Fair Woodworking

April 29, 2015

If I could only have three planes

So the other day I was listening to an old Fine Woodworking podcast (I’ve been listening to them from the first), and this same old listener mail question reared its ugly head yet again.

If you could only have 3 planes, what would they be?

I’m really tired of this question for a number of reasons, but I decided to listen to their answers anyway.

1. Block Plane

2. Smoother

3. Shoulder Plane

For what it’s worth, this is a good list of planes. I can’t say that it is incorrect for what I know of their type of woodworking.

BUT!

It’s a terrible list for my workshop, and that is one of the reasons I don’t like this question.

For a shop ruled by power tools, a shop that has no hand tools, these three planes could really up the game of the woodworker at the helm.

In a shop where almost nothing is done with power tools, this list is both redundant and inadequate at the same time.

That may be harsh, but let’s have a look at what Fairwoodworking of today would say to baby Fairwoodworking elect.

 

Firstly, to dimension wood you normally use 3 planes, the Jack, Jointer, and Smoother, but that’s just for dimensioning.

At the same time joinery has a its own stable of planes, but we only get to have 3 total.

Then there are planes we use to clean up cuts, break hard edges, and plane end grain. Typically we’d use the block plane, but imagine if you were to reach for your block plane and discovered the blade was far too dull to use, but you needed it now, and you forgot your sharpening gear at your friends house. What plane would you use as a substitute?

In my shop I’d turn to my Smoother.

And if I was to do without one of my bench planes for dimensioning, would I drop the Jointer, or the Smoother? No. I’d have to do without the Jack. I wrote about this a while ago, by using a modern thick blade in an old smoother for smoothing tasks, you can then swap to the old blade with a “Jack plane” like camber for rough work. The difference in thickness of the blades will remove the need adjust the frog for the two vastly different tasks.

I’d hate to ask it of my smoother, but it could get by doing 3 jobs in my shop.

The Smoother gets my first vote.

But the smoother won’t do so well as a jointer unless we are dealing with really short boards, and the more traditional jointer is really difficult to find a suitable substitution. Thankfully, the Jointer is also excellent in the role of both a Shooting Plane, and a boat anchor.

The Jointer gets my second vote. Not so much for what it can do, but for what every other plane can not.

With one plane left, how will we address joinery?

I guess I’d offer the router plane. It’s great at cleaning out the bottoms of grooves and dados, I love mine for mortising hinges, and some people use it for cleaning the cheeks of their tenons. My Veritas router plane has an optional fence that would make it work as a marginally functional plow plane, so there you have it.

Plane number three is the Router plane.

To recap.

1. Smoother plane

2. Jointer

3. Router plane

These are the 3 great planes I would choose if I could only have 3. And dare I say,

If the world was in jeopardy, and the only way we could save ourselves from alien destruction was the faint hope that I could build a box with these and only these 3 planes…

I will be your hero!!!

But like most of the free world, aliens don’t give two craps about what I build, and so I build for fun.

And that is why I hate this question.

Three planes is not fun.

Three planes is the opposite of having the right tool for the job.

Three planes is for some kind of weird “bang for your buck” collector types.

OR

Three planes is a good place to start, and a terrible place to stop.

But really, DON’T go out and just buy 3 planes because of my or any other recommendation. Buy one plane. Probably a block plane or a smoother. An old Jack plane would be a great first plane as well.

Yes I realize that 2 of these 3 planes did not make the list, but that is because the 3 plane list is simply idiotic. If you are interested in planes, get one. Learn how to use it. Learn how to sharpen the blade, and use it until you can see what job it is not the right for. Then figure out what is the right tool, and look at getting it.

And save the lists for Americas Funniest Home Videos.

 

 

April 22, 2015

Fairwoodworkings Photography For Woodworking Dummies

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 12:49 am

Last week I attended a talk about Guilding (gold leaf), that was absolutely fascinating, and I have no doubt the guy that was doing the talk was one of the upper echelon in the world of guilders. I doubt that I will ever give it a try, but the concept is pretty cool.

