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Updated: 10 min 16 sec ago

Product Video: European Workbench

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 8:00am

If you’ve been looking for an affordable workbench to take your shop to the next level, look no further than the European Workbench, available at Highland Woodworking.

In the video below, Morton shows off the diverse capabilities of the European Workbench.

The post Product Video: European Workbench appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Turning Pain into Passion with Woodworking

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 7:00am

Editor’s Note: This heartfelt story was submitted by Lynda Cheldelin Fell, the wife of one of our customers. The moment we read it, we knew it needed to be shared with the rest of our woodworking community! 

In 2009, our 15-year-old daughter, Aly, a competitive swimmer and straight-A student, was tragically killed in a car accident while returning home from a swim meet.

Overcome with grief, my dear sweet husband, Jamie, buried his heartache. Managing commercial development projects, he escaped into 80-hour work weeks, more wine, more food, and less talking. His blood pressure shot up, his cholesterol went off the chart, and the perfect storm arrived on June 4, 2012.

Just minutes after we returned home from town, Jamie began drooling. A strange look came over his face. I asked if he was okay, but no words came. He couldn’t answer.

My soulmate and hero, my strong adorable, funny, brilliant partner in life, father of our children, and rock of my world was having a major stroke. At age 46, he was suddenly unable to speak, read, write, or walk. My world had come to a complete standstill.

Jamie was hospitalized for 17 days. When he finally came home, we faced an uncertain future of outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapies to help Jamie relearn activities of daily living. Our days became filled with appointment after appointment with catnaps in between.

Little by little, Jamie’s hard work and determination paid off. He graduated from the wheelchair to a walker to a cane to solid footing. He relearned how to feed himself, bathe, pour a glass of water, and change his shirt.

It’s been five years now since the devastating stroke that robbed us of so much. Although Jamie has regained mobility, his entire right side remains numb. The speech center in his brain, which was destroyed by the stroke, is permanently affected. But his mind remains keen, and his intelligence isn’t wasted. He keeps it active by puttering around in his workshop—a workshop that once sat neglected due to an overworked scheduled. Now with nothing but time on his hands, my dear sweet hubby turns his pain into passion by making beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts for family and friends.

Slow moving and frequent rest periods prevent Jamie from making gifts as gainful employment, but delighting others with his woodworking brings joy to his day. A natural craftsman at heart, his attention to detail is unparalleled, and it’s evident that everything he creates with his hands comes right from his heart.

The American flag table below was a wedding gift to our niece. It took Jamie nearly a year, but his patience and determination produced a wedding gift unlike any other. A second American flag table is now underway for another newlywed niece.

Through losing our daughter and Jamie’s devastating stroke, his workshop has become a symbol of our own personal silver lining: what once sat neglected due to an overworked schedule is now a source of pride and joy—and serves as a powerful reminder that obstacles are often opportunities in disguise.

The post Turning Pain into Passion with Woodworking appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Tormek T-4 Sharpening System

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 8:00am

Are you thinking of upgrading the sharpening in your shop, but don’t want to break the bank? Consider the Tormek T-4 Sharpening System, available at Highland.

And for a limited time, you can get the Bushcraft Limited Edition T-4, that includes a $40 Knife Jig, $20 Axe Jig and a $49 Mora Kansbol knife, all for $425 while limited supplies last (a $93 net savings!)

In the video below, Steve Johnson takes a closer look at the Tormek T-4, walking us through the new sharpening process he has adopted for his shop.

The post Product Video: Tormek T-4 Sharpening System appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworking Projects: Builder Boards made from Recycled Plywood

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 8:00am


In the October 2017 issue of Wood News, Jack McKee shares a wonderful design he created for a set of ‘Builder Boards’, a great tool to inspire a kid’s imagination.

Years ago, when I was working at a Montessori school, I designed a set of notched boards that kids can use to build their own playhouse, or even better, as children taught me later, to build from their own imagination. There was quite a bit of interest so I wrote up a set of plans and called them Builder Boards.

