About Joanna Takes

Joanna Werch Takes has been at Woodworker's Journal since 1998. Her work includes writing and editing for many print magazine departments, among them the "Stumpers" mystery tool department. Joanna is also a frequent contributor to the Woodworker's Journal eZine. Joanna's previous experience includes work as a newspaper reporter. Her woodworking has consisted of small projects such as toys and a storage box. She is active in the Women of Today service organization.

A New Use for Scrap Cutoffs?

It’s common among woodworkers to feel some reluctance at throwing scraps away (I could make something out of that!), but if you share a shop with your spouse, it gets doubly difficult. Carole Rothman, who built the Holiday Gift Box featured in the December 2013 issue of Woodworker’s Journal, as well as the Cherry Jewelry Box from June 2013, recently shared on her blog, Scroll Saw Bowls, what her husband Joe made from some of her bowl cutoffs:




Anybody else with a great use for cutoffs?

WJ Reader Ideas Needed: Raise the Bar (By Adding Some Wood!)

Among woodworkers, there are some projects that are “classics” — whether the woodworker in question has built them or just has them on a mental “someday” list. Sometimes, it seems as if nearly everyone has built, or wants to build, a guitar, a wooden boat … or a bar for the basement.

If that woodworker was participating in the “Raising the Bar” program of George Dickel’s Tennessee Whiskey, they’d be building a pretty fancy bar. It might, for example, include using whiskey barrels for barstools — or even the front end of a classic car for the bar front.  Those are just a couple of examples from the real-life teams competing in this event, which is now a film series on Hulu .

Team bar-building? Competition? Yep, and there’s a chance for Woodworker’s Journal readers to get in on the action, too. Tell us your ideas for what to add to this bar to make it cooler — anything from specific types of glasses to specific types of stools — and, if your idea is chosen as the winner, you could see your idea come to reality. (Here’s a thought from your editors: since you’re Woodworker’s Journal readers, we’d suggest something made out of wood.)

Further details? OK. First, the backstory. Whiskey company George Dickel’s slogan is “Handmade the Hard Way.” It refers to their 25 employees personally overseeing every step of the distillation process. To promote that slogan, they partnered with the producers of such TV shows as “Deadliest Catch” and “Storage Wars” to film six teams of real-life craftsmen — woodworkers, metalworkers and more — building bars at the 2012 American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri. Each team had just eight hours to build what they thought would be an impressive bar. “Most of my projects take exponentially longer,” said Kansas City woodworker Kirk Brown. “You can’t make anything really well, really fast, just like you can’t make whiskey real fast.”

Some teams went in with design ideas; some didn’t. They had access to some handheld power tools — like a circular saw, jigsaw, planer and battery-powered drills — and they brought some of their own tools. “I brought a hand plane,” Kansas City woodworker Kirk Brown said, “and thank goodness, because we ended up using it when we plowed over the cord of the power planer.”

Afterward, producer Thom Beers’ Original Productions company turned each of these builds into a video for the Hulu series. And public relations company Taylor Strategy assigned each of these teams to a partner publication — randomly, you will notice. Which is perhaps why the assigned “Woodworker’s Journal” team is one that incorporated no wood into their build, except the stand for metalworker Kyle Moody’s anvil. (Not that we’re bitter.)

Moving on. Each partner is soliciting ideas from our own team — that’s you, Woodworker’s Journal readers — for additions that will “raise the bar” further for our assigned bar. Examples? Replacing the glass in a traditional shot glass with redwood (a shot wood?). Or adding rockers to the bar stools. Or … ? We’re waiting for your ideas, which will be submitted to Taylor Strategy on Monday, April 15. They’ll be judged on a) originality and creativity; b) representation of true American craftsmanship; and c) the “cool-ness” factor: something you’d want to show off to your friends.

Whatever’s picked as the winning “Raising the Bar” item will actually be made, in a set of eight. If it’s a Woodworker’s Journal team item that wins, they’ll send us the eight items — but we’ll share with our readers. We promise.

So, watch the video of “our” bar (and the other ones, too, if you’d like — some of them incorporate wood) and send us your ideas for additions. You can share in the comments to this blog post, on our Woodworker’s Journal Facebook page, or by emailing us at editor@woodworkersjournal.com. Let’s “raise the bar” on (woodworking’s) creativity!

Special Blog Coverage: IWF Woodworking Show

One international extravaganza may have ended earlier this month, but the International Woodworking Fair is going strong in Atlanta. And you know, of course, who brings you the gold medal quality woodworking news: the Woodworker’s Journal team is on the ground, sending dispatches on new tools, industry news and more.

You can watch the tools in action on our blog specially dedicated to the IWF show. We’re now in our fourth year of blogging from the floor of the year’s big tool event, with videos for your tool-viewing pleasure. Find all of our coverage of IWF at the Woodworker’s Journal IWF 2012 Blog here.

Ryobi Wins Table Saw Safety Litigation

We’ve previously brought you other news of pending table saw legislation; in recent news, a Chicago jury decided earlier this month in favor of table saw manufacturer Ryobi Tools, against a plaintiff who claimed he was injured by a defective saw.

The plaintiff, Brandon Stollings, a carpenter who purchased a Ryobi BTS 20R1 a few days before the accident, claimed in the suit that the saw was defective because it did not include a SawStop sensing device or a European style riving knife. Additional lawsuits have been filed across the country with similar allegations, including a 2010 case decided in Boston in which the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding over $1 million in damages.

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Tree Planting Goal Met

You may remember that, about a month ago, Chris Marshall brought you news of Rockler Woodworking and Hardware’s goal to support the planting of 20,000 hardwood trees through donating the price Pretty Treesof a tree to the Hardwood Forestry Fund for every purchase made during the April timeframe leading up to Earth Day.

We’re happy to report that the initiative was successful — in fact, they reached the 20,000 tree goal even earlier than they’d hoped. Rockler’s marketing vice president, Scott Ekman, commented that, “The event has been hugely successful and has received overwhelming customer support.” The 2012 initiative had doubled the goal of new trees planted from the same program last year, raising it from 10,000 in 2011 to 20,000 in 2012.

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Table Saw Legislation Moves to State Level

A while back, we brought you news of proposed federal rulemaking that would influence table saws. This week, a committee in the California legislature approved a similar bill at the state level. The “AB 2218 Table Saw Safety Act,” originally introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams (D), “Prohibits the sale of any new table saw on or after January 1, 2015, unless that table saw is equipped with active injury mitigation technology.”

“Active injury mitigation technology” is defined in the bill as “technology to detect contact with, or dangerous proximity between, a hand or finger and the teeth of the blade above the table top of a table saw, and to prevent the blade from cutting the hand or finger deeper than one-eighth of an inch when the hand or finger approaches any portion of the blade above the table top at a speed of one foot per second from any direction and along any path.”

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More Time to Talk Table Saws

As they ponder whether new safety standards are needed for table saws, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has extended the time frame available for public comments on the issue. You now have until March 16, 2012 to share your opinion with the CPSC on “the risk of injury associated with table saw blade contact, regulatory alternatives, other possible means to address this risk, and other topics or issues.” (The extension of the public comments period comes at the request of the Power Tool Institute, Inc.)

If you have something to say to the CPSC, you can send them an email through this site http://www.regulations.gov (they’re no longer accepting emails that don’t come through this site), or submit written comments by following these instructions:
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Flood Relief for a Woodworking Editor

Woodworking editors, generally speaking, tend to be a nice bunch of folks — and sometimes they caught up in unfortunate circumstances, just like anyone else.

This has been a year of natural disasters, and one of the people hit by the effects of such a disaster was Shannon Flowers, the editor of Woodcarving Illustrated and Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts magazines. As a result of the flooding in eastern Pennsylvania from Tropical Storm Lee this past September, Shannon and her family were forced to flee their home and lost everything on the main and basement levels.

The publishing company Shannon works for, Fox Chapel Publishing, is trying to help out Shannon and her family, as well as her local Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, fire department, with a special fundraiser through next Monday, November 14. They’re holding a “Grab-Bag Benefit, “ in which $40 worth of books are being offered in grab bags for $10 apiece, with all the proceeds going to Shannon and the fire department. The grab bags include books focused on different topics, including woodworking, quilting/sewing, kids and teens, etc.

Recovery will take a while, but we wish Shannon and her family well.

Joanna Takes
Senior Editor