It’s a tool sale part 2!

I am continuing to list approximately 25 items over the next few days. I like Chris Schwarz’s rules for purchasing his tools over at Lost Art Press, so I am borrowing them for here (with his approval of course, Thanks Chris!):

First I think the prices I list are fair, but if you feel you would like to make an offer on a tool, do so. I may not accept it, but you’ll never know. Just don’t be upset if I don’t.

As soon as the tool is sold, I will mark it as “sold” here on the blog.

Ask me all the questions you like about an item. But the first one to say “I’ll take it” gets it. I take paypal or personal check. After I receive your payment, I will ship the tool using USPS. If you want insurance, let me know. If I don’t get your payment within two weeks, the piece goes back up for sale.

All prices include domestic shipping. Nothing outside the US, Sorry.

To buy an item, send an e-mail to and in the subject line please put the name of the item you want. If you say “I’ll take it,” and I don’t know what item you want, confusion ensues.

If you don’t like the tool when you get it, I’ll be happy to refund your money if you return the tool. But postage is on you. All the tools have been used so they all show various stages of wear, but I take great care of my tools!

Woodpeckers Precision Triangle Combo – 4.375″ & 6.25″ – SOLD

I purchased directly from Woodpeckers, mounted it on my tool chest and promptly forgot about them. Just don’t use them enough to justify keeping.

Stanley Bailey No. 5 ¼ Type 20 (1962-1967) – $100

A nice plane with box included. Still has some cosmoline on the blade, although I have sharpened and used it.

Somax Blue Saw Set – $20

No box included, but one more than I need. Has never been used.

Stanley Bailey No. 4 Type 13 (1925-1928) – $125

This one of my first handplanes I bought on eBay and tuned. The knob and tote don’t match, but the Veritas blade is sharp and the plane takes whisper thin shavings. My daily user until I moved to bedrocks and eventually Lie-Nielsen.

Lie-Nielsen No. 40B Butt Mortise Plane – $90

I can honestly say I purchased this plane on eBay and didn’t use it once on a project. No box, but a great buy.

Lie-Nielsen No. 9 Miter Plane – SOLD!

This is the one plane I’m really having a hard time getting rid of. This is a pristine example of a plane that is not produced anymore. As you can see, I had it set up for a lefty. There is no wear marks on the sole and I can count on one hand the times I used it and have fingers left over. I just liked having it. I make no apologies, it is worth every penny.


Thanks for looking! I will post more soon!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s a tool sale!

So I don’t post here as often as I would like, but I spend a lot of time over on Instagram (@tmb1752 if you’re interested). If you follow me there, you know I’ve kinda been changing my lifestyle in minor increments. i.e. eating healthier, exercising regularly, yoga, etc. Well one of the other things I have been working on is the ability to let go. A majority of that is letting go of stuff, both material stuff and otherwise. If I’ve never mentioned it before, I have a minor obsession with collecting tools. Nothing wrong with it, but I’ve finally decided that with a lifestyle change, this was one area I needed to work on as it is the most painful to think about. Since I am a rip off the band-aid guy, here we go.

I am listing approximately 25 items over the next few days. I like Chris Schwarz’s rules for purchasing his tools over at Lost Art Press, so I am borrowing them for here (with his approval of course, Thanks Chris!):

First I think the prices I list are fair, but if you feel you would like to make an offer on a tool, do so. I may not accept it, but you’ll never know. Just don’t be upset if I don’t.

As soon as the tool is sold, I will mark it as “sold” here on the blog.

Ask me all the questions you like about an item. But the first one to say “I’ll take it” gets it. I take paypal or personal check. After I receive your payment, I will ship the tool using USPS. If you want insurance, let me know. If I don’t get your payment within two weeks, the piece goes back up for sale.

All prices include domestic shipping. Nothing outside the US, Sorry.

To buy an item, send an e-mail to and in the subject line please put the name of the item you want. If you say “I’ll take it,” and I don’t know what item you want, confusion ensues.

If you don’t like the tool when you get it, I’ll be happy to refund your money if you return the tool. But postage is on you. All the tools have been used so they all show wear, but I take great care of my tools!

Lie-Nielsen #85 Cabinet Maker’s Scraper – SOLD!

I am an ebay junkie when it comes to tools, but there are a few that I have purchased directly from Lie-Nielsen and I will mention those as I list. This is one.

Lie-Nielsen No. 1 – SOLD

Another tool purchased directly from Lie-Nielsen. Fits well in smaller hands and nice for smaller work, but not one I really need.

Lie-Nielsen Large Shoulder Plane – SOLD

A good shoulder plane, but I have more than I need. My smaller hands prefer the smaller shoulder planes.

