Aug 18 2009

Musings from the left side of the Table Saw.

Bet you were thinking I was going to associate woodworking with left hemisphere brain functions. Well, depending on how you think of it, woodworking is probably a craft that uses both sides of the brain, so possibly, maybe.

But actually, I was going to touch on some thoughts and problem solving on the left side of the blade. Table saw that is. It really is the unaddressed side of the machine.

I am a hand tool user, and advocate. Heck, I even make hand tools, but I am also a blended woodworker. For those unfamiliar with the term, a “Blended Woodworker” is a woodworker who espouses both the finesse of hand tools, and the production of power tools and shop machines.

I make no bones about it, as each of us should follow the woodworking path that makes us feel content. Whether you are a power tool woodworker, a blended, woodworker, a hand tool woodworker, and even perhaps a collector, it’s all woodworking and that is a good thing! Whichever way you are doing it, your doing it right for you. That is all that matters.

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Many with table saws are faced with various challenges. Cut quality and safe practices are always ones that weigh heavily on the mind, maybe even the left-brain. Those who have the space and desire, enjoy a large cabinet saw with a 60 inch fence set up, maybe an outfeed table that will accommodate full sheets of plywood. The rest of us may not need a saw that takes that much space, and so we opt for saws with a 30 inch fence system, or maybe even less. Continue Reading »

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May 12 2009

Shooting Boards and they’re Red Hot!

Shooting Boards and they’re red hot, yes we’ve got em’ for sale!
Thanks belongs to the early bluesman, Robert Johnson, for inspiration on the blog title here.

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Here’s a photo of a pair to draw to. The shooting boards, shown here in left and right-handed models. You could almost call them V-Twins, but darn it, somebody already thought of that…

Back in late March 2009, I revealed I was going into the woodworking tool business, offering high accuracy shooting boards with calibratable fences, which can be fixtured from 2-7 positions depending on the model. Woodworkers found this very interesting! I want to take a moment to say thank you to all who have purchased one. It has been a warm and well-received response from the woodworking community.

We continue making shooting boards and now offer about twelve different models as well as many other tools in our product line. Additionally, we have created a number of accessories for our shooting boards, making them the most accurate, well-rounded and capable shooting boards available anywhere.

Click Here for detailed Features and Specifications.

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Left-handed shooting boards are available in every shooting board model we offer and have been since day one. All our accessories work with left hand models, and when Lie-Neilsen makes the LN-51 available as a left hand shooting board plane, we are ready to offer that option as well! Continue Reading »

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Mar 29 2009

Introducing a Shooting Board from Evenfall Studios.

One of the coolest things about hand planes is the finish they leave behind. We have all seen the finish quality they are capable of free hand, but when you put hand planes on jigs, a door is opened and passed through where clean, straight, and angular accuracy becomes something that is hard to obtain in any other simple way.

Yes, I am talking about shooting boards.

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Whether you are hybrid with machines and hand tools or hand tools only, shooting boards are one of the gateways to fine woodworking. Sure there are many gateways, but the shooting board in its different configurations provides the cleanest edge and end grain cuts to the finest accuracies, the most spectacular fit and finish, and it puts this capability in the hands of any woodworker.

I have always enjoyed making and using woodworking jigs, and have made a number of shooting boards over the years. I have thought about many different designs for a long time. Most often, the average basic shooting board is a single function tool that becomes inaccurate with wood movement.

I’d have one that did this, but not that, and wish I had one that did something else, but that soon became a stack of inaccurate single function shooting boards, and most of us don’t have the space for that. It’s true; there are some very specific types that are meant to cover specific uses. Others are great for general work, but the worry over wood movement and long-term accuracy causes some folks to question how much energy to put into the making of their own.

I decided to design a line of shooting boards that truly are precision tools, using a main design that encompasses the many qualities that I felt most woodworkers would most desire and need in a shooting board. Reinforcing as many strengths as I could and using only the best materials while diminishing the weaknesses where possible. Offering them affordably to woodworkers who are interested in shooting boards that can each cover a lot of fine woodworking situations with very high accuracy, yet may not want to build one of their own.