Along with the talk were many in-shop pictures that were very difficult to look at. The guilder did what all of us have done before.

Apologized for his pictures, and said that they didn’t do the project justice. I mean him no disrespect, he just suffers from the same issue that many woodworkers suffer from. A simple lack of understanding of photography.

Before I go any further, I should mention that Chris Schwarz wrote about this last year. I agree with everything he wrote, but my concern is that it assumed a certain level of photography knowledge that not every woodworker may have. Before you continue, please go give his version a read. If all your questions are answered, and you feel like it is all within your grasp, I doubt my post will really add anything. However, if you finish his post, and are at all puzzled, or unsure how to make his recommendations work in your shop, come on back and I’ll see if I can’t muddy the waters a little more for you.

Go.

Be a good lad, and click on the link above. Don’t worry, it’s not a link to inappropriate pictures of Neil Cronk.

Go!

 

So in a classic case of the blind leading the slightly more blind, lets learn a wee bit about how to take a decent picture in a poorly lit and messy shop.

First off, most woodworking pictures would fit into the category of table top photography. These are pictures that are on your work bench that do not involve movement, and differ greatly from pictures of your children at soccer practice, or that of your trip to Mt. Rushmore.

Here we go.

SAVE YOUR IPHONE FOR SELFIES

There is a saying in photography, “The best camera for the shot is the one you have.”

While this is true, and you should never skip taking a worthwhile picture because your camera is not “worthy” of the shot, using your iphone with its lens covered in fingerprints and pocket scunge when you don’t need to is a little silly.

The Boy Scouts also have a saying, “Be prepared”.

If all you own is your iphone, well that is unfortunate, but if you do own a real camera, and you still just use your iphone, you may be wasting a perfectly good opportunity for a great picture.

If you can afford a DSL camera your pictures will thank you, but you can still get a good picture from a simple point and shoot camera.

 

YOU MAKE A TERRIBLE TRIPOD

DON’T  stand over an object, with arms outstretched shooting down. We all do it, but you will rarely get anything but a flat blurry picture.

God made tripods for a reason, and you will need one. Again, if you can afford a good tripod, you won’t be disappointed, but even a cheap tripod will perform better than shooting hand held.

A tripod is the gateway to good tabletop photography, and everything else here hinges on the camera remaining rock solid during the shot. If the subject is not moving, and the camera is not moving, you don’t need to rely on a fast shutter speed to avoid motion blur.

Additional tips

– Use a remote, or time delay (check your manual) to take the picture so you don’t have to be touching the camera when it takes the picture.

– Hold perfectly still during the picture. Even when not touching the camera your weight may cause the floor to move the tripod or your bench. Also when you move, your shadow moves as well.

TURN THE FLASH OFF

The flash is designed to increase the light so you don’t need as long a shutter speed, but at great expense of exposure quality.

Unless you know how to make the flash work for you (and trust me, you don’t, and neither do I), the flash is not your friend. It will over expose the closest and most reflective parts, and under expose everything else. It also will cast unrealistic shadows.

Turn the flash off. (This may involve reading your manual. Hint – Try switching from AUTO to P or Program.)

If you can’t turn it off, cover the flash with electrical tape.

If you have no electrical tape, smash it with a nail set.

There are better ways to get a good exposure.

 

LEARN ABOUT “ISO”

ISO is a term from the old days of film photography. It refers to how quickly the film would take to fully expose. The lower the ISO the more light was required (In low light situations, that would require a longer shutter speed = blurry picture). Back then, you would need to consider what kind of lighting you would have, and buy your film to match. On a sunny day you’d want 100, for exploring caves 3200.  The digital equivalent is improving over the years, but still in either case, the higher the ISO, the more grainy the picture. Since we have a tripod, and our subject is not moving, we can go with the lowest ISO your camera offers.

