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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

SketchUp Class in Maine, September 8-12, 2014

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:21pm
In a few weeks I’ll be traveling to Maine to teach a week long SketchUp class for woodworkers at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. The class will be held September 8-12, 2014. There are still a few spots open, so … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase IV

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:45am

So, where was I?  That’s right, trying to sort out the details on the joinery on the Craftsman-styled bookcase I’m designing.

I had the overall structure together, and I’d just shortened the through-tenons.  Originally the tenons we about two inches narrower than the bookcase was wide, so they nearly cut the case sides in half.  That would have been an unfortunate moment in the shop when I realized that, right?

So I changed the single wide tenons into two narrower tenons, and that took care of that.  But I still had the niggling concern about the overall strength where the wide pods joined the main unit, and to a lesser extent the strength of the center unit.  Except for the through tenons, the other shelf-to-sidejoinery was just short stub tenons.  And in they configuration, most of the glue area is long grain to end grain, not ideal.  So here is where we left off:

Previous version of the Bookcase

Previous version of the Bookcase

My concern is that there isn’t enough structure to keep the side pods from pulling out of the center unit, the only thing keeping it there are the 3/8″ long stub tenons on the ends of the shelves, back splash and toe kick.  The solution, I think, is to put some mechanical strength into that joint.  The best way I can think of is to substitute a sliding dovetail joint for the stub tenons.

The decision to add this joint gives me loads more confidence in the structure of the design, but it also sets off a small panic attack because it’s not at all forgiving in terms of fit.  If it’s too tight it won’t go together — or worse will seize up during assembly.  If it’s too loose it won’t have the strength it needs.  There can be a lot more slop in a hidden tenon.

So the first thing I did was go look at how people make this joint.  It could be done with hand tools, but I doubt I’ll do it that way.  So the more common approach is to use a dovetail bit in a router to cut the slot and shape the flared tenon.  I looked at bit sizes and found a Whiteside bit that will make a large enough cavity without having to re-set the alignment to cut the groove wider.  When I do this, I’ll remove the bulk of the waste with a straight 5/8″ bit in several passes.  Then I’ll use the dovetail bit just to cut the walls and a shaving off of the floor of the groove.  I drew up a diagram of the joint in 2D to check out the router bit geometry and make sure it will work as I hope.

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I'm using

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I’m using

Once I’d figured out the process (at least the theory of the process) and finished talking myself into this change I updated the CAD model.  I removed the stub tenons on the two middle shelves in the sides and in the center unit, and added the dovetail.  I added the dovetail slot in the case sides and fixed up the model as necessary.  The top and bottom shelves on the side pods still have through twin tenons on one end and stub tenons on the other end.  I could change those to sliding dovetails too, but I don’t think it’s necessary structurally, and the setup would be slightly different because of the stopped rabbet for the back.  I might still change those, I’ve been know to reverse myself on occasion.

This is the view of the back of the unit, with the ship-lapped back removed.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

There are a couple of other “tweaks” to the design too.

The top profile on the back splashes now has an elliptical arc, I think this is a nice improvement.  Ralph (Accidental Woodworker) nudged me in this direction.  It was something I wanted to try, and I’m glad for the shove.  It sorta wakes things up.

The doors are different now too.  I made the stiles and top rail wider by a quarter of an inch, and the bottom rail wider by a full inch.  I think the wider bottom rail is an improvement.  I added hinges and pulls – although I just made these pulls up, I don’t think you can buy them.  I’ll almost certainly having something similar but different (and commercially available).

Version 3 of the Bookcase

Version 3 of the bookcase design

The arc in the top of the back splashes looks more subtle than it is in this view.  In a straight-on view is more apparent I think.  Aesthetically, I don’t think I’m missing anything by omitting the through-tenons on the middle shelves.  I’m feeling pretty good about the overall visual impact and about the structural integrity of the unit.  I don’t think I have any problematic wood movement issues, and except for the sliding dovetails there isn’t anything too concerning in the construction.  The through tenons worry me a bit I guess, that might be fussy.

