Hough’s American Woods

May 14th, 2012 by
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Hough's American Woods 1

During a recent visit to the Anderson Horticultural Library at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the librarian was kind enough to show me their collection of Hough’s American Woods.  The pages you see pictured do not contain photographs – they’re actually three pieces of veneer for each species, along with a description and information contained in the booklets.

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Worn, with Pride

May 8th, 2012 by
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One of the most popular finishes these days is the so-called “shabby chic,” a modern term for what we used to call antique finish. Why would you want to take new furniture and intentionally make it look old? Strange though it may seem, there’s actually a very good reason.

Let’s say you have a spot where an antique would be just the ticket, but not just any antique. You want a certain style of furniture, in just the right color, with the perfect amount and type of wear; not too much, and only worn in the right places. You’d want a piece still in great structural condition that looks as though it was painted years ago, then was gently but regularly used. In other words, something that looks timeworn, but not bereft.

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To Italy for Saw Blades!

May 4th, 2012 by
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Italian buildingIn the last two days, your intrepid editor has traveled to Venice, Italy and then up to Udine, Italy, to learn about Irwin’s newest entry into the circular saw blade market. Now, I understand that you might be feeling sorry for me … Venice in May is hard to take … but fear not, I am holding up well.

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Memories of George

May 1st, 2012 by
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I was reorganizing some paperwork the other day, when I ran across a file that contained letters, manuscripts and notes from master wood finisher George Frank. I worked with George when I was an editor at Fine Woodworking magazine. I was originally assigned to work with George because he and I were both Hungarians and so could converse in our native tongue. Over the years, George became not only a treasured colleague of mine, but I also kind of became his adoped grandson; he had no male children of his own. George passed away nearly 15 years ago, at the ripe old age of 94.

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Shop outlets: listening to those outside voices

May 1st, 2012 by
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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.

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Designing a Multipurpose Shelf Unit

April 23rd, 2012 by
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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.

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Table Saw Legislation Moves to State Level

April 19th, 2012 by
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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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Your April Rockler Purchases Will Help Plant Trees

April 16th, 2012 by
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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.

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May/June 2012 Issue Preview

April 13th, 2012 by
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May/June 2012 Issue Cover

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.

Who’s a fan of LEDs on tools? I sure am.

April 10th, 2012 by
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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.

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