Click to read how Jack developed the design for Builder Boards and how you can create a set too!

You can also purchase Jack’s book on how to make your own set of Builder Boards.

The post Woodworking Projects: Builder Boards made from Recycled Plywood appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

POLL: Where Do You Get Your Wood?

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:00am

The dairy farm I grew up on was pretty self-sufficient.

We grew most of what we ate, from meat to grain to vegetables and, of course, milk and butter.

We grew much of what the cows ate, too.

My Uncle Sam, and his two brothers Bee and Charles, milked separately but farmed together. Their homes were within a mile of each other. Combined, their herds ran about 100 head.

There was plenty of rich, bottomland pasture to graze the cattle on grass in the spring, summer and fall. But, come winter, the only way milk production could be maintained was to supplement. That meant we spent much of the spring and summer growing corn and sorghum to turn into silage in the fall. (Uncle Sam used to love to joke that Yankees called it ensilage.)

We had two in-ground silos and three trailers to move the fresh-cut vegetation from the field to storage.

Think we bought those trailers?

Think again. Think self-sufficiency. Back in those days the only “treated lumber” was creosote-infused. Not only would creosote have been toxic to the cows, we probably couldn’t have afforded it anyway.

Thus, the wood on the trailers had to be replaced periodically. The acids and sugars in the silage took their toll. To get the lumber, the brothers would take a day off, select the best trailer, hitch it behind one of the pickups, and amble off to a sawmill in the middle Mississippi, Big Black River swamp. If I was lucky, one of my friends got to go along. On the first of these trips I made, Junior Cain, a neighbor kid from down the road came along.

We rode in the bed of the pickup. No one thought that was dangerous then, and we never got hurt. On the back roads we sat on the lowered tailgate, big clay gravel rocks banging into our feet. We thought it was great. And completely normal.

The brothers would negotiate their best price for a certain amount of wood, load it into the trailer, and back home we would go.

But, what are you going to do with two little kids while the negotiating and sawing were going on? Why, do what grownups did with kids in those days: cut them loose to their own devices.

And, by “devices,” I don’t mean iPads.

The swamp sawmills had massive six-foot diameter circular saw blades and conveyor belts that piled the sawdust into mountains. And, what kid doesn’t like to climb a mountain?

Junior and I climbed to the top, rolled to the bottom and repeated dozens of times. We had sawdust chips in body parts where the sun didn’t shine. We were a mess, but the grownups didn’t care. We were in the bed of the truck, remember?

All that fun was a fond memory until, a couple of days later, I began to scratch. I was itchy on my head. I was itchy on my toes. And, I was itchy everywhere in between.

Everywhere.

Imagine the embarrassment of a just-prepubescent boy having his Aunt Polly put calamine lotion on every part of his body.

All that swamp sawmill lumber had been gift-wrapped in poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, and maybe some poisonous plants that hadn’t been named yet. Everything went into the sawdust, of course. And inside our clothes and shoes.

However, an interesting thing happened. I became hyposensitized to all those plants. I could go into the backyard right now, pull poison ivy off the trees with my bare hands and never react.

There’s another thing I remember about that sawmill lumber. It was hard! Even in later years, when I had good coordination and experience driving nails, I would still bend half of the spikes I hammered. I never knew what species went into those trailers, but I’m guessing the sawyers cut whatever got in their way: oak, hickory, cypress.

Whatever it was, it was sturdy, and lasted for years, even under the heavy use of farm life.

What would we furniture builders give to have some of that wide, old-growth lumber today?

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Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post POLL: Where Do You Get Your Wood? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Cleaning Paint Brushes – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – October 2017 – Tip #2

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:00am

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.

Years ago a painter gave me some really good advice. We were discussing cleaning paint brushes and I asked him about water temperature. His advice was, “warm is fine, but never let hot water hit the bristles.” I have been amazed ever since at the difference it makes using warm water to clean brushes, compared to cold water. A gentle stroking with a hand scrubber is good for persistent, dried paint.

