Popular Woodworking Chief Megan Fitzpatrick says that the top three questions the magazine gets are about workbenches, finishing and hand planes, in that order. They’ve provided tons of information on all three topics, but she says one of the best articles on hand planes was written by Chris Schwarz a long time ago in Woodworking magazine. It was an article entitled Course, Medium, Fine, and it was about using bench planes along with your machinery to speed up your work. If you’ve never read the article, you can get it for free at the link in the show notes below. There are also several other recommendations from Megan on other hand plane related material, so check it out.
When she’s not sharing hand plane resources, Megan Fitzpatrick is flying to Connecticut to interview master woodworkers like Toshio Odate. She sat down with her list of questions recently only to find herself conducting one of the easiest interviews she’s ever done. Toshio just began talking, and she began listening. Nine hours of footage later they had covered everything from sharpening tips to discussions of art and philosophy, as well as a tour of his workshop and a look at some of the amazing pieces he has in the works. She says the footage will be released in a series of videos late this summer, but you can get a peek through a series of photos on the Popular Woodworking website.
Around the Web 2
Recently Izzy Swan of Think Woodworks built a gear driven router circle cutting jig that will make your head spin:
Meanwhile, Frank Howarth has been deep into a kitchen remodel, in a way only he can film it:
Popular Woodworking Magazine has begun writing articles about some of the featured speakers at the upcoming Woodworking in America conference. This past week they featured Kevin Drake, founder of Glen-Drake Toolworks and creator of the Tite-Mark marking gauge. Kevin says that understanding how tools work is a real secret to becoming a better woodworker. At the conference he will teach proper turning technique, especially the way the body functions behind the lathe to avoid catches and other common problems. He reminds us that the important thing is to keep learning and building your skills. Projects are nice, but they don’t improve our skills the way that practice does because we are never willing to put our projects at risk. When we are willing to burn the results, we can push the envelope. Ever since I read that I’ve applied his advice by burning a dozen envelopes every day. He was right, I am getting very good at it.
Paul Sellers says you should embrace your amateurism. The long time professional says that he has tried to maintain the attitude of an amateur throughout his career, remembering to work for the love of the craft rather than for the paycheck. It can be a difficult balance if you do earn a living from woodworking, but an essential one. The amateur takes more pride in his work, he enjoys the process, the smell, even the mistakes because they give him an opportunity to challenge himself further. Paul’s blog on the subject is a refreshing read, so I’ve linked to it in the show notes.
If you’re using a smoothing plane rather than sandpaper to finish your surfaces, and getting tear out, you’re probably going against the grain. But Chris Schwarz says the whole point of a smoothing plane, in his opinion, is to not have to worry about grain direction. He has some tips to help you achieve that goal- Use a really sharp iron, take a really fine cut, and if that fails, try a higher bed angle, reduce the mouth opening, or fine tune your chip breaker. It’s not always a good idea to employ all of these tips at the same time, which is why you’ll want to read the article I’ve linked to in the show notes. There’s also a great little video showing how to quickly and accurately set your chip breaker using feeler gauges.
New in Tools 1
Thank you Stumpy… Oliver Tools has come out with a new take on a woodworking rasp. It’s a carbide file designed for smoothing and shaping wood quickly and efficiently. They’re made with the same carbide particle coating as their Kutzall grinding wheels and burrs and are said to last far longer than traditional rasps. They make a flat version for leveling surfaces and a half round for curved shapes. Both come in three sizes and two grits. They aren’t available for sale yet, so I can’t tell you how much they will cost, but they do expect to hit the market by the end of this month. If the price is right, we’ll get a set for the workshop and see how they perform.
M- The PM-7000 is a fold up workstation. Notice I said workstation, not miter saw stand. That’s because it’s designed to hold all sorts of bench top power tools on the job-site, including miter saws. It extends to seven feet long and has unique features, like built in power outlets, flip stops, a movable work light, and a detachable work holding vise. We’ll do a more comprehensive review later, but here’s how to win one- You have to be a subscriber to our YouTube channel, and to our newsletter. Both are easy and free, and we don’t use your email for marketing. You can unsubscribe anytime, but I don’t recommend it because once you sign up, you’re entered into this and a lot of future tool giveaways. There’s links below in the show notes that will take you where you need to go. We’ll choose a winner in a random drawing and announce it in two weeks.
S-Well, that about wraps things up for this episode of Behind the Sawdust. Visit Stumpynubs.com at least once a week so you don’t miss any of our woodworking goodness. We have new projects coming out, a complete workshop remodel, and a lot more. And don’t forget to help support what we do by checking out one of our project plans. Then you can sit back and have a cold one, because you’ve earned it my friend!
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