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General Woodworking

what if a chairmaker made spoons?

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 5:36pm

Curtis' spoon


Depends on the chairmaker, I guess. It starts with this spoon that arrived in my mailbox one day. I told you I have a great mailbox. Curtis Buchanan made it; sent it with no note, just the spoon. (great article by & about Curtis in Fine Woodworking recently – glad I stumbled into it)

Then Tim Manney posted stuff on his blog about some whacky idea about making spoon crooks by steam-bending the blanks. http://timmanneychairmaker.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-few-spoons-and-dissection.html

Turns out that’s what Curtis did. And then Tim went totally full-tilt-bozo with the idea. And makes outstanding spoons this way; steam-bent, drawknife, shaving horse. Sounds like chairmakers to me.

Tim's spoon 1


tim's spoon bowl

Tim's spoon detail

tim's spoon

Tim gave us a run-down of his techniques. Says it starts with “it’s hard to find crooks” so he makes ‘em. Shaved green, tries to follow the growth ring, so very carefully shaved. Then steamed, and clamped to a form for 12 hours.


steambent crooks


Then, no axe – just goes to the shaving horse and gets his very sharp drawknife and goes to it. He draws the shape on there, and starts in defining the outline of the spoon.

drawknife work 2


Here he’s using the drawknife to come down the bowl, towards the neck or stem of the spoon.
drawknife stop cut


Next he shaves along the side of the handle, towards the relief cut he just defined. Very precise, deliberate cuts. One false move…

drawknife work


Then knife work. He hollows the bowl with a gouge, (see previous post) -

Tmi knife work


It’s one of those things that I don’t want to do; but I really admire Tim’s approach and his work. Both are great. It was a real thrill to have Tim around this weekend at Lie-Nielsen, I know the students dug it too.

Favorite Woodworking Book Buys of 2014 (Thus Far)?

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:23am

  I’m looking for a gift list to give to my mom, brother, etc., and I like books – the old-fashioned kind. Paper. Ink. Binding. Words on a page. So, I want to know your favorite woodworking book buys of 2014…or the books you’d like to get (perhaps the ones on your list!). And they needn’t have been published this year. Limit it to maybe five? Otherwise, this may get […]

The post Favorite Woodworking Book Buys of 2014 (Thus Far)? appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Thanks and an Update on 360 Woodworking

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 9:58am
I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has contacted me personally or left a comment online about my work, and the new venture 360woodworking.com. It is incredibly encouraging to hear and see this kind of support. Glen … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

The Down to Earth Woodworker: Don’t Forget The “Backstory”

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:35am

A “backstory” is a literary device used to lend depth and color to the main story. Characters often have history that impacts their present decisions and actions, and that history often is revealed as a ‘backstory” that helps us understand the character’s current motivations and psyche. The backstory enriches and enlightens and makes the main story line more compelling.

Like an author creates a character, a woodworker creates a “thing,” and that “thing” likely has an interesting “backstory.” The backstory of your work can make what you make more compelling and more valuable.

As we move from outside to in, as summer changes to fall, many of us are already planning the holiday gifts we will make for others. An interesting backstory may well turn out to be as highly valued as the object itself. Imagine your woodworking gift accompanied by an interesting backstory… the history of the piece, from idea to plan to wood to finished product. The story of your woodworking efforts will be appreciated… indeed, perhaps even cherished. And how you tell the backstory will make a big difference.

Photos are an obvious choice for creating the backstory behind your project, but you will need words, too. PowerPoint and Keynote are two great programs that allow you to combine pictures and words easily. There are also a number of free photo-management programs that include the ability to produce photo albums with labels and descriptions. You could simply “paste” photos into a word processing program for an effect almost as nice.

The backstory behind the creation of a woodworking project is an historical timeline, so start with the wood, the idea, or the plan. Was there something special about the wood, how it was acquired, or where? Did something about the recipient trigger the idea for the gift? Did you design the piece with the recipient in mind, and what was the motivation? From there, simply follow the timeline and show snippets of the project that might be interesting to a non-woodworker.

