It’s been a long winter of construction at my home, but we’re finally nearly done adding a new garage/workshop to the property. As you can probably guess, I can’t wait to get the lights on and the machines moved in! For four months, I’ve felt like a kid trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve night.
Like the proverbial shoemaker’s children that are perpetually barefoot, my own home doesn’t have a whole lot of furniture that I built myself. I save most of my woodworking energy for building projects for the Woodworker’s Journal or when I do “pro bono work” for the Shakespearean theater company that my wife works for (the latter has consisted of mostly creating large, freestanding poster displays and a collection box).
But every once in a while, a project comes along that I have difficulty saying no to. In this case, I was recently contacted by a prominent local business owner who lives in a gorgeous house only a half a block from one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline that California has to offer. He asked me if I would consider building him a large L-shaped shelf unit that would wrap around a partially curved wall in his home office/man cave.
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.”
Here’s a cool thing Rockler Woodworking and Hardware is doing for Earth Day this year, but if you haven’t made a Rockler purchase lately, you might not be aware of it.
From now through April 22—Earth Day—Rockler will make a donation to the Hardwood Forestry Fund for every online, catalog and retail purchase made. The company’s goal is to double the number of new trees planted last year on its behalf to 20,000 this year.
Field Editor Chris Marshall takes you on a quick tour of summertime projects and tool news in our May/June 2012 print issue of Woodworker’s Journal Magazine.
The other day I was routing a little nameplate plaque for my daughter’s bedroom. It’s fussy and slow-paced work. I first cut the letters following a paper template, then pull the template off and rout them even deeper. Not a job you can rush, and it’s one that definitely takes a sharp eye.
I was using a RIDGID R2401 trim router for the job. Aside from its compact size, which I really like, it’s got an LED light underneath to brighten up the area you’re routing. In this particular project, that feature was flat-out indispensable.
Maybe it’s my mid-40s vision starting to go … I’m resisting that sinking feeling that bifocals are finally unavoidable. Or maybe my shop just plain doesn’t have enough light these days. Whatever the reason is, I’m appreciating tools with built-in worklights now more than ever.
This reader’s project skillfully combines three different species without sacrificing the pieces’ cohesive looks.
This is a desk and chair I recently made for my granddaughter that now has a place to do her homework. It’s made from leftover oak, maple, and walnut. The top is made from walnut plywood left from a dining table project and quarter-sawn oak edging remaining from a rocking chair project. The front chair legs are made from a piece of 100-year-old oak beam salvaged from a barn demolition. Does this make it a “green” project?
- Paul Douglass; Centennial CO
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In September, I wrote that, while stain is often superfluous, especially on prime woods, it can be a lifesaver on plain or uneven woods. At the time, I promised I’d revisit the topic and offer a few tips on how to stain without making wood look muddy, fake, or painted. Well, today’s the day.
First, some basics. Stains can be colored with pigment, which is ground-up colored dirt, or with dye, which dissolves. Pigments are relatively large particles suspended in liquid, but dyes dissolve, becoming vastly smaller particles the size of a molecule. Here, size matters.
I’ve never been particularly adept at sharpening my edge tools (chisels, plane irons, etc.). It’s not that I couldn’t get them sharp enough to work, it’s just that I’ve always experienced inconsistent results. One time, I’d get a blade so sharp, it simply glided through hard oak and maple. The next time I sharpened that blade, I’d be lucky if it didn’t tear its way through soft pine. Freehand sharpening always seemed like something that would take decades to get right (an opinion no doubt influenced by the fact that the best tool sharpener I know has made nearly 95 trips around the sun). The trick seems to be locking your wrists and fingers as you pass the tool over the stone, to keep the honing bevel at the same angle during every pass. Fail this, and you end up with a rounded bevel face and an edge that’s none too sharp. Yes, hollow grinding helps, as the tip and heel of the bevel are easier to keep flat on the stone. But unless the tool has a wide bevel, like a big chisel or heavy plane iron, even hollow grinding is no guarantee.
We may not have posted many reader projects lately, but that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped making them! Some nice stock selection for the tops and eye-catching drawer joinery help make these tables stand out in any setting.
Here are a few pictures of some arts and crafts inspired end tables I built. All mortise and tenon joinery, with a sand cast bronze drawer pull. The finish consists of General’s Mission Oak Gel Stain, topped with two coats of amber shellac and wax.
Do you have a project you’d like to share? Click here to send it in!
Internet Production Coordinator