William McCaffrey, Georgetown, TX, US

Grew up a poor country boy in south Texas, joined the Air Force, went back to school to become an electrical engineer. Was one of the lucky guys that road the early microprocessor design wave at Motorola and AMD. Decidied to move the software side of the industry and had to retire early from Cadence due to too many back surgeries (5 major and many minor). Took up wood working (had done some when I was much younger) to keep the mind sharp and the hands busy. It took 3 years to build a good workshop environment. I have since built a lot of furniture for my kids and friends. I plan to keep building furniture for fun so long as the body holds out.

Gender: Male

Birthday: 08/20/1956

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Jewelry Maker's Toolbox - mineral stained walnut with curly maple

I designed this for my daughter, Erin. It is a jewelers tool box for today's hobbyist jewler. The chest stands 50 inches tall with a 24 inch by 24 in base. There are two sizes of drawers with up to...

Walnut and paduak dining table, bench and chairs

This was one of my early designs and builds and my first chair design from scratch. There were many plublic resources from the web that were used to influence the design style. All curved shaping was...

Recent comments

Re: A Nutty Alternative to SawStop Technology

No matter how he did it, the piece (pic buried bottom left of article) he created was spectacular. I understand 3rd world economic restrictions and have seen far worse examples when it comes to safety. The artist always uses what he/she has to assist a blessed hand and a good eye. Third world artist are some of the best and they have so little tools to work with. I have the tools, but my hands are not so blessed.

Do you have other pictures of his work?

Re: 9 reasons why I don't sharpen my plane blades as well as I thought

What was the type of wood they were planning? The grain pattern and cellular structure would have to tight, straight and small to support this amazing demonstration.
Does the story go on to read "... it took a master blacksmith a year to produce the large plane blade and the plane maker another year to perfect the plane and someone had the money to pay for it all...". Awesome.

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

To develop the skills to create such imagery in wood has long been a goal. I appreciate the opportunity to win these wonderful books by Andrew Thomas and Richard Butz. I promise to put these books to good use.

Re: Hate sanding? Try this super-block

You actually made a jig to cut sandpaper? - too much time on your hands I guess. Where do you find space for jigs like this? Sorry Asa, I couldn't resist myself this morning. I do think its worth coughing up $20 for a Preppin Weapon.

Re: Chopping mortises in absurdly narrow stock

I have used this technique many times. On such small tenons, the shoulders are very narrow so any tear out around the face of the mortise will show. To minimize this, I put down a piece of masking tape on the mortise face before marking. Then use a cutting tip in my marking gauge, which cuts through the tape and provide a nice knife line. The masking tape being much brighter than the wood provides an excellent visual guide. May be overkill, but my old eyes really benefit from it.

Re: SketchUp 3D Basecamp -- A Brief Roundup

When I started my career in integrate circuit desgin, the CAD acronym didn't exist. Then the industry exploded with with point tool solutions which little to no chance of working together. To this day, interoperability between these point solutions is almost non existent. In my mind, Google's SketchUp initiative and community have created a wonderful environment where the best of point tool solutions can work together in a highly interoperable solution. Offering a free and open integration environment with modeling sharing avoided many competitive snares and removed most barriers to adoption. If there are missing point applications such as the wiring diagram mentioned earlier, the SketchUp Community can address this much easier/faster than the Independent Google SketchUp development team. So ask the community at large for these solutions and someone will fill the gap. It is also my opinion that the Google SketchUp team and community have done a great job in dividing the "free" versus "buy" versions, avoiding product fragmentation for the purpose of price tearing. As for children/young adults having access to SketchUp - all they need is a laptop and network connection. I have found that kids teach kids and teach themselves far better than any school can. Even at $500 a license for SketchUp Pro, it's not the cheapest tool in my shop, but it may offer the biggest bang for the buck out of all of my tools. It's certainly the quietest and safest.

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

There is a far more deadly device out there that the government has spent billions and the product manufactures have spent 100s of billions on injury lawsuit - cigarettes/tobacco! After all of this the government decided that the best solution was to inform, educate and warn the public. Every one of these products has to carry a warning label.

Table saws (and routers, ...) should come with big warning labels etched into their surfaces - "Do not use this tool unless you have been properly trained and are using proper safety techniques!".

If the government insist that it has time to focus on these lesser issues, then it should be to give the industry a time table to come up with their own safety solutions that meet reasonable guidelines. There should never be a discussion that suggest that the "SawStop" technology is the only/right solution. I do not support any solution that is so destructive and expensive, because it will be disabled 99% of the time after the first lose of blades and monies.

I wonder how many members of this Congressional committee have invested in SawStop. Yes I think our government has lost focus on its purpose and largely corrupt, but my arguments stand independent of that.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

This side cutting method works for many instances where setting up a dado and/or router is not an efficient solution for the task at hand. Of course the safest way to cut tenons is with a tenon saw and chisel, but that takes more skill and practice. I would have said time, but I have seen a few cut tenons that fast by hand. My only suggestion (my method) is to do this using a crosscut sled with stops instead of a fence. I have never experienced any kickback using this method for of 30 years. I would also wear wrap around safety glasses. One comment suggested using multiple cross cuts before engaging this method. This is a big no-no! The side force of the saw blade can break of blocks of wood in between the cut and then get slung around dangerously as they reenter the blade. This is very easy to repeat if you have doubts.

To other comments about level of experience required - all power tools take experience and care! The router is the most dangerous tool in any shop (and the nosiest and messiest)! Drum sanders and belt sanders constantly eat finger tips! We pick too much on one of the safest power tools in the shop because of carelessness and lack of proper use. Its like the large number of people that mow over their own feet - DUMB!

Re: CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations

What is this really about? Politics, Money, Safety? We can all speculate, but to me the bigger question is why so much focus on 1 tool in an environment where 100s of tools exist? Some 30 years ago I injured two fingers on a table saw while using a Sears molding blade that should have never been put on the market. Even then, the injury was caused by me not following the basic principle of keeping my digits out of the cutting area. I would rather see a mandated safety test be put in place before you can purchase and operate any "dangerous" tools. Then the injuries can be sorted by: "You knew better!"; "There is a real issue!". All of this noise is generated by a case of "He should have known better!". The BS law suite should have been the manufacturer against the irresponsible person that made the tool available to another irresponsible person. Where is the real accountability in all of this?

Billmc, Texas

Re: Kara's Shoe Bench

Great piece! Are you sure you want to put your shoes on it? I think the design would work well for a set of occasional tables.

Re: Bending Dovetails

Great technique. I will have to try this on my next piece.

Re: VIDEO REPLAY: Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools

If the project is for me or the family, I always cut the tenons by hand because there is no schedule pressure. Cutting tenons (and the mortises) by hand provides great satisfaction when everything fits together nicely.

Else, I have used the table saw with a tenoning jig or a router with a tenoning jig. The table saw method produces less noise and dust. However, in this mode I always use the router to cut the mortises and therefore the router method for the tenons seems to provide the best fit.

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