Santa Fe, NM, US

Recent comments

Re: Easy levelers for shop work stands

I agree with RoBanJo on the advantages of keeping the foot's stem housed in a hole in the wood. Exposing the end of the stem with a bevel cut, as shown in the photo, risks snagging power cords, vacuum hoses, shoelaces, trouser cuffs, and anything else that might drape or drag across it.

Eliminating the bevel might mean that you have to vacuum sawdust out of the hole now and then, but that seems like the better option to me.

Re: UPDATE: Book Giveaway: Beautiful Boxes: Design and Technique by Doug Stowe

I love Doug's books.

Re: Router Accident is a Great Lesson in Climb Cutting

This is an easy mistake to make, in part because it is so hard to describe the critical elements concisely. The author does a great job in the long description.

Then in his summary paragraph, he says, "When using a router table, a lot of folks are conditioned to think that when moving from right to left, climb cuts are avoided, but this is really only true when your making cuts along the outer edge of a workpiece."

"Outer edge" could be taken to mean the edge farthest from the fence. This may be a process that can't be summarized unambiguously. It might also be worth remembering the case of adding a rabbet to a glued up picture frame. The usual rabbet will be on the inside edge of the frame, which is likely to dictate moving the workpiece past the bit in the opposite direction. It's easy to get the mind thinking backwards on these things.

Re: UPDATE: A Lesson Plan for Wood Turning by James Rodgers

Looks like a very interesting book.

Re: UPDATE: 3 Book Giveaway! Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to...

Great series, and I would love to own more of them.

Re: UPDATE: Wooden Boxes, by Doug Stowe and Strother Purdy

I'm looking forward to reading the new book.

Re: UPDATE: Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening by Thomas Lie-Nielsen

I'm always eager to learn more about sharpening.

Re: Why I love shellac

I, too, love shellac. I resist some of the hyperbole and misinformation in the article, however. It is simply false to say that shellac is "completely cured... in two hours, or so". Unless the "or so" means 48 hours or more. While it is true that thin coats may be ready for light sanding in two hours, it is easy to verify that complete curing takes much, much longer. Compare the look of your sandpaper and the resulting dust at the two hour mark with the results at eight hours, sixteen hours, twenty-four hours, and so on. You will see the difference.

If you can give your shellac more time before sanding, especially if you are trying to level the finish, your results will be better.

Re: How to make a sacrificial rip fence that never wears out

Like Alashop, I don't like connecting auxiliary fences via clamps. I drill and tap the rip fence for machine screws, and use flathead machine screws to attach the auxiliary fences and other accessories. It will be better still with this non-sacrificial fence idea, which will last forever.

Re: Play Against the Grain: One Lazy Latheman

I enjoy the Against the Grain games for both content and concept, but wish that website game play was a little better. On some, the position for a correct click is very small, on other items or other quizzes, the clickable zone is huge. I remember on the bandsaw resawing quiz, you got credit for wrong hand position if you clicked on the left side of his hand, but not if you clicked on the right side of the same hand.

As the comments always point out, there are other safety issues shown in the picture that aren't included in the scoring. From a gaming standpoint, it would be nice not to be penalized for giving a correct answer. In most of the quizzes, the provided text for a correct answer makes me want to look at the picture again, but now I can't see the details, because a large 'X' is across them. It might be nice to have an overlay that would let me turn the X's on and off.

In any case, a little more attention to playability would make this quiz more fun for me.

Re: How to Repair a Botched Hinge Installation

I'm curious about the author's technique for locating the new screw holes, in the second and third from the last photos, titled "Back to square one" and "Drill new holes". That is a critical part of the repair, but the text is silent concerning the technique used. As other commenters have mentioned, I use self-centering bits and self-centering center punches. They help, although I don't find them fool-proof. But if you don't use those tools, what other approach is available for drilling the holes in the proper location?

It takes very tight tolerances to get three flathead screws installed perfectly in a hinge. I don't like angled holes, unless the angle is very slight, because the screw head doesn't sit flush with the hinge. Similarly, any offset in drilling the holes toward the inside of the mortise must be very slight, if you want the screws to sit perfectly in the hinge.

I find it hard to get a visually flawless fit for all three screws in their countersinks in the hinge, even when I use self-centering bits. I would enjoy reading more tips on how to locate and drill the holes, so that the screws and the hinge look perfect.

Re: When Good Glue Goes Bad

I agree that matching the color of the glue to the color of the wood is a wise step. I disagree that Titebond III is necessarily more water resistant than Titebond II. Both are very water resistant. For reasons irrelevant to 90% of woodworkers, the standardized tests in the USA for water resistance focus on the adhesive's resistance to hot, and even boiling water. While this may give hints at accelerated aging, the properties of most common glues change dramatically when you heat them above 150 degrees Fahrenheit. These tests tell us nothing about the value of the glue in the projects that most of us create.