LEARN HOW TO CONTROL THE FOCUS

Auto focus sucks. It doesn’t know where you want to focus, and will often get it wrong. Many great pictures are made by getting just the right point in focus, and your camera won’t know intuitively where that is.  Every camera will be a little different. Most point and shoot cameras were not made with the expectation that the user knows what manual focus is, but you will benefit from learning how to control it.

With my DSLR I find manual focus, along with the LCD screen works very well to pinpoint the focus where I wanted it.

When I bought a new point and shoot, a functional manual focus was a key requirement that I shopped for.

SOLVE YOUR LIGHTING ISSUES

You don’t necessarily need a bunch of lights to get a good picture. I’d love a pro style lighting kit, but I just can’t afford the space in my shop. Also, many of my pictures are taken in between woodworking steps. Just the tripod alone is inconvenient enough.

In most cases, I will stop my work, grab the tripod with camera mounted from the corner, set it in place, take the picture, and put the camera back in the corner. Setting up lighting stands does not fit into that equation.

Taking-pictures.jpg

Most of my pictures are taken with just my work light. I use and old fashioned 100w bulb and that’s it. It is easily moved around, and does not get in the way. If I want direct light I point it at the subject. If I want more diffused light, I point it at the white ceiling above.

So will all of this make you a professional photographer?

Heck no! Few of my pictures are anywhere near professional quality, but I do hope they get my points across, and on occasion, are beautiful.

The way I try to think of it is that while they say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have to say “This picture doesn’t do it justice” it is only worth those 6 sad words, and would have been better served as a really good story.

 

April 10, 2015

The Amana Equation

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog — fairwoodworking @ 1:45 pm

Is there such a thing as an e-social disorder? I don’t think I have one, but then what is up with my apparent need to be anonymous on my blog, twitter, and Instagram? Well despite recurring dreams that I can fly but only when wearing nothing but a pancake on my head, I think I’m pretty normal.
The truth is, I do it for a couple simple reasons.
1. Woodworking is important to me, and I find I tend to bore, nay alienate perfectly good non woodworking friends as I wax poetic on the benefits of draw boring breadboards.
For my non woodworking friends, ignorance is bliss.

2. I don’t care about the fame. There are enough wanabe superstars in the world of internet woodworking. My woodworking worth is not defined by my association to the in crowd.

3. It’s loads of fun when someone figures out who I am on their own. I laugh every time I think back to when people have dropped the subtle hint that I am found out.
A favorite was in a meeting, when a guy referred to me as ToeJamb, in reference to the handle I was using on twitter at the time.
I don’t know.  I thought it was funny. We had a good laugh over it.

So all that is fine and good, but what to do when you want to meet people that you’ve gotten to know on the internet in person, in a large crowd of people you don’t know. Like next months Handworks in Amana.

This issue suddenly occurred to me when Jeremy of JMAW Works asked the question while commenting on one of my posts.

So what do we do? It seems a bit pretentious to put my logo on a shirt (plus I don’t want to disappear in the JMAW fanboy crowd)

While I actually do aim for anonymity, many bloggers and twitter/IG’ers are not easily recognized by the pictures of their hands holding chisel and mallet.

In my mind, this is what I’ve begun calling “The Amana Equation”.

While there are plenty of tool manufactures attending that I really look forward to meeting, it would be a bit of a disappointment if I leave Amana without having made at least a couple new “real life” woodworking friends.

But short of standing on a table and shouting “I’m that fairwoodworking guy” to a silent, and disturbed crowd, meeting some of you may be difficult.

I know I’ve started paying much more attention to what I see and hear on the internet. Any hint that will help me spot you in a crowd.

I’ve also been trying to come up with something to wear that would easily identify me to those that would care other than a Fairwoodworking t-shirt or the pancake of my flying dreams.

I’ll keep working on an idea, and keep you posted.

March 7, 2015

The Joker and Cabinet Maker

Filed under: Favorite tools,Skill development,Strong opinion warning! — fairwoodworking @ 2:44 pm

Ok, It’s hair splitting time again.

As many of you may know, I’m pretty much a hand tool guy. I rarely talk about power tools, and if you are familiar with me on the Twitters, I’ll mock incessantly anyone that dares admit to using them.

