Today we’re going to go behind the scenes of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal to show you what’s going on in our two workshops. You’ll witness the birth of a homemade woodworking machine, see some of the projects we have in progress, learn about a clever woodworker’s solution to a common problem, and Mustache Mike and I will debate about how much our fingers are worth.
I don’t know if you knew this, but I like building jigs and homemade woodworking machines. We try to have at least a couple new ideas in every issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal. But those things don’t just build themselves. I suppose it would be great if they did? Maybe I could make a jig for that, some sort of machine that builds other machines. (Write note) Anyway, I thought you may be interested to know just what goes on behind scenes while these little woodworking wonders are being developed. Let’s go have a look-sy.
This is my office. Don’t look around, I didn’t have time to tidy up. All you really need to be concerned with is the computer, because that’s where projects begin around here. I know, old Pappy Nubs would be rolling in his grave if he saw how we internet woodworkers do things. That’s if he had a grave. He wanted a burial at sea, and all we had was a bathtub, it’s not really something you want to hear about. My point is, I’ve done my share of designing with pen and paper, but I honestly don’t think I could do what I do today without 3D modeling software like Sketchup. I can build a project, one part at a time, with amazing levels of precision. And if I screw up, which I’m not saying I have ever done, but I’ve heard that some people make mistakes in the workshop from time to time… Well, here I can see the error and fix it before I mess up the good materials.
Right now I’m working on a new design for a box joint jig. I’ve designed several of these suckers over the years, and I really thought my box joint jig building days were over. But it seems that the aluminum dovetail bar that was a big part of the tracking mechanism on my last jig is no longer available. Why is that a problem, you ask? Because people want to build the jig, and they can’t without that stinking bar! Well, they can. They just have to make their own bar out of hardwood or plastic or something. But I started playing with it and, I don’t know, something comes over me when I sit at that desk in my little racing chair and I start working that model with my 3D mouse in one hand and my gamer’s mouse in the other. (I don’t use it to play video games, I just like all the extra buttons.) When I’m in that seat I just can’t help myself, I have to start changing things and trying new ideas. And that’s the true benefit of building something digitally. I can actually move it and manipulate it, see how the parts fit and work together. I have the ultimate power to create something wonderful, it’s an amazing feeling. Sort of like how God must feel, you know, if he was using Sketchup. Anyway, this jig is almost ready, but not quite yet. We’ll revisit this next week. For now, let’s head back to the workshop and see what else we’ve been working on…
While we do build a lot of homemade jigs and tools, (and in a couple of minutes I’ll take you over to our other workshop to show you some projects we have going on) but publishing a digital woodworking magazine means creating a variety of content. This past week we started filming a tutorial on card scrapers for the June issue. (clip) I like to screw around and have some fun on shows like Behind the Sawdust, but believe it or not, not everyone gets my jokes. In fact, a lot of people don’t. I don’t know if that means they don’t have a sense of humor, or I don’t. I do know that my sophisticated wit isn’t for everyone. (clip) So we try to keep the tutorial videos for the e-magazine on the straight and narrow. They are well researched, completely scripted ahead of time, and we actually use a full on teleprompter for them. If you’ve ever noticed that little computer mouse I have in my hand sometimes, well, that’s a controller for the teleprompter. Don’t give me crap for using a teleprompter, it really helps keep the dialogue smooth. Sure beats having a bunch of um’s and butts in the videos. (Ha, I said butts. See, there’s my sophisticated sense of humor again.)
As far as project videos go, we build most of the jigs and tools here. But the regular projects, like the baseball display we’ve been working on for the June issue, those are filmed in our other workshop, which is where the homemade tools are. Let’s take a trip over there and see…
This little building is what we call our homemade workshop. It’s a fully functioning shop that is stocked with homemade tools. There are some commercial tools in here, but more homemade ones are being added all the time. This past week we began building this lathe stand. It’s designed in two sections. If you have a small lathe, you can just build the main section. If you have a bed extension, or a full size lathe, you can add the second part. Beneath will be a pull out tray for a sharpening system which you can lift out and set on top of the lathe bed. I think we’ll have some sort of mechanism built in to lock it there during use. There will also be lots of compartments for storing turning stock, and a bank of drawers for storing tools and accessories. Maybe we’ll do a tool rack on this panel here. I hope to have it all finished for the June issue, so you’ll see it then.
In the meantime, Mustache Mike has been building a display shelf for baseball souvenirs. How’s that coming along? (Good. Chip is a big baseball fan and we like to go to see the local minor league team in Midland. He’s collected some autographed bats and balls he needs a place for them, so I’m making this wall display out of some pine. I also used this as an opportunity to test out a dowelling jig for a future issue of the e-magazine.)
Looks good. Why don’t we all head back to the other shop for a cold one and a little segment we like to call point-counterpoint.
Recently a furniture company called Tritter Feefer Home Collection LLC was fined nearly $60,000 by OSHA after an employee lost a finger-tip while cutting strips of plywood. OSHA’s Atlanta director called the injury horrific and preventable and said it was a stark reminder of what can happen if you ignore OSHA standards. This looks like a good subject for a debate segment we like to call point-counterpoint…
M- OSHA is out of control. Not only is this business short one worker after an unfortunate accident, but they have to pay $60,000 on top of it. And where does the money go? Probably to some big keg party for a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats.
S- They removed the blade guards on their table saws. You can do that in your own shop where you are only risking your fingers. But when you put the fingers of employees at risk, you pay the consequences.
M- Ok, but it wasn’t just about blade guards. They also got fined for not having drill presses bolted to the floor. Have you ever bolted your drill press to the floor?
S- Nope. And I’ve also tipped one over. Big drill presses can be giant towers of death. If they fall on top of you, who’s to say where you may end up with a new hole on your body!
M- Hey, I’m all about safety. But the guy only lost a fingertip. I’ve suffered much worse.
S- No you haven’t.
M- What about the time I got my mustache caught in that plunge router?
S- My biggest question is, who decides the value of a finger. The guy lost a finger TIP and it cost them $60 grand. How much of a finger is that, an inch? I have long fingers; I think I’d give up an inch apiece for $600,000. I don’t like trimming my nails anyway.
M- I wouldn’t recommend it. Take it from me, it’s no fun working with Stumpy Nubs.
S- Ha-ha. This has been another edition of point-counterpoint, which is totally in jest. But if you’d like to weigh in on the issue, please do so in the comments section.
We get to try out a lot of cool tools for Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal, but these are particularly interesting. They’re homemade clothespins, made by a Canadian woodworker named Sandra Christopher. Why should you care about homemade clothespins, you ask? Because they represent more than just a way to air your undies, right Mustache?
M- Right Stumpy. Sandra is an example of the good old American (Canadian) can do attitude. She was tired of crappy clothespins, so she applied her woodworking expertise to the problem and found a solution. She buys stainless steel springs from British Columbia and combines them with locally sourced hardwood for a better clothespin.
She makes them all herself in a tiny garage workshop with, check this out, a multi-router table with offset bits. So, not only is this story about a great tool- clothespins. It’s also about a creative woodworker. And that’s pretty awesome. You can check her out on Facebook at The Clothspin Lady to learn more.
Well, that about wraps things up for this edition of behind the sawdust. Tune in next week to see more of what goes on behind the scenes at the Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal shops. And please support our sponsors by visiting their websites using the links below the video. Even if it’s just for a quick look to see if they have any sales or something that interests you. They pay the bills so we can make all of this content free to you. Until next time, sit back and have a cold one. Because you’ve earned it, my friend!
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