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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...


Roubo’s “Winding Sticks”

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 4:40am


I’ve gotta say this about old Andre, he never stops larnin’ me.  Over the weekend I built another set of his winding-sticks-on-stilts as I call them, so that I could photograph them for an essay in the book.  I have been trying to incorporate them into my own work practices for the past several months, and doggone if I can’t already see how they will make my work so much more efficient than it was previously.  His approach to flattening rough stock is insidiously ingenious.

You can read more about these gems and how they are used in the upcoming To Make As Perfectly as Possible: Roubo On Furniture Making (Lost art Press, 2014?)

In Defense of #151Spokeshaves…and Wooden Spokeshaves and Veritas Spokeshaves too

Paul Sellers - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 2:51am

CB12I am often concerned that when people discuss hand tools of different types someone declares that a particular make or type is the only one to get because of a particular quality that that tool might have. All too often and in the same breath they then dismiss other types in order to bolster their opinion or choice or purchase of that tool. Those of you who read my blog will see that through the years I have tried to counter adverse opinions on say the Stanley #4 plane because so many untruths have become accepted yet the basis for its being rejected is actually unfounded. Point in case is the declaration that the #4 Stanley plane with its thin iron chatters. If I give a #4 plane to someone to use I defy that them to make the plane chatter. Some years ago an ‘expert’ woodworker declared that the #151 spokeshave couldn’t be made to work and probably would not be made to make a shaving. Of course that was far from true, but the problem was that 12,000 people and more read the erroneous article and the editor said it was too late to counter what was said.


Whereas I do know a well-made and well-set and sharpened wooden spokeshave performs exceptionally well, there are many aspects of woodworking that a #151 will do better. The reason for this is the simple fact that the blade of the 151 doesn’t form the sole of the spokeshave but passes through the sole in like manner to say a plane. In a wooden bodied spokeshave the thickness of the shaving is determined then by setting blade deeper than the wooden body so as to form a step-like presentation to the wood. In the very narrow field of chair bodging, generally making parts from green wood and even dry wood, this spokeshave is more ideal than the others. That doesn’t mean that the others will and do work well also, just that it works better. In essence this sets it apart from the 151 and others in that the 151 cutting action is very different. In the bedded angle of the #151 the iron is presented at a steep angle and protrudes through the sole so that the sole is continuous and level on both ‘fore and aft’ aspects of the cutting edge.


Of course the other dominant feature distinguishing these two spokeshave types is the bevel up aspect of the wooden bodied spokeshave (above)…


…and the bevel-down of the metal-bodied type of the #151.

As I say, for chairmaking, where a bodger might decry the #151 as inferior to the old wooden ones, the wooden spokeshave works best and is therefore declared superior. On the other hand, others might declare the Veritas superior to any other because of its tighter mouth opening and superior engineering and metal alloys and such. Indeed, I love these spokeshaves because of these features which are well thought through aspects of the design. You see each perceives and expounds from their small and even very narrow sphere of working wood and therefore declare the merits bests suited to their sphere. Fact is that these statements can be true only on a very limited level. Further fact is that they are all good, all indispensable, all highly developed and all provide uniquely different services in the field. Then for some reason the #151 in the minds of the uninitiated becomes some kind of clunker because  of adverse press by writers, bloggers and magazines. Some time back I blogged that the UKs The Woodworker magazine writer wrote something very close to “it won’t make a shaving” and pits himself against a hundred thousand woodworkers that have owned and used a #151 for half a century and people stop buying what is a truly remarkable tool.

The #151 spokeshave emerged from the casting foundries of western makers to provide a lifetime tool that worked less well for chair bodging than it did woodworking joinery and furniture making. On the one hand the wooden spokeshave was indeed used mostly for making spikes, spindles and spokes of every different shape and size. Ladder rungs and chair slats, wagon spokes and spinning wheel components came from the long, with-the-grain cuts that peeled and pared the wood along the grain. With its different presentation, the #151 performed much different work in cutting coves and convexes with equal alacrity. Did that mean the wooden spokeshaves couldn’t do this? Not at all, just that here there was a new alternative that worked and worked well.


