Pultneyville, NY, US

Recent comments

Re: The Most Incredible Table You'll Ever See

For everything there is an extreme version. Here is one that defies it's heritage as a piece of woodwork. An amazing metal mechanism with wooden touches; this is nearly not furniture. The sophisticated 3D Numeric Controlled equipment and the elaborate CAD dependencies put this project in a class of its own. Nonetheless, all the more, even's really cool!

Re: Benchtop Template Multirouter phase2

The description of this jig makes it look and sound awkward. In my experience machines that move a heavy workpiece, or a heavy router must be very rugged, while at the same time moving freely.
Substantial steel ways & gibs, close-fitting linear bearings, and long handles for leverage are few of the design 'keys'.
This wood model looks clumsy and weak.

Maybe a video would help, eh?

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

Asa -

Nearly EVERY woodworking operation that requires hand/eye coordination with a power tool has some inherent risks.
The questions that need answered are those that seek to accurately understand the PROBABILITY and the IMPACT of an injury, a ruined workpiece, or an equipment wreck (or all three).

So, please query your readers about their skills, their experiences, their techniques, and their results doing this or another very similar operation.
Compile the myriad detailed responses in a concise follow-up article. This will give readers a sound and valuable basis to judge for themselves the likelihood of them having a problem and the size/nature of the downside, if one does occur.

Come to think of it, isn't that the way we deal with all of life's risks?

Re: A Shop to Inspire

To hear the passion and the respect these people have for wood and the craft of woodworking is refreshing to my spirit.

Folks, you are lucky to have the true spirit in you.

Carry on! Fill your hearts!

Re: General Consolidates Operations, Closes its Canadian Factory

Don't hate the Asians for shabby quality. Japan was that way until Demming and Juran from the U.S. educated them after WWII.

The tool companies themselves are 100% to blame for bringing this crap into the US & Canada with their name on it! They should be ashamed, not only of their company's low quality ethos, but they should be ashamed of being at the bottom of the "value" flagpole where Europe's flags fly high.

Same old, same old............companies who are caught up in the profit chase sacrifice quality. It's easy to pass off inferior products to many consumers who don't know/don't appreciate properly designed and built equipment. Only when discriminating reviews (e.g. Fine Woodworking, trade show reviews, consumer advocates) expose the low quality that it becomes worthy of newsprint again. We wring our hands for a few days, write comments in a blog like this one, and then we continue on the same old path. We are Alice in 'tool land'.

The majority of North American tool consumers are willing to pawn their quality principals and then accept shabby tools for a ("seemingly") lower price. Tool companies merely conjure their advertising and load up a couple of gimmick features, or free shipping...........then, like magic, the heart of the quality matter has been disguised again! North American consumers have been swallowing one illusion or another since the late 18th century.

Today, when companies do their sourcing plans; their business case analyses; their investment decisions, these cold hard facts of consumerism (read: "the market") play on the ignorant consumer. Every well thought-out design gimmick, marketing plan, advertising scheme, and design "improvement" has Mr. Consumer in it's cross-hairs.

And the victim is always the ignorant consumer! Ha!

Re: It's impossible to cheat at woodworking

Classic confusion among the ranks here.

It's important to distinguish between CHEATING at craftsmanship (I.e. substituting the precision of a jig/fixture/machine for that of a skilled human) and the QUALITY of the result. Quality is merely results that meet requirements, whereas cheating is misrepresenting the work of machines/jigs/fixtures for the skill and precision of the hand-of-man.

And that's what everybody tends to confuse, because each of us tends to have his own definition of requirements (a.k.a. 'quality'), yet won't admit it, whereas almost everybody cheats and readily admits it. I do!

Quality is yours to define: It can be an exquisite example of perfection in handmade fits and hand rubbed finishes from the 17th century, OR it can be a spray painted IKEA bookshelf from the 17th of the month. Both can be judged as to how they met their quality requirements. And both may be declared to be of exquisite quality. But only the IKEA product is the result of cheating.

