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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

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...


This is Where we Fight about ‘Fishtails’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 1:04pm


Here is joint I have not encountered yet. I suppose they are technically dovetails, but I think the construction looks more like tails of fish.

Paul Windle-Taylor of Brittany, France, discovered them at the back of the bottom drawer of an ornate carved Breton armoire made in about 1908 as wedding present by the father of the bride.

“As with much of this rural working, the external work is of fine quality but the intrinsic build is massive,” Paul wrote. “I was struck by the assumed bomb-proofness of the work. This is one drawer back that will not come off!”

What is awesome about this crazy joint is that it does not require glue to stay together. C’est bon!

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Techniques
Categories: Hand Tools

2014 PWM Excellence Awards Winners

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:16pm

At Woodworking in America last Friday morning, I presented a slide show of the winners of the 2014 PWM Excellence Awards Winners – and now I’m sharing them with those who weren’t able to make it to this year’s conference. The winners are featured in the November 2014 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, with information about each piece and its maker (The issue begins mailing to subscribers (both print and […]

The post 2014 PWM Excellence Awards Winners appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Frank’s Upcoming Live Webinar with Popular Woodworking

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:00am

We’re honored to announce that Popular Woodworking University will host Frank for a live webinar on Where to Find Good Design Ideas on October 8, 2014, 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Ever feel puzzled when trying to think up a new furniture design? Wonder how to turn your ideas into woodwork? Frank will show you how he comes […]

The post Frank’s Upcoming Live Webinar with Popular Woodworking appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworking in America 2014 Marketplace: Scott Meek

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 9:20am

We were excited to see our friend Scott Meek in the WIA 2014 Marketplace, showing off his beautiful wood body planes. Take a look at Scott demonstrating one of his planes in the video below:

If you want to see this smooth planing action in person, or just meet an amazing toolmaker and a pretty cool guy, you have a couple of opportunities. Our One Day Sale is October 17th & 18th and Scott will be there creating more shavings. He will also be teaching a class on Making a Wooden Smoothing Plane at Highland in November.

And if you are already sold on Scott’s planes just from watching the video above, you should take a closer look at his Highland 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Smoothing Plane. Only a few more available!

The post Woodworking in America 2014 Marketplace: Scott Meek appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

My Shop’s Magnetic Personality

The Renaissance Woodworker - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 9:14am

Magnetic tool holderWhenever someone sees my magnetic tool holders I invariably get the comment, “Aren’t you worried those will magnetize your tools?”

Answer: nope.

In fact I have yet to see this happen and I have been storing all kinds of things from chisels to screwdrivers on these mag strips for at least 5 years. I have one for my drill bits, I have one for screwdrivers. I have another for a few random chisels, and I have several magnets inlaid into things around the shop like my treadle lathe and tool box. (Have you ever dropped one of those tiny Allen keys used for removing EWT carbide tips? Yikes)

I even store my hand planes in my tool cabinet using rare earth magnets. I am a big fan of the mysterious force in other words.

mag strip tool holderHowever, I have heard from some that if an edge tool becomes magnetized then the swarf (metal filings from sharpening) will stick to the edge when you grind/sharpen/hone it. So far I have not seen this. Perhaps any magnetization I get is so weak that the water on my stones is enough to sweep it away. Just to be safe I bought one of those magnetizer/demagnetizer doohickeys on an impulse but I have yet to find a reason to use it. I guess what I’m trying to say in my usual verbose way is I just don’t see any issue with magnets in the shop.

So I guess I’ll just keep using these as really useful ways to store tools out of the way while still being really accessible. In fact, I’m going to push forward on my plan to build a carving chisel cabinet that uses mag blocks extensively to hold the tools behind a fancy glass panel door.

By the way, the two blocks shown in this post have recently been relocated as part of my shop remodel and I do love that my 3/4″ plywood walls let me screw anything in place anywhere I want.

Your Turn

Do you use magnetic tool holders? Had any adverse effects? Share your experiences below with magnets in the woodworking shop and any plans for cool Mr Wizard style magnet tricks.

Categories: Hand Tools

The September 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 8:04am

wt42Hey woodturners, we’ve got a new issue of The Highland Woodturner for you to read!

First up we’ve got a classic article from Curtis Turner on turning your own chisel handles. You can even make a whole set of them and always know which chisels are yours!

Temple Blackwood explains “The Order of Cuts,” which is a method of planning out the steps of your project. He applies this method to the creation of a Fluted Antique Screw-Driver Handle.