Why should we care that Titebond III is more resistant to boiling water than Titebond II? Unless we are making cooking ware, we need a different test to compare the water resistance for projects and conditions that we care about. So far as I know, useful test results aren't available. Maybe Fine Woodworking can do some valid tests for us, comparing the strength and water resistance of different glues in the conditions that our woodworking projects normally face.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

The search for speed is a major cause of unsafe practices and unneeded injuries. While none of us strives to do everything in the slowest way, speed for speed's sake is a poor and dangerous goal. In addition, it can blind us to finding the most effective and productive practices.

This tenon-making technique is an example of an approach which may save seconds and cost minutes. Perhaps it is the fastest way to make one tenon (and I have doubts about that). But how many designs can be completed with a single tenon? In furniture making, eight tenons is often on the low end of the number needed to complete a design- left and right sides of the piece, upper and lower rails, each with a tenon on both ends. The number of tenons needed table apron will likely be eight, too. A design with two frame and panel doors will double that tenon count. So for most designs, a little extra time spent in setup can save time overall, and lead to better results, with greater safety.

In realizing an actual project, the tenon usually needs to be a specific size. The video makes this technique look quick, because the rip fence is slid over to about there, the blade cranked up to roughly here, and then later moved up a bit more. That won't cut it (to the correct size), if you want this tenon to fit the mortise. If you want the tenon to be the right size, the careful cut and try adjustments are going to eat into the putative speed of this technique. Of course, you can compensate for the "whatever" dimensions of the tenon by modifying the size of the mortise. At the cost of lost time there. And if you need to make an additional tenon later (after changing the blade height), due to a damaged workpiece, forgetting something, or another mistake, this technique makes it very slow to match precisely the size of the additional tenon or tenons to the size of those cut earlier.

And how about quality? Using this technique, the thickness of the tenon is defined by the height of the blade at the top of its arc, that is, the tangent of the cutting circle. Each time the workpiece is fed sideways into the blade, it cuts to full height only along a line parallel to the saw's arbor, at the blade arc's center. The rest of the blade will cut at less than full depth, if it contacts any wood at all. Theoretically, it would take an infinite number of passes to cut the complete tenon surface to full depth along an infinite number of lines. So everyone will stop short of that, and end up with a slightly wavy surface on the tenon. How flat is flat enough? How many passes will that take? How much slower will this technique be, if you want to get a really smooth, consistent tenon? If your standards are low enough, many things can be done quickly.

I tried this technique some years ago, after seeing Norm Abram demonstrate it. I tried to make a careful determination of how much time it took. For the techniques that I use, the kind of furniture that I make, and the minimum level of quality that I will accept, this technique did not save me time, and it was less satisfying and felt less safe.

No technique is right for every person or every situation, but I think this one is of limited value. If you want a quick, safe, repeatable production method of making lots of perfect, identical tenons, run a few dozen (or hundred) feet of loose-tenon stock through your planer. Then cut your loose tenons to length and width as needed. If you standardize your work to use a few standard tenon widths, as well, then you can save even more time. The total time per tenon will be miniscule. You will have to cut twice the number of mortises, but production will be much faster than using the technique under discussion here.

Re: Huge advances in woodworking technology

@Allenn: Only Asa can say what Asa meant, but I felt the meaning was clear enough for the context. A jointer or planer isn't likely to be measuring string or riding a bicycle. These tools are used to cut wood, so 20 to 30 times longer refers to cutting wood. The statement sounds to me like a general indication, but if we want to make it a precise measurement, it would mean that the carbide cutter head could process 20 to 30 times the number of lineal feet of wood as the steel-bladed cutter head, before the quality of cut indicated that the blades need changing. If we were testing, we would have to specify identical wood, and define what the minimum acceptable level of cut is. But few of us want to do that kind of research. If I can rotate the carbide inserts once a year, and I used to change the steel blades once every two weeks, that's great news for me. Whether "20 to 30 times" refers to feet and inches of wood surfaced, or to weeks and months of woodworking, it's a useful general indicator for me.

Is this credible? I think so. I would guess that three times in five, I change the knives because I've gotten enough nicks in the blades that it is no longer worth trying to align them all to get a good cut. On a bad day, and I've had plenty of them, my new steel blades would have several nicks in the first hour of use. And that's being very careful to run only clean wood across the cutter. In contrast, I've only had the carbide cutter head for my jointer for a month, but it shows no nicks, and I've purposely put rough and dirty wood straight from lumber yard through it. So, off the cuff, I've got 30 times the number of days without nicks from the carbide head. Very unscientific methodology, but very useful data, to me.