Stubborn, dried paint comes off easily with soap, warm water, and a few strokes of a semi-stiff brush, but always go with the bristles.

Another tip: Make that final rinse with an outdoor garden hose. It will blast away any remaining soap.

If you have used an oil-based finish, and have cleaned the brush in solvent, wash it at least two more times with soap and warm water. Alan Noel says “lather it up, rinse and repeat until the lather is absolutely snow white.”

Then hit it with the hose, always in the direction of the bristles, never against them. I like to use the highest volume setting on the wand head. On the wand pictured, that’s shown as “bucket filler.” That setting provides a lot of water without the blasting action of one of the jet settings.

This wand’s maximum volume setting is called “bucket filler.” A jet-like setting will provide more force, but you want a lot of water flow to wash the soap away and still be gentle.

After your last rinse, slap the brush against your fanned-open fingers to dislodge as much remaining water as possible.

Spread your fingers as far as you can, then slap the brush back and forth, removing as much water as possible. Afterward, gently shape the bristles again.

Brush manufacturers advise us to save the packaging our fine brushes come in. Storing them in the original packaging helps them retain their proper shape and keeps the edge bristles from developing “flyaway hair.” Heaven forbid!

Original packaging will always be a perfect fit for storing good paint brushes.

To make their storage a little tighter and enforce the shape, I first wrap a little used paper towel around the brush. It helps with absorption and drying, also.

If you don’t have the original package, wrap the paper towel around, then keep the towel closed with painter’s tape. Always store brushes vertically, business end down. Standing a brush on its head sends water into the ferrule, where it will eventually cause corrosion and brush failure.

This older brush still needs help keeping its shape, but it didn’t come in a nice package. We’ve supplemented its support with some paper towel and blue tape

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Cleaning Paint Brushes – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – October 2017 – Tip #2 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Paint Can Lids – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – October 2017 – Tip #1

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 7:00am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

When you open a can of paint there is always paint on the lid. Some of that paint is usable. If you wash the lid of your paint can each time you open it, all of the paint will be usable.

And, I mean, wash it thoroughly. Doing so will allow you to use it as a palette, which is especially useful for small projects.

I put an entire coat on this stool with just the paint inside the lid.

And for tightwads like me, who cannot stand to allow anything to go to waste, it’s a good feeling, like putting a little money in the bank.

If you use all of the paint on the lid and have more painting to do, give the lid a quick rinse or immerse it in water to prevent the paint from drying before you get to cleaning it.

Wash the lid when you wash your brush. Take Steve Johnson’s advice and don’t use the kitchen sink for washing brushes! When you’re ready for definitive cleaning, scrub that baby with a stiff brush and soap. Tap it back onto the can firmly. Speaking of which, cleaning the lid will make it easier to remove next time!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Paint Can Lids – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – October 2017 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Hofmann and Hammer Workbenches

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 8:00am

Are you thinking of upgrading the workbench in your shop? Consider the Hofmann & Hammer line of workbenches, available at Highland.

In the video below, Mike Morton takes a closer look at all of the models of the Hofmann and Hammer premium German workbenches. Take a look and figure out which one would fit best in your workshop!

The post Product Video: Hofmann and Hammer Workbenches appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Festool Abrasive Mnemonics

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 7:46am

To help us remember the dizzying array of Festool Abrasives, Steven Johnson has given us a mnemonics lesson using word association. Click here to watch the video he made.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “mnemonic” as (noun) “assisting or intended to assist memory.” As an example, they give, “To distinguish “principal” from “principle” use the mnemonic aid “the principal is your pal.”’

I used it just the other day. I wanted to order some paper for my new Festool RO-90 that switches from delta sander to 90mm round random orbit sander, and Rubin2 was the first example that popped up in the 120 grit I wanted. I thought about Steve’s video for a minute, and said, “No, what I want is ‘general, gray,’” which helped me remember it was Granat that I needed, not Rubin2. A couple more clicks on HighlandWoodworking.com and I was on the right paper.

