Feb 12 2011

New Products for 2011, 12, 13 and so on…

And not just 2014, but 2015, 16 and so forth!You get the idea, New products are always in the works and you can find them from here!

Over the past several years of building shooting boards, our product line has grown through thoughts, ideas and suggestions. We have expanded to over a dozen shooting board models and have developed many accessories for them. We continue to work on ways to expand our shooting board’s capabilities. This helps bring more woodworking capability, and better outcomes to bear for the woodworkers who use them.

During this same time, we have developed other tools and jigs for helping take woodworkers further in other aspects of the craft. Why? well because; The lyfe so short, the craft so long to lerne, Th’ assay so hard, so sharpe the conquering. Geoffrey Chaucer from: The Assembly of Fowles. We listen to what woodworkers talk about when they discuss what they feel is difficult for them, or could be more efficient, and what they wished were easier. Then we try to conquer those issues, and make a tool or jig that will address it, and make working wood easier for woodworkers. What this means sometimes is that our tools are not completely traditional, but they do aim high to give you better outcomes in your woodworking endeavors.

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Many woodworkers say they want to spend less time making jigs. Some say that they don’t have enough spare time, others don’t have the tools. We listened. Free time these days for most people is limited and precious, so when there is time for woodworking, most people want to maximize their outcomes making great cabinetry and furnishings. Continue Reading »

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Dec 23 2010

A Shooting Board for Picture Frames and Moldings.

For some time now, we have wanted to add a shooting board for picture framing and moldings. It’s new for 2011, and it is available now.

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Working with picture frames and moldings in general presents a special set of circumstances when mitering. Often, the bottom and back of the molding are the only surfaces that can be registered flat and square, and so they have to be the ones used when registering them against fences for cutting and shooting.

So it goes that if you can only orient a molding one way, which is on it’s back, a single chute shooting board will only be able to shoot half of the miter. The right hand board will only shoot the left side of the miter, and the left chute will only shoot the right side. A problem if you only have one chute. There are workarounds, but ehhh… They are often rife with as many problems as they hope to solve.

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Enter our newest shooting board, the ‘Picture Frame Shooter’. A shooting board with twin chutes, independent, calibratable left and right hand 45-degree miter fences, with tall, removable fence faces to prevent breakout to the top of most plane blades. Continue Reading »

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Nov 26 2010

Getting High End Craftsmanship From Hand Tools

In The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke, we looked at how Dick took a number of hand tools into the Alaskan wilderness, and used them to homestead and create all the things he needed to live and survive. It was rustic carpentry from available timber that was felled, seasoned and milled by hand on site. We all got to look over Dick’s shoulder as he showed us how these tools could be used to create most of what would be needed to make a comfortable home and live well in a remote area.

Dick wrote that what he had accomplished was good enough for “rural work” but in reality, he was a very talented user of hand operated tooling, and knew what he could accomplish with the woods he had access to and the kind of durability he needed from them. Rural work did not mean he quit refining the quality of his workmanship, it meant he built the way he did so as to provide utility, endure hard use and inclement seasonal conditions.

cwf1.jpgColonial Williamsburg Photo

Hand tools are also very highly regarded as the go to tools for fine work. Work on pieces where tolerances are exacting, or the sizes of the pieces are so small or thin where powered tooling would make it difficult to work safely or accurately. Continue Reading »

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Nov 21 2010

Cordless Tool Charger Safety: Put your Chargers on a Timer Circuit.

Published by under Shop Electrical

Rechargeable tools ultimately need recharging. Most chargers will recharge batteries in less than two hours. Ordinarily we don’t give this process much thought, trusting that the charger will do what it is designed to do, provided we are using only the proper charger for the battery that we are charging. It seems to have been designed to require little oversight from the end user. Simply plug the battery in, and after a while, it is recharged and ready for more work.

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What happens after the battery is charged depends on the brand, style of charger, type of battery, and other things that are too hard for most people to keep track of in a mix and match world. Some chargers shut off, some change modes from fast charge to maintenance mode. Usually the battery is recharged safely, but there have been issues and product recalls on these devices. Continue Reading »

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Nov 18 2010

Safety and Mindfulness, It’s a mind/body process.

Published by under Safety

Safety is something we should keep in mind always when we are in the shop. The same is true for hobbies and vocational tasks. While I realize there is an established woodworking safety week established in early May, the prime time for most woodworkers to be in their shops is right now, because the holidays are upon us and many are working hard to complete the hand made gifts they want to give to loved ones this year.

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Right now seems like an excellent time to remind us all about being safe in the shop. Continue Reading »

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Oct 22 2010

The Craftsmanship of Dick Proenneke

Several years back, PBS, Public Broadcasting, began showing a few videos that have been produced about the life of Richard L “Dick” Proenneke. (1916-2003) The titles of these videos are: “Alone in the Wilderness”, “Alaska, Silence and Solitude”, and “The Frozen North”. Most people who have seen any of these, have more than likely seen Alone in the Wilderness. This video is of footage shot mostly by Dick himself, with his 16 mm Bolex camera, and the narration is writings from his journals in the book, “One Man’s Wilderness”.

proenneke1.jpgRichard L. Proenneke Photo

For most of us, this was our introduction to Dick, and his life. It is one of the only films ever made that shows the process of making a cabin in the wilderness, using only hand tools. It is a real gift.

Dick was a man whose life took him to a lot of places and exposed him to a lot of things, and those things may have been instrumental in helping shape his abilities for life in the wilderness. Born and raised in Iowa, he joined the US Navy and was a Navy carpenter, a rancher, diesel mechanic and heavy equipment operator.

He originally went to Alaska to start a cattle ranch, and wound up commercial salmon fishing and working as a mechanic. He spent the final years of his working career in and around Kodiak Alaska at the naval base there, until a work accident nearly cost him his eyesight. His life in the ranching business probably helped him understand nature and wildlife on an intuitive level, and his life as a carpenter and mechanic probably prepared him with the self-sufficiency needed for the next phase of his life. He retired at age 51 to Twin Lakes, living as a naturalist, nature cinematographer, and scientific observer in the remote Alaska wilderness. Continue Reading »

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Apr 24 2010

Surface Prep and Finish, Thoughts and Observations

Published by under Finishing,Planing,Sanding

Recently a great question was asked about finish surface preparation for stains, oils, and coating type finishes with hand planes. It was regarding the finish a plane leaves, if sanding is necessary, and which grits are appropriate. It’s a great question. Let’s explore the options.

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In many woods, a planed surface will leave a surface quality similar to that of 600 grit finish smoothness, and without burnishing the wood surface. Sanding in this case may not bring much to the table.

Occasionally there are grains that are just too difficult to plane successfully, and so you must sand. Continue Reading »

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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.

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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–
Femininity.

~ ———————- ~

The Roubo stands strong
Awaiting the woodworkers–
Imagination.

~ ———————- ~

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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