I am a writer and composer, and have been woodworking for about 30 years both as a hobby and professionally.

Recent comments

Re: Is Digital Manufacturing a Friend or a Foe?

Personally, if I had the financial resources and the workshop space I would love to own a CNC, but not to do all of my work for me. When I began woodworking it was all about getting the project done as quickly and efficiently as possible. If it took longer than a couple of hours to do I considered it to be something major. As I've grown older, I have learned that the journey is at least as important as the destination. I enjoy spending time on a project, working out every last detail, figuring out how to translate what is in my head into an object that didn't exist before I created it, something made of a living medium like wood.

I have a shop full of tools from a bandsaw to a table saw. I also have hand saws which I also employ. I have a planer, but also use hand planes. I have a drill diver, but also use and sometimes prefer a hand held screwdriver. I enjoy the work, and enjoy using time honored woodworking methods. No doubt that if my shop was profit driven I would have any and every machine available to increase profits, but I wouldn't advertise a piece as hand made.

The distinction is pretty clear. Handmade is made by hand even if those hands are directing a machine. Machine made is hands off. The machine does everything but the glue up.

Re: A Classic Bench from a Picture

I downloaded Sketchup some time ago, and spend several days trying to make head or tail of it. I found it not very user friendly, the vectors get weird very quickly. I don't use it. In the time it took me to use sketchup for this bench I could have built two or three of them.
I tend not to use plans at all. I sort of know what something looks like in my mind and I take my materials and make them look like that. Give me height, width, and length, and I can build it, probably faster than using Sketchup. This bench looks pretty straight forward to me.

Re: Quick and Easy 'Secret Passage'

It looks pretty cool. Maybe a good access to a panic room, or if lockable, for storage of hunting equipment, shotguns and such. I live in a very old house, about 130 years old. Every home repair and/or remodel turns up a mystery like "Why in the world did they do that?" But one interesting feature of our old house is that it already has a secret room. It's located....wait if I tell where it is, it won't be a secret anymore.

Re: How Does a Fine Woodworker Change a Lightbulb?

The video was very amusing. I have become very much like that guy. It's about the journey, not the destination. I used to whip projects together very quickly. They'd be functional, they's serve their purpose, but sometimes they weren't too pretty (no comments on dating intended). I learned that taking your time, enjoying the journey is really what woodworking is all about. I take things very carefully step by step, enjoying each operation, understanding that I am working with a living medium, that I am giving new life to as something to be treasured. As a result, I appreciate the results much more.

Oh and yeah, that lightbulb remover/installer is a real keeper.

Re: 7 Lessons for the Aspiring Furniture Maker

I began woodworking by making toys, shelves and other simple things. But my first exposure to furniture making began years before that with my great grandfather. Many years after his death, I made my first piece of furniture, a coffee table. I made it for one simple reason, I needed one. From there it has been end tables, a telephone table, several desks, and so on. I always had the confidence, and I'm pretty good at back engineering. I will look at a piece, examine it, and know in my head how to duplicate it with my own design changes if desired. I began with a jig saw and a circular saw and a hand held electric drill plus the usual hand tool like a hammer, screwdrivers and so on and built my collection from there. I too have always wanted to build a house, but I'm at the age now where I'd like to HAVE one built while I watch.

Re: UPDATE: Carving in the Round by Andrew Thomas and How to Carve Wood by Richard Butz

Never tried carving, but it looks intriguing and a lot of fun. I have a sister who does it all the time. She likes to make wooden replicas of handtools. Thanks for the chance to win, and upgrade my abilities.

Re: Extension Dining Table

Interesting article, but calling it a free plan is rather deceiving, I mean where's the plan? There is no plan that I could see.

Re: It's impossible to cheat at woodworking

I have jigs all over the workshop. I was once a machinist and a set up man and I can tell you that jigs not only aid in precision, but can also at time be essential for safety. If I am working on a small part, There's nothing like clamping it into a jig to keep my fingers clear of a blade.
In addition, jigs are a great way to do something over and over again. I have made things that turn out so well, that other people say "hey make one of those for me!" A jig lets me make the same exact thing again and again. These things are still originals, and each is still very slightly different from each other, but the jig makes life a lot easier.
I also use jigs for assembly. It can be very difficult holding two pieces together with one hand, holding a screw with the other hand and grabbing a drill driver with your third hand. Oops, no third hand, except that jig.