But I really don’t have a problem with people that use power tools. Power tools are great for those that enjoy using them. The hours that I suffered through (more accurately neglected) wearing safety glasses, hearing protection, and dust masks, turned me off power tools years ago. However, there are countless woodworkers that build amazing pieces with nary a hand tool save maybe a pencil.

I do however have a problem with the use of a common new term used by many hand tool users.

The Tailed Apprentice. As in how the masters of old tasked the young apprentice with grunt work, we as the modern shop master task our tailed apprentices with the lower beginner skill work.

As best as I can see it, the idea of the tailed apprentice was formed as a counter argument to the statements that using power tools is cheating, but really both arguments miss the core issue.

If you go to a track meet, you will see runners line up at an oval track. When the gun goes off, the race is on, and the runners head down the track. If one of the runners cuts across the middle of the track he would be considered a cheater.

In this scenario, running is NOT like woodworking. You can’t cheat woodworking. The final product is the finish line, but how you get there is up to you.

However, if you went to that same track on practice day two weeks before the meet, and you saw a runner practicing for the 10,000m but was cutting across the track so they only had to run 5,000m, who is being cheated? At the meet, this runner will have an amazing first half of the race, and a rather rough second half.

The runner cheated his or herself as they clearly only wanted to run 5,000m but chose to sign up for an unrealistic event.

If you have no desire to learn how rip wood by hand, that’s fine, but your table saw is not then your apprentice.

If learning to resaw by hand does not fit into your idea of a fun hobby, I can understand that, but to call your bandsaw a tailed apprentice is disrespectful.

My knowledge of the old apprentice system is not great, but I think I’m safe to assume that the average Master Cabinet Maker or Joiner had already put in his 10,000 hours of ripping, resawing, flattening, thicknessing, sweeping, and glue-pot cleaning. Nobody relishes accepting that they are still a lowly apprentice, but the true master earned the right to become a Journeyman, and then earned the right to be called the Master.

And now, I told you that, to tell you this…

I recently bought a thickness planer.

IMG_20150218_131245

You see it’s been almost 9 years since I dimensioned my first piece of wood entirely by hand.

First hand tool project

I know I don’t know everything there is to know about dimensioning, and I’m nowhere near my 10,000 hours, but I feel I’m near enough to the top of the learning curve for my needs. Considering the limited woodworking hours I still have on this earth, there is still much to learn in other aspects of woodworking, and I’ve discovered that stock preparation now is interfering with my ability to learn. Thicknessing is just one step in dimensioning wood, but I think it is one of the more time consuming.

Think I’m splitting hairs? That’s fine.

In your shop you can call it a tailed apprentice, but in my shop it’s a learning aid.

OK, rant over.

Wanna’ know the first few things I was aided in learning?

1. Thickness planers are awesome!

2. Chip ejection impellers are powerful.

I first hooked it up to my Wet/Dry Shop-Vac, and soon discovered that the impeller trips the mechanism that protects the vac motor from water if it tips over. With the motor blocked, the impeller is powerful enough to pop a latch on the Shop-Vac canister, and spew chips throughout the entire shop.

What a mess!

In the end (as shown above) I’ve attached a hose to a dust collector bag, and this seems to work amazingly well.

3. I still hate wearing safety equipment.

 

January 4, 2015

A long road by design

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes when I’m board, I go to the Handworks web page and pretend to pick the nose of the guy in the logo with my mouse pointer…

Give it a try, it’s fun.

handworks

So last night it re-occurred to me how soon Handworks is going to be a reality.

This happened while I was plotting the 24 hour, 2500km long road trip, plus finding the most likely 24 hour gas station, and pee-pee stops that we will no doubt need to take advantage of.

Ya that’s right. For all you American sissys out there that are whimpering about how it’s too far away, #RealWoodworkers just get it done.

Unless you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Key West Florida, California, and some parts of Washington, or Oregon, you probably have a shorter drive than I do. Shoot, Mexico City is only 6 hours further.

Or you could fly…

Anyways, while checking to see what time we had to arrive in town in order to attend Roy Underhills opening presentation, it finally really hit me how many awesome vendors will be there. What a great chance to meet so many interesting people, and what’s more, perhaps fondle a few tools in the process! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few of the vendors already, and really look forward to watching them squirm as I enthusiastically prod them into “pretend” remembering me from many years back.

Then there are others that I have never met, but for years have cyber stalked, cyber harassed , cyber bullied, or cyber mocked. If you see a guy dressed in plaid sporting a fresh black eye, you will know that one of them has figured out who I am.

Finally there are the vendors that would fit into category three. These are ones that I may, or may not have heard of, but certainly have not collected enough information from blog pictures to make a shoe box diorama of their work shop. No, these ones I have yet to add to my woodworking shrine, and at this point, I am not yet at risk of violating restraining orders during the show. In fact, I don’t even know what these people look like.

So I start clicking on the vendor links in hopes of becoming more familiar with them and their work. One of the vendors was some dude named George Walker. As soon as I clicked on the link I knew he was one of those “design types”. You know the ones… Pictures of greek buildings, and sketches of horses and anatomically incorrect, yet athletic men?

I know, right?!!! “Bla, bla, bla, proportion. Bla, bla, bla, golden bla, bla, bla. Causes the eye to be drawn to the bla, bla, bla…”

Anyways, one of this years Christmas gifts, “By Hand & Eye” by Jim Tolpin & some other guy, was the inspiration for my 2015 New Year’s Resolution. Learn something, ANYTHING about design. So since I still have a few other books in the hopper to read before this one, I thought I would see if this guy could prime the pump so to speak for future reference.

IMG_20141225_152612

So as I’m scrolling through the blog, I stopped at one post called Build-in portable, waterproof, hairy handy ruler. As I scanned through the post, I noticed George mentioning meeting Jim Tolpin in person. Well I’ve always been a sucker for a good name dropper (Neil Cronk) so I dive in for a more thorough read.

He talks about how he learned from Jim about using/knowing the measurements of the segments of your hand rather than having to rely on a ruler so much. That was super cool, and a real eye opener for me, but it just made me wish that Jim Tolpin was going to be at Amana.

I wonder if the other guy will be there….
So I told you that story so I could tell you this.

Have you ever heard someone say that they knew something like the back of their hand? How well do you really know the back of your hand? I’ve always wondered about that saying, and have even tried googling it. Today I even looked it up in The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by Nigel Rees. It’s a good reference most times, but not today.

However, in light of the previous story, I wonder if it refers to an ancient time when the every measure of the back of your hand was common knowledge?

December 27, 2014

The 2015 Fairwoodworking Buyers Guide

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog — fairwoodworking @ 12:00 am

So if you were hoping this guide included a table saw shootout, you will be mildly disappointed. No, this is more about how to buy than what to buy.

First off, it’s a really great first world problem to not know what or how to buy another tool. I’ve come to discover that woodworking, above and beyond the side hobby of acquiring the tools needed, can be an expensive way to fill my free time. There have been times when I’ve reveled in a Cocobolo and manganese bronze budget, and other times when I’ve wished I could buy 2×4’s with Canadian Tire money.

What I’m saying is, not everyone that is interested in woodworking can afford either the time or the money to take up the hobby, and as unfair as that may be, most of the world is trying just to put food on the table.

So with a little perspective in mind, here we go.

1. Avoid beginner sets of tools.

The word “Beginner” is marketing slang for cheap, disposable, garbage. Yes, the big boy tools are somewhat more expensive, but if this is your argument, you may need to re-read the introduction of this post. Bottom line, if you can’t afford it, save your money, until you can.

2. Save your innovative tool re-purposements for once you have mastered the tool in its intended use.

Too many times, I’ve seen beginners (including myself) get sidetracked by wacky ideas of taking tool “A” and if they just hold it upside-down and backwards, and lubricate with jello, they can remove the need for any other costly tools that would normally be required.

