Archive for 2008

The most dangerous tool (part 2)

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

One day, some years ago, when I was building houses, we were assembling a large timber truss. It was a “sandwich” with 2x10s on the outsides and 4x6s in between. At each lap there was a blot with a 6″ shear ring. The cutter for the shear ring slot looked like a giant hole saw. We were driving it with big hand held drill that spun at about 20 rpm but with enough torque to pull a house over. (more…)

The most dangerous tool in the shop?

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

A recent online discussion was centered around an attempt to categorize tools based on their potential to cause injury. This is exactly where you get into trouble. Never assume that any machine is “safe” or even “relatively safe.” (more…)

Is that a pig I see flying by?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

It’s finally happened. No, I’m not talking about the possibility of an African American holding the highest office in the land. Or about the idea of a woman being second in line for that same position. I am not referring to the astonishing collapse and subsequent bailout of the nation’s largest mortgage brokers. Or even about the shocking plunge the stock market is taking. No, I’m talking about something really earth shaking … the re-design, after almost 70 years of virtual sameness, of the industry standard benchmark against which all other’s must be measured, the most often imitated woodworking machine ever created, the ubiquitous Unisaw. (more…)

Mortising the “easy” way

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Remember the 28 alder doors I had to make? Well, actually it was 25 alder doors and three cedar doors. At any rate, I used a cope and stick set to shape the stiles and rails but I wanted to use some large tenons as well since these are 34″ wide, 8’ tall doors. I decided the simplest way was to use floating tenons. With three rails per door, that meant a total of 336 3″ deep mortises with lengths varying from 4 to 8 inches, depending on the rail location. (more…)

A sunny forecast

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Cabinet demand is projected to rise by approximately 4 percent per year through 2012, according to a recent study by the Freedonia Group Inc., an industry research firm. (more…)

This is a dangerous business

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Hearing about bizarre accidents always makes me start thinking about shop safety. Actually I am always thinking about it, but hearing these horror stories makes me really aware of just how dangerous this line of work can be. The most recent one involves a guy who had his arm severed when the blade came off his chop saw. The guy apparently died. (more…)

Sometimes you just want to scream!

Friday, September 5th, 2008

I am, at this moment, 300 miles from home, attempting to finalize a kitchen layout with a customer. This is after three weeks of exchanging information via e-mail, faxes, phone calls, etc. So at this point we are supposed to have a pretty good idea of how everything is going to be. But the “actual layout” is still to be decided and we wanted to work that out right there in the room so we could mock things up and really get a feel for how the space was going to work. (more…)

The great edgebanding dilemma (part 2)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Last week we were talking about edgebanding. Anyone who has looked into purchasing an edgebander knows that even “entry level” machines can cost well into five figures. While this may not be out of line for a production shop in which the machine will be in use 24/7, it is often prohibitive for a small- to medium-sized custom shop. (more…)

A wooden sports car?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

For some reason it never occurred to me to attempt to build an automobile out of wood. (more…)

Are we dinosaurs?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there is some program about dinosaurs. (more…)