Did you use a special hard-to-make joint? Did the project require extensive handwork? Or was a special jig made to accomplish the machine work? Did you apply a special finish? In all likelihood, the little things you do everyday will be very intriguing to a non-woodworker and will help them appreciate the thought, effort, experience, and expertise that went into your gift.

With a little planning, the backstory of your woodworking project can be easily compiled. If you take pictures and keep notes throughout the project, chances are you can put the backstory into a pretty binder and finish it up about the same time you are rubbing out that last coat of shellac. Present the two items, your woodworking project and its backstory, together, and wait for the smiles.

Figure 1 - The "backstory" booklet cover

Figure 1 – The “backstory” booklet cover

Not too long ago I had a chance to visit a friend I haven’t seen in almost five years. I had made and given him a small piece of furniture and shortly thereafter he was transferred to another city. Today, five years later, that small piece of furniture is still prominent in his living room, as is the “backstory” of the project I gave him at the same time. He told me that he has never had a guest in his house that wasn’t fascinated by the booklet describing the process, from wood to finished piece.

This year, consider making a “backstory” to accompany the woodworking gifts you give. We would love to see them, too. Send us an electronic version of your backstory and we will share the best with the rest of the woodworking community right here in the Highland Woodworking Blog!

The post The Down to Earth Woodworker: Don’t Forget The “Backstory” appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Spoons in Maine

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:31pm

Just back once again from Maine – where we had a 2-day class at Lie-Nielsen in spoon carving. We turned 16-plus people loose with axes & knives. Yikes. It went very well, as long as I didn’t think about it at first. I had decided the theme for day one was  “A Moment of Doubt & Pain” – some steel & flesh collided. Nothing too bad; but you hate to see anyone get nicked.

16 people loose w axes


The 2nd day, it all began to click in, and out came spoons galore. Real spoons. Nice work. Here’s some photos, I didn’t get enough, I was too busy running around.


SE using hook

There were lots of spoons coming out really well, I only wish I had shot more..




I remind new carvers (and old carvers too) to look a lot, carve a little. Dave looked:

looking 1

But I guess he didn’t like what he saw…

looking 2

I was helped as usual by Deneb, but we also had Tim Manney come for the weekend, (thanks again, Tim) – he was a huge help. Tim doesn’t make a spoon like I do at all, but he knows how to…so he worked & worked as well. Here, he’s teaching the old method of using a standard gouge for hollowing the bowl. This is how we first learned how to hollow them, from Drew Langsner’s book Country Woodcraft.

tim & sarah & gouges

It amounts to a flick of the wrist. Hold the tool by the shank, not the handle. Then, brace your off-thumb against the heel of your gouge-holding hand; and…

gouge 1

flick o’ the wrist – it’s a short travel for the gouge – but it works well Tim uses this method a lot. Maybe exclusively?

gouge 2


Most of our wood was straight-grained birch, but Dave brought his own apple crook to split

dave & the crook


I live in Massachusetts, not in Maine. Some think I should live in Maine. Sometimes I think it. But for now, I still drive up when I work there…and for the third straight Maine trip, I had car trouble. Dead starter it seemed. I ended up an extra day in the mid-coast Maine area, with 65-degree temps, under bright sunny skies. Nothing at all to do except sit & carve more spoons. Deneb, ever the charmer, said “why don’t you work down in the showroom?”

