Editor’s Blogs

  • Can’t Smell the Roses

    I can’t smell the roses anymore…and I don’t mean that figuratively.

    I’ve literally lost my ability to pick up their aroma, for some reason. My wife likes to tease me about it, especially since I find that loss a bit alarming. But, thank goodness I can still smell wood.

  • Stick with What Works

    A couple years ago, I invested in a popular loose-tenon joinery system to see how that would work for me. As a tool reviewer, I’m always anxious to try a new gizmo on for size, and this tool was getting a lot of buzz. Heck, a faster, easier way to make mortise-and-tenon joinery. Sounded good to me!

    Well, the product came, and I put it to work on my next few projects. It did the job swimmingly, chomping mortise after mortise in good time. The cuts were clean, the setup was pretty easy and those loose tenons dropped right into place. Really, there was no part of the operation I could complain about.

    But as time went on, that new tool got less use than it first did. I ended up switching back to making M&Ts the way I’ve always done them: mortising on the drill press, followed by tenon-cutting on the table saw.

  • Three Cheers for Spray Deft

    This past Christmas, I fell victim to an all-too-common seasonal disorder among woodworkers: gift-making procrastination.

    Heard of it? If you haven’t—or haven’t caught it yet—you haven’t been woodworking long enough.

  • Finalist Videos from Fresh Wood

    In the current issue our eZine, I’m reporting on a really cool woodworking design competition that took place last month at the AWFS trade show in Las Vegas

  • Ali Industries: From Lunar Orbit to Random-orbit

    Up until recently, I’ve never really given much thought to sandpaper…where it comes from, how it’s made or what tidbits of interesting history might be behind it. Sandpaper has always been one of those “means-to-an-end” products for me. And, well, it’s associated with sanding. I try not to spend more time than I really need to thinking about sanding…

    But, the nitty gritty details about grits became a lot more interesting earlier this spring when I had the opportunity to tour Ali Industries, a sandpaper manufacturing plant just a couple hours west of my home.

  • Dovetail Confessions

    Okay, true confession time: I’ve never cut dovetails by hand. There, I said it.

    It’s probably not a big thing to admit, really … lots of us woodworkers don’t cut and chop pins and tails the “old school” way. Sure, I can steer my router through a dovetailing jig with the best of them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, a woodworking editor for gosh sakes, I feel like I’m admitting some deep, dark secret. I’m supposed to know this stuff to be a card-carrying shop writer, right?

    Well, wrong.

  • Tools Don’t Replace Talent or Time

    One of perks of being Woodworker’s Journal’s “field” editor is that, every now and then, I actually get out into the field. Sometimes I’m headed to trade shows, but the trips I enjoy even more involve getting together with other woodworkers to see how they do things. In addition to meeting some really fine people and taking care of a photoshoot, I often learn a thing or two about myself in the process.

  • Woodworking in Tough Times

    These days, it feels like the “Great Recession” is never going to end, doesn’t it? Jobless rates are up, banks are on the ropes and home values are still falling through the floor. Tough times all around. But, despite some huge potholes on this road to recovery, the woodworking industry is still forging ahead.

  • Pocket Screw Joints: The Outdoorsy Types

    Summer is quickly slipping through our fingers, so hopefully you’re busy with outdoor projects. This season, I’ve got a garden fence that’s way overdue. In the spirit of exterior projects, I’d like to recommend pocket screw joinery.

  • Three-dollar Fix Improves Fold-Down Outfeed Table

    Earlier this spring we received some good feedback about the “Fold-down Outfeed Table” project that ran in the February 2009 issue (p. 50). Glad you folks like it! But, if you’re planning to build one for your table saw (or if you’ve already completed it), be sure to add a simple modification sent in by fellow reader Doug Green from Wellington, Colorado.