Re: Free Chapter Download From Woodworking 101

The tool storage cabinet looks easy and fun to make, and I'm sure for most small workshops it would work wonders. My workshop is so small I wouldn't have the space for it. My workshop is so small I'm not sure I'd have the space to assemble there. But then my workshop is so small that I have to step outside just to change my mind.

Re: Rockler has 5 great ideas under $25

Reminds me of the old days when I used to cover sports shows for a magazine. Manufacturers reps were more than eager to show me the new stuff, and supply me with freebies if I wrote about them in the magazine. I of couse was only too eager to take their freebies, and try them out, but on one condition: I would be very honest about my assessment.

I like both of these items. I can see a real value in the silicone gluing kit. The paint mixer looks interesting, but there seemed to be no real mention regarding the ease of clean-up. I can foresee moving parts becoming gummed up, ot flakes of one paint falling into another if it has any clean-up difficulties at all.

Re: The Biggest Lathe We've Ever Seen

Ah! Nothing like July in Canada! I'll bet this guy is Red Green's cousin.

Re: UPDATE: Arts & Crafts Style Coffee Table with Gregory Paolini

I made one some years ago based on the design of an old one. This looks like a much better design. I would be happy to try this one out.

Re: Neckties and Tablesaws Just Don't Mix

This is a typical politician getting into something that he obviously knows nothing about. To any woodworker's eyes it's very plain to see that this guy isn't a woodworker. No woodworker with half a brain would wear a necktie in the shop. I'm willing to bet that even that idiot who sued Ryobi wasn't dumb enough to wear a necktie at a table saw.

This guy is so unfamiliar with woodworking it really negates his concept. Not only is he wearing a necktie, but he has the blade cranked all the way up, he has no blade guard, and he's standing directly behind his "work piece" inviting a nasty back kick to the groin.

What he is actually showing is that no matter how idiot proof you make the saw, there will always be a better idiot.

Re: Adam Carolla finds the funny in Fine Woodworking

Admittedly I've never been an Adam Carolla fan, but about half the time he's tolerable. I think this podcsst isn't a bad idea, if they could leave all the profanity out of it, quit jabbering about nothing in particular and get to something that actually has to do with woodworking (okay maybe they did eventually, but not in the ten minutes of my life that I sacrificed to hear this thing).

Carolla has two large problems. He doesn't speak very well (sort of like he's got a chaw in his mouth), and he's not nearly as funny as he thinks he is.

Re: A Woodworker's Musical Masterpiece

As a woodworker I am nothing short of astounded by this work. That he is demonstrating it in an art museum is fitting, because this desk is a real work of art. He is not just a woodworker, he is a wood artist.

As a writer, my mind whirls with plot lines dealing with this desk.

Re: UPDATE: Deadline extended again for tablesaw safety comments to the CPSC

There have long been Federal Anti-Trust regulations. For the government to create a law that would in effect create a monopoly for SawStop, would be unconstitutional, and trust me, idiot proof a machine, and not only will a better idiot come along, but the previous idiot will simply find a different machine to injure himself on.
The idiot in question might just as well have injured himself on a compound miter saw, or a jig saw, or a band saw, or even a hand saw. None of the other saws have SawStop technology available to them. What then? No lawsuit? Trust me, he would have found a lawyer who would find some way to sue.
Hey, wait a minute! When I was young, I accidently cut my thumb (requiring stitches) with a hand saw! Did I miss my million bucks? Oh and hey, just the other day I hit my thumb with a hammer! Quick! find me lawyer! I can sue the Hammer company for not making the hammer safe to use!
I one time over filled a Zippo lighter and set my hand on fire. I got first and second degree burns and wore a gauze mitten for more than a month...Gee I shoulda sued Zippo I guess.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

This is indeed a speedy way of creating a tenon. I have been using a variation of the technique for years, and I have no problems with it at all. It certainly would not be recommended by the manufaturer of your table saw. It would also not be recommended to anyone not familiar with the basic workings of a table saw. [Apparently, based on a certain well publicized laysuit against Ryobi, having a basic understanding of how to use a table saw is no hinderence to using one or suing over injuries when misusing one.]
I usually make several cuts before beginning the shaving process. It works just as well but a little slower. Just remember to take only a little at a time, and never ever force a piece of wood into a moving blade if it won't go. Just back off and take a smaller bite.

