Category Archives: Link of the week

Link of the week

Colosseum: Roman Death Trap

One night, I was having a hard time falling asleep, so I turned on my local PBS station and – wow – that’s something I should never do. I caught the start of this NOVA presentation on the Roman Colosseum and how the ancient Romans were able to make the bloody spectacles happen – using woodworking!

The Roman Colosseum

The video chronicles the work of archaeologists who, with just remnants of where the wooden structure existed, were able to recreate the mechanism that raised wild animals to the Colosseum floor and made them appear seemingly out of nowhere.

This video is offered by PBS as is free to watch online. I guarantee that when it is over, you will have a new found appreciation for woodworkers who plied their trade nearly two millennia ago.

Link of the week

Woodsmith’s Pocket Hole Joinery basics

You do realize that next week is Get Woodworking Week, right?  It’s an internet-wide effort to get those curious about the craft of woodworking to try their hand at the craft.

While learning how to cut classic joints is a great skill to develop with time and practice, many prospective woodworkers want to see something go together quickly to fill a particular need in their home. Maybe a bookshelf. Maybe a student desk for a child.

Pocket screw joinery can be that first, fast and strong joint that turns the desire to build something into a real first project. This guide, offered by the folks at Woodsmith magazine, gives you the basics on how the process works and the tools that you will need to crank out your first project.

Link of the week

The British Museum’s Egyptian Woodworking tool collection

OK, so you like old school woodworking tools. Maybe some 19th century coffin smoothing planes? How about some 17th century chisels?  How about something just a little older?

Egyptian Tools

Believe it or not, the ancient Egyptians were accomplished woodworkers. And, as woodworkers, they had sweet woodworking tools. This collection at the British Museum features the bronze axes, saw and a bow drill – a standard carpenter’s tool box from approximately 1500 BCE.

While it may seem difficult to believe in such an arid place, the ancient Egyptians were proficient woodworkers, with evidence of dovetail, dowel and mortise and tenon joints in preserved furniture found in the tombs of the pharaohs.

Link of the week

OSHA’s page on saw dust

No, I’m not taking a job in a cabinet shop or sawmill. However, I have been laid up the past few days with a sinus and ear infection (can you believe at age 46?), and while it’s probably not related to the sawdust in my shop, it’s not a bad time to remind folks about the potential dangers of breathing sawdust.


Simple steps, such as hooking up a shop vac to dust creating tools and using dust masks can make a huge difference in the comfort and safety of your shop. Plus, I mean, the better you can capture sawdust right at its source, the less cleaning you will be doing later.

Never a bad reminder…

Link of the week

The importance of hobbies for stress relief

It’s no secret – living in today’s world can be a stressful experience. Work demands, active kids, bills,the works. Add to the fact that this is one of the most stressful times of the year and, well, you start to get the point.

Woodworking can be fun

This article posted at About Health explores the psychological benefits to having a hobby – like woodworking – and how having that release can help you cope in today’s stressful times.

Don’t we need just about every possible benefit we can get?

Link of the week


So, you are looking to build a new workbench. And, you are looking to deck it out with some of the highest-quality vises and other accessories. Maybe you just need a good plan for one.

A BenchCrafted vise handle

There are few better places to start your search than at BenchCrafted. From well conceived plans to high quality accessories allowing you to build or accessorize your bench , there’s something for everyone at this site. Definitely a great place to put together a holiday wish list as well…

Link of the week

Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker

Fearful of Maryland cops, the cabbie dumped Calvin at the gate of the Beltsville Agricultural Experimental Station and raced back toward the D. C. line. Without the workday and-parades of lab-coated scientists lacing between the brick buildings, the concrete paths of the station seemed cold as tombstones. 

Thus begins the newest writing adventure of one Roy Underhill, famous host of the Woodwright Shop. Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker is Roy’s first foray into fiction, and if it is as good as his other writing, we are all in for a treat.

Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker

While this isn’t a woodworking book per se, it’s not Roy’s first bit of writing I have fallen in love with. As a public speaker, I have routinely referenced the work he did in Khrushchev’s Shoe, and I would strongly recommend you do the same.

Oh, and my birthday is coming up, so family members, please work together to see if perhaps Roy might be able to send over an autographed copy!