Every month we have been featuring an episode of Popular Woodworking’s new show Woodturning with Tim Yoder, and this month he has an episode on turning a Cylindrical Box with a Drawer.

Our Show Us Your Woodturning artist this month is Jay Barry, who has only been turning for 4 months and already has some beautiful bowls on display!

Phil has a turning tip on changing up your everyday woodturning by attending a class or folk school and learn some new skills!

All of this and more in our September 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner.

The post The September 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Petition for a Tree Substitute

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:00am

skinnycowOK, please stop calling the hide-glue manufacturers and demanding cruelty-free hide glue. The post on liposuction glue was a joke.

I have received a couple of angry e-mails from industry representatives who are trying to set me straight about my misinformation on how liposuction from cows could make hide glue. Apparently I didn’t do any research on fats….

I love hide glue. If you want cruelty-free glue, use yellow glue, which kills only baby vinyls and fetal acetates.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

The History of Wood, Part 20

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 6:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

A Petition for Cruelty-free Hide Glue

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 5:16am


Last weekend while lecturing about hide glue to the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association, one of the members mentioned a disadvantage of my favorite adhesive that I’d never considered.

“I bet the vegans don’t like your glue,” he said.

The statement stopped me dead in my tracks. He was right.

And that is why I am asking for your help to petition both Old Brown Glue and Franklin International (makers of Titebond Hide Glue) to change their manufacturing processes to make and market only “cruelty-free” products.

While I fully recognize you cannot make hide glue without animal by-products, these can be harvested in an ethical manner by using animals that have died of old age or in collisions with automobiles. Another alternative is to adopt the methods employed by the “No-kill Mutton Tallow” industry, namely liposuction.

I am certain that woodworkers would be willing to pay a premium for a glue that sticks well and also results in slimmer, more attractive livestock.


— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Ukuleles Unplugged

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:27am
  I received a letter from a reader in Sweden the other day and wanted to share it with you. Sven Nyström builds Ukuleles under the working name – Argapa Ukuleles. I was thrilled to see him utilizing two of the tool designs from my...
Categories: Hand Tools

The English Arts & Crafts Movement

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:00am
A small exhibit on Pre-Raphaelite art at the Met was an opportunity for me not only to take another gander at the lovely Jane Morris but also to revisit the Cabinet by Sir Edward Burne-Jones that, for me, epitomizes the early English Arts and Crafts Movement. The English A&C movement was founded based on ideas by John Ruskin, and William Morris was one of its most important proponents. While the movement was the inspiration for the American A&C movement, there is very little commonality of styles.

The American A&C movement as promoted by Gustav Stickley, The Roycroft Movement and others, was very much a machine-made movement. For all the accessibility of the designs for modern makers, the originals were designed and built in furniture factories. Stickley published his designs because he felt strongly that people should be able to make the work themselves; however, his fumed finishes, for example, were done with strong ammonia by professionals in a factory - a technique really outside the ability of all but the most determined amateurs.

Greene & Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright represent the high end of the A&C movement in the US. Greene & Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright were very much like their English counterparts in that their work was fancier than Stickley's and custom made. Both were also heavily influenced by Japanese styles.

The early English Arts and Crafts artists, Burne-Jones and Morris among them, were also part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of artists who wanted to roll back time and work in styles that existed before the time of Raphael. They also were stuck in a Dungeons and Dragons world of knights, shining armor, damsels in distress, and long tales of chivalry. J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis both were inspired by the long tales that Morris wrote (poorly).

This piece from 1861 of painted and gilded pine, painted leather, copper hardware, and painted iron hinges is called "The Backgammon Players" and was designed by Philip Webb and painted by Burne-Jones. It was one of the earliest pieces manufactured by William Morris' company, and one of the first pieces of the English A&C movement. Morris's furniture, and English Arts and Crafts furniture in general, very much reflect 19th century interpretations of what a knight would want in his baronial hall or boudoir. This piece, stripped of its paintings, is a fairly straightforward Victorian cabinet. With its decoration and painted scene, it becomes a masterwork of the Pre-Raphaelite era, and a really cool English A&C piece.

There is a lesson to be learned here, of course. What would happen if you took a fairly simple cabinet, and painted it up? Wouldn't that be cool? It certainly would be a much more interesting piece of furniture than lots of the stuff we see today. But it also shows off a difference in the way modern designers view furniture. Today, we look at furniture as a form, and the interest comes from the way the form interacts with the surrounding spaces. Material and grain choices are used to amplify the form. Contrast this with what Burne-Jones did. He created a complete narrative in the work. The interest in his piece comes from the story in the painting and the rest of the decoration reenforces that narrative and the mood of the piece.