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

Okay, let's quit tiptoing around here. The fact is that if the plantif in this case had been an average white anglo-saxon male, the case never would would have heard. A non English speaking, unskilled Hispanic is operating a tool that he had no business around in the first place and the courts fall over themselves to help this poor little immigrant. I'm surprised that he didn't sue America for not making Spanish a mandatory language.

No doubt he tried to sue his employer for workman's comp and failed to get anyone interested, then some ambulance chaser got the brilliant idea of suing Ryobi for not buying someone's invention. It's stuff like this that makes me ashamed for America.

Re: Blade brake inventor aims to compete with SawStop

I would love to have this device mounted on my tablesaw. I think it has many advantages over Sawstop. Of course it wouldn't work for dado cuts, but that's still an advantage over conventional table saws with no safety device. Sure, I'd try it. Why not?

Re: How to Cut Tenons on the Bandsaw

Since my bandsaw is a benchtop model and not a good one at that, I use the tablesaw for tenons. I don't use the dado set. I cut the shoulders, then make repeated cuts moving the piece slightly each time until the tenon is complete. A small side effect of this of course is that the sides of the tenon are a bit rough, and that works well as far as I'm concerned. it gives the glue a nice rought surface to bond to.

My methos must work alright, I have never had a kickback, joints look great, and never have any of them become loose. For extemely long pieces, say when building a queen size headboard, tenons can be trickier, but my router serves pretty well on pieces too large for my small tablesaw.

Re: Stupefying Engineering in an 18th Century Table

What a beautiful piece of work. Beautiful to look at, and beautiful in function. The guy who came up with this desk must have really been in demand in his time, especially with those who didn't want private or sensitive papers to be accessed by just anyone. I can sum it up in one word: wow!

Re: CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations

If I were Steve Gass, I'd be estatic. What could be better than to have the government make it a law that every woodworker MUST buy your product? There would be no choice whatsoever. You want to use a table saw, you do business with him. You want to manufacture a table saw, you do business with him. Think of it. How cool would it be to invent something and it becomes mandatory to buy your invention? I mean talk about inventor heaven!

That famous case was not a problem with the saw, it was a problem with the operator. He was an idiot. Trust me on this folks. There is no way to idiot proof a machine. If they legislate Sawstop into everyone's life, some idiot out there will still find a way to injure himself on it. And then there's the inevitable failure. Some imbecile will stick his finger into the blade just to see if it really works and there will be that one in a million time that it won't, then Gass will be sued.

Of course, naturally some woman who probaly has never so much as touched a power tool in her life came up with this idea. It will then be voted on by other people who have never touched a power tool. But then lack of actual knowledge on a subject has never posed a problem to legislators before, why should it now?

Re: UPDATE Caption contest: Win a CommandMax Sprayer

Love.....exciting and new

Re: Router Injury Sparks Reflection on Safety

Glad to hear that you escaped serious injury. I had an early background as a machinist in factories. I was always frightened by the machines I worked with. It didn't hamper my work, but knowing that a punch press is coming down with 135 thousand psi of pressure gives a guy a very wary attitude.

I have that same attitude toward my woodworking machines. All of them scare me a little bit. I am always aware that second chances are few and far between. Yes, I have hurt myself, a little more seriously than described above, but I recovered nicely and learned from my error. One thing I learned is never to take a tool for granted, and yes never work when tired or upset.

Re: Furniture Lab Tech Cabinet - Part I

I'm not so sure about the circuit boards, but the wood is a treasure. I have made a lot of stuff from old, discarded wood. A few passes through the planer will bring it back to life easily, although you need to take caution regarding nails, staples and so on before planing.

That shredded wheat box lid is very cool. It would be interesting to see how that can be cleaned up without destroying the printing.

Recycling at its best. It gives new life to wood that would odinarily just be rotting away.

Re: Inventor of Super Glue Dies

Do you suppose they just glued the casket shut?

Re: Against the Grain: Bone-Headed Bandsawing

Did anybody notice the lack of hearing protection?