Lie-Nielsen 112 Large Scraping Plane – SOLD!

What can I say, I like this plane, but use it rarely.

Lie-Nielsen No. 7 – SOLD!

Out of all my tools I will be listing there are two that I am having the hardest time listing for sale. This is one. I love this tool. But I have the low angle jointer from Lie-Nielsen and lately I find myself reaching more for it than this one.

Lie-Nielsen No. 140 Skew Block Plane (Right Handed) – $190

Being a collector, I bought both the left and right of these. But the truth is I am a lefty, so this one gets left out of the fun. I have used it when the grain goes in different directions, so it has some tarnish on it, but a great user.


Thanks for looking! I will post more soon!!







Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Readers’ Band saw question answered

I received the following message a while back and I wanted to take some time to answer it. This, of course, is only my opinion based on my own experience. I’ve learned that woodworking opinions are as varied as east is from the west, so I’m sure there is bound to be differing opinions. ;D But I was asked to give my opinion on a very good legitimate question that a lot of new woodworkers might have. The message:


I was looking through your blog and noticed you are considering getting rid of your table saw in anticipation of a move to a smaller shop. I’m on the opposite side of things; I’m in a smaller shop and I’m trying to figure out how to manage without a table saw, and was hoping you might share some of your thought process on woodworking without a table saw. I currently have a Festool track saw, which is doing most of my table saw type work, and got me thinking I don’t need a table saw. That being said, I’m having a heck of a time doing small cuts, or doing a lot of consistent cuts. I also don’t have a band saw, which would make this easier. I’m thinking maybe I get a smaller job site saw (Dewalt 744x, or the like); since I only need a table saw for small cuts. I’m curious if this is something you’ve considered, and what you think about that. Ultimately a band saw is in my future, as I have a ton of thick, rough maple and oak that will need resawing, but since I need it for resawing, I probably need to go with a larger band saw, so more $$$. And of course, a bigger band saw means it takes up more space in my small shop…
Anyways, I apologize for the long message, but I’d appreciate any guidance you might be able to offer.

Thank you for your message. You’ve made some really good points and I believe you’re line of thinking is right on. The first thing I would tell someone like you who is just starting out, is take what others are going to tell you with a huge grain of salt, even me. I can give my opinions until I am blue in the face and at the end of the day it doesn’t mean the same to you as it does me, because you may work differently or approach a task differently than I, or anyone else for that matter, would. You’ll have to decide what best will suit your particular needs. As I reread your message I think you already know which way you’re leaning, which is great! However, I think you’ll find I have a unique perspective on this issue. Because I am a semi-professional furnituremaker I have to constantly balance speed and efficiency when making my pieces for shows, galleries, custom commissions or even personal. That said, for a majority of my years spent woodworking, my cabinet saw has been the most important and central tool in my shop. It’s been only in the last year or so that the workhorse for my shop has dramatically shifted from the table saw to the band saw. I think two of the main reasons for the shift are my comfort level using hand tools and a concerted effort to find consistent ways to use my band saw for cuts that typically were made on my table saw. As I started to realize that eventually I need to have a dedicated shop space I also realized that if we are going to stay in the house we’ve been in for any length of time I am going to be limited on the size of shop I could have and most likely smaller than the three car garage I currently enjoy. It would be physically impossible to move all that I have into a smaller space, so I need to decide what tools will make the move and what is just nice to have. So what tools do I have that are just convenience tools? For example, the easiest cuts to make on a table saw are rip cuts. I’ve never just made a rip cut on a saw and called it good regardless of what saw I used. I always follow up with something whether power jointer or hand plane. So do I need a full size cabinet saw to do it? The answer is no, a cabinet saw is convenient but not necessary for me. For that operation my band saw will work just fine, end cuts can be made on a miter saw or using my Festool saw on my MFT, sheet goods can be cut on a sacrificial foam pad with the Festool saw, etcetera. You’ll need to just go through the operations you do the most to determine what tool best suits the cuts you make most often. Because you are already using your Festool track saw, you’ve already somewhat supplemented what a table saw has to offer.

But since you are curious, the shorter answer is yes I will replace my cabinet saw with a smaller contractors saw like the sawstop version or an even smaller tabletop version like the Bosch 4100, as it is the only one in that size that can take a small dado blade set. As a matter of fact the only reason I still use my table saw these days are when I work with sheet goods and for using the dado blade. Could I manage to do the same things without it, well yes, but I’ve been so used to having a table saw I would definitely notice a drop in speed if I didn’t have one, however I think it is more likely just a convenience factor. But you are in a better position than I am to forgo a table saw because you’ve not gotten used to using one in your shop over the course of several years. So I guess if you’re asking me and if that is the way you are leaning, I would highly recommend looking at the Bosch for your particular needs, as I think it will give you the best all around solution. That is probably the direction I will go when the time comes, although I really like the Sawstop contractor model. Hopefully they will come out with a table top model soon!

As far as the rest of your question. I am very fortunate to have two band saws. One is a more industrial 21″ saw with a 3HP motor and the other is a more typical 14″ saw found in a lot of small shops with a 1HP motor and a riser block. I keep a 3tpi 1″ blade on the bigger saw and a 6tpi 3/8″ blade on the smaller one. Both are Grizzly tools and both I really like. If cost is an issue for you, they are ones I would recommend looking at. If I had it to do over again I would get the most saw I could afford without breaking the bank. I’ve spent the last ten plus years with just the 14″ band saw and it has done everything I have asked of it, that is, everything within reason. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I probably would have gone with their 17″ saw if I knew I could only have one. It seems the best bet for the balance of capacity, power and cost (I think you can get them for less than $1K). Also if I was limited to only one band saw, I would use a 4tpi 1/2″ blade for it like a woodslicer blade or a timberwolf blade (which is what the brand I use currently), as it is the best all around blade size I’ve used, and that is what I would recommend for you. Unless you like changing blades, then get as many different sizes as you want!

One suggestion I could give to you is to start looking at how others make and to start practicing making jigs, jigs, and more jigs. I think that figuring out how to make and use jigs and fixtures for the tools you have is your biggest challenge right now. Once you’ve made a jig or fixture to help you make consistent cuts or smaller cuts, you will find your desire for something else will subside. But that sense of frustration that we all get when we can’t figure out a better, easier or faster way to make a cut is something that plagues us all. It’s one of those things that will come with time and experience, so you’ll have to be patient and just work through it, just don’t get so consumed with making jigs and fixtures for projects that you forget to make projects, which happens more often than not! And don’t be shy about asking others if you have questions! There are several of us out there that are professional or semi-professional that are more than willing to help spread our knowledge and experience. That’s the great thing about social media and the internet; experts are always at your fingertips.

I know that is a very long-winded answer and I hope it helps some, but there is a lot to be said regarding the subject and I only covered some highlights. Let me know what you all think about the subject as I think this could lead to a great discussion. Also if you have any questions or need advice about an issue you are having, feel free to contact me! Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. I wanted to throw in a photo, so here is a project I worked on Memorial Day. It is a set of plaques I made for the USMC Command I work for as my “day job”. It included making a 1/4″ pattern, a 3/4″ template, cutting and prepping 11 plaques for finishing (the two on top had already been pre-made)….Oh and no I did not use my cabinet saw. Only hand saw to break down the rough material, small band saw to cut them out, spindle sander to sand the edges and smoothing plane to finish the faces.  All told less than 4 hours start to finish, including clean-up time.

Posted in Readers questions, woodworking | 4 Comments

End of May Update

Here I sit typing this post, one year older then I was a week and a half ago. I do feel older, but I certainly don’t feel any wiser. (Isn’t this supposed to happen when you get older?) I have noticed the strong urge to yell at the kids to get off my lawn! 😀 My tool set from my giveaway is on its way to its new home, hopefully carrying with it the part of my heart and passion for woodworking that I put into it when I was using it. I spent quite a bit of time a couple weekends ago making sure each part and piece of it was ready to use immediately by the recipient when he receives it. Congrats! I also wanted to give a very personal thank you to each of you that spread the word about the giveaway. Because of you, I set a record for visits to my site! A very big thank you to the guys at Wood Talk Online for the mention on their weekly show, so Thanks Marc, Shannon and Matt!!

Also as part of my 40th birthday, my lovely wife allowed me to spend a week of vacation time during the last week of April first part of May, at my all-time favorite place, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. I took a fairly new class titled “Hand Tool Joinery Essentials”. As with all my posts about the classes at the school, there is just too much information to pack into one blog post, you just need to check them out! You will not be disappointed, I promise. Suffice to say it was a great time. Mostly stuff I already know how to do, but I did learn some new things. The class was taught by Jim Tolpin and Able Dances, who are both not just good instructors, but were great just to converse with. It was also the debut class for a new shop assistant, Cedar Knoll. He is a former graduate of the schools 12 week intensive and was quite knowledgeable. He was great to talk with and by the end of the week you could hear the echoes of some of the guys calling out, “Cedar do you have a second, Cedar can you help me with this, Cedar what should I do next, etc.” It was really great to watch that dynamic evolve. I think he is a couple of the pictures here. The other students in the class were awesome and the group synergy was really fun. Of course I was in the “fun corner!” Plus I just really enjoy being there and I hope it showed! It is my home away from home away from home (long story!) This was a vacation for me, an opportunity to do some hand-tool only woodworking without worrying about deadlines for clients, products for upcoming shows, the tedium of my regular day job, none of that. It was a chance for me to unwind and concentrate on the skills themselves. Improving how I can incorporate my hand tools into how I normally work. I didn’t have to wear hearing protection once!