With that in mind, I asked Steve if I could publish a written form of his memory tool that you and I could print out and nail to our shop walls, or laminate and store with our sandpaper supplies. He said OK, so here it is.

Granat: “General-gray-blue color.” Steve says if you can buy only one Festool abrasive, Granat may be your go-to general sandpaper. It’s good on bare wood and finished wood and is supplied in extra-coarse to extremely fine (40 to 1500).

Rubin2: “Raw wood, russet potato red.” It has a special coating that sheds raw wood fibers. It is available from coarse to extra fine (40-220).

Brilliant2: “Between finish coats, beige.” Anti-static coating that works well sanding paints, fillers, varnishes, lacquers, shellac even water-based finishes. Its surface won’t load up or “corn” as some papers do with finish materials. Coarse to fine (40-180).

Vlies (pronounced like “fleece”): “Clean, scour, scuff and polish.” Steve says it’s thick, like a pot-scrubbing pad. Good for applying paste wax on equipment. Clean, scour, scuff, sand, polish, smooth out irregular surfaces. It doesn’t have dust extractor holes, but dust goes right through it. Grits are A100 to A800, polishing green and fine polishing white.

Saphir: “Shaping or stripping.” Aggressive, super-coarse to coarse grits. Removes a lot of material quickly. Grits 24-80.

Platin2: “Premium polishing pad.” Foam-backed for high gloss finishes, pumice and rottenstone. Used extensively in the auto industry, but Steve has used it on an ebony project. Grits range from S400 to S4000.

Titan2: “Tucks in” to curves and contours. Solid surfaces, couple with super-flexible latex backer. Steve says use it t polish your Bentley.

Find out more and purchase Festool Abrasives at Highland Woodworking!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Festool Abrasive Mnemonics appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Festool Heaven: Which Festool Should You Buy First?

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 8:00am

For this month’s issue of Festool Heaven, we asked Steve Johnson which Festool he would recommend for a friend if they had never owned a Festool product before. He said the question sounded strange at first, but after thinking about it awhile, he came up with a surprising answer.

Click here to read Steve’s recommendation

The post Festool Heaven: Which Festool Should You Buy First? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 8:00am

Improve the Comfort in Your Shop with the Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware!

In this video, Guy Dunlap explains how the new Benchcrafted Hi Vise hardware can dramatically improve your approach to carving tasks, cutting and paring dovetails or any detail work, allowing greater control. Guy also reviews the easy installation of this valuable addition to your shop.

Find out more and purchase your own Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware at Highland Woodworking.

The post Product Video: Benchcrafted Hi Vise Hardware appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworker Profile: Char Miller-King

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 7:00am

As an Atlanta resident and associate at Highland Woodworking, I have the privilege of meeting a lot of woodworker-customer-friends, both hobbyist and professional alike, who are making wonderful things. I’m pleased to introduce you to some of our fellow enthusiasts through this semi-regular dispatch of who’s who in the Highland community. -AH

I met Char in the store when she was signing up for Sabiha Mujtaba’s Fundamentals of Woodworking class, a perennial favorite among woodworkers of all stripes. She told me about some of the projects she had finished for her family and fitting in her woodworking into an already full schedule. She invited me to check out her blog, the Wooden Maven, where I encountered not only an avid woodworker, but an inspiration.

How did you get into woodworking?
I began woodworking soon after undergrad when I moved into my first apartment. There was a platform bed I was interested in purchasing, at the time I could not afford it. I thought, perhaps I could build it. I didn’t have much direction to go on, YouTube was still in its developmental stage. After a few trips back to the furniture store to further inspect the bed, I drew my own plans, borrowed a drill, and purchased a ten dollar battery-powered screwdriver. It took me approximately three months to complete the bed… I believe that experience was the beginning of my love for building furniture. The gratification that came from producing something with my own hands was invigorating. That was back in 2003, since then I’ve been learning everything I can about my hobby-turned-passion.

