I use Japanese-style saws exclusively in my classroom and home shop because I have young makers. I love the quick bite and accuracy of a pull stroke, the low cost and high quality, but mostly, enjoy handing my saw to … Continue reading Home #Makerspace: How to Saw (for Young and Beginning #Woodworkers)
Bench hooks are portable work surfaces used to make basic woodworking tasks, such as crosscutting boards and drilling holes, easier to perform. As a bonus, they help protect the surface of your woodworking bench from bumps and dings.
In the makerspace, bench hooks can be used for numerous tasks and roles (such as a surface to solder on without ruining Mom’s dining room table).
These week, my youngest and I made two bench hooks. The most common design works best with saws that cut on a push stroke. We also made and tested a bench hook modified for pull saws. Bench hooks can be modified in numerous ways, so take the jump and get hooked!
Sometimes, young (and old…) woodworkers can use a little help sawing a board accurately, especially if the board must have a specific angle or length. A miter box helps a woodworker saw a 90 or 45 degree angle into a piece of wood. They are cheap to make, easy to modify and cut accurately.
Miter boxes are channels with slots cut into them. The slots guide the hand saw blade for accuracy and precision. The sides allow the user to clamp down the miter box and work pieces to the table or work bench, which greatly increases safety.
To use a miter saw, place your work piece in the channel, with your cut line against the kerf of the wood. Use a clamp to clamp the work piece and miter box to the table, as shown. Then place the saw in the cutting slot and saw away!
Take the jump to build your own.
I found these boxes inside a log from a tree felled in my parent’s backyard, in the house my brothers and I grew up in. I’m now in my thirties and my youngest brother is closer to thirty than twenty-five. We’ve grown up, moved out, moved back, gotten married, had kids, and brought our kids back. This holiday season, we’ll be together for a few days and hours. Then, like many families, we’ll scatter to the wind. A few years ago, I stuffed my suitcase with a log instead of presents. This year, I made matching boxes for every person in my immediate family – mom, dad and four sons. Continue reading This Week in the Shop: New Tools, New Projects
This is the third Tool Primer article on finishing your woodworking project. You can find Part One: Sanding here and Part Two: Penetrating Oils here.
In this article I will discuss the film finishes available for woodworking projects at most local big-box hardware stores. The first step is creating a clean, dust-free uniform surface by sanding all a parts to a high grit. I detailed my process in Part One. The finishing process is the difference between a good woodworking project and a heirloom piece of furniture. When I want to really knock a project out of the park, I focus much of my energy on choosing and creating a proper finish.
It has been a while since I’ve shared a completed project from my bench. I haven’t been particularly inactive, just an inactive blogger. Recently, I completed a queen-sized platform bed for my wife and I. I completed the footboard over last winter break, and this summer I took on the headboard.
The headboard and rails are put together with pocket hole joinery. The headboard, made out of solid birch and poplar, is way too heavy for the light rails. Instead of raising the height of the bed and creating thicker rails, I used a french cleat in my wall to hang the headboard. The bed is rock solid now. Finished with amber shellac and wax. Check out the Sketch-Up drawing for more info. Continue reading “This Week In the Shop: Queen-Sized Bed”
This project was for my mother. In order to do it though, I had to build a woodworking shop for my father. Interesting how that works out. All told, this project cost under $50. My father’s garage stuff collection netted … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: A Quiet Place
To end the year, my students have been making simple marking gauges. My students learned to create a mortise and use hand planes to fit a tenon in this particular project. Here’s how we did it. 1. Cut a 1″ or 3/4″ square oak strip into 8″ lengths. 2. Cut a 2″ length from a maple strip about 2″ wide, giving you a 2″ x 2″ square. 3. Use the oak strip to mark your mortise in the center of the maple square. We did this by marking two diagonals across the maple square and then eye-balling the center. Mark the square … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: A Simple Pin Marking Gauge
Of the three or so classes I’ve taught at TX/RX Labs and the twenty to thirty projects I’ve taught at work, the simple bench project remains my favorite. It is an intermediate level project which can be reached by absolute beginners, it’s cheap to build (approximately $15 w/ finish) and it lends itself to multiple machines (tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press) and hand tools. I present the latest and greatest class yet: Special thanks to Pratt for building extra supports for himself and everyone else, shout out to Sean for the intense questions, my teaching assistants, and everyone else in the … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench Is Complete!
Are you in the Houston area? Ever wanted to get started woodworking? Maybe you just enjoy benches as much as I do? Join me for the Wood Workshop at TX/RX Labs on Sat. & Sun. May 25th & 26th (5/25 & 5/26) from 9am-5pm. The Finished Bench I will be walking you through how to build the simple bench project, start to finish. As TX/RX so elegantly put it: Build a simple bench using both hand tools and power tools. A perfect intro to woodworking, we will cover basic tool usage both hand and power along with learning the basics of … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench this Memorial Day Weekend!