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.
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.
Categories: wood | Tags: Apollo, AWFS, CNC, Delta, Excalibur, General, General International, HVLP, laser, machines, Nova, Powermatic, QuickScrews, Rikon, Rockler, sander, SuperMax, Teknatool, Titebond, tools, woodworking
Despite covering what seemed like dozens of acres of exhibits of tools and such on the first day of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, the second day brought just as many booths and setups packed with new woodworking products. Here’s some of the highlights:
• The word “innovation” gets tossed around with nearly every new tool launch in this industry, but in many cases the innovations are a judgment call. However, Bosch’s new 12-inch sliding mitersaw truly is innovative because instead of the traditional tubular rails it uses a hinged, articulated arm system with ball bearings for sliding back and forth very smoothly. Because of that, this saw can sit up against a wall and the articulated arm simply folds up; a typical sliding mitersaw needs 6 to 10 inches of rear space for the rails. This saw has many of the features Bosch is known for (front-mounted bevel controls, miter detent override, tall fences, and large miter and bevel ranges). I first saw this mitersaw over a year ago when I was at Bosch’s headquarters for a behind-the-scenes look, and I knew right away it was revolutionary. It will be on the market this fall, selling for $799.
I just finished up a sleigh-full (well, minivan) of Christmas gifts in my shop—and just in time! I had been working on a china cabinet for my wife, but put that on hold so I could make some projects to give as Christmas gifts. As it happened, I was testing Rockler’s new box-joint jig for a router table. It works so well and so quickly that I just started whipping out simple keepsake boxes. I don’t build these from a plan, but rather make them from whatever scraps and cutoffs I can muster. Some I glue together, often mixing species, and let the size of the pieces dictate the size of the box. Then I fit it with a thin plywood bottom, make a lid and a handle, apply my mark (a cross to signify my faith in Jesus Christ), and finish it with oil and lacquer.
By Day 3 at the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas new tools and products are getting tougher to find. Still, I’ve got a few more to report on.