Re: Do you work in a small shop? Tell us about it!

My workshop is actually an 11 by 15 corner of the basement. I've had to compromise a bit. I use a contractor tablesaw, a benchtop bandsaw, and a benchtop router table. I have a full sized drill press, a full size planer, a full sized scroll saw, and a full size sanding machine. I double the planer as a jointer, and have a collapsable stand for my compound miter saw. I also have two "tops" I place on top of my table saw so it can double as a workbench or glue up station. I have built several shelves for storage, and an extantion for the table saw if needed. I use jigs when I can and store them on pipes above my work area.

Dust collection is a serious problem, I do have a dust collection port on the planer, and it hooks up to my shop vac. as for the rest, I simply clean frequently. I have another area in the basement I use for staining (a table near our washer) As for assembly, if I'm making furniture, assemble may have to take place elsewhere since I don't habe the space in shop and some items would be impossible to get up the stairs if assembled. a good example would be my computer desk which is about six feet wide and about 28" deep. I had to build it using Krieg screws. That way I could bring the individual pieces to my office and assemble "on site" since it was far too big to assemble in my shop and impossible to carry out once assembled.

Re: Winners Announced: You Want What Contest

These remind me of some odd stories of my own. One of my first projects, when I was just a teenager, was to build a human sized coffin. I knew a guy who drove an old hearse, and wanted one for the back end. I had the wood and he had the cash so I did it.
A guy more recently had me come to his house and build outside steps - for his dog.
There's some odd ones alright.

Re: Tablesaw Safety Goes Under the Microscope--Again

I think Sawstop is a wonderful new technology, but I have problems with the government forcing a citizen to do business with a company or individual. What would it be like to have the government force up all to drink only Bud light beer or only Kraft low fat cheese? What if they were to decide that we must all now drive Toyota hybrids?

Me? I'd love to own a Sawstop table saw, but not out of fear or out of coercion, but because it's cool. However, I would rather give up woodworking altogether than to lose my freedom to use the tools that I choose to use.

Re: Winner Chosen for Tablesaw Safety Tip Challenge

I use feather boards, especially if working close. I also have made an assortment of push sticks, and continue to make new ones as the old one get chewed up. Whenever I see a new cut in a push stick, I am reminded that that cut might have been a finger, and yes, I still have all ten. When crosscutting I always stand clear of any possible path of trajectory. It is very important to concentrate on the work, and not be distracted. It only takes an instant of distraction for an accident to happen.
Also, whether crosscutting or ripping, if the piece binds, shut it down, check your set up and for proper blade alignment. It's probably a good idea to check all alignments periodically anyway, but if you should bind, never ever force the piece into the saw.

Last, respect and fear the blade. One of the first things I was taught by a mentor when I was young, is that the blade doesn't care if it cuts through wood or flesh, so be wary of any blade, punch, drill, and so on. Never try anything dangerous on any tool. Use the tool resposibly.

Re: Does MDF Belong in Fine Furniture?

I hate the stuff. It doesn't even make decent firewood. Real wood,whether cheap pine or expensive cherry is a living, breathing medium, and making furniture from it gives the wood a new life. This is especially true if you're using old wood that might be headed for a landfill. MDF has no life in it. It doesn't breathe or react ssignificantly to anything really except moisture. I hate the stuff, but I do use it on occasion. It works well for shop jigs. I also have a three foot by three foot section I use as a gluing table. Fine furniture? Well, you'd have to go a long way to convince me of that.

Re: This is what happens when Roy Underhill meets a SawStop

I guess the bad thing about this, is that he can only do this once. After that, the saw is inoperative.

I imagine being a hand tool sort of guy, Roy's not accustomed to such things as ear and eye protection. I should think ear protection would be an absolute must. The noise emitted when the Sawstop is activated must be high in decibels indeed.

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

My own workbench has evolved. It began as one 3/4" plywood sheet ripped up the middle and mounted on legs providing an easily replacible worktop and a bottom shelf. later, it developed a wood vise, then shelves for power tools, like sanders, jigsaws, drills, and even a specific shelf custome made (blade slot included) just for my circular saw. Later, a drawer appeared to store such things as a dado blade, sanding drums, special bits, ramdom paperwork, a notebook for doing rough sketches, that sort of thing. Next a cupboard was built in to store other items, like my Dremel, my dowel jig kit, my biscuit joiner and biscuits, and so on. During this evolution, there also appeared two power strips (one on each side) on the back of the bench.

