Link of the week

WooooD Magazine

Today is Halloween, the spookiest day of the year. So, it’s only appropriate that I feature the scariest woodworking magazine in the world…

WoooD Magazine

That’s right, folks, this year’s edition of WooooD Magazine hits the stands with a satisfying thud. It’s a frightfully good read, with a spoooktacular selection of projects, techniques and tool reviews to send a shiver down your spine.

I have read it from cover to cover, and it’s a real Thriller….

Happy Halloween everyone!


MicroJig Art

Laguna tools


It must be tool chest week

So, last night, I was at the meeting of the St. Petersburg Woodcrafters Guild, and I was asked if I could give a quick presentation on a topic of my choosing.

Since I had just spent the weekend working with my Dutch Tool Chest at Heritage Village, and I had already talked about a ton of other things at the meetings, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the chest at the meeting.

So, I brought down the iPad, hooked up the microphone, and recorded this video. It’s about 14 minutes long, and it really goes into great detail about what’s in the chest and how I use it. I hope you like it!

Power up my tool chest

So, this past Saturday, I joined other members of the St. Petersburg Woodcrafters Guild at the Heritage Village Country Jubilee doing a little hand tool demonstration. Since I live closest to the historical park, I was the first on the scene, setting up the tool chest in the demonstration barn.

The set up at the demonstration barn

As I sat sipping my coffee in the very early, cool fall air, I had to remind myself that it has nearly been one year since I finished big green. I can remember the day when I finished it, parking it on the top of my old work bench – the last project that I finished on that bench.

The chest on bench

I never thought I was going to get a ton of use out of the tool chest. I mean, I use hand tools for some of my projects, and I thought for sure that it would be a great place to stash my tools for the times when I would need them. I have to admit that I am amazed at just how many times I have used it. I have modified the chest, recycled items (like an old bucket tool caddy) to hold more tools and even changed the tool load several times.

No, I promise I’m no Chris Schwarz, Roy Underhill or Shannon Rogers, but I am getting better and more adept at using my hand tools, and I really have the tool chest to thank.

The hand truck

Now, how to improve on it? I know, I just can’t leave well enough alone. I do, however, want to make the chest a little easier to move around. That’s why I sprung for a $20 collapsable hand truck. Surprisingly, the tool chest – even fully stocked with tools – is not all that heavy. Even though this sucker has a capacity of 150 pounds, the tool chest is no where near heavy enough to challenge its limit. It works great with the tool chest, because the chest sits up on a pair of wooden skids screwed to the bottom. Because of that, I can simply slide the tongue under the body of the chest, tilt back and wheel it wherever I need to. That’s how I managed to schlep it from my car to the demonstration barn by myself – one hand solidly on my morning coffee while the other guided the chest along the paths at the park.

Chris Schwarz's original Dutch tool chest

Another thing I know I am missing is at least one hand saw do to some crosscutting – if not a second one to do a little ripping as well. No, I’m not planning on throwing out my table saw or band saw, but if I am on site at Heritage Village or want to do a little hand work in the shop, it would be nice to have a few hand saws. As you can see from Chris Schwarz’s original, he has a pair of hand saws tucked up into the lid of the box, standing at the ready.

The 22 inch Pax Crosscut

Our illustrious guild president, Dale Neff, picked up a small tool box saw at the local home improvement center, and it was nice and short, and did a kick-butt job cutting some pine down to size, but I was thinking maybe something a little more elegant. I have my eye on a 22 inch Pax crosscut saw that looks pretty sweet. The shorter size would allow it to ride on the lid of the box, making it easy to grab when the moment calls for more hefty work than my backsaw and dovetail saw can handle.

Well the holidays are coming, and it looks like I have something to add to my wish list!

The weekly plan

How to make a coffin

With this Friday being Halloween, it’s only appropriate that we as woodworkers adorn our homes with some custom-built decorations to bring a little spookiness to the celebration.

Wikihow's plans to build a decorative coffin

Today’s link is to the WikiHow plan to build a decorative Halloween coffin to serve as a yard decoration. The plans are easy enough to bang together in a short amount of time, which can have it ready for your spooktacular later this week.

The best part? The decorative coffin I built nearly a decade ago for my yard serves as a great container to store other Halloween yard decorations in once the season is over.

Link of the week

Lancaster County Timber Frames, Inc.

My shop fits neatly into my 20 x 24 garage space. My eight foot ceilings are nice, giving lots of headroom for me to work in there, building some pretty decent sized projects.

