Archive for 2009

Mixing measurement systems

Friday, August 14th, 2009

I am probably going to start another “range war” by bringing this up again. So let me start by saying that I really don’t care which measurement system we use. (more…)

Free tools?!?!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

There is no other word in the English language that will command the attention of a human being like the word “free.” And when the free offering is tools, well we tool junkies are instantly and hopelessly hooked. (more…)

Veneer’s bum rap

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The article by David Getts on veneering in the August 2009 issue of WSN was spot on in its conclusion that veneering has gotten a bum rap. As the author pointed out, veneering has traditionally been considered an art or at least a demanding “specialty” requiring a high level of skill. Many of the finest examples of the “woodworker’s art” include veneered panels typically exhibiting astonishing grain patterns, often enhanced by careful and artful matching, and/or intricate marquetry and inlays that simply would not be possible using solid stock. (more…)

Anything goes, apparently

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Recently I was reading an article in a “popular trade publication” about current design trends. I was hoping to get a take on what was hot and what was not. But all I got was confounded! The current trends were presented in a bulleted list format and it seemed like every “trend” presented on the list was the antithesis of the previous item. (more…)

That’s entertainment

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Current reading indicates that entertainment centers are still pretty much in demand. And to date, no one, me included, has come up with a better name for them. I have built a lot of entertainment centers over the years and I still get calls for them. I would have thought that the “mainstreaming” of the former “holy grail” of interior design, the wall-mounted flat screen TV, combined with the continued shrinking of electronic components and the integration of the home computer, would have been the last few nails in the coffin of the typically behemoth installations known as “entertainment centers.” (more…)

Putting maintenance first

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I have always been a stickler for keeping my tools in perfect working order. This applies as much to my putty knives (which I use for removing bits of glue squeeze out; rarely for putty) as it does to my high-end power tools. Fence faces and tables are kept clean and waxed. Stops are checked regularly for accuracy. Everything is checked “for square” constantly and adjusted at the slightest provocation, even if it means breaking up the work flow. (more…)

Big spindles

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

A guy recently described a somewhat frightening event involving a panel raising bit in a router table. Somehow, while running a panel “something caught,” causing a violent kickback and bending the bit’s 1/2″ shank. Fortunately, the guy was not injured but he was asking “if anyone else had a similar experience.” (more…)

Modern vs. “old school”

Monday, June 29th, 2009

If you have never visited a modern “production” shop, you might be surprised at how little resemblance it bears to what most of us visualize when we think of a woodworking shop. From the loading dock to the shipping department, computerized, automated equipment is everywhere. (more…)

Becoming a cabinetmaker

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

When I set up my first real shop, my intention was to be a furniture maker and/or woodworker, not a cabinetmaker. For years prior, I had been working as a builder of houses. I worked for a local architect/contractor and we built “fine homes,” one at a time. We did almost everything, from forming and pouring the foundation to installing the last bit of trim on the interior. Of course, we bought most of the windows and doors and we always subbed out the electrical, plumbing, roofing and masonry work. But other than those very specialized tasks, we were the ones who did the all work. Except for the cabinets. (more…)

The fate of my work

Monday, June 15th, 2009

If I look at my entire body of work over the last 35 years, I estimate that about 20 percent has been furniture and things like chess boards, jewelry boxes and other small projects. I have some confidence in the long-term existence of these pieces. I can easily imagine many of these being passed along to the next generation or to friends or relatives. At worst, they might end up in a used furniture store where they might be purchased by someone who needs a table or a dresser. Even though this person might not realize that they are buying a unique handmade piece of furniture, at least the piece would have a useful purpose. It’s the other 80 percent I worry about. (more…)