What’s left in the design?  A few details, mostly.  I want to add pins through the edge of the case sides to lock in the through tenons.  I want to try adding ebony pegs to the doors at the joints.  I want to play with adding  an inlaid design in copper and pewter to the back splashes.  And I need to design the stained glass panels for the doors.  Finally, I need to develop a set of plans that I can take out to the shop too – but that fairly simple since I have the whole think in 3D CAD, it’s just plunking parts on pages and organizing the dimension callouts.

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Closeup showing door pull

Closeup showing door pull


Categories: General Woodworking

“Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far)

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:17am

legdetail1Every month in our Wood News Online publication, we feature Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, who provides a variety of woodworking project ideas, tips, and stories from his own recent experiences in the shop.

In this month’s DTEW column, Steve discusses his illegible handwriting, which started as a child and has never seemed to improve as he has grown older. Unfortunately, this has led to illegible graph paper plans for his current SawStop Outfeed Table project, in which he has ended up with table legs that are too long.

You can find out more about Steve’s SawStop Outfeed Table project, as well as read the entire Down to Earth Woodworking column for August, HERE.

The post “Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far) appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Brusso Hardware

She Works Wood - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:31am
For many of my project I use Bursso hinges/hardware.  Its quality stuff that I got turned on to by Marc at the The Wood Whisperer.  The hardward is substanical quality brass and they even include the proper size steel screws to pre-thread your brass screw holes. A couple weeks ago they sent out a call […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Lawn Mower Blades: HSS, O1, A2, or PM-V11 (No Furniture Content)

The Furniture Record - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:15pm

Before my required weekly appointment with the lawn, I had to do some deferred mower maintenance. It is a self-propelled mower that had lost the self part. It was even hard to push. The teeth on the inner rim of the wheels and been mostly ground off. The bigger problem was the the the remaining tooth stubs would bind up against the drive gear and not propel, self or otherwise. The replacements of the wheels and the dust shields was uneventful. This surprised me.

While the mower was on the bench, I decided to check on the blade. I am ashamed to admit when I removed the blade, I had to stop and try to figure out which edge was supposed to be sharp. I don’t think I had been cutting the grass as much as annoying it.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

As I was sharpening the blade, I started wondering if I would need to sharpened less often (more than two years) if the blades were made out of better steel. High speed steel (HSS) is a good material for general cutting tools but won’t hold an edge as long as other choices. A2 (air-quenched) is a very hard steel that holds an edge longer but is harder to sharpen. O1 (Oil-quenched) is easier to sharpen but doesn’t hold an edge as well. The chromium content of O1 is less than that of A2 steel and will also rust more readily. And finally Lee Valley’s PM-V11, the relatively new powdered metal alloy. Between A2 and O1 in hardness. The claim is that the powered metal is finer grained and more durable and impact resistant. Might be useful in a mower blade. In that Lee Valley already has a gardening line of products, I should be able to talk them into making the blade.

Now some of you engineer types might have issues with my proposed blade improvements. I will attempt to address them all below.

1. Expense – Rough calculations make me think that a high-speed steel blade would be around $300, A2 or O1 around $400 and a PM-V11 close to $500. If I only have to sharpen it every three years it might be worth it. One way to cut costs is to use the old method of laminating an expensive metal edge onto a cheaper blade body. Planes and chisels used to be made this way and I believe that some Japanese tools still are.

2. Brittleness – Harder steels tend to be brittle. One might think that an A2 mower blade hitting a rock at full speed might cause a catastrophic blade failure. I think after five years I have hit all the rocks that there are to hit. One solution might be to again laminate a hard edge on a softer blade. For additional safety, I might want to have a steel mower deck and not an aluminum or plastic one.

Based on the above discussion which steel would you recommend? (My first poll. How exciting!)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

For my second poll, how do you sharpen your your mower blade?

