Archive for the 'Hand Tools' Category

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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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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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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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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Aug 28 2014

Recent New Tool Releases for Fall 2014

The 2014-2015 woodworking season is upon us, And we wanted to share a bit about what’s new here with everyone!

We have recently released a Sharpening Station System called the Magstrop™. It offers the ability to sharpen quickly and easily, using horse butt and suede leather strops, as well as glass platens for use with sandpaper’s from very coarse to microfine grits. The Magstrop sharpening system is expandable, and we have future plans for that but for now I’ll just say there is more coming soon.

We developed the Magstrop with several desires in mind…

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Aug 24 2014

On Sharpening Better Part 2

In my last post, I discussed sharpening and how changing our thinking about it as well as some of the gear used to perform it could be improved.

We covered steels and their improvements, Abrasives and their evolving improvements as well. I also touched on the learning process of sharpening, and how a lot of what we know about it comes through trial and error. When we find a sub process of sharpening that works for us, we stick with that, and usually that is good, and other times it can limit us so that we stop pushing to find better.

It is true, the sharpening process is a series of smaller processes, that depend on a lot of material factors, and the user’s experience of knowing which factor is being observed so the right process for that factor can be applied at the right time. This is an evaluative matrix of solutions that come from knowledge and experience. It can save us time, but if we miscalculate, we can spend more time. It is developed practice to be sure.

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Jul 23 2014

Shooting Boards for Wide Board Work

We are now offering a shooting board that balances the need to shoot wide boards for casework and such, with good ergonomics for doing your best work.

Introducing the Wide Board Shooter™:

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The Wide Board Shooter is based on our original shooting board designs, with all the same attention to details and high accuracy that comes with them. These boards are 1.5 times (50%) longer with an overall length of 22-1/8th inches that provides shooting usability in the 18 inch width range.

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Jul 14 2014

Shooting Boards for the Number 62 Jack Plane

If I were to know I was going to be stranded on a desert island, or marooned anywhere, I would wish for a Jack Plane. If I could get any Jack Plane, I’d want the one I find most versatile, A Low Angle Jack Plane. In fact, I have said my favorite plane on a shooting board is a Low Angle Jack Plane.

The 62 was originally introduced by Stanley and has been repopularized and made better than ever by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, redesigned and reissued by Stanley Tools, and is also part of Woodcraft’s Wood River line in recent times. We now offer a Chute-Style Shooting board for the Number 62 Low Angle Jack Plane.

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The 62 Shooter™

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Jul 13 2014

Shooting Boards for the Veritas LA Jack Plane

Hands down, My favorite plane on a shooting board is a Low Angle Jack Plane.

It isn’t that I don’t like the Shooting Board Planes, such as the Lie-Nielsen LN-51 or the Veritas Shooting Plane, because I feel they have specific strengths and forte’s on the shooting board. But the LA Jack has so much going in it’s favor, it is hard not to love it on the shooting board. Just to make the LA Jack easier to love even more on a shooting board, We now offer a Chute-Style Shooting board for the Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane.

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The Veritas LA Jack Shooter™

Some of the cool things about LA Jacks on the shooting board is that it has heft, much like the LN-51 and Veritas SP, but it is also ambidextrous, which makes it a great choice for woodworkers who favor either the right or left hand.

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