Here, I am using my new Nic Westermann twca cam and a neck strap. A great deal of leverage on this arrangement. I put a very long handle on mine. I saw a very brief clip of Barn Carder using one, shot by Robin Wood. Thanks, Robin & Barn – though I have only used this tool briefly, I really like the neck strap idea. The strap is just a loop around my neck. Then I twist the shank of the twca cam in one end. Then pull back a bit with my neck, while levering my right hand away from me, to bring the hook tool across the spoon bowl. Short move, big chips. Reminds me of the short time I got to try a block knife…

twca cam 2

twca cam



Then, it all became clear – Thomas Lie-Nielsen came by and admitted to tampering with my car, so I had no choice but to demonstrate in the showroom. He’ll stop at nothing. It was fun though…one woman came in & once we talked about what I was doing, she asked if I would mind if she took my picture – I thought about 20 years’ of working in front of the museum visitors, and wondered how many photos I’ve been in. A whole lot; what’s one more?

the tamper-er

here’s the link to Barn using the large hook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rybANi3lX2M

thanks to Robin Macgregor for the last 3 photos.

Auto-regulator, Chapter 3: Making the vertical elements

James Watriss - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 2:17pm

One of the primary design elements of the case was the use of three way miters. In the pedestal, as I've explained, they're not true three-way miters. The movement case is a different story. But there's more to it than that.

Because the facings of the vertical elements are book-matched pieces of solid stock, there's a miter joint around the outer front edge of the vertical pieces. And, because the inside of the vertical pieces will be visibly sculpted, I needed to have matierial to sculpt away. So, the front vertical pieces are both three part laminations: solid core, with book-matched, mitered solid face pieces.

Mitering an end-grain joint is a fairly straightforward affair. Typically, it's used in case constuction, and the biggest miter joints I've usually seen are on things like blanket chests. That may be up to 18" worth of miter, but it's not too hard. In this case, I had a few more variables to consider. First, the stock was re-sawn out of a larger piece. It was mostly flat, and behaved fairly well. Second, the joint has to come together flatly, and mate with the solid core. So, if there was any concavity, or convexity in the joint, I'm going to have issues, because either the middle or the ends won't mate cleanly with the core. Lastly, these pieces are long. 32" of walnut, plus extra to trim back, and 42" of maple, with extra. So they needed to be long, straight, and perfect.

I trust my table saw to do many things. But a few days after being resawn, the pieces were ever so slightly bowed... and I didn't trust that operation to go smoothly on the saw. So, I rough-sawed the miters on the saw, and built a long-miter shooting board to do the rest.

Lastly, I needed everything to be dead straight. Given the thicknesses of everything involved, I wasn't too worried that things would go awry, but to be sure, I made box beams to provide flat reference surfaces for gluing, and glued everything up.

Categories: General Woodworking

Kistje 1

Kees - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 12:12pm
Making practice boards is fun, but it's even better to make a real project. So, now I have two carved boards, why not make two more and assemble them together to a small chest?

Sorry for my complete inaptitude to make nice pictures. The finish looks patchy, but trust me, it isn't half as bad in real life. With an extra coat of linseed oil, it even turned out better, but it is now dark outside, so no ore pictures.

Anyway. The front boards have a rabbets, the side boards fit in these rabbets and then some oak pins are driven through the joint, like a nail. It's super simple, but still quite a bit of work. I made a till inside the box. The bottom is also rabetted and nailed. The top is made from some leftover maple with a lot of knots. It all comes together quite nicely, if I may say so. On to the next one!

Categories: General Woodworking

Shaker Nightstand Online Class

Jeff Miller: Chairs and More - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 11:51am

Shaker Nightstand


I spent some time over the summer shooting a video class on building a Shaker style Nightstand (or side table) with the folks from Craftsy. The class is now up and running on their site.

This is a class on using hand tools to do the joinery and shaping on the table. I cover jointing and gluing up a top, and then flattening it by hand. I talk about hand chopping the mortises, sawing the tenons, and then fitting the joints properly. Also covered is shaping the bevel on the underside of the top and tapering the legs with hand planes, cutting table buttons and mortising the aprons for the slots so the buttons can attach the top, and assembly and finishing techniques. Underside of Table

The table itself is incredibly versatile. I think we have eight or ten of them (with some variations) in various places around our house. They work next to traditional as well as contemporary pieces. And although the design is so subtle as to be spare, done well, the piece has a lot of impact.


