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Big Time in Baltimore

Happy New Year! And a happy start to the 2016 Woodworking Show season too! On January 8th, Baltimore opened its doors to a huge crowd that began lining up an hour before the noon start. The entire weekend saw large crowds of energized woodworkers eager to sit in on the seminars and purchase any number of tools and accessories at a venue that was filled from wall to wall.

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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 4: Teach an Old Drill New Tricks

Idea Shop 6Jigs such as your straightline cutting guides and crosscutting jig help you work more accurately. With this check, you’ll add that kind of accuracy to your cordless drill, and outfit it to do a job you may not have thought about: Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 3: Get on Your High Horse

Idea Shop 6Working on the floor takes a toll on the knees and back. With this check, you build a pair of sawhorses to elevate your work. When the job is done, the sawhorses fold flat for storage.

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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 2: Guidance is Needed

Idea Shop 6The straightedge guides made earlier work well for cutting sheet goods to size, but are far too bulky to cut stick lumber to length. To accomplish that, build this simple crosscut guide that provides dead-on accuracy.


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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 1: Start Off on the Straight and Narrow

Idea Shop 6With your shop site assessed and basic tool kit gathered as described in the first post, the first payday has arrived and you have $150 ready to start building a shop. So without any woodworking-specific tools (yet), where do you start? Simple. Read more

Welcome to Idea Shop 6 – Built on a Budget

So the woodworking bug bit hard, and now you want a nice space to build more stuff. But setting up a fully outfitted shop can be expensive and confusing. Not any longer. As described in issue 238 (March 2016) of WOOD®, we will show you exactly how to set up a shop by working within a budget of $150 every two weeks over 26 pay periods. On that modest amount, you can take an empty space such as the one shown below, and transform it into a full-on woodworking shop, outfitted with quality tools, accessories, jigs, and fixtures. You’ll see immediate results, building things with your new tools right from the start.

Idea Shop 6 before:


 Idea Shop 6:



To coincide with each paycheck’s budgeted $150, we’ll provide in this blog, links to related articles, plans, and videos. To get an email reminder of that posting, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here: woodmagazine.com/newsletter.

The next four posts will outline what to do with your first four budgeted amounts. Because not all of the money gets spent each two weeks, bank the leftover cash for purchasing big-ticket items such as a tablesaw, planer, and jointer. We will recommend good-quality tools but, because this is a budget-based shop, they may not be class-leading. If you can afford more than the budget (or already own some of the items listed), put that extra money towards upgraded tools. Find tool evaluations to guide your choices on ReviewATool.com. At its core, Idea Shop 6 is less about the specific items in it, and more about how to create a workable shop, over time, without breaking the bank.

The first step to setting up a woodworking shop is evaluating your shop site for spaceelectrical needs and wiring, and comfort. As you address any needs in those areas, you can still get started with purchases for your shop. You should have on hand your basic tool kit, described below, or order any missing tools.

Ya Gotta Start Somewhere

You likely already own the tools shown below. If you don’t, acquiring them will cost only about $150, so just tack one more two-week period onto the year. You’ll need them mainly to assemble stationary tools, but the hearing and eye protection, tape measure, and extension cord will be needed from the get-go. Purchase any or all of these items in one fell swoop, and have them delivered to your door: woodmagazine.com/is6basickit.

The recommended basic tool kit includes: Wrench set (metric and imperial), pliers, hacksaw, hex-key set (metric and imperial), safety glasses, ratchet and socket set (metric and imperial), 12′ or 16′ tape measure, screwdrivers (Phillips and slotted), 12-gauge extension cord or power strip, hammer.

In the next post, with your first $150 in hand, you’ll start outfitting your shop.

Curious about Idea Shops 1–5?

Our previous Idea Shops are packed full of ideas including tool stands, innovative storage solutions, tool organizers and more. Here are the issues of WOOD in which each appeared. See highlights, including floorplans with tool placement, at woodmagazine.com/ideashops.

Idea Shop, 14×28′ shed, issue 54 (September 1992)


Idea Shop 2, 24×24′ two-car garage, issue 72 (September 1994)


Idea Shop 3, 12×16′ basement room, issue 100 (November 1997)


Idea Shop 2000, 12×20′ outbuilding, issue 119 (December 1999)


Idea Shop 5, 15×22′ garage stall, issue 151 (October 2003)



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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The 2014-2015 Woodworking Show season ended this last weekend, March 20-22. I have to admit, if you’re going to close a season that saw so much snow and cold and with all the flight delays and cancellations that went with it, Tampa was a great place to finish. I left the house on Thursday when the temperature was a “chilly” 30 degrees and deplaned about two hours later with temps around 75 and a bit of humidity in the air. That day and each of the three days that followed approached the mid to upper 80′s. Not a bad thing at all.

This really great weekend began with an unexpected pleasure. On my flight, just a few rows ahead of me was the March of Dimes ambassador for 2015, Elijah Jackson and his dad. Elijah was on his way to a series of personal appearances on behalf of MOD in the Tampa and Orlando areas. A series of texts between me and my daughter, a staff member of MOD in Raleigh, prompted me to meet and talk to this really pleasant young man. His story is very interesting and I felt privileged to have met him.

The last show of the season is always somewhat bittersweet for me. After 18 weeks of presentations and the stressors that accompany them it’s also tough to say goodbye to all those I have worked with since early November, especially those “behind the scenes” people who set up and tear down the show and transport our booth gear and props each weekend. These real road warriors are always ready at each weekly venue and are quick to fix anything that is less than perfect.

As with any job, there are changes occurring constantly and we are never sure if we’ll all be together as a group again next season. My philosophy has always been to enjoy each person and place because there are never any “givens” in our shows, or in life, for that matter. At our season finale get together on Saturday, Bryce Beermann, the show owner, reviewed a largely successful season and outlined his plans for next year. These dates and venues should be made public on the Woodworking Show website in the relatively near future. In summary, a very good year!

The last Project Showcase of the season had some very interesting projects submitted by local Tampa area woodworkers. The Educator’s Choice award went to the “Guitar” by Jim Ethington and he received a Bosch tool for his efforts.

The People’s Choice award for Best Finish was given to Phil Ranalli for his “Two-Sided Platter”.  Phil also received a Bosch tool.

The Most Creative, Best Workmanship and Overall Favorite prize was given to Robert Wise for his “Sleepy Jaguar”.  In addition to receiving a Bosch tool, Robert took home a Lee Valley gift card and a Bessey bag of clamps.

My personal thanks and also those of WOOD Magazine go to all those who spent some time in my booth this last year. I can only hope that you enjoyed my presentations as much as I enjoyed talking with you. Stay well this summer. There’s a lot you need to do in your own shop. There certainly is in mine! After all, the Fall season is just around the corner.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador



This last weekend in Milwaukee, March 13-15, was pretty typical of what we would expect of a Big 10 show. Great, energetic crowds packed the hall each day and took full advantage of the sales in the vendor’s booths as well as filling every seat and then some in all the educational areas. In a rare opportunity for me, I got a chance to walk around the show floor on Saturday and see what excites the attendees as they listened to the various presenters. Though I couldn’t spend much time in any particular area, I really enjoyed what was being said about finishing, mortise and tenon joinery, face plate turning, cabinet construction, SketchUp and glue selection. I got so engrossed (please pardon the pun) watching Barry Gross effortlessly turning a pen blank, I was almost late for my own first class at noon.

I’ve been fortunate to have had good attendance this season during my presentations but, this last weekend, none were as popular as my last class each day reviewing the miter saw. I’ve been discussing the setup and use of this saw as well as some cures for common problems when making simple mitered frames. I draw the most attention when the talk turns to cutting crown molding. Instead of the more usual method of “upside down and backwards”, I teach cutting this molding flat on the saw and using a set of templates to simplify the process for those of us who need a more “tactile” approach. After the presentations I suggest to my audience that, if they bring me a 3 foot piece of crown molding, I’ll make a sample set for them. This last weekend I made 12 of those sets (in addition to the three I normally make) for those who took me up on my offer. Someone was so excited about these that they took my personal set. I only hope that person puts them to use and doesn’t consider that set a souvenir. Geez!

The Project Showcase Milwaukee 2015 was a really diverse collection that made judging very interesting for the attendees as well as the educators. In the end, the People’s Choice for Most Creative went to Jim Schlarb for his “Fish Carving”. This was about as true to life as I’ve ever seen.

The award for Best Workmanship went to Steve Klein for his “Carved Mirror”.

Best Finish was given to Jim Borchardt for the “Trio In Wood” end table. Each of these awards came with their choice of a Bosch Tool.

The Overall Favorite and a $75 Lee Valley gift card went to Jim Schlarb’s “Fish Carving”.

The clear favorite for the Educator’s Choice award was given to Jeff Baenen for what he called his “Extrude Boxes”. Jeff’s entries are always so unique and his finish and attention to detail were again his hallmarks. Jeff also received a gift card from Lee Valley.

When we started this last November, I knew that all of a sudden the season would be over and that will happen next week at the conclusion of our show in Tampa on March 20-22 at the Florida State Fair Entertainment Hall. If you live in or around Tampa, you’ll have this last opportunity to see us this season. I know you’ll find the show well worth attending with plenty to see, learn and buy. If you happen to bring in a piece of crown molding, I’ll make you a set of templates. I’m good at it!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

Wood Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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





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