Interesting Woodworking Link

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Episode #22 - Due Credit and a Sneak Peek . . .

My last posting shared my first attempt at using SketchUp. SketchUp is a great way to explore the details of a project without cutting wood and perhaps making a costly mistake. I was able to do a project construction rendering from a sketch by a good friend. So let me me give due credit to Dan Rickards from Clearwater Gallery in Sisters, Oregon. Check out his website from some truly amazing landscape art!

Above is a sneak peek at a special surprise I am working on for Dan. Stay tuned to see where this leads . . . !

Below is a scan of the drawing Dan gave me for the cherry display pedestal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Episode #21 - Next Project . . . and First SketchUp Results!

No movie this time . . . maybe in the future if this project gets off the ground. I just got a load of some nice 4/4 cherry from our local Rockler Store. Despite no planned projects, I planned on stocking up on some cherry since it is my favorite wood. I also picked up some great 4/4 hard maple that I am going to use for a workbench top.

It seems projects always push the envelope causing us to learn something new or apply a new technique. This project is no exception. I finally took the plunge and used SketchUp 6 to draft initial plans for a frame & panel cherry display pedestal. What a great way to get a glimpse of potential construction complications before actually cutting wood!

This is a potential commission for my small shop, more importantly it is a reason to get a new project underway. I had a lot of fun playing with SketchUp and thought this would be a good opportunity to share the results. I am confident that additional practice will result in a new tool to the shop arsenal. If you haven't tried SketchUp, I recommend finding a project and downloading this awesome FREE program from Google. If you like the application, consider getting the professional version!

I suspect this will soon be the standard for sharing woodworking shop projects. Google has some great tutorials to get you started. Some other tutorials to investigate can be found at Fine Woodworking Online and Lumberjocks - click on the links below! SketchUp Tutorial Series

I've mentioned this before and it bears repeating . . . a subscription to Fine Woodworking Online is one of the best investments you can make in your personal woodworking education. The same can be said of which is a wonderful community of woodworkers that generously share their skill, knowledge and advice. It is truly amazing to consider the skill of these guys that speak with you at a peer level. So, put on your list a membership on Fine Woodworking Online, and get a free copy of SketchUp!

Now, I'm not going to give you all the SketchUp links on Lumberjocks because part of the fun is self discovery! Trust me when I say there is a lot of SketchUp information awaiting you on! Just to whet your appetite, consider typing "Thorsen Table Challenge" into the search window . . .

Another great resource is the SketchUp Blog entitled Design. Click. Build. at Fine Woodworking Online. By the way, Bob Babcock from is a frequent contributor to this blog!

My First SketchUp Results!
If I can do this . . . anyone can!





Monday, November 26, 2007

Episode #20 - A Special Gift from Charles Neil

Those of you that have followed any of my entries on, The Folding Rule Podcast or The Folding Rule Show Blog know that my son Matthew is a burgeoning woodworker. We have had a lot of fun in the shop. His first project was a birdhouse that we built 10 years ago in Paulsbo, Washington. That birdhouse hung with pride from the limb of a large pine tree in the front of our first home.

Since that time Matt has continued to learn about woodworking while pursuing scouting. When he was a Cub Scout we built toolboxes as a den project. Later in Boy Scouts he completed his Woodworking Merit Badge when we hosted some scouts from his Troop in my shop. I posted the experiences of Matt and his fellow scouts as a blog series on, as well as, an episode on The Folding Rule.

Matt is also a very serious history buff with a special interest in The Revolutionary War and The Civil War. I recently had the privilege to strike up an email conversation with Master Woodworker, Charles Neil. I complimented him on his UNPLUG THE KIDS video YouTube episode where he hosted a number of kids for an afternoon of woodworking in his shop. I also shared our experiences with Matt and his fellow scouts in my shop.

Relating my regret for not knowing Charles sooner, as we had recently made several trips to Virginia for “history vacations”, I shared Matt’s passion for history and The Civil War. Charles very kindly responded with an offer to send Matt some left over material from a recent commission. Some very special material as this was timber from a limb pruned from The Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree! Well, Charles made the day for a 12 year-old boy that day. We will not travel through New Market, Virginia again with out taking the time to stop by to visit Charles and shake his hand.

Matt was quite excited about a package soon to arrive in the mail. Luckily we went away for the Thanksgiving holiday providing for some distraction. Upon arriving home we found a package on the doorstep from New Market, Virginia. Matt was very excited as he opened the box and pulled out two pieces of some very remarkable wood.
What will become of this timber? For now it is safely tucked away. We anticipate taking advice from Charles and will likely turn a pen or two and hopefully a small presentation box.

The Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree is estimated to be anywhere from 275 to 300 years old. It is considered one of 36 most historic trees in the United States, according to the US Forestry Department.

Please checkout Charles on YouTube at In The Workshop, as well as, his homepage The Workshop of Charles Neil - Maker of Fine Handcrafted Furniture.

Below is an excerpt from Charles' November 2007 Newsletter.

I had the opportunity to do a historically significant piece too. A client who is on the Board of Directors for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation asked me to make a gavel and a dovetail box from a limb pruned from the Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree.

OK...the story goes that after the close of Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign...and his victories at the Battle of Cross Keys (June 8, 1862) and Port Republic (June 9, 1862), Jackson and his men camped near Mt. Meridian (between the Middle and South Rivers)... to let his men rest for about a week or so (his 'foot cavalry' had marched over 350 miles in about 30 days...and were able to defeat the Union Army, who were twice their size, in five battles).

Legend has it that Jackson would ride to a nearby brick home (still standing today) every morning for breakfast, but would stop at this tree on the way, get off his horse, and pray. A small project, but a very meaningful one.

- Charles Neil, November 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Episode #19 - Clearwater Gallery Thanksgiving

No woodworking this weekend . . . we spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Sisters, Oregon with some wonderful friends enjoying warm and friendly fellowship and some awesome food.

The gingerbread house above, built by Dan Rickards and his kids, was on display in
Clearwater Gallery was modeled after the cozy cabin depicted in Nestled Inn. The Gingerbread Trail was a collection of approximately 40 gingerbread houses scattered about the Sisters community from The Lodge at Suttle Lake to Black Butte Ranch and the City of Sisters. All proceeds went to help support Sisters Habitat of Humanity.

Thank you Dan & Julia Rickards for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Episode #18 - Sneak Preview of the Ezee-Feed Outfeed Table

I am making a video of the Ezee-Feed Infeed and Outfeed Tables by Master Woodworker Lee Jesberger from Ezee-Feed Manufacturing. I got the outfeed table assembled and securely mounted on my table saw. Not one to wait around, I decided to shoot a preview video. The Ezee-Feed system is going to make cutting large panels and sheet goods a breeze! This is the answer for someone like me that works alone in a small basement or garage shop.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Episode #17 - New-Fangled Workbench - Part I

If you have had a chance to glance around my little shop, you may have noticed that I lack one of the most important tools in the woodworker’s arsenal – The Workbench. I have struggled with the decision regarding what type of bench to make. This is not an easy decision making process as there are a number of factors to consider. Ultimately this is a right of passage that all woodworkers eventually traverse. Realizing I most likely would build more than one bench in my lifetime, I finally decided to get to work.

The workbench is basically a huge clamping platform for the woodworker. I did a fair amount of research before deciding to build a variant of The New Fangled Workbench originally built by Fine Woodworking Shop Manager, John White. This bench had immediate appeal because of its amazing clamping flexibility. I also appreciated John’s construction process.

NOTE: Subscribing to Fine Woodworking Online is one of the best woodworking education investments that you can make!

Fine Woodworking New Fangled Workbench Video

I will be using kiln dried Douglas Fir as a construction material for the majority of the bench because of its strength and low cost. I got 2x material from the local big box supplier. I also got some wonderful 5/4 x 12 vertical grain from a good friend who had bought a large load of waste from a stair manufacturing company.

As I began to write this blog entry, I received an email and phone call from our local Rockler Store for an upcoming hardwood lumber sale. When I loaded up on some wonderful cherry I realized that their 4/4 hard maple would make a great bench top! So a last minute design change, which adds a bit of excitement and strength to the project.
I have plans for some unique modifications to John’s original design to support both machine and hand tool work in my shop. Tag along with me as I build a desperately needed workbench for my shop.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Episode #16 - WOODWORKERS - Lights, Camera, Action!

FYI - this video was shot with the movie feature of a small inexpensive pocket digital camera because my DV video camera was included in the shot. So if you have a pocket digital camera with movie, you can start posting woodworking video content!

Now, if you are like me, when you're not in your shop working its fun to watch woodworking videos and podcasts. See if you can recognize the following m

OK, if you know the answers than you need to get a life and get out into your shop!

If you don’t know the answers than you are missing out on some great woodworking content on the Internet.

Either way, consider adding some video woodworking content of your own. Perhaps document your newest project, a unique technique or special woodworking skill.

While doing a bit of research for this series, I contacted some of my favorite woodworking podcast producers. Neil Lamens was very generous with his time and offered the following advice during a series of email messages. “If I could make a suggestion, keep the editing software as simple as possible. Time becomes a major issue in getting podcasts posted. Especially when you have another job. Late nights are not unusual.” He also alluded to the need for good lighting stating, “you'll be surprised how well the light bounces off the ceiling and the camera adjusts exposure.”

Neil also had a great idea to protect cameras from shop dust stating "To add to your plastic bag dust protector, if shooting when sanding, cut a hole in the plastic bag, extend just lens through and seal with rubber bands around the camera body."

Matt Vanderlist, from Matt's Basement Workshop responded with a well thought out discussion on making shop videos that I have included as a PDF document. This is a great source of inspiration and advice.

Marc Spagnuolo, from The Wood Whisperer forwarded a link to his website describing his equipment set-up, as well as, a tutorial link he wrote for Lumberjocks detailing uploading video on BlipTV. He also shared that he does his editing on a Mac using Final Cut Express stating that “. . . As far as planning episodes go, I usually just wing it for the most part. I typically have a rough outline of what I want to do, and I go out there and just start running my lips. LOL”.

This blog entry shares how I make low-tech and low-cost woodworking focused video content in my shop. I have written this blog entry for the average "Digital Woodworker". Now, this is not meant to make you a Neil Lamens or a Matt Vanderlist, but rather expose you to a simple primer explaining how to post your own video using simple equipment you may already have available. Granted, videography takes time to set-up and produce. It might even slow you down a bit. The benefit is that this is a lot of fun and a great skill to add to your repertoire. It also gives you a chance to appreciate your work from a new perspective.

What’s my motive? More woodworking videos of course!

My own tips are to use a tripod for a steady shot and try for the best lighting possible. Have fun and start shooting!









Friday, November 2, 2007

Episode #15 - Stanley Bench Plane Restoration Part III

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I have been a bit frustrated, as I can’t use my shop until the outside portion of our
house reconstruction is complete which should be very soon. I have been using the down time to restore my Stanley bench plane. As soon as I get back in the shop, I have plans to make a video tool review so I am quite anxious to get going!

My Stanley Bench Plane restoration project is near completion. As a reminder, this is NOT a plane with intrinsic collector value. I am restoring this “user plane” to be used on my bench. Before using any of these processes make sure you do not de-value your plane if it has value as a “collector plane”.

All parts were cleaned of rust using the electrolytic rust removal process described in the prior blog entry. The plastic front knob and tote were polished with white Tripoli and carnauba wax. Rather than re-apply blue japanning to the plane body I kept the utilitarian look of raw cast iron by using a modified “Parkerizing” process followed by several coats of wax.

To "Parkerize" the plane body, I soaked it in "KleanStrip Phosphoric" which turned the cast iron an even mild gray color. Immediately after the acid bath, the plane body was doused liberally with WD40 to displace the acid and water. The plane body was then dried and gently heated to 150° in an oven followed by two coats of carnauba wax and buffing.

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For comparison, this is how the plane body used to look

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This is how the plane body looks after de-rusting,
modified parkerizing and hot wax treatment

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Next step is lapping the sole and sides. I am still deciding if I will spend the extra money on this humble plane to replace the plane iron and chipper with a heavier set from Hock Tools.

Reminder: Always use common sense and don’t do anything that feels unsafe. Wear gloves and safety goggles. Always add acid to water! (I did not mix any acid solutions during this process – just trying to be complete).

MSDS for KleanStrip Phosphoric