Some nice folks from Black & Decker stopped by the WOOD shop to show us some of their latest tools. One of these was the Gyro, a compact 4-volt lithium-ion screwdriver. It’s eyebrow-raising feature: motion control.
Here’s a project that’s been on my bench for a while. A bent-lamination hammock stand:
It basically consists of 5 bent laminations (one of which is cut in half for the feet) and some hardware. Here’s the quick rundown of how I did it. Read more
You’ll have a hard time fitting Nick into any preconceived notions of the Hollywood glitterati. Read more
Ah spring! When a young man’s fancy turns to auctions.
For some reason I woke up around 4:00 am (It does exist! Who knew?!) Saturday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Can’t run the planer at that hour. (At least that’s what the nice policeman told me last time.) So, nothing for it but to quietly surf the net so I don’t wake the fam. First stop: the classifieds section of my local newspaper to see what auctions are on for the day. I was not disappointed. An old tool enthusiast was liquidating his collection which included perhaps a hundred old Stanley hand planes. I had a lot of time and anticipation to kill until 10am—the start of the auction—so I spent it on a little plane lore research … Then some shop time. Then a trip to the home center. Some more shop time. A little more research. (Note to self: When you find yourself awake at 4am, go back to sleep). Then a nice little drive through the country. And finally, this:
Will the recent economic crunch be the nail in the coffin for shop classes, as U.S. schools sacrifice vocational programs in favor of a pure college-prep focus? New research suggests that industrial arts programs are necessary for our students. But are they too far gone to save? Maybe not … Read more
Just making some blocks for Parker.
These are standard unit blocks which means that they are half as thick as they are wide and half as wide as they are long. Then there are variations on those ratios. Read more
Even the newest woodworker soon learns that the earlier in the milling process he intercepts his lumber, the less expensive it is. Shrink-wrapped, pre-glued panels from the home center are convenient, but you pay a lot for the milling, packaging, and shipping, not to mention the retail space, forklift driver, front-door greeter … the list goes on. Even if you’re lucky to have a good lumberyard nearby, you’ll pay for any surfacing, straight-line ripping, or even skip-planing done to the board. But, it’s generally a far cry less expensive than home center prices because you’ve intercepted the wood closer to the source.
Repeat after me: “The closer to the tree, the cheaper it will be.” Read more
To summarize: among other things, the new law was going to require those who manufacture products for children to certify that their product met certain minimal lead and phthalate limits. It would later require manufacturers to provide documentation from third-party laboratories that their products met these limits. Read more
I’m quickly becoming a wood hoarder. “No! You’re far too young for such a malady!” you cry. But—alas!—it’s true. My lumber rack is filling up with projectless wood. I’ve rolled over into the mentality of buying wood based on its look with the hope that a project will come along one day.
Here’s my latest acquisition:
Welcome to What Not To Do, the first (and hopefully last) in a series of object lessons in workshop safety wherein a WOOD editor illustrates the improper procedure. Do not attempt to duplicate this at home. We are paid professionals.
Now, take a look at this editor’s hand and try to guess what is wrong with the picture:
No, it’s not A. That is what later became known as “the lawnmower incident.”
Nothing wrong with B, a symbol of wedded bliss.
C is evidence of recent painting and perhaps some dirt under the fingernail, but signifies nothing worse than poor personal hygiene.
Ah ha! You’ve spotted it. D is this week’s lesson in What Not To Do.
His mistakes should be obvious from the photo. Let’s discuss:
The first thing this editor did wrong was to forget to turn off the router’s switch after using it in his D-handle router base with an auxiliary trigger in the handle. Secondly—you guessed it—when he borrowed the cord from the router to test it’s placement in his newly assembled router table, he left it plugged in. Thirdly, he never checked the switch or the plug when he returned to the shop a couple days later. And finally, when he moved the router to his table-insert-mounted fixed base, he plugged the cord into the router motor—switch still on—with his finger dangerously gripping the insert next to the bit.
His wife thinks it’s a shame that the bit wasn’t more stylized to leave him with a prettier profile on his finger (“Maybe a nice ogee,” she was heard to remark). But as it was, the straight bit stitched a nice line of cuts from the base of the fingernail about halfway to the second knuckle. The soft start was a finger-saver as the bit didn’t immediately spin into full motion before he had time to yank the cord again.
Fortunately, the urgent care center didn’t find an urgent need to add stitches to the ugly mess the next morning and sent him home with an updated tetanus shot and antibiotics. Two weeks later, the finger is healing well, but with a slightly lumpy scar.
Learn from his example, dear reader. Don’t get in a hurry like our excited young editor. Double check your tools before you begin to use them for the day. Ensure all switches are in the off position and all cords are unplugged before you begin to change blades or bits or to work on tools.
And we look forward to no further episodes of What Not To Do.