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It is easier to see where you mowed with a sharp blade. On the other hand, it is much easier to see shat you missed with a sharp blade. Now there is that whole oil change issue. I read somewhere that you should change your oil every 3000 miles. I’ve had the mower six years and even counting the year I had to mow the lawn of the house we owned and lived in and the house we owned and didn’t live in, I don’t think I have 3000 miles on it. If you believe the Car Talk guys, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi), I should be able to get 5000 to 7500 miles between changes. It will be interesting to see if the engine fails before scheduled service.

Air filter wasn’t that bad. When I blew and banged it a bit, I could see the paper pleats.

Next, back to furniture.

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase III

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 7:23pm

First, thanks to folks that pointed out potential issues with the previous version of the bookcase design.  The key concern so far was around the length of the through tenons.    While I’ve seen other cases built this way, I can see it seriously weakening the case sides.  So, here is the previous version for comparison first:

First complete version of the bookcase, with long through tenons

First complete version of the bookcase, with long through tenons

I decided to make some changes to address this.  First all of the through tenons were made into split tenons.  3″ wide on the main case and 2.5″ wide on the side pods.  Between the twin tenons is a 3/8″ long stub tenon that fits into a groove in the case sides.

Twin through tenons with a stub tenon and shallow dado

Twin through tenons with a stub tenon and shallow dado

On the opposite side of the through tenons there is just a wide stub tenon and matching dado in the inner case side.  This means less of the sides is removed for the joinery.  I’m on the fence about whether 3/8″ is long enough for the stub tenon on the sides without a though tenon.  Maybe that should be a half inch or even 5/8″?  It’s a balance I guess, between glue surface and side strength.  My gut feel is to increase in on the inner sides to a half inch.

3/8" stub tenons join to the inner case sides.  The same from the long shelves into the sides.

3/8″ stub tenons join to the inner case sides. The same from the long shelves into the sides.

I also made the back splashes taller, I like that better than the shorter version.  And I removed the through tenons on those parts.  I don’t think it added anything visually, and it’s one less visible joint that could show problems.

So, here is the second version.  It’s better I think.  The back splashes might be a tiny bit too tall, but I could go either way.  I’m concerned about the strength of the stub tenons into the case sides — in particular the short side shelves into the center case sides.  There isn’t much glue area there, and it’s mostly end grain on one side of the joint.  I might need to think about that a little more.  I could make it deeper, maybe with twin tenons that went quite deep into the sides.  I could thing about a sliding dovetail joint (but that seems like it would really complicate matters).  I’m open to suggestions on that joint.  Pocket screws? (kidding).

The more I think about it, the more I’m convincing myself that I should change the joinery once more.  Through tenons on the top and bottom shelves, and sliding dovetails on the middle two shelves in each unit.  That will lock the units together mechanically and there won’t be any reliance on glue strength for the overall structural integrity of the piece.

Version 2 of the Bookcase, with improved joinery and some small refinements

Version 2 of the Bookcase, with improved joinery and some small refinements

Categories: General Woodworking

a debt

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:14am

CW 3


I spend a lot of time thinking about connections and chronologies. If you have read my blog much, you know that most of my woodworking connections came through one place, and in that place one family; Country Workshops, and Drew & Louise Langsner. I have been made to feel a part of their family since the early-to-mid-1980s, when I became a regular student at the workshops there. In 1988, I spent several months living with them and their daughter Naomi, who was then about the age my kids are now, 8-9 years old. We’ve been connected ever since.


A big shock came through last weekend, when Drew & Louise’s new son-in-law, 32-year-old Teo Reha was killed in a logging accident in western North Carolina. It’s heartbreaking news; Naomi & Teo had just moved back to the Langsner farm last fall, and set up the old cabin there as their home. They got married on the farm in June. I saw Naomi last summer for the first time in many, many years, and we chatted about when she was a kid, how much she was looking forward to coming back home – that sort of thing.

Louise sent a couple of notes about the burial – it sounded amazing.