N.B. There are exceptions to the modern fixation about form, notably that of Silas Kopf, a master of marquetry whose work very much is about the story on the piece in addition to the materials used and form of the pieces. But he is a glorious exception.

In Other News
I am very sad to report of the passing of John Whelan at age 93. The author of two seminal books on wooden planes, "The Wooden Plane, Its History, Form and Function" and "Making Tradition Wooden Planes," John was one of the giants in the field of American tool collecting.

English Field Gate—Part II

Benchcrafted - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 8:16pm

Categories: Hand Tools

Brian Boggs Open House Saturday September 20. 3.00-7.00 PM

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 6:12pm

This coming Saturday there is an Open House at Brian Boggs impressive new 10,000 square feet premises. It includes workshop tours, demonstrations, a wood slab sale, free access to the furniture gallery as well as food and drinks. And if that wasn't enough there's a raffle to win a Sunniva swing bench! I wish I wasn't going back to the UK tomorrow.
We did a big detour to take in a visit and Brian's very knowledgeable wife Melanie very kindly showed us around. The lobby had a number of maquettes on show, it's amazing how cute these miniatures look.

Here's an outdoor rocker which looked particularly nice in oak.
Below is one of his classic rockers with hickory bark woven seat and very comfortable it is too.

Upstairs is a wonderful walnut dining table and chairs, what a lovely rich colour.

The rocker again, this time without me obstructing the view.

The rear of the wonderful chair I saw at the WIA show, a real head turner.

Melanie told me that all Brian's chair were numbered and this is number one, the first chair he ever made over 30 years ago. Apparently he lacked proper tools at this time so the mortice and tenon joints for the back slats were cut with a sharpened screwdriver!

This ingenuity was stretched to the limit with amazing home made machine for processing hickory bark into perfectly prepared and dimensioned strips for weaving the seats of his chairs.
Apparently it has numerous cutters inside and can produce strips the length of the tree, amazing.

There were very good stocks of Honduran Mahogany which is used for the outdoor seating. This was sourced from local small producers in Honduras and Brain has made more than one trip down there to set this up. The different coloured ends denote different farms.

The 'follower' setup below was for the seats for his musicians chair. Now this I can understand this much better than the bark machine! They investigated having these seats CNC machined but they could not get within acceptable tolerances, just goes to show any machine is only as good as the person operating it.

The result is an even set of cove cutter marks defining the exact symmetrical shape of each seat. They offer this very tactile surface as an option to the normal smooth one and if I were buying one of these it would be the one I would choose. A lovely textured balance to the smoothness of the rest of the chair.

Here's the monster band saw which makes David Finck's look like a toy! (read the other posts).
It's used to cut the laminations and with a carbide tipped blade produces results that are ready for gluing straight from the saw.

All the while we were being shown around Brian was buzzing around in the back ground. It looked as if any disturbance would be unwelcome so I kept my distance. I'm sure Saturday afternoon will be completely different so if you're anywhere near Asheville NC this is one open day not to be missed!

Categories: Hand Tools

Veritas changes the game again

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 6:05pm
With their new line of customizable hand planes, Lee Valley/Veritas continues their impressive record of innovation in woodworking tools. Within each plane size, you can choose the blade steel, the handles (thankfully), and the frog. The most compelling option, in my view, is the choice of frogs, and particularly in a smoothing plane. This gives […]
Categories: Hand Tools

WIA 2014 Kids’ Corner: Special Thanks to North Carolina Woodworker

The Literary Workshop Blog - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 4:00pm

WIA 2014 - - 10The Woodworking in America conference naturally caters to the facial-hair-and-flannel crowd, but our experience this year was enriched by the “kids’ corner” set up by North Carolina Woodworker, a statewide association of woodworkers.  They had several quick, kid-friendly projects for children, and my kids tried them all out.

K, my oldest, made a laminated bracelet, which was then ripped in half.  She kept one half, and the other half went to a child in a local hospital.

I’ve never done a bent lamination before, so this was new territory for her as well as for me.

WIA 2014 - - 09 WIA 2014- - 07A lot of glue, a little blue tape, and a clamp was all it took, really.   Names and/or initials can be carved or woodburned into the bracelet to personalize it.  WIA 2014 - - 11It’s an easy project, and the results come quickly.

Next time somebody asks about a quick, kid-friendly project, I’m going to recommend this.

Another daughter, A, chose a simple scrollsaw project.  She was a little nervous around the machine, as it made a bit of noise.  The biggest difficulty for her little hands was holding the workpiece flat on the table while the saw cut.  Fortunately, she had some adult assistance with that part.

Drilling a hanging hole for it was a little easier for her.  She’s done plenty of work with an eggbeater drill before.

They glued on some googly eyes, and the project was done.  With a little more time, it would have been fun to paint it, too.   WIA 2014- - 10

A third project (of which I failed to take a process picture) was the light-saber.  They had a couple lathes set up, where kids could turn a simple handle.  They inserted a small LED flashlight on one end and a piece of PVC tubing on the other to make a glowing sword.  It’s a fast, boy-friendly project that I highly recommend to anybody with a little boy and a lathe.

WIA 2014- - 28

My son was especially fond of this project.

So once again, thanks to the North Carolina woodworkers who volunteered their time, tools, and materials to make this a family-friendly event!

Tagged: bent lamination, bracelet, kids woodworking, light-saber, north carolina woodworker, scroll saw, woodworking for kids, woodworking with kids

Glass all cut

McGlynn On Making - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 3:33pm

I managed to sneak in an hour of shop time today, and finished cutting and grinding all of the pieces for the stained glass panels for the Thorsen cabinet door.  Remember the Thorsen cabinet?  I swear, I’m going to finish it soon and stop writing blog posts about it.  It really hasn’t been that complicated a project, although the door had it’s share of challenges.

Where I left off, I’d finished the top panel and the three right hand panels for the door, leaving just the large main panel.  I was a little worried as this glass has been a little fussy to cut.  It has a rough texture with some bubbles, inclusions and significant differences in thickness across the sheet — all of which adds to it’s beauty in my view.  I really like this particular clear glass, both the texture and the iodized coating.  I’m bummed they aren’t making more of it, the factory changed to using a texturing roller to produce it, which gives it a pebbled appearance like a shower door.  Ick!!

Anyway, my point is that it’s tricky to cut, especially big pieces and large cuts.  I got the large clear panel blanked out, but had two cuts get away from me as I was removing the cut out sections where other colors will go.  I was on the verge of starting with a fresh sheet, but I really, really liked the large wave or undulation in this glass.

Clear glass cut and fit to the pattern -- the score ran off in a couple of spots unfortunately

Clear glass cut and fit to the pattern — the score ran off in a couple of spots unfortunately

To make this piece of glass work I had to change the pattern to account for the extra bits of glass that cracked off.  I traced the clear onto my pattern in red sharpie.


Updated pattern to account for the reality of the glass

You can see my annotation for the colors on the pattern.  I traced the pattern onto the three different colors of glass I’m using, and cut them as close to the line as my skills would allow, then ground them to fit.  The gaps are all perfectly acceptable, and will help the solder joint have a more organic feel.

The next time I get a little time in the shop I’ll clean all of the pieces, add copper foil, and solder them.  This is the last major task for the cabinet, the rest is just a light rub out of the finish, and assembly.

All of the glass cut for the door to the Thorsen house cabinet

All of the glass cut for the door to the Thorsen house cabinet

Categories: General Woodworking

Pégas Coping Saw Blades – the Best

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 3:32pm

While teaching in England this summer I had a sudden and miraculous encounter with Pégas coping saw blades – and I am a convert. I rarely say this sort of thing, but here we go: Buy them. Buy as many as you can afford. Encourage the company to make more blades like this. If you want to skip the backstory and just order the darn blades, go to Tools for […]

The post Pégas Coping Saw Blades – the Best appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

WIA Day 0 Minus 1 – Chris Vesper

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 3:26pm

On the eve of departing for Woodworking in America we were delighted to host a brief visit from Chris Vesper, toolmaker extraordinaire whose handiworks are simply the standard in my opinion.  Chris wrote me about a month ago saying he was flying into Richmond as the terminus for his flight from Australia, and after 36 hours in the Williamsburg area we saw his headlights peeking up the driveway.  His navigation was mighty good as we are pretty much beyond cell service, but apparently not beyond satellite.  I need to remember that fact…


Chris had an amazing tale of woe relating to his two suitcases of tools being confiscated by the Customs clowns in Dallas.  He hoped but did not know for sure the tools would show up in time to set up his booth.  As you can see from the picture above, in the end it did work out although he had to pony up some pretty serious unexpected express shipping fees.

After dining we set about to commencing to talk, and it was well past midnight when we turned in.  the next morning we toured the barn and then he headed off for Winston Salem.  We followed him a couple of hours later, arriving just in time for a late supper with the friends we were visiting.

From Past Early Start to Working Wood Today – Making the Parts Fit

Paul Sellers - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:31pm

Our culture shifts rapidly from past pockets we looked to the future from to the present we look back from and still further along the line towards future hopes we aspire to. Sometimes, often, we must dismantle the past to rediscover what we really felt before we were dissuaded from a hope we had. At 14 I told my woodworking teacher I wanted to be a woodworker. He fixed his eye on mine and said, “I wouldn’t if I were you. You can do much better than that. Go further, make something of your life.” I listened and thought he knew well what I should be, but then I listened again and heard a still, small voice that wasn’t his and I made up my mind and my future began to unfold. Wood worked with my hands began in a past pocket of culture and emerged in successive phases like solid stones I stepped on through to today. One part began to form and then another began to fit to the shape. It was a little while before I saw the whole and discovered fulfilment from my work. Remember, hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. That’s the power of culture.
As you search your heart and ask the honest question about what you want to be, remember that it’s important to really know that you can change the course you are on and that it takes courage and determination to step into the zone. I realised many moons ago that self employment is not for the risk aversed, but the rewards of surviving against all odds are incomprehensibly wonderful.

DSC_0115 DSC_0114 DSC_0112 DSC_0108

Today I unpacked the contents of the old woodworkers tool box and saw into the past of a man’s life. It doesn’t take imagination to understand him or his work. It was as simple as can be as far as his work was concerned. The chest has suffered trauma from time to time.


Unpacking dimensions of the tool chest is like dismantling the man. This one’s seen much use and abuse. It’s been dropped, overstuffed, abused since the owner left it but it’s held and I like it very much. The pins no longer seat the dovetails because they have shrunk, which makes me think it was made in humid conditions and perhaps kept in a coastal region or on board a boat as one of several belonging to a ship’s caprenter. I understand that the chest passed to a sailmaker and ended up with his tools in it when it was sold to Bill. DSC_0075I love the size because even with tools loaded it will be liftable between two. It will hold half a dozen planes, 4 saws of different types and then the usual squares and chisels, small planes and much more. The tills work fine as does the rest of the chest and today i spent much time as i said unpacking the joinery and measuring the details for replication. The walls and the bottom are no more than 9/16″ thick pine, so it’s super light compared to harder, more dense-grained woods. I think you will enjoy this one. better two or three of these around the bench for me. Soon I’ll have two.DSC_0053

The post From Past Early Start to Working Wood Today – Making the Parts Fit appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Notes from WIA

Blue Spruce Toolworks - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:08pm

The Woodworking in America show for 2014 was a lot of fun and it was great meeting many of you for the first time. It was also encouraging to see many friends from previous shows and fellow toolmakers.  If you did not get the chance to make it this year plan to make it next year. Here are a few pictures and comments from the show:

Arrived a day early for set-up. Previous WIA goers or blog followers know that I usually make a workbench on-site for use at the show. This year I was not inspired enough so I took another approach. I scrounged around town until finding a nice, sturdy, homemade desk at The Habitat for Humanity Resale store.  It was a tight “stuff” into the trunk but managed to get it to the convention center without losing it.

wia bench1wia bench2It performed well and some lucky person walked away at the end of the show with a nice desk/bench.

I took a few prototypes of upcoming new tools and received a lot of good feedback. We will soon be releasing a pair of shop knives. One is a Sloyd pattern and the other is a smaller joiners or marking knife. Both have blades of 1095 high carbon steel and are coated with a ceramic coating for protection and good looks. The handles are curly maple infused with acrylic resin.  Other tools in the works include dovetail marking gauges, squares and other layout tools.



Here are a few random pictures from the show:

20140913_122625 20140911_141400 20140913_122409 20140913_120236

Scott Meeks explaining the finer points of wood bodied planes, Patrick Leach setting up “tons” of antique tools, The Fred West commemorative tool box, and Robin Lee from Lee Valley showing off their new line of Configurable bench planes.

Our next show is with Lie-Nielsen at the Crucible in Oakland, CA  this weekend, September 19th and 20th. Stop by if you can!

The post Notes from WIA appeared first on Your Finest Work.

Categories: Hand Tools


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