Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Giveaway: Making Wooden Toys

Wooden Toys

It’s time for another book giveaway! This week I’m giving away a book on making wooden toys: “Making Classic Wooden Toys: 21 Step-by-Step Projects.” Who hasn’t at some point been inspired by a kindly yet mischievous woodworker who gave them a mysterious wooden puzzle and challenged them to figure it out? These days I have my suspicions whether some of the “puzzles” my own grandfather handed me actually could be solved […]

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Peeling Paint on Exterior Doors

A reader had a problem with the paint on his front doors, which he thought might be caused by exposure to strong sunlight for many hours each day. Fortunately, he sent pictures, which told me a different story. From the pictures, it seemed more likely that the damage was caused by moisture. UV sunlight causes painted surfaces to fade, dull and eventually chalk. The paint on these doors appears to […]

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Finally 4k Ready

When I started making YouTube videos regularly last year I really wanted to deliver in 4k, but my 2010 vintage computer (custom build), wasn’t up to the task. Thus, in July of last year i set out to rectify that issue. The Machine I came up with was able to burn through 4k content, with […]



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Building My Laptop Desk

I so enjoy designing and building pieces and, as I always have, it’s predictable that I always will. Whereas I always got a buzz from people choosing me to design pieces for their home or their office, and then of course making them too, I now have something even more special in my work. It’s …

Read the full post Building My Laptop Desk on Paul Sellers' Blog.



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3D Carving the BARN Workbench Vises

A workbench designed for hand tool woodworkers but made (partially) with a CNC. Each bench features a unique 3D carved leg vise. Here’s a video introduction into how they were made. The BARN workbench was designed for the Bainbridge Island Artisan Resource Network. BARN is a Seattle area community group that built a wonderful community facility for artisans to share resources, education, and workspace. To give them a hand, I […]

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Shaving Horse & Drawknife Basics

Traditional woodworking starts with a shaving horse and a drawknife. Used with both green and dried wood, woodworkers have relied on these two tools for centuries. Simple to use, there are just a few things to be aware of before getting to work. In this short video, Windsor chairmaker Elia Bizzarri gives a valuable overview of what features are important when choosing a shaving horse and talks about proper grip, […]

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How to Make a Window

Small Window

Woodworkers often find themselves doubling as the resident fixer-upper. As the go-to person who has the tools you’ll often be asked to “fix this” or “build that” for the house. I recently did some window repair on my own house, and I must say that all of the things I’ve been learning about the craft helped me do a better job than I might have a few years ago. Regardless of what you […]

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dan’s Garage Workshop

In 2010 I got out of the Air Force and decided to try my hand at owning my own woodworking business. My plan was to start with making shadow boxes for military retirements and expand from there. In 2012 I got divorced and lost almost every tool. Five years later, remarried and a new baby, I’ve finally built back up to a fully capable shop. I had to make compromises as some of the tools are more entry level compared to what I had before but I’ll be upgrading if resources and needs dictate. To be honest, I wasn’t that successful the first time I tried this. I had to remind myself that even Steve Jobs was fired from the company he started and he needed that life lesson to make Apple what it is today. I think I’ve learned a lot from my experience which primarily drove the planning this time around. I hope the pictures speak for themselves and I’m happy to answer any questions. One issue I’ll address right away is that I skipped the big 4″ central dust collection and opted for smaller shop vacs/dust deputies throughout the shop. So far I’m happier with the performance. Overall I’ve tried to use as many “lean manufacturing” principles as possible. The bottom line is the most important thing in endeavors like this is to GET GOING so keep that in mind when you see things like a workbench from Harbor Freight and etc. Wish me luck. Thank God I still have a day job, for now.