While we do offer quite a few different models, they are all very capable and accurate. They run from mindful of tool budgets to full on capable while addressing the woodworking needs and various planes available to the woodworker. To purchase one of our Shooting Boards, just click the “Store” button in the top menu above. Continue Reading »

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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.
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.

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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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Aug 19 2008

The Foibles of Tape Measures. The Best, and getting the most from one.

For the average user of a retractable tape, there can be some usages of a tape measure that unwittingly reduce its accuracy. Basically, many people are not even aware of these details. I did say usages, but there are also problems inherent with the way a tape measure is made, that for fine work, render it a tool which is not always the best tool for the job. When we ask a tool to wear too many hats, it fails to do as well by us as we may think it should. It is good to know what some of the weaknesses are so we can learn to accept what are and are not good practices for the tape measure.

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It may seem funny to have thought about tape measures as much as I have. As a life long woodworker, and over 25 years of civil construction and surveying experience, I have literally worn out a bunch of measuring equipment from using these tools all day every day. After using tapes in dirty environments where I took well over 100 measurements a day, daily and weekly, I have learned what I value and what has risen to be the best for me. I am just sharing what I have learned with you.

When you are buying a tape measure, there are several available features that you can consider. For shop use, furniture making and cabinet making, you will rarely need a long tape, but the long tapes have features that enhance accuracy. They come with 1-inch wide tapes, which are easier to read for eye relief, harder to distort and are more rigid. Often the 1-inch tapes include more rivets on the hook, which lend themselves to resistance to wear and stretch. Unless you need a shorter tape for handy reasons, I recommend the bigger tape just for its added stability. Continue Reading »

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Jun 27 2008

Building the 5-Gallon Thien Separator for your Shop Vacuum.

Adapting the Thien Separator Baffle to a 5-gallon bucket isn’t hard, and overall; it is going to reduce a lot of the suction clogging dust that gets to the filter of any shop vac. I feel it is a worthy addition to the shop vac portion of your dust collection system, so here is what you need to know.

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This may seem a little over detailed for some readers and I apologize, but there was some engineering involved regarding the measuring and layout, so I will detail my approach, and leave you to decide your own approach. You are welcome to blaze your own trail or follow mine. For my part, I am very happy I did it, and feel it can benefit anyone who is inclined to make one, so I am sharing how to with you.

I am glad you are interested in Shop Vacuum dust collection and cleaning. I am too! I have continued to pursue the improvement of dust collection and general cleaning with the Shop Vacuum. Please have a look at a recent article I’ve written about this by following this link right here.

First you will need to obtain a 5-gallon bucket, which is available from most any hardware store, and the Woodcraft Mini Dust Collection Separator Lid. (part# 143868), which is of course available from Woodcraft. Once you have those; please take not of the following critical measurements, and double check them for yourself.

The bucket will not be perfectly round, but on average, at the rim, it will be 11-1/16th in diameter, at the least if the bucket is held to nominal roundness. If you find the bucket is deformed beyond this roundness, I would reject it, and get a different one. This is easy to check with something like a telescopic pointer, or magnet, if you have one. Those handle inside measurements really well, and then simply compare them to a steel ruler or tape measure.

Continue Reading »

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May 17 2008

Improving Shop Vac Dust Collection

Like most of us in woodworking, the shop vac is generally a rather central figure, and pulls the short straw on helping keep dust and waste collected in the workspace. The shop vac’s primary design is based around vacuuming smallish sized particulates, usually dirt into a canister, with a motor drawing air through a filter while trying to evacuate that air from the canister. Overall, the design works pretty well for most of the uses asked of it. They will even vacuum up liquids.

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When I think about it, I have made it possible, directly or indirectly to be able to use a number of my power tools with my shop vac. Specifically, I have a 1/4 sheet palm sander adapted, 5 inch Random Orbital Sander, PC Saw Boss circular saw, DeWalt 621 plunge routers with a no longer available Leigh RVA1 router vacuum attachment, Hitachi chop saw with vac port in the hood, router table fence, 10 inch band saw, even the drill press, all with the ability to utilize the shop vac for dust and chip collection.

