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Announcing Publication Date

Close Grain - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 8:05am

Book cover, showing the plane till in my basement workshop.

I'm very excited to announce the publication date for my book, Hand Tool Basics, from Popular Woodworking Books: January 12, 2018!

It will be available for pre-order at ShopwoodWorking.com in mid-November. The price will be $34.99. As a bonus, I'll also be posting SketchUp images here of some of the jigs in the book.

The book is a direct companion to my video series, Intro to Hand Tools. The images are taken from the raw video I recorded for the series. The organization and content of the book match the series.

The book is therefore a visual reference, with some 1400 captioned photos.

Why produce a book version identical to the video series? Several reasons:
  • Some people prefer learning from videos. Some people prefer learning from books.
  • It's nice to have both so you can sit back and watch the videos, then have the book with you on the workbench as you follow the steps for a procedure.
  • The dynamic images in the video allow you to watch the tools in motion, while the static images in the book allow you to take your time examining details like how to hold a tool. 
A big thank you to the editing and layout team at Popular Woodworking! They did an outstanding job with the written and photographic material I supplied.

The images here are screen shots from the author review document, so the image quality is reduced from the final copy, but they show what to expect.

Here are the full Contents and Index pages so you can see what's covered. As always, I like to show multiple ways of doing things, so you can tackle any situation based on the tools you have available, your personal preferences, and your current skill level.

Here are some sample pages representative of the layout and level of detail in the book.

From Chapter 1: The Tools, showing a selection of the tools covered.

From Chapter 5: Mortise and Tenon Joinery, showing some of the fistfights and fundamentals.

From Chapter 6: Dovetail Joinery, showing some of the steps laying out and sawing a tails-first through-dovetail.

Once it's out, feel free to email me at sdbranam@gmail.com if you have any questions about anything you see. One of the challenges in a book is getting just the right explanation that conveys the information to all readers regardless of their experience and skill level, and sometimes that fails.

Categories: Hand Tools

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

Highland Woodworking - 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

‘Unmodeling’ Old Buildings

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 6:44am


After two years of enduring our search for an old building in Covington, our real estate agent showed us something a bit different. It was a large and beautiful unit in an old commercial building. There was a storefront on the bottom. Living space up above. But here’s what was different than every other place we’d seen:

The entire building had been gutted and redone with new everything – mechanicals, plaster, flooring, windows. It even had off-street parking. All we had to do was pick the paint colors. The price was a bit higher than we wanted to pay. But to that the agent said:

“By the time you fix up a place in your price range, you’ll have spent way more than this place costs.”

She was absolutely right. I knew it the moment she said it. But still we said, no thanks.

For me, fixing up an old building is about uncovering the original intent of the builder, removing as much of the modern “improvements” as possible and gently restoring the place back to its original appearance.

During the restoration of the storefront area at 837 Willard Street, we’ve removed thousands of feet of wiring, lots of plumbing and significant amounts of silly ductwork. From the building’s floor, I think we’ve pulled up almost 3” of old floor. The plaster walls had been layer caked in plywood, wainscotting, then stud walls, drywall and then ridiculous moulding.


Justin is the muscle in our demolition efforts. He removed this section of wall with his bare hands.

On Saturday we turned our attention to the garage out back, which will become my machine room. It’s a circa 1905 cinderblock structure that was listed on the city’s fire insurance maps as a stable. So we call it the “horse garage.”

Most of the advice from my friends and neighbors has been along the lines of, “Tear it down and build what you want. It will look better and be cheaper.”

They’re probably right. But that thought won’t enter my head. Once you tear down an old building, it’s gone forever. You can’t bring it back. If a structure can be saved, I think it should be saved.

I may someday regret this attitude. And that day may come this week.


Megan hauls out an early layer crap from the horse garage. She is wicked with a recip saw.

Megan Fitzpatrick, Justin Leib and Brendan Gaffney all pitched Saturday in for a full day of demolition, which filled a 20-yard roll-away dumpster. (I’ll probably have to fill it twice more as I remove the modern gabled roof this week.)