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Update on Finish Company Consolidations

I’ve reported previously on Sherwin-Williams buying Valspar and PPG’s attempt to buy AkzoNobel, which would combine the two largest coatings suppliers in the world. To complete the purchase of Valspar by Sherwin-Williams, Valspar was required to spin off its wood coatings division to Axalta, which it did. (I had never heard of Axalta before, but it is a large company headquartered in Philadelphia with lots of coatings divisions.) The sale […]

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The Student with a ‘Pause’ Button

My skew and I have a troubled relationship. It is by far my favorite turning tool and when things go right I feel I can do anything. We also fight a lot. To the level where those “never again” words cross my lips. It usually takes some form of counseling to get us back together. Our latest blowout was over rolling a bead. I think video is one of the best […]

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness

I don’t care for gizmos, jigs and silly accessories. So even though I spend a fair amount of time on the lathe, I resisted purchasing the Galbert Caliper for many years. In its place, I used go/no-go gauges, box wrenches and traditional turning calipers (which are the worst). But while at Handworks this year, I broke down and gave Peter $60 for a Galbert Caliper. Today I put it to […]

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#WhyIMake: What’s Your Story?

why i make slices of zen

Among the goals of the #WhyIMake campaign (from infosys.org) is to inspire people to make things with their hands, to spread the importance of maker skills and to share resources for doing so. It began as a foundation aimed toward encouraging children and K-12 educators of underrepresented groups, and has grown into a celebration of the maker movement at large. Among well-known people with whom the foundation has partnered to get out the message are […]

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Winner(s): Ridiculous Woodworking Books

Ridiculous Books cover winner

Y’all are funny – picking the winner of the Ridiculous Woodworking Books contest was a difficult task. But I had to choose a winner, so…I chose two. Each of the winners gets a copy of our reprint of David Denning’s “The Art and Craft of Cabinet-Making.” One is Wittefish’s birdhouse homage to one of my favorite books, “Go the F**k to Sleep,” by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes – of which […]

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How to Keep Kids From Wasting Sandpaper – Part 2

Two years ago, I built a jig to help me cut sandpaper sheets into a few different practical sizes for our classroom. The sizes that we use are eighths, quarters (long strips) and half sheets. The eighths pieces are very useful for hand sanding and for working small to medium sized projects. We mount the long quarter sheet on our beloved Preppin sanding blocks, and the half sheet is useful […]

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Milling Live-Sawn Lumber

milling livesawn lumber

Lumber from large commercial suppliers typically comes with straight-sawn edges. But when you saw your own logs or buy from smaller outfits, you have to find your way along the live edges and around the defects to get the best yield from a board. Or maybe I shouldn’t say you “have to”; a happier way of thinking about live-sawn lumber is to realize that it affords creative, structural and aesthetic […]

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Urban Forestry & a Rash of Alarming Stumps

urban forestry

Recently in my neighborhood, there has been an alarming outbreak of stumps. The City of Cincinnati has been removing trees that are encroaching on and breaking up the sidewalks, in anticipation of the replacement and repair of said walkways – a cost that is the responsibility of homeowners…which has caused some anger. I understand why we need passable walkways (I also understand the disgruntlement at having to pay for them, particularly with […]

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Be Seated: The Benchcrafted Swing-away Seat

Sitting at your workbench does not make you lazy. Many times it makes you smart. Chopping out the waste between dovetails requires endurance and patience – especially when building a large piece of casework with drawers. If you sit while chopping, you conserve energy and your eyes are closer to your chisel, improving accuracy. The same goes for mortising where exactitude is important. During the last few weeks I’ve been […]

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father’s Day

In my youth and from my background, Father’s day was never featured and really, I don’t remember any hint of it in the culture of my time. Perhaps that was a northern thing, perhaps the great divide between the haves and the have nots, the North and the South, the then Working classes and the …

Read the full post Father’s Day on Paul Sellers' Blog.



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Friday, June 16, 2017

Down with Douglas Fir! – Friday Live!

