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.
In a recent issue of our eZine, a reader wrote in to get some advice about building a chair. His question was rather specific, regarding the correct splay of the legs to maximize stability and strength. Tim Inman, an expert woodworker and finisher (and a wealth of helpful information!) and yours truly tried to offer this fellow some advice. Our answers took decidedly different approaches to a larger and broader topic of building chairs.
For the most part, woodworking has been a solitary activity for me. Over the years, I’ve taught myself most of what I know. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way — and either cursed or laughed about them without any witnesses or commiserators. At the same time, by going it “solo” so much of the time, I haven’t really shared the successes and breakthroughs that also happen as we gain experience. It’s been a pretty quiet life in the shop.
Then the other day a new friend of mine asked me to do a small commissioned piece for him. He’s a pipe smoker and wanted a pipe rack he’d seen online. These racks are made by hand in Europe, and while he was more than willing to pay several hundred dollars for it, his long-distance queries to order one of them had gone unanswered. That’s where I came in.
The other day I was surfacing some lumber for a project, and I reached for the depth stop on my planer. In a few clicks I was once again locked into the usual 3/4-in. thickness setting. I bet it’s the one that gets used the most on your planer, too. I wonder if that’s a good thing?
Even though we’re just days away from Christmas, our staff has propelled “full speed ahead” into 2011 to bring you lots of fine content for the February print issue. It’s due to arrive in your mailbox very soon. But Matt Becker, our Internet Coordinator, says I can share some details about the articles you’ll be reading at your leisure shortly. And so I will…let’s get a jump on the new year straight away!
Sometimes being Woodworker’s Journal’s “Field” Editor, I feel like I’m way, way out in some field. What I mean here is, I’m one step removed from the day-to-day feedback we receive in our home office from readers about what we publish. A lot of mail comes in, but generally I don’t get to see it. I work from home, which is several states away.
A couple weeks ago, I reported on my trusty old, cosmetically challenged workbench. The goal, really, was to support those of you out there who are more concerned with utility in your shop fixtures than high style. In other words, you build sturdy workaday shop fixtures so you can get on with more important projects. And, that’s okay in my book; I do it, too.
Chris Marshall shows us around his Ultimate Miter Saw Station, featured in the June 2010 issue of Woodworker’s Journal magazine.
Internet Production Coordinator
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the enormous amount of interest in this project, we have made the Ultimate Miter Saw Stand (including the plans for the entire project and the optional Scrap Bins, as well as the Cutting List) available as a Downloadable Plan in our online store. Click here to purchase and receive the plan immediately!
I bet you’re probably in the same boat. We woodworkers spend a lot of time thinking about form, function, good technique, the right material choices, durability, safety and so forth. Most projects have an intended and practical purpose. And, I think those are all good aims. Materials are expensive, and shop time is often pretty short. Not to mention the fact that if you actually make your living—or even part of it—from the furniture or cabinetry you build, there’s not a lot of room for funny business. You follow your plans, turn out good work and move on to the next challenge. Get ‘er done.
That’s why some lighthearted woodworking is a really nice change of pace to see now and again. Take, for instance, this little YouTube gem a friend of mine sent me recently:
What’s your favorite furniture style? What’s your least favorite? Funny how a couple simple questions can get a guy thinking…
The other day I was browsing the forums of woodworking.com and ran across an interesting thread discussing this topic:
We’ve all got our favorites, I’m sure. Mission and Shaker prompted the most lively responses. Some folks love these two styles, while others clearly don’t. Personally, I’m a fan of both. I like furniture that accentuates wood more than ornamentation, so Mission resonates well with me.