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 Trend Routing Technology. 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…
Oak’s no joke! The classic look of red and white oak has always made the lumber popular among woodworkers, but hardwood dealers report that certain cuts have been flying off the racks lately. Quarter-sawn white oak is being consumed faster than it can be cut. And not just for furniture and cabinetry. Carpenters are using it in for architectural millwork and moldings in quantities not seen since the craftsman era of the last century. The industry is also gobbling up large, live edge slabs of red oak for interior features in new house construction. So if you have a furniture project that requires quarter-sawn or live edge oak, you may have to look a little harder and pay a little more for your material.
The February 1st issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal will be available sometime around February 1st. Inside you’ll find several new videos and articles, including one about why you should mount your portable planer on top of your jointer; how to cut tenons on a table saw sled; how to sharpen hand planes with diamond stones, and a unique new shop cart design that combines the work holding features of a t-track embedded bench with a downdraft sanding table. The digital woodworking journal comes out twice a month, and you can read and subscribe at stumpynubs.com
A giant insatiable pony is gobbling up woodworking tools! Pony Tools, the maker of countless orange woodworking clamps and vises has been unfolding a strategic plan for growth that has recently led to their acquisition of Easy Wood Turning Tools. The carbide tipped lathe tool company will continue to make their products, and potentially some new ones under the Pony umbrella. The deal closed this past summer, but we won’t know the full effect it will have on the woodworking industry for some time.
Tired of people peeing on your woodworking projects? A Pennsylvania company may have a solution. They’ve developed an amazing water and oil repellant coating that is being used on nightclub walls to protect them from urinating patrons. I kid you not, finishing pro Bob Flexner investigated this himself. Of course this leads to two very important questions: Will it prevent spill damage on wooden table and counter tops; and how do I sign up to party with Bob Flexner? More details and some video at the link in the show notes.
This just in- bob Flexner is now blogging. When the long time woodworker isn’t writing his finishing articles or checking nightclub walls for urine, he’s going to be writing for the Popular Woodworking editor’s blog. Bob was invited to join the team years ago, but declined for reasons he no longer recalls. I suspect it was because he was so involved in the nightclub scene, where people commonly relieve themselves on walls. I, for one am very excited to hearing more from Bob. After all, just one article has already yielded a gold mine of pee-pee jokes.
Two old woodworkrs, but only one coffin. This past week Charles Neil and Roy Underhill spent a little time laughing at each other’s jokes at the Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, NC. Charles is best known for his exquisite period furniture crafted with power tools, while Roy has changed the way a generation of woodworkers view hand tools. So in many ways the two couldn’t be more different. But get them into a room together and you quickly see just how much they have in common. Including a macabre interest in child-size coffin construction. Three hasn’t been a pair of icons in one place this big since Willy and Walen, Jordan and Bird, Stumpy and the Stash. Thirty minutes of video was filmed at the historic scene, ad is available to paid subscribers of Charles Neil’s online woodworking school.
Garrett Hack has a new home. The master woodworker may prefer traditional furniture designs and plow horses for cultivating his rutabagas, but he’s jumped into the twenty-first century with a new website. There you can find some of his finest work, a list of classes and more. He even chose a catchy address: Garretthack.com Now let’s check out the blogs…
Ever wonder how those sweet cakes of beeswax we all love to use in the shop are made? Well that’s none of your bees wax- is what I would say if I was a twelve year old girl. But Don Williams isn’t a twelve year old girl, I know because of the bread. The Don’s Barn blogger, author and master craftsman and his wife has been producing bees wax for finishing for some time, and they’ve written a very interesting set of articles walking us through the process. I warn you, there are a lot of bee carcasses. So if you faint at the sight of honey, you may want to look at this sitting down.
Schwarz snuffs six, dies in cocaine brawl. That was the working title of a recent blog by Chris Schwarz about the upcoming release of the Anarchist’s Design Book. Evidently there’s a fair bit of stress that comes with publishing a book, meeting deadlines, and fighting off the hoards that think an anarchist is a woodworker who hides bombs inside tool chests and beneath campaign chairs. Fortunately much of the work on the new book is finished, leaving Chris extra time to explain it all in the Lost Art Press blog, which you should definitely check out.