Today we’re talking about a range of topics including why I don’t think you should build a table out of construction grade Douglas Fir. Here’s the rundown:

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Planes to Buy and Planes You Best Avoid

My basic view of the smaller planes called block planes is that they might occasionally prove handy but they have only limited real value in terms of general woodworking use unless you are working on  smaller work at say finer levels where larger planes may perhaps be a little cumbersome or for some other specialist …

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11 Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts with Digital Delivery

brendan tools

Sometimes the best Father’s Day gifts are the ones that you pick up at the very last second…right? We understand that some of our readers haven’t taken advantage of our free shipping deal – which runs through this weekend if you want to hand Dad a receipt of a product that is in the mail – so we have curated a list of 11 products from our store that be […]

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Introduction to the BARN Workbench

A workbench designed for hand tool woodworkers but made (partially) with a CNC. It features a 3D carved leg vise and a workbench top designed to improve ergonomics. I designed the BARN workbench for the Bainbridge Island Artisan Resource Network. It’s a Seattle area community group that has built a wonderful community facility for artisans to share resources, education, and workspace. I wanted to help my new neighbors, so I […]

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Book Giveaway: Perfect Edge

Perfect Edge

Any experienced woodworker will tell you that the first secret to good work is keeping your tools sharp. “The Perfect Edge” by Ron Hock is one of the best books out there on sharpening woodworking tools. If you don’t have it, you need it. From choosing a sharpening set-up to in depth coverage of different sharpening methods, this book takes the mystery out of this crucial set of skills. I’m […]

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Quick & Easy Mortises

Yesterday, a member of our Guild Facebook group described some difficulty they were having making mortises with a hand-held router. This is something I do quite frequently and the person jested that I make it look too easy. Like anything, making mortises gets easier with practice but I believe anyone can find success with this particular process if they just follow some simple guidelines. So I decided to whip up a quick video that breaks it all down. And because I can’t stand when people/companies create acronyms and then force words into them, I’m proud to bring you LTBD (pronounced ltbd).

Layout

Without proper layout, you won’t know where the mortise is supposed to go and you won’t be able to set up your router properly. So I always fully layout one of each size mortise I need in my projects. If there’s more than one of a particular mortise, I only lay out start and stop lines since my edge guide holds the router a specific distance in from the edge.

Tools

I recommend a decent plunge router, an edge guide, and a nice sharp up-spiral bit. Here’s the bit I used in this demo.
Unfortunately, not every router manufacturer makes an edge guide, but common brands like Bosch, DeWalt, Festool, and Porter Cable have them available. There are also after-market edge-guides available like this one from Milescraft.

Balance

The narrower the workpiece, the more difficult it will be to balance the router. So it’s a good idea to double up or even triple up on your workpieces to provide extra base support. I often offset the support piece so it not only prevents the router from tipping side to side, but also provides additional support front to back (especially hand for mortises that are near the end of a workpiece).

Direction

Although mortise routing involves surrounding the bit with wood, you should still pay attention to your router direction. I recommend pushing the router away from you moving left to right. This keeps the router moving against the rotation of the bit and should yield a better cut, as the router tends to pull into the work keeping the fence tight against the workpiece.

If you follow LTBD, there will be very few workpieces you can’t safely and accurately route a mortise into. Get some practice with this technique and before you know it, you’ll be mortising everything!

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Last Chance to Enter the 2017 Excellence Awards!

The 2017 Excellence Awards entry period will close on Friday (6/16) at midnight! The grand-prize winner gets a check for US$1,000, the winner in each of the five categories, and the overall Readers’ Choice winner, get a gift certificate to ShopWoodworking.com – plus, the grand-prize piece, and the Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Choice winners in each category will be featured in the November issue. There is absolutely no cost to […]

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HVLP Finishing a Benefit for All

HVLP Sprayer

When I was first learning woodworking, HVLP didn’t exist. That’s something I lament on occasion when I recall taking a deep breath (even with a face mask and decent air collection) before starting to spray a lacquer finish. The overspray cloud was amazing and there really wasn’t a way to avoid it – affecting my breathing and my ability to see what I was finishing! HVLP (high volume low pressure) […]

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Making Two and More

I am almost through the series on making a beautiful stepladder. What makes a stepladder beautiful? It’s beautiful because I made it with my own hands, my own power, my own strength, my own mind. It’s beautiful because it’s simple to look at. It’s simple because it’s functional and it’s beautiful because I see form …

Read the full post Making Two and More on Paul Sellers' Blog.