I am glad you are interested in Shop Vacuum dust collection and cleaning. I am too! I have continued to pursue the improvement of dust collection and general cleaning with the Shop Vacuum. Please have a look at a recent article I’ve written about this by following this link right here.

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Evenfall Studios - Tooling, Fixtures and Jigs for Hand and Power Tool Woodworking

We Searched and Found The Very Best

Evenfall Studios Shop Vacuum Accressories
Shop Vacuum Hoses, Tools and Accessories.

Workshop Tested Cleaning and Dust Collection Accessories.

We rigorously tested many vacuum wands, tools and hoses in our shop to find the most effective shop vacuum accessories available. Our requirement was for vacuum suction velocities to remain high while cleaning, and we found the best combination. We use these very tools in our shop daily, and now we offer them to you. Floor tools and hand held tools that are great at working with sawdust and other shop created messes such as metal grindings, dirt, and the like. We offer crush proof hoses from 30-66 feet, which offer great vacuum power over the entire length and interface perfectly with many power tool dust collection manifolds. Are you ready to step you Shop Vacuum’s capabilities up several notches? The photo above is a link to our Shop Vacuum Accessory Store. Click it to shop now!

Power Tool Dust Collection, Commercial Quality Wands & Attachments
For maintaining your shop, it’s tools, Dust Control and improved quality workmanship. These will help make any brand of Shop Vacuum far more useful and versatile in any shop!

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Then, there is the general clean up from all the woodworking activities that do not have the direct ability to collect dust. Drilling, jig saws, all the various hand tools and since I consider all the power tools to be efficient with shop vac DC in the 85-90% chip and dust collection range, there is all the waste that escapes that needs to be cleaned up there as well, So you see, without even discussing the high volume uses on the full sized dust collection system, The shop vac is really carrying a lot of the load here.

Woodworking materials present a different challenge to the shop vac. The woodworking tool industry has adapted many tools complete with proprietary adapters to operate with a shop vac hooked to them directly. Sanders, in my opinion, should not be operated without a vacuum attached to them or some form of DC in operation during the sanding process. The atmosphere in your shop will become very unhealthy if you don’t, to say nothing of the mess. Sanders are the generator of some of the finest particulate sizes you deal with in the shop, but the saws and routers create particles in many sizes at a relatively high volume. All dust collection is doable, but there are trade offs that occur and decrease some efficiency.

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.

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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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May 03 2008

The Challenges to Squareness

Yup. The Challenges to Squareness.

You didn’t actually think this was going to be easy did you? Well, it isn’t always, but I think the endeavor of overcoming some of these challenges can make things better, especially if you like taking good to great. Knowing what some of the issues can be, and how to overcome them when and if they arise, can help our results better match our desires.

We learned in The Constructs of Squareness article that geometrically speaking, a right angle is 90 degrees, and if it isn’t 90, then it isn’t a right angle. Everything can be represented perfectly on paper, in CAD drawings and in theory, but in building, milling, and manufacturing there are a number of factors, which can affect the quality of accuracy. Some we have to accept, some we can learn to work with, and knowing the difference is how we approach closer to fine, if fine is the goal.

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Things that affect the accuracy we use to build do vary. Goals, philosophy, materials and tooling all play a part.

Goals affecting accuracy are often production oriented, cost oriented, or what the intended use of a final product is. If the Goal is to build a doghouse, it needs done quickly, and the price of materials and labor needs kept low, then, the accuracy of squareness need only be relative. If the goal is to make a jewelry box, where scale is small and appearances will be highly scrutinized, then the accuracy of squareness becomes much more important, because the philosophy behind jewelry boxes is seeing how far craftsmanship can be taken. Close tolerance fit and finish is a very large part of how this type of work will be evaluated. Continue Reading »

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