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Transitional Plane Alternatives

When it comes to planes, I’m a firm believer in “the more the merrier” philosophy. So for the transitional plane project from the September 2015 issue of WOOD (Issue #234) I put the philosophy into practice by mixing up the wood species. Be sure to send a picture of your version to woodmail@woodmagazine.com.

First the original from the article in figured walnut and maple.


Next a version in white oak and maple:


And one in bubinga and quilted maple:


And finally, cherry and bocote:


Thanks for looking! John


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Bosch develops tablesaw with blade-brake safety

For over a decade SawStop has gained dominance in the tablesaw market with its unique flesh-sensing, blade-stopping safety mechanism. And until now, no other manufacturer has had any similar technology on the market to compete with that. Today Bosch announced it will launch this fall Reaxx, a 10″ job-site tablesaw with a flesh-sensing blade-drop safety mechanism. It will sell for $1,499 (MSRP). I got a sneak peek at this saw in action during a media event hosted by Bosch in February, but could not officially comment on it until now. It’s quite impressive. To see the saw in action, watch this video provided by Bosch (note: turn down the volume).

The key to Bosch’s safe saw is a device that uses similar technology that Bosch’s auto-parts division uses to deploy air bags in automobiles. (Nice to have sibling companies sharing technology.) With this saw, when the blade senses a finger (or any flesh), the device fires a cartridge that immediately and oh-so-speedily drops the blade completely below the table surface, leaving the user with only a slight scrape or skin nick. Unlike SawStop—which ruins both blade and brake cartridge—the Bosch flesh-detecting Active Response Technology kills the power and lets the blade coast to a stop safely within the cabinet, preserving it for future use. After activation, the system can be reset in less than 60 seconds. The brake cartridge has two “activation” cells, so all you do is flip it over and use the other after an activation. Replacement cartridges will cost about $100. More good news: This safety device works for dado sets as well as 10″ blades—no need for separate cartridges. All necessary parts, instructions and wrenches are located onboard the saw, including storage for extra activation cartridges.

An electronic control module with four colored lights not only turns the saw on and off, but also gives you helpful input as to the saw’s state of readiness:

• Green means the saw is ready for use.

• Yellow means the system is set in bypass mode by the operator; this mode is used for cutting conductive materials that could potentially activate the Active Response Technology system. In addition, there’s no override key to lose or misplace, yet it still offers various lock-out options to prevent unauthorized bypass mode operation.

• Red means the saw is not ready and will not function until the user corrects an issue.

• Blue means the saw requires service from a Bosch-authorized technician.

A smartphone app allows you to program and lock out some of these features, helpful if you want to limit who can bypass the safety mode or operate the saw when you don’t want.

The 15-amp motor spins the blade at 3,650 rpm.

—Bob Hunter, Tools Editor, WOOD Magazine







The Woodworking Show traveled to Novi, Michigan this last weekend, February 13-15, and opened to a nice sized crowd on Friday. Some pretty rotten weather (snow and wind chills near 30 below zero is my definition of rotten) only slightly dampened attendance but not enthusiasm on Saturday and Sunday. Add  the fact that there was an ongoing gun and knife show in the next hall, we proved to have some of the most dedicated woodworkers of the season by far.

Our attendees certainly came for all the education and our vendors but they brought along something for us to see in return. We had the largest and most diverse Project Showcase to date with 22 entries including some from our younger talent in the Youth Division. It has always been very encouraging for me to see people becoming comfortable enough with their abilities to be willing to share their work and allow it to be judged by other attendees and our educators. I have talked about, to the point of preaching I’m sure, that your work is better than you give yourselves credit for so it was really nice to see that maybe some of our woodworkers are beginning to believe it.

As you’ve probably seen in this blog, I post the pictures of the winning entries each week during the show series and I’ll continue to do that. But there are always those entries that just miss the cut that go unheralded. Here are a few from this last weekend.

An excellent example of a turned box with a pyrographic embellishment.

A fully functional spinning wheel.

A good reason not to look for a lost ball in a water hazard.

An interesting keepsake box.

Dinner time!


For the projects that did have that certain extra, we did have some awards. In the Youth Division, in which the judging was very close, the award for Best Finish went to Sawyer Hill for “Thor’s Hammer”. Sawyer took home a bag of Bessey tools donated by the Chidwick School.

Best Workmanship went to Joe Kollaritsch for his “Turned Goblet” (I lost the image, so sorry) and he received a gift card from Lee Valley Tools.

