David_Heim

David Heim
Contributor


I started woodturning a dozen years ago, strictly to make bowls. From November 2005 to May 2009, I was one of the editors at Fine Woodworking. Now I do freelance book and article editing and writing, mainly about woodturning, from my home in Connecticut.

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Contributions

Time for a Little Turning

When you don't have much time for turning, don't turn much.

A new lathe: Turnings of comfort and joy

How to get a new lathe up and running.

The Importance of Good Materials

The right kind of scraps can make a distinctive turning--or a disaster

Turners Take Tampa

Florida Hosts 27th Annual American Association of Woodturners Symposium

Turning Tools on the Cheap

Sometimes, the best tool isn't the one in the store.

Sam Maloof: Still Making News at 93

Listen to an NPR profile of the legendary furniture-maker

Adventures in Broadcasting

How work intersected with radio listening and TV viewing twice in one week.

Master turner David Ellsworth to receive major Smithsonian award

One of the most successful woodturners in modern times earns a Masters of the Medium Award.

Making Molding with a Stanley #55

A classic but cantankerous plane behaves long enough to run molding for a small cabinet

My Next Project

A basic cabinet provides an excuse to try out an old handplane

More Inspiration from Bob Stocksdale

A new book showcases the work of this major woodturner and gives unique insights into his approach to the craft

Welcome to a New Woodworking Journal

The Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers bucks a trend and launches a new quarterly publication.

Six Ways to Hold a No. 1 Plane

An tongue-in-cheek guide to handling a tiny tool

Inspiration: Bob Stocksdale

Conscious and subconscious sources for woodturnings

A few words in favor of small tools

Why I like working with small handplanes and chisels

This Finish Stinks!

An easy-to-apply finish has an unwelcome side effect

A lesson in fitting drawers

Learning how to fit drawers in a not-so-perfect case

Inspiration from a Beginner

How one person used woodworking to relieve unusual stresses in his life.

Making a pear-shaped tea caddy, chapter 3

Final touches on a Georgian reproduction

Making a pear-shaped tea caddy, chapter 2

Further steps in making a reproduction Georgian tea caddy

Making a pear-shaped tea caddy, chapter 1

Getting started on a unique woodturning project.

A Deco Box with Kerf-Bent Corners

Corners with kerfs. What a concept! Take an in-depth look at this creative technique for making a continues sided box from a single board. See the process start to finish with photos and how-to directions.

Mahogany bowl

I wanted the bowl to be reminiscent of work by Bob Stocksdale, one of the mid-20th century turners who helped reinvigorate the craft. It's made from mahogany and measured 7 in. in dia. and 2 in. high...

A Cabinet for Small Bowls

I built this cabinet from butternut to hold some of the small bowls I've turned recently. The piece is 32-3/4 in. high, 8 in. wide and 8 in. deep. To make the frame-and-panel sides, I plowed a groove...



Recent comments


Re: STL 63: The Micro-Sized Workshop

Most shops that I've seen (especially including mine) are small because they're hopelessly cluttered. However, I was privileged to visit James Krenov in his last shop. It was small, spare, functional, and beautiful. The room was at one end of a garage, and could not have been more than 6 ft. by 10 ft. A bench ran the length of one long wall, which had a window centered on it. The only power tools that I saw were a small bandsaw and a tiny benchtop planer. A few shelves above the bench held work in progress. I think there were a few hand tools on the bench, with the rest stored in drawers. At the time, Krenov's eyesight had deteriorated so much that he had stopped making cabinets and only made handplanes. His shop perfectly embodied his work: controlled, functional, yet welcoming and warm. It was one of the most pleasant spaces I've ever been in.

Re: The Beading on the HIghboy

One small refinement to Tim's bead-making method: When creating the outer arches on the case, I'd increase the number of segments in the arc (SketchUp's default is 12 segments, I believe). As you can see from one of the images above, those arches look a little rough when viewed close up; a smoother arc would help there.
I should have followed this advice, too, when I created this model, which Tim is using as the basis for the project. One lives and one learns.

Re: Time for a Little Turning

Thanks, everyone. Glad you found the blog enjoyable.
Best,
dh

Re: Williamsburg - Egg & Dart Carving

Tim,
I think you could get the cut out area to come in vertical if you change the shape of the arc used in the first intersection. You can depress some of the tongue (dart) decoration by changing the size of the arc that's extruded to make the dart shape.

Re: Williamsburg - Egg & Dart Carving

Tim,
I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to upstage you, but I have a way to model that missing curved face using basic SketchUp tools. Follow this link and open the attached SketchUp file to see it.

http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=183&t=56054#p508844

Best,
dh

Re: Re-creating a Missing Component

On the Mac, those handy sliders that Tim mentions are found in Window>Model Info>Components.

Re: A new lathe: Turnings of comfort and joy

wally-cox,
Great question. My apologies for the omission. The short answer is, check the instructions. In the case of the Nova Comet II, there are two possible reasons why the head and tailstock don't align: One, the bed has been bolted to a stand incorrectly, creating a slight twist; two, there is debris under the tailstock. Rebolting the bed or cleaning out the debris should solve the problem. (Other brands of lathe may have different alignment procedures.) If things still don't align, it may mean you got the one built on a Monday.
Hope this helps.
Best,
dh

Re: AWFS: Nova's Quick Change Lathe Chuck is a Game Changer

Easy Wood Tools, best known for its line of tools with disposable carbide cutters, also has a chuck with quick-change jaws. But, at $500, it costs more than many mini-lathes.
But I believe these two new chucks represent a trend. I'm pretty sure that, in a few years, most major manufacturers will be selling chucks with quick-change jaws.

Re: Making a Windsor Bowback Side Chair - Part 3

Tim,
Good series of videos. A nice complement to your e-book, the SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers.
One question: After rotating the legs and moving them down along the angled guideline, how do you ensure that the ends of the legs are in the same plane? In other words, what do you do to ensure that all four legs will touch the floor?

Re: Turning Tools on the Cheap

Dear Waynedafoe,
I appreciate your concerns about safety, and I'd never recommend something that I didn't believe to be safe. Hence my note in the blog post that I know using the side of the wheel is wrong. However, I believe that a file/scraper shattering from a catch is a very remote possibility. As I'm sure you know, a catch happens when the side of a tool is unsupported when it contacts the wood. But because a scraper is always flat on the tool rest, it's always supported. If I were to misuse a file/scraper--for a roughing cut, say--it might catch. But scrapers are meant for light finishing cuts, which further diminishes the likelihood of a catch.
dh

Re: Turning Tools on the Cheap

Scotty,
I once watched Jimmy Clewes do a demonstration at an American Association of Woodturners symposium. Someone in the audience asked him a question about what tools are right for a particular job. "Whatever works," he replied. Words to live by, I'd say.
dh

Re: SketchUp 2013 Released Today

SketchUp seems to be fairly cagy about the cost of an upgrade. If I use the Pro version, do I pay $95 to upgrade my license and get a year's support, or do I have to pay $590, which is the new price for the Pro version?

Re: Knife Box - Williamsburg, Part 2

Tim,
Nice, clear video. One question, however: Why make the side and end shapes groups at first? Why not make them components?

Re: Sliding Dovetails

How about a tapered sliding dovetail? Wouldn't you have to draw the dovetail profile at both ends of the side, then switch to X-ray view and connect the two, and finish by erasing waste?
dh

Re: How to Make a Scratch Stock for Beading

I used Rob's article to make two scratch stocks that I needed to reproduce a length of stair rail for a friend. One scratch stock made a simple bead, and the other made a bead and cove. Both worked, and my friend now has a stair rail in place that blends old and new seamlessly (well, almost). Fortunately, I was working with clear pine; I'm not sure I have enough elbow grease in me to use a scratch stock on four feet of hardwood. That's eight feet of profiling, since I had to do both sides of the pine.

Re: Turn Your Model Into a Real Object

Dave,
Can't wait for 3D printing to become really mainstream. That is, the ability to output relatively large objects at a cost that's less than the price of a share of Apple stock.
If I may ask, what did your model cost?
dh

Re: Turning bowls for hungry souls

Good for Clark Kellogg! The Empty Bowls is a charitable donation program sponsored by the American Association of Woodturners.Like the Houston version, the national program raises money to fight hunger. AAW members donate their works, which are then sold to raise the dough. Empty Bowls will be a prominent feature of this year's AAW Symposium, to be held in San Jose, California, on June 8 to 10. For more information, go to:

http://woodturner.org/sym/sym2012/index.htm

Re: Drawing a Joggling Board

It's always amazing what one can learn from this blog. For those (like me) who never heard of a joggling board, it's a 19th century invention, the precursor of the Stairmaster and the elliptical trainer, sort of. One sits on the horizontal board and bounces gently. I guess if you were a tightly corseted and petticoated lady in 19th century Charleston, that was exercise enough. You can Google joggling board to find the web site for a company that makes these things.

Re: Personalize Projects for Clients

Cool. Also cool that the plug-in is free.