Click here to get $10 off on this class!  










Basic Bowl Turning Class – The Review

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 8:00am

Basic Bowl Turning at Highland

Class starts early on a Saturday morning with everyone sipping coffee and chatting amicably, the group of us ranging in skill level from those who have been turning for a while to folks who have never held a woodturning tool before.  The classroom at Highland is a great place, all old wood with various projects and tables stacked here and there; the atmosphere in the room is one of eager anticipation.

When our instructor, Phil Colson, arrives he greets us all warmly and we do the standard introductory spiel, once around the room telling a bit about ourselves and a bit about why we are here. Once introductions had been made we begin the class itself, starting with a tour of the lathe, an overview of the basic tools we will be using and the theories behind turning a bowl. We discuss the roughing gouge, spindle gouge, bowl gouge and so on.

Phil sketches a simple bowl design on the board and illustrates how best to approach the tools and the work itself.  After the explanation comes the practical instruction, and we all gather around Phil’s large shop lathe while he demonstrates a few basic techniques, some do’s and don’ts and other pieces of information we will need to make our bowl. For instance, how best to hold a roughing gouge and introduce it to the spinning piece, allowing the bevel to rub before engaging the cutting edge of the tool.

Finally, after a coffee break, it is time to get our hands dirty. Using some cut off pieces of 2×4, Phil has us in front of the lathe learning how to round the stock with the roughing gouge and how to introduce the tips of the tools to the pieces we were making. We practice forming beads and coves using the spindle gouge and discuss the use of the skew and parting tool. There are plenty of hands on opportunities for instruction as Phil moves through the room. He offers tips and pointers and will correct someone’s stance or hold on a tool when the need arises. The class itself provides all the tools and materials needed, though you are encouraged to bring your own if you have them. Not only do you learn the proper use for the various woodturning tools, the instructor also covers the basics of sharpening, a vital skill for any woodworker. A sharp tool is far better to use than a dull tool.

Time passes and we all became more familiar with the use of the basic tools. After a bit more instruction at the blackboard and some conversations about bowl form and design we begin the true point of that day’s class, turning our first bowls. We utilize the bowl gouge for most of the work, shaping the outside, sanding and then turning the blank before hollowing out the bowl itself. I won’t bore you with the details, nor will I deprive you of the adventure of discovering turning for yourself. There is something magical about taking a rough piece of wood and creating an amazing piece of functional art all in a matter of hours.

My first bowl

My first bowl

With the tools, instruction and materials provided by Highland Woodworking and this class you are bound to have an exciting new passion in your life. This class was my first personal foray into the world of woodturning and I have been diving in ever since. I highly recommend any of the classes at Highland but if you are interested in turning, a wonderful place to start is the Basic Bowl Turning class.

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 Basic Bowl Turning Class – The Review appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Rewind and Final Adamstown Omnibus Photo Dump

The Furniture Record - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 7:34pm

I refuse to do the obvious “I’m baaaack” that was recently used by a definitely possible but uncommitted presidential candidate. It’s too obvious. And unless you’re Jack Nicholson (or Eminem), you shouldn’t use it either. It’s been done.

Before I explain where I’ve been for the past few weeks, I want to wrap up my nostalgic visit to Adamstown and do one final blog showing all the wonderful things you can find there.

This isn’t one of them:

Might be more vintage than antique.

Might be more vintage than antique.

I show this one to demonstrate that there is something there for everyone, even those that don’t deserve it.

I like this server a lot more:

Not real old but old enough.

Not real old but old enough.

with great and unique bellflowers:

Bellflowers with sand shading.

Bellflowers with sand shading.

Here we see an interesting use of veneer:

Almost makes me want to build veneered furniture.

Almost makes me want to build veneered furniture.