What are you working on now?
I always like to keep a few projects going at once. Right now I am working on two identical beds. They are twin beds that extend to king size beds. In addition [they have] accessible storage and non-accessible storage underneath. I needed the beds to serve several purposes: a place for my children, room for guests, toy storage, and of course storage for toys that shouldn’t be brought out every day. This was the largest project I constructed from only plywood. I used three-quarter inch PureBond plywood and a Kreg circular saw jig for rip and cross cuts. To give the bed a modern look, I used beadboard wallpaper on the headboard and footboard. To keep the beds as low as possible, I opted for furniture movers strategically placed on the bottom for easy gliding.

Along with the beds, I am putting the finishing touches on a matching children’s fold down desk. I chose pine for this project since it is lighter in weight and an affordable option for a place that will see a lot of use. The tabletop of the desk is covered with a thin polyethylene sheet to make for easy clean-up of paint, markers, or pencil marks. Both projects are paint sprayed with semi-gloss paint and a coat of polyacrylic, a touch of blue paint is used to accent the desk and tie in the bedding colors.

Lastly, I am working on a display case, in which I am using all the skills I learned in Sabiha’s woodworking fundamentals class. The case includes dadoes and the use of an ogee bit. It is made from oak and instead of glass to enclose any special object, I am using plexiglass. It will sit nicely on a mantle for many years to come.

What are your favorite tools? (do you prefer hand tools over power tools, or Japanese saws vs. Western style saws, or an old drill that has been passed down, or a brad nailer that’s just super handy)

I know that I truly enjoy woodworking because I fall in love with almost every new tool I experience. The versatility of each of them and the possibilities are all endless. I recently took a hand plane class at Highland after purchasing my first block plane. I never knew that hand tools could be so involved, it was an eye-opening experience. Hand tools allow you to interact with the wood and have a closeness to it, that you don’t get with power tools. I have to say that hand planes are my favorite for now.

Recently, I started turning and for someone who wants a finished project quickly, turning pens [is] the perfect answer. I do enjoy working with lathes and hope to get more involved in the world of woodturning.

For sentiment’s sake, I still have the little Black+Decker screwdriver I built my very first project with, it no longer works. It is a small reminder from whence I came and a nod to staying humble in my craft.

Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is the staff writer at Highland Woodworking. In 2015 she and her dad co-founded Coywolf Woodworks, their hobby shop in North Florida.

The post Woodworker Profile: Char Miller-King appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Product Video: Rikon 8 inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 8:03am

 

Finally, an exceptional grinder at a reasonable price!

Take a look at the Rikon 8 Inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder in this short video tour with Justin Moon. Justin shows how the Rikon grinder runs quietly and smoothly and details how it could be the perfect sharpening addition for your shop.

The post Product Video: Rikon 8 inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Poll: How do you handle PVA glue squeezeout cleanup?

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 7:00am

When Matt VanDerList of Matt’s Basement Workshop was on the Wood Talk Podcast, he used to get a lot of grief about his use of exotic woods. What constituted “exotic” for Matt? Oak. Pine. Poplar.

That was about as radical as Matt would get.

And, every time he would say something about using those wood species because he was happy with those species, I would give him a virtual fist pump!

I’m an oak kind of guy, too. Red oak is my thing, although I’ve published reports on cedar and redwood projects before.

One of the challenges with oak, and other open-grained woods, is that PVA glue allowed to remain on the surface or, worse yet, soak in, will interfere with the appearance of most finishes. Everyone has his/her favorite technique for removing the glue, and we’d like to know which ones are Highland Woodworkers’ favorites.

Me? I usually go with wet rag wiping. Why? Because in the heat and humidity of deep South Mississippi, glue curing is unpredictable. While I like peeling skinned PVA, I find it difficult to get the timing right. Some days 15 minutes might be just right. Other days, come back in 30 minutes, lift the ribbon of uncured glue and a puddle ensues, spreading the mess even further (at which point I reach for the wet rag). As often as not, I forget to come back and check at 15 or 30 or 45 minutes, and then there’s a massive amount of glue to remove. For me, it’s easier to just clean it right away and be done with it.

