Archive for the 'Shop Organization' Category

Sep 03 2014

Now available – New Shop Vacuum Tools and Accessories.

If you were to ask me what the most important tool in my shop is, I would have to say that it would be my entire shop. Because it takes my entire shop for me to do all that I can. Every machine, every tool is important.

But if you were to ask me which tool I use most in my shop, that’s easy, it would be the shop vacuum hands-down. I use the shop vacuum for dust collection on a number of different tools as well as for general cleanup, so that my shop is ready to use no matter what direction my next task takes me. It doesn’t make anything in particular, but my shop vacuum makes my entire shop work better, and my entire shop is my most important tool.

I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about making what may be your most important tool, your shop, work better!

Continue Reading »

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May 01 2012

Improving Tool Sharpening Capabilities.

Sharpening. All roads in woodworking lead to it, and there seems to be as many ways to accomplish it as one can imagine. Scary Sharp with Abrasives, Water Stones, Oil Stones, Leather, Steel, Powered, which also employs abrasives, stones, leather, et al. All of the various styles have strengths as well as weaknesses. Many woodworkers often decide to mix and match different sharpening media to optimize the best methods for their kit.


For many years, I have had a continued interested in tool sharpening, as well as how they dull through use, while paying attention to the many trade-offs offered by different sharpening methods. I looked for ways to optimize the sharpening process for better workflow. Along the way, sharpening more frequently, meaning not waiting until blades are unusably dull stood out as very important, and some other ideas became viable as solutions to challenges other woodworkers I spoke with were having. Sharpening needed to be handier, and the sharpening tools tools more effective. The fruits of these studies are coming forth in the Sharpening Aids we are offering through our ‘Woodworks Store’.

We are introducing a Sharpening Station based on Abrasives over Glass, otherwise referred to as “Scary Sharp”. We call it the ‘Sharpening Station 1’ “Scary Sharp”. There are several strengths it brings to sharpening. Continue Reading »

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Feb 23 2010

Usable Hand Tool Storage? Thank Mr. C.A. Jewett.

Walt Quattro is a really cool guy who has a really cool used record store in Waterbury, CT that <looks right, looks left> secretly doubles as a vintage tool store. <but please, keep that to yourself, eh?> 😀

Walt’s place is Brass City Records and Tools. Those who know Walt know that he is known to drop into a tool forum with a song lyric that doubles as a riddle that somehow describes his latest tool prowl. Please click here for one of Walt’s riddle answers. Walt’s posts are always a great time and he is great to trade with! So as usual, I like to make a habit of going over to his site to look around, because it is always changing. Me? I am usually late to the party but eh… you know how it goes. His site changes a lot as some of you know. Early birds get the worm, fair is fair. Walt knows this and it works that way to shop with Walt too.

Well anyway, Walt’s haunts are the flea markets of New England, where many a tool he finds are straight out of the heart of where the industrial revolution took place. He is also centrally located near where many of these tools were originally made. These are the tools that helped bring that revolution, and are now sought after by many of us who don’t want those tools to become just another historical footnote. (Thanks Walt)

It happens that Walt has a cool link on his site that points to Pat Leach’s (of Superior Works fame) site, that I have looked at many times over the years. While we all seem to discuss tool cabinets around at various forums on the net pretty frequently, I don’t recall seeing anyone really discussing this one for a pretty long time. It is worth a visit, or for some of us, a re-visit.

jewett_chest.jpgPhoto Courtesy Pat Leach

It is C.A Jewett’s Patternmaking Chest. It is worthy of discussion and so let’s, shall we? Continue Reading »

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Sep 10 2008

Shop Space Comfort. A Shop Heater for the Winter.

Got Shop Comfort?

Woodworking season comes around yearly, with Labor Day behind us, many of the summer outdoor oriented activities and chores are soon to be waning. The colder weather will be along soon enough to push us in and keep us indoors.

