Shows, Stripping, Smiles, Ship’s Knees and Safety

Shows, Stripping, Smiles, Ship’s Knees and Safety

The Woodworking Shows

“I am glad that you took the time to explain to us why The Woodworking Show was smaller this year. I look forward to the show every year as it is where I get most of my tools and answers to questions that have been on my mind. The show was noticeably smaller this year but was managed very well. There was ample opportunity to ask questions and see demonstrations of new products. While it is nice to have a great big selection of vendors, it makes getting through the show slower, and also shopping gets tiresome. Thanks again for the article about the show.” – Larry D. Ellicott

“My favorite childhood remembrance is the smell of sawdust and the sound of the woodworking machines at the Sears store some 60 years ago. It was that way at the woodworking shows back in the ’80s and early ’90s, but not recently. To get these shows back to what they were, put the smells and sounds back. Have people operating the nice shiny machines and show us how it’s done. – M. Hempel


“My wife has stripped several pieces of furniture that we’ve then refinished. We were walking through the paint section at a home store recently when a younger couple came up to us, and the young guy asked my wife ‘Do you strip?’ With that, the young lady turned and left, but we continued with a conversation about the merits of the various stripping products that were there, and some on the technique. The young lady never did come back. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about questions about stripping the same again.” – Jerry Johnson


“Just a short note to let you know I really appreciate the eZine. The information is great, but the editorial comments never fail to put a smile on my face, and in a lot of ways, that’s far more important.” – Herb Fellows

Thanks, Herb. We’re glad you like reading our magazine and that our commentary is your favorite part. The dirty little secret is that the editorial commentary is our favorite part to write as well. – Editor

“I loved your eZine editorial. Pollyanna in insulin shock!” — Linda Haus

“Your comments about driving in a Minnesota ice storm reminded me of the survey that showed that when sliding into the ditch on an icy road, nine out of 10 people will say ‘Oh shit,’ but if you are from Minnesota you just say, ‘Here, hold my beer and watch this.’ I always enjoy your editorials. Keep it up. – Dennis Coleman

Ship’s Knees

“I have read that during the 18th and early 19th centuries there was a special profession of timber men who specialized in finding fir and pine trees that grew in shallow soil over a rock surface. The tree’s root would warp at an angle when it reached the rock. This gave a root that was angled up to 90 degrees and could be used for the frame of a ship with no joint where the hull changed angle.” – Dennis Ogden

No need to go back to the past for knees. There’s a 21st century company called Newman’s Knees that offers natural ship’s knees from tamarack trees. – Editor

Bean Box

What’s a bean box? After one of our readers mentioned making one, others wrote to ask what it is. We don’t know what the original writer had in mind, but this reader has his own definition. – Editor

“A bean box is for newlyweds. During the first year of marriage, every time that they make whoopee they put a bean in the box. After the first year the rules change; they remove a bean from the box each time. Conventional wisdom has it that the box should be empty about the time that their youngest graduates from college.” – Rich Flynn

That can’t be right, Rich. Our youngest is soon to graduate college and… Um, never mind. – Editor

Measure for Measure

“I have been saving most of your free plans and made some of them. The one problem I have is that the plans’ instructions are all in Imperial, and I find it difficult to convert every time. If this can be a suggestion and it’s not much of a problem, it would be nice to have the plans in metric as well. Again, thanks for the great work and generosity.” – Orietta L’Abbate

At present we can’t make that change, but hope springs eternal. As for our “generosity,” you really should thank our advertisers for that. They make it all possible. Heck, we’ll do it for you. Hey, advertisers! In case we haven’t mentioned it enough, thanks! – Editor

On Safety

“As a chemist, I was shocked to see you recommend oxalic acid for bleaching wood without any precautions.” – Craig Erickson

We didn’t. A reader asked “How do you apply oxalic acid?” That suggests he or she already has it, and hopefully has read the safety precautions printed prominently on the container.

However, since you have raised the issue, and since it is a new year, this is a good time to remind our readers that both woodworking and finishing involve dangerous tools and materials, and you should always use proper precautions and the right safety equipment no matter what task you take on. If you are not sure how to do it safely, learn how before you do it.

As a further reminder, our first Industry Interview this year is with Micro Jig, a company that makes safety equipment. That should encourage all of us to start the year off safely and end it the same way. – Editor

Lagniappe: Here’s a bit of related trivia. Oxalic acid occurs naturally in rhubarb, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, spinach and parsley. 

Typo Corner

“I applied the stain with a pad and wiped the excess off with lint-free rages.”

We understand. Finishing sometimes makes us angry, too. – Editor

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