Lakewood, CA, US

Recent comments

Re: The Ghostly Woodworker

Somewhere Charles and Ray Eames are nodding in approval and applauding. Beautifully done with wit and grace. And the chairs ain't half shabby none, neither!

Re: Blade brake inventor aims to compete with SawStop

I think the key factor here is that is was designed for CONTRACTORS' SAWS. As was previously noted, the legally stickiest area is liability for contractors with employees, not the home woodworker. This is a good thing. Would it be useful for the home woodworker with a non-Sawstop cabinet saw? Probably. Would a large number of over-confident types discard it immediately because "it was in the way"? Oh, probably. Would they deserve whatever accidents occurred if they did? Yup.

Re: Does Cardboard Have a Place in Fine Furniture?

Since people have been veneering surfaces since the days of the Pharaohs, I don't see that putting fine burl veneer over RIH is somehow a perversion of fine furniture. Yes, I love solid wood but not when the humidity changes drastically and table tops start cracking. Also, I'm not as young as I once was (is anyone?) and the greatly reduced weight of a torsion box is mighty appealing, especially since there is no reduction in strength.

Re: Help us design a workbench for power-tool lovers

At Cerritos College, where we have around 23,000 sq. ft. of shop area, all our benches are dual duty. They have heavy maple tops with tool channels and side vises. That may sound like a hand-tool shop but when you add four drop cords and four compressed air lines per bench, the utility of power tools is obvious. So that's what I think is best. If you're serious about making furniture to use, rather than as an antiquarian statement or personal artform, you need power tools. However, there are times when the precision of a well-sharpened plane or chisel is essential. So let's get off the "one or the other" kick and admit that we need benches that work both ways. Personally, I like drop cords and airlines. I also like the idea of a down draft box, but whether it should be built or sit under the bench until it's needed I'm not sure. Plenty of good ideas, here, but again I say let's not get hooked on One Way.

Re: Free Plan: Tablesaw/Router Combo

Oh, for . . .

Jeez, I just finished puzzling out the process of adding a router to the side table of my Powermatic 2000 and [i]now[/i] you publish a set of plans! Oh well, better late than never, I guess.

Re: CNC is Knocking on Your Shop Door. Will You Answer?

Until the mfr's come up with a machine that will duplicate in three dimensions up to the size of gunstocks, I ain't gonna be interested. I'll take a look this fall in the Woodworking Show in SoCal but right now I'm unimpressed by both the capacity and by the price.

Re: Quick-Acting Vise Reinvented: New Design by Len Hovarter

Slowlearner has an excellent point. My current bench isn't even finished but I would happily drop the plans to install Lee Valley's twin screw if this one pans out. It looks really slick and installing bench dog holes in the front would be child's play.

Re: How to Use Bamboo for Fine Furniture

Though I have yet to use the stuff personally, I know enough about to be cautious. First, the stuff is incredibly high in silicates. That's why it takes a cutting edge and can be used in place of flint or obsidian in a paleolithic culture. Those who served in the infantry in Viet Nam will corroborate me.

Second, there are enough varieties of timber bamboo that are temperate in their growth habits that importing it from Asia is unnecessary. Here in California we have grown both [i]oldhamii[/i] and [i]bambusoides[/i] for over a hundred years. Both species are hardy to below freezing.

Third. Personally, I would split before I tried to saw. The outer skin is so hard that even carbide tools will get eaten before you know it.

Lastly, IMO, the stuff lends itself ideally to bentwood styles of chairs and tables. Making it into plywood seems an odd idea unless you specifically want flooring.

Re: New Study Discusses Tablesaw Injuries

When I first started taking woodworking classes table saws terrified me. I swore my own shop would be designed around a big bandsaw and the table saw could go hang. I have finally gotten used to one and bought a Powermatic 2000 as soon as they were available. I still treat the thing with great respect. I am inclined to believe that most of the injuries are due to hurrying, especially when the woodworker is tired. In my own case, as soon as I start finding myself doing dumb little things, I close down the power and go read a book. Fatigue is much more the danger than the machine itself.

BTW, I love the riving knife.

Re: Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and Woodcraft part ways

Since I can't afford Lie Nielson tools anyway, I don't see that this is much in the way of news. Yes, they're lovely. At my level of skill, I can do just as well with any one of a number of first-rate but less costly manufacturers. It's a tool, for Chrissake, not a Matisse.

Re: Are CNC machines ready for Fine Woodworking?

Is it a tool? Do Fine Woodworkers use tools? Some of us dote on our vintage chisels and planes, others on our state-of-the-art machinery. Some real eccentrics like both! :-D As George Nakashima so profoundly put it, it isn't a question of using either hand or machine tools but in choosing which tool best expresses what the woodworker wishes to make. You use the tool that is best suited for the job at hand. If it happens to be plugged into your laptop, no big deal.

Re: Bamboo bikes? You bet.

LOL! You must not be very old. Bamboo bikes have been around since the days of the dear, departed Whole Earth Catalog. I certainly hope they become more common, though. Bamboo is wonderful stuff and the more of it I see in use, the better.

Re: Is Danish Modern the furniture style of our time?

It seems to me that attempting to designate any particular style as "the" one to have is futile. Modernists tried that at the end of the Nineteenth Century and what resulted was an enormous outpouring of mindless trash. The Bauhaus about destroyed architecture in their attempt to provide good design to the masses through industrial output. Abstract expressionism is just the ticket for adorning the walls of corporate offices where no one will really look at it anyway and as for twelve-tonal music? Shudder! Furniture is different. It has to do something and do it comfortably. What the Scandinavian designers of the period between the wars came up with was a very humanized Modernism. Much of it is very comfortable, though not all. The living room chairs my in-laws owned were horrors to get out of. However, their dining room set with sideboard sits proudly in my daughter's home. But is it the way of the future?

When the millennium turned there was a lot of discussion in art magazines about what post-post-Modernism would look like. The consensus was that figurative and realistic art was the way of the 21st Century. Does this in any way apply to furniture? Who can tell? All I know is that if you make a chair that someone sits in and sighs happily in comfort, you've got a good design. It doesn't matter what it looks like anywhere near so much as what it feels like. To my mind, the furniture of the future will be ergonomic, above all. Life is too stressful for most of us to abide an uncomfortable piece of furniture.

Re: Cutting Monster Slab Lumber

Later this year I'm going to take out a couple of fruit trees in the back yard. They will sort of turn into mini-monster slabs. Fortunately, I'll have a couple of years air drying to figure out what to do with them.

Re: New addition to my tool collection

Old tools are wonderful. If I had a barn to keep them in I could imagine a complete shop of pre-1950 machine tools, especially a big 30" bandsaw. Unfortunately, I work out of a double car garage that is already overly full of stuff. And since modern tools are much safer by design, I'll just happily look at everyone elses. :-D

Re: Shipping furniture- a happy ending

A very timely posting. I'm going to practice making rocking chairs until I get it right. So, what to do with the practice pieces? Give them to friends, of course. But many of my friends live half way across the continent. I've been wondering how the heck you ship a rocking chair . . .

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