Of course, there are those times when wet-cleaning pushes glue into the grain, and you’re still dealing with finish interference. That’s when I pull out the toothbrush.

While this is pine, and not oak, it’s an excellent example of PVA glue interfering with the look of polyurethane finish.

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Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Poll: How do you handle PVA glue squeezeout cleanup? appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Dehumidifier Draining Solution – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #2

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 7:00am

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.

In the August 2017 issue of Wood News Online, Steven Johnson talked about needing his dehumidifier most of the summer thanks to heavy Wisconsin rainfall. In previous years, his average summer humidity was 38%; this summer he’s had 56% on average, with a high of 70%.

It’s not just Wisconsin. The Sun Herald, our regional newspaper, published a story in early July saying the first six months of 2017 have been the second-hottest and the second-wettest on record.

Steve, we feel your pain.

Except that my shop rarely drops to 50% humidity, even in the winter. It hovers around 85% most of the year and can reach 90% during a winter rain.

Not long after we built our home, 22 years ago, I had a little rust problem on an old Craftsman contractor saw, so I decided to invest in a Kenmore dehumidifier.

This 70-quart unit is the great-great-great grandchild of the first dehumidifier we bought 20+ years ago.

My wife, Brenda, was along for that shopping trip, and, when the salesperson offered a service contract, my knee-jerk reaction was, “No.” Brenda asked me to consider the harsh conditions the unit would be operating under, and the included annual cleaning that would remove what would surely be mountains of aspirated sawdust. Her argument convinced me to go from “No” to “Yes, give me the 5-year contract.”

What a money-saver that investment has been!

I have scheduled annual maintenance every August, because that tends to be our driest summer month. I would have sent it in winter, but Sears repair has no means to simulate hot, wet conditions in their Nashville, TN, facility, so the performance evaluation would have been worthless. Instead, almost every year, I got a call, saying, “Hi, this is Sears, we evaluated your dehumidifier, found it beyond repair, and need you to come to the store to pick up a replacement at no charge.”

I haven’t kept track of how many “free” dehumidifiers I’ve gotten, but it’s a lot.

Like Steve, I started out emptying the built-in bucket, but three emptyings every 24 hours times 22 years … that’s a lot. To say nothing of the fact that I’m lucky to get part of one day a week in the shop.

My solution was to utilize the built-in drain connection on the dehumidifier.

When our house was new, and we were trying to get grass and ground cover to grow (now we’re trying to get it to stop!), I purchased ten cheap, half-inch garden hoses and covered the entire yard with sprinklers. Once the yard was established, I stored the hoses under the house. Protected from ultraviolet light, they have aged well.

I placed the dehumidifier as close to the center of the shop as I could, while also compromising on a position that’s out of the workflow and reasonably near the cast iron tools that need the most protection.

The nearest floor drain is 30 feet away, so I elected to go through the wall. I know, drilling a hole through one’s home isn’t ideal, but I couldn’t come up with a better solution. (A replacement model I received one year had a built-in pump that utilized a little 1/4″ hose, but that feature wasn’t offered on future models.) Step One was to drill the hole, high enough to miss the wall’s floor plate, but low enough for gravity to do its part, with a little bit of an angle, too.

A short length of PVC hose guides the garden hose through the wall …

… and outside, to go under the house.

That went well, and the back half of our house is on pilings, so it was easy to direct the hose under the house to drain into the wetlands.

Because all of this area is adjacent to wetlands, the environment doesn’t even notice the added water from the dehumidifier.

Granted, I had to buy the first dehumidifier, and I’ve had to renew the maintenance contract every five years, but Sears has provided all of the subsequent units. That’s an expense even a cheapskate can love!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Dehumidifier Draining Solution – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #2 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Making a Handy Sandpaper Tote – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #1

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 7:00am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

I suppose you could say I have two sanding centers. One holds the oscillating spindle sander and, because it has drawers, stores all of the disks for various Festool Sanders, too. It may be too fancy for some folks’ taste, being made from “real wood.”

This “sanding center” is on a universal wheeled base and can be rolled almost anyplace. The dust collection can connect to the cyclone or a shop vacuum, and the assortment of sanding disks can be close by wherever the sanding is taking place. If you’re constantly changing grits, that’s a really handy feature.

Mechanization is fine, as far as it goes. Sometimes, though, a job calls for hand sanding. Because we don’t want to be walking back and forth to our sandpaper supply, I made a sandpaper tote.

Our dear friends at the local Mexican restaurant saved some big steel cans for us. I spent about a million dollars (sorry, Steve) on Rust-OLeum rusty metal primer and Rust-OLeum flat black to coat the cans well before putting them to use. After all, they were going to be holding abrasives.

I attached the cans to a scrap piece of treated pine, and used the handle from an old Stihl string trimmer to complete the tote.

Fortunately, the old Stihl string trimmer handle was black, so the whole project was color-coordinated.

In the cans I put 1/3-sheet sanding blocks, scraps of sandpaper in Ziploc bags and a variety of other items that are used in sanding. Each can has a grit number assigned, with the appropriate Ziploc of scraps and a sanding block with that grit installed. The scraps all have their grit marked.

The cans are marked with Post-It Notes, just in case I want them to hold different grits in the future. One can holds a miscellany of sanding-related aids. For example, the rod can be slipped into the sanding block to lift the “lid” without ruining the ends of the paper. That way, they can go into the scrap Ziploc assigned to its grit, and not be wasted. Old scissors are handy for cutting sandpaper, or anything else that gets in your way. There’s an air blower for cleaning the paper when it clogs.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Making a Handy Sandpaper Tote – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Show Us Your Shop: Peek Inside These Woodworkers’ Shops!

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 8:00am

Over the last year, we have featured a wide variety shops in Wood News. We recently collected a few from the archives, including Scott Wilson’s spacious home shop, Tony Rumball’s shop options (he has access to 3 different woodworking shops!) and more.

Take a look at these workshops for ideas and inspiration, or just for fun.

And to read about even more shops, click to check out our Shops Gallery.

If you would like to submit your shop, just SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800 x 600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.

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Categories: General Woodworking

The Highland Woodturner: Woodturning Finishes

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 8:00am

In the August 2017 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Curtis addresses a regular topic of discussion among his woodturning students: What kind of finish should they use?

As a new woodturner, I gravitated to products marketed to turners. These were generally shellac and wax based products blended with other chemicals to aid with application and drying. These were very easy to apply with almost instant results. The sheen or polish was dazzling to my eye. I soon learned these were not the best finishes for everything.

Click to read more of Curtis’s thoughts on finishing options for woodturners.

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Categories: General Woodworking

Solar Eclipses at Highland Woodworking

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 1:34pm

Prior to today’s 97% eclipse here in Atlanta, the last annular eclipse that was seen in the area was back on May 30th, 1984. Back when Wood News was a print publication, we included pictures and a write-up from the events of that day.

1984 Wood News Article on the Eclipse

This year’s event was another exciting one here at the store, with employees talking about it throughout the morning. Once the eclipse started around 1:05pm EST, Highland employees took turns going outside to look through the few pairs of eclipse glasses that some of our fellow employees were nice enough to bring and share with the rest of us. One of us even brought a welding mask and another made a pinhole camera out of paper.

Viewing through glasses and welding masks

Pin Hole Camera

While it didn’t get completely dark down here at Highland Woodworking, you could definitely tell a difference in the light, not to mention the quietness that occurred.

One of the highlights of the event was the beautiful crescent shadows made by the trees located throughout the store parking lot.

Crescent Shadows

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Categories: General Woodworking

Center for Furniture Craftsmanship – Dovetails

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 11:37am

Molly Bagby is an employee at Highland Woodworking who recently finished up a 2 Week Basic Woodworking course at Center for Furniture Furniture Craftsmanship (CFC). Although she grew up at Highland Woodworking from a mere 1 week old, her knowledge of woodworking skills is limited. With this class, she was able to change that. You can follow her on Instagram @HighlandWoodwoman.

