneer into 1 1/4" wide strips. Don Williams, Papa Parquetry himself, cuts his own veneer at 1/12th inch thick, much thicker and easier to manage than these thin potato chip veneers. But you play the hand you're dealt, and this time around I had a variety of things.

Following along with Roubo and the Don of Dons, I made a quick cutting jig to turn the strips into parallelograms by making 60 degree cuts.

I spent most of a day in the shop just cutting these veneer "lozenges"

This whole process is something I would certainly love to take a class and get some first hand instruction in this parquetry process. Preferably I'd love to head east to Don's Barn and spend a week or so pestering him with questions and absorbing as much information as I could. Again I'll play the hand I'm dealt and give this a go alone in the shop. I'm girded by the writings and tutorials of both Master Roubo and Williams so the word "alone" is far from true.

Still there is something to be said for striking out alone. Mistakes are life's best teachers and sometimes you figure out a way that works better because nobody was there to tell you it wouldn't work.

I will make it to the Barn one of these days. I'm not going to tackle Boulle Marquetry on my own.

I started out the next day with a field the size of the door panel marked out on a big piece of brown craft paper. I poured a decent amount of Old Brown Glue into a mason jar and immersed that into a hot water bath maintained in an old small crock pot donated to the cause.

Then it was a couple hours of brush glue on the paper, brush glue on the veneer piece, pay attention to the grain direction and veneer color, and stick it down to the paper.

 I understand the intention of parquetry is a lot like using gesso to prime a canvass for painting. The intention is to create a background into which something like floral marquetry is placed and this was my original intention. Maybe not floral marquetry but something like a mariner's compass.

But with such a variety of species to my veneer, and not enough of any one "tone" I had to change the plan and instead of burying the parquetry behind the star, give it a shower, slap on some lipstick and put it in the spotlight. To do this I alternated the tones of light, medium, and dark to make the illusion of directionality and light. It adds to the three dimensional optical illusion that the cubes create on their own.

Besides it makes me think of the old video game "Qbert"

Once the space was filled in I left the piece to dry overnight. I was careful, so careful with the grain directions and colors. It wasn't until the last row I made an error and didn't notice until I was looking at the photos later that evening.

Sigh.  Oh well.

Turns out I had a lot of lozenges left over. I may start doing this to everything. Veneered benchtop?

As I looked at my glued up paper this morning I was a little disappointed at how several of the lozenge corners had curled a bit and lifted off the paper. One more point for the thicker shop cut veneer. Still I didn't think it would be a very big deal.

I brought up the pine panel that was to be the substrate and covered both surfaces with glue.

I have my Roubo Press Vise but only the one right now and it's only wide enough to press half the panel. So I went low tech and piled a shit poop crap doodie big load of books on it.

Half a day later I could feel the glue that dripped down the side of the panel had fully set. What the heck, let's get those books back to holding the bookshelf down to the floor instead.

Here you can see the outside face of the panel. scored for a raised panel. Adhered down to the veneered sheet. I used my hybrid filed tenon saw to cut the excess from the sides.

Then I used a sponge and lukewarm water to wet the craft paper and loosen it's grip on the glue so I could peel it off with my fingernails and a piece of cut saw plate.

Now the panel is sitting and resting. Allowing any of the glue I loosened taking the paper off to reset and later tomorrow I will tooth it, scrape it, and lightly sand it. I'm gonna go polissor and beeswax for the finish here.

My technique is for certain imperfect. There are a few slightly bubbled spots I'll deal with as I move through the final stages. That shouldn't be a big deal. The two important things to remember are this is just a nail cabinet and so I shouldn't fret so and the first one's down and nearly done. Some lessons are learned and my next one will be better.

The first step is supposed to be the hardest right?

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Wax Works

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 5:37pm

Winter is settling in here on the homestead, with a couple of inches of snow today and sub-zero temperatures due in a coupe of days, no telling what the wind-chill will be if the breeze gets up to the 40 mph range that is not uncommon out here.  Although the weather is increasingly brutal and the pace of activities remains high, I wanted to take a minute to walk you through the wax works in Chez Barn.