Veritas came ut with their version of the spokeshave with wooden handles for comfort and shock absorption, tighter mouths and finer adjusters. Superior in quality the tool works well and especially so in those areas where really fine work is required. Will it take a heavy cut like the #151? No, not without changes to the mouth, but that wouldn’t be practical because that would change its performance for fine work.

My conclusion is this. With spokeshaves there is no one size fits all although you could choose one of these and be happy making adjustments to make them suit the task each time you reach for it. Each of the types discussed will perform differently for different tasks. Bodging chair makers work primarily with long grain cuts and minimal crossgrain work and so like the wooden spokeshaves best because that’s what they do best. The #151 type spokeshave with its open mouth is a work horse of a tool and will tackle almost any and all work well and can be refined for fine work too. I like owning the Veritas spokeshaves for fine-tolerance work but have no hesitation pulling them out for almost anything I do.

The post In Defense of #151Spokeshaves…and Wooden Spokeshaves and Veritas Spokeshaves too appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Living Large

Around The Shop - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 8:25pm
I have been out of the shop lately on vacation. Nice to get out and see the world on occasion. On our trip through Charleston we had to stop and visit the majestic Angel Oak on John's Island. There is nothing like standing next to the largest living thing on the east coast. This oak is more than 1500 years old and has branches that touch and grow under ground. If you are ever in the area you must visit this tree.

 We mellowed out on Surfside Beach in South Carolina. I think I woke up everyday at 5:30 to shoot sunrise photos over the ocean. I'm sure my Face Book friends are tired of them. It was nice to do nothing for a week but I am glad to get back to what I love.
 Later this week Charles Brock is coming by the shop to film an episode of the Highland Woodworker. I also have a class to teach the following week then back to chair making.

Categories: Hand Tools


The Joiner's Apprentice - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:25pm
In my real life, I do things that are not woodworking-related, and there has been a lot of that lately which makes time in the shop all but a distant memory. At the same time, the final steps of the secretary rehab involved many coats of stain (something I rarely use) to try to make the coloring a little more uniform between different woods of different ages. So I was able to every day or so quickly apply-another-coat-of-this or sand-that.

The cedar boards used for the new back started like this:

But after staining, shellacing, and waxing, they almost look at home:

The gallery was very challenging. Someone had painted part of the interior at some point and it was very difficult to sand it off without disassembling the whole thing, which was outside the scope of this repair (and budget). I did the best I could, and applied many layers of gel-stain which sits on top of the paint a bit. Lots of shellac, lots of sanding... and it is ok. Much better than it was, anyway.

Not a lot I can do about the door wood not really matching the interior desk surface, but it is all cleaned up and refinished and nicely smooth to the touch. The new hardware works great. The drawers are waxed and operate smoothly. This thing is ready for another hundred years of use and abuse.

Categories: Hand Tools

Updates before I travel again

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:11pm

I have a few things to write about tonight. First, welcome to the scads of folks who showed up here after Chris wrote his piece about my new career. http://blog.lostartpress.com/2014/07/14/peter-follansbee-has-left-the-building/


Just to give you an inkling of what you might find here, my first & foremost specialty is 17th-century carved oak furniture. Like this:

chest w drawers

chest w drawers


But for quite a few years, I have carved spoons that I learned through Drew Langsner, Jogge & Wille Sundqvist. In recent years, the spoons have taken off – for which I am quite grateful. Expect many spoon posts here; and a DVD soon.

spoons in basket

And then there’s the new/old directions; the wood carrier posted recently is a good example of the sort of thing I hope to be making from time to time that has been on a back burner for 20 years! http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/i-knew-i-shoulda-made-2/

And baskets like this too:

madalina's basket

Soon, I will build a dedicated bowl lathe – similar to what we used at the North House Folk School where I was recently a student of Robin Wood’s. I have some cherry bolts just waiting to be turned into bowls. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/bowl-class-tip-of-the-iceberg/

