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Apr 23 2015

Imagine Woodworking – Easier

Woodworking is a field of endeavor filled with imagination. Wood has not stopped capturing our imagination for centuries.

Wood has been used to build bridges that carry trains and large wooden ships. We have shaped it into airplanes. It has been used for housing, barns, aircraft hangars, and other large buildings. We cut and shave it into veneers and small delicate pieces that form beautiful images, and screens. We dye it, stain it, paint it, weatherize it. We ask everything of wood from engineering to art, and it rarely disappoints.

Wood asks a few things of us in exchange for forming and shaping it as it yields to us and our requirements.

For best results, wood has taught us it’s best methods for working it through practice and observation. If we learn these ways, and pay attention to the details while we work things come together pretty nicely, most of the time.

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Apr 21 2015

Shooting Boards and thinking outside the box.

Woodworking is a lot of different things to many people. Collectively, we use woods in many artistic and engineered ways when we apply it to our projects and the things we make.

Want diversity from materials? Ok, we can use hardwoods, or softwoods, exotics or domestics. We can vary colors, shapes and textures, while building period furniture or puzzles, jewelry boxes or tool chests. We can veneer and make parquetry, we can make instruments, and kitchen gadgets. Curves and tangents in three dimensions. We may focus on some part of this or dabble in a lot of it from simple and necessary to extravagant and ornate.

Want more diversity? Ok. Woodworkers are also varied in their tastes, design eye, and their use of tools as well, and so what they shoot and shoot with on their shooting boards is as varied as they are. With so many materials and projects, we likely only describe the half of it.

Where many things come together in nearly any project, is where the need for base line precision has to be laid out of boards, and then the cuts that have to be worked to those lines. This can mean measuring with rulers or stepping out with dividers using ratios, but fitment is important, and line and angle accuracy can become important, because this is still geometric work and often in three dimensions. Layout from any inaccurate baseline can be a disaster. This is the essence of making anything, and the need for high precision for continued good fitment as you build depends on a lot of things, but the closer you take the work to fine, the greater becomes that need.

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Feb 05 2015

The Woodworking Accuracy Conundrum Part 1

There is a lot of information about wood movement on the information highway, and some of it has painted itself in a corner. That’s ok, We can help sort this out.

More often than I wish were true, I find myself reading generalizations about wood as a building material and woodworking methods that I wish were better understood, because they create incorrect impressions and misunderstandings. Some we may have seen are: “Wood moves, so being very accurate with it isn’t all that important”, “Wood has seasonal movement you know, so there is not too much concern for high accuracy”. “Just get it close” and “Wood moves, so you can’t really rely on it as an accurate or precision material”. Sound Familiar? It’s unfortunately not the best of advice.

There are many other statements often made along these lines, but they don’t even tell half the story. In fact, statements like these have influenced many who read them that wood is a terribly inaccurate material and is difficult to use for making fine things. Some go on to reiterate what they have heard: “Well you know, wood moves and so there is that accuracy issue”, or “Wood isn’t really a precision material”, without really understanding that this issue is really not nearly as big as they have been lead to believe. See, it looks a lot like what was said in the preceding paragraph, only paraphrased, and not at all any better understood. Understanding this is one of the most important things in woodworking. Sure, knowing how to use tools is great, but what good is that if we don’t understand the material the tools are used for?

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Jan 21 2015

Shooting Board Questions and Answers Volume One

I get questions about our shooting boards from time to time, so I thought I’d help out by sharing the Q&A stream with you.

Q: Why do we use shooting boards?

A: Shooting boards have been pretty common in woodworking for the last 200 years and were widely taught for use in Educational Sloyd. Shooting devices certainly predate 200 years ago, but were less common when furniture was less complex. They are tools that help reduce the workmanship of risk, reduce the complexity of difficult work such as specific needs for straightness and angles, and help enhance woodworker safety, particularly on small parts.

Making anything from wood means working to the lines and begins with layout lines on accurate boards. Lines are then sawn closely on the waste side and finished to the line, smooth with planes to remove the saw marks. When the need for a line is to fit parts precisely with other parts, that line is planed with a shooting board. The shooting board and a sharp plane can improve upon any sawn line whether it was cut by hand or machine, removing all the tearout and leaving a crisp edge and smooth surface. It also reduces risk to work the further a project progresses. Shooting boards offer a great deal of surety in the work.

Q: Why offer Shooting Boards as a tool, Don’t people make those from scraps around the shop?

A: A shooting board is a device that can offer accuracy to woodworkers that rivals machinist accuracy. This is really handy for fine work in woodworking. Historically, as the woodworker has acquired tooling of higher precision, the appearance of their work has reflected it. To make a tool capable of this precision with repeatability in accuracy and durability requires a specialized manufacturing process. The shooting board has to be more accurate than the things it will be used to make.

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Jan 16 2015

Evenfall Studios Toolmakers News

I have been considering an occasional column on our blog, just for sharing some various thoughts and news with you, so welcome to Volume One, 2015.

For small businesses, it is often challenging getting the word out. I want to touch on the scope of our blog. It wears several hats. We are a small family business, a one man custom tool making shop. I make precision tools for woodworkers and makers. Some of the ways we use the blog is to provide methods for working that have a lot of application on any project. We also use it to help teach and inform about our tools and methods that can help woodworking become easier and more accurate for you.

Getting the word out to woodworkers all over the world about what we do and what we may be able to help you do in making is a big part of our blog. I’m remiss about not blogging more often and I do try, but it happens. Client work in the shop and the matters of life are something we all can understand in our own way. We appreciate all our subscribers and readers. Our blog is aggregated by Leif at the Norse Woodsmith Aggregator and has been for years. Recently our blog has been aggregated by Siavosh over at woodspotting.com, which is a new form of Aggregator that is growing fast and allows people to submit blogs to it. We really appreciate both of them for their their support in helping us network and get the word out. If you enjoy our blog or use it as a reference, please feel free to bookmark, subscribe directly via RSS or email as well. This helps us stay in touch and we appreciate your support.

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Dec 28 2014

Helping You Saw Better

Helping You Saw Better

Like anything, there are many approches to any woodworking situation. Sometimes there are solutions in search of a problem, and we can fill our benches and storage with gizmo’s like that, or we can seek out tools that bring a lot of utility for the space they take.

Guided Sawing

I have heard from many woodworkers over the years, and many tell me that they like the tools that allow them to go to work as directly as possible on the task they want to accomplish, without a lot of fooling around. Most all of the tools we offer are focused on helping woodworkers get as much accuracy and productivity as possible from the tools they already have, and can help you perform several tasks really well.

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Dec 23 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2014

It has been a busy 2014!

We released quite a few new Shooting Board versions and models, offering more options for hand planes that can run in an enclosed chute, (such as the Veritas LA Jack, Lie-Nielsen LN-9 and the 62 LA Jack of any make) as well as the accuracy, precision and flexibility for how you work. The good news here is that you may not need to own a “Shooting Board Plane” to enjoy the same experience of shooting with an enclosed plane chute! We have heard from many woodworkers that they enjoy having the flexibility to set their shooting boards with high accuracy, or off angle to compensate for any errors in the work. Our shooting boards allow you to do both. Do you need repeatable accuracy at any angle? We can help you with that!

We also released the MagStrop, our new magnetic, quick change sharpening stations that allow for fast dry sharpening of your tools quickly so you can keep woodworking. The feedback we are getting – that being able to sharpen quickly without disturbing the ongoing project is really nice, they fit in a small space and that sharpening with more ease is meaningful to sharpening more often. There is less need to rebuild edges from scratch and that is the kind of feedback we love to hear!

Another plus is that we finished researching and testing Hoses Wands and Attachments for Shop Vacuums of most any make so that we could bring you a line of the attachments and hoses that we use for our shop. These are not the hoses and attachments that are commonly marketed for use with shop vacuums. These are commercial grade cleaning tools that totally hot rod the shop vacuum’s capabilities, work very flexibly in the shop, play well with power tools and clean the shop better than anything else we’ve tried! We like them so well, we wanted to offer them to you! If you are tired of tree trunk hoses and end tools that excel at sucking themselves to the floor, then you’ll love these accessories when you upgrade!

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Nov 25 2014

Shooting Boards for Your Shop

Through the years, I have fielded quite a few questions about shooting boards, and so I thought it might be nice to share some of the considerations with you, for your own thinking process.

Make or Buy?

That is a biggie, and it’s multifaceted. If you can make a shooting board accurately enough to suit what you need it to do, you may not be considering buying, but there are hurdles to leap.

LA Jack Wide Board Shooter

Ask a few questions:

What is your time worth? You have a busy life, a full time job, a family that deserves quality time. When you get shop time, do you want to spend it making tools, or projects like furniture, jewelry boxes or cabinets? Time for most of us is in short supply. If you want your time spent making beautiful things for your family, then tools that can do what you need done, and directly are really nice to have.

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Nov 04 2014

Honoring Our Military Veterans

Evenfall Studios is U.S. Veteran owned. We appreciate the service of our nation’s Veterans.

We often hear slogans like “Freedom isn’t Free” or “It’s not a job, it’s an adventure”. Catchy slogans don’t always sum up what Military Service really is. Military Service is and is not like everyday life, and comes with serious strings attached.

The commitment, aspects of duty and obligation are that difference. For the Veteran, it becomes a developed psyche that really has to be lived to be fully understood. Veteran’s know, because they went, and they “served”, but that’s not exactly the half of it.

There are no two Veterans whose service to our country was exactly the same, but each contribution has significance. Most Veterans will tell you that there were fun times. They will also tell you that there were things they can’t or don’t want to share, often involving hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. In between, there were many real time man hours spent somewhere they would have preferred not to be, doing something that wasn’t always pleasant.

It may have been combat or patrol, it may have been on or under water in a ship or submarine for months, It may have been flying for hours, or repairing aircraft or tanks in 100+ or -20 degree weather, day and night, rain and shine, and the list goes on and on. It is about the big things, and the little things.

Many things are predetermined by regulated routine, sometimes things do not go as planned. It all often does involve sacrifices that someone has to accomplish so that the big wheels continue to roll and enduring freedom continues.

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Sep 13 2014

On Sharpening Better – Part 3

Using materials in the sharpening process that cut fast, while retaining a flat sharpening surface is good criteria. This is why powered sharpening gear uses a platen beneath the abrasives, otherwise we would have no reference for our work, and desired results would be difficult to achieve with repeatability. While messy aspects of sharpening can not be completely eliminated, what if we could minimize them?

The mess and clutter of the ensemble that is sharpening gear, along with the associated set up and clean up of the process, so it works well is also in the equation. There is only so much space to begin with, and the mess becomes part of the inertia that causes us to wait longer than we should to sharpen in the first place.

Or we have precious little space to begin with, so we would have to stop and set a process aside in order to make space for sharpening, then do that, clean up and stow before resuming the woodworking process.

It isn’t any wonder why we avoid sharpening until the last minute, even as that makes the task as difficult to accomplish as any can be.

I don’t think it really has to be that way. I’ve developed some different ways of thinking about the sharpening process and some tools that help fit them. They reduce sharpening effort with no cost to edge quality.

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