And this:

It's electric!

It’s electric!

Finally, a formal painted corner cabinet.

I wish I had the house to go with this cabinet.

I wish I had the house to go with this cabinet.

To see the entire Adamstown set on Flickr, click HERE

If you are in the area, you should definitely plan on spending the day. I hope to make it there again next year. And the year after that.

The End! & The Beginning

Woodworker's Edge - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 2:45pm

I think the photo below says it all.


Categories: General Woodworking

A Contemporary Live-Edge Dining Table - Installing the Top

Combray Furniture Studio - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 10:20am

Everything about this piece revolves around supporting (both literally and aesthetically) the live-edge top.  We spent nearly two hours comparing several options at the hardwood supplier, deciding whether we wanted one wide slab or a bookmatched pair of boards that would net the required width.  A good rule of thumb is that a dining table should be between 30"-36" wide and allow 24" along the long dimension per person.  As this table will fit a small dining room we are opting for a slightly narrower width.

The customer fell in love with a slab that runs the full gamut of the black walnut colour palette - from blonde to gray, to purple, to deep brown.  The inclusion of sapwood is a personal choice that I fully support since it adds to the dramatic nature of the top.  This particular board has a large, stable knot in the center that not only creates a focal point, but generates a fair bit of figured grain.

There are many great tutorials on the web about how to flatten a top, so I won't go into too much detail here.  My experience is that these single slabs have a predominate concave/convex side and there may be some rationale about which should face up.  Our decision, however, was based entirely on appearance.  This meant that the underside (where I start the planing process) was the convex side.  I start with a scraper to remove any gunk, and plane at a 90 degree angle and toward the middle from each side with a 5 1/2 plane until I am taking shavings (more like fine splinters) from about 95% of the slab.  It is then generally time to resharpen, set the the plane to a finer cut, and then plane with the grain.  With the use of a straight-edge and a pair of winding sticks you can trust your eye to get it very close.

While I leave a planed surface on the underside, I eventually sand the top since the juxtaposition of a very fine top surface with the rough-and-ready live edge creates some nice visual tension.  I plane the top with the usual process and fill the void within the knot with dyed epoxy.  After sanding through the grits to 320, the top is ready to take its finish of Danish oil and paste wax.

Affixing the top to the base is the greatest engineering challenge.  I suspect that the top outweighs the base by a factor of about five to one, so any minor slack in the joinery becomes magnified.  I register the top along its center line with 1/2" oak pegs set into the frame. . .

And install four brass inserts into the underside of the slab. . .

These are attached to the base in slots that allow for a significant amount of seasonal wood movement.

I also attach thin leather pads along the mating surfaces to minimize any squeaks under normal use.  Hidden adjustable feet also help to stabilize the table regardless of the floor.

I'm very happy with this table, and with its semi-modular construction and easily renewable top, it should serve the customer well through the years.

Categories: General Woodworking

Process Oriented Weightlifting

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 9:55am

Just around six weeks ago I began lifting weights for the first time in nearly ten years. While I’ve always tried to keep myself in decent shape via walking, push-ups, sit-ups etc. This is the first time I’ve adhered to a strict routine in that ten year span. This isn’t a new fad for me; it’s actually something I’ve planned on doing for quite some time, but issues with my lower back had always kept me from starting anything in earnest, and when I was finally ready to begin this past spring, I ended up with a few nagging health issues that weren’t fully resolved until the end of the summer. Here is the funny thing, and here is why I bring this up on a blog post. I’ve strangely come to realize that the disciplines needed to improve physical conditioning are quite similar to those needed for woodworking. More strangely, I’ve found that since I’ve been lifting weights again the itch to begin a new project is becoming greater and greater.