“Hello, Peter. We had a very beautiful burial today, up on our pasture looking out over the mountains. All of our friends have been super supportive and giving. Teo’s friends dug the grave and were here to tell stories and make us laugh. Naomi is surrounded by her women friends. Her [biological] mother Kay has been here with her constantly to give guidance and ceremony. It is an incredible feeling to know we are part of such a strong web of friendship and community. It is a terribly painful time. We all had so many dreams of how we would grow old together. It has been especially wonderful to get to know both Naomi and Teo’s friends better and to know they will continue to be part of our lives. Curtis [Buchanan] came and pulled weeds in the garden and returned to build the coffin. It meant so much to us. ..There are no words.

I have never met Teo, so again I’ll let Louise’s words do the job:

“about Teo. He loved his job and was very good at it. He and his boss Joe had a dream of helping people log sustainably and helping the forest be more healthy. He loved poetry and explosives, hunting and animals. He was dedicated to the land and forests, family, community, and most of all Naomi. We only knew the tip of the iceberg of this young man, and even that was larger than life. Our friends are carrying us through this, but it is unbelievably painful. Love to you and your dear family. Louise”

I asked the Langsners if I could write something here on the blog; and Louise said yes. They have given so much to our woodworking community over the years, if you were ever there, then you know how much of themselves they put into Country Workshops. I’m back here in Massachusetts right now, but my thoughts are with my friends back on that North Carolina mountain.

Beyond that, all of us are in debt to a logger somewhere. Every stick of wood that hits our benches, lathes, shaving horses or laps; a logger, either amatuer or professional, felled the tree. Let’s all keep them in mind, and hope for their safety as they carry out this very dangerous occupation which we all rely on so much. To us, they are all but invisible, but they have names, families and loved ones out there.

Love to Naomi, Drew & Louise, from Peter, Maureen. Rose & Daniel

Updating my Logo

She Works Wood - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:16am
I’m updating my logo from my hand drawn logo to a logo done by a graphic designer.  What ya think? Better?  Is it easy to tell tha the tool in the picutue is a rasp?
Categories: General Woodworking

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase II

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:38am

A couple of days ago I start working on designing a bookcase for for the guest room in our house.  I’ve done a couple of other projects for that room and we really just need this bookcase to finish it off.

The design brief looks like this:  The finished bookcase has to be wider than it is tall, roughly five feet wide by maybe three and a half feet tall.  It will be made from Quartersawn White Oak and finished with the same regimen as the cabinet and sconces I made so it matches in color.  The style should tend toward “mission” or “craftsman” within the Arts & Crafts genre.  I’m generally fixated on Greene & Greene these days, but this works too.  For myself I want to incorporate some stained glass work, and it’s important to me that this be more than a rectangle with shelves and mission-y details.

In the previous post I started by laying out a 2D drawing of the rough proportions first, then building up the initial components and assembling them in SolidWorks.  I ran into a couple of problems, neither were insurmountable, but I ran out of time to go through the model and make all of the requisite changes.  I won’t rehash all of the specifics, but the main problems were around how to fit the back and clearance issues with the side pods and not having enough room to fit everything.

I’ve solved both problems.  For the back — for now — I’m going with a solid wood ship-lapped back.  I changed the width of the staves for a little more visual interest.  They will be screwed into a rebate on the back of the case and into each shelf, which should lock everything together reasonably well.

For the side pods I made them deeper by an inch and shortened the length of the mortises, moving them further back from the edges of the case sides.  This gave me (barely) enough room to inset the middle shelves and door.  I also chased down several other “bugs” in the model, so this is probably close enough to reality that I could build it.

Version one of the bookcase

Now that I have the basic “bones” in place I can start playing with the details to develop a better feel for it.  I’ve already tweaked a few things, for example I removed the through tenons on the toe kicks, I decided that didn’t add anything and it felt inconstant to have them on the side pods but not the center unit.  And adding through tenons on the ends of the toe kick on the center unit would be visually messy with the side pods.

