Archive for the 'Skill Development' Category

Jun 04 2017

Helpful Resources at Evenfall Studios

There are many resources for woodworking, metalworking and making in general available at Evenfall Studios, so we thought we would give you a quick tour of how to navigate and use them.

First off our blog. We use our blog a little differently than most websites. It is a resource of information about our products, articles on how to and tips as well as other information we hope you’ll enjoy. If you look up at the top index of our blog there are a number of different places you can navigate to on our website.

If you scroll to the top of the page you’ll see a row of index buttons. Most of these are available from every webpage on our site. Let’s start with the Blog Index.

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Nov 06 2016

What is a Woodworking Shooting Board?

First let’s sort out some ambiguity. This is a tool used in woodworking, and not to be confused with things that are used in the sport of hockey or firearm related sports.

Ultra Plus Shooter
The Ultra Plus Shooter.

A shooting board for woodworking is a tool which is sometimes referred to as a woodworking appliance, but for the most part it is simply a very important tool that makes a big difference in a woodworkers kit of tools.

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Jul 29 2016

The Woodworking Accuracy Solution

We’ve received some email from a few woodworkers and makers lately who wanted more woodworking accuracy, but they were not sure they could get to the accuracy they hoped for without CNC. Interestingly enough, most woodworking CNC setups will not work to 0.001 tolerances and handplanes with our shooting boards will do exactly that and do it day in and day out. They didn’t know, but now they do! It doesn’t cost anywhere near what CNC does. If you need precision and accuracy, Our Shooting Boards can help you achieve that with repeatability, all four seasons of the year.

When we think of a shooting board, we may think of a few scraps nailed together. We think of how wood moves and that the board will only be accurate for a little while. We think of it as a short time tool which helps us make our project.

Standard Shooter
Standard Shooter.

There is a better way to think of shooting boards. We’d like you to think of them as robust tools, built to last for years! That’s the way we make them. As a heirloom tool which is versatile and built to last. We build them to 0.001 tolerances to help you work to the level of control your layout and checking tools can provide you.

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Apr 28 2016

Tightening Up Your Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship in a word is just a word. We envision the ensemble of things we understand it to mean when we hear it, or think of it. We know what it is when we see it, on it’s face, we recognize it, but it is more than just a few simple words.

Busting a 2×4 in half with a sledge hammer is not an example of craftsmanship, it is however an example of demolition. The important thing to understand, while many people are capable of performing demolition, far fewer are capable of performing craftsmanship, even though they have the ability to recognize it, or even purchase such things for themselves.

But we all have the capacity to learn and do if we apply ourselves.

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Jun 26 2015

On Developing Mastery

The development of mastery has a language. While every different thing we may hope to master in a lifetime may have many specifics that are unique to each, there is a path to all of it, and the path itself isn’t so unlike the others.

The reason we read what others have to say about woodworking, is because we are hoping to learn tips tricks and methods that we can employ for our own development. It can be about tools, methods, style, materials, joinery, etc. We need to develop a well rounded knowledge of all these things to develop our understanding of the entirety of it. Practice is the part where we develop the ensemble of all this, as we make the things we make.

I would like to present an analogy to you for this discussion, because I think it will help us understand the parts, and the whole of it a lot better. I would like to present some ideas about woodworking mastery, using music and the playing of music as a musician to you as an example of how mastery develops, and becomes our piece of kit, in us.

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Jun 12 2015

The Ethos of Woodworking Precision and Accuracy

There are a lot of different opinions floated out about accuracy and precision in woodworking, and further, about how it applies in handtool woodworking. I’d like to take a few moments and help add some additional perspective from a toolmaker, and from someone who has also had a long career as a journeyman tradesman. This read is a little long, but I feel the perspectives will be helpful to us as we develop our craftsman skills.

I don’t want to overstate what others I’ve read are saying, but cumulatively I read a lot of woodworkers who write say things like: “wood has too much movement for a need to work accurately”. “Measuring is unnecessary, just match things up so that they are good enough”. I could go on, but I am sure we are all aware of what I am referring to.

On it’s face, sometimes these statements may be true, maybe only true for those who state them, but they can be precarious things to say in a context where the reason why is not well prefaced. Let me explain.

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May 28 2015

If Sharpening Were Easier

If sharpening were easier, we all would likely do it more often.

We are working to help us all do exactly that.

Long story short; the work performed by a cutting edge will cause wear and dulling. A proportion of work must be performed to restore this cutting edge and the time spent is based on the amount of wear, the hardness of the steel and the sharpening abrasives you select.

There are two major ways you can approach sharpening.

Old School, where you run the edges into severe dullness and do a major reworking of them to restore them. (a common practice because people dislike sharpening, and it takes a while.)

New School, which is to sharpen rather continually as you work with fine abrasives so the edges rarely fail and keep cutting nicely.

It might surprise you, that even though the new school method is performed more frequently, it takes less time and effort. It can be done dry and quickly, getting you back to work and in the flow of things.

We make a couple styles of sharpening stations that target quality sharpening using either school, but they are a gateway to using the new school method. There are a few good reasons that our sharpening stations are designed the way they are. These are designs that evolved over time.

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Apr 30 2015

Tools for Creativity, Productivity, Art, and Fun

Some of the fun of being a toolmaker, is getting to be a woodworking evangelist. Talking with woodworkers and listening to what they hope to do in woodworking. Stories of wishing it were easier to make something, but oh for the lack of this tool or that. I understand. I always enjoy hearing from clients who have had their tooling we custom made for them awhile and to hear how it has made the different things they wanted to make possible, and easier.

Some of the things that have been shared with me are interesting. Epiphany level stuff a lot of the time. On the shooting board equation I recall things like; “I have thousands invested in hand planes, but I am also expecting high accuracy from a quickly made jig from scraps. I’m finding that doesn’t work a lot of the time.” “I’m on my fourth shooting board now, and I am just tired of trying to get or keep accuracy.” “I want to make intricate things with small parts, but my machines seem too risky to use for that.” “I have so many ideas, but my tools don’t seem to be able to get me close enough to accomplish it.” Making a high accuracy shooting board is harder than it seems.”

On the topic of Sharpening, I’ve listened. I hear things like: “I know I should sharpen more often, but it’s a bother, and so messy.” I spend so much time having to maintain my water stones that I hate to use them”.”I just wait to sharpen until I can’t get my tools to work anymore, because working is way more fun.” “I have such a small shop, there’s just no room to sharpen and have it be easy.”

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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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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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