As in the main structure, the stable was layers and layers of crap on the walls and ceilings. The most interesting find from the day was evidence that the stable had been used as a small apartment or house, probably in the 1960s. One of the stable doors had been altered to have a window surrounded by plaster. The other stable door had been converted into an entryway door. And a good deal of abandoned plumbing pointed out where a bathroom and kitchen had been.


In addition to gutting the horse garage, we also removed some modern drywall in the main structure. Here Brendan uses some of his training from the College of the Redwoods (now the Krenov School) to vacuum away what we hope is some blow-in insulation.

Despite all the dust, bugs and debris, we did have one good omen on Saturday: We didn’t find any glitter.

And now to the roof.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

classic vs. pollywog, teaser

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 6:33am
Jonas ask for a picture with both types of handles in one picture.
There you are. Double use: Teaser for Brian. And: the first ebony handle completly finiehed by me. Klaus did the shaping, though.

resanding the pollywog
hardly visible: this is riple ebony
Categories: Hand Tools

Scythes in Manchester stained glass

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:41am
Do you see what I see? Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

If it’s a QFBR, they should send it to @periodcraftsmen.

Giant Cypress - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:28am

If it’s a QFBR, they should send it to @periodcraftsmen.

donkeys dry fitted......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:17am
It didn't look like I was going to get this far this morning. I had stopped by Lowes to check on a few things and I ended up buying a few things. I couldn't pay for them because I forgotten to take my wallet with me. That meant going home, finding the wallet, (it was on the floor), and returning to Lowes to buy the goodies. It took me a while to light the fires in the motivation furnace after that adventure and finally get my butt down to the shop.

unplanned goodies from Lowes
I had stopped at Lowes on the way home from work (OT) to check on getting some Formica. I need to build my 'real' stand up desk done for work. The one I'm using now needs to be updated (too small in the width). Anyways, when I get to Lowes there is no one to help me find the where they hide the Formica. So I wandered around looking where I think it would have been but I came up dry. So I went looking for casters.

I had looked for them on line but the selection had nothing I wanted. I wanted a 2" or smaller wheel rated for at least 50lbs (27 kilos) and Lowes had a quite a few to pick from. I grabbed four steel wheeled casters that were rated for a 100 lbs (45 kilos) each. As I was walking away with these, I spied the ones I did buy. These are 51mm (2") wheels with a some kind of a poly wheels. These are rated for 91lbs each (41kilos) and this should be more than adequate for the toolbox.

I got some 5/4 pine to make a dolly with. I had got a good suggestion on buying one and I was going to do that but when I saw the right casters in Lowes I changed my mind. I bought two 8' x 4" boards. I could have made the dolly out of one board but I got two so I can work around the knots. It is something you can't avoid with pine.

new pattern for the top of the uprights
it's not a circle
I started with a circle and changed it by marking another line inside that and making it a bit flatter. I like this better than a round ball look from a circle.

foot pattern
I can put this so the knot is on the foot but I think that would always visible. I'll be using the donkeys by looking down onto them and seeing the knot.

where do you put the knot
After placing a scrap in the position of the bearer I went with it here. It's too big to remove with a chamfer so I'll live with it as is. And with stock on the bearer the knot won't be visible.

laying out the tenons
 I used this knife for the whole donkey project. It felt a little funny size wise but I haven't encountered any problems with it yet. I'm sure using it will be old hat with a few more projects under my belt.

foot detail changed
I moved the foot in from the edge about a 1/4" which made the slant at the bottom slightly bigger. It isn't a huge detail and you may have to stare at for a while to pick it out.

top bearer mortises laid out

bottom stretcher mortises were the last of the layout work
sawing out the tenons
It's been a while since I sawed tenons and it showed. Doing these is nothing like not riding a bike for a while and getting on it later and pedaling away. I'm glad that I don't saw tenons to fit off the saw.

first M/T done
I used a router to trim the cheeks until I got it to fit  snugly into the mortise.

cheek fit is good but the ends need help
second one done
Got good contact with the cheeks but the ends on this one are worse than the one above.