Some of the work of Lancaster County Timber Frames

But, I can always dream big. And, when I dream about BIG woodworking projects, my thoughts turn to timber framing. The work of Lancaster County Timber Frames out of Pennsylvania  is spectacular, and it doesn’t hurt that they have a great blog and social media presence.

So, if you want to dream big when it comes to woodworking, give today’s link a peek. You won’t be disappointed.

The straight slice

I really do love my Laguna band saw. That sucker has been a true performer in my shop, helping me cut curves and slice boards like crazy. Or, maybe my son Dominic rip those boards…

So, when David Venditto of Infinity Cutting Tools asked me to come to his shop – and that I should bring my band saw – I told him he was out of his mind. That sucker weighs a ton, and I would bring myself instead.

Good thing I did, because he had a surprise for me. Infinity now has its own line of rip band saw blades – the Infinity Rip. These suckers are the real deal when it comes to band saw blades. Andy Gibson over at Infinity will introduce you to the blade here:

You can tell that a lot of care went into making these blades. I mean, holy smokes, look at the weld on that sucker!  I’ve seen plenty of clunky welds on bandsaw blades, but this one is ground so fine, you really have to look for it.

The weld

So, how does it work? After all, the proof is in the cutting. So, I put the blade on the band saw, over the top and bottom wheels, after backing the guides way off. To set the proper tension, I tighten the blade until a forceful push from my index finger can move the blade about 1/4″.  So far, it’s easy peasey…

DeflectionI adjusted the guide blocks until they were close to the blade without touching it and put the guards back on the saw. After that, it was a simple matter to adjust the fence for the blade’s drift – something I have covered before in this article. 

With this step taken, it was time for the moment of truth. I grabbed a piece of hard maple – notorious for giving me fits – I got from my friends at Bell Forest Products and put it up on the saw. I was careful to use my full face shield and my MicroJig push blocks – safety first.

Cut that wood!

I am always amazed at how easily that saw pours out the power, and the new blade bit into the wood, slicing cleanly and dead straight. It was a real joy to hear that wood cutting.

The result

So, how’d I do?  There is it the slightest vertical scoring with the blade, but again, this was the first test cut on the blade. I’m sure I could fine-tune by technique and setup, but wow, I am sold. That’s one nice blade, David.

The GRR-Reat GRR-Ripper give away

Last Monday, I asked each of you to tell me what you thought safety and accuracy meant to you in exchange for the possibility of winning a GRR-Ripper 100. And, I have got to tell you, there were some thoughtful and well-written responses. And, as promised, I had Iggy take a look at the entries that came in.

Iggy evaluates the entries

He seemed puzzled at first, but I think he came up with the three best ones!

First, thanks to Matt Swier. For him, the safety part of the equation means the world to him:

Safety to me means that I will have all 10 fingers, 2 eyes, 1 nose, and 2 ears ready to use to serve my wife and my son in my other full time job: being a husband and a dad! It’s also very important for me to pass safety knowledge on to my 4 yr old son when he’s down in the workshop working with me. He may not be the best ball thrower out there, but he sure knows that when he’s in daddy’s workshop, he has to have shoes on and walk directly to the hook that holds his ear and eye protectors before he does anything else. Some of the sweetest words ever heard for me are “Daddy, can I please drill some holes?”

Kyle Veatch had a great perspective on the meaning of these two words from the point of view of a brand new woodworker. His input:

Safety in my shop means more to learn! I am a beginning wood worker and can’t get enough videos and articles about wood working safety. I have learned so much from sites like yours finding out better and correct techniques for things I have been doing wrong in my shop.

As far as accuracy, in my shop that is a goal that I often try but fail to achieve. Being a beginner I often find accuracy is lacking in many projects and not only do I learn a good lesson, but I get to learn how to hide or fix my mistake.

And, when it comes to accuracy, Michael Boulant weighed in from the perspective that many of us, who don’t have a giant pile of money to throw at expensive hardwoods:

Woodworking is simply a hobby of mine. I do not use it to supplement my income in any way. Therefore, I must be very careful with the material that I purchase for a project. I typically buy just enough to complete the project that I am working on. If I mess up on a cut, I may have to go purchase more wood. There are projects that I have had to put on hold until I got paid again so that I could go buy more wood. It can really stifle the momentum that you can build while doing a project.

Congratulations to each of our three winners, and I hope you enjoy your new GRR-Rippers!

As for everyone else, remember that safety and accuracy are important. Now, let’s get out there and make some sawdust!