Yearly Archives: 2014

Oak table top with scalloped corners
After discovering an old dilapidated Singer sewing machine in the upstairs storage area of my dad’s garage, I decided to “repurpose” it as a table. The original wooden work surface of the 100+ year old machine was badly warped and discolored due to water damage so I made an executive decision to replace it with […]

Scalloped Corners

If you cut enough wood, you’ll eventually encounter situations where the saw blade is burning the wood. This usually happens with ripping operations but can also happen with crosscuts. If the burning is really pronounced, it may be accompanied by smoking and a noticeable increase in feed pressure. Although there are a number of causes […]

How to Prevent Saw Blade Burning

This chart compares sandpaper grits using three different grading systems: 1) Coated Abrasives manufacturer’s Institute (CAMI), 2) Federation of European Producers Association (FEPA), and 3) the “0” or “ought” grade system. CAMI and FEPA are the two most common grading systems in use today. CAMI is used primarily in North America whereas FEPA is used […]

Sandpaper Grit Chart

Home-made sanding block
Sanding is not the most pleasant woodworking task but it goes a lot smoother (pun intended) if you have a system in place for choosing sandpaper grits. That is: what grit to start with, what grit to end with, and what grits to use in between. This process is sometimes referred to as a sanding […]

Going Through the Grits

Oscillating spindle sander
I’ve accumulated several different types of sanding tools over the years, some of which are used much more frequently than others but all have their place. My sanding arsenal includes hand-held tools: a sheet sander, a random orbital sander, a belt sander, sanding blocks, a detail sander, and a cabinet scraper, as well as stationary tools: […]

An Assortment of Wood Sanding Tools

Sanding isn’t fundamentally difficult but its still easy to make mistakes. This is often due to carelessness, such as over sanding the edges of a table top, but can also be due to procedural screw-ups such as not using the right tool or type of sandpaper for the job. Or sanding against the grain. Laziness […]

Common Sanding Mistakes

Wiping off rust and naval jelly residue 1
One day in the woodshop… I was applying a finish to a newly constructed coffee table and I activated my fume control system.  This involves opening one of the windows and turning on a fan that is positioned in front of the window to blow fume-laden air outside. It actually works fairly well at clearing […]

Removing Rust from A Jointer Bed

Finishing up the grooves - no spacer for last groove
Here’s a method for routing evenly spaced parallel grooves on a router table that is fast, accurate, and doesn’t require moving the router fence for each pass.  The trick is to create a set of equal width spacers, whose width equals the spacing between grooves. After each routing pass, a spacer is removed to position […]

Routing Parallel Grooves

Retainer ring came loose on this flipper bit 1
Quick change flip drill driver bits are handy little gadgets that combine a drill/countersink and screw driver into one compact unit. They can save lots of time because there’s no hunting around for separate bits or drivers. Another convenience is that only a single drill is needed. I think they’re here to stay. The way […]

Quick Change Flip Drill Driver Bits

Matching the screw to the pilot hole
There’s something screwy going on here! Unless you’re doing rough construction with soft woods, a pilot hole is generally required when inserting a wood screw. A pilot hole makes it easier to install the screw in hard materials such as maple and also prevents the wood from splitting – especially when the screw is near […]

Wood Screw Pilot Holes

Shellac flakes + alcohol = shellac finish
Shellac is a multi-talented finishing material: Not only does it provide a beautiful top finish but it’s also an effective sanding sealer and functions well as a barrier coat between dissimilar finishes. It also dries quickly, is easily repairable, and is non-toxic when dry. Why don’t we use this stuff more often?? The thing with […]

Mixing Shellac

Swiss lake marquetry scene
Looking for a little diversion from a typical woodworking project? Well, why not give marquetry a shot? If you’re not familiar with this ancient art, marquetry is all about creating a design or picture using wood veneers of varying colors and grain patterns. For example, a nature scene might use sycamore for the sky, holly […]

Getting Started in Marquetry

Assortment of squares
Before one can cut, one must layout. That should be every woodworker’s mantra. And to that end, here is a list of recommended layout tools that should be sufficient to tackle most any woodworking layout task. Tape measure In my humble opinion, the tape measure ranks right up there with the wheel and fire as […]

Woodworking Layout Tools

Jet JBM-5 benchtop mortiser in action
After watching Norm Abram effortlessly cut mortises with a hollow chisel mortiser, and reading glowing accounts about them in woodworking mags, I decided it was high time to equip my shop with one of these bad boys. It also happened that I was planning to build several tables with mortise and tenon joinery so this […]

Jet JBM-5 Hollow Chisel Mortiser

It’s a pain reaching for a paintbrush only to discover that the bristles are a hardened mass because you didn’t properly clean the brush after the last use. Then it’s off to the store to buy yet another new brush. Fortunately, cleaning a paintbrush isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little diligence. Think of […]

How to Clean a Paintbrush

Bearing down on the cut works best with a rock-solid work platform
A hollow chisel mortiser offers several advantages over other mortising technologies: it cuts a square hole so there’s no need to round tenons, it’s faster than cutting mortises by hand, it’s much quieter than a router, and it’s a dedicated machine whose sole job is to crank out mortises. This last point is a big one […]

Hollow Chisel Mortiser