Re: It's impossible to cheat at woodworking

WOW! It's truly amazing how carried away people like usafchief can get. Go pop another Prozac and relax, boy!

I never said 'cheating' was bad, I merely defined it in many ways.
I never said I don't 'cheat'. I merely said I can appreciate the difference.
I never said cheating doesn't give acceptable results, I merely said that if results are the only thing that counts, you don't appreciate craftsmanship like I do!

Is it cheating if a potter forgoes throwing them on a wheel and uses pre-cast bowls instead?
Sure, but the bowls are O.K. when they're done, and the difference is almost unnoticeable.
Is it cheating if a painter uses masking tape?
Sure, but the beautiful straight lines are great when they're done, and the difference is almost unnoticeable.
Is it cheating if a mechanic swaps out a transmission for a re-build instead of finding that little problem part down inside and fixing it?
Sure, and both get you down the road when they're done, but it usually makes better sense to do the swap, and the difference is almost unnoticeable.
Is it cheating if you re-heat last night's pizza in the microwave instead of in the oven?
Sure, both are delightful, and the difference is almost unnoticeable.
Is it cheating if you use a corn cob instead of the Charmin'?
Sure, both get the job done, but the difference is..........................

Re: It's impossible to cheat at woodworking

Matt -
Whether or not your antagonist knew it, he hit the nail squarely on the head!
You see, woodworking, like many other crafts, has its roots in workmanship that is totally dependent on the use of tools with hand/eye coordination of a man's muscles and bones. And much like anything that relies on the human condition, repetition is the key to skill and perfection.

Experts generally accept that if you repeat anything about 10 thousand times, you will have mastered it, completely. Most skill-sets require a lot fewer repetitions.

To the extent that jigs, fences, fixtures, attachments, specialized cutters, machines, and other appliances are used, the repetitions needed are never in-play, therefore the "skill" is never acquired, and cheating (in the pure sense) completely substitutes for skilled craftsmanship in the modern era.

Given that modern man has neither the time nor the patience to perfect skills like that, the results of an ingenious machine or specialized tool-set have become acceptable. Viola!

I hope you appreciate that crisp edges that are straight to a line-of-sight; parts that fit together with vanishingly tight joints; curves that smoothly transition between flat surfaces; straight/flat tenons with delicately undercut shoulders that slip gently but firmly into clean-sided mortises; tapered dowels that fit perfectly into their matched sockets; and on, and on, and on...........are the hallmarks of a true journeyman's handwork. His eyes and his touch know when things are just right. And we can see it!

Another observation is that "cheating" with modern devices to achieve results the fast & easy way is seldom done by the best-of-the-best fine woodworkers. And instead of making a box full of kindling wood with each project during multiple set-ups of machines and specialized jigs, the journeymen know how to take time with deliberate patience to "sneak-up" on good fits and good cuts by hand. An entirely different mind-set of work.

So.........if the concept of 'results is all that matters' is in full force with you, fine! Get your furniture at IKEA.
Just don't equate those results with craftsmanship and skill.

Re: Powermatic's Philosophy: Go Big, or Go Home

Go BIG is the SECOND most important aspect of the product.

Number ONE is always quality.

I own the PM 2800 drill press and the PM long bed 6" jointer, and while they are both good designs, there is nothing particularly exceptional with either of them regarding quality. In fact, whereas I expected quality to be a discriminator between PM and others, it was NOT.

If the product is made in China or in Chicago makes no difference. Quality is assured by the company, not the vendor. If poorly built products find their way into the market, it is the parent brand/company (I.e. WMH, Delta, Grizzly, General, etc.) that is solely responsible.

When I hear tales of woe regarding "Made in China" I just's the quality ethos of the American company (read: PM/JET) that is responsible for sloppy/low quality products, not a foundry or vendor in China.

If they allow low quality products to define their image in the marketplace, that's what will drive their demise.

