Guitars for Veterans

Last weekend, I visited the woodworking school of our contributing editor, George Vondriska. He was hosting an interesting event to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In World War I, they called it “shell shock”; in World War II, the vets came home with “battle fatigue.” Whatever name it goes by, the veterans who live with it call it awful.

As a Navy hospital corpsman in 1974, I saw otherwise healthy men and women returning from Vietnam who were clearly suffering from the trauma they had experienced. Sadly, it was not nearly as well understood then as it is now. According to several reliable sources, nearly 20 percent of the military personnel who have and will serve in Afghanistan and Iraq (and that number stands at about 300,000 people right now …) will develop the symptoms of PTSD. Untreated, it can lead to all sorts of problems, in the vet’s family life as well as professional life.

So what was this interesting event that I visited? (I even helped out just a little bit.) It’s called Build a Vet a Guitar (in conjunction with Guitars For Vets) … but the best idea is to click on the video below and let George tell you about it.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

Images provided by Krivit Photography

Stanley Bostitch: and a Whole Lot More!

Stanely Sweetheart Chisel 1Last week, your intrepid editor flew to New York City at the invitation of Stanley Bostitch – specifically, the behest of the director of marketing at Stanley and Black & Decker, Todd Langston. (While it is always a tough job to spend time in the Big Apple, home to unlimited and excellent dining and entertainment opportunities, I persevered and did my duty.)

As many of you know, The Stanley Works purchased Black & Decker a short while ago, creating one of the biggest and most diverse tool manufacturing companies in the world. And, while this specific invitation to New York was mainly from the Stanley Bostitch side of things, it gave many of us editors our first opportunity to meet with this new and larger organization. And the event did not disappoint.

Stanley Bostitch rolled out many new tools, some of which I can write about right now and others that I am pledged to silence about … until a later date. In addition, we were enlightened about some Porter-Cable and DeWalt tools as well. (More on DeWalt and perhaps other B&D offerings after I fly to Maryland to a DeWalt editor’s event this week. Whew, what a jet-setter!)

Stanely Sweetheart Chisel 2While I won’t go into details about all of the tools right now (check out the Woodworker’s Journal eZine Tool Previews in upcoming issues to see more of these products), I continue to be pleased at Stanley’s renewed focus on hand tools. And I confess to be looking forward to getting my hands on a few of their new chisels, especially their Sweetheart™ socket chisels. Formed from high carbon steel so as to be easy to sharpen while creating a durable edge, they also have hornbeam handles. They look like the real deal, so I’d like to give them a spin.

Be it Manhattan or Minnesota, woodworking continues to be a story of the new and the old, the innovative and the tried and true. From my perspective, Stanley Bostitch seem to be sitting right in the sweet spot of that continuum with innovative new tools complemented by their return to their hand tool roots.

Rob Johnstone,
Woodworker’s Journal

Do You Like Woodworking?

Rob PortraitIf you’re reading this, I’ll bet I’m on pretty safe ground thinking you’ve got a serious interest in the craft of woodworking. And, because I’ve been around the block a time or two, I am pretty sure that many of you, if you are not pro’s already, have wondered about what it would be like to make a living as a woodworker. (OK… brain surgeons and oil sheiks can stop reading now… The rest of you may read on.) As someone who has done it, I can tell you that, while it is hard work, few things in my life have been as satisfying. I like the smell of wood, I like the feel of it, and I like seeing the results of my efforts come together into a product of value.

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Woodworking Past and Future

show_signLast Saturday I spent an enjoyable afternoon at The Wood Working Show* held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. While these shows do not generate the level of excitement and attendance they did in the late 1990s, they still feel kind of like “home” to me.  Walking among the attendees, I could tell that I was hanging out with my people.  It is not often that you casually overhear folks talking about dadoes, upspiral router bits and band saw guides.

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