Re: Make FWW projects your own

If you model plans in SketchUp, or purchase SketchUp plans, you can easily see how changes will affect the overall look of a piece. You can then print revised plans--with the new dimensions--right from SketchUp.
And if you aren't familiar with SketchUp, I urge you to get a copy of Dave Richards's new video: SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers The Basics; you can learn all about it on the Design.Click.Build blog here at FWW.com
dh

Re: Candle holder makes a quick but elegant gift

Steve,
Your wife is crazy if she doesn't like your candleholder.

Possibly the best-known woodworker making candleholders was Rude Osolnik, one of the best-known woodturners of the 20th century. You can see some of his iconic work by following this link:

http://rudeosolnik.com/?q=gallery/candle_holders

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

I agree with others who wanted a better explanation of why the technique seems unsafe, and the commenter who wondered whether the technique would work safely with a thin-kerf blade.
It would also help, I think, to explain why this technique might seem unsafe, but it's OK to cut a cove on the tablesaw in a series of light passes across the blade.
Finally, would the speed tenon be safer if it were done with a crosscut sled and stop block instead of with a miter gauge and rip fence together?

Re: Appeals court upholds Osorio tablesaw verdict: Feds consider landmark safety standard

Bigsby 59 overstates the power of the Federal Government, in my view. I can't think of a single instance in which a mandatory safety standard was made retroactive. Not airbags. Not safety belts. Not power lawn mowers. Not baby cribs. Not hair dryers. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
The reason is simple: It would be insanely expensive and virtually impossible to enforce a retroactive standard. The only way a safety standard could be made retroactive is if every single manufacturer issued a recall for every single product it had ever made before the new standard took effect and sent every single customer a new, safer saw. But even that wouldn't work. Recalls draw in only 30 percent of the affected products, at best. Typically, it's more like 10 percent.
So relax, Bigsby 59. Big Brother isn't going to wrench your old tablesaw from your cold, dead fingers. Assuming that the old saw hasn't removed your fingers already.

Re: Appeals court upholds Osorio tablesaw verdict: Feds consider landmark safety standard

Bigsby 59 overstates the power of the Federal Government, in my view. I can't think of a single instance in which a mandatory safety standard was made retroactive. Not airbags. Not safety belts. Not power lawn mowers. Not baby cribs. Not hair dryers. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
The reason is simple: It would be insanely expensive and virtually impossible to enforce a retroactive standard. The only way a safety standard could be made retroactive is if every single manufacturer issued a recall for every single product it had ever made before the new standard took effect and sent every single customer a new, safer saw. But even that wouldn't work. Recalls draw in only 30 percent of the affected products, at best. Typically, it's more like 10 percent.
So relax, Bigsby 59. Big Brother isn't going to wrench your old tablesaw from your cold, dead fingers. Assuming that the old saw hasn't removed your fingers already.

Re: Appeals court upholds Osorio tablesaw verdict: Feds consider landmark safety standard

Good reporting and analysis on the saw-safety issue and the Federal Government's impending actions. The issue gives me a sense of deja-vu: Replace "tablesaw" with "lawn mower" and you see the same actions played out 35 years ago. The end-result of that foofaraw may give some insight into how the tablesaw-safety issue will play out.

In the early 1970s, the then-new Consumer Product Safety Commission contracted with Consumers Union to write a safety standard for power lawn mowers. CU, never an organization to do things by halves, spent a couple of years writing a gilt-edged standard that would have required mowers to have a deadman switch and a blade brake-clutch; that way, whenever the user let go of the deadman, the motor would quickly idle, the blade would stop within a second or two, but the user wouldn't have to yank the starter cord every time he let go of the deadman. The CPSC loved it. Then the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute jumped in. It began lobbying hard to water down the standard, claiming that all the safety gear the CU standard required would add too much to the cost of a mower (sound familiar?). After the CPSC and industry spent several years wrangling over the standard, Congress jumped in. Senator Phil Gramm and representatives from Illinois and Wisconsin (where Briggs & Stratton was a big employer) launched an anti-regulation drive that would make today's Tea Party proud. As I recall, not only did Congress tell the CPSC how to water down the regulation, it also emasculated an already-weak agency, basically preventing it from doing anything meaningful for the next 30 years. The result was a mower safety standard that did little to reduce mower-related injuries and that created mowers that were inherently frustrating to use. It also started the U.S. on a long march of distrust of government itself. Before one key House vote, one of those Congressmen stood outside the House chamber chanting, "Vote against government!"

The analogy isn't exact, of course. It seems that the power tool institute is sensible and non-confrontational, which may make it easier to get a good tablesaw standard into place. But I would not rule out the possibility that some congressional oaf may generate some unneeded kickback, railing about how the activist CPSC is killing jobs by requiring saws to be outfitted with needless and expensive safety gear. I hope that doesn't happen, and that between the CPSC and FWW, some practical yet meaningful safety standard will emerge.

Re: Eugene Landon

To add to Mark's fine, heartfelt obituary:
In 2003, Gene Landon was awarded the Cartouche Award by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers.It's one of the highest honors a furniture-maker can receive in this country. In the words of the society, the award acknowledges "the contributions made by craftsmen, educators, conservators, and supporters, professional or hobbyist, who have inspired or instructed others, or who have simply made the world more pleasing as a result of their skillful labors."
But Gene Landon was no mere award recipient. As the Society describes the award itself: "The actual cartouche from which the bronze is cast crowns a Philadelphia tall case clock built by Gene Landon."

Re: Fine Woodworking On the Road: Come out and see us

To Sadie170:
Check the Northwest Woodworking Studio, in Portland. Longtime FWW contributor Gary Rogowski runs the joint. It's a cool place in a cool city.

Re: Use wedges to edge glue thin boards

Seth Janofsky (another College of the Redwoods alumnus) uses a similar technique. It was featured in an FWW article a few years ago about making veneered boxes. He uses wedges, sure, but he also lays newspaper over the glued-up pieces and places exercise weights atop them to ensure that they stay flat. Afterward, he scrapes off the dried glue and newsprint bits.
And if you really want to get technical, you could make the case that woodworkers lifted the wedge technique from the printing industry. Practically from Gutenberg's time, printers used wedges, called quoins, to hold the metal type pieces in place in a metal frame called a chase. I'm sure the original quoins were tapped in place with a mallet but probably sometime in the 19th century they were made of metal, with a series of teeth on one side. The teeth on the opposing wedges formed a rack gear; a tool similar to a chuck wrench was turned in the space between the quoins, moving them in opposite directions to tighten them against the type.
History aside, using wedges is a very elegant, cool technique. Thanks to Matt (and Anissa) for highlighting it again.
dh

Re: The Furniture Design Process: 10 Steps to Success

Excellent exercise. It's worth noting, too, that SketchUp can be a powerful tool for roughing-in and then refining a design. I believe Dave Richards and Tim Killen have both done blog posts on the topic.

Also, students at College of the Redwoods often build full-size mock-ups from softwood and cardboard, refining their designs with saw and utility knife. Drawing is faster and easier, in my book.
dh

Re: Making Waves

A terrific tutorial, as usual. The technique would also apply to shaping serpentine drawer fronts and drawer dividers in a chest or secretary, or even a curved-front sideboard.

Re: Bombe Chest - An Exercise in Complex Geometry - Pt. 1

I'm the unnamed friend who put Dave (and Tim Killen) up to this. So I probably owe them an apology.

A piece with compound curves--whether it's this bombe chest or something that Michael Fortune might have designed--is probably the biggest challenge in SketchUp. Challenging, but not impossible, as Dave's explanation shows.

When I tried to draw the chest, I created the overall outline in a slightly different way. The curves at the top and bottom of the front are identical. And the bulge in the front is identical to the bulge on the side. So I drew the side component, copied and rotated it, gave each copy some thickness, then intersected them as Dave explained. Then I positioned them and placed the top and bottom curve between them. After I was satisfied that all four pieces were actually joined, I used the Extrude by Rails plug-in, as Dave did, to create the face.

Either way, it works.

You might not like a bombe chest, but I think it makes a great exercise in how to analyze a complex piece of furniture, break it down to its essential elements, and then re-create it.

Re: A Quick Look at Bezier.rb

Dave,
This plug-in makes it official: SketchUp now beats Adobe Illustrator for versatility and ease of use. Manipulating bezier curves was always Illustrator's weak point, at least for me. But the bezier plug-in makes it so easy to draw and edit curves. Love it.
David Heim

Re: My Next Project

I plan to use a router to cut the dadoes for the shelves. I'm not totally crazy. I think the real difficulty with the #55 comes when lunatics like me try to cut a quarter-round or ogee profile. You begin the cut with the smallest part of the profile, which makes the plane pretty wobbly against the work. If you can manage to get the cut started, things get easier as you work deeper into the cut and there's more wood supporting the cutter. It's relatively easy to use the #55 as a rabbet or filister plane; the square cutters work like those on any other handplane. Even then, the most finicky part of the plane is setting the depth of cut. The #55 doesn't have a standard sole; instead, it's designed with a series of skates and it's time-consuming to try to tweak the cutter for a good thin shaving instead of big fat chips. It doesn't take an advanced degree to set up the plane, just patience. It must have a dozen thumbscrews to hold fence rails, skates, cutters, depth stops and the like.
Best,
dh

Re: Tool Cabinet

Has your tool cabinet been introduced to Anatole's entertainment center?



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