Two times in five, I used to change my jointer blades due to wear- that is, the blades were no longer sharp enough to give a good surface finish. That could happen in less than an hour of jointing the edges of baltic birch plywood, a couple of days of white oak, or a month or so of mostly soft maple, alder, and mahogany (three of my favorite woods). I sharpen my own blades on a Tormek, so I probably change them more often than most people do (dare I say, "more than 20 or 30 other woodworkers that I know"?). I do custom woodwork part time, so nothing in my shop relating to tool use is ever consistent, measurable, or repeatable. I don't know how long it will take for the carbide inserts to show enough wear for me to decide to rotate them.

But I do know that I am very happy with the Shellix cutter head for my jointer, and that it has shown itself to able to cut a variety of wood, leaving a very nice surface finish. It is nick-free after a month, and shows no wear visible to the naked eye. In that month, I have put some wood through it that had some dirt and grit on it. I would never have done this with my steel blades. I would recommend this cutter head.

Re: Huge advances in woodworking technology

I installed a Shellix cutter head on a Delta DJ-20 jointer last month, and it will not cut a normal rabbet, although it might have the potential to do so, with a minor modification. To cut a rabbet on a jointer, the outside edge of the cutter has to extend out beyond the edge of the body of the cutter head. On the Shelix, the outside corner of what would be the rabbeting carbide insert is just a hair inside the edge of the body of the cutter. (Because all of the inserts are slightly rotated to follow the spiral layout, the trailing edge of that insert does extend beyond the edge of the cutter head. However, the trailing edge won't cut a square-edged rabbet.)

To cut rabbets with the Shellix cutter head, it would be necessary to replace that one carbide insert with another having slightly greater width, and a trapezoidal shape, rather than the square cross-sectional shape of the other cutter inserts. I don't know if a local machine shop could grind a wider insert to the proper dimensions. Shellix could offer that cutter as an optional purchase, if there were sufficient demand.

Re: Get Ready to Cut Some D'uhvetails

I'd like to suggest that the definition of "jignoramous" should be the opposite of "jiggernaut", rather than roughly a synonym, as it is now. I propose something like:

Jignoramus: A woodworker who cannot properly invent or build jigs when needed, and whose woodworking is therefore slower, more dangerous, and/or more limited than need be.

Re: UPDDATE: Shop Improvements: Outstanding ideas from the world's finest woodworkers from Fine Woodworking magazine

Currently combining and consolidating two workshops into one. We are out of space and looking for ideas.

Re: CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations

Irresponsible manufacturers lead to irresponsible lawsuits, which lead to clumsy governmental regulations. I don't like any part of the equation. But it doesn't make sense to attack the last element of the problem. Manufacturers have implemented large-scale redesigns of their tablesaws several times in the last fifty years, with all the associated retooling costs. For better safety? No, that is a small part of the goal. Generally, the major focus is "style". The recent revamping of the Delta Unisaw is an example. A good saw got better, but the only big step forward is the riving knife, and it doesn't have the options and flexibility that it should have. And then they whine that redesign for safety would be too expensive.

The limitations of saw guards have been obvious since the fifties, and yet, manufacturers still haven't incorporated some obvious improvements. I'm glad to hear that Bosch has a new design. Supporting "choice" is a great concept, but the industry doesn't generally offer choice, unless forced.

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

Many people have mentioned the question of a blade guard, but not many have put all the pieces together: most woodworkers remove their blade guards, because the blade guards are terrible! The manufacturers know this, and have been ignoring the protests and complaints for sixty years or more. Power tool manufacturers should be embarrassed that they haven't improved guard designs in all that time.

Few people use blade guards, because most of us know that the standard guards offer only the illusion of safety. Aftermarket guards are only a bit better. It's easy to parrot, "Use the guard and you will be safe", but that's only true if you carefully choreograph your intended accidents. Standard guards will stop a few accidents, and cause a bunch of others, while slowing production to a crawl.

I like the game that editor Ed Pirnik has offered us. But I'm disappointed by his cop-out in the comments. He brings out the standard magazine line, 'I think it's worth including a notation beneath the image stating: "Blade guard has been removed for clarity."' Please, Ed, don't be another stooge for bad design. Tell the truth. The blade guard has been removed, because it is lousy, and is never used. At least that is the truth for 90% of your readers.

I'd like to see FWW be honest and forthright about the problem, and pushing for better guard designs. How about a notation beneath every image that says, "Blade guard has been removed because it sucks!" Or if you must, "because it impedes production and causes as many safety problems as it solves." In either case, I dream of a caption on every table saw photo that says, "Manufacturers, you've contributed to this safety problem for over sixty years. When are you going to contribute an effective design improvement?"

I bet if Fine Woodworking had put that note under every tablesaw picture over the last thirty years, guards would have improved. Why not start now?

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