As I said the other day, I’m just back from Lie-Nielsen, and just about to go back up there for 17th-century style carving. If you want to see where else I’m teaching this year: Lie-Nielsen this weekend, then Roy’s place (that one’s full, I think.) Heartwood in Massachusetts, and Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. here’s the link  - http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014-workshop-schedule/

But today it rained, so stupid me thought I’d get the “making a living” bit rolling. So I spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling around with creating an Etsy site. I’m not completely sold on the idea, but will try it a while. When I have sold spoons here on the blog, the clunky way I set it up resulted in me spending more time at the desk & computer than hewing & carving. So this is my first attempt to change that. Right now, it’s just what boxes and stools I have left around the house. I’ll add spoons and hewn bowls next week. So if you’ve been waiting for the spoons, here’s your notice – say Monday afternoon. Here’s what I got with making the site – how come 10-yr olds can do this & I struggled with it? 







Høvelbenk frå Grytøy i Troms

Høvelbenk - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:45pm
 Roald RenmælmoHøvelbenk i samlinga på Grytøy bygdetun. Benken er kring 185 cm lang og 60 cm brei over framtanga. Benken er bygd av ein planke som er 24 cm brei og 45 mm tjukk og går i heile lengda. Den har baktang av hjulmakartype og høvelbenkskuff som er omlag 20 cm brei. Foto: Roald Renmælmo

Sidan eg har brukt mykje tid på å lære meg å løype never og tekkje med never og torv, prøvar eg å få praktisert litt kvart år. Denne sommaren arbeider eg med andre del av tekkinga på taket på det gamle våningshuset på Grytøy bygdetun. Grytøya er ei øy i Harstad kommune i Troms og ligg nord for Hinnøya. Bygdetunet har ei omfattande samling  av gjenstandar og eg har nytta høvet til å fotografere denne høvelbenken som er ein av desse. Eg har ikkje funne noko informasjon om kor benken kjem frå eller kven som har brukt han. Eg går ut frå at han har vore brukt på Grytøya og at han er frå ein av gardane der.

 Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo

Høvelbenken er av tilsvarande type som høvelbenken frå Holstvollen i Bymarka i Trondheim som Thor Aage tidlegare har skrive om. Også høvelbenken frå Li i Suldal er ganske lik i uforminga, men manglar baktange og rekka med hakehol. Ein vesentleg forskjell er at benken på Grytøya har høvelbenkskuff. Denne kan kanskje vere ei modifisering av ein eldre benk som har vore veldig lik benken frå Holstvollen. Dette er altså ein type benk som går att ulike stader i landet i ulike versjonar. Det vanlege er å finne desse utan understell så det er vanskeleg å seie korleis slike understell har sett ut eller kor høge benkane har vore.

Arkivert under:1,8 - 2 meter, Framtang med skrue, Hjulmakarbenk
Categories: Hand Tools

The Return Of The Blog

Toolemera - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 1:25pm
Starring - Walter Pidgeon, as the Ford Doctor at Lancaster's Garage, General Repairing at Highways No. 2 and No. 3. That's Walter Pidgeon in the suspenders, standing with his hand on the fender of an automobile which, while I can't identify it, I have no doubt someone will within short order. For a close up of Mr. Pidgeon, take a look at this image of the inside of the shop: What's all the fuss about? This is the first post on this blog in a great many months. I've moved from the cold, cold, rainy northeast coast to the hot,...
Categories: Hand Tools

Sustenance Woodworking – A Year in the Taiga

Evenfall Woodworks - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 1:03pm

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a 90 minute documentary film produced in 2010 by Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov. It follows the life of some trappers and villagers from the village of Bakhtia, along the Yenisei River, in the Siberian Taiga.