To read my previous post on Mortise and Tenon Joinery, click here

At the start of week 2, I felt it was finally time to move on to dovetails, something I had been dreading because it was already about 5 days after Peter had done his first demo on how to make them. Luckily, one of Peter’s most important teachings is that the student should feel comfortable in each step of the process and not have to rush through any of it, so he was happy to go through the process step by step with me.

Specific Tools I Used for Dovetails

The first step in marking out dovetails is to figure out what angle you want the dovetail to be. For learning purposes, we made a 1:7 angle, which we first drew out on paper and then recorded that angle with the sliding t-bevel, to transfer to the wood.

As I may have said before, I am a very visual learner and since I had never used some of these tools before, instead of having Peter demonstrate them multiple times, I took pictures of “how they work.” For example, the sliding T-Bevel seems like it can go in a million directions and figuring out what side needed to lay on the wood for proper marking of the dovetails proved to be a challenge for me. But once I took a picture of it in action, I was able to reference it for future layouts.

As I learned the hard way, the goal for cutting dovetails is to try and get a finished fit right off the saw so then you have to do less chiseling. I didn’t trust myself with the saw right away and so my cuts usually ended up being way off the line I had marked for myself. At least I was almost always following one of Peter’s most important rules of not cutting/paring away the pencil lines!

Cutting out the waste with a fret saw

When cleaning up the tails, one of Peter’s tricks to get a nice clean edge is to square a new visual guideline with a sharp pencil a few inches from the tails. After marking out your new lines, put the wood piece into the vise so that your new lines are perpendicular to the vise and you will be able to get a nice, straight cut down your new pencil line to the shoulder. The most important part of the cut is the positioning of the elbow and hand that is holding the chisel, as illustrated below.

Ideal hand positioning for cleaning up the tails with a chisel

When I first started my dovetails, I took the long route and marked both my tails and pins at the same time. Then I learned that by the time you’re done with your tails, they are a lot less likely to fit the original pin sizes you created. You’re better off marking and cutting your tails first, and then marking your pins based on the size of the tails you just cut.

Mark your pins by tracing the tails you just created

Again, one of Peter’s most important steps in cutting both tails and pins, is to make sure you saw the waste up to the pencil line, but DO NOT REMOVE THE PENCIL LINE.

Removing the waste of the pins

Paring back the pins with a chisel (note the vise setup with backing board)

Are they ready to be put together and joined?

Unfortunately, there was a point where I wasn’t using a backing board when paring away the waste on my pins (as pictured above) and I ended up chiseling across and going off the far side. When this happened, Peter got really excited because it made for a great class tutorial on fixing cracks.

Crack Fix: With thinned out Titebond glue, brush the glue onto the surface and then push it down into the crack with the brush. Remove excess glue off the end grain surface, clamp up and let dry. Make sure you clean your glue brush while waiting for your piece to dry!

The first dovetail I’ve ever made with just a small gap on the right side.

I started my dovetail practice on a Monday, and the next Tuesday I received a package from Highland Woodworking containing a Lie-Nielsen Dovetail Saw and a David Barron Magnetic Dovetail Saw Guide. Let me just say, that with these 2 amazing tools, I was able to speed up my dovetail making two-fold! Not to mention that I already had 1 set of dovetails down, so it is always easier once you know what you’re doing.

The David Barron Magnetic Dovetail Guide is an amazing time-saving jig for cutting dovetails precisely and quickly!

For the rest of the week I used my David Barron Dovetail Guide on all of my practice and project dovetails. I occasionally felt like Peter was giving me the side eye when he saw me using the jig, but it made my process so much less stressful and I was able to make my project dovetails a lot more quickly!

When I first watched Peter demonstrating dovetails, I got really nervous that they were going to be hard and complicated. Once I started practicing them, they came very quickly to me and I actually enjoyed making them a lot more than mortise and tenon joints! I also enjoy how they’re so pleasing to the eye!

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Categories: General Woodworking

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