Like woodworking, lifting weights can be quite humbling. I’ve made some real strides in the past six weeks, but just when I think I look like Captain America, I see a seventeen year old kid next to me who actually does look like Captain America. But youth isn’t everything (though I certainly wouldn’t mind being seventeen again). Age has brought experience, and patience. And like woodworking, there are more than a few methods to lifting weights. There are those who lift weights in order to look great, using exercises that isolate individual muscle groups in order to achieve the effect. I, on the other hand, do something called a total body workout. A total body workout is the idea of working all of your muscle groups, from largest to smallest, using exercises that overlap those groups accordingly. I like this method because if done correctly it will yield a greater overall strength, rather than just an appearance of strength.

Twenty+ years ago I could lift weights for a few weeks and look great. I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that looking strong and being strong are two different things. Strictly adhering to a regimen has brought me results that are more lasting, and though they came more slowly, the foundation is much stronger. It turns out that enjoying the process has yielded a greater benefit. Rather than trying to just look like Captain America, I am trying to actually become stronger, and in turn hoping that the end result will have a look that matches the effort. The point of all this being: I’ve found that I want to apply these same principles to woodworking.

I’ve always hated the phrase “Process Oriented Woodworking”. I have to think that most hobby woodworkers already enjoy the process otherwise they wouldn’t be woodworking in the first place. Not only that, enjoying the process does not necessarily make you a better woodworker. In the past three years I’ve built twelve pieces of furniture for my house, which does not include workshop furniture/appliances such as workbenches, tool chests and toolboxes, or the actual tools I’ve made. I’ve also made several built in closets and cupboards. The point being that I’ve made a lot of furniture, and I’ve improved at it greatly, but that improvement is limited to what I’ve been making-I’ve only gotten better at making the same things I’ve been making.

I can build a serviceable book case or table fairly well. I’m not saying it will be museum quality, but it will look nice and will work well in my home; there is something to be said for that. But, I’m planning on starting a new project this weekend, and I don’t know what that project will be. A few months back I picked up the material for an Enfield Cupboard. I am still going to build that cupboard, but I already know that I can. I want to make something that I’ve never made before. I’m going to start small, a pencil box, a desktop book rack, a portable writing desk. But I’m going to challenge myself by using unfamiliar woods, different joinery, maybe even a little inlay work. I’m going to take my time by working on these projects without a schedule. I’m not going to care when I finish, as long as I do finish. I’m going to make the most of the limited time I have to woodwork with. Lifting weights has taught me one important thing-do it correctly, challenge yourself, take your time, don’t settle for mediocrity, and you will improve by default.

In short, I’m going to become a process oriented woodworker, and I’m going to change the definition of what that phrase means.

Categories: General Woodworking

Back to the Workshop: Lee Laird

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 8:00am

With my recent lower back surgeries, I’ve had a decent period of time where I was completely unable to do any woodworking, and while this hopefully doesn’t directly relate to any reader, many will likely have (past or present) life get in the way of our enjoyable pastime.

I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about getting back into the shop. As we all know, with the passing of time, some not so nice things can occur in your shop. Specifically, since many of your tools are probably made from steel or iron, there is a somewhat high probability that Mr. Rust Demon just might have paid you a visit. I know, we all try to do what we can to protect our precious tools, but this is a beast that never rests.

Rusty planes2When I was finally able to get into my shop, the first thing I did was to give my planes a once-over, just to make sure no rust had started to take hold. It is pretty amazing just how fast rust can get a foothold, and even with some of the best preventatives, if some dust can accumulate, there is a great likelihood rust will soon follow. For those that don’t already know, dust seems to absorb moisture directly from the air, and then holds the moisture in close proximity to the metal. Not a good situation.

So, while looking for any potential rust, I was also making sure to remove any dust that was present. I was lucky this time and there were no signs of rust on any of my tools, but there have been times I was not so lucky. We’ve had a very dry period where I live, and this just may have been what saved my tools.