I feel like this was the first time ever for sawing tenons
These cheek cuts look like crap and they are all over the place. The only good thing I can say about them is that all the wandering luckily happened on the waste side.

removed the ski jump from the pic above with a big ass chisel
I didn't want to remove that much waste with my router. I still don't have the skill Mr Sellers has with trimming tenon cheeks to fit with a chisel. I can do humps and ski jumps though.

done and it's critique time
3 are snug fitting and self supporting
one is loose
I am approaching M/T work the same way I did when I learned dovetailing.  When I first started doing them I made a lot of crap but eventually some parts of it starting looking better. With time and lots of practice I think I finally got a handle on dovetailing and I will do the same with M/T work. I see some crap but I see some good with my M/T work today.

all the shoulders look this good
edges look ok too
Two them have an errant over shoot from the saw but the lines are tight. These short shoulders were something I struggled with taming. I got the longer face ones first but these short side ones for some reason I was sawing long and then swung the other way and sawed them short. I think what eventually helped me with them was sawing 1/2 pins with dovetailing. I went through the same dance steps with them.

the 3 snug fitting cheeks
The end cuts need some help. I am obviously not chopping them square. I did ok on chopping the cheek walls square and I got a uniform width on them.

the loose one
I consider this a D. The cause of this was the dreaded 'I had to take on more swipe' with the router because I thought it was too snug. I ended up with the loose cheek fit and big gaps on the ends. I didn't come close to winning on any them.

Overall these joints will work because I am going to draw bore them. Draw boring is like putty, both will hide a lot of sins. I would not try to just glue these because of the bad end cuts I made. I think that they would move and eventually fail. I give myself a C on the overall output.

it seems I have a pizza box of veneer
I have to fix this loose tenon even if I am draw boring it. I don't know what kind of wood this veneer is. I'm going with it is light colored like the tenon is.

cut it out with the marking knife and ruler
need two
I thought I could get away with one but it was still a bit loose. Better fitting, but it still wasn't self supporting. Self supporting is my goal for a M/T joint

with both pieces it is self supporting
I glued the veneer onto both sides of the tenon and set it aside.

making the mortises for the bearers and the stretchers
I am drilling out some of the waste with a forstner bit. The mortise is a 1 1/2" wide and the bit is 1 1/8".

3 chisel line up
I felt comfortable chopping these by hand. I have a lot of these under my belt with all the bookshelves I made previously (24 of them).

self supporting
I had to mark the mortises again. After I had chopped the first one, I was off about a 1/8" in the width when I offered the bearer to the mortise. I knifed a new line on either side of the mortise and chopped it out.

getting an even depth
I did pretty good on chiseling to depth using the holes I drilled but the router removed all doubt.

tapping the veneered tenon and mortise together
first one dry fitted
knifing a new line
I had only made a pencil line for the outside of the mortise so I didn't have to deal with a double knife line. I added roughly a a fat 32nd on each side. My top to bottom knife walls were dead nuts on.

both dry fitted
Almost done. I will do the feet and upright detail sawing tomorrow and then glue them up. I'm thinking of painting them the same color I used on the tool box.

it's about a 1/4" higher
I had to measure the two donkeys to see if I had screwed up. Both of them are 28 1/2" and the new one is sitting on a high spot on the floor.

I like the new ones
The 4x4 donkeys are very strong and I'll use them when I make my new workbench. For everything else I'll use the new ones. And I'm still going to think of way to make a set of these that knock down.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Which US President founded the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts?
answer - George Washington founded it in 1777 during the American Revolution

Pollywog - Kaulquappe

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:38am
Seit mehr als einem Jahr areite ich malc wieder an einer Kaulquappe. Das geht so schön fix..

Since more than a year I'm working on a plooywog. That is fast work compared with a classic handel.

Categories: Hand Tools

Nominal Lumber Knowledge

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:00am
2x4 nominal lumber

I don’t know exactly when I learned that a 2×4 isn’t 2″ x 4″, but I’m quite sure it was well before I joined the staff of Popular Woodworking. I studied English literature and journalism in college, and took one shop class in grade school that covered little more than basic turning – no construction. When I was a kid, I was busy playing soccer and bugging my mom to let […]

The post Nominal Lumber Knowledge appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Making an infill plane from scratch 9, rear infill.