I render the raw beeswax into purified material as I described here and then I turn it over to my wife for final processing.  As a former experimental scientist she is pretty scrupulous about here approach, which has helped me a lot.  She solved a problem I had been having in getting minute specs of debris in the raw material, and she observed the way I was working and straightened me out.


She takes the slabs of purified wax and melts it in a dedicated crock pot (the solar oven is not an option in winter here) and fills the silicone rubber molds “just right” on the kitchen counter.  Once the blocks cool and are popped out of the molds, they move to the dining table where she weighs them each on a digital scale to make sure they are all 4.1 ounces.  Then she cuts each printed label page in half and wraps the blocks, glues their end flaps, and sticks them in a box to be put on the inventory shelf in the living room closet.  She can produce about 25 blocks on a good day, but less when she is busy with things like cooking, which she loves to do and I love her cooking too!


Then you order it and I send it to you.


SketchUp Classes with Bob Lang 2015

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:18am

skpClass_7812WSLast weekend at the woodworking show in Baltimore, a subscriber asked if there would be content related to SketchUp in our upcoming issues. There already is a lot of information here on our website, (Click Here to read posts about learning SketchUp), and we have some special things in store for our subscribers.

In the next issue of 360 WoodWorking, I have an article that follows up on the “Chasing the Byrdcliffe Iris Desk” article in our free premier issue. In that upcoming article I will be detailing how to import photos into SketchUp to develop a working model to build a reproduction. It’s an inside look at the process we use for many of our projects.

We’re also discussing SketchUp classes and videos for our subscribers, as well as other content. If there’s something you’d like to see in 360 WoodWorking related to SketchUp (or other design topics), let me know via e-mail or leave a comment below.

skpClass_7811WSIf you’d like to join me for a live class, I have two weekend classes scheduled in the coming months. A live class is a huge help if you’ve been struggling with SketchUp, or if you think you have the hang of it and want to take your modeling to the next level. In my classes, we start with basic principles and concepts, practice those and by the end of the weekend we’re making complex parts like cabriole legs and dovetail joints. I try to spend as much time as I can working with the students, looking over shoulders and saying “click here, not there” and “zoom and orbit so you can see what you’re doing.” I have fun and people tell me it resolves problems that come from trying to learn without a coach.

The first class is February 21-22, 2015 at

The Woodworkers Club in Rockville, Maryland

This will be my first visit to the Woodworkers Club, read the full class details and sign up for the Woodworkers Club class February 21 and 22 at this link.

The second class is the May 2-3, 2015 at

Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin, Indiana

I’ve taught at least one class a year at MASW almost every year for quite a while. It’s a great group of people (both students and the staff) and a first-rate facility. Read details and sign up for the MASW class May 2 and 3 at this link.

I’ll be at most of the “Woodworking Shows” this year, so if you have a question about SketchUp, come and see me at the 360 WoodWorking booth.

Bob Lang


Spoon carving workshop in Northumberland

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 8:30am
I have been invited to teach a weekend of Spoon Carving at Catton, near Hexham in Northumberland on 21-22 Feb 2015. The cost is £145 which includes all materials and lunch each day, to book please email me steve-tomlin[at]hotmail.co.uk The … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Still More Tools for Sale

The Logan Cabinet Shoppe - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 7:04am
Not done thinning out the extras yet.  So here are a few more tools for sale through ebay. http://www.ebay.com/sch/logancabinetshop/m.html?item=261723985206&ssPageName=STRK%3AMESELX%3AIT&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

Woodworking Resolutions for 2015 – Matthew York

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 7:00am

Every year when the calendar turns from December back around to January people make resolutions, promises that they hope to keep for the New Year. These also tend to serve as goals that they hope to strive for as the New Year marches along. As a woodworker we often make resolutions associated with our hobby, and I am certainly no different. For the year 2015 I have a few resolutions that I would like to focus on getting accomplished.

First I would like to apply some of the principles that the Down to Earth Woodworker discusses in his videos on 5S in the workshop. I like the idea of organizing my shop and cementing some habits that make working in my shop easier, safer, cleaner and more enjoyable. If you haven’t already I highly recommend checking out what Steve discusses in his 5s videos.

Another resolution I have lined up is my desire to show my work at more arts and crafts festivals. I love making things, and I find joy in what I do. I would also love to find a way to do woodworking full time instead of just as a hobby. While this may not be a realistic end goal right now, the idea of showing my work more often and gaining some customers is something I hope to accomplish in 2015.

I also want to focus on spending more time in my shop on a regular basis. I often go through spurts where I will work in the shop every day after work, and then there are days where I hardly touch a single tool. I’d like to work toward making it a habit to spend at least an hour or two every day or every other day in the shop. I think by spending more time working at a steady pace and less time working in spurts and manic phases I can accomplish more of the goals I am setting for myself.

Lastly I want to set aside some time this year and learn a new woodworking skill. In 2014 I took a class at Highland taught by Scott Meek over at Scott Meek Woodworks on making wooden hand planes. This January I am continuing that education by taking the Advance plane making class that Scott offers online. My goal for 2015 is to find something else in the wide woodworking world and learn how to do that. Currently I am leaning toward finding a chair making class and learning how to make chairs. I think chair making could be a lot of fun and it will complement some of the skills that I already possess.

Resolutions are often something that we make and then break within the first few weeks of January. Instead of setting myself impossible tasks or lofty goals I want to focus on taking small steps and building habits. By focusing on the little things, like organization steps within 5s, or spending more days but less time per day in the shop I can work to ingrain those habits. Make them muscle memories and by doing so advance along my journey as a woodworker.

Does anyone else have any woodworking resolutions for the coming New Year?

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 Woodworking Resolutions for 2015 – Matthew York appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

The War of the Roses

McGlynn On Making - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 6:57am

I decided to repeat the Rose pattern I did in marquetry last week again for practice.  With a few changes.

There were a couple of problems with the first attempt.  The main issue was with the assembly.  Things got out of control due to the hot hide glue (HHG) drying faster than I could assemble the picture.  I intentionally skipped the sand shading step, which on this piece I think really would have added a lot.  The rose bud itself has something like 21 little pieces, but once it’s re-assembled it just looks like one big red blob.  If it had been shaded you would have been able to see each little petal.  Instead, you can see the two pieces I patch in and the uneven gaps, but otherwise it’s homogenous.

Rose #1, notice how all of the pieces run together and are indistinguishable.

Rose #1, notice how all of the pieces run together and are indistinguishable.

There are a couple of things that could be done to add contrast to the rose bud next time.  One is to sand shade the edges as I’ve mentioned.  Another would be to assemble the rose using multiple colors.

The marquetry process I’m using is typically Boulle, named after Andre-Charles Boulle, a famous French cabinetmaker in 18th century Paris who wasn’t actually French.  The process involves creating a stack of all of the veneers to be used in the finished composition and sawing out all of the elements from the one stack.

So for this round of practice I’m changing a couple of things.  First, I’m using twice as many layers in my veneer stack.  This is part of an experiment to see if I can produce two good positive images from one stack.  I plan to try sand shading on these pieces.  I’ll also have enough extra pieces to assemble some negative images of the same picture — I’ll use these to experiment with mixing colors to get the contrast in the rose.

The first step was to pick out four colors, times two, from my dwindling sample pack of veneers.  I want a light color for the background, something reddish for the rose, greenish for the leaves and brownish for the stem.


Materials for the packet laid out. Front waster board with the pattern glued on, rear waster board, grease paper and 8 veneers.

The pattern is glued to the front waster board.  I laminated newsprint to all eight pieces of veneer to support them.  The newsprint is on the show face and will be removed as the last step prior to finishing.  I laminated newsprint onto the back board too to help prevent it from splitting if I end up sawing without enough support.

Assembled packet.  I  changed the order of how I cut this one and discovered some improvements (and some things that worked better the first time)

Assembled packet. I changed the order of how I cut this one and discovered some improvements (and some things that worked better the first time)

The assembled packet is about 1/2″ thick, and it’s on the edge of what I can cut with the fine 2/0 72tpi blade I’ve been using.  I really like the way this blade cuts, it leaves a nice clean edge and it very controllable.  It’s also unbelievably fragile.  It’s like sawing with a human hair.  A brittle hair.  I tried the other blade we used in class, and I didn’t like the way it handled.  I’m not able to make tight turns with it and I have a hard time following lines.  It’s probably (lack of) technique, I’ll put practice time with that blade on the roster for the future.

View of the inside of the packet after the first 8 pieces for the lower leaves have been cut out.  You can see all of the layers of veneer in cross section.

View of the inside of the packet after the first 8 pieces for the lower leaves have been cut out. You can see all of the layers of veneer in cross section as well as the thicker front and rear “waster” layers.

I changed up the playlist on my music while I was sawing these to include a selection of country-ish rock songs that were popular when I was in grade school.  It was a nice change, but I’m going back to the blues for the rest of the project.

I’ve got maybe 3 hours in sawing these parts out, and just another half hour to go.  That’s a little misleading, as after each part I’m stopping to pick out the parts for the two main images and arrange them, and them stacking the “extra” parts to the side.  I still don’t have the “part organization” thing dialed in.

Parts for the two main images mixed and laid out (face down)

Parts for the two main images mixed and laid out (face down)

The rest of the parts.  I'll use these to create some experiments in mixing colors to get the contrast in them image.

The rest of the parts. I’ll use these to create some experiments in mixing colors to get the contrast in them image.

I’m getting more comfortable with my sawing, which is a good feeling.  I still had a few missed turns where I was slightly off the line.  With the Boulle technique accuracy only matters in terms of having a final image that looks pleasing.  Since all of the parts are cut at the same time it’s guaranteed they will fit together.  For images like this Rose the assembly of the reverse image may or may not look good, so you might consider the other bits waste.  Eventually I want to get my sawing skills unleveled so I can use the “piece-by-piece” method.  I’ll eventually do a post on the different types of marquetry and techniques.  I’ve got a lot to learn still.




Categories: General Woodworking

Before the Archetype

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 6:19am

If there is a defining image that says woodworking, a silhouette that most would identify with, then it’s likely the Bailey-style outline of a plane would be top of the list. Gracing many a business card, letterhead or sign on a van, it’s all around.  A mark of the plane’s success is the very fact it’s burned into the minds of many in wider society as something good about woodworking. […]

The post Before the Archetype appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Portable Moravian Workbench at The Woodwright’s School

Wood and Shop - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 6:18pm


I regularly get asked “Joshua, can you recommend a workbench that is affordable, sturdy, portable, and easy to build?”


I used to laugh at the requests. But I recently discovered a historical workbench that was resurrected from the past by Will Myers, an instructor at Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The old Workbench is part of the Moravian collection at Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Will and I wanted to make an easy step-by-step video (based on his class and his article) so that anyone can build this workbench with hand tools. And we did it!


We just finished filming the DVD and will call it: “Building the Portable Moravian Workbench with Will Myers” at Roy Underhill’s school…thanks Roy! (Click here to be emailed when it’s released).


In the video we share very detailed instruction, which will help you to become proficient in using hand tools. It’s packed with skills and tips! This could even be a first project for beginners.


Bill Anderson even showed up to lend a helping hand…thanks Bill!


The video at the top of this page shows how quickly the Moravian workbench can be assembled. It’s especially a great workbench for people who live in small spaces (like a city apartment or a basement) or for people who will be doing on-site woodworking.


The video will be published by Popular Woodworking Magazine in a month or two, but you can currently get on the notification list (to be emailed when it’s released) right here.


Below are some fun photographs that I took during our video shoot…comment below and let me know what you think!

















Below are some photos of the original portable Moravian Workbench (at Old Salem, North Carolina) that inspired Will Myers’ workbench.


In the DVD you will see a tour we took of the workbench warehouse at Old Salem, and you can learn more about the history of the Moravian Workbench.











Winter light

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 5:46pm

winter light

I do woodworking year-round. For me though, winter is the best time for it. I still don’t have a “proper” workshop, i.e. one that is mine, with all my tools and wood in it. But I have spent a lot of time in my head thinking about what it might be like. The borrowed shop I am using to shoot pictures is real nice…it’s on the 2nd floor – which at first I thought was stupid. But with windows at each gable end, there’s lots of light. Winter light can be quite amazing. I saw this chest front bathed in raking light today. Couldn’t resist. I was there to resume working on joinery stuff. This oak chest with 2 drawers has been underway for a long time. Today I started framing the sides. 


I worked that project along some, and then picked up the walnut joined stool interruption. I had the rail stock planed, just had to lay and cut the tenons and do a test-fit. There was little I did differently than when I do these in oak. But some.

Not planing, it’s just the same in walnut as in oak, although easier. 

planing walnut


Laid out the tenons. Like I said, lots of light here. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing my lines in walnut, but not today. 

stool rails


I was thinking I’d chicken out & saw the tenon cheeks, but decided the stock was riven because it was straight-grained, so why not go for broke? Worked like a charm. 

split tenons

the driving point for me was the ease of working this riven walnut. Nothing like my first experience with its kiln-dried relative some years ago. Paring across these tenon cheeks was a snap. 

stool aprons

HERE”s the major departure from my normal practice – I put a piece of scrap wood between the stool & the mallet when I test-assembled! You can’t hit walnut as hard as you can oak. Period. (well, you can – but you’ll mess it up.)

assembly w block

The stool needs a little tweaking to clean up some wracking – but they all need that at some point. This is as far as I got today…

walnut stool





I won’t have spoons for sale until late January. I do have a few furniture items that I have discounted. Time to make some room in this old house of ours so I can bring these new pieces home when they’re done. So if you’d like to have a look, I’ve added a page here: http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/furniture-sale-winter-2015/

While we’re at it, Maureen is doing the same with her textile work – we’re overrun with stuff!  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

A Man Apart

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 1:28pm

If you’ve been here a while, you’ve heard me go on about Bill Coperthwaite. There’s a new book coming out this month about Peter Forbes’ and Helen Whybrow’s time spent with Bill. I’m watching the mailbox closely and can’t wait til it gets here.


Here’s a link for more about the book http://www.billcoperthwaite.net/the-book.html  and there’s a collector’s edition that is a fund-raiser for a project by Peter & Helen called Spoons for All – http://www.billcoperthwaite.net/collectors-edition.html

How could I say no to that? Carving spoons to help make the world a better place? Of course…








A New Decade of Roy Underhill!

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 11:05am

You’d think after 20 years of doing anything it would start to get a little stale. Tell that to Roy Underhill! We recently put together his 21st through 31st seasons in a kit and I’ve got to tell you, Roy’s still hitting on all cylinders. I don’t mean to come off sounding like a commercial, but I guess that’s where I am. It’s hard not to be excited. These seasons […]

The post A New Decade of Roy Underhill! appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworking Resolutions for 2015 – Curtis Turner

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 7:00am

My turning goals for 2015 are mostly about learning new techniques. I hope you will set a few turning goals for yourself in 2015. Have a happy and safe new year.

1.      Improve my metal spinning skills.  I have recently began experimenting with spinning metal on a wood lathe.  While the lathe is the same, the tools and techniques are completely different.  It’s more challenging than I expected.

2.      A sand blasted lidded box is high on my priority list.  I hope to create several boxes for the purpose of experimenting with paint and patinas.

3.      I want to try a few different projects just for fun.  For example, I would like to make a tall pepper mill.  Also a yo-yo or perhaps a few more gavels.

4.      I want to test turning a sphere using a vacuum chuck.  I think I can make the seal work in a way that makes the final turning (reverse turning) process simple.  The vacuum chuck has become my favorite new tool.  So, I’ll be thinking up new ways to utilize this function.

5.      Donating several turned pieces to a charity auction for my state’s arboricultural conference.  You might consider establishing a relationship with your local forestry or parks and recreation departments.  They may be able to assist you with securing some interesting material.  You could in turn offer to give back a few items to display in their offices or to use as a fund raisers.  This could make for a community service project for a turning club.

6.      Finally, my never ending goal of cleaning the shop!  I have chips, dust and logs everywhere.  It always seems that when the logs are mostly processed another batch shows up.  I know, a nice problem to have.

Curtis was the 2012 President of Central Texas Woodturners, a member of the American Association of Woodturners, and a member of Fine Woodworkers of Austin. Curtis teaches and demonstrates nationally for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. He also owns a studio where he teaches and works. Curtis lives and works in Central Texas with his wife and four young children. Take a look at his website at www.curtisturnerstudio.com

The post Woodworking Resolutions for 2015 – Curtis Turner appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Scythe Poetry

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 6:00am
A scythe poem with some lovely imagery for a grey winters day. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

2015 Carvers Meeting Schedule has been Posted.

Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association - Sun, 01/04/2015 - 10:30pm
The 2015 Carvers Meeting schedule can be found here.  Please come join us.

You Don’t Know What You’ll Find Till You Look

The Furniture Record - Sun, 01/04/2015 - 8:31pm

On a marginal weather day, my wife and I headed out to our favorite “in the middle of nowhere” restaurant for lunch. Their web site said they were open on Sundays. What the web site didn’t say was they were closed until January 6th.

We turned around and headed back to civilization ending up in Carrboro, a funky little town just south of Chapel Hill, NC. Some refer to it as the Socialist Republic of Carrboro but we like it fine as it is.

As a result of being back in civilization, our casual lunch became brunch. We had a nice meal and to kill time walked over to the attached small shopping mall. It is an old mill and just loaded with character. There was a new reuse/restore/salvage shop that just opened and we looked in. I was surprised to see this:

It's a biiig bench.

It’s a big bench.

The bench in the photo is a full ten feet long. Longer with the tail vise. It looks right at home in the mill.

It has yer basic shoulder vise:

A well worn shoulder vise.

A well-worn shoulder vise.

A well worn shoulder vise.

Rectangular guides. The dark square recess near the guides are actually bolts.

And a tail vise:

A substantial tail vise.

A substantial tail vise.

With an interesting wing(?).

Looks like it could be used for work holding.

Looks like it could be used for work holding. It has its own guide.

Gratuitous third view.

Gratuitous third view.

And a sliding deadman:

A bit rough but serviceable.

A bit rough but serviceable.

And for fans of alternative lifestyles, it offers the bird’s mouth planing stop:

Another method of work holding and the backside of the bench.

Another method of work holding on the backside of the bench. Especially useful for edge planing.

The bench does have some issues. First is that it’s not that ruggedly built.

Not 6" legs.

Not 6″ legs.

The top is made from two boards. The front board my be 2″. The back board is 5/4″ or less. It is rugged in that it still exist but how well would it hold up to years of banging out mortises. And that is over a ten foot span. Was it a light duty bench? Well, it still exists.

Then there is the $3000 price tag. Seems expensive for a workbench. Not sure about the price for an antique. More than I want to pay.

Who can forget the Pottery Barn kitchen island workbench? I think it was around $1600.

Furniture from the mall.

Furniture from the mall.

And the vises don’t even work.

Handtools to the rescue, or Enfield cupboard finished.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sun, 01/04/2015 - 5:57pm

Whenever I purchase a tool, I try to research its usefulness before I take the plunge. Woodworking tools in general can be a sizable investment, and it really pays to make sure your hard earned money is going towards something that will not only see a lot of use, but last for a long time. On the other hand, nearly every woodworker, both professional and hobbyist, probably has at least one tool that he regrets buying. For me, that tool was the Lie Nielsen #48 tongue and groove plane. Before I continue, let me say that it is an extremely well made tool. I have only one problem with it, and that is the fact that I don’t use it nearly as much as I thought I would. But…

This past weekend I had set aside for two things, finishing my wife’s infamous pantry closet, and finishing and installing the door for my Shaker Enfield cupboard. Thankfully, I managed to get both jobs completed, much in part to the weather, which was cold, rainy, and miserable, which also gave me the excuse I needed to work in and around the house. Saturday morning I finished up the pantry closet, which was a mopping up effort more than anything. I then went straight into the garage to get to work on the door.

The first thing I did was raise the panels for the door. I don’t have a panel raising bit for a router, nor do I have a panel raising plane, and I was frankly too afraid to attempt it on my table saw for fear of ruining the boards, so I improvised.

My improvisation was fairly simple; I just used the dado stack for the table saw. First part was a test cut just to set the depth, then the real deal. I set the fence for a one inch reveal and got to work. The dado stack did a fine job, but left the board a bit rougher than I would like. Then it occurred to me to give my moving fillister plane a try, just to clean up the surface. I had finally got it up and running on Friday night by regrinding the iron on my new DMT diamond stone, which performed beautifully, which also resulted in the fillister plane performing beautifully. Once I had the panels cleaned up I added a slight chamfer to the raised portion of the panel to give it a faux profile. The result turned out pretty nicely, and I was more than satisfied, but then I ran into a bit of a problem.

When I built the door frame, I added the groove to the rails and stiles using the table saw and dado stack, but I made one minor error; I made them too shallow. I didn’t recall making them too shallow, it was only after I was about to do the finally dry assembly that I noticed it. I very nearly got out the dado stack to make the possibly perilous attempt at deepening the groove, but then I had an epiphany: the LN #48!

I pulled the #48 out of the tool chest and inspected it; the iron was still sharp, which was a relief considering I hadn’t used the plane in months. Still, I gave it a quick honing, said a quick prayer, and went to work. Thankfully, the groove was perfectly centered and perfectly ¼ inch wide, which allowed the plane iron to fit right in. Fairly quickly, I had the grooves at the proper depth, and my dry fit went perfectly. The #48 made a hell of a mess of shavings, but I’m really glad that I had it.

To be sure that I the glue up went smoothly, I called in Mrs. Slightly Confused and we got the door glued up in short order. I set it on the side to dry, cleaned up, and called it a night. The whole process took just under two hours, which actually fell right into my estimate.

Cleaning up the edges of the door

Cleaning up the edges of the door

A heck of a mess

A heck of a mess

This morning I finished the installation. Before I go on, let me say that I’m amazed at how many tools are needed to install both the door and the hinges for it. I started by planing down the door sides, then giving the whole door an overall sanding, 60/150/220 grit, as well as hand sanding. I then marked the hinges with a knife, sawed the kerfs, chiseled out the waste, and finished it up with a router plane. Once again I called in Mrs. Confused to help me screw the door to the case. The door was just a hair tight, which I figured it would be, so I removed it, planed it down (as well as back beveling the closing side) and reinstalled. The door closed nicely, and the reveal is pretty much right on the money, with only some minor adjustments needed for the top and bottom. I now only need to make a latch, and add a knob, and the cabinet will be ready for paint. Overall I’m happy with the finished result.

Door won't stay shut without a latch

Door won’t stay shut without a latch

Door open

Door open

I don’t often give advice on this blog, as I’ve said before, but I will offer two bits of wisdom here. Firstly, if you are an intermediate woodworker looking to improve your skills (and you like Shaker furniture) I can’t think of a better project to try than the Enfield Cupboard. In this average sized piece of furniture you have: case construction, dados, tongue and groove joinery, mortise and tenon joinery. There is door construction with raised panels and mortise and tenons, shop made mouldings, miters, and curved pieces. In other words, this cupboard really puts your skills to the test.

Tools used just to build and install a door.

Tools used just to build and install a door.

Secondly, I’ll say it again that if you are thinking about getting into hand tools, don’t get mesmerized by bench planes; joinery planes are far more valuable in my opinion. A jack plane can do most small to midsized planing tasks, but there really isn’t a great substitute for planes such as the router and moving fillister, which really earn their money every time you need them. So if you want my advice, start off with a jack plane and a few joinery planes, you will be happy that you did. If you don’t want my advice, don’t listen. What do I know?

Categories: General Woodworking


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