Siberia is a land mass that composes most of eastern Russia, and is larger than the size of the United States. It is largely forested, and life in much of the area has not changed much in over a hundred years. Many of the ways they sustain their lives is very similar to the ways we saw Dick Proenneke live in the documentary about his life, Alone in the Wilderness.

You may remember from a few years back on this blog, I wrote a pretty detailed account about Dick Proenneke and his adventures in Sustenance Woodworking with Hand Tools. The post is titled; The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke.

Dick moved to a remote region of Alaska, in the Lake Clark Wilderness and built his cabin in the late 1960′s. He developed a homesite for himself at Twin Lakes, beginning with a Cabin, Shed and Cache, and branched out from there as a naturalist, filmmaker and rather prolific daily journal writer.

Happy People is about the lives of a village of woodsmen and trappers who live by the seasons, doing whats in front of them. One of the main characters in the 90 minute documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a man named Genadi Soloyjev.

Genadi shares with us his story of becoming a trapper in Siberia in the early 1970′s and his philosophical understandings about a Sustenance Lifestyle. He speaks at great length about woodworking and the antiquity of what is known and understood about working wood. We get to watch as he works while visiting with us, adeptly performing the work he needs to accomplish.


We learn of how he feels about the tools of this work, the skill, and the craftsmanship. We watch as Genadi shows us his skills with an axe, maul and wedge. The axe is and has obviously been a tool of his lifestyle for years, and he wields it as if he were simply pointing a finger.

I have to admit, this is one of the better documentaries I have seen in a long time. Not many documentaries produced lately are as absorbingly informative, while at the same time relaxing as I found this documentary to be.


My grandparents were from an older generation and lived long lives. I got to see and learn a lot of these sorts of tasks when I was young. They had much to do and did what needed done. They didn’t over-think the methods, but went with what they had once been shown to do, and those methods worked great. Still do. My folks came up learning this and in many ways, it was passed on. I remember similar philosophies shared with me when I was young, and so much of Genadi shared as he spoke was familiar to me.

Genadi shares some of these philosophies with his son as we watch, while admonishing in a mentoring way what will happen if we do not observe the nature of the wood itself. In another woodworking moment, Genadi shares a stream of philosophical thought that I’d like to share:


“As they say, you can take away anything from a man. His health and wealth and such like, but you can’t take away his craftsman skills. Once you learn a trade, you’ll always know your trade for the rest of your life. You agree?”

“Naturally, you pick up things from others as you go along – A bit here, a bit there, add your own improvements. You gotta see something – someones gotta tell you something. And you know, you can’t reinvent the bicycle. All these techniques have been invented long before your time, honed to perfection over the centuries.”

I feel it is worth 90 minutes of your time when you can sit and have a look. Please enjoy! Full screen capability and english narration is available.

Photo Credits: Happy People: A Year in the Taiga.

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Categories: Hand Tools

A Guitar Stand of Clever Design

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:56pm

At the Lie-Nielsen open house last weekend, luthier Patrick Sebrey, of Union, Maine, brought along a clever maple guitar stand on which he put the finishing touches during the two days of technique and tool demos. At first glance, I thought the piece was a musical instrument — perhaps a variation on a harp — thanks to the tuning keys and strings. But Patrick showed me how the thin, curve […]

The post A Guitar Stand of Clever Design appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Web-page Revision

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:32pm
I've made a minor, and at the same time, a major, change in my business's web-page.  Focusing more on one-of-a-kind and my own instruments, I've decided to try listing some instruments and prices on my web-page.

This is brand-new today, and you can see it here.

Probably several changes to lay-out and format in the next few weeks.  I am accustomed to making frequent, minor updates to the web-page, but this will probably require a bit more attention.  And I have no idea how it will look on others' browsers.

It's really a guess on my part.  By far, most of my business since 1996 has been local, walk-in, personal referral.  Times change.  It could be interesting.

Tangentially related, and because I like to see images on blog-posts, here's the neck attached to the body of my newest pochette.