Tool storage – is it the most controversial subject in the craft? People have debated it. Great books have been dedicated to it. Philosophies have developed and online forum wars fought over it. Woodworking instructor Shawn Graham is out to end the debate once and for all with what he feels is the final word on the subject. He gives his opinion on what is the best, least expensive and most convenient way to store hand tools. Here’s a hint, it’s on the wall. I highly recommend you read more about this ground breaking idea at the Popular Woodworking editor’s blog.
Paul Sellers has left the country. The master woodworker and hand tool instructor has packed up the lorry and headed back to merry old England, the home he left when he came to America some thirty years ago. He actually left the US a few years back, but made a pit stop in Wales, presumably to see the wales. But now he’s come full circle. Of course he will still be teaching the craft and bringing up another generation of hand-toolers, and native language is very similar to the American he’s spent the last three decades learning, so he has that going for him. We here in America wish him the best and we’ll be sure to keep in touch through his blog. Let’s move on to tips and tools…
A lot of woodworkers hate finishing. They work hard to get a project just right, and then they stress over each coat of lacquer only to have someone rub their hand over the surface and frown at the tiny bumps. I don’t care how clean you get your work area, dust bumps are inevitable, especially with slow drying finishes. Well, woodworking master Garrett Hack has an answer. He says that you can use a brown paper sack. The paper has just enough abrasive power to level things out without damaging the surface. It’s not a perfect solution, it won’t work well if you have a lot of large bumps and the nibs may still be seen if the surface is viewed under the right light, so you still should try to keep the dust away as much as possible during the actual application process. You can read more at the link in the show notes.
Tom Fidgen says you should stop wishing and start doing. The unplugged woodworker says he used to dream about certain goals, tools and projects. They he realized he could have those things is he got off his duff and made it happen. Goals aren’t always as difficult to reach as we sometimes think. If money is needed, it can often be found by cutting out something that you want less than the goals you wish to achieve. I bought a house by cutting back on Big-Macks alone. You can’t change everything at once, but you can change a little bit today and give yourself a head start on tomorrow’s progress. Of course the first step is to read his inspiring blog at the link in the show notes.
Our senior tool correspondant, Mustache Mike is here to tell us what’s new in tools.
Rockler has released a new tool innovation that may change the way you fit your drawers. The Drawer Front Installation Clamps attach to the drawer box and hold the drawer front in place, leaving the user's hands free to fine-tune positioning and drive mounting screws — without the need for double-sided tape or brad nails driven through the finished front. Because of their design, the clamps even allow the drawer box to be pushed back into the cabinet while they're still holding the drawer front so users can verify the alignment and make any necessary adjustments. You can find out more at the link in the show notes.
Anatole Burkin of Woodworker’s Journal recently spent some time with an ultra-high tech machine that is sure to drive woodworking purists crazy. It’s the 5th generation of Full Spectrum’s H-Series desktop laser, a machine that uses a beam of light to etch designs into wood, plastic or metal and even cut material up to a half inch thick. I’m not sure it’s right for every shop, but it’s a very interesting innovation that Anatole describes in great detail in the December issue.
Eagle America has released two new sets of milling bits for CNC routers. The eight piece sets are all solid carbide and are available in both 1/4 and 1/2 inch shafts. But this sort of selection doesn’t come cheap- they run $289 for the half inch sizes. At those prices CNC woodworking may just become a little expensive.
Looking for one of those 20% off Harbor Freight coupons? Who isn’t? It seems like we get them I our email all the time, except when we actually want to use one. Well, if there’s a book store near your local Harbor freight outlet, stop in and check the magazine rack. Nearly every issue of some woodworking magazines, particularly Woodworker’s Journal, Wood and Woodcraft Magazine, contain a 20% off coupon. Since these coupons can often even be used on sales items, you should never buy anything at Harbor Freight without one. That is as long as the money you’ll save with the coupon is greater than the cover price of the magazine, because they don’t allow scissors and magazines in the restroom. Believe me, they are watching.
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