Category Archives: Monkey Tails

Quit monkeying around…

Hey, everyone, Iggy here, and you’ll never guess what happened – again. The tailless one – Tom – got picked up by the people at Wood Magazine for their November edition. I mean, come on, by now you would have figured that they would have gotten wise to him and his hijinks.

Wood Nov Cover

Anyway, it’s a story about – you may have guessed it – Tom making mistakes in his shop.  The guy runs a cottage industry in doing that. In this edition, he also share some lessons about his time back in Catholic High School.

Come here, Mister Iovino

I only wish I could have been there to see him get in trouble with the nuns. I’m sure THEY never put up with any of his nonsense.  Be sure to look for his words of wisdom on page 24 of your upcoming edition.

You may have also noticed that if you have tried to post a comment to one of Tom’s blog posts recently, you have been unsuccessful. There’s some type of fatal exception error that comes up. I’m sure that he had NOTHING to do with it, yet I have been working around the clock to try to figure out what he did to mess things up.

You think this is easy?

So, if you know anything about WordPress and want to help, try to post something to the blog and see what the error is. Maybe one of you is smarter than Tom (I’m willing to bet that most – if not all – of you are), and we can get the ship righted…

Do I have to do it all?

Hey, everyone. Iggy here, and I just have to tell you how fed up I am with the Tailless Wonder these days. First, it’s champagne and caviar in the desert southwest, now, he can’t focus on what he needs to do in the shop. I mean, come on, you are reading young adult fiction?  Seriously, I think those old Dick and Jane books might be a bit above his reading comprehension.

Come on, Tom...

And, now, look at how he left the shop. Sure, he had a few successes, but I mean, come on. This place is a stye. Couldn’t you at least have picked up some of the crap you left out here? Everything is all in disarray, and not even I, the Trained Shop Monkey, should be expected to work in conditions like these.

What a mess.

So, today, I had to go out there and clean the place up. Seriously. Tools had to go away. I had to vacuum up mounds of sawdust. I had to clean off the tops of his tools to ensure that he’s not getting any rust on them during this Florida deluge.

This is bad

And, rings on your workbench? I mean, what the heck? So, since he’s not going to take the time to get everything into ship shape, I had to step up and make this happen. Swinging by my tail, I managed to get all of the stuff out there sorted into piles, the tools put away, the finish scraped off the top of the workbench and even give the place a thorough vacuuming. Presto, changeo, look at what I was able to do with just about half an hour’s worth of work…

See what you can do when you put your mind to it?

Now that’s done, I have to get ready for a few projects. I have to fix a chair a friend brought over to the shop that just needs a little bit of TLC before it gets put back into circulation, and the round coffee table is coming up fast.


For now, however, I sent Tom out to do a little extra cleaning while I sip a cold drink and read one of these books. You know, they aren’t as trashy as you would think they are at first glance…

Iggy’s Holiday Wish

‘Twas a few days before Christmas, and this monkey was fine.
Tom was about to just bore you, so I asked for some time.

You see, he’s been distracted, spending long hours at work.
So I figured I’d be nice and not such a jerk.

So, here I was, working on my poetry
In the time of the year that – in Florida – isn’t quite wintry.

The messy shop

Out in the shop the place was a mess.
With shavings and sawdust, something I’d need to address.

With a scratch of my nose and a wink of my eye
Brooms and vacuums at work, time started to fly.

The shop was all cleaned, yet little time had really passed.
I did a deep cleaning, not something half… uhhh… (well, you know!)

And, now it is neat

With everything neat and back in it’s place,
The shop looked quite pleasant, not an ugly disgrace.

And, in the vice chops, cranked tight, not too loose
Some boughs that were harvested from the trunk of a spruce.

Spruce boughs

Now these should fill the shop with a lovely aroma
Which should bring Christmas cheer to Tom and his senora.

After the cleaning the shop, but before I retired
I looked at Tom’s gift list – in projects he was mired.

“I can build these things,” I confidently proclaimed.
“But I’ll have to step on it, it’s the 22nd!” I exclaimed.

So I check the project status, and to work I did hurry
For some parts of the project, I just did have to scurry.

I felt like I was at the North Pole, a right hairy elf,
“If these things are going to get done, I’ll have to do them myself!”

