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Kansas City in T Minus 10-9-8

When the Woodworking Shows go to Kansas City each year, I know that I can expect a great weekend. This last weekend was no exception. I guess that I didn’t realize how interesting and fulfilling my time in KC would be. Read more

A Weekend in Portland 2011

This last weekend the Woodworking Shows traveled to Portland, Oregon. This is still one of my favorite destinations on the tour as it blends some of the most beautiful scenery in the country with a talented eclectic group of wodworkers. Read more

Tracing Swiss-made tools and Bosch’s place in the global market

My whirlwind tour of Bosch’s corporate offices and manufacturing facilities in Europe continued from Germany into Switzerland.

Like most large companies in the world, the Robert Bosch Company has grown not only through innovation and development of its own product lines, but also through acquisitions of existing companies. For example, in recent years Bosch has acquired Sia Abrasives, a Swiss-based company making sandpaper and other abrasives for many industries, and also Freud, the Italian business that makes cutting tools (saw blades, router bits, shaper cutters, etc.) and produces its own carbide.

My next stop was the former Scintilla company headquarters in Solothurn, Switzerland. Read more

Discovering about the man behind the Bosch tool company

On my second day in Germany to learn about the Robert Bosch Company, I discovered a great deal more about the man who founded the company, as well as a little bit about his tools from the early days and in today’s market.

At the Bosch Archives (which is more like a Bosch museum, but they had already named it before I arrived) I enjoyed a guided tour through the facility from the curator. He told me about how Robert Bosch, born in 1861 in the area near Stuttgart, Germany, grew up with a desire to be a precision mechanic. He studied under a number of established practitioners in Germany and the U.S. (including Thomas Edison), and later found his calling making parts for internal combustion engines. His magneto, the part that generates the spark needed to burn the fuel in the engine cylinders, was his signature product, and his business grew well from that. That magneto is visible today as a cross section in the Bosch company logo. (Run out and grab a Bosch tool and study it, or just look at the photo here of one of the original magnetos, and you’ll see the logo in the cross-section of the armature.)

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Finding out just what all Bosch sells (hint: it’s not all tools)

I’ve always appreciated Bosch power tools for their quality, performance, and durability, but I’d never really studied the history of the Robert Bosch Company. So to get a better idea of what makes this company so successful—and not just in the U.S., but also throughout the world—I’ve traveled to Europe to find out. I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday, and then drove to Stuttgart, home of the company since the beginning 125 years ago.

On Monday, I visited the corporate headquarters of Bosch. Read more

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Just for our WOOD Fans

There are 17 shows left in this season’s Woodworking Show line up. The WOOD Magazine booth is one of many free educational seminars guaranteed to pique your interest and improve your skills as a craftsman. Want another incentive?

The Woodworking Shows has given our readers a gift. Just follow the link http://thewoodworkingshows.com/styled-6/index.html and receive a $2.00 discount off the admission price.

We will be in Sacramento California this weekend, November 4-6 and in Portland Oregon on November 11-14. You can check out my blogs to see what’s been happening on the previous shows and visit thewoodworkingshows.com to get an idea of what is to come.

We’re having a good time and I hope that you can join us. We’ll make it worth your while. And $2 bucks off is a good start.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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New project: A box full of blocks

My sister and her husband in Indiana recently adopted a one-year-old girl from South Korea. Since this is their first child, she asked me to make a set of building blocks for her. So I did just that, making over 100 total blocks in 12 different shapes. I made them from cutoffs from 2×10 and 2×12 Douglas fir construction lumber. After they were all cut out and sanded smooth with edges rounded over, my wife and daughters and I painted each shape a different color. Then I stacked all the blocks into a haystack-like shape, measured the stack’s dimensions, and built a box to store all the blocks. I made it about an inch larger in all three dimensions so my niece wouldn’t have to be precise in stacking the blocks back into the box. The box is also made of Douglas fir, with 3/8-inch box joints at the corners and Rockler Lid-Stay Torsion Hinges on the lid to keep it from slamming on her fingers. This was not a particularly difficult project, but it sure was fun to do knowing she’d have lots of fun playing with the blocks for years to come. And, when they came to visit us in Iowa a month ago, in true kid fashion, she liked playing in the box almost as much as playing with the blocks.

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AWFS Fair delivers innovative tools and products

Despite what we all know are tough economic times, many tool and woodworking-product manufacturers continue to bring new and innovative tools to the market. I got to see many of these first-hand the past few days at the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas, the biggest U.S. tradeshow of the year for woodworking. Over 500 manufacturers showed up to display and demonstrate their new products (and some launched in recent years), hoping to generate business with retail distributors and end users.

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Dremel adds new tools, new features to older tools

Sticking with what must be a company directive, Dremel is launching four new tools this year that are compact, versatile, and hold broad appeal to users of varying skills and interests. Representatives from Dremel stopped by the WOOD Magazine offices today to show us these new tools, as well as lots of new accessories to go with them.

First up is an all-new tool, a hybrid of an angle grinder, oscillating multifunction tool, and circular saw. The Saw-Max, due out in October, is a compact cutting tool that uses 3”-diameter blades embedded with abrasives (carbide, diamond, aluminum oxide) for cutting edges rather than teeth. Powered by a 6-amp motor, the Saw-Max generates 17,000 rpms. The tool has a spring-loaded shoe that’s adjustable up to a ¾”-deep maximum cut, or can be set at zero and the tool used as a plunge-cut saw for cuts where you don’t want an entry or exit. Four blades come with the standard kit for cutting wood, tile, and metal; one blade has an offset flange to allow for flush-cutting at the edge of the blade housing. (There’s no blade guard on the left side of the tool.) The kit with four blades will sell for $129. Attachments also available will be a dust-collection port, a straight-cutting guide to fit a 2×4, and a miter- and bevel-cutting guide.

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Bosch launches innovative new tools

Never a company to sit back and rest after launching a line of tools, Bosch instead keeps on finding ways to make their tools better. I spent two days this week at Bosch’s U.S. headquarters in Chicago getting a first-hand look at new cordless drills, random-orbit sanders, a benchtop tablesaw, measuring tools, and lots of other tools related to construction and concrete work.

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