Welcome to another edition of Behind the Sawdust where we give you the latest in woodworking news, tips and tools. This episode is sponsored by Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, Tormek sharpening systems, and Sjobergs workbenches. Please visit their websites at the links in the notes below the video. They pay the bills you can get free woodworking infotainment. Now let’s get started with the woodworking news…
Do you know who Wendell Castle is? No, he’s not the guy who makes those little hamburgers. He’s one of the most influential woodworkers alive today, pioneer of the stacked lamination process used to sculpt magnificent furniture out of blocks of layered hardwood. His masterpieces may not be for the average living room, but for the last six decades he’s been pushing back the boundaries that govern what can be done with wood. The Manhattan Museum of Art and Design has opened a new exhibit of his work, but even if you can’t see it in person you should defiantly check it out online.
If you tune in to 91.7 WVXU Cincinnati, (And let’s face it, who doesn’t?) you may have caught Megan Fitzpatrick, Chris Schwarz and Andy Brownell’s half hour interview about the state and future of our craft. The whole thing was a little heavy on Schwarz and light on Fitzpatrick, but we did get to hear about her hand carved poison ivy walking stick, and several lucky callers were able to pick their brains. It was very interesting to hear the three of them in this unique format, and you can listen to it commercial free on the WVXU website.
Main Woodworker and conservator turned publisher, Joshua Klein is now taking orders for the first issue of Mortise & Tenon Magazine. The massive 150 page issue is set for release in February and will include contributions from some of the biggest names in fine woodworking. The price of $24 per issue is a bit steep, and I’m not sure how often new issues will be released, but you can learn more at the workbench diary blog.
Lost Art Press is set to release three new DVDs. One is a contemporary bookcase project built entirely with hand tools, another covers making chairs without chairmaking tools, and the third is a step by step build of the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. All three videos will feature Chris Schwarz because he has become bored since his recent retirement from public teaching, and because he is so fond of being on camera. He’s promised to take a stiff drink before each session, and even mentioned something about a double colonoscopy.
Registration is now open for Greenwood Fest 2016 at Pinewood Dance Camp in Plymouth, Mass. Attendees will spend three days camped in the woods learning the art of green woodworking from experts in the craft including Peter Follansbee, Jarrod Stone Dahl, Pret Woodburn and others. Admission is $420 per person and the space is very limited which includes a place to pitch your tent, a hole to poop in, all of your meals and what they’re calling a rockin’ show with a hot local band on Saturday night.
Let’s look at the blogs…
Why spend big money on a fine dovetail saw when a hack saw will do the job? That’s the question Graham Haydon sought to answer in his recent blog. In fact, he cuts dovetails with all sorts of saws from a little gent saw to a big panel saw. And his conclusions may surprise you. He’s also been using the power of the force to build a shaker firewood box you should definitely check out. Darth Vader was a Shaker, wasn’t he?
Paul Sellers has some questions for his Kunz scraper. They include: Who are you? Can you account for your whereabouts during the war? And how do you compare to a Stanley #80. He also found that a Veritas card scraper can be a serviceable replacement blade should you lose the original. Sellers promises to do a more thorough test once he finishes attacking his sapele, but he says that the green is growing on him. You have to go to the links in the show notes to understand some of these references folks.
Glen Huey and Chuck Bender recently debated power tools skills on their 360 with 360 audio podcast. Some people, morons mostly, believe there is little natural skill in woodworking with machines. This is really a hand tool vs. power tool debate. Hand tool woodworkers often claim that their craft is about talent and skill while power tool woodworking simply requires you to read the manuals and follow the directions. Needless to say, Huey and Bender, a pair of notorious power tool woodworkers disagreed. They say that power tool woodworking is nearly identical to hand tool woodworking, the biggest difference being that you pass the work over the blade rather than the blade over your work. It was in interesting debate that is definitely worth checking out.