I want to play with the height and shape of the backsplash components, explore different options for the case back, add hinges, door pulls and of course figure out the stained glass design for the doors.  I’ve got another several hours of CAD-hackery to go before I’m ready to decide it’s ready for construction — and then the real work begins.

I’m worried about getting the wide Quaretrsawn White Oak for the project though.  Usually when I see this material it’s in narrower widths.  I can certainly glue up narrow bits to make wider pieces, but for the sides and top shelves at least I really want solid wide boards with some dramatic ray fleck figure.

Realistically I’m at least a week from being able to start on it as I need to finish the Thorsen House Cabinet first.  The woodwork on that cabinet is 99% done, there are just a few details to complete, finishing and making the stained glass for the door.  I’m really eager to see that one come together.

Categories: General Woodworking

New Shop Toy

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:07am

Got a new toy in the shop and no, it’s not Festool.  Let me tell you about it.

Twenty five years or so ago, I designed sewage lift stations for land developers. One day a salesperson came by with a demonstration pump on a small trailer behind his truck.  All the trailer sides rolled up so we could walk around the pump and get a feel for size and installation issues.  I remember standing there with the distinct impression the pump was running, but there was no electrical connection or generator.  I could hear it running and feel the vibration through the floor of the trailer.  No sewage either, thank goodness.  (It may be sewage to you, but it’s bread and butter to me!)  I searched for a minute to see where the noise and vibration was coming from, and finally realized it was from a Bose radio down in the front of the  trailer playing a recording of a pump running.  I have wanted a Bose radio ever since.

Bose Shop Radio

Bose Shop Radio

Finally sprung for one for my birthday last week.  I ordered the attachment for Bluetooth to go with it.  What that means for you Luddites out there, is that I can play music off my phone and my iPad and it comes through the radio.  It is a radio of course, but it will also play CD’s.  The sound is nothing short of fantastic and will rattle the walls of the shop.  It will drown out almost any power tool in the shop and it may drive bugs out of the sawdust pile, depending on what kind of music I play and how loud I make it.

I spend many hours at the lathe and I can hear my new radio while I am working.  I also listen to podcasts, (look on iTunes — ask your grandchildren to help you! )  and there is one particular podcast I really like called “Stuff You Missed in History Class”.  Excellent discussions on some really arcane subjects (did you know that only five people actually died at the Boston Massacre?), but very well done.  Podcasts typically download automatically once you subscribe and there are thousands out there on hundreds of subjects including many on woodworking.

Get yourself set up with a good radio or a Bluetooth speaker and enjoy music and a whole bunch of other good stuff while you work in the shop.

While you are out there, by the way, go look up Bluetooth and the connection with Hedy Lamar, the famous actress.  What a remarkable woman.

Editor’s Note: Some great woodworking podcasts include: Wood Talk and The Modern Woodworkers Association

The post New Shop Toy appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Best Traditional Woodworking Books & DVDs: “The Handplane Book”

Wood and Shop - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 3:01am


In the above video I share another one of my absolute favorite books about traditional woodworking: “The Handplane Book” by Garrett Hack.


I hesitated to buy this book because I thought it would just be a small book about someone’s handplane collection, but I finally decided to order it online. I was wrong about this book being slim on information. This book is exceptional and very helpful.


Not only does the book have beautiful photographs of historical and modern handplanes, but it also shares the history of handplanes, and more importantly how to refurbish, sharpen, tune, and use handplanes.


It’s also a fantastic reference book to help you identify plane types and characteristics. There are approximately 250 pages of very useful information on handplanes. I know, I know. I sound like a tool geek recommending a 250 page book on handplanes. But when you get interested in traditional woodworking, you devour anything you can get on hand tools. And this book is well written and keeps my attention. It’s hard to put this book down!


