Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009

I don't know
what's beyond the mountain 
where the late sunlight streams,
but I've already sent my mind ahead


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best Computer Case Ever!

Now I have to take back the negative things I've said about combining wood and computer hardware. What you're looking at is a Sangaku Japanese case mod, that is, a custom-made box for a desktop computer in the style of Sangaku. Sangaku is the Japanese word for unique, wooden, mathematical tablets created during the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan.
This case was designed by Nick Falzone, a 19-year old college student studying Architecture at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo CA. Writing for, Geoff Richards says,

The spirit of the ancient sangaku lives on in the craftsmanship and attention to detail of this project. In the end, there are some 130 wood joints and the case took approximately 300 hours to build in Nick's spare time over nine months during 2005.
Visit the website for step-by-step photos of the building of this incredible custom computer case and of some of the elements of Japanese design that inspired it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bench Dog

More of a bench pup than a bench dog.
Posted by WoodNet Hand Tools Forum member DerekCohen.

Keeping It Simple

WoodNet Forums member NickBee built this plant stand of Poplar with Walnut plywood.
This project presents a few firsts for me. It’s my 1st project with rail / stile / panel construction and it’s the 1st project I completed on my new router table. Now I know there are easier ways out there to accomplish the end result but it was cool to complete this project with: One router bit, One router table fence setting, No specific measurements required.
He's posted enough photos and details to make this into a full-fledged tutorial. I especially like the close-ups of the tight joinery.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Designer Firewood

As readers of this blog know, I enjoy just about everything that's made of wood, and typically appreciate the more unusual applications. But I think I found the limit to my appreciation. Boing Boing Gadgets featured a piece this week about a Berlin-based artist, Nicolas Fischer, who created a sculpture of the world's gross domestic product with the worlds derivatives volume as a statistical map cnc-milled in wood. Kind of a neat idea. But when the result is that ugly, there's only one place for that sculpture: the fireplace! What am I not seeing here? Click image for larger view, or better yet, don't.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tip for Centering Clamping Pressure

If you use pipe clamps to glue up a solid-wood panel, it's important that the clamping pressure is centered on the thickness of the panel. If it isn't, you'll end up with a buckled panel. What I do to center clamping pressure is fit a dowel that's the same diameter as the thickness of the panel between the clamp jaws and the panel (see Photo). The dowel redistributes the clamping pressure so it's centered on the workpiece. The result is a perfectly flat, glued-up panel.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Somebody's going to be very happy this holiday. WoodNet Hand Tool Forum member LloydParker posted this photo of a mallet he just finished turning. It made of Osage Orange. Beautiful.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Terrific Tool Boxes is featuring an article of ten interesting tool boxes of different ages and containing tools for different purposes. Lots of cool photos.
The Henry O. Studley tool box is shown in the photo. When closed and hanging on a wall it's 39 inches by 20 inches and 9 inch deep. It opens up to become a 40 inch by 40 inch tool chest.
It's made out of mahogany, rosewood, walnut, ebony, and mother of pearl (Henry was a piano maker). Each tool fits snugly into its space, often with an audible click as the tool snaps into its closely-fit cavity.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Right-size Workshop

WoodNet Forums member stevenstorey has just posted photos of his new workshop.

I started it August 29th and completed Oct 30. The walls are 7'4" at the wall going to 8'2" in the center... The model I got came from Tuff Shed. It is 12 x 16'8" ( 200 SF ) the max that the city would allow. It does have a concrete foundation.
Photos and discussion here. One interesting part of the discussion is the guys like the smaller size. We see lots of super-large shops featured in magazines. This one looks like it would be comfortable to actually work in.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tall Bookcase Plans

When you're home celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, look around your house. If there's one thing we can all usually agree on, it's that we can use more storage - as long as we don't have to sacrifice a lot of floor space to get it. That's what makes this tower bookcase so useful. It takes up less than two square feet of floor space - yet gives you six deep shelves for books and collectibles.
You can download the bookcase plans for free - they're the sample plans offered to people considering joining So while you're downloading the plans, be sure to check out PlansNOW's new membership offers. That makes everything kosher (which is also nice on Thanksgiving). Have a terrific holiday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three for Three Forums member QSAWN says he's "finally finished" building three cribs for his three new sons.

Well, it took me about a month to complete 90% before the boys were born and 8 months to complete the last 10% after they were born.
Well deserved congratulations on both counts and more comments in the Woodworking Forum. BTW: Plans for the crib are available in print or as a download at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crosscutting Bowed Boards

When it comes to crosscutting a board to length, I really appreciate my sliding compound miter saw. But cutting a bowed board always made me a bit nervous, at least until recently.
That's because a bowed board often rocks back and forth on the saw table, so it's hard to make a controlled cut. Worse yet, the workpiece can pinch against the sides of the blade as you make a cut, causing a dangerous kickback. Fortunately, there's a simple trick that will help reduce the chance of this happening.
Start by placing the board on the saw table so the bow faces up (Detail a). Then make a couple of shallow passes (about a 1/4" deep), overlapping them to form one wide kerf. Now make a full-depth cut all the way through the board (Detail b).
As the saw blade cuts completely through, the board will "settle" a bit so it sits flat on the saw table. But it won't pinch the sides of the blade. The wide kerf provides the extra clearance that's needed to prevent the blade from binding. The end result is a safe, controlled cut.
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For a Very Special Girl

Here's the end view of a hope chest that Joe Grout recently built and posted in the woodworking forum at

Solid red oak, finish is water white lacquer nothing else. I did not snap a pic but the bottom is aromatic cedar.
More photos and talk about how it was built.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

At last: Wood and PCs Work Together

As I have mentioned here before, there have been several attempts to house high tech objects in natural materials (wood). Most of them, IMHO, aren't successful as wooden objects or high tech cases. Until now.
Check out these beautiful PC's wooden cases from Japanese designer Ryou Ikurin. It's a traditional art form, covering wood enclosures with Japanese lacquer, called Urushi.
There's more at Boing Boing Gadgets.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Media Center in Woodsmith

Woodsmith has published several TV cabinet projects over the years. They’re handsome, sturdy, and… largely obsolete. The new flat screen TV’s don’t fit in the old cabinets. So this time, the designers created a Media Center that won’t go out of style or become obsolete.

The Center begins with a base cabinet that can accommodate a 42″ television and all the boxes and cables that go with it. This can be a stand alone unit. Or as space, time, and needs allow, you can add the side cabinets and the bridge over the TV. The cases are plywood with hardwood edging. The doors are frame and panel.

Woodsmith is calling No. 180 the Special Storage Issue. It also includes Hanging Wall Shelves and a Snack Tray Cabinet. And there are technique articles on making cove molding on the table saw and tenons on the router table.

Subscribers will see this issue in the mail boxes very soon. You’ll also find it on the newsstand, and you can visit to check out the issue and ask for a free preview issue.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good News at is the only place online you can download over 350 Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench project plans and technique articles. It's where you'll find all the most popular project plans published since the magazines began. It's a hopping place accounting for over 50,000 downloads a year.

Well, the best just got better. Now you can join PlansNOW, and you can download the best plans on the web for as little as $1.50 each. Here's how it works: There are three levels of membership, Platinum, Gold, and Classic. Classic membership is free and you get monthly e-coupons for a 20% discount on all your purchases. Gold membership is $19.95. It includes 5 plans and a $9.95 woodworking book. Platinum membership is the best deal of all: $29.95 gets you 20 plans plus 2 woodworking books.

If you need plans, and maybe to brush up your techniques, check this out.

Disclaimer: This bit of shameless promotion can be forgiven as PlansNOW is my day job.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Improved Sanding Block

For the longest time, I used a scrap piece of wood for a sanding block. It was simple and didn’t cost much. But it never worked as well as I would've liked — the sandpaper tended to shift around and tear. Then, the guys at Woodsmith came up with a "new" sanding block that works really well. Not only does it fit my hand perfectly; it also holds the paper in place using plastic tubing.
To make the sanding block, first I found a "palm-sized" scrap block and drilled a couple of rounded channels across the top of the block. (To do this, you'll need a 1/2"-dia. Forstner bit.) Finally, round the nose of the block on a belt sander, and if you want to get really fancy, you can rout a finger grip on each side. Note: Click on the drawing for a larger view.
The sandpaper is held in place by two pieces of 1/2"-dia. plastic tubing that are cut to length and pressed into the channels. To use the sanding block, simply secure the back end of the sandpaper with one of the plastic tubes. Then wrap the paper around the block and secure the other end the same way.
You can get more woodworking tips like this from the editors of Woodsmith magazine in the weekly e-tip. They're free. Sign-up here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Winter Project?

Fall is in the air, and winter can't be far behind. At some point this winter, you'll need something that will give you hope that the warm weather will return. I think WoodNet Woodworking Forums member Purds may have built just the thing: A beautiful porch swing.

I was much faster on this project than the last one (a dresser that took two years). This took less than two weeks, and most of that time was waiting for the finish to dry/cure.I used plans my wife found and wanted emulated, though the plans called for painted pine/plywood, and I used plywood and red oak. I know it will fade, but I like the look of the colors right now.
More photos and discussion at

Watch Your Head

If you love wood and you want to see the wildest wooden house ever, then click through to the websites below for lots of photos, plus floor plans and space analysis. It's called the Final Wooden House from Japanese firm Sou Fujimoto Architects.
What's also interesting is that it's not just a model, but has actually been built.
Final Wooden House at the Cool Hunting blog and Log House at the today and tomorrow blog.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cabinetmaker's Workbench

I love workbenches--all kinds of them. I get excited when seeing a new one in a magazine or book. Well, today was a good day for me. The guys brought the new ShopNotes workbench back from the photo studio and put it on display in the lobby. It's on the cover of ShopNotes No. 102, and it's terrific. Made of Douglas Fir and heavily built, this is one bench you'll have for the long haul.

The designers also converted their drawings into an animation. You can see that here.

To learn more about ShopNotes Magazine, you can visit the website. And if you'd like to see even more workbenches, we've got 16 more of them at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walnut Lovers Only

The wood, not the nut. Over at the WoodNet woodworking forum, member John_Fry has posted photos of a very large walnut and walnut burl credenza he recently completed for a client. It's beautiful, but I'm bringing this post to your attention because John also posted about 20 in-process photos showing how he built this credenza.
Worth seeing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Balsa Wood Project

Balsa wood projects are fairly rare on real woodworking websites (like this one). In fact, I'm trying to remember ever seeing even one. But that's really unfair to this lightweight wood that most of us only know as the wings on rubber band airplanes. So here's a link to, of all things, the Canon Camera Museum for a lesson in prototyping camera designs using balsa wood.

All kidding aside, this is pretty interesting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Applying Edging

Gluing hardwood edging to plywood has never been one of my favorite tasks. It’s always tricky to keep the edging from slipping while tightening down the clamps. So to help hold the edging in place, I made some special clamping blocks. These blocks have a shallow, wide groove on one side that's sized to just fit over the edging and plywood. This holds the edging flush with the plywood. (Click on the drawing for a larger version.)
In case you're wondering, to prevent the blocks from getting glued to the workpiece, I apply wax to the surface of the blocks before using them.
You can have tips like this delivered to your computer every week from the editors of Woodsmith Magazine. They're free.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bandsaw Box on Steroids

Bandsaw boxes are quick, easy, and fun to make. Woodworking magazines feature them as weekend projects. They tend to be a little funky, and it's a good chance for a woodworker to get creative because you're typically free-hand cutting the hole(s).
Designer Alex Schlegel pumps the whole concept up several notches with his basswood Band Saw Safe.

The 13 drawers of this band-saw box rotate rather than open outward. Objects for safekeeping are placed into the large, central drawer through a hole in the bottom of the box. Since the arrows on the front of each drawer point toward the drawer's open side, objects may be moved from one drawer to another by first lining up the arrows on the two drawers and then rotating the entire box so that the objects fall from the first drawer to the second.
Specs and a larger photo here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stanley 78

Over in the WoodNet Hand Tools Forum, moderator Joe Fisher shared one of his recent Craig's List finds, a Stanley 78. It was in pretty tough shape when he got it.

I was planning to just clean it up a bit. I hit it with some POR-15 Metal Ready I had on hand, which claims to remove rust. Then I thought why not try the POR-15 as japanning? It looks similar and is tough as nails. After a good cleaning and rinsing with water, I dried it and used a brass wire wheel to clean the sides and sole. I then applied wax anywhere I didn't want paint to adhere. I then proceeded to paint the plane, myself, my shirt, the table, and everything in a 3' radius of the table. I'm not sure what happened; it was all a blur.
Looks almost new now (click image for larger view). See lots more photos and comments in the forum.

Wooden Flash Drive

In my limited experience, wooden cases for various computers and peripherals come in two categories: the cheap-looking ugly ones that I can afford, and the beautiful, sophisticated ones that I can't afford. These beautiful Mahjong disk USB Flash Drives are in the second category.
The idea is that you can get a flash drive with your favorite Mahjong characters hand carved on the wooden case.

Now these things are insanely expensive, but it is interesting that the material of choice for a product like this is wood.

Lots more photos and the price (prepare yourself) on the website.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chainsaw Rocker

It seems that every woodworking show has a guy in the parking lot carving bears and eagles out of logs with a chainsaw. I've also noticed some people saving the trunk of a dead tree in their yard by having someone carve it into a bear or a couple raccoons. Actually I think that's kind of neat.
But I've never seen anything even close to this: chain saw carving a car seat. From the Cool Hunting blog:

Chainsaw Rocker, a 1:1 reproduction of a Honda Accord car seat, came from a junkyard find that artist/designer Christopher Chiappa had kicking around his studio. While working with chainsaw sculptors on another project, he managed to convince an artisan to make a rendering of the seat... The resulting sculpture [is] replete with functional brass plated rockers.
It doesn't say what wood was used. Get more info and photos at the Cool Hunting website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Putty Trick

When filling nail holes with putty, I used to smear the putty around without too much thought. This caused problems if the putty was lighter or darker than the wood around it and resulted in large blotches (instead of tiny nail-sized spots). Fortunately, I found a better way to fill the holes with less mess.
Before even picking up the hammer and nails, first I apply a strip of masking tape. Then I drive in the nails or brads and set the heads like I normally would. Finally, I force the putty into the holes and remove the tape. The small “bump” of putty that remains can be easily sanded away.
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Cedar Cups and Bottle

I've always been a big fan of bent wood furniture and other projects that involve bending steamed wood around a mold. I especially like Shaker boxes.
While I was visiting the Design Within Reach website last week, their Cedar Sake Cups and Bottle caught my eye. I don't know how these are made, but the design is striking. The process is called Magewappa, and it uses highly select Akiti cedar trees in Japan. From the website:
The tradition of Japanese woodcraft called Magewappa has been practiced for 400 years in Odate City. This area, located on the east end of the Shirakami Mountains, is known for its history of growing cedar. Designer Shunji Kurimori is part of a history that’s equally rich, building on six generations of his family’s business, established in 1874. Kurimori’s Cedar Sake Cup Set is made using old cedar trees with a striking narrow grain, resulting in a bentwood low-conduction vessel that keeps cold sake cool, hot sake warm.
More photos and history are available at the DWR website.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Log Bowls

Turning bowls from logs probably dates from the very first version of some pre-historic lathe. But somehow, I always thought of turning both the outside of a piece of wood as well as the inside to create a bowl. Now I know better.
Here are log bowls from the Loyal Loot Collective. From Loyal Loot:
Log Bowls combine the incomparable beauty of trees in their natural state with a high-gloss vibrant finish. Each bowl is handmade using only locally reclaimed
trees of all varieties (fallen or cut down due to infrastructure, re-landscaping, droughts, or stormy weather). The trees are hand selected, gathered, turned and finished by Loyal Loot Collective and local crafts people. Log Bowls come in a large variety of colors and are completed by hand with a water-based, furniture grade finish.
The Loyal Loot Collective's website has many more items worth seeing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

591 Pieces

Member Captainkrusty in the WoodNet Forums has posted a couple photos of his latest turned pot. But he says the wood turning was a small part of the job. From his post:

Segmented wood turning is 10% lathe work and the other 90% is done on the jointer, table saw, drum sander, planer, and disc sander. It isn't an inlay and
the design (except the turquoise) goes all the way through to the inside. It is a Native American shape and I call it "Rain Dance". It does contain 591 pieces of Paduak, Bubinga, Purpleheart, hard maple and what I think is a beautiful figured big leaf maple. It stands 13" tall and 10" wide at the middle. The turquoise is a product called "Inlace" and is a imitation stone that can be turned. The finish is waterlox.
Another photo and lots of comments in the Woodworking forum.

Building Blocks for Kids?

When my son was about three, I made him a set of building blocks out of beautiful hard maple in a range of sizes and shapes. He's a little old for that now, but I still have the blocks, a whole 5 gallon pail of them. I admit that I played with the blocks along side my son. But now I've found a set of blocks I want for myself. These are Cuboro Building Blocks, available from the Design Within Reach website. From the catalog:

First designed as an instructional game for Swiss schoolchildren, the Cuboro Standard Building Block Set (1979) has evolved into a labyrinth designing exercise for all ages, including those old enough to run a company. Configurable in infinite combinations, the weighted marbles travel and forge their own path through underground tracks and hidden passages.
The upgrade here is that the 2" Beech wood cubes have grooves and holes in them to accommodate marbles. So you build your structure with the idea of allowing the marbles to disappear inside the blocks wind around and reappear at the bottom. I am totally into this. I hope my wife is reading this blog. I also hope she orders me a set for Christmas without noticing the price ($275).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Skinny Table

WoodNet Forums member Blaine solved a difficult problem with this attractive walnut table.

My mother-in-law recently moved into a Senior apartment in her home town. Outside of the door to many of the apartments there is a very small alcove where the residents often put a shelf of some sort to personalize their space and "welcome" others to their door. I designed and built the table (above) to fit in that alcove as a Christmas present.... I had a lot of fun making this piece. It's got way more curves than anything I've made before and the spokeshave was of tremendous value and way too much fun to use. The table is an odd shape/size, but it's going to work pretty well in its final resting place.

There are lots more photos and comments in the WoodNet Forums post.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sanding Pad

Here's a quick tip as we go about our various home improvement and woodworking projects this weekend.
Fold a quarter sheet (or half sheet) of sandpaper into a pad that eliminates the usual grit-to-grit contact. What’s nice about this pad is the unexposed surfaces won’t wear as you sand with the outer surface. The pad also works great when sanding a project on the lathe. With four layers of insulation, my fingers don’t get as hot.
To fold the pad, first make a single cut to the center of the sheet. Then follow the steps shown below. To expose a new surface, simply refold the pad.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Chicks Love It is featuring this unique chicken coop, designed and built by a couple in Nova Scotia. The design is based on a drawing by Cezanne (the painter, who knew?) and is built to house six hens.
As you can imagine, that roof caused no end of hassles, but the result is worth it. The website has more photos (finished and in progress) and some information on how the swooped roof was constructed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Library Table

The project designers at Woodsmith Magazine have really out done themselves with the Craftsman-Style Library Table in Issue 179 (it's the October/November issue). I saw the finished table in the lobby and couldn't take my eyes off it. From the intro page:
It starts with a solidly built frame with a beefy top. The square, gently eased edges create clean, crisp lines. The minimal amount of aesthetic detail is aided by the appearance of through tenon joinery and the gracefully shaped corbels attached beneath the upper rails.
Even the editor waxes poetic when describing it. Check it out on the newsstand, or visit and ask for a free preview issue.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mitered Half Laps

Joinery is what it's all about. Great joinery is great woodworking. And when we think of great joinery we always think of... dovetails. But there's more, and one of my favorites is the mitered half lap. It's not all that hard to make if your table saw blade is sharp and properly adjusted, and you keep your wits about you.
A while ago, Woodsmith posted a video on their website to accompany an article in Issue 167 that makes it look easy.
Mitered half laps is also one of the many table saw techniques covered in the ShopNotes book, Table Saw: Tough Cuts Made Easy. See more at

Friday, September 12, 2008

Miller Falls Planes

WoodNet Forums member jacko asks, "How many of you guys have Millers Falls plans?" Turns out a lot of them do. And the well made planes are still in use.
Check out the comments and lots of photos of Millers Falls collections here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is It Woodworking?

Heck, I don't know. But there's plywood involved, so that makes it fair game for this blog.
From the Dezeen blog,

Graduate designer Laura Cahill presented vases and furniture made from unwanted books at New Designers in London earlier this year.
She calls the stool "Heavy Read." Make one like it and your friends will be talking about you for weeks.
Now you know what to do with those left over pieces of plywood in the garage, and that pile of old books growing mold in the basement. You're welcome.

Another Rare Cartoon

Last month I mentioned how rare it is to see woodworking depicted in a cartoon. But I did manage to find another cartoon. It was featured recently on the Shedworking blog. It's the cover of cartoonist Carl Giles 31st annual collection of cartoons. The detail is hilarious. Click on the image for a larger version.
Shedworking, by the way, is an interesting blog devoted to people who work at home, and apparently in sheds. Not just woodworkers, but as artists and writers, and in other professions that let one work in small structure in the backyard, or as the English say, in the garden. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Step Stool with Wedged Through Tenons

Sometimes we get a little carried away with projects, but that's half the fun. WoodNet Forums member rausrh says,

Here are a couple of step stools I made for my son. They are mostly made from lyptus, but I ran out of that so I used some maple for the tops of one. I used maple for the tenon wedges. This was my first time using through tenons as well as my first time with wedged tenons.

I used a mortise machine to do the mortises and found that to prevent blowing out the back side I had to use a fresh area of the backer board for each plunge. This may have been because lyptus is so splintery.

More photos and comments here.

Drawer Joint Router Bits

Dovetail joints are a sign of quality craftsmanship because they not only look great and are fairly difficult to make, but they're also very strong. But the fact is that most of the time you just don't need dovetails' looks or strength. However, you do need a strong joint for a drawer front that going to get a lot of use. In these cases, routing a drawer joint on your router table will provide a strong joint with little hassle in a short time.
Digging through the ShopNotes Magazine video archives, I came across this video that shows the techniques for setting up and cutting drawer joints on a router table.
ShopNotes Magazine is loaded with techniques like this. Get a free preview issue and see for yourself.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bamboo Bike

I have commented in earlier posts about the range of new products made in Bamboo today. But here's an unexpected (to me) use of bamboo--for bicycles. But since bamboo is strong and light weight, it makes sense.
Visit for more unusual wooden bikes.

Repairing Loose Tenons

It's frustrating when you cut a mortise only to find out your tenon doesn't fit snugly. Luckily, though, there's an easy fix that doesn't require cutting new mortises. The key is to build up the tenon instead.
A simple fix for a round tenon is to glue on a shaving from a hand plane. Then sand the tenon to fit snugly in the mortise.
For square tenons, glue a thin piece of wood veneer to each cheek. Gluing veneer to both checks ensures the tenon will be centered in the mortise. Orient the grain in the same direction to get a strong glue joint, too. Again, once the glue dries, trim the tenon to fit snugly in the mortise.

You can get more woodworking tips like this delivered to your computer each week from the editors of Woodsmith Magazine. Sign-up here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Workbench with Padauk Details

Another terrific project posted over at the WoodNet Forums. Member Splinter has completed his new workbench--built of Maple with Padauk detailing. He says, "The red wood is Padauk. Really hard and different so that's why I went with it. The sides are shellac and the top is finished with BLO (4 coats) and then waxed with a furniture wax."
(Click on photo for larger view.) More photos and comments here.

iPhone Document Scanner

Wait a minute, this is a woodworking blog. Yes, that's true. And one of the fun things about being a woodworker is that you can you can create some pretty cool stuff that's isn't, strictly speaking, woodworking.
Case in point: If you're one of the many people who has an iPhone, forum member kyleakoch has something for you--plans for a document scanner (we woodworkers would call it a document scanner jig). He made his out of corrugated cardboard, but I can see this lasting almost forever if it were made of say 1/4" Baltic birch plywood or some other quality, stable wood product.
I'm not sure, but I guess you could modify this idea to work with many cell phone cameras.

[Thanks BoingBoing]

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adjustable Height Workbench

Sometimes, your workbench just isn't the right height. Depending on what you're doing, it's too high or too low. Well, here's a solution on page 22 the latest issue of Workbench magazine (October 2008). Workbench reader Roger Bares suggests building an adjustable height bench using a motorcycle lift. The lift (Torin #T64017) allows you to adjust the height of a worksurface you make yourself from plywood and some hardware.
This is a terrific issue of Workbench with projects like building a platform bed, and more ways than I can count to save energy in your home. The whole thing is rounded out with some neat decorating ideas and how-to's. It's on the newsstand now, and you can check it out online here, and get a free preview issue here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Unusual Kids Furniture

If you're the kind of woodworker who likes to design as well as build his own furniture, here is a website that's loaded with inspiration. The WebUrbanist blog is running an eight-part series about unusual furniture design. I particulary like the "10 Pieces of Unusually Awesome Furniture for Kids."
The cool thing about most of this unusual furniture is that people (and kids) would actually use it--as furniture.

[Thanks to]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oak by Any Other Name

For most American woodworkers, oak is often the wood of choice. And there are good reasons. It's good looking. It’s a friendly wood to work with and you can be certain the project will last a lifetime. And oak is readily available and moderately priced. So you can see why it's so high on the list.
But shopping for oak is not as simple as it might seem. Should you buy white oak and red oak? Quarter-sawn, rift sawn, or plain sawn? members got answers to these questions in a free download, and you can too. Here's the scoop on how to make the right choices for your next oak project. And after you get the download, sign-up to get the twice a month e-newsletter from PlansNOW. You get woodworking tips, free plans and techniques, and updates on the latest project plans.