Let’s move on to woodworking tips…
Looks like Chris Schwarz has been spending some extra time in the bathroom where he recently discovered a great tip on hand sawing in the pages of an old Sears catalogue. If you don’t how a bathroom and a Sears catalogue go together, don’t worry about it, let’s move on to the tip. It said you should always crosscut with the bark side of the board facing up to reduce splintering. Of course this tip only applies to rough cuts. Finish cuts are the other way around. And what if your board doesn’t have bark on it? It’s no wonder Sears stopped making their catalogue.
The lost art press blog has a tip for calculating the weight and the cost of your work. You have to go to the link in the show notes for this one where you’ll find a set of online calculators that are definitely worth bookmarking.
Dale Barnard has some useful tips for safely and effectively using a hand held grinder for shaping wood. It’s part of the Triple T video series over at 360 woodworking. Dale is an accomplished craftsman whose work has appeared in a number of top woodworking resources, and in this particular video he shows how to carve a layered form without cutting your nose off.
Our senior tool correspondent, Mustache Mike is here to tell us what’s new in tools…
NEW IN TOOLS
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware has won two 2015 Pro Tool Innovation Awards. The annual awards recognize the most innovative new tools in the residential and commercial construction industry and reward manufacturers who go the extra mile to create useful and often game changing products. The winning tools were their new bandy clamps and their universal small port hose kit.
Grizzly Machinery had created a new wall mounted dust collector that is getting a lot of attention. The 1HP, 537 CFM unit is designed for direct to machine hookups, but the most intriguing feature is the 1-micron canister filter, a first for wall mounted systems. The canister is cleaned with a crank operated paddle and they claim it provides six times the surface area of a bag filter. It’s priced at around $300.
In the market for some tools. There are a few deals going on right now that you may want to know about…
Tormek is offering $84 in extras with the purchase of a T-7 sharpening system. This is their flagship model, designed for the professional shop that is serious about sharpening. The extras include a free rotating base and a free machine cover. The deal is good through the end of the month.
Sjobergs is running a special on their top of the line Swedish made workbenches. If you buy the Elite 2000 bench, storage cabinet and accessory kit you get $500 off the regular price of $2700. This offer is also valid through the end of the month.
And finally, Harbor Freight is having a sale. Now there’s something you don’t see every day!
A while back Glen Huey and Chuck bender had a spirited discussion about measuring tapes. Both had strong opinions and I thought it would be a good subject for our debate segment that we call point-counterpoint.
S- My biggest complaint about measuring tapes is the same as Chuck’s. They’re all backwards. A right handed person has to read the numbers upside down when he’s marking his dimensions. As a right hander, I’m used to having things my way. Why did the left handers get measuring tapes?
M- I don’t know what he’s talking about. I’m right handed and I never have to read the numbers upside down. I just take the tape in my right hand and stretch it across my body. What’s the problem?
S- So you use your left hand for the pencil?
M- No, I do it Glen Huey’s way. I extend the tape with my right hand, from left to right, then I switch to my left hand to hold the tape while I grab a pencil with my right hand, then I wrap my right wrist over my left wrist to make my mark.
S- That’s just stupid. Can you even tie your shoes?
M- What’s stupid is doing thigs upside down.
S- All right, let’s talk length. I agree with Chuck on this one too. A short, narrow tape is better. They’re smaller and lighter so I can put one in my pocket and my pants won’t fall down around my ankles.
M- I’m going with Glen on this one. You can only extend those little tapes a short distance before they bend. They’re useless beyond four or five feet.
S- What, are you building houses in your workshop? Why would you need to extend it out unsupported more than five feet?
M-All I know is, the best measuring tape is the one you can find. I have a dozen of them in the shop, and I can never find one when I need it. What’s the deal with that?
S- Hmmmm, maybe you should try carrying a little one in your pocket like I do.
Well, that wraps things up for this edition of Behind the Sawdust. Be sure to check out the latest issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal, full of videos, articles, homemade tools, woodworking tips and more. You can read and subscribe for free at stumpynubs.com. And don’t forget to support our sponsors Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, Tormek sharpening systems, and Sjobergs workbenches because without them, we couldn’t do all that we do. By supporting them you are supporting us, and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that. You should sit back and have a cold one, because you’ve earned it, my friend!
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