Apr 04 2010

The Care and Feeding of Granite Surface Plates in the Shop

Published by under Metrology,Sharpening

Granite Surface Plates are the world standard for flatness in any shop. There are a number of places you can get them and the pricing on these tools varies widely. It is important to note that for most of us, they needn’t cost more than necessary.


There are a lot of great things to know about them, but there is one thing that is really important to touch on first off.

The grading of Granite Surface Plates is of importance to the woodworker. Please have a look Continue Reading »

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Mar 24 2010

Woodworking Haiku

Published by under Thoughts & Musings


Staring at woodgrain
chatoyance dances with light–
the beauty revealed.

~ ———————- ~

What hath brute strength wrought
where finesse has shown cunning?
wisdom, woodworker.

~ ———————- ~

Ponder gnarled grain
twisting, turning, catching light
the path is simple.

~ ———————- ~

The least resistance
sharpness is known to coerce
wood can only sigh.

~ ———————- ~

Sunlight on woodgrain,
Second line jazz New Orleans
such vivid splendor!

~ ———————- ~

Cabriole Bossa Nova
They dance so free standing still–

~ ———————- ~

The Roubo stands strong
Awaiting the woodworkers–

~ ———————- ~

Finesse in silence
unneeded wood whisks away–
Sculpture revealed.

~ ———————- ~

Ying and Yang of wood
Who is the master of which?
Contest never over.

~ ———————- ~

The sharp rasp quickens
woodgrain tamed beneath its grasp–
shaped beauty springs forth.

~ ———————- ~

Inspire yourself
listen, the wood beckons you–
now make some shavings.

~ ———————- ~

Drill Pressed counterbores
Wood chips disappear to vac
Get back to work now. 😀

~ ———————- ~

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) supertool.com 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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Nov 23 2009

The Case for Long Grain Shooting Boards

Shooting boards are very handy for fine trims that clean the rough sawn edges left by saws, power tools and shop machines, so the wood is looking it’s very best, and even made as accurate fitting as can be. But even as we do this most commonly on end grain, end grain is not the only place on a board that can benefit from the use of a shooting board.


There are a number of things a woodworker can classify as delicate work. It can of course mean short in length or width, thin stock, veneer, inlays, book matched pieces, and even working with tone woods. Luthiers commonly join book matched boards for stringed instruments, and these boards are very fragile.

There are also the occasions where using a power tool or a shop machine may not be the safest way, or the most accurate way to accomplish a task and so we are left trying to come up with an alternative method for accomplishing the fine work we need done. Continue Reading »

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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