WIne holder

Now, one project I had finished, it was a heck of a job
I decided it would be given to Tom’s friends Pam and to Bob

The wine caddy I’d built to sit on top of a bottle.
I’d finished it quickly, working at full throttle.

It looked so majestic, of mahogany and maple.
On top of the bottle, why, it almost looked Papal.

And when presented to the couple, they were both very surprised.
They thought it was Tom’s work, and couldn’t believe their eyes.


They fell in love with it, but had one rebuke,
“This work is too fine to have come from the Mook.”

That’s when I swung into the room and asked them to heed.
“It wasn’t from Tom, the builder was me!”

With a bottle of red (That is Bob’s favorite quaff)
I bid them both a Merry Christmas, bowed and my hat I did doff.

After bidding farewell to Bob and to Pam
I snooped around the tree to check out Tom’s latest scam.

The tree!There were presents galore for the kids and his wife
But I couldn’t see any for his favorite monkey for life.

I guess the best part is any tools he does receive
I’ll see out in the workshop – and straight to my mitts, I believe.

So I looked for the big boy to check his gift list.
But, I couldn’t find him – I was about to get miffed!

I looked ’round the house, looked both high and down low
But, knew not where it was, I was not sure where he’d go.

When, at last there was but one place to check.
It was his bedchamber, I said, “What the heck?”

But, from inside the room, there was what sounded like a bear.
My feet they did pause, protesting, “We’re not going in there!”

But, I screwed up my courage, and walked into the room.
My palms they where sweaty, my heart it did boom.

Visions of sugarplums...

But my fears were unfounded, the room was quite safe
Because it was Tom, with a grin on his face.

He was fully reclined, deep deep in his slumber.
His snores were so loud, they shook all the lumber.

While he is very funny, I know he’s no fool.
He was actively dreaming about getting some tools.

So, I backed from the room to give him time to rest.
When he’s fully rested, that’s when he does the best.

I’ll tell you this now, I’m not foolhardy
You can count on no post this coming Wednesday.

Because his kids are up early on a Christmas morning
With his family he’ll be, his blog duties he’ll be shunning.

I’ll pass word from Tom, and this comes from his heart
Merry Christmas to all, have fun you must start!


The tailless one prepares…

Hey, everyone, Iggy here. It is the day before I travel to Cincinnati for Woodworking in America, and I have to tell you just how angry I am at Tom. I mean, here I am, the brains of this operation, and that buffoon is running around the house like he is the guy everyone is waiting to see.

Laugh it up, goofball
Laugh it up, goofball

Here’s is just how ridiculous this guy’s thought process is. On Friday afternoon, there’s going to be this really awesome roundtable discussion about online woodworking. There are going to be people who actually mean something in the online woodworking world – Marc Spagnuolo, Dyami Plotke, Matt Vanderlist, Chris Adkins, Shannon Rogers … people who are making a difference. So, Tom somehow gets this idea in his mind that he’s going to be up there to offer his musings…

Hey, Tom, can’t you tell the audience will get much more out of the event if they ask me up to the stage?  They want to hear about stuff like how I can cut a clean set of dovetails using nothing more than a common frozen household herring, not your smelly gym shorts…

Really, Tom?

And, then there’s your proven lack of ability when it comes to the Hand Tool Olympics, which is legendary. I’m convinced that you will be the first – and only – person to hurt yourself at these events.  That’s why they want to see me and my legendary hand tool skills…

The primate of the hour

While I’m sure that your feelings might be hurt – and that means fewer bananas for me – you aren’t totally good for nothing. One thing that a big woodworking event needs is some comic relief, and you offer that in spades.


Oh, and you totally rock at jumping up on tables… and dancing. Looking forward to some of that action…

I should put on my monkey suit

Hey, everyone, Iggy here.  You know, I can’t believe that Wood Magazine STILL agrees to post stuff from Tom.  Talk about slumming… that’s kind of like watching Donald Trump drive around in a rusted out 1993 Geo Metro. But, hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Anyway, my hairless primate friend has struck gold again on page 22 of the September 2013 edition of the esteemed Wood Magazine.

