Joliet, IL, US

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Hawthorne Case

This is a fitted case for a set of the Works of Nathanial Hawthorne in 22 volumes, made from highly figured cherry.

Recent comments

Re: UPDATE: Furniture Design & Construction by Graham Blackburn

Always interested in design guidance and I'd be happy to review a free copy.

Re: UPDATE: Blanket Chests by Scott Gibson and Peter Turner

2014 will be the year of the blanket chest, for me. 10 to be made, hopefully each one somewhat unique to the individual family member. I could really use the input!

Re: UPDATE:French Polishing: Finishing and restoring using traditional techniques by Derek Jones

Looks like a book I could use!

Re: 7 Lessons for the Aspiring Furniture Maker

Best advice I've seen in a long while.


Re: The hobbit cupboard completed

Thanks for the dimensions sketch, Mike!

Re: The hobbit cupboard completed

Elinor was born this morning about 1 a.m.! (Good size, mom and baby well, and only a few days late.)

So, now I'm committed to this project.

Mike, any dimensions you could provide would be greatly appreciated. I'll be happy to send you my Sketchup drawings (though I'm sure FWW staff could do much better).

Elinor's name is a variant (spelling) of Elanor, the first daughter of Sam Gamgee. Elanor is the name of a flower from Lothlorien (an Elvish woods). Our daughter is named Lorien (in honor of that forest), and the spelling of our grand-daughter's name is an anagram of her mother's.

I e-mailed Sam to inquire about the hardware. If you could provide rough dimensions, I can start drawiig and looking for some "special" wood.

Thanks again for a wonderful design and your help.

Jim Maher

Re: The hobbit cupboard completed


Anyday now, our first grandchild will be born. If its a girl (we don't know yet), her name - like her mother's - will have been inspired by Tolkien.

So, there's a good chance I'll HAVE to make one of these.

Care to share a few more details? Rough overall size? 5/4 stock? Contact info for your hobbit blacksmith?

Jim Maher

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

I'd like to build one, too. I do have some white oak, though its not quarter-swan. We'll see . . .

Re: Should Woodworkers Say Goodbye to Ebony?

What's being done to plant new ebony trees?

Re: What I've Learned About the Online Woodworking Community

One of the dangers of internet immediacy is that a dumb, inconsiderate, stupid or flat out wrong statement is instantly (and forever) available in the ether. Good of you to acknowledge your maybe poorly considered way of expressing your opinion, but please don't beat yourself up. We've all done it ('cause we're only human)and mostly without your self-examination. It's okay.

But this is hardly a new danger. It's not a consequence of our vastly superior technology. It IS exactly what your momma done warned you about a long time ago:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Somehow, the medium is giving us a false sense of insulation - despite the fact that we use it to extend our contact with others. Kinda like picking you nose while your driving alone in the car; you're not really "in private", and you know that, but somehow you feel "alone".

Just remember momma, and let's be careful out there.

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

About 65% of the "events" are regular classes at woodworking schools, so this should probably be clearly marked "Advertisement".

Another 19% are The Woodworking Shows - sort of an "event".

Only 9 of the 57 are what I consider true "woodworking events".

Maybe the whole thing should be titled "Schools You Should Spend Money At - and a Few Woodworking Events".

Hard to believe there are so few events. Maybe you should try to find more.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

Experience matters!

I've been working wood as a hobbyist for over 15 years. I've used a similiar technique when I just need a single tenon. But I would NOT show this technique to an inexperienced woodworker.

The inexperienced tend to fear the tablesaw; that's probably a good thing, until they have enough experience for that fear to devolve to respect.

After a while, the clumsiness of where to put your hands and fingers disappears; one learns how much pressure to use (both down and back), without thinking; body mechanics become second nature; dexterity is developed for handling typically sized pieces of wood. Most importantly, mistakes happen and one acquires JUDGEMENT.

But no one starts out with this skill set, and it takes many hours of working the craft to gain these skills. As a hobbyist with limited time to devote, it took probably a decade before I started doing something like that. I think I'm probably a typical reader.

In an article, you might want to point to a website video of the technique, but with a sterm disclaimer that this is an advanced technique. And be explicit: "If you have less than 500 hand-on hours using your tablesaw, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!"

Re: UPDATE: Building Small Cabinets by Doug Stowe

Hey, I'd like to try some of those!

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

Safety First! To me it's just that simple.

If the standard will be a maximum 1/8" cut - however that's achieved - that SOUNDS good. If the industry CAN do it, they SHOULD. I actually don't want to see a mandated mechanism (i.e., HAS to be SawStop). Soooner or later (maybe even now), there will be a better idea. But I DO want the mandated safety.

If there'e research that shows that riving knives alone can achieve that 1/8" maximum cut, GREAT! Then we're all done! But I haven't heard such proof.

First, agree to solve the problem, by a specified date. Then let the people who know how to build these tools figure out the the most cost effective way to do it. Inevitably, tables saws will cost more. But not more than fingers.