Re: Time to end the hand vs. power battle

Asa: Sorry. Mildly interesting but mostly irrelevant topic. It's like trying to open a debate on walking VS driving a car VS taking an airplane; all will get you there. With exceptions for the proclivities of individuals with a blind eye or a freaky bias, power VS hand tools just doesn't matter. Fill 'yer boots! Do what you like! Either, both, neither!
Today's woodworker has a bewildering array of equipment at his fingertips to get the job done. Do you prefer horse races, dog races, or NASCAR? Do you like beer, wine, cider, or whiskey? Some more useless topics for the blog.

Re: Delta's New 14-in. Bandsaw has a European Flair

Good to see the "new" Delta is willing to take a fresh design approach to the 'look' of its tools. Now the real challenge: Make them 'work' better.

Cast off the chains of traditional machine designs that carry forward the old basic machine layouts, templates and features we have seen since woodworking tools have been electrified. Seems like WMH, Delta, Grizzly, Makita, Ryobi, RIGID, etc., etc. are willing to put glitzy badges and sexy paint/colors on next year's designs, but they are not bringing design breakthroughs into the industry. Design breakthroughs such as:

User friendly, high accuracy features in the use of the tool. Easy to see digital measurement that is built into the design, not after market add-ons. Everything from table-saw blade angles, and blade height, to spindle heights on planers, jointers, router lifts.

Most tools with a spindle do not have true variable speed, nor digital RPM meters like the Powermatic drill press.

Power feeds on the adjustments that today require poorly placed cranks and handles to manually manipulate gears/racks/pinions/. Maintain the hand cranks for fine adjustments, but get rid of the poor placements and poorly operating hand-crank mechanisms that have been around for a hundred years. Go high-quality, back-lit digital, not verniers.

Flesh sensing safety features on the order of SawStop. Time is long overdue to stop the foot dragging, whimpering and whining on this one!

A lot of these are examples that most folks would recognize in the machine tool industry from the 1970's, and earlier.

Seems that there is almost no true engineering going on in the big tool companies. When you look at next year's catalog, 95% of the tools will look just like they did 10 years ago. Come on folks, bring some genuine innovations in quality, useability and design back to the pride we used to feel in "Made in the USA". Do some engineering! It's way overdue!

There is a huge worldwide market that will pay a premium for these innovations. You'll be surprised how many home workshops will gladly pay the premium.

Re: The Story Behind the Government's Pending Tablesaw Ruling

Dear Domainguy: Notwithstanding my respect for our military and your prior service, I completely disagree with your short-sighted approach on this topic. While its easy to be mildly amused by some of the examples you choose to poke the gov't. with, this topic has nothing at all to do with legislating intellect or forcing people to make choices on tablesaws that they feel abrogates their "independence".

Frankly, it is about taking those aspect out of play! Safety is not something that should be left to the ignorant or to those companies or individuals who don't want to afford it.

And you are flat wrong about the ability of our gov't. to get things right. I worked for 40 years in the Mil/Aerospace industry at the leading edge of some of our countries large, complex, advanced weapon systems with some of the best and brightest folks in the Army, Navy, USAF and Marines and with their civilian counterparts in gov't. I know how completely competent, capable and professional they are. Servicemen like you have benefited in untold ways from our government's superior capabilities.

The time is long overdue that citizens stop throwing rocks (easy to do; many examples to chuckle about) and start doing some critical thinking. Start taking some long-term responsible decisions on issues like this one.

Following the path of your nattering negativism, 100 years from now, another 5 generations of American woodworkers will look at this issue and say......."Gosh, what a bunch of bozos they were to let unsafe saws continue for all these years while they debated their right to make bad decisions. And what's worse, they already had the low cost technology to easily overcome it"

My appeal to folks like you is this........Rise above it. Take the long view of safety, and please contribute to making a positive solution to an age old problem. If you can't contribute, please just get out of the way of those who can.

Re: The Story Behind the Government's Pending Tablesaw Ruling

The boatload of smart thinkers on this topic left the dock and Blueheron910 was still asleep on the shore!

If anyone thinks that wimpy rules for the construction industry will be taken seriously, let alone implemented, or that employers are going to invest in breakthrough technology that effectively deals with this risk, they need to stop using whatever mind-altering drugs they are on!

C'mon folks! A broadly worded safety standard that cannot be "gamed" yet is not a straight-jacket for saw manufacturers is all that's needed. Let them meet the requirement any way they choose, but make the requirement an unambiguous and effective deterrent to the amputations and maimings that are still commonplace today. is very much like airbags and seat belts, and safety glass, and on, and on, and on..........

That's the wake up call for Blueheron910.

Re: The Story Behind the Government's Pending Tablesaw Ruling

I think Mark Ferraro's admonitions to FW are appropriate. FW should not stray far from its mission in woodwork. If it chooses to take a position, it should merely be on the side of advancing the state of the art (new technology, new techniques, new materials, better skils, etc.) and certainly on the side of the safety and well being of practitioners. Say it, publish it and move on!

Please keep your nose out of the moral/ethical aspects of public litigation, government laws and business interests unless you are willing to put your neck on the line for a legislated industry standard that is the result of an overwhelming amount of user participation, support and interest. Neither of those are in play at present.

Unfortunately it seems that Americans have developed a disdain, if not some actual hatred, for government leadership, oversight and guidance. Too bad, because so much is to be gained by everyone when it is done well.

Each year over 30,000 maimed woodworkers become converts. A number of millions of 'resistors' take their graves, and a newly-minted crop (hundreds of thousands)of young woodworkers add their support to a quantum leap forward in safety technology. Duh..........wake up!

It is simply a matter of time.

Re: UPDATE: 2011 Fine Woodworking Archive DVD-ROM (1975 - 2011)

FW gives me a lift each month. Thanks folks.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

Yes, of course this should be in print!

It's already in cyberspace and the video almost stands alone; its descriptive explanation doing move than any text and photos.

As others have said..........your readership market doesn't target children and careless speed freaks. Nonetheless, all the more, even can be assured those types have already watched the video and probably have tried it.

FW.........just do your thing. Let the idiots fend for themselves.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

The question is: "is this technique safe enough to be included within the pages of Fine Woodworking magazine."

Interesting that the question follows FW's decision to go ahead and publish this technique in cyberspace, including a well made video. You've answered it already, eh?

Got more questions on other techniques that you've already answered on-line?

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

Yes, print it. Use all of your discretionary and cautious language, even thought that won't stop a careless accident.

To amplify the difference between the skeptics of a "proper" fit, and the "sloppy" speed freaks, why not do an "engineered" runoff? A tenon made exactly like the video VS one with carefully crafted and loving tenderness (read:slow) which yield a perfect .002" hand-honed fit to its mortise.

Do this for a couple of hundred joints that are then glued-up. After the glue dries and all samples are destroyed with calibrated presses, let's see if there is an iota of difference. My guess is there will be a measurable, but insignificant, difference.

That result would give both sides a victory, and yet leave the issue of safety an open matter, just as it is (and will be) for every other table saw operation. Can't stop that, eh?

If joint strength is non-discriminating, the entire topic becomes an esoteric discussion of beauty and hand work VS a few minutes of set-up times avoided, at some added risk of safety.

I've always wondered about the sloppy VS 'perfect-fit' mortise and tenon strength test. What does a poll of FW authors and experts say? Any empirical data on tenon strength to share?

Re: Climb Cutting, Routers, and Tool Safety

By limiting and controlling the various factors that cause safety problems, the climb cut can be safe and very effective. Like the others who describe the precautions they take, I too climb cut for light finishing cuts, but only when I stack the deck in my favor.
The key element here is the human factor. One must be keenly aware of the various effects of the tool's action and the wood's reaction; be extremely deliberate, never in a hurry; and have no distractions that vie for your attention and your focus.
Realize that you are doing a potentially VERY UNSAFE practice, and therefore bring all of your wits to bear! All of the seemingly little details that can affect the operation such as sharpness of the cutter, size and speed of the cutter, size/mass of the workpiece, feed rate, hardness/brittleness of the wood (to name a few) can collectively create a hazard that is not worth risking an accident with.
Based on my own years of experience, I think it's very easy to overlook the myriad details that we integrated in our routines. Only after doing a CSI-style analysis of a mishap
will it be obvious that the combined actions of a couple of these factors was enough to tip the scales against safety.

Re: Miracle Shield Blocks Kickback

I'll bet those two engineers sell a dozen or two of their woodstop/crotchblockers, but only to a few old-school folks who think safety can be achieved with hardware add-ons.

Asa, please get back to us readers in a year or two with statistics on sales/popularity of this idiotic device.
A catcher's chest protector, a cup in your jock strap, and a hockey gaolie's helmet would make as more sense than this contraption; would be cheaper; would be portable; and would proably protect the user better. Ha!

Humor aside, these Bozos missed the whole point of shop safety altogether; that of prevention! Simply don't do the things that cause kickback, and there won't be any flying wood! A little forethought, some self-discipline, and some careful & deliberate motions is all it takes. All of those actions require one to engage his/her brain first!

This device may actually find a niche with those few Neanderthals who can't/won't learn safe shop practices that prevent mishaps.

By the way, if you are going to recommend safety devices instead of genuine safety, I have a better idea...... ..............a car's airbag, triggered by the sudden surge of pressure on the saw's arbor, would make a lot more sense.

Re: Is the Radial Arm Saw on its Last Legs?

I too vote for extinct. The RAS has been obsolete for years already.
The comments from the RAS bigots merely reflect a comfort factor that a small sample of readers which was gained through continual use of a particular machine. Fact is that there are many woodworkers out there who will adapt and adjust to ANYTHING merely because it's convenient, cheap, fits their shop space, etc. Lefthanders do this their entire lifetime!
Not unusual to see the same old threads that course through the comments that favor the RAS....I.e. cut-off long stock, square-up panels, etc.
The best advice for caveman RAS woodworkers is to push the saw through the cut from its fully extended position, back through the fence. Eliminates the climb cut which is the bane of it's existance. Tends to lift the workpiece, but is much safer. Actually, the best advice is to disassemble it and piece it into the recycler/landfill.

Re: Play Fine Woodworking's Game: Against the Grain

For another game of "Against the Grain" I hope you include a rip-cut hazard. Probably a basic "no-brainer" safety rule, but frankly I've never seen it in print..............NEVER MAKE A RIP CUT WITH THE BLADE TIPPED LESS THAN 90 DEGREES TOWARD THE FENCE. This makes a deliberate pinch-point for the rear of the blade to easily grab the workpiece and throw it, mangle it, or worse yet........give your pushing hand the sudden freedom it needs to lurch directly into the blade. I have a nasty scar on my ring finger to attest to this hazard!

Re: New Study Discusses Tablesaw Injuries

We accept the safety attributes of mandated air-bags, smoke detectors and sprinklers which are integrated into our vehicles and buildings. Seems to me that the safety of Saw Stop type technology should be mandated into new table saw sales. Easy to do that. Easy to live and work with it.

I'm dissapointed that companies like WMH, Delta, Grizzly, etc. have not picked up on this on their own. Did they all get their engineering "pockets" picked? Oddly, they can engineer and develop left-tilt, front crank handles, improved dust collection, etc., etc., but they can't pick up on the single biggest quantum leap in table saw safety?

Or is it the risk of patent infringements? Or the greed that goes with avoiding fees to license Saw Stop's intellectual property? Maybe good old fashioned "Pride of Ownership" keeps them from offering somebody else's innovation along side their own brand name. Even as a cost plus-up option!

Face it, no amount of cleverly designed covers, guards, and safety equipment can prevent the pain and suffering of 31,000 debilitating hand injuries and amputations like Saw Stop can. Truth be known, most of that safety gear is probably discarded when new.

I guess Saw Stop is the exception to the old saying.... you can't idiot proof anything.

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