Mulesaw - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 10:03pm
The front infill had a really nice and tight fit yesterday, but apparently the wood is not completely dry, because it has shrunk a bit since then. Not much, but I can clearly feel a difference in the fit. I hope it won't matter too much, but I usually have problems with wood expanding at our place, so it might just end up perfect at home.

To make the rear infill, I sawed out a piece of Bubinga and flattened one side that would serve as a reference for the lay out. This was the lower side of the infill.
Next one side was squared up and finally the last side was made parallel and square too.

Following this I marked out a 50 degrees angle on the forward part of the infill, which will eventually become the frog or bedding for the blade.
If I had had a protractor out here I would probably have used it, but I dont. So with the help of a bit of math and a tangent function I was able to do the job anyway.
After marking up I sawed close to the line with a hacksaw. The surface was then sanded completely flat going through the grits with the sand paper placed on a flat piece of thick aluminum plate.

The block of wood was placed inside the base of the plane and the contours of the side were marked on the wood with a pencil.
The block was removed and a hacksaw was again used to saw near the lines to remove the bulk of the waste.
After sawing, the block went back in, and the assembly was clamped in the vice and the wood was brought down to be flush with the sides using files and sandpaper.
Just like with the front tote, I left the rear infill a bit long. This will be trimmed of later.
Making a rear tote is the next part of the project.

Rear infill and front tote.

Rear infill seen from above.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wedges in multiple through-mortise-and-tenon joints

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 8:23pm
Wedges in multiple through-mortise-and-tenon joints
The usual directive is to flare the end grain mortise walls and wedge the tenons against those walls, as in the photo above. With the opposite configuration, which has the side grain mortise walls flared, there is reasonable concern that the wedges might exert pressure across the grain of the mortised board sufficient to split […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Nostalgia or No?

Paul Sellers - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 12:34pm

My working with hand tools has nothing to do with a reluctance toward living in a post modern world; just so you know. I’m just thankful I do, and that I feel to a balanced degree I’ve been able to embrace it. I always like seeing old workshops with wood leaning against rustic walls and […]

Read the full post Nostalgia or No? on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Farewell, old friend

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 11:26am


As woodworkers, we tend to think about trees most often in the context of wood. But a living tree is habitat, safe perch, shady spot, daily carbon dioxide sink, and more.

Trees also bear fruit. Until I moved to Indiana, persimmons were novelties: fat juicy globes with exotic names such as Fuyu and Hachiya. Then, one October, a boyfriend proposed a weekend paddle on Lake Monroe (yes, he’d made his own canoe) to a spot rich with persimmons. We filled a couple of shopping bags with squishy fruit and paddled back to the truck. He showed me how to make pulp and shared his grandmother’s recipe for pudding.


Milling persimmons for pulp is a time-consuming process but well worthwhile.

When we pulled the glass dish out of the oven, the kitchen filled with sweet, spicy steam. We let the pudding sit a while to firm up while we whipped some cream. Slice, serve, dollop. Heaven.

Persimmon pudding

Somewhere on the texture spectrum between jello and brownies lies the traditional Midwestern treat persimmon pudding.

Much smaller than their Oriental cousins, our native persimmons are packed with nutrients: 127 kcal per 100 grams of raw fruit (compared to 70 kcal for the same amount of Japanese persimmon, Diospyros Kaki), 33.5 grams of carbohydrate (compared to 18.59), 0.8 grams of protein (versus 0.58), as well as higher than the Japanese persimmon in fat, calcium, and iron. I offer this comparison not as an exercise in nationalism, but to help explain why the peoples native to this land considered putchamin an important food.


The fruit of Diospyros Virginiana, the persimmon native to eastern and Midwestern states, is generally considered unfit to eat until it has fallen on the ground. Bite into an unripe fruit and you’ll experience a serious tannin pucker.


A couple of years after my first taste of persimmon pudding I was looking for an affordable property where I could have a workshop. The first place I visited fit the bill and came with a bonus: an old persimmon tree on the front lawn and a couple more on the fence line.

Fast-forward fourteen years. After feeding many a deer (and two of my dogs) and giving us fruit for countless puddings, the old tree in our front yard finally gave up the ghost last winter. We had plenty of advance notice: fewer leaves each spring, more limbs dropped per thunderstorm. Of course it’s not really gone: Persimmons spread through their roots to form groves. Several daughter trees are growing to maturity in the garden.