If I find rust, I eradicate it as quickly as possible, since once a tool has rust, it will only spread. The location of the rust dictates how much precision is required during the removal process. For example, if the rust is on the top surface of a plane iron, towards the rear, I can use some fine grit sandpaper, a sanding sponge, a Scotch Brite, or just about anything. This is because nothing references off of this surface, nor will it ever come in contact with any wood. If, on the other hand, I find some rust on the sole of a plane, I would use either some fine-grit sandpaper or a Scotch Brite, making sure to have a perfectly flat granite block, piece of plate glass, or a wing on a table saw or powered jointer as my reference surface. This would allow me to again remove any rust, but also retain the necessary flat nature of the sole. As one additional note, even though I would be working on a known flat surface, I would still need to work slowly and make sure I applied pressure only towards the center of the plane’s sole. It is interesting how something as simple as a little pressure, if it isn’t directed where you need it, will cause quicker removal of material at that location compared to other areas. This is the same concept as when we apply a slight camber to a plane iron, simply by applying additional pressure and strokes to one corner, even though the iron looks to stay in contact across its width.

Another thing I find useful if I haven’t been able to work with my tools in a while, is a re-sharpening. Even though a sharp tool polished with a higher-grit stone will be slow to deteriorate, I’ve found tools that I know I put away razor sharp acting almost like I’d already used them for awhile. Now I’m not talking about going crazy and bringing the full bevel back to 25-degrees and sharpening from there. Just a basic “touch-up”, if you will, so that freshly sharpened behavior is back.

Lastly, if it has been a really long time since you’ve touched a tool, start with an off cut that doesn’t mean anything to you. Basically just get your feel back, since using tools is similar to playing an instrument, and even the best musician will warm up before a recital, even if they play regularly.

I hope these tips will help everyone to enjoy themselves as they get back in the shop.

Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 20 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. and works for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as a show staff member, demonstrating tools and training customers. You can email him at lee@lie-nielsen.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/is9582

The post Back to the Workshop: Lee Laird appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How to Cut a Decorative Bead with a Beading Plane

Wood and Shop - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 3:01am


In the above video I continue the last video & article “How to Cut a Ship Lap Joint with Hand Tools” by showing you how to cut a simple decorative “bead”, with a beading plane, to add shadow and beauty to an otherwise ugly joint line:


Isn’t that an ugly, boring line?


Even though I’ve written a nice hand tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here is a list of tools that I used (or mentioned) in this video:




Beads look great on the lines that separate two boards on drawer & tool chest bottoms, backs of cabinets, and even around door & window trim. In this video I put a bead on the bottom of a tool chest tray:


After sharpening & adjusting your beading molding plane, start cutting on the edge of the decorative side of the ship lap. This decorative bead also looks nice on a tongue & groove joint. Just take a thin shaving (adjust the iron & wedge if it’s too course), and the plane will stop when it bottoms out.


For thinner boards (like the above 1/4″ drawer bottom) you will need to use a smaller beading plane, like this 3/16″ beading plane. You can also use a “hand beader” and even a screw on a board to make a decorative bead! If you want to learn more about beads than you ever thought possible, watch this surprisingly great episode of The Woodwright’s Shop:


Installing Euro Hinges

She Works Wood - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 7:58pm
Here’s a quick blow by blow.
Categories: General Woodworking

Are Traditional Handicrafts Good for Society?

The Literary Workshop Blog - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 7:19pm

A couple weeks ago, in preparation for a talk, carver/turner Robin Wood asked people to comment on this question about traditional handicrafts:

“We can see the benefit to a few craftspeople but can you prove the benefit to the wider community?”

He had over 170 positive answers within a couple of days, and last I checked, it’s up to 285 responses. (You can see the whole thing at his Facebook page.)

Layout Tools 2012 - - 2Although we Americans tend to ask first about the value of things for individuals, Europeans (like Robin Wood and his immediate audience) tend to ask more frequently about social value. Both are important questions. Matthew Crawford, for example, makes a strong case for the value of skilled, manual labor for individuals in his book Shop Class as Soulcraft.

But what about society as a whole? If more individuals in North America began to learn to work with their hands, would our society as a whole tend to flourish? My short answer is, of course, yes. I think that society as a whole benefits from having a lot of people who have the skills to make and repair physical objects.  Or, put negatively, I think our society will suffer if we continue to drain it of people who can shape our physical environment without destroying it.

But that raises a further question: what does it mean to flourish as a society at all? It seems to me our modern economy thrives on consumers who are impatient, greedy, gluttonous, easily manipulated, superficially enthusiastic, imperceptive about quality, and quickly bored—people who value cheap thrills and immediate ease above all else. If a flourishing society is one in which an ever-increasing number of people are living in ever-increasing physical comfort at ever-decreasing prices, then handicrafts really have very little place in a modern society—at least the American one that I live in. Insofar as our economy has any connection to the physical world at all, it is built on low-quality consumer goods that require rapid replacement.

If, however, human flourishing has anything to do with developing a well-ordered soul, then we would do well to cherish and teach traditional handicrafts. These crafts require the craftsperson to be patient and thoughtful, to persevere through difficulty, to notice subtle differences, to pay attention to details, and to value the integrity of the thing itself above the thing’s market value. Learning a craft not only fosters an independent spirit (“I can make it myself.”), but it also unites people in communities of like-minded workers–guilds, as we used to call them.  These communities both set the standards for excellent work and ensure that the skills necessary to meet those standards remain alive and active.   These sorts of communities are also, I think, foundational to civil society. Speaking for myself, I would like to live surrounded by communities of people who are thoughtful, careful, patient, honest, thrifty, and perceptive. I would like to live around more skilled workers.

How about you? Do you know of any examples of that demonstrate the social value (and not just the individual value) of traditional handicrafts?  If so, I’d love to hear your story.

Tagged: community, economy, guild, Matthew Crawford, Robin Wood, Shop Class as Soulcraft, social value, traditional handicrafts

Learn to peen a scythe workshop

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 3:26pm
scythe peening workshopI've just taught the second of two Learn to Peen workshops for the Yorkshire Dales National Park. I've been teaching people how to mow with scythes in the park for a couple of years so it was thought that some specific peening courses would be useful to give some of those people confidence in peening which they could then pass on and spread through the networks we're hoping to build here in the NW. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

What Happened at Popular Woodworking?

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 5:43am
Over the last few years it has become obvious that the values we have for the craft of woodworking, creating and marketing content, and relations with the audience are not shared by the management of Popular Woodworking and its parent … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

What Happened at Popular Woodworking?

Woodworker's Edge - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 5:28am

WoodwerksOver the last few years years, it has become obvious that the values we have for the craft of woodworking, creating and marketing content, and relations with the audience are not shared by the management of Popular Woodworking Magazine and its parent company. When you realize that the boat you’re on isn’t ever going to sail in the direction you want to go, it’s  best to get off. And, as when any relationship comes to an end, the public discussion of the details serves no purpose.

On behalf of myself, Chuck Bender and Bob Lang:

There is enough spin and speculation online regarding our departure to warrant a response. To clarify, we resigned our positions as a team and going forward we will be working  as a team – together. Our decision to leave was not a hasty one, it came after a year and a half of discussing our concerns regarding the brand’s editorial direction and marketing policies with management at all levels of the company. The “restructuring” occurred several months ago, after the departure of Kevin Ireland. While that was a factor, it was not the sole cause.

We have been invited to submit contributions in the future, but none of us has accepted that invitation.

We want to thank each and every one of our readers who have taken the time to express their appreciation for our work. We have decided to move on, and we hope that those who enjoy our work will find the next phase of our careers as interesting and exciting as we do.

We can be found online at 360woodworking.com , and when you visit the site, you’ll have a front row seat as our plans unfold.”

Build Something Great!


Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut