Be Careful What You Wish For…

Rob Goes CrazyLast summer and fall I found myself orchestrating the filming of a series of DVDs. I consider the resulting videos to be truly significant in terms of teaching woodworking in a manner that is unsurpassed — they are comprehensive, cohesive, consistent and entertaining. In addition, they have supporting content on the internet, all of which blends together to create an interactive product that has been unavailable until now. I also nearly had a nervous breakdown. How did this happen, you ask? It’s a bit of a long story…

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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

Woodworking Lessons, Learned Firsthand

First things first – I’m not a woodworker. Actually, I WASN’T a woodworker. Longtime followers of the blog know that while I certainly appreciate the beauty, precision and creativity of this craft, I haven’t been someone that uses wood to make things that look good, serve a purpose, or both.

That all changed a couple months ago. Long story short, I decided that after almost four years of working with some pretty amazing woodworkers, it was time to join the party.

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Moving a Shop…Got Any War Stories?

Generally speaking, I’m pretty good about taking things in stride and not dwelling on myself. But honestly, this has been a really tough summer. You see, our family is in the process of moving to Virginia. My wife was offered a wonderful new employment opportunity in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and opportunity was knocking loudly enough to pull up roots and move. But therein lies the catch: the “moving” part. Continue reading

New Table Saw Safety Regulations Proposed

Listening to the radio on my way to work this morning, I overheard this story:

Should you decide not to listen to the 5 minute segment linked above (although it’s definitely worth it), a brief synopsis from the NPR site:

NPR has learned that federal regulators are taking steps toward new safety requirements for table saws. These saws have open spinning blades and can cause severe injuries. But the industry is resisting additional requirements.

table sawThere’s quite a bit of information discussed in the story that our readers are likely already familiar with, as there has been quite a bit of real and virtual ink spent on this topic (including related to Rob’s editorial from our most recent April Fool’s Day eZine – once again, IT WAS A JOKE … at the time … ).

However, it would appear that there continues to be wind in the sails of this movement.  What are your reactions to this latest information?

Matt Becker
Internet Production Coordinator

PS - If you have opinions that you’d like to share with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, below is a link to send them your feedback:

Have You Seen “Woodshop” Yet?

Jesse Ventura has long since moved out of Minnesota’s Governor’s Mansion, but instead of reaching for the wrestling tights again, he’s back to acting. Here’s the fun part: his latest role involves woodworking! Or, rather, shop class.

Not quite sure how I missed this, but earlier this fall Jesse’s new movie, titled “Woodshop,” hit a selection of theaters. The premise is pretty simple: a bunch of misfit kids have to serve Saturday detention time in the woodshop, and guess who’s the shop teacher?

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Luckier Than I Deserve

Time and chance happen to all woodworkers — sometimes to tragic ends, sometimes to the good, and, sometimes, just to the bizarre.

Round-Over Router BitOne such bizarre event happened to me many years ago when I was working in my father and uncle’s woodworking shop. In addition to custom cabinetry, we did a fair amount of production woodworking — pattern-routed items like round picture frames, fish filleting boards and other items that would now be cut on a CNC router. Not so then. Instead, we had a huge (six feet tall, eight feet front to back, and easily five feet across) 20hp over-head automated router that had a pneumatic infeed table and a couple of hard rubber drive rollers that propelled awkward-looking patterns. This setup was state-of-the-art at the time, but if you were to look at it now and compared it to today’s CNC systems, it would be evocative of the steam era of auto transportation, compared to today’s Lamborghinis.

One afternoon, I was working my way through an interminable stack of red oak blanks, routing a full 1-1/2″ roundover on a circular plate holder. That is a mighty big router bit and a monstrous cut — but this machine could handle both with ease. Or, at least, that is what I thought.

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