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 M-Powertools.com, My Woodcutters.com, ClearVue Cyclones, 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…
The March issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal is now available at Stumpynubs.com. It features more than a dozen videos and articles on all sorts of interesting subjects from ways to upgrade your single stage dust collector to techniques for making reproductions of antique furniture. There’s even a just for fun section with a list of things to think about while your glue dries, like “Take a look at trending topics online and you’ll realize why we have to write “do not eat” on dry silica packets. You can subscribe to the monthly digital magazine for free at Stumpynubs.com
The Woodworking Shows will be in Atlanta April 1-3. Some are calling this one “The Super-Duper Woodworking Show”, and by some I mean me, because it will feature a booth full of your favorite online woodworking personalities. At least 17 YouTube woodworkers, including Stumpy Nubs, will be in attendance all three days of the show, talking to fans, signing autographs and wondering why so many get so excited to see a bunch of people who shoot video in our garages. This is the largest gathering of Video Woodworkers since last year’s Woodworking in America conference, which was nearly taken over by hordes of fans fighting to see Mike’s magnificent ‘stache. This year’s schedule includes a Saturday night dinner and drinks reception which will be open to fans who can’t get enough of this. For more details, and a schedule of booth appearances, visit the link in the show notes. At this time the Atlanta show is the only Video Woodworkers event planned this year, though I will be at Woodworking in America again this September in Cincinnati.
Has the Studley tool cabinet met its match? The famed tool storage masterpiece that has captivated woodworkers for years was once believed to be without equal. But another unique tool cabinet has recently appeared in a New Orleans auction house. While the Studley cabinet is compact in size and contains a number of piano making tools, this one is considerably larger and is filled exclusively with the tools of a cabinet maker. Where this cabinet originated, and who made it is a mystery we hope is solved soon. Then Dom Williams can write another book and we can all move on to the years of inevitable debate and insults over which cabinet is better. I’ll say Studley’s is better because it shows a higher level of craftsmanship. You’ll say the other one is better because I’m a dirty, no good son-of-a-so-in-so, and my mamma’s fat. We’ll have a blast. So stay tuned.
The Mike Siemsen school of Woodworking in Minneapolis is teaching a class for young adults that immerses them in hand tool woodworking this June. The classes are low cost, but not everything can be arranged for free. So he’s asking woodworkers like yourself to consider sponsoring a student. You can send financial support or donate a tool for one of the 16 young people to use. I think it’s a great idea because, let’s face it- most young people these days are useless. And if there’s a way to pry the cell phones and selfie sticks out of 16 pairs of hands and replace them with actual tools, I’m all in. If you’d like to help the next generation bring less shame upon our society, check out the details in the show notes.
The Winter/Spring edition of Trendlink is out. The semi-annual PDF newsletter features a variety of articles on innovative woodworking tools and techniques and can be found at the link in the show notes. Even if you’re not interested in all of the woodworking goodness, you will want to enter to win a shop full of Trend products valued at $1500. The sweepstakes ends April 30th.
Walnut sales have been stagnant, and dealers are blaming the price. Black walnut makes up just 5 percent of US domestic hardwoods, but it’s long been the top choice for high end millwork. However, dealers who were once raking in the cash are finding that fewer contractors are willing to pay $7-$10 per board foot for higher grades. I’ve seen it as high as an obscene $14 per board foot. With a drop in sales, not only are hardwood dealers finding their wallets lighter, but sales of monocles and top hats have plummeted as well. The good news is, that leaves more for small scale woodworkers like us, who make up the bulk of walnut buyers these days. It is also reported that more woodworkers are looking for the purples and found in the lower grades, which were often seen as flaws and reduced with a steaming process. As a result, dealers are stocking more less expensive, un-steamed boards. So if you’re a sap for sapwood, you may find a deal at your local supplier.
Breaking news- Chris Schwarz has been talking about workbenches. The man who made Roubo famous recently visited the Pleasant Hill Shaker village to look at their benches, and he discovered some peculiarities that led to more questions than answers. One bench had two tail vises on one end. TWO! On one end! Yes, he was blown away by that too. The second was a Roman style workbench that looked entirely out of place and may or may not have actually belonged to Julius Caesar himself. The two benches led Chris down a road of sleuthing not seen since the Hardy boys classic “Lost at Underhill Mill”. I’
Yoav Liberman has been making a frame saw in the old-timey way. He says that making a functioning tool is a fantastic skill building exercise for anyone who studies woodworking. And he should know, Yoav has both studied and taught woodworking in more places than most. From books to magazines to websites, he even headed the woodworking program at Harvard University’s Eliot House. And I’m pretty sure that’s the same Eliot from ET, so this guy gets around. If you’d like to see how he gets around some of the challenges of making a bow saw from scratch, check out his four-part blog full of step by step photos and instructions at the link in the show notes.
Back in the January 2016 issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal we made a video manifesto about how the CNC machine has changed woodworking. It sparked a heated debate between modern woodworkers and traditionalists who see such technology as a threat to the craft. Well if you think CNC machines are bad, you have to check out the March issue of the UK’s Woodworking News publication. 32 newspaper sized pages and nearly everyone is covered in high-tech machinery for the industrial shop. Woodworking indeed. Hand tool craftsman Paul Sellers noticed this too, and he recently wrote a blog about it that, strangely enough, said traditional woodworkers are winning! He argues that even though the term “Woodworking” has been taken over by the manufacturing sector, there is a growing rebellion that seeks to take our word and all that it means back. Whichever side of the debate you find yourself on, you will enjoy Paul’s musings worth a read.
Traditional plane maker Stephen Voigt has begun a new blog about old hand planes. He’s beginning with a multi-part series on the double iron, one of the biggest innovations to hit hand planes since the invention of the hand plane. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, double irons were so popular with woodworkers that they nearly drove single iron planes to extinction. What makes a double iron plane so different is something even a power tool woodworker will find fascinating. I highly recommend checking it out.
Bob Flexner admits that lacquer is a very versatile finish. It’s easy to apply and you can control the drying time by adding the right thinners. But what’s not so widely understood is the range of colors that can be found in various types of lacquer. For example, nitrocellulose lacquer will add a slight orange color to your wood. Water-white lacquer is actually yellow, while CAB-Acrylic lacquer is perfectly clear. Why does all of this matter? Because different lacquers can be used to achieve different effects on different types of wood. So rather than just making your wood shiny, why not put some extra thought into how the right finish can really make your next project special.
AROUND THE WEB-
Aspiring wood turner, Justin Fiaschetti, at least I hope that’s close to the proper pronunciation, has turned 577 pieces of wood into a baseball bat in a video that’s nothing short of a home run. Some of the segments were so small he uses a shop-vac to collect them as he cut them on the table saw. The end result is absolutely amazing, and while I’m not sure if it would spectacularly explode in an actual baseball game, you really should check out his process.
If you’re looking for a less ambitious yet still unique turning project, Stephen Johnson of Four Oaks Crafts has posted an extensive online tutorial for turning a pen from a deer antler. He finds his antlers in the woods, but if you’re too foot heavy to sneak up on a sleeping buck with a hack saw, you can find them online. Antler pens make really unique and fairly inexpensive Gifts. Stephen uses a regular slim line pen kit, but how cool would it be to use one of those shotgun style pen kits with an antler barrel? I’m just sayin’.
Kreg tools has introduced new 2 and 3 inch versions of their classic face clamps. They feature swiveling pads, locking jaws and adjustable clamping force- just like their larger versions. But these are lighter and easier to use for many common projects. The smaller models will sell for $15 and $23.
Fein has released a new line of accessories for oscillating multi-tools featuring a universal star mounting pattern. That’s right, you can now use their high quality cutters on their competitors’ tools. It’s a big step for the company that for decades controlled the multi-tool market, only to see dozens of competitors spring up almost overnight when the patents expired. While Fein still makes a high end multi-tool, lower priced versions have taken a large bite out of their profits, which they hope to remedy with these new universal accessories.
Titebond has released a new PVA glue they call Quick and Thick. They say it bonds wood as well as their other glues, and is equally suited for ceramics, stone, glass and other materials. It’s three times thicker than their regular wood glue, has a very fast open time of 3 to 5 minutes, and sets in just 15 minutes. We think this is an interesting product with a lot of potential in certain situations. We’ll have to get some into the Stumpy Nubs Workshop for some testing.
If you watched the video on hybrid free-hand sharpening we featured in the March issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal you may be interested to know that the M-Power precision sharpening system from that video is now on sale at M-powertools.com. The fast and easy diamond sharpening jig is one of the most interesting tools we’ve seen in some time. If you haven’t watched the full video review, you should do so at the link in the show notes.
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