Archive for the 'Joinery' Category

Nov 11 2011

Tip: Work to a line.

Work to a line. Cut on the waste side of the line and leave the line on the work.

Supporting Tip: Mark which side of the line will be the waste side. The waste side is the part you don’t intend to keep.

This isn’t about measuring as much as it is about marking. Marking exactly that which we want to keep is the best way to assure things fit when we assemble our project’s parts. If we don’t observe this however, it can render our careful measurements powerless. The fitment of our work is what we honor the most. Continue Reading »

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Dec 23 2010

A Shooting Board for Picture Frames and Moldings.

For some time now, we have wanted to add a shooting board for picture framing and moldings. It’s new for 2011, and it is available now.

pfs1.jpg

Working with picture frames and moldings in general presents a special set of circumstances when mitering. Often, the bottom and back of the molding are the only surfaces that can be registered flat and square, and so they have to be the ones used when registering them against fences for cutting and shooting.

So it goes that if you can only orient a molding one way, which is on it’s back, a single chute shooting board will only be able to shoot half of the miter. The right hand board will only shoot the left side of the miter, and the left chute will only shoot the right side. A problem if you only have one chute. There are workarounds, but ehhh… They are often rife with as many problems as they hope to solve.

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Enter our newest shooting board, the ‘Picture Frame Shooter’. A shooting board with twin chutes, independent, calibratable left and right hand 45-degree miter fences, with tall, removable fence faces to prevent breakout to the top of most plane blades. Continue Reading »

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Nov 26 2010

Getting High End Craftsmanship From Hand Tools

In The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke, we looked at how Dick took a number of hand tools into the Alaskan wilderness, and used them to homestead and create all the things he needed to live and survive. It was rustic carpentry from available timber that was felled, seasoned and milled by hand on site. We all got to look over Dick’s shoulder as he showed us how these tools could be used to create most of what would be needed to make a comfortable home and live well in a remote area.

Dick wrote that what he had accomplished was good enough for “rural work” but in reality, he was a very talented user of hand operated tooling, and knew what he could accomplish with the woods he had access to and the kind of durability he needed from them. Rural work did not mean he quit refining the quality of his workmanship, it meant he built the way he did so as to provide utility, endure hard use and inclement seasonal conditions.

cwf1.jpgColonial Williamsburg Photo

Hand tools are also very highly regarded as the go to tools for fine work. Work on pieces where tolerances are exacting, or the sizes of the pieces are so small or thin where powered tooling would make it difficult to work safely or accurately. Continue Reading »

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Oct 22 2010

The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke

Several years back, PBS, Public Broadcasting, began showing a few videos that have been produced about the life of Richard L “Dick” Proenneke. (1916-2003) The titles of these videos are: “Alone in the Wilderness”, “Alaska, Silence and Solitude”, and “The Frozen North”. Most people who have seen any of these, have more than likely seen Alone in the Wilderness. This video is of footage shot mostly by Dick himself, with his 16 mm Bolex camera, and the narration is writings from his journals in the book, “One Man’s Wilderness”.

proenneke1.jpgRichard L. Proenneke Photo

For most of us, this was our introduction to Dick, and his life. It is one of the only films ever made that shows the process of making a cabin in the wilderness, using only hand tools. It is a real gift.

Dick was a man whose life took him to a lot of places and exposed him to a lot of things, and those things may have been instrumental in helping shape his abilities for life in the wilderness. Born and raised in Iowa, he joined the US Navy and was a Navy carpenter, a rancher, diesel mechanic and heavy equipment operator.

He originally went to Alaska to start a cattle ranch, and wound up commercial salmon fishing and working as a mechanic. He spent the final years of his working career in and around Kodiak Alaska at the naval base there, until a work accident nearly cost him his eyesight. His life in the ranching business probably helped him understand nature and wildlife on an intuitive level, and his life as a carpenter and mechanic probably prepared him with the self-sufficiency needed for the next phase of his life. He retired at age 51 to Twin Lakes, living as a naturalist, nature cinematographer, and scientific observer in the remote Alaska wilderness. Continue Reading »

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Mar 23 2008

Using Cross Dowels for Knockdown Joinery

The big thing about using steel cross dowels for knock down construction is that your layout must be absolutely meticulous. I have, and continue to use these a lot in jig construction, but there are a lot of other great applications. cross_dowels.jpg

While a lot can be done with these, a common application is for use in workbench base construction. Real life happens. People move, circumstances change. Sometimes the dream shop in the basement relocates to a garage or an outbuilding. Many of us cannot build a bench with the certainty of knowing it will never need to be easily transported to elsewhere at some future point. This makes the use of steel or brass cross dowels a wonderful option. Continue Reading »

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