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Paste Wax – Make it Harder & Glossier

The first big investigation I ever did for an article in a woodworking magazine was on paste waxes. I collected 13 different brands and tried to figure out the differences. I also read as much as I could find on wax. This was all brought back to me when I got into the long discussion about wax that I told you about in my last post. My friend was trying […]

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Ridiculous Woodworking Books (Give me More!)

As I work on the upcoming article “Young Maker’s Bookshelves” (for the October 2017 issue), I’m reminded of one of my favorite-ever posts (from 2009): “Ridiculous Woodworking Books, ” by Christopher Schwarz – mostly for the hilarious responses. But that was 8 years ago – it’s time for some new ones. Here’s a few from me (which are at best merely amusing): “The Ultimate Guide to Craft Fair Crap” (an […]

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lee’s Horizontal Bookcase

This was my first big project that I designed start to finish, and I’m extremely happy with the results. I started woodworking only about two years ago, and watching The Wood Whisperer videos has really helped me with my progress as an amateur woodworker. I’ve been inspired to try projects I never thought I could do.

The bookcase shelves and backing are all maple 3/4″ plywood. I was lucky enough to get some sheets that had a lot of birds-eye grain which really popped once finished. I started by using my plunge-router to dado the backing to give the shelves some extra support and make leveling them easier. Once I had that together, I built the outside with 1 by 6 pine that I Kreg-jigged together to avoid showing any screws. I alternated the lengths of the boards on each side by 3/4″ to make the end-grain interlock for some extra character on the corners, and I’m really pleased with how that ended up looking! When that was all connected, I finished off the front with some 1 by 3 and 1 by 2 pine trim pieces, attached with brad nails and some counter-sunk screws for extra strength, and then capped with some wood plugs.

With a bit of wood filler for the brads, a lot of sanding, and some finishing with Minwax Jacobean stain, the bookcase was complete! The bookcase  is about 7 feet long and 3 feet tall and fits along our living room wall perfectly. Luckily, my wife is a great decorator, so she added the finishing touches to make the bookcase a part of our home.

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Sharp edges – Seeing, Feeling and Elevating

A chisel’s cutting edge doesn’t so much wear away only  but fracture out of sharpness. It’s funny that we think of it as wearing to dullness in the way river rock is rounded by  river run and beach pebbles and stones by tidal washes when in my experience, looking at the edge and magnifying it, the …

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To See Like a Woodworker – A Forgotten Chamfer

In the August 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, George Walker shares what it means to “See Like a Designer.” The article tells the classic story of how his workshop students transition from casual consumers of objects and art to sentient observers of form and design. It is a transition that I am familiar with – my upbringing in a machine shop that created custom automation equipment meant that very […]

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Congrats to Mark Bushinski, PWM 2017 Workshop Makeover Winner!

Mark with daughter

Congratulations to Mark Bushinski of Minneapolis, Minnesota! Mark was chosen as the winner of the Popular Woodworking Magazine 2017 Workshop Makeover Giveaway. Mark won a new workshop stocked with more than $9,200 of tools from Jet, Bessey and Woodpeckers. Mark, where do you live and what is your occupation? I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with my wife and two children. I am 35 years old and work for the state […]

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Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Resize a Cabinet Door

Cut the door to size on the table saw

We all know the old saw about measuring twice and cutting once. I’ve even gone one better in my world: Measure three times. Nonetheless, I still occasionally find that I’ve made a door or a drawer the wrong size. (I once made an entire cabinet, complete with four drawers, that was an inch too wide for the opening where it was intended to go…oh, the pain.) Over the years, I’ve […]

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How to Make Snap-to-line Templates

I have used snap-to-line templates for my work for a number of years now and no other method of making templates comes close. They are accurate and long lasting too. We made a quick video to help you understand the techniques and I am sure you will enjoy this. Here is the video for my …

