Woodworkers Who Happen to Be Women

Fanfare to Furniture

Leslie Amick wrote in to chronicle her woodworking history. Growing up with a DIY father, she assumed that everyone built cabinetry and furniture and did their own house remodeling and repair. When she began remodeling her kitchen 20+ years ago, she discovered great satisfaction in refinishing cabinets and installing ceramic tile. Her garage shop now includes a cabinet table saw, used jointer, and planer, and she’s incorporating rustic furniture construction and some mosaic work into tables and outdoor pieces. Still busy remodeling that kitchen; she’s getting ready to replace the wall between kitchen and den with a half-wall & bookcase on den side and cabinets on the kitchen side. It amused her recently to find her family membership to the Georgia Woodworkers Guild listed as Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Amick & her husband’s name is Bill.

Woodworking is part of Trish O’Loughlin’s livelihood. After years working as an electrician, Trish got married, had three beautiful daughters, went back to college, and re-emerged as an Industrial Technology teacher. She’s been an avid eZine reader for many years and has found it instrumental in locating resources, learning new technology, becoming aware of older technology, and improving her skills. Just this year, she was hired to teach beginning woodworking, advanced woodworking, and a building trades class (in which an entire house is built every year). She’s been pretty busy lately with keeping old machinery running, planning projects, ordering supplies, organizing the shop, and the constant overload of paperwork, all of which has left little time for personal projects. But working with the students has made it all rewarding. Though her own daughter has been the only female in her classes so far (the younger O’Loughlin is making quilt racks as a fundraiser for a cousin with leukemia), her presence piqued the interest of many of her friends.

Yes, Donna is a woodworker who also happens to be a woman. She makes furniture and an occasional jewelry box and will be doing a skills workshop for women at the American Sycamore Retreat in Indiana. Self-taught and having spent many hours watching Norm, she started out 20+ years ago making covers for the radiators in her Philadelphia home Since then she’s made cedar chests, bookcases, end tables, a workbench, a table for her sliding miter saw, outdoor planters, plenty of jigs, and other smaller things. Aside from the aforementioned miter saw, she has a 10″ contractor’s saw, 16″ band saw, drill press, three routers and various other hand tools. Now retired from the corporate world, she can purse her passion for woodworking. She also has complaints for tool manufacturers & their tool manuals don’t provide enough basic information, and their machines all seem designed for someone 6-feet tall, with long arms, who can press 300 lbs. Having relocated to Tennessee, she’s also been disappointed by the dearth of woodworking stores and hardwood lumber available. Her hope is that we find more ways to get the word out & and yes, she and other women are out there and want to BUILD!

And, finally, from the other side of the gender line, we heard from an Ohio woodworker who’s currently working on an oak table and some tambour clocks. As far as he’s been aware, the only women involved in woodworking are into small craft-type items and not larger furniture.

Editor’s Note: Of course, Leslie, Trish and Donna’s letters should convince him that’s not the case!

Tool Preview

The Longest 6″ Jointer

Paul Searls has a Powermatic Model 60, the big brother of the 54A, and declares it a very fine tool that’s a pleasure to work with and should last a lifetime. He always tries to buy the best tool he can afford and quality, reliability, and performance are daily reminders long after the price paid is forgotten.

Tool Maker Insider

Drill Doctor

John Manticos thought the Drill Doctor looked and sounded good, but wondered if he could purchase one in Australia. Yes, you can, John: click here.

Questions and Answers

Direct vs. Indirect Saw Motors

Dave and Darlene concurred with Rob Johnstone’s conclusion but disagreed with the recommendation. Dave bought one of the last models Emerson made for Craftsman (Emerson then began making Ridgid), and if he had it to do over again, he’d buy the Grizzly Cabinetmaker saw, which at the time was the same price as the Emerson/Craftsman.

Dave Sarbacker just recently replaced his Sears table saw with the Ridgid TS3612 Contractor Saw and declares it considerably heavier and much more stable. Now Dave’s looking forward to many years of making various pieces of furniture for wife and kids.

Making a Compound Miter Saw Simple

Brian Mowers wrote that he though Rob was being diplomatic with the question. In his estimation, the compound miter saw is not that complicated and perhaps anyone who can’t figure one out probably shouldn’t be using power tools at all.

Web Surfer’s Review

Overhead Blade Guard/DC Recommendations

Contrary to what was posted in the thread, Del Pieper says the Uniguard does have a splitter that fits his Unisaw. The splitter can be easily removed when it’s in the way of certain cuts. For dust collection and protection, however, Del now feels that a Brett guard might have been a better choice.

Advice on DIY Router Table

Our old friend, George Lathbury sent in the steps he’d take to create a steel (or aluminum) insert:
1. Have the plate cut to size.
2. Clean up edges & a belt sander works well.
3. Lay out with the stock plate.
4. Drill mounting holes & making sure to counter sink.
5. On a drill press, using a hole saw (Home Depot has them), cut out clearance hole and debur.
Same process might also work for 1/4″ Baltic Birch or Para-ply.

Keeping Dust off a Wet Finish

George Lathbury also sent a quick note that Naphtha is a very good pre-wipe. He uses it for wet sanding on final finishes for guitars when the clear coat has to leveled before buffing.

Other Reader Comments

A woodworker who slowly built up a shop full of tools, paycheck by paycheck, sent in sage advice for beginning woodworkers: Take it one step at a time. And make your big purchases while you’re still drawing a paycheck & you never know what curves life is going to throw you later in life & such as his heart failing and not being able to earn those paychecks anymore.

Tom Spalding enjoys our columns, but finds it hard to read the italic type we use to draw the reader into some articles (e.g., Web Surfers’ Review and Q and A) and he wishes we’d use a bold or larger type or a different font. Anyone else having trouble with italic?

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