Two of the daughters took root next to each other, on opposite sides of the garden path. I’ll continue pruning them so that they’ll eventually form an arch.

A large dead tree in the front yard is hardly attractive. “Can we please cut it down?” I asked my husband last spring. I wasn’t asking for permission; he’s the one who uses a chainsaw. I’ll use industrial shop equipment any day, but chainsaws terrify me. “No,” he said; “it offers wild birds refuge from Louis [the shop cat].” Spring turned to summer, and concern for the birds’ safety turned into “Taking that tree down is going to be a huge project. Do you have any idea how much work it’s going to be, cleaning up those limbs?” Clearly not a job for the itchy, sweaty months. Now that fall is here (if tentatively), we’ll take it down and give some of the wood to our friend Max Monts to turn into bowls, because as many readers will already be aware, persimmon is related to ebony.–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work


Here’s that recipe.


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Customer Dovetails at EWS

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 4:12am

A few of you may have spotted Ian on my stand demonstrating my guide while I took a much needed refuelling break. Whilst Ian is an experienced demonstrator, I did rather throw him in at the deep end, sorry about that!

Ian cuts all his dovetails freehand and is seen here demonstrating at a show back in Japan where he lives. And this is the result, a fine pile of 'Paul Sellers' boxes.
This reminds me I must try to think of something more imaginative than cutting endless single corners!

Here is Ian's freehand version of one of my corners, perfect!

Categories: Hand Tools

Braces & Drills with Ron Herman

360 WoodWorking - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 4:10am
Braces & Drills with Ron Herman

Ron Herman discusses woodworking braces, including terminology, sizes and chuck designs. Plus, he shares his take on hand-powered drills as he identifies a small assortment of tools still available at garage sales, flea markets and tool swaps.

Continue reading Braces & Drills with Ron Herman at 360 WoodWorking.

Simple and Fast Rabbeted Drawers: Hi, I’m David and I Break Things

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 3:00am

I wouldn’t call it reckless, but I tend to push, pull and slam things a little harder than I should. I’d like to blame my father who operated on an “I can fix anything” mentality that gave him the leeway to be overly rough while working on cars and around the house, but really, I just enjoy making loud noises and the efficiency of tossing things across the room. With […]

The post Simple and Fast Rabbeted Drawers: Hi, I’m David and I Break Things appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

saw donkeys pt VI (?).......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 12:33am
This morning when I left for work it was rather nippy. I briefly thought about going back into the house and getting a jacket. But if I did that it would be too warm to wear when I quit work. It never ceases to amaze how quickly the weather can change. Yesterday warm and sweating in the shop and today it was cool and no sweating in the shop.

I got my time allotment in the shop tonight but there isn't a lot of pics. The verbiage will be matching the pic count too. The saw donkeys are moving along and I think I'll get them done this weekend. I made another change to them, no knock down. Being lighter and easier to move than my 4x4 donkeys, I'll have to put up with stowing as is. That is because I couldn't think of way to knock them down that I liked.

got the second mortise done
I had plenty of time left so I started in on the 3rd one.

ends are OTL
The ends on each succeeding mortise were worse then the one before. By the time I got to my third one, not only did they have humps, they were also slanted. I had done my ruler trick to check for a hump and after the third one I checked it with a square.  I got square on one side and a slant on the other even though the ruler said no hump. I assumed that no hump also equated to flat and square too.

got the remaining 3 done
I was going to stop after the 3rd one and do it tomorrow. But I had more the twenty minutes to go before quitting so I did it. I think in hindsight I should have waited because I rushed it and paid the piper.

I was trying to get the end flat, straight and square to the edges. I got the opposite one done ok but this is the one I rushed to finish. This isn't a loss as I can still get a tenon in here and make it secure. I am going to draw bore and pin this so that will make up for some of this slop. The cheeks are as good as the first one I did so I will get a good glue bond with that. So some good and some bad.