You can purchase this title here:





Veritas Planing Stop (Or, Some Tasty Crow)

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 5:56pm

I scoffed a few months back when I opened a box from Lee Valley Tools in which was enclosed a 17-1/2″ Veritas Planing Stop. It’s a thin stick of aluminum with two steel posts that drop into dog holes. I could see how it would be handy, but hey – we’ve got garbage cans full of offcuts (the dumpster is sooooo far away); an offcut clamped across the bench (or […]

The post Veritas Planing Stop (Or, Some Tasty Crow) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

New “Favorite Project”: Greene & Greene Sconce

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:41am

I’ve been meaning to add all of my completed projects to my “Favorite Projects” archive, and I finally got around to adding the “Blacker House Sconce” today.

You can find this under the “Favorite Projects” menu at the top of the page.

Stained Glass for G&G Sconces

Stained Glass for G&G Sconces

Categories: General Woodworking

Solar Beeswax Melter Processing

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:43am

I’ve been able to build up my inventory of raw beeswax enough to begin planning for processing it by the boat load for sale as 1/4 lb blocks, and to use in the making of Mel’s Wax.  In the past I’ve done processing with a variety of electrical cookers, CrockPots and the like, but I wanted to try something else.


Following the copious information on the internet — and if it is on the internet it MUST be true — early last week I built a fairly typical solar oven to give it a try.  Using some of the scrap 3″ XPS rigid foam insulation I’ve got laying around along with a glass panel from a long-dead storm door and some construction adhesive, I built a prototype to give it a try and see if it worked.

Boy howdy, did it ever work.

I took my remote sensor for the thermometer (it’s the unit I place out in the unheated part of the barn to tell me when I am inside the heated part how cold it is “out there”) and placed it inside the solar oven.  Before long the interior temperatures were 130F, 140F, 150F.  I set up a wax batch and it melted in less than 90 minutes, not a whole lot slower than I would get starting from cold with a Crock Pot.  Plus, since the entire volume is at the same temperature the wax flows through the filter much more easily.

I filtered the raw wax through metal window screen to get out the bug parts then a disposable shop towel for tiny particulates, and let it drip into a pan of water to dissolve out any remaining honey or propolis.  The resulting wax is beautiful, ready for remelting and casting into rubber molds.


Last Tuesday the sun was bright and mostly uninterrupted.  My peak temp was 162F, which was hot enough to not only melt the wax easily but also melt the case of the sensor unit and actually the solar oven began to melt itself!  Clearly the XPS was not the ultimate answer.


I grabbed some 2″ foil faced polyurethane sheet insulation and built another one.  That should do it.  If not, I’ll switch to foil faced fiberboard insulation, but the idea is definitely solid.  From now on I expect that every bright sunny day will find the solar wax purifier hard at work.

Now I just have to wait for a warm sunny day.  It’s been grey and cold(!) the last several days, but I have hope for this afternoon.

Stay tuned.

I’m not even done with this year, but onto next already…

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:46am


New box, July 2012

You’ll recall that I was Schwarz’d not too long ago. Also quit my day job – so I have been (thankfully) deluged with teaching offers for 2015. I’m working on sorting out the schedule now, and will know much of it pretty soon.

One that’s mostly nailed down right now is a carved box class in England – with the New English Workshop folks – Derek Jones and Paul Mayon.


I’m not sure of the exact dates and specifics; but July is the month. They tell me there’s 5 spots taken already. Get a hold of them if you’re inclined. Me, I can’t wait. I haven’t been to England since 2005. Hope to see some oak carvings…

Here’s the details, such as they are.


You might remember Chris Schwarz writing about this new program over there – Derek and Paul are bringing several American woodworkers over there. Chris will be back..among others. Stay tuned for more.

More Drawer Progress

She Works Wood - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 7:40am
I’m always surprised how much time things take.  The drawers have taken a surprising amount fiddling and fitting.  But they’re done and ready for fronts.
Categories: General Woodworking

Spider Table

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:00am

Probably fifteen or more years ago I got “revved up” on woodworking, went out and bought a bunch of power tools while at a woodworking show.  I’d done wood shop in junior high, and felt invincible.  I also had a credit card with no balance and had visions of building a house full of furniture.

