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.