I'm using and changing this
This is what I was going to do instead of chopping the 4th mortise - make a new pattern.  I don't like the square top look of the uprights and this is the winning profile. I'll use this with a minor change, hence the need for a new pattern. The two flats on each side are history. They are magnets for chipping and breaking off and I don't like the look. The plan is to just spread out the profile above the flats out to the edges.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
It was the top rated variety show of all time and last aired on TV in 1971. What was it?
answer - the Ed Sullivan show

My favorite bandsaw blade

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:22pm
Supercut bandsaw blade
Readers of this blog know of my fondness for the bandsaw. More than almost any other tool in the shop, a fine quality bandsaw allows you to upgrade your range of designs and unlock the wonders of wood. With that in mind, here is my favorite bandsaw blade – the one that is almost always […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Not Exactly MGM…

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 7:09pm

Mrs. Barn calls it ADD, I call it Hyper-curiosity.  Whatever it is, it means that sometimes I have a tough time turning my brain off, which in turn has an ancillary side effect of insomnia.  And, an inability to concentrate fully when I’m watching a movie or such (tonight it’s an Eastwood bullet-fest — obviously Mrs. Barn is out of town) and I usually have a note pad nearby to capture my fragmented musings.  A few of these and I have an idea, a few ideas and I have  concept, and a concept usually turns into a project of some sort.

Here are some landmarks on the conceptual map that is taking shape for one possible future project for The Barn based on observations, whimsy, and experience.  Consider the following:

  1. I’ve had the amazing opportunity over a great career spanning almost five decades that enabled aggressive learning and allowed/required creative, interdisciplinary  problem solving
  2. I retired five years ago with plenty of fuel left in the tank.  Since then I’ve published three books (with at least five more manuscripts in the pipeline, maybe even as many as a dozen if I get back to writing fiction), filmed three videos, and created a unique exhibit.
  3. Now freed from the immediacy of most deadlines (I’m still writing a ton, but the deadlines of the Roubo and Studley books were imminent and the Studley exhibit deadline was inflexible) and recovered from two serious injuries, I can now let my mind wander and creative juices flow unfettered

4. I have a big barn in a beautiful setting and have been encouraged to organize workshops to pass on what I learned over the years.  Those who have attended the workshops give me great feedback about the experience and the setting.

5. But, most folks are unwilling to come to The Barn for workshops, for what ever reason; distance, remoteness, time, topic.  Last summer two of the four workshops I had scheduled were cancelled due to lack of interest, this year it was three of five scheduled workshops cancelled.  I will probably never cease offering them, maybe just a couple every summer, but it’s pretty clear workshops at The Barn are likely not a big part of the equation going forward..

6. I still enjoy greatly transmitting to willing learners the stuff taking up space between my ears and energizing my hands.

7. I go places to teach occasionally, but my aversion to travel makes this an unlikely major component of my future plans.  Plus, I generally expect hosts/classes to compensate me similarly to conservation clients, and that is a deal breaker a lot of the time.  Think of it as the intersection between Opportunity Costs and Comparative Advantage.

8. I am comfortable speaking to audiences, whether the audience is people or cameras.  I hope my previous videos confirm that self-assessment.

9. A talented (and eager) young videographer has returned home to the hills after honing his craft at college and in commercial work.  Given that about 39,614 guys are out there making woodworking videos, some with negative production value or informational organization, I’m thinking there may be some fertile territory for our collaboration given his expertise and my idiosyncratic interests.

10. The cavernous fourth floor of The Barn ( 18′ x 38′ with 17′ cathedral ceiling) served mostly as an attic for the past few years.

With those things simmering in the pot, I have decided to turn the fourth floor into a video studio.  Mostly that involved cleaning out the stuff being stored there, doing a bit of painting, and finishing the wiring.  If nothing comes of this, at least I got the attic cleaned, painted, and wired.

Stay tuned.

Tool Troubles? Get Thee to the Grinder

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 3:53pm

I’m always surprised by how many woodworkers – even experienced ones – try to avoid the grinder. They will purchase expensive diamond plates or (worse perhaps) a ream of belt sander paper and an expensive granite plates all to avoid stepping up to an electric or hand-cranked grinder. This is not just a fear among hand-tool users who avoid electricity. I’ve met guys who will use an unguarded shaper with […]

The post Tool Troubles? Get Thee to the Grinder appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


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