September 2013 Wood Magazine

This time, he’s talking about how to be a good neighbor while woodworking. Sure, if you were a hand-tool exclusive woodworker – or work in the middle of a 100-acre secluded compound – I bet you won’t have much to worry about. But, for the rest of us, coming up with a good game plan will help make neighbor relations a whole lot more pleasant.

Unless, of course, you are Tom’s neighbor.  Then, all bets are off…



License to drill

Monkey. Iggy, the Trained Shop Monkey.

I’m not 100% certain what’s going on with Tom these days, but I’m not sure that I like it. He has this thing – all of a sudden – about James Bond movies and the old Mission: Impossible TV series. He’s been at it non stop for about a week now. His poor wife had the bad idea to rent the newest James Bond film Skyfall, and he just went on a rant fest about the movie. “It’s not as good as the old movies! There were no gadgets! Where are the Bond girls?”

Double -0-Dipstick

Since then, he’s been forcing his poor kids to watch those movies and those TV shows pretty much non stop. I can hear that Mission: Impossible theme song out in the shop, even over the sound of the router. He’s obsessed.

But, the movies and shows do bring up some interesting discussion. I mean, they did do some great stuff with those spy gadgets. No matter how bad the situation got, they always had the ge-gaw or doodad that was able to open the door, eavesdrop on the most important conversation or make a clean getaway. How many times do we as woodworkers find ourselves looking for that one particular tool to get the job done?

That’s why I was so happy to receive a few sets of special super-agent drill bits from our friends over at Bora Tools They carry the Fisch brand bits, some really high-quality babies. These bits are ready for their special mission – drilling wood.

Boring in wood takes special bits

Drill bits, you must be thinking.  What’s so special about those? Unlike regular split-point bits, those designed for drilling wood provide some advantages for the task. Split point bits can skate or walk when they contact a wooden surface. If you take the time to create a center point where the tip of the bit can bite, that can improve things. But, I discovered that this skating can really reduce accuracy when you need to do something very precise, like bore holes to make a mortise.

Brad Point

Enter the brad point bit. These bits have a center point that helps the bit start true, as well as cutting lips on the outside perimeter of the hole. This allows the bit to score the outside of the hole, allowing for a very clean entrance. Twist bits can rip out wood fibers when they enter the hole, leading to some ugly holes.  Deep flutes also assist with chip extraction, a big plus when drilling into any kind of wood – soft, hard other wood product like MDF.  They also drill flat-bottom holes. This may not seem like too big of a deal (especially for Double-O-Six-and-two-thirds), but it is huge, especially when you are doing precision work like boring for doweling or inserting parts.

The Wave Cutter Forstner

Once you get to a bigger size, enter the Forster bits. These babies do many of the same things that the brad point bits can do, only for much bigger holes. Rather than looking like traditional twist bits, these have a shaft and a cutting head forged from the same steel. Since the head can be up to – and larger than two inches in diameter, they do a good job boring larger diameter holes. Once again, there is a center point that helps secure the bit before it enters the work, and the outside rim of the cutting head shears the perimeter of the hole, giving a very smooth edge. Between the outside cutting edge and the center point, sharp angled edges cut what looks like plane shavings out of the wood. These bits also excel in cutting holes that other bits would have a hard time with – angled holes, holes that go past the edge of your board… the works.

Jeez, Tom, take it easy

With a set of bits like this, any secret agent would be more than equipped to tackle even the toughest mission. Now, how do we pry Tom away from the couch and get him back into the shop? Yes, Tom, I see the secret agent in a tough predicament… sigh…


Oooop! Ooooop!

Hi, everyone. It’s me, Iggy again.

I was reading the latest edition of Wood Magazine, and you will never guess what… I saw an article by Tom. But, this time, the great ape wasn’t messing with wood. He was offering some advice for people who want to protect their stuff when a disaster is coming. Now, I know that Tom is a walking disaster with oposable thumbs, but I think they may have found something he’s good at – disaster preparedness.  Believe it or not, what he had to say made some great sense.

May 2013 Wood Magazine

Now, that’s a first!

What I was most excited for was that my mentor, svengali and muse Marc Spagnuolo is also featured in the magazine as well. He talks about how tired he was after his adorable son Mateo was born, and how dangerous it is to work in the shop when you are really fatigued.

Which is funny, because I’m really tired of Tom’s shenanigans, but I still manage to work in the shop …