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

It’s Not What the Boy Does to the Wood…

…but What the Wood Does to the Boy! On Saturday morning Hannah completed another box. I thought it was perfect. She didn’t. Not until it was done that is. Then she liked what she’d done. What makes the box as near perfect as possible in my consideration of the whole in not so much the …

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‘Arrowhead Joint’ Box

arrowhead joint

Eric Brown, a Dayton-area tool collector and woodworker, has been conducting further investigating and experimentation into curious corner joinery (read his “log cabin dovetail” piece by clicking on the link). Yesterday, he stopped by while I was minding the Lost Art Press shop to show me his latest: what he’s calling the “Arrowhead Joint.” The procedure is similar to the log cabin tails linked above, but he added a new angle – 45° to be exact. […]

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to Keep Kids From Wasting Sandpaper – Part 1

It seems that no other shop resource is treated with such obliviousness as sandpaper. Although sandpaper is responsible for the last steps of shaping much of our work, it doesn’t receive the same heed as hand tools, or even portable tools. And, for obvious reasons, it doesn’t have the same sex-appeal as a hand tool. It is also disposable and cheap. Still, I tell my students: although it may seem […]

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Classic vs Modern Workbenches & Spiral Bits – Friday Live!

Today we talked about the differences between classic and more modern workbenches (MFT, Paulk, etc) as well as the difference between up and down-spiral bits.

Here’s the topic rundown:
3:03 – Do you know what days you’ll be at AWFS?
3:14 – Are there any tricks to using epoxy as a finish?
4:53 – Could you ever see yourself being successful with an MFT variant workbench?
6:28 – Do you see your children taking an interest in woodworking?
10:31 – What are the benefits of putting wax on a finish?
13:18 – Should I batch build cabinets or make them individually?
16:15 – What finish/sealant do you recommend for an outdoor endgrain table?
18:45 – When planing wood at the planer and flipping the stock, do you account for the wood you’ve removed at the jointer?
20:22 – Should I get the Carter bandsaw guides from Carter or buy the Powermatic Carter style guides?
22:22 – What is the best method to squaring the ends of a live edge table?
23:02 – What can be done when an edgeguide on a router is needed but there are none available for your model?
24:48 – How does up and down spiral work with router bits?
29:00 – Are you ever coming to Australia?
31:11 – Is there any merit to having chisels with varying bevel angles?
32:12 – When is woodworkers fighting cancer?
32:57 – Is there any lacquer that would hold up outdoors?
33:10 – Would you buy a low or high angle plane if you could only have one?
34:27 – What is the advantage of fastening a crestrail with screws instead of M&T?
35:57 – What was your first tool and do you still have it?
36:22 – If I’m spraying paint, should I just use an airless sprayer or get an HVLP?
38:19 – Patreon/Project Winners.
38:40 – New Patreon supporters.
39:37 – What is the next guild project?

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Book Giveaway: Denning on Cabinet-making

Denning on Cabinet-making

After a brief lapse in book giveaways due to a bit of travel, I’m back at it again. This week I’m giving away a copy of “The Art and Craft of Cabinet-making” by David Denning. It’s a high-quality binding of a classic woodworking text that belongs in every woodworker’s collection. You’ll find insight into wood selection, glue prep, tools and appliances, joinery, decorative details, hardware and much more (just check out the table […]

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Steve’s Spacious Garage Woodshop

My wife and I recently finished a significant renovation on our dream home, and thankfully I got a nice dedicated woodshop out of the deal! I was lucky to be able to design this new shop from the ground up, so I thought I’d share a few pics of my happy place. I received significant inspiration from seeing all the other shop tours here. I hope these pictures give you some ideas.

My shop is a 600 sf L-shaped space, added onto the far end of our 3 car attached garage. The long side of the L, which is the outside wall, is 32′ long, and the short side, which faces the backyard, is 24′ long. Each corridor is 14-15′ wide. I took the rear half of the 3rd car space for the short side of the L, and this is where 8’x6′ double steel entrance doors to the shop are located. The doors are right in front of the table saw, so I can open them to manage long stock on the saw when necessary. There is a garage door on the other side of the shop to bring in lumber and provide ventilation. The floor is concrete, and epoxy coated, which really helps with light reflection and clean up. The ridge beam is 14′ high, so the shop feels really spacious. I find as my eyes age I need more light, so I aimed at _100 lumens/sf using a combination of 14 ceiling cans, 6 Big Ass LED garage lights, and a few task lights from my old shop. I painted the walls a semi-gloss bright white to help reflect all the light and keep the illumination distributed. It worked out great, and I love how bright it is. The space stays cool and ventilated using 4 skylights that open, a 60″ ceiling fan, and two large sliding windows on the wall facing our wooded backyard. The space is heated with a 75,000 BTU enclosed combustion heater hanging from the ceiling. My 3HP Oneida dust collector and a 20 gal. compressor are located outside the shop in a garage storage nook, which saves precious floor space and keeps things quiet. All tools have their own dust collection blast gate, connected via hard pipe to a 6″ main duct and everything either in the attic or run along the walls to avoid overhead interference. A Delta air cleaner hangs about 10′ off the floor to keep things clean when I’m being particularly messy. Compressed air is distributed around the shop walls using the Rapid Air products, with multiple drops, each with a regulator and quick connect. Multiple slab and wood storage areas are located up high where ever I could fit a rack. If there is one thing I wish I had more of, it is wood storage space. Can you ever have too much wood? I think not. All walls are covered in 3/4″ plywood to make mounting everything easy. The shop has its own 100 amp panel, and all wiring is within the walls. I have running water and a sink as well. For finishing, I plan to use the garage space and try my hand at spraying once in a while.

I spent many hours drawing layouts to maximize overall workflow efficiency. I paid extra attention to working with large pieces, since I really enjoy breaking down big ole’ slabs and milling my own stock. The 16″ Meber bandaw and 12″ Hammer A3-31 are a joy to use. Almost everything is on wheels to provide versatility. You can see in the pictures that my next project needs to be an outfeed table for my new tablesaw. Believe it or not, I have never owned a tablesaw, but I managed to build a lot of great things using my Festool TS55 and some router skills. The empty wall space located next to the clamp rack will ultimately hold a wall mounted tool cabinet for my hand tools. My recently completed split-top Roubo sits right in the center of the space. All my Festool gear is in pull-out drawers just behind the bench for easy access. I have a Norm-inspired workbench hutch that is my general purpose space, and a 6′ assembly bench below the clamps, as well as an MFT I can move around. I like having a lot of fastener options, so I filled a 5′ wall section with bins so I can find what I need quickly and keep organized. The one tool I am currently missing is a lathe, which I will find a space for in time. I am finally ready to start making a whole list of things for the new house now that this shop space is complete and everything is operational.

I really enjoyed placing memories and art that mean something to me around the shop walls. Gives the place great energy and I smile even wider every time I walk in and soak in the creative juices this space gives me. One serious highlight for me is the 40 year old stereo I had in college installed in the corner, along with my record player and all of my records I’ve been hauling around for decades. Just turning this stuff on and hearing the needle drop gives me joy. This is my happy place. I crank tunes and ruin perfectly good lumber. Life is good. Build on!

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My Love For Wood

Mostly my working wood and my enjoyment of it still is the area surrounding joinery followed quickly by design. Generally, all designs are governed in great measure by the wood type, colour, grain configuration and wood strength. Wood density, flex, brittleness, porosity and other such wood characters pertinent to different wood types must also be …

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Frank Klausz & the Joys of Filister Planes

If you enjoy using hand planes in your woodworking, then you may be considering adding specialty planes (like a filister) to your shop. Frank Klausz is a fan of filister planes, and in this short video he shows some of the details on adjusting and using a metal-bodied filister to make a ship-lapped joint. Just one more example of his impressive knowledge of woodworking joinery, and why we love learning from Frank. If […]

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