I had intended to cut normal f-holes into this one, but no matter how I drew them, I didn't like them.  Seemed busy.  I was suddenly inspired by the Norwegian ale-bowl horsehead scroll to cut soundholes shaped like longboats.  Another guess on my part.  But it's just a fiddle.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

For the Workbench Nerds

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 10:28am


A have a new post on Basque workbenches on my blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine. Check out the unusual face vise.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

The business of podcasting “The Beginning…again”

Matt's Basement Workshop - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 9:00am

I’ve been podcasting in one form or another for over 8 years, and in that time I’ve seen plenty of shows (both woodworking related and otherwise) come and go.

I always tell the story that Matt’s Basement Workshop started for one simple reason, because there was nothing in the podcast directories that focused on woodworking and I couldn’t imagine I was the only one wishing there was something out there.

toy microphone

Not the same model, but very close!

So I set out with a toy microphone plugged into my computer and recorded my first show, never imagining it would go any further than a couple of episodes.

I have to admit I’m slightly embarrassed to be called the “Podfather” simply because in my mind that title implies somehow I had something to do with the creation of the whole genre of media we now know as podcasting.

When in fact the only thing I did that could be considered “innovative” or “pioneering” was that I was one of the first people to imagine woodworking could be shared in a podcast format.

As an aside: my biggest inspiration to start podcasting wasn’t a woodworker at all, in fact he was a pilot and an ex-MTv VJ. The man I call the “Podfather” is Adam Curry.

Here’s another little known trivia tidbit for you. At the time, Adam would frequently wish his audience good luck by wishing them “Tail winds.” Why “tail winds?” Because according to Adam that’s one thing pilots like having, a tail wind to help push them along and make their flight smoother and less complicated. So frequently when listeners would send emails or voicemail into his show “Daily Source Code” they would wish him “tail winds” at the end.

Eventually Adam asked if it was possible for non-pilots to come up with their own sign-off, incorporating something of their own passion into it. Immediately I thought of the two things I wish every board I worked with had…“Straight-grains.” Then I thought about how useless those straight-grains would be without “sharp-blades.” The result was what you hear today, all thanks to Adam Curry’s request.

I’ll be the first to admit Matt’s Basement Workshop is not the highest quality show or that you learn a ton of useful information from it. But then again, I never intended it to go as far as it has.

In fact, a question I get asked periodically is if I ever see a day when I’ll stop producing the show? At this point I know someday I’ll retire, but I have too much to learn and too much to share as I learn it.

Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t know? Perhaps it has to do with all those times I’ve been asked “how” to get a show up and running. How many times I’ve tried to help someone with all the little behind the scenes things that go into producing content and getting it out in front of an audience.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve seen a lot of shows come and go, and I can honestly say I’ve probably helped quite a few fledgling podcasters by offering some very basic advice on getting started.

I’ve toyed with this idea for a longtime now and I finally figured it was time to take the plunge and share some of my own experiences with podcasting.

I don’t expect it to be a “how-to” series of posts that tell you all the does and don’ts, but simply me once again, sharing my own experiences with the craft. So over the next, however many posts I write on this topic, I’ll share some history of the show and how I produce it.

Topics will range from equipment, to hosting services, to maybe even episode inspiration. I’ll share with you all the things I’ve learned, and maybe even some of the things I’ve forgotten too.

Is it a topic everyone will be interested in learning about? Probably not! But you never know who’ll read the posts and then become the next big podcasting sensation. Then I’ll be even closer to retirement and able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of everyone else’s labor.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Basque Workbenches – With Unusual Face Vises

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 8:43am

Take one leg vise. Rotate it 90°. Now you have a Basque face vise. Woodworker Matt Talley is working in France right now. And during his free time he is hunting down workbenches in the Southern France/Basque region. He’s posted photos of some of his interesting finds at his web site here. I’ve been poring over his photos and found lots of interesting details (the bolted-on dog strip, for one) […]

The post Basque Workbenches – With Unusual Face Vises appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hammer Veneering

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:04am
In the last video post, the Gentleman’s Valet part seven, the exterior of the drawer box carcase was veneered using hot hide glue and a veneer hammer. This method is known as hammer veneering and has been used for applying veneer for centuries. Hammer veneering...
Categories: Hand Tools

New Popular Woodworking Class on Carving a Traditional Fan

Mary May, Woodcarver - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 6:01am

Mary May - Woodcarver

Popular Woodworking Magazine is revving up its online classes. I have recently participated in adding a class on “Fan Carving” which will go live towards the end of July. This design is that simple, yet elegant pattern that is often seen in highboys, chairs, and I have often had requests to carve this on fireplace mantels.

This class shows how to lay out the design, how to carve the curved edge decoration, and how to round over the individual fan segments – focusing on carving in the correct grain direction. Quite often, these are carved where the center of the fan slopes deeper, but this lesson shows the process of carving the design into a flat board – which actually gives you a lot more flexibility of where you can put this. It also requires minimal wood preparation.

Once you learn the technique of carving this fan, you can adjust the design by adding more segments, carving it deeper, changing the size, etc. The options are endless!



The History of Wood, Part 11

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 6:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

New & Excellent Podcast: The Craftsman’s Road

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:23am


Woodworker Cory Mickelson has started an excellent new podcast series that is definitely worth subscribing to if you are interested in woodworking and making money at it.

Already Mickelson has interviewed William Ng, Shannon Rogers, Ron Riedel and myself on how we built our woodworking businesses. Viewing craftsmanship through the lens of commerce is a fascinating topic and you get to learn a lot about the people besides “Shannon likes hand tools” and “William Ng builds Greene & Greene pieces.”

When I listened to my podcast, I was reminded how wiped out I was when Cory interviewed me. I had just finished up a 12-hour day in the shop building a piece for a customer and getting material ready for a class. That, of course, is how we keep things going at Lost Art Press and the topic comes up during the interview.

Cory has good thing going. Subscribe to the free podcast via iTunes here. Cory’s web site is here, though I had some trouble accessing the shows through that route.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Absurd Spam and the Like…..

Hand Made In Wood - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 4:13am
Nothing to do with woodwork this time, more an exploration of the absurd aspects of some of the comments that crop up from time to time. As this is a woodworking blog in the main, I do like to keep it all in context as well as relevant to the subject. However, some are completely …

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Categories: Hand Tools

Summer Reading: Factory Man

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 4:00am
"Between 2001 and 2012, 63,300 American factories closed their door and five million American factory jobs went away. During the same time, China's manufacturing base ballooned to the tune of 14.1 million new jobs." Beth Macy - "Factory Man"

I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Beth Macy's new book "Factory Man". It's a compelling read about how the American furniture industry developed in the twentienth century only to collapse in the face of Asian imports.

The first half of the book is about the rise of the Southern furniture industry, and how, beginning in 1902, the Bassett family turned forests of Southern trees into the largest furniture company in the country, decimating the Great Lakes manufacturers of the 19th century in the process. We read about John Bassett, his family, his factory town, Southern class structure, the ins and outs of "good ol' boy" competition, and of course some family scandals. It's absorbing, wonderfully researched, and a great read. Beth Macy really knows how to write.

It's the second part of the book where things get ugly. Beginning in the 1990's Asian imports decimated the American furniture industry and company after company either folded, or closed their factories in favor of importing. At this time retailers, especially the big ones, dropped American makers and started buying directly from Asia, mostly China. By this time John Bassett III, had parted ways with the original family firm and went on to head Vaughan Bassett, a company founded by relatives back in 1919.