If that is you, re-read the beginning, take two aspirin, and call me in the morning.

 

So now that we have wisely chosen a good quality tool, desired for the attributes its makers intended it for, we are half way there. The final steps are just a critical.

Getting away with said purchase.

3. Always pay in cash.

Cash is the old school “hand tool” of the financial world. Cash is real.

When you take the time to save your pennies, well not here in Canada any more…

When you take the time to save your nickles, you ensure that you are not accidentally stealing from the mortgage account, because you’d hate to return from a buying spree to discover that you no longer have a shop to work in… But on more of a day to day level.

Cash is relatively untraceable.

That’s right! Cash is the king of the “Unauthorized Purchase”. Some of the folks at my favorite local tool store get a real charge out of this concept. They think it’s funny, but we know it’s a key to survival.

4. Workshop camouflage

This tip is not entirely my own. The idea was there, but I learned the perfected version in a class with Vic Tesolin of Minimalist Woodworker fame. We’ve all known that a making a new tool look a little older and dirtier is great camouflage, but an application that has no adverse effects can be easier said than done. The genius is in the simplicity. A dedicated bucket of clean sawdust for the dunking, nay, purification of each new, nefariously acquired addition. This both masks the vintage, and welcomes a new friend into the fold.

5. Don’t throw out the box the tool came in.

This one is a little tricky in the short game, but pays off huge in the long. I found that getting Authorization for purchases is easier in the beginning. Those first few boxes are the key. They are the forest that will hide the newly purchased “trees” that you didn’t get the time to discretely dispose of. Oh, and a little dust on a new box never hurt anybody either.

Finally,

6. Don’t let your wife read this post…

 

November 17, 2014

You Aren’t Sweeping Enough (And I’m not, Either)

Filed under: Favorite tools,Favorites — fairwoodworking @ 5:43 pm

IMG_8910

If a students shows me the floor during class and asks: “Should I s….”

I cut them off. “Yes.”

I have found that when you ask yourself if your floor is dirty, the poor pathetic thing is way past being dirty and is on its way to getting covered with trash. I think you need to sweep a floor before it actually occurs to you to sweep that floor. Sounds impossible, but it’s not.

I sweep a lot, and it is part of the rhythm of my day. As I finishing planing up panels with a jointer plane, I stop to sweep the floor before I take on the parts for the lid – even if the floor is performing well.

When I chop dovetails, I touch up the floor between each corner of a carcase – even if the floor is clean and doing well.

This is the opposite of the way I was taught to evaluate floors. I was told: “The surface of the floor will tell you how your floor is performing. If the floor looks bad, it’s time to sweep.”

While that makes sense on one level, I don’t want the floor to ever look bruised or scraped or chunked out. So I sweep the floor several times a day.

This approach not only ensures my floors will look their best, it also removes most concerns about what material your floor is made of. If you keep a floor wicked clean(and nothing less) then it really doesn’t matter if a wood floor stays clean longer than concrete.

So shut up and sweep.

IMG_8916

Editors note – Some of you may be thinking this is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever written, and you people are what I like to call “wrong”. The above post is actually a near direct ripoff of a recent post over at Lost Art Press. The idea made me laugh more than any sane person should laugh about their own joke, but that is just how I roll.

Deal with it.

The truth is I was getting ready to talk about ultra sexy topic of sweeping anyways, and the above “upright dust pan” is a real thing of beauty.

Having now moved into my ultra tiny work shop, there is really no spare floor space that you can push sawdust and shavings out of the way, and so as dumb as the this post may sound, I really do “sweep a lot, and it is part of the rhythm of my day”, but it’s not so bad if I’m not down on my knees when I’m doing it.

 

So shut up and sweep.

November 3, 2014

The Ambidexterity Theory

Filed under: Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 5:23 pm

About a month ago I bought some lumber to build a couple of simple saw horses and a workbench in the style of the Naked Woodworker. Having sold my old work bench before the “Great Move”, I thought it would be interesting to try following along as a new woodworker might do.

