Before and after: redwood blank and finished DIY dowel
If you’re ever in need of a dowel but don’t have one handy, there’s an easy fix: roll your own! The DIY approach not only provides immediate gratification but also allows you to create dowels of custom size or species that may be difficult to find in stores or online. And you’ll likely save money. There […]

Roll Your Own Dowels

Traced curves cut with bandsaw and sanded smooth
In an earlier post, I described a simple method for laying out a curved piece for an Adirondack chair back support. I tried this same approach on another chair but this time the piece did not fit quite so well. After mulling it over a bit, I realized that the poor fit was probably because […]

Chair Curve Layout Redux

With the new year upon us, it has me thinking about what I want to accomplish woodworking-wise for the next 12 months. New tools to try, new projects to tackle, new techniques to learn, etc. Here’s what I have so far: Learn to scroll saw. I’ve always been intrigued watching someone cut out intricate shapes with […]

Woodworking Goals For The Year

While building an Adirondack chair, I needed to create a curved support piece that would attach to the rear side of the back slats. I made the chair from a set of plans that provided templates for all of the other pieces but this particular curved piece was a refinement that I decided to add […]

Chair Curve Layout Tip

Damaged groove caused by impatient routering 1
In this installment of Woodworking Damage Control, the challenge was to repair a groove that got away from me. While making some wine totes, I was using a router bit to cut grooves along the inner face of each side to accommodate a plywood base.  The problem was that I got a bit impatient and tried removing too […]

Groove Damage Control

This rather unassuming chunk of wood represents the initial stages of an abstract wood sculpture that is being crafted by my friend Rich. The wood came from a white oak tree that had been cut down 3-5 years previously and had been slowly air drying in a garage since then. My involvement with the project […]

Wood Sculpture

Cedar bird house 2
This past winter I was poking around for a challenging woodworking project. Something different from anything I had done before. Something involving unusual joinery and/or cutting techniques. Something that would expand my repertoire of woodworking skills. Something I could make multiple copies of to give out as gifts, thereby incurring the good will of friends […]

Cedar Bird Houses

My dad added a porch to our house back in the 1970’s and I must say he did a pretty good job overall. Especially for someone who wasn’t a professional builder or carpenter. However, there was one critical flaw in the construction: the main sill plate running across the front of the porch was made […]

When Wood Goes Bad

Potential Hazards Exposure to wood dust has long been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, including dermatitis, allergic respiratory effects, mucosal and nonallergic respiratory effects, and cancer. Contact with the irritant compounds in wood sap can cause dermatitis and other allergic reactions. The respiratory effects of wood dust exposure include asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, […]

Wood Dust Control for Individual Machines

Every woodworker is faced with this dilemma eventually: what to do with all those off cuts and other wood scraps that are left over from your projects? As an eco-woodworker, you don’t want to just dump the scraps out. But you have to do something because those wood scraps multiply like rabbits and will overrun […]

Ways to Reduce and Recycle Wood Scraps

Instead of throwing out sawdust, wood chips, and shavings that are produced in your woodshop, there are a number of uses for these materials in and around your home and garden. Here are a few ideas. Sawdust Mulch Sawdust can be used as an organic mulch that is very effective at controlling weeds, insulating soil, […]

Recycling Sawdust, Wood Chips, and Shavings

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

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

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

Octagon tenon jig front view 1
What to do when you need to make a custom cut? You make a custom jig. While making some bird houses, I was faced with the challenge of rabbeting a 1-1/2″ wide ledge along the entire perimeter of the octagonal base. At first glance, this seemed like a simple job for the tenoning jig but […]

Custom tenon jig