Archive for the 'Wood' Category

Aug 31 2015

Logging in the Redwoods – 1946

As woodworkers, we are always using our tools in ensemble to overcome challenges. What we need to make and the materials we seek to make things from are part and parcel of the challenge, but we must acquire the skill to wield our tools and we must learn the ways of wood.

For many woodworkers, it has been beneficial to go back in time and reacquire the skills and tradecraft knowledge that previous generations evolved, learning that both the tools and methods from the hands and eyes, which make for deeper craftsman skill still retain all the quality, productivity and capability they always had in today’s small shop.

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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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Aug 18 2014

Shooting Boards and Woodworking Safely.

Over the past several years I have received many inquiries regarding woodworking methods that are difficult to make safe. Believe me, being very fond of my fingers and their daily health is always in the forefront of my mind as a full time toolmaker.

Finger Hazard Warning

Some of the most common questions have been regarding working with short lengths of stock, and thin stock. Both of these sizes of wood not only commonly put our fingers in the near vicinity of rotating cutters on many different power tools and shop machines, but are also such that the power tool or shop machine can grab them and remove control from the operator.

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Feb 15 2009

Reducing Tear Out when Wood Planing… By Hand!

Published by under Hand Tools,Planing,Wood

I know it seems like an odd name to call the process, but it is based in science, and what happens to wood while being worked isn’t really any different when you are going slow with hand tools.

Planing woods is a process that has a number of considerations, which require their needs met all at once, in order for the process to be successful. It isn’t just one thing happening at a time. There are causes, effects and recognizing which you have. The answer isn’t simple until we understand all the usual suspects involved.

If you haven’t already, read chapter 9 of Understanding Wood By R. Bruce Hoadley. It is a real good primer about how wood reacts to planing and machining to brush up on. Overall, the book will improve your skills as a woodworker. It is available in many places, and both Taunton Press as well as Amazon.com are good sources.

Wood reacts to machining in observably repeatable ways. If we understand these ways and learn to recognize the conditions, our own success in working wood is repeatable as well.
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