Fast forward one month to the present, I’ve managed to complete one single sawbench.

Now it’s not that I haven’t been able to make time for the shop. It’s more like the time I’ve invested into shop time has caused the delays.

Something I was doing in the shop was destroying my back. At one point, just a few minutes in the shop left me all but unable to walk for a 4 day period. It wasn’t that I was pulling a muscle, or putting my back out as I have done many times in the past. It was just a very tight crook in the lower left of my back. Just like you would get if you fell asleep in a chair with your head cocked at an angle, but to the extreme.

I couldn’t figure out what the problem was, but since that time, less that half an hour in the shop would cost me at least a day or two of extreme discomfort.

Then one day I was listening to a podcast or the radio or something, where the guest was a strength and conditioning instructor. One of the things he mentioned was that many athletes fall into a rut of practicing their skills with only their dominant hand. Right handed kickers only kick the football with their right foot. Left handed golfers only use left-handed clubs. He was finding that this mono-dexterous training was occasionally causing the athletes bodies to become unbalanced, and resulting in injuries.

That got me to thinking about what lead up to my back problems. It started with installing a plywood floor in the shop over the concrete. The plywood was secured to the concrete with Tapcon screws, and these screws all have to be pre-drilled with a hammer drill. After that, I painted the floor with a roller, but first you have to cut in the floor along the walls with a brush. As soon as the paint was dry I was fast to work sawing by hand the material for building the first saw bench.

The drilling, the screwing, painting, and sawing. In each case I was bent over and using my right hand exclusively.  I then paid a 4 day penalty for it.

So I determined to experiment a little as soon as I’d recovered from the last round of back spasms.

Saw a little with my right hand, and then switch and saw a little with my left. The saw felt a little foreign in my left hand, but I was able to get by with it. Certainly better than I might have thought.

But who cares about the quality of the saw cut.

I COULD STILL WALK WHEN I WAS DONE!!!

But that’s not all…

The guy on the talk show also mentioned a benefit he hadn’t expected. He found the athletes that took part in this ambidextrous training noticed a dramatic improvement in their skill with their dominant hand.

And we all could use a boost in our hand skills.

Well…

 

Except for me.

 

October 22, 2014

Easy Woodworking Projects for Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Gifts,Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorites — fairwoodworking @ 9:04 pm

It’s way, WAY too early to be thinking about Christmas gifts (that’s what Christmas Eve is for), but as it would happen. I ran into a couple of people today that had big plans for Christmas woodworking.

The funny thing was, that none of them were woodworkers.

So what is the ideal NonWoodworker Easy project?

Well, picture frames obviously!

I mean hey!? What other woodworking project needs just 4 pieces of wood, and 4 simple mitres to put them together?

It’s so easy that it hardly counts as woodworking…

So now that I have the chance to talk behind the backs of these nonwoodworking people, let me say this.

Every woodworker has had this very same thought before they tried making a picture frame. They all thought it would be easy. Most of them had no idea that their tools were nowhere near accurate enough to cut 4 perfect 45 degree miters.

And all of them gave their loved ones “Rustic” styled picture frames because there is no other way to hide the fourth miter that will hopelessly NEVER close up properly.

 

I wonder if rare earth magnets would help…

October 20, 2014

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know you don’t know it.

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog — fairwoodworking @ 11:00 pm

In the past week I had the pleasure of taking 2 classes with Vic Tesolin of Minimalist Woodworking fame.

I  should state, that I signed up for both classes with the clear knowledge that I knew everything that would be covered in the class, but since my new shop is still under construction, it would simply be a chance to woodwork. Also, being the social butterfly that I am, I’m also always game to hang out with other hand tool woodworkers.

What I knew for sure was that I wouldn’t learn anything.

What I didn’t know was that I didn’t know there were still things I didn’t know about both class topics.

Now however.

With my new found knowledge, I can dogmatically say that I have a truly exhaustive knowledge in two more woodworking subjects.

That is all.

Next Page »

The Rubric Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 390 other followers

%d bloggers like this: