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.

It asks us to learn and observe it’s ways. Did I just say that? Yes, but this is really about moving toward mastery. Understanding it’s strengths and weaknesses, how to read it’s beauty and utility. To learn patience with it and from it. To be consistant with this understanding. Experience is the teacher of the deepest lessons.

It asks that we cut it with sharp tools. Whether working with coarse or fine tools, this always brings forth the nicest outcomes.

It asks that we lay out accurately the lines we wish it to take the form of, then work from the waste side to those lines.

It asks that the tolerances we use with it be close fitting while observing it’s grain directions and movement qualities.

Joinery is the best method to join two pieces, and the trick is using the right joint for the job. It’s more about the wood than fasteners or adhesives. If the joinery is snug the joint will be strong. The outcomes will be good and will last. You can measure, divide, or use story sticks, but if the precision is still there, then the outcomes will last.

You know, it’s been said. Making in wood is about cutting off and away all the parts that don’t belong on the finished product.

In the trades, I spent 30 years working productively. Productivity isn’t just speed, it is a quality outcome at the best speed possible to maintain that. Proficiency is what you have when you can perform it. It begins in the training and you continue to learn and improve upon it every day. The bottom line is always at the forefront in business, so we have to do what is most productive as a rule.

As a toolmaker, I gave the process of helping woodworkers accomplish their goals productively and successfully a lot of thought. I listened to woodworkers when they discussed what they had difficulty with and looked for ways to make it easier. I designed our tools to bring it. Helping move the woodworker closer and more directly towards the successful outcomes they want from wood, with least effort. So available time spent woodworking can be productive. That is what we agree we want the most.

Handsaw Mag Guides

We offer Bench Hooks and Saw Guides that allow you to use the saws you already have and like, Western or Japanese, to hold the work at the appropriate angle while you saw with improved ergonomics. Better ergonomics translates to easier sawing that can be more accurate. All your saw needs be is sharp and appropriate to the cut you wish to make. Lay out your lines and cut next to them.

East West Bench Hook

We offer Shooting Boards that enable you to go directly to accuracy on all the pieces that make up your project. You can start with an inexpensive used plane or use a custom infill, but the sharp iron is the equalizer here. Our shooting boards will direct the cuts you make, and pare them right to the layout line with reliable accuracy. You have a lot of options to choose from to help you with your design eye here. Any Angle can play, with stock lengths up to 26 inches, thicknesses up to 1-23/32nd on average with 2-inch irons. That’s a lot of capability for creativity, and without much limitation.

Veritas LAJ Shooter Ultra Plus

Much of precision and accuracy in built objects comes from sharp tooling. The key to getting to fine work before, during and after is always a sharp tool. Before comes the pencil or marking knife, then the saws and planes. You can spend a lot on sharpening gear, but that depends on where you want to go.

Sharp is a destination sure, but in actual use its actually more of a constant – consistant process. With that understanding, we can approach it in a way that keeps us closer to sharp. Our Sharpening Stations are designed to make this process as easy as possible, corral the process in a small space with less mess, and make efficient use of it.

Magstrop 4 Combo

Our Magstrop Sharpening Stations are not only efficient and use little space, they offer quick change capabilities so you can put the abrasives you want to use right now, where you need them to be in seconds. The strops and platens are all 3 x 11-3/8 nominally. Spacious for most tooling. You can set up the platens with the abrasives you choose and change them in seconds on the fly. For the utility it brings, the cost is very effective as a sharpening system. It’s all about keeping tools sharp quickly. Knives, Chisels, Plane Irons, all easily maintained. Hand powered sharpening culture changed to easy and direct as possible.

There is a methodology that works well with our sharpening tools. Sharpening is easier with them, so it is easier to do more frequently.

Sharpening before tools become dull takes a lot less time and fewer steps to return the sharpness. Our stations are designed to be concentrate on getting sharpening done in a small footprint, so there is little to prevent using them. It doesn’t require any massive effort, they are easy to make ready for use. No drama. It is now easy to say yes to sharpening. Sharpening as you work most of the time is as easy as stropping on leather filled with the abrasive compound you prefer. It usually takes less than a minute, and you can be back to work.

Magstrop One

Sandpaper on glass is not actually as costly as some people say, particularly when experience develops to properly judge which abrasive grit size is right for the sharpening needed and when it’s time to switch. If it takes longer than you think it should have, that’s a sign that the grit is too fine for the correction necessary. We live, we learn.

Glass is always a dead flat accurate surface to sharpen on. This means you really know the edge your making on this surface because the feedback you’ll receive isn’t based on a guess. If you learn to become a consistant maintainer and strop frequently, sharpening gets easier still. Really! Remember, proficiency is developmental. Maintenance interval is part of the solution. If you get used to stropping frequently, that will become most of the sharpening you’ll ever need to do. Tools that are not let to get too dull never take drastic measures to sharpen, and when your finished these stations are again, small and light, you can set them aside in a second and get back to the woodworking.

For my own shop, I don’t believe in or rely on gizmo’s and one trick ponies. My vetting process requires a lot from a tool. I have to be able to manage the arsenal, and be productive with it. I do believe in the development of craftsman skills and proficiency with tools. Most of all, I feel the tooling, fixtures and jigs we offer allow the woodworker some of the most direct methods to bring creativity to your work. Producing high quality results from most any skill level in the least amount of time and effort, using tools you have. As your skills grow, these tools will still be with you, and delivering. When all you have is a little time to spare, tools that do what’s desired are what most of us will agree make the journey the most pleasant and fun. It’s about that simple, and it should be.

If you have been waiting for easier ways to work wood with less expense from unsuccessful outcomes, I think we have a few accessories here that can help your tools and shop do a lot more, if you really want to make and have things turn out for the best. Tools that really help you do it.

I invite you to look at the tools we offer and see if you might think so too. We offer more than I’ve mentioned here. Please tell your friends and fellow woodworkers about us. Our Online Store is always open and we ship internationally. We look forward to your business!

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