Behind the Sawdust #14
S- 3- I’ll tell you, it’s hard finding a good tri-bolt these days. Thankfully, Lee Valley has stepped up and manufactured one. It’s the result of months of testing and the final product is exactly what you would want, should you be looking for a tri-bolt. Which I actually am. What is a tri-bolt? I’m not going to spoil that mystery for you. But I will put a link to the answer in the show notes below.
M- 4- The Workshop Companion series is back! In the 1990’s a team of woodworkers led by Nick Engler created a 21 volume woodworking library- a set of guidebooks for everything. Not only was it a huge hit with woodworkers, it was one of the primary ways all those smarty pants editors at the woodworking magazines managed to get their pants so smarty. They’ve been long out of print, but finally, after years of tense negotiations that may or may not have included a box of Cuban cigars and a foot massage, Popular Woodworking has secured the rights to publish a digital edition of the whole set. If you’re interested, check out the link in the show notes.
S- 3- It’s one of the world’s most beautiful finishes, but it’s utterly defenseless against heat. That’s according to master woodworker Don Williams. He loves the high sheen that can be achieved with French molten wax polish. It’s an old-timey technique that requires using heat to melt bees wax into the surface of the wood, then scraping away the excess. The wood fibers are impregnated with the molten wax, and the result is a nice satin finish that is remarkably durable- unless you attack it with a tea cup or anything else that’s warm or oily. He says he’s been experimenting with a way to solve that problem. Whether he’s successful or not, this is still a timeless finishing technique.
M- 5- Norm Abram is making a whirligig this week on the New Yankee Workshop online archive. The classic episode can be watched for free for a limited time. Check out the link in the show notes below.
S- 6- Shawn Graham just hates those woodworkers who seem to master new skills effortlessly. Well, he doesn’t literally hate them, in fact he admires them. He says he’s not one of those people. He used to see someone making something he wanted to learn, so he’d go buy the tools, read the books, watch the videos, make a few attempts, start a fire, burn the outcome, curse his lack of talent, and move on to the next huge disappointment. He discusses this phenomenon in a recent blog, but not in the way you’d expect. He focuses on the curious case of immigrant students who are allowed to learn in their native language, vs. those who take intensive English courses before learning the craft. It’s a very interesting article that I’ll link to in the show notes.
M- 2- Hockey tape in the workshop? It’s a good idea according to hand tool master Rob Cossman. He wraps various tool handles with the same tape that hockey players use to get a better grip on their sticks. He uses it on clamp handles, fret saws, even some chisels. He made a little video about it, which you can check out in the show notes.
New in Tools 1/3
M- 3-M has developed a new take on the sanding sponge. Their ultra-flexible sanders are said to allow you to sand detailed areas more efficiently than typical sanding sponges because of their unique design which flexes more evenly, resists clogging, and lasts longer. Sanding sponges are very popular among woodworkers for smoothing rounded parts. So far the reviews are very positive, but until we get a few of them into our workshop we can’t say for sure if this is a real innovation or just another gimmick.
S- If you’re a scroll sawyer you’ll enjoy an 1880 article from the American Agriculturist provided to us by Jeff Burks. It talks about how scroll and fret saws had become perfected, and their work was found in parlors across the country. The number of designs that an aspiring artist could create was virtually limitless, and the article even include a pair of examples. Scroll sawing was a huge pastime in the Victorian era, kind of like today’s video games with less gratuitous sex, violence and profanity. It’s an interesting article that you should check out in the show notes.
Check this Out 2/6
S- 3- Kyle Toth’s Nashua Cabinet is something to behold. The maple and walnut masterpiece was a special commission and features a unique coved panel design. Kyle not only shows it off in a new video, but you get to watch him build it- all in under seven minutes. This is one you’ll want to see. Check out the link in the show notes below.
M- 5- When two craftspeople like Charles Neil and Mary May team up, you know the result will be amazing. That’s just what happened recently when Charles turned the posts for a Charleston Rice bed, then sent them over to Mary for carving. She created a video showing her process, and it is well worth the 30 minutes to watch. Just spectacular work from both of these legendary woodworkers.
S- 3- Tom Fidgen of the Unplugged Workshop says it’s always a good idea to stop and take note. He recommends the Stanislavsky (stan-is-slav-ski) method, developed by a Russian actor to help define a character. It’s used by many theater actors even today, and he believes it can help you remain focused as you strive to achieve your goals in the craft. It involves asking yourself three questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want? This sounds like the perfect subject for this week’s point/counterpoint.
Who Am I?
M- I’m a man with a fantastic mustache… who just wants to be loved.
S- Deep inside, I think I’m still just a little boy running around with grandpa’s handsaw, looking for a finger to cut.
Why am I here?
M- I’m here because Stumpy would make a mess of things if I wasn’t. The money’s not good, but at least the work’s hard. I suppose I COULD be doing other things with my time, like curing cancer, achieving world peace… showing my fantastic mustache to the ladies. But I’m just drawn to the smell of sawdust, which I smell all the time because it gets caught in my mustache.
S- I suppose I’m here because the woodworking world needs me. What would my fans do if I just decided to hang it up? Would they miss me? Would they even notice? I mean, it’s not like there are countless other woodworking resources out there, right? Oh my goodness, I’ve wasted my life…
What do I want?
M- What I want is something worthwhile to do with my time. Let’s face it, I’m only two or three years away from watching the Price is Right and eating Jello all day. I wonder what the ladies in the nursing home will think of my mustache?
S- I want to be a better woodworker, like Charles Neil except better looking. No, I’ll never be able to pull that off. I’d be lucky to be a better looking version of Mustache Mike. Man, that guy can pull off a stash. I wonder if I could pull off his mustache. Would his lip come off with it? That’s be funny…
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