Re: UPDATE: Building Doors & Drawers by Andy Rae

I'd love to have a copy!

Re: What is Furniture Lab?

New materials usage will be exciting.

The lumboo and varia table might be interesting, but the design looks clunky to me.

In the drawings, the top seems to float. How ya gonna do that?

Me, I'd think about achieving that same effect between the top and bottom. Use varia between top boards, but minimally (cubes around perimeter as spacers between lumboo?). Use varia as legs, only in four corners? Lighten the basepiece with less lumboo; maybe just cubes of lumboo and alternating cubes of varia, arranged only around the perimmeter of the base?

It'll be interesting to see what you come up with . . .

Re: "Music Box"


The exterior top violins look especially 3-D.

Wonderful work.

Re: We're Giving Away Grooving Planes!

Groovin' . . . on a Sunday afternoon

It was Sunday, wasn'y it?

Re: Needs Software for Managing a Shop

For a one-man show, best to use Quicken (Home & Business edition). It's cheaper and easier.

Quicken offers "Categories" that allows classification of materials.

For Time - DON'T track it; it's not worth the effort. Instead, bid projects with fixed time costs - and eat the difference. Two or three projects is all it takes to learn to estimate time well.

You can issue Invoices with Quicken and do basic tracking of what's due. That should be enough for a one-man show.

There's much more to Quicken, but that's a longer discussion.

Remeber that computers are great for tracking detail - but then you have to maintain all that detail. DON'T! All you really need is enough to satisfy the IRS . . .


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

I like the idea of starting with the MFT tops. $99 for material and precision drilling of holes and guides sounds like a reasonable price to me. Second layer of MDF (for stability) could have larger and less precise holes. And definitely two.

I'd like to see a CHEAP, but far sturdier base than the MFT has. I'd probably leave it in a fixed position.

I think the base should be cabinets to hold jigs and tools. Compressor and dust collection already occupy a separate space.

Tracks on the sides of the top sound good, but I'd probably place it against a wall so maybe one side is expendable? Tracks flat on the top seem overkill.

This is already starting to sound expensive. How about adding a goal to keep it reasonably priced? Maybe a half-size (one MFT top) for woodworkers just starting out at around $250 and a full-size (two MFT tops) at no more than $500 - in both cases NOT including jigs or tools?

Re: Do woodworkers need the Furniture Society?

Before your blog, I'd never heard of The Furniture Society.

After taking a look, it's not my cup of tea - but to each his own. If Society members enjoy their association, I'm happy they've found a home.

I believe that people benefit from association with those who share their interests. But I do worry that dues-paying organizations seem to wind up being EX-clusive rather than IN-. Me, I always want to include as many as possible.

Jim Naher

Re: New Study Discusses Tablesaw Injuries

Y'all are scarin' me.

I believe I've had a healthy respect for tools - especially the table saw - for the 20 years I've been a hobbyist. In fact, I'd say I'm a tad TOO careful, so I waste a lot of time thinking, buy (or make) a lot of jigs and accesories, waste a lot of (cheap) lumber oracticing and move really, really slowly whenever I finally make something. I could never make a living at this hobby - but I actually do enjoy figuring out setups that I think are hyper-safe. If I can't get comfortable, I just won't do it.

We need a "Tablesaw Best Practices" manual.

I'm very interested in this topic for two reasons:
- this study confirms what my wife has learned in the ER
- I have a new Delta Unisaw on the way.
But these stories do make me wonder if I should take up croquet as my hobby. I don't really want to do that. There's gotta be a way to be SAFE.

When I do setups on my Delta contractor saw, I either:
- use a technique I KNOW is safe
- search the Internet for a safe setup and technique
- or don't do it (i.e., redesign - again).

The guidelines provided in most "safety manuals" are too generalized. Good guidelines, but not explicit enough. We need a generally accepted and very explicit "Best Practices" setup and technique for (at least) the most common 20 or 30 tablesaw operations. And the focus needs to be on SAFE - not cost-efficiency or production techniques - just SAFE.

Does anyone know of such a resource? Should FWW (or the Community) start building one?


Re: Future Period Furniture Articles

Broad coverage and balance, as many have expressed, is the key.

I love Shaker cabinetry, and Chippendale case pieces (though the latter is far beyond my meager skills).

How about something a bit new to the mix - simpler styles from other cuiltural traditions? Awhile ago, there was a nice article on the elements of French Country style. How about a comparable Tuscan, or English, German, Russian? How about Japanese tansu, or something Chinese?

These additional cultural perspectives should feed our need for novel design elements and should give insights to alternate techniques.

What I'm really grasping at is a synthesis - or "fusion" - of different styles. My preference is for simple, strong design that's easy to make with modern materials, tools and techniques. For example, I'm currently trying to wrap my head around a very large cabinet I'll build in my garage - in what I call a "Shaker tansu" style.

Feed me new ideas.


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