JBIII as he is called in the book, realized that if retailers imported directly, being middleman had no future, and at least some of the Chinese furniture was being sold as such a cheap price that, even taking into account the low wages in China, prices were below cost and the Chinese companies were dumping goods to destroy the American furniture industry (which they largely did). JBII did four things: He was forced to close a lot of his factories, He modernized the factories remaining with the latest equipment, He began offering faster delivery and more customization, and finally, sought protection from the ITC from the dumping. The details of what he did and the opposition and challenges he ran into make for riveting reading. It was clear from the start that the Chinese makers were dumping, but opposition by lobbyists on their payroll, retailers who liked the cheaper stuff, and pundits who deemed globalization inevitable was fierce and not necessarily wrong. It's even a fair question to ask at the end of the book: What was more important to the survival of the company? Government tariffs, or changing the way the company did business. Macy has the knack of showing how a personal story with real people fits into the larger picture of a company and an industry.

This book is not about furniture - it's about the furniture industry. It's about business and very much so how business decisions and trends effect the lives of actual people. Whether you are JBIII trying to protect both the livelihoods of others and your personal fortune, or one of the many employees of Bassett that are profiled in the book and lost their jobs in one factory closing or another, this book is about globalization from a actual people standpoint.

If you run a custom cabinet shop you will be interested to know that the trend of these large companies is to use their close proximity to customers and advanced machinery to become more and more like a custom manufacturer. As an aside Macy mentions one furniture factory that, not being able to complete in furniture, began selling custom drawers to custom cabinet shops. Sound familiar? I know many cabinet shops that outsource drawers and other assemblies to companies like that.

The one flaw in the book is that Macy doesn't include any pictures of the furniture that Bassett and Vaughn Bassett made. These days Vaughan Bassett sell only American made furniture, and you can check out their website here.

As for the book we don't stock it - but Barnes and Nobles does. Even better buy it from your local independent bookseller. This is a Hachette book so Amazon promises delivery in 3-6 weeks so don't get it from them.

That's some House….

Rundell & Rundell - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 9:38pm

When I arrived at Pete's a few weeks back, we we sitting on the porch chatting ( possibly having a beer?  In fact a 'Lagunitas' -  'A Little Sumpin' Extra Ale,'  rated 5 Star by Ratebeer.com..... sorry, got a little sidetracked there ) when Pete mentioned that he was demonstrating at the Lie Nielsen Open House Event in Warren, Maine the following week. 

"Oh, that's awesome!"  I said.   I'd just tasted the beer...... Oh, really Lie Nielsen eh?   "Yes,"  said Pete, "and you should come along." And so after a lot more beer and a lot more days, I did.

 So with the pickup packed, we headed up the Highway for Maine. I don't know that I had any pre-conceived idea about what the Lie Nielsen workshops/factory might look like, but it was exactly what I had hoped it might. Very cool indeed.

It's a little odd to be at a show like this when your surrounded by the likes of persons you've previously only known via magazines and the internet. 
Taking a photo of Peter's axe was the only way I could see it not moving….

Highlights? The whole weekend. From Peter Follansbee carving spoons and bowls to meeting Mary May, hanging out with Charlie, Claire and Pete at their bench and us all having dinner together with the very cool Tico Vogt. 

Listening to Christian Becksvoort speak about his Shaker reproduction furniture and having an array of very nice Wetterlings Axes to play and chop out spoons with and meeting their CEO Julia Kalthoff.
 Having access to test drive every hand tool made by Lie Nielsen to meeting and speaking with Tom Lie Nielsen and Deneb Puchalski themselves. It was all great and very enlightening. 

That's 100% authentic Maine Seaweed steaming away…. 

Oh, and did I mention the Saturday afternoon? It's apparently a Maine tradition. A good 'ol fashioned  Losbster Bake, with corn on the cob, clams and hard boiled eggs ( oh, and more beer ). I'll let the pictures do the talking…..

 170 odd Maine Lobsters right there!

Now that's how to cook corn


And if that was not enough, we were treated to Peter Follansbee doing what he does best, inspiring us all, by talking about what he does. 

Magic stuff indeed. A big thank you to all who were demonstrating there, giving a little bit of themselves to make a great weekend for the rest of us. And particularly, thanks Mr. Lie Nielsen, it was quite a show. Cheers.
Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut