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

BackyardChickens.com 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 Woodsmith.com 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 WoodsmithStore.com.

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 EnvironmentalGraffiti.com 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, Core77.com 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.