It's not pretyy, but it's pretty functional, providing me with all I need in my confined space. Perhaps some of these ideas may work with the designed bench.

Re: Dovetailed drawers are overrated

To be honest, I'm absolutely terrible at making dovetails. Perhaps someday I'll have the time to do nothing for a few days but practice, practice, practice, but in the mean time I use other options. If the drawer is just for utility, say for a work bench, I'll just rabbet my drawer. It it's for a better piece of furniture, I use box joints, which are very easy have as much in the way of glue surfaces and they don't look all that bad. I have yet to have any of them fail.

Re: Total garage shop makeover

Looks like a dream shop to me, although you must live in a warmer climate than I do. I live in Minnesota where winter temps can and have reached as low as -20 degrees, with snow several feet deep. I would have to have a heating plant installed. Also in the summer, the temps may reach 100 degrees with as high as 80 percent humidity. It might make working outdoors a tad uncomfortable and the effects on materials dramatic. That might mean air conditioning in the summer.

20x20 is nothing to be ashamed of. My shop is less than half that. I like buliding furniture, which can be very difficult in such a closed space. 20x20 would be a tremendous step up for me.

Re: Play Against the Grain: The Wrong Way to Rip

I follow almost all of these rules and then some. If I break a rule it's by necesity, but I remember what my old music professor told me when I was in college. He said that I needed to know the rules backward and forward before I break one, and then only by design, not serendipity.

I always use a push stick, I make my own and most of them are chewed up. Better them than my hand. I always use the splitter and so on. I may not always have support for my work if space does not allow. I also always use eye and hearing protection. I've been blind in one eye before (not from woodworking) and it's no fun. I also have a well developed case of tinnitus (ringing in the ear) not from woodworking and would prefer it not get worse.

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

I don't own a RAS, but I want one. Unfortunately, my shop is small and there are only so many tools a guy can fit in a small space. I have used them industrially, and found them no more dangerous than any of the other machines I used, like metal shears, press brakes, milling machines, and so on. As with all power tools, you have to understand that they have dangers and need to be used with care. There are few tools in my workshop that can't kill or maim is used like an idiot. Saw blades will cut what you feed into them, wood, plastic, metal, or flesh. Never put your hands anywhere near a turning sawblade on ANY machine. Never do anything that will put you in harm's way. Whether it is a RAS or a hand held jigsaw, carelessness can mean disaster.

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

I worked for several years as a machinist. I saw some pretty horrific accidents which generally resulted in the loss of part or all of a finger or hand. I managed to get out without any machine based accidents, mainly because I was scared to death of the machines, which meant that I never took one, or the safety devices for granted. The first thing the forman told me on my first day was that machines have no brains; they will cut through, drill through, and punch through anything that is put into their path. It has no way of determining (until Sawstop of course) whether the work piece is wood, metal or flesh. I always kept that in mind, and I still do in my own workshop. The one potentially disasterous accident I had there was not machinery involved. A pile of steel collasped on me. I came out fine thanks to safety equipment I was wearing.

Re: More Details on the Carlos Osorio Tablesaw Lawsuit

I wonder how many people on that jury had ever used a table saw before. I would think that if they had, they would have understood that the plantiff was using the tool irresponsibly in the first place, thereby placing the blame firmly where it belonged; with the user.

I also find it interesting that this decision would in effect make it unlawful to reject any invention or improvement offered. Obviously, Ryobi is being penalized not so much for the plantiff's injuries as for not buying SawStop technology when offered. The saw was now defective, therefore this should not have dealt with product liability. This is a case of an untrained machinist being injured by his own stupidity. At the very most it should have been workman's comp.

The dude's attorney simply decided to go where he thought he could get more cash. I would hope that this case will be overturned in appeals.

Re: Karyl's Hill Country shop

You're a single mom? For a workshop like that I'd marry you next week! if you have a good fishing boat too, I'll marry you tomorrow!

Re: Tokyo Dungeon Workshop

You call that small? I should have a shop that size! While I do wonder how he manages to get material in and projects out of that tiny opening, his shop is about twice the size of my shop not including his "batcave".

My shop is in my basement and takes up about an 8 foot by 10 foot area. It works great for small projects, but when it comes to making furniture which is my main passion, I often have to assemble on my front porch or even the room the piece is intended for. I would not have the space for full assembly in my shop, and if I made space somehow, I'd never get the pieces out of the basement without damaging them.

I, like this guy no doubt, have found ways to compensate.

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit

It's a weird sort of situation. If the man was injured on the job, it should have been a workman's comp case not a product liability case. Table saws are notoriously dangerous, and if a person doesn't know that, then that person shouldn't be allowed to use one.

I have worked in shops with machines that make table saws look like toys. They could kill or maim in a second. We were all aware of this and used as much care as we could. Even so I saw some truly gruesome injuries (one reason I quit working places like that). So far as I know, the manufacturers of these machines were not held liable, and should not have been.

Obviously, this was not the midwest. Up here, you can tear off an arm and you're lucky to get a band-aid much less 1.5 Million smackaroos.

Re: Plywood for Fine Furniture

Using plywood doesn't necesarily make things cheaper. The desk I'm sitting at as I write this is made largely of 3/4" oak veneer plywood which runs about $40.00 a sheet. There was also solid oak involved as well. While I made the desk much cheaper than I could buy it, it was hardly made on the cheap. As a bonus, it is also custom fit and custom designed to suit not only my needs but also my work area. There is nothing shoddy about it. The oak veneer finished just as nicely as the solid oak elements.

I don't limit myself in materials. If oak plywood seems like the best choice I use it. If it's not right for the project I don't. It's as simple as that. And oh yeah, I make a lot of "fine" furniture, some of which contains as much as 80% oak plywood. I agree with Saschafer. That which makes furniture "fine" has more to do with workmanship than material.

Re: New Study Discusses Tablesaw Injuries

Okay, I rarely use the guard and splitter, and I know that I should. I make no excuses. I will say that for at least half of the work I do on the table saw, it tends to get in the way. I do not stand where a piece of wood kicked back can hit me. I also use push sticks that I make myself. These pushsticks get replaced often because they get chewed up by the blade. Imagine if I didn't use them! I use fences, finger boards, and am constantly aware of the blade. I once worked as a machinist and saw many terrible accidents occur to co-workers. I never had one. Why? because I was terrified of the machines. I still have a healthy respect for the machines I work with.

I have had one accident with my saw. I was too tired, too overwrought, and upset about something while I was working. In other words I had no business in the shop in the first place. The saw was powering down and I thoughtlessly reached down to brush away debris. I nipped the end of my second finger. Thanks to a skilled surgeon, the only evidence of the mishap is an indent on the end of that finger.

Something else that needs to be stressed. Wear your hearing protection! Table saws generate a lot of decibles and can permenently damage hearing. Tinnitus (a constant ringing in the ears) is a growing problem with people who work around noisy environments. Yeah, you're probably saying that it's only a few minutes here and there, but trust me, an instant can produce ear damaging tinnitus, and once you get it, you have it for the rest of your life.

Re: What are The Turning Points Along Your Woodworking Path?

When I was about ten years old, I was in Cub Scouts. One day my den mother told us that when we met the following week we were to bring a stool to sit on. I was heart broken. I didn't have a stool, and growing up generally poor, we couldn't just simply go out and buy one. My mom talked to my Great Grandfather, who was a carpenter. A couple of days later, I was in his basement workshop. He pointed to a pile of lumber and told me my stool was in there, we just had to bring it out. He proceeded to pull out boards, and after a bit of measuring, we went to the table saw. About 45 minutes later, I had a brand new stool to sit on. I was amazed that a pile of what looked like junk wood could become a pierce of furniture just like that.

Years later, having lost my job just in time for the Christmas season, I needed to come up with gifts despite my lack of income. I remembered my Great Grandfather, and that stool. I went to construction sites, lumber yard scrap piles, and even grabbed wood from discarded furniture. A few days later, I had presents for everyone. I've been working in wood ever since, and not just to save money at Christmas. My house is filled with things I have made, many of those things made from scrap.

Re: The Right Tool for the Job

My first benchtop tool was indeed a bandsaw. It was actually years afterward that I got my first set of chisels. My next major tool was of course, the table saw. Between the two of them I made an awful lot of stuff. I bought as my needs and skill level grew. Unfortunately, I now need a much bigger workshop....so I can buy more tools.

Re: Free Plan: Sandpaper Ripping Jig

The sander I use most often uses 1/3 sheets (the usual). Long ago, I made a jig similar to this one. It basically has a backstop (Made from a paint stir stick) and a base (made from scrap) with a slot cut at the precise width of the sanspaper I need for that sander. All I do is take a sheet, set it against the backstop, then use a utility knife and follow the slot. It works great and is so simple anyone could do it.

Re: New Yankee Workshop Series Ends

I have watched Norm for many years, and I have learned more from watching the Yankee Workshop than I can even say. No doubt that it was through his inspiration that I turned from toy making to furniture.
It always struck me as funny that he used so many tools that most of us neither have access to, or the space to use.
Out side of my great-grandfather, who got me started, Norm will always hold a place for me as the man who refined my work.

Re: How Not to Drive Your Wife Crazy: Mockup Before Milling

I never make a mock up. I also rarely use any kind of written or drawn plan (okay maybe once in a while I'll make a rough sketch of what I have in mind, but most of the time, I see it in my head and go from there).
For the desk I'm sitting at right now, I announced my intention of building a desk for that area of my office, and finding no objections, I measured the space, saw the project in my mind and went from there.
If we need a new piece of furniture, we discuss what we need, and I'll make it up as I go along. If I like the results, I'll take measurements and draw something afterwards so if I want to do it again, I can.
As for improvements, once or twice it was suggested that a piece might be changed in some way, and often, I can make adjustments to the actual piece.
I don't think anything I have made has caused any negative response in my house.

Re: 8 non-woodworking tools for woodworkers

Me, I'll use anything that will get the job done. My most frequent tool is a metal yardstick. I bought it at an office supply store. I use it all the time.
I also use such nifties as masking tape, clothes pins, alligator clips as clamps and cool whip containers for drawing rounded corners. I've used knitting needles as hole finders, and encyclopedias to weigh down some objects that have been glued.
Add to this, pencil sharpeners, a paring knife, a jack knife, clip boards, magnets, and here's one that might be a surprise...chopsticks (you'd be amazed at what you can do with these things, and they're free at any chow mein place).

Re: Is it OK to sell furniture based on FWW articles?

I have never sold anything I have made, but I have given them away as gifts. "Ripping off" a design? I have seen things made of wood pictured in catalogs and said, Hey, I can make that!" and I have done just that.

A legal interpretation? If the plan is public domain, anything goes. The plan itself can be reprinted and sold. A project made from a public domain plan is the same. If, on the other hand, the plan is under copyright, no, the plan may not be reproduced for profit. The project? Copyrights only cover media such as print media, music, film and so on. You can copyright a design inasmuch as you can copyright the plans, but you cannot copyright a product of the plan. To protect the actual item, one would need a patent, which would be unlikely to be granted in a case like the rocking chair since a rocking chair isn't a new invention. If it was patented, unfortunatly, small changes in design could result in a new patent (improvements is a catagory for a patent).

It gets more complex in the legal stuff, but basically, it's a moral call (remember morals?). I should think that it would be more satisfying to sell furniture of your own design, knowing that you didn't just put together a kit, you made it yourself!

Re: Broken power tool: Junk it or fix it?

It depends on the tool. I have a lot of hand tools by Craftman. They're guaranteed for life so they're easily replaced. Power tools are a different story. Several of my power tools have been repaired. One circular saw I had, I sawed through the cord almost immediately. Naturally I replaced it. Some of my older power tools came with oddly short cords. These too were replaced. A saber saw I had simply had a worn set screw. I replaced it.
On the other hand I have a pretty good collection of old cordless power tools. The batteries wear out, and often the unit can be replaced a nearly the same cost as the batteries. Major tools like table saws, I replace, but I may canibalize it first. I still use an old miter gauge, and an old fence on occasion. Other parts are also interchangable. I keep old drill bits promising to sharpen them, but never do. Other tools like planes are simply a lot of fun to restore.

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