A must have

Almost every shop has a compressor. But few have a vacuum pump, which is little more than a compressor that runs backwards.

It can happen

A recent comment about the unlikeliness of a dust explosion got me thinking about how accidents happen. The idea that it is unlikely or that, as many say, it has never happened before is no guarantee that it will not happen.

Master of all

I was a little put off by a comment I heard the other day. Someone said that if you did not have mastery of a certain tool, you were not a “real ” woodworker.

Don’t lose the joy

The question that often comes to my mind is, “Why do we make things?” My stock is answer is that it satisfies something within us.

Second nature to some

The other day, I was trying to show someone how to cut an avocado to produce a thin-sliced “fan” pattern. It didn’t go well.

Won the battle

I once had a commission from an architect to build several dining tables he had designed for clients. He saw himself as the next Frank Lloyd Wright and the three designs he gave me were obviously take offs of Wright’s designs.


It’s a dreaded word in any shop. Having to remake part or all of a project is the worst-case scenario. Forget any hope of profit. You will be lucky to break even.

Getting customer approval

Over the years, there have been many times where I’ve needed to come up with a quick fix for one thing or another.


I just finished a project that I have been working on for almost six months. Not for profit, but as a labor of love.

It’s better this way

When I set up my first shop, it was because I wanted to make things out of wood. And for many years, that’s what I did – one piece or for customer at a time.