The Most Creative and overall People’s and Educator’s Choice awards went to Danielle Roberts for her “Wall-E” carving. She won the Bessey Tool bag and a Lee Valley Gift card for her efforts.

In the Adult Division, Best Finish and Educator’s Choice went to a beautiful “Crimson Whorl Vessel” by Alfred Schembri and he received his choice of a Bosch tool.

Best Workmanship and overall People’s Choice award winner was Richard Tocco’s “Miniature Furniture”. This amazing collection of miniatures took Richard the better part of 10 years to complete. Unfortunately, pictures just couldn’t do justice to his efforts. I’m sure that the Bosch tool he selected as his prize will be well used and appreciated.

The Most Creative award went to Thomas Balogh for his “Taliesen Lamp” and he also took home a Bosch tool.

On Sunday, we left the frigid temperatures of Detroit and will head to the east coast where the snow has really taken hold. We will again set up shop in Somerset, New Jersey at the Garden State Exhibit Center. Our years of using that venue have made it quite familiar to area woodworkers and I’m anticipating a really great shew, as Ed Sullivan would surely have said had he been a woodworker. You can bet that we will come with our game on and hope that our attendees will do as they did in Detroit and fill that Project Showcase with their best efforts. Find some time in your weekend to visit us. You won’t be disappointed. And, let’s see what you’ve got.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador



When the Woodworking Shows made their swing through California these last two weeks, October 31-November 9, I took the opportunity to stay out on the road and drive from Costa Mesa to Sacramento. I made the trip with an old friend, Rollie Johnson, and Bradley McCalister who teaches wood turning each weekend. Read more



Well, the end of Summer is near. We even had snow flurries last week. It won’t be long but I’ll be back on the road for the Woodworking Shows. We start the season in Houston on October 24th at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center in Conroe, TX.  The show hiatus went by so quickly!

I was able to get out to Des Moines this last July and do a bit of work in the WOOD shop. In a collaboration with WOOD Magazine and Craftsy (a producer of online educational classes) we filmed a class on making cabinets and drawers. This turned out to be an extension of the presentations I did last season on the woodworking circuit. These indepth lessons became Drawer Construction for Cabinetry and Fine Furniture. This class launched today! you can check out my class and take 50% off with this link. http://www.craftsy.com/ext/JimHeavey_4800_H



I’m really proud to have been part of this project. The taping spanned almost 5 full days and we were able to cover much more material in far greater depth than we could have ever accomplished in a woodworking show setting. Its also nice for me to watch these videos and see how young I was. After all, it’s been almost 3 months  and I was taller, thinner and had darker hair ….

Stay well everyone. Hope you’ll see me on film. Hope I’ll catch you at a Woodworking Show.

‘Til then,

I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

It Has Been A Busy Summer



Hope that the summer is going well with everyone. It seems like the Woodworking Show season just ended and yet we’re less than 2 months before we’ll be back on the road again. I have been able to catch up on a few of the projects in the shop. Read more

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Finding Urban Lumber

Once upon a time, the path from tree to lumber mill to craftsman and, ultimately, the end user was rarely more than 50 miles. Nowadays, that path often covers a distance spanning half the globe. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You may have a ready source of materials right in your immediate area. Read more

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Kansas City in March can always be a bit of a gamble when it comes to the weather and we experienced that phenomenon this last weekend, February 28-March 2, when the Woodworking Shows opened its doors at the Kemper Arena at noon on Friday according to schedule but closed them two hours shy of normal on Sunday. Conditions went from the sunny 40′s for my arrival on Thursday to near single digits and blowing snow for late Saturday and all day Sunday. I’m not one to complain (I do enjoy each season) but I think it’s about  time to strangle that groundhog in Pennsylvania. Metaphorically, of course!

As is my custom each weekend, I did take my normal side trip to see something of interest on Thursday. Having seen the Jazz Museum, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and an underground Minuteman silo on previous visits, I found the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to be the perfect stop. Why this museum isn’t just jammed with visitors, I’ll never understand. There were very few people there when I went  despite the fact that admittance is free (they really appreciate donations though) and the art and the buildings themselves are so impressive. The grounds and outdoor sculpture art were an enticement even as I drove up. The neighborhood has some very interesting buildings as well. Coupling this with some great displays of period art and furniture including a very inviting courtyard for lunch, made this museum a real winner for me.


We had some very nice crowds of woodworkers who packed the entryway and the aisles on Friday and Saturday. With the threat of additional snow and really poor driving conditions predicted for Sunday, that day’s crowds were somewhat sparse. For those who did attend, they found an even larger show than last year with more tool vendors and educational opportunities. This was the second year at the Kemper Arena and even though there is a small parking fee, most attendees were excited to see the show’s expansion. As has been the case this last year in general, we are seeing somewhat younger attendees and quite a few children.

I stopped by many of the booths to chat with the vendors and clubs. I was particularly drawn by the interest and busyness of the Kansas City Woodturners Club. It seemed like there was something happening everywhere and constantly. Some great projects on display too.

Representatives from the DNR spent the weekend educating people about the various invasive bug species and their potential harm to the trees in the area.

I saw a very interesting Bishop Clamp system on display at the Bushton Mfg booth.

We had each of our Project Showcase categories covered this weekend with some very unique and well constructed entries.

The Youth Division had entries from two brothers take the honors with second place going to Jeremiah Stalder’s Rubber Band Gun and his brother, Daniel, taking first with a spinning top.

For the adults in the Furniture Category, a third place ribbon went to Caleb Schraeder’s Arch Entry Table. Ronald Lomax took second for the Sculpted Stool and Hal Jones’s Cradle took top honors.

In Turnings, Jim Ramsey was the overall winner with his Table Lamp with Turned Pendulum.

Models/Toys winner was the Fire Engine by Jerry Ray.

In the Open Category, Brian Dillon took first place for his Kayak. Brian was the winner of both the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice as well. A clean sweep for that beautiful watercraft.

All of our entrants won a goody bag from the Woodworking Shows and category winners took home tools from Bosch Tools, Worksharp and Lee Valley gift cards. Brian’s Kayak will complete with the other Educator’s Choice winners for the grand prize at the conclusion of the Woodworking Show season in March.

The snowy conditions forced the show to close early on Sunday but that gave our intrepid road crews a little extra time to truck everything to our next venue in Norcross, Georgia at the North Atlantic Trade Center. We will be there from March 7-9 and, as of this writing, without any snow in the forecast. Maybe ‘ol Punxsutawney Phil knows he’s on thin ice! If you get a chance to see the show, I hope you’ll stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth for our seminars on Cabinet Making. I’ll make it worth your while.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador


Traveling for WOOD Magazine to the Woodworking shows can be quite an adventure at times. The rain that was ever present in Portland two weeks ago turned out to be the precursor of the snow storm that greeted my arrival in the mile high city last weekend, November 21-24.

Temperatures that never got out of the low teens on Thursday made for a rough transition for someone who wasn’t quite ready for this early blast of winter. It may not be Thanksgiving yet but I can almost hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling-ing.

The show at the Denver Merchandise Mart opened to really big crowds of woodworkers and they eagerly took their places in the various educational seminar areas. In addition to the classes run by our weekly team of instructors, Mark Adams returned for the first time in a few years to teach cabinet making and routers as paid seminars in a separate part of the show floor. In years past, these paid seminars were a mainstay of the show circuit and featured more intensive 3 hour classes in contrast to the free 45 minute classes we currently offer. Those who attended Mark’s class felt the  additional cost was well worth it. Mark will be present at more shows beginning this winter. Check the Woodworking Shows website for dates and class content.

Woodworking clubs and Red Rocks Community College were on hand to display the work of their members and instructors. Pete Jones, instructor at Red Rock, proudly displayed this beautiful bench. A guitar on display looked ready to play. The hollow vessel from the Front Range Woodturners was very well done.

One of the vendors, Legacy CNC, had a very cool machined stool and lidded container as examples of just a couple of the possibilities their tools and software are capable of making.

The only way to get an unobstructed view of the True Track system was before the show opened. The booth seemed busy every time I went by there.

I was a bit disappointed and yet, at the same time,  very excited by the entries at the Project Showcase this last weekend. For all the big crowds of attendees, I expected more than just the few projects that were submitted for judging but the quality of those projects were easily some of the best of the season to date. Only two of our categories were represented. In the Open Category, first place went to Scott Roth’s Marquetry Piece. He took home a Boch Tool and a show goody bag for his efforts.

In the Furniture Category, third place ribbons went to Bob Amador for his Heirloom Rocker. Second place was a very unique Lingerie Chest by Rich Gady. First place and a Bosch tool went to Art Brazee for his interpretation of a Krenov Cabinet. In our closest contest yet, the award for People’s Choice went to Art Brazee and he also received a Drill Doctor by Work Sharp. The Educator’s Choice was the Lingerie Chest by Rich Gady. Rich will go on to the Grand Prize judging at the end of the season and he also will take home a Knife and Tool Sharpening System from Work Sharp as well as subscriptions to WOOD Magazine and Fine Woodworking.

The Woodworking Shows will go on a brief hiatus for the holidays and will ring in the new year in Baltimore at the Maryland State Fairgrounds on January 3-5, 2014. I can’t believe it’ll be 2014! This is always a very large show so advance registering will be a really good idea. Besides, you’ll save a couple of bucks and get a jump start on the lines by doing it.

While the shows may be taking a break, I will be in the Tampa area on December 7 speaking at the St. Petersburg Woodworking Guild. Not only are these a great bunch of like minded woodworkers but Florida in December is nothing to sneeze at either.

Here’s hoping that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a great holiday season. Enjoy the time with friends and family and make a trip to your shop. It’s never too late to make something special for someone special. Let’s hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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Just as an old story line says if it’s Tuesday it must be Sweden, for me if it’s Thursday I must be flying to somewhere. The Woodworking Shows will have at least 16 of those Thursdays this season and, I must admit, they all seem like a blur at times. This last weekend however, November 14-17, was in one of those cities in perfect focus. Portland Oregon has to be a favorite for me because of its mountains, forests, waterways and eclectic downtown.

Even the nearly continual chance of rain, something that gives this area its vibrancy and beauty, is almost invigorating for me. A long Thursday of exploring eventually gives way to Friday, the opening of our show and the fun of seeing excited woodworkers ready to spend the rest of their weekend with us. Not a bad reason to be on the road. Having a nice coffee break with an old friend at the show doesn’t hurt either.

The doors were jammed on that Friday and the crowd filled the show floor until just before closing time. That would be our best day as there were less attendees on the following two days though still a good weekend over all for the educators and vendors. Jet Tools and Hammer as well as Lee Valley saw a lot of interest in stationary and hand tools. Bosch had both corporate and retail booths and dozens of others had jigs, templates, fences and clamps on display as well. Plenty to see and purchase from the retailers.

The local woodworking and carving clubs were here too and garnered a lot of interest. The Columbia River Chapter of the American Marquetry Society had a great interpretation of Multnomah Falls (a favorite Thursday stopover) and other pieces from their members.

 The Guild of Oregon Woodworkers displayed a pretty cool old classic with a rumble seat to boot and a very unique horizontal pin router.


I’m sure I saw that Rainbow trout earlier in the week and in its past life before it graced the Western Woodcarvers Association booth.

We had a very nice assortment of entries at the Project Showcase this last weekend and a chance to recognize our largest number of entries to date. The winners took home gift cards from Lee Valley, Subscriptions to WOOD Magazine as well as Fine Woodworking, Work Sharp tools and Drill Doctor, and of course, a variety of Bosch Tools, our Showcase sponsor. Chris Dayton took first place with his chair in the youth division, followed closely by Fernando Hernandez’s Sofa Table. Chris also won both the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice awards.

In the Adult Division, Mike Rohrbach took first with his Cat Scraper beating out the School Bus from Robert Oswald in Models/Toys.

In the Open Category, Dennis Kincaid (Backgammon Board), Theo Hardy (Baritone Guitar) and Wade Sims (Wine Clock) took 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

In Furniture, not only did Richard Babbitt take first place with his Round Foyer Table, edging out Willie Sandry and son Cherry Trundle Bed, but also swept the People’s Choice as well as the Editor’s Choice awards. He also will be entered into the grand prize contest at the end of this season.

 A good weekend for everyone, especially Richard!

Next weekend, November 22-24, we’ll be in Denver at the Denver Merchandise Mart.  As in the past, this promises to be a very well attended, busy woodworking show. If you get a chance, stop in. I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you and a whole lot more. Get your tickets on line to save a couple of bucks and time at the gates when you get there.  I’m in the WOOD magazine booth and we’re talking about Cabinet Construction. You’ll want to pull up a chair. I’ve got a lot to show you.

I left Portland yesterday in a light mist (what else is new) after a Sunday night dinner downtown. The perfect end to a perfect weekend. I left with a heavy heart and heavy suitcase. Most everything in there was wet. Ah, Portland! Gotta love it!

’til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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