I made a couple of pieces, but my vision and focus were out of alignment with my skills.  I didn’t have any hand tool chops, and after six or eight projects I got distracted with a customized Studebaker pickup project and later starting and growing a chopper parts business.

Custom Studebaker - Chopped 4", Sectioned 6", Caddy 500 motor, independent front suspension...  One of these days I'll get back to work on this project.

Custom Studebaker – Chopped 4″, Sectioned 6″, Caddy 500 motor, independent front suspension… One of these days I’ll get back to work on this project.

One of the projects I completed was this table, affectionately known as the “Spider Table”.  I drew this out old-school using a t-square, french curves and a compass.  I was keen to play with figured woods, and decided to use a combination of Birdseye, Tiger and Western Quilted Maple.  I added the Bloodwood banding by laminating it between two other pieces of Birdseye Maple, and decided to have a looser arc for the banding than for the bottom of the skirt.

The once-fabulous "spider table"

The once-fabulous “spider table”

This table has served yeoman duty in our living room ever since.  We get an unholy amount of sun and heat in that room with large windows, two sliding glass doors and a southern exposure.  Even though I waxed the top periodically it was scratched, faded and even worse cupped.  The metal z-clips had worked loose so the top was loose on the base.

Long story short, it had seen better days.

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8" of light under the straightedge...

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8″ of light under the straightedge…

So I dragged it out to the shop and pulled the top the rest of the way off.  The original finish was plain Watco Danish Oil, and held up just fine on the bottom.  Even the legs seem OK.

Bottom of the top showing the original finish

Bottom of the top showing the original finish

I broke out my orbital sander with some 120 grit and sanded both the top and bottom, and hand sanded the edges.  My goal is to remove the staines and scratches on the top, and remove enough of the finish on the bottom to open up the pores.  I’m going to try and straighten out the cup in the top, but first I think I need the wood to be able to breathe a little…

Starting to sand the top to remove the coffee stains and gouges.

Starting to sand the top to remove the coffee stains and gouges.

After sanding it I sprayed both sides with water, I tried to soak the top in particular.  I noticed that if I lay a board on the garage floor it will invariably cup away from the floor.  If I flip it over it will reverse itself.  I used this trick to straighten out a severe cup in the lower shelf on the Thorsen Table, so I figured I’d try it again.

Top saturated with water to try to reverse the cupping.

Top saturated with water to try to reverse the cupping.

My guess about how this works (and why the top is cupped in the first place) is uneven drying between the top and the bottom.  So I hope by wetting the board and keeping the cupped side down on the cool garage floor is will start to reverse the damage.  I’m going to leave it for 24 hours like this and check it.  Hang on, I’ll start the clock now…

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor.  I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor. I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

…ok, I just checked it after 24 hours.  It seems to have moved a tiny bit, but it’s no where near flat yet.  So, another spritz of water, and back on the garage floor for another day.  If it took 15 years to warp this might not work as well as I’m hoping.  I’ll give a couple of days and see where it ends up.

If I can’t get it to flatten out, I’ll have to live with it as-is.  My thinking is that I’ll sand the whole thing — only lightly on the base, then hit it with Linseed Oil and a Shellac top coat.  If it was bare wood I might consider using a very light dye to bring out the figure, but I’m trying to keep it simple and just put this table back in service.


Categories: General Woodworking

Tweaking Greene & Greene

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:24pm

We had Darrell Peart in our shop a few weeks back to shoot a video, and though I was planning to write about it once the DVD was available, I certainly can’t describe it better than Darrell! (Though I will say what an honor and pleasure it was to have him visiting us for several days.) So, we invited Darrell to share his thoughts on the “Rafter Tail Table” here […]

The post Tweaking Greene & Greene appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Leave it to the Woodwright

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:15pm

It quickly became apparent that we needed to hustle if we were to get anywhere in this class. Roy found a way to speed things up.


The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 3:25pm

I haven’t woodworked in quite a while, therefore I haven’t written a blog post about woodworking for some time either. Yet, life can be strange sometimes, and a friend of mine I hadn’t spoken with in some time called me over the weekend. The first words out of his mouth were “Why are you reading the Anarchists Cookbook!?” I told him that I never read it. Long story short, his wife happened across a review I wrote on Amazon some time ago and misread the title. “It’s a woodworking book.” I said to him. His words after were to the effect “What the F#$% is it about?” I didn’t get into it because I didn’t care to, I had things to do.

Anyway, I don’t believe in Anarchy in any form, big or tiny. The way I look at it: I have a job; I pay taxes, I use the roads, my garbage is picked up once a week, my daughter goes to public school, I have a cell phone, my wife has a cell phone, I have internet service and cable television, I drive a car, my wife drives a car etc. Most anarchists in the woodworking sense, and maybe everywhere else, claim that they are only against big government and large corporations. I say to that: Do you send your kid to school, own a cell phone, own a computer, a car, a house, turn on a table lamp, been to a hospital, have insurance of any kind, put gas in your car, drive on a paved road, eat anything from a supermarket, turn on the water to take a shower or get a drink or cook with? Do you have internet service? Do you have cable television? Have you ever been to a library? Have you ever been to a shopping mall? Do you have electricity in your house? Do you brush your teeth? Do you wash your hair with shampoo? Have you ever taken an aspirin? Have you ever used a paper napkin? Do you drink coffee? Tea? Have you ever flown in an airplane? Have you ever called the fire department or the police department? Did you go to college? Do you own a pair of shoes? Socks? A watch? A hair brush? Have you ever purchased anything that was shipped by rail, plane, truck, or boat? Have you ever been to the Outback Steakhouse? Arby’s? Wendy’s? McDonalds? Have you ever bought dish detergent? Do you have a sink and toilet in your house? Windows? Do you have a furnace? Receptacles and wall plates? Light switches? Do you have band aids in your medicine cabinet? Do you wash your clothes in a washing machine? Do you sleep on a mattress? Have you ever eaten a banana???

I think the vast majority of Americans would answer yes to most of those questions, if not all of them. I think the vast amount of woodworkers, would-be anarchists or not, would likely answer yes to most of those questions, too. If you did answer yes to just about any one of those questions, you have either benefitted from a large government, or supported a large corporation. Now, the would-be anarchist may claim that even though he answers yes to a lot of those questions, it doesn’t mean he has to like it or agree with it, but he is forced to because big government and large corporations control everything. Maybe, but I contend that there is not one item on that short list of questions I put up that is absolutely needed for survival and nearly every one of them can be chalked up to creature comforts. You don’t need running water, or a cell phone or computer or internet service. You don’t need a washing machine or soap. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that just about every item on that list was virtually non existent and the human race managed to go on and survive. So if you answered yes to any one of those questions you aren’t an anarchist, not even a tiny little atom sized fraction of one. Because if you did answer yes you supported a large corporation and you benefitted from the very government that you think is way too bloated and evil to do you any good.

Do governments and large organizations do some rotten things? Sure, sometimes. But so do small groups. I can start that list off with the Nazi party, or how about the Manson Family? Does one man’s really horrible idea make it any less horrible because only one person thought of it? Are only large groups capable of messing up? Maybe the larger the group the larger the mess up? Possibly, but definitely not a guarantee. Governments can be messed up, and individuals can be messed up, because the largest corporation on Earth is made up of a lot of individual people, and people are flawed, and because people are flawed every political, or non political ideology is doomed to failure. If not failure, then at least doomed to never live up to its promises.

So that’s why I’m not an anarchist, and that’s why I believe the vast majority (99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999%) of the country aren’t anarchists either.

Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut