Archive for the 'Skill Development' Category

Dec 29 2017

Woodworking Tool Talk

It’s always fun to talk tools, Right? So I thought it would be a good time to talk about a few of the tools we offer here at Evenfall Studios.

We are best known for our shooting boards, and for nine years now we have been making them for woodworkers all over the world. Every single shooting board is made by one guy in his shop, hands, eyes, careful measurements, and stubborn meticulousness.

We started with the shooting board that is now known as the Deluxe Shooter, and we have expanded on that to include shooting boards that shoot with a single or double chute, from the left hand or right, with a single or double chute.

We have built in the capability to accurately shoot from two to eight angles on our single chute shooting boards, and from three to five different angles on our double chute boards.

We have also included shooting boards that allow you to do everything from the usual lengths and widths in our standard size shooting boards, and have included the ability to easily shoot wide boards at most of the commonly used angles, and long grain as well as super wide boards, so that you can perfect your projects in veneering, lutherie and large casework.

The coolest thing about our shooting boards, we think, is that you can calibrate them to complete and total accuracy every day of the year, no matter where you are. A tool that can overcome wood movement, and provide you with the angles you exactly need. And with flexibility, you are not locked into any specific angle at all, there is even room to calibrate off angle if that’s what you need. In other words, our shooting boards will give you, accurately, any angle you need. All you have to do is calibrate.

Our accessories allow you to shoot both thick and thin boards. We have a fence that you can set with a clamp, which will allow you to shoot any angle between zero and roughly 90° with all of the accuracy possible. We even offer a planing stop for our shooting boards that will allow you to easily plane down to the 1/4 inch thickness, and by laying a piece of 1/8th masonite under your work, in front of the planing stop, you can easily play into the 1/8 inch thickness range.

We offer adapters for every board that we make that will allow you to use any of our shooting boards as a “chute” board, that allows you to enclose a hand plane in a track, for greater ease of use, and perhaps even higher accuracy. Most any shooting board plane, as well as the low angle bench planes can take advantage of this.

Without chute adapters installed, our shooting boards will accommodate any bench plane, any make or model from a number one through a number eight, most block planes, most any wooden plane that was built with parallel sides that are square to the sole. We even offer shooting boards for use with Kanna. So if your desire is to work with Japanese tools, you can have a shooting board for that.

Why do we make so many different kinds of shooting board? Because people work wood so many different ways. We’ve figured out that we could give you the options and all of the accuracy that you’ll need, and so we did. You would be surprised, woodworkers choose to buy every model that we offer, because of the way they work wood. The only way to figure out which one is the best, is to think about which options for you. Beyond that, all our shooting boards will give you all of the accuracy you will need, at every angle they will shoot.

It wasn’t lost on us, that you might need to have a fixture to help you saw. The common miter box isn’t quite as ergonomic as we would like, particularly when we are cutting all of these uncommon angles. We offer a fixture that will help you solve these angles, and do it without having to become a contortionist. If you’re hesitant that you cannot keep your saw square or straight to the work, we also build magnetic side guides that are fully adjustable to any angle that will help keep your aim true.

We realize that shooting end grain and such can help dull a blade. Rather than force you back to your sharpening gear every few minutes to retune the edge, we offer a number of different stropping systems that do have the ability to reach into the dullness and sharpen it back up, without having to do a major grind on your blades. This saves you a ton of time and keeps you woodworking when what you really want to do is build your project instead of sharpening your tools.

The key to keeping your tools sharp is to sharpen them frequently and sharpen them often. This does not mean that you go grab your coarsest stone and go to work rebuilding the edge every time. This means stropping with honing compounds while you are woodworking. We have tools in our shop that haven’t seen an abrasive in more than a couple of years. There has been no damage, we just keep them stropped and working.

Of course you can spend hundreds of dollars on the finest water stones if that’s what you prefer to have, but are sharpening stations can accommodate sandpaper sharpening, you know, the good old scary sharp system. Only the thing is, the advisement that’s out there on the Internet that claim you’ll spend a lot of money on sandpaper isn’t exactly correct when you spend more of your time stropping. The whole trick is to try not to let your tools get so dull that you need to use course abrasives to repair the damage.

Yet, you use a lot less sandpaper that way. But when it comes to needing any abrasives that you could possibly need, Sand paper actually does cover all of the bases and then some. Every knife in the world is made on a belt sander. Every abrasive you could ever want to have is available in sandpaper, and if you’re a diligent stropper, it will be rare that you need to touch up very often. Sharper tools just work better, and your own experience with sharp tools will tell you when it’s time to strop.

Another advantage of course, is not having to completely disassemble your irons from the chip breakers, because stropping is a dry system, and so no moisture is present. It simply means that you pop the blade Assembly out of the plane, strop it, put it back and take a test shaving and you’re back in business. It keeps you sharp in just a couple of minutes. With a chisel there’s nothing to disassemble, you simply take it out of the cut, strop it, wipe it off, and return it to work.

We also wanted to remind you that we have lots of other goodies here on the website. We have the woodwork’s library, filled with over 200 books about woodworking and other trade crafts that are related. We have a full reference section, and we have a great deal of woodworking information right here in all of our indexed blog articles that will help keep you going, if there’s any kind of how to that you need to figure out in woodworking.

We feel that we offer tools that can help take your woodworking from good to great. We hope that you perceive them as being of great value and versatility to your work. They are all about where the rubber meets the road, and making your woodworking projects with all the precision possible.

If you would like to browse at all of the different tools in our store, just scroll to the top of this page and click on the button called store. If you’d like to place an order, our online store is open 24 seven, and if you would rather discuss your order with us via the phone, we can arrange to help you make that call, and we have recently added the ability to allow you to place your order over the phone with us if that is what you would prefer. Yes! you can phone it in if you wanna! Just contact us via email and let us know you’d like to do that and we will set it up! We look forward to hearing from you! Oh, and just in case you were wondering, we are happy to ship internationally via the postal services.

We wanted to say thank you for your business. We are going into our 10th year here, and as a small business that focuses on building tools for woodworkers, we couldn’t have done it without you. We hope that those of you have who have not had the chance to become our clients will consider it. It is our goal to help woodworkers everywhere, building things better. We realize that Shooting boards aren’t the easiest thing in the world to make accurately, but we’ve got that down and we can make you a nice one that we feel is the most accurate and versatile shooting board available. We can also help keep your saws sawing straight, and your edge tools sharp.

If your layout is accurate, and you’re cutting on the waste side of the line, we can help get you the rest of the way to the line with all of the accuracy you need. A shooting board Will make you look good!

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© Copyright 2017 by Rob Hanson for evenfallstudios.com All Rights Reserved.

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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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