This is good, it spawns the need to be creative through other ways, and hobbies fill that gap. Problem is, many of us have to use a space for our woodworking hobby that is not exactly comfortable during a good bit of the indoor season. When we are cold, we don’t often enjoy what we want to enjoy as long or as much. We are more in the mode of just do it and get er’ done, rather than enjoying ourselves, where thinking through the process, being in the moment, and feeling like we relieved some stress are all big parts of having a good time. If it isn’t a good time, let’s face it, we generally avoid it.

To add, when you are cold, humans do not think as critically, and can even become distracted from slower thinking. Woodworking, like other tasks that require concentration, really does want your attention in many, many ways, because it is a very detailed endeavor, which can be inherently dangerous as well, so how you help yourself overcome these issues while trying to enjoy the woodworking season is a question that is a good thing to have on your mind.


My want is to help you stay warm in the shop. It was my want too. I bought this as a ‘what the heck’ purchase, meaning I did my research, but I really had no idea if my purchase was the best choice or if it was going to work adequately for my purposes. I do not enjoy being cold, and after asking around, no one really knew what to tell me. Electricity costs in my area rule that out, and Permanent installations are out for me as well. I got lucky on both counts, because this heater did work out for me big time. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. Now that I have used it several years it, I’m sharing my observations with you. Continue Reading »

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May 09 2008

Creativity in Hardware Storage: Altoid Tins.

During the evolution of a woodworkers development… A development which never ends by the way, a person observes design, considers various methods of joinery, acquires the tools that coincide with their preferences for the various methods of work, develops a style they enjoy as they continue to grow, and accumulates a TON of hardware along the way.


Back in the 30’s, 40’s 50’s and 60’s of the last century, woodworkers commonly used containers named “MJB”, “Hills Bros”, and “Folgers” for the proper containment of “hardware”. The proper methodology for sorting the “hardware” was to sort through the top inch and a half of the can, and then up end the contents on the bench for a closer sort of the needed hardware at the bottom of the can.

A higher tech solution was to use mason jars, commonly used for canning, and errr, other handy and imaginative uses, and all you had to do was deny knowing anything as to where the canning jars were when it came time to put up preserves, and the high tech part was that you could see in advance that the “hardware” you were looking for was at the bottom of the jar.

Advances in baby food preserving had the Beech-Nut Corporation putting 13 varieties of food into glass jars, beginning in 1931, and the resourceful woodworker in fatherhood found this as a boon to “hardware” storage. The thing was you see, the integral lids could be mounted to the bottom of shelves, making use of otherwise unusable space, and the woodworker could simply look from underneath and see the needed hardware at the bottom of the jar, and not have to spread as much on the bench to sort for the needed pieces. Continue Reading »

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Apr 13 2008

Improve your Sharpening with a Portable Sharpening Station

Lets face it, sharpening can be a big undertaking. Many edge tools we bring in our shops will benefit from having a flattened back and the optimum bevel angle for the task it is meant to do. Streamlining the process is possible, and most of that comes from organizing the honing gear so it can work the best with your applications.

Sure, That is a very large amount of application options. There are variables such as steel types. Cast steel, hand forged, high carbon, O1, A2, and D2. There are sharpening options. You have scary sharp, water stones, oilstones, and diamond stones amongst your choices for abrasives. There are a number of different sharpening methodologies, various jigs, freehand, even machines.


I use a portable sharpening station designed for use with stones, with both jigs and freehand manner. This helps facilitate the process, contain the mess, protect other shop furniture from damage and helps keep the honing tools organized. It can be used in a couple configurations, and can be moved out of the way when necessary. It is simply stored when not in use. Continue Reading »

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Mar 10 2008

Tooling up with Hand Tools? The Big List.

Back in early February 2008, an interesting thread was started on Bob Feeser, rfeeser to those who may look for his writings, was asked by a friend to ”provide a list of what tools a well-equipped small, machine-free shop might have”. So he consulted some texts he had on hand and “enhanced” it.

Turned out, the list is quite good. On Internet forums, one good turn deserves another, and so the feedback began. …And the list grew. People came up with some great additions for the list. Continue Reading »

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