The school has a great array of hand tools already, so you don’t need to worry about bring tools if you are coming from a distance. Each bench is fully equipped with everything you would need to complete any course (plus they are already sharpened and ready to go for each class!) Having said that, you are welcomed to bring your own tools so you can work with them during the class. Each tool is different and reacts differently to different people. I feel it is important to practice with what you are going to work with day in and day out, so I decided that I would bring my own tool set with me. Which quickly lead me to the fact that I didn’t have a good way to transport them (I drove back and forth from my house to the school a few days to save on cost, about an hour each way). Plus I’ve wanted to build a portable tool chest for a while and this gave me the perfect opportunity to see it through. First off, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Luckily I had a bunch of Sapele plywood pieces left over from a custom library I had built for a client. Plywood is probably not considered acceptable for fine woodworking, but since this is a shop item and I am testing a design, I didn’t really care. Originally I was going to build it like a traditional Dutch tool chest, with an angled top, but after getting the rough case together to mark for the angles, my wife suggested that I keep it square as she had an idea she wanted to try.

Here are photos of the completed chest along with some photos about how much it holds. You can also see her neat idea, which worked perfectly! I also ended up making a saw bench to put the chest on. It ended up putting it at a very comfortable height to work out of. Also since the chest was not wide enough to put my panel saws in, I made a shelf on the saw bench big enough to store them and some other assorted items. The only down side to the chest is it is HEAVY. I could move it short distances by myself without spilling my guts, but only barely. Fortunately I had to foresight to add skids to the bottom by guesstimate on what was pleasing to my eye, which ended up being perfectly spaced for a hand truck I have. It helped immensely with the moving around. I tell everyone it was planned that way, but now you know better.

Overall I was very pleased with working out of the chest in the class. It was only a couple of steps from the workbench, everything was easy to get to and I could see at a glance what was missing or where something was that I needed. At the end of the day it was easy to clean up and put everything away in an organized manner, which if you know me, is a must. Another benefit was that I had to pare down on the tools I could take. Since I have OCD tendencies, I wanted to bring them all. But a smaller chest forced me to only take what I needed as opposed to wanted, which was a very big step for me. Not enough where I am going to start selling off my Lie-Nielsen tool collection, but a big step none the less….

Well on second thought, I did end up buying some new and new to me tools after the class, so maybe not so much!

Posted in port townsend school of woodworking, The Butler Did It | Leave a comment

It’s on like DonkeyKong

Way back when, I posted about a giveaway I was planning. I wanted to give a fairly complete woodworking tool kit to one lucky person. It is  similar to the basic set of tools I started with, so I am a little sentimental about it. I was hoping to couple it with a membership drive for the modern woodworkers association, but that seems to have fallen through, so here we are again.  

Here’s the lowdown. My 40th Birthday is quickly coming up and I have decided that my birthday wish is to share my good fortune with someone else. Kind of like paying it forward. As I look back over my years on this giant spinning orb known as Earth and despite the occasional hardship and bumps in the road, overall I am very thankful for my life. Most days I am humbled to realize how truly blessed I am.

But enough of the mushy stuff, here is the nuts and bolts. (Note: Most of the following comes directly from a social media friend and talented wood artist Chris Wong.  His site is Flair Woodworks and you should totally check it out because his work is awesome and from time to time he generously gives away what he calls “overflow”. Plus he is just a great guy!) 

If you want to be entered into the drawing for the tool set located here, you need to leave a comment on this post about what woodworking means to you and why you would like to win it. Comments should be posted no later than 3:00pm pacific standard time (PST) Thursday 09 May 2013.  At 5:00pm PST, I will submit the names of those who commented into a Random Chooser and let the program draw a winner.  I will announce the winner in the comments section of the this post and contact them to arrange the shipping details. Since I am giving away quite a prize package, it is only fair that the winner would pay for shipping and insurance, so I will ship anywhere you would like once payment is received via Paypal! 🙂  If for some reason the first person chosen decides they don’t want it, the Random Chooser will select another name, and so on.  If only one person comments, then congrats for you!

Some things to know: I have the akismet spam filter and I have noticed on the stats page that some comments are being marked as “ham” and are being blocked (22 total so far), so if you don’t see your comment, find me on twitter, Facebook, or through my website and let me know. Just don’t wait until the last minute. If I don’t receive a message from you before the deadline, it didn’t happen!

In full disclosure,  I had initially envisioned this tool set would go to someone new to woodworking or someone who would like to get into it but otherwise can’t, but I won’t go so far as to limit participation.  

Please spread the word to anyone you can think of…and good luck!

Posted in The Butler Did It | 58 Comments

Blanket chest progress

Things are moving right along on the blanket chest I’ve been working on. If you remember from last time I had all the parts rough cut. I meant to take photos as I moved along, but something, something about intentions. Anyway here is a photo of the chest just friction fit together. I wanted to see if the proportions were starting to look like the drawing. I think it does. What do you think?

As I have said previously, I have been really trying to not use my table saw on this project. I’ve relied on my band saw for the rough cuts and the router table and hand tools for the joinery. I know it will take getting used to and there have been many times I think it would just be easier to do it on the table saw, however I think I’ve been treating it like a crutch and so I have been very diligent in trying to wean myself off of it. I can honestly say I have only used it once so far on this project and that was to quickly make a replacement piece for one of the rails I messed up. Not that big of deal and I could have done it without the table saw, but I didn’t and that is okay. There is a part of me that has a teeny tiny engineer in it that always tries to get me to make my work as if I were a machinist, you know, perfectly square and measured in micrometers with no gaps or errors and perfectly smooth as if were a metal piece. I’ve been trying to silence him because lets’ face it, this is woodworking not machining. A band saw cut will never be as smooth as the table saw. I don’t care how good you are or how well tuned your band saw is, just not going to happen. Not to brag too much but my band saw is playing a perfect tune right now. Zero drift, 90 degrees exactly to the table and the blade cuts perfectly parallel to both the miter slot and the fence. I can rip or crosscut any thickness and take a square to it and be dead on and perfectly parallel. And with all that said, what does it mean? Nothin’. It still comes off the saw rough and needs touched up, either with hand tools or the jointer. But at the end of the day, it really isn’t that big of deal and I have been able to manage just fine. Just not as fast. But to ease my mind a bit, as I begin to work on projects I will try to make jigs and fixtures to help in my quest for better consistency and accuracy. This first one I made is to help cut the tapers in the legs. It is a pretty basic fixture and didn’t take all that long to make, but I wanted to show you the process.

First I marked the taper I wanted on a scrap piece of wood as a guide. I free hand cut it on the band saw and faired it smooth with my number 3 plane. In this photo you can see I had a good side and a not so good side. I used the good side as my guide.

One I had it smoothed and the size I wanted, I grabbed some spare pieces of plywood to make the fixture. I lined up the tapered end flush with the edge of the plywood and screwed the guide down. I added a simple screw to the end as a stop.

The fixture is really simple to set up. I just line up the edge of the plywood with the edge of the blade and push the piece to the stop and make the cut. Here is what it looks like on the band saw.

And after the cuts are made. The blade is a 4 tpi 1″ timberwolf blade that cuts like butta! But you can see how rough the cut is.

It is easily faired smooth with my number 3 plane at the workbench. The other planes in the background are just there for moral support! 😀

The last photo is where I laid my pocket square up there to see how close I was after a few passes with the plane. Looks right on. Now I am ready to cut my project pieces.

I think this fixture worked pretty well overall and was very quick to make and use. Consistency like this will make it far easier for me as I make this transition. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new way of thinking

I can’t believe it has been over a whole month since I posted last. First let me say that the “By hand and by eye” class at the PTSW was awesome! I would like to write an entire post about everything, but let’s be honest, I’m not really consistent at posting. I will simply say that the class has led me down a path of rethinking how I look at everything and I mean everything. The fact that great furniture design has been historically made with dividers, a compass and a straightedge is very freeing. Not to be constrained by measurements. Take for example a candle stand. Do you know why they are around 26 inches tall? They were that tall, because that was the perfect height for someone to sit down and read by candlelight! Who would have thought!! Furniture that was made to fit a space and specifically for the client and his/her height. A sideboard was made to the height it would take for the client to set a pot on without having to raise the arms or bend down. The great part was the furniture maker didn’t have to change designs in order to accommodate different clients. They simply used proportions. It’s hard to explain much more without writing a book, but the great thing is I don’t need to. Jim Tolpin and George Walker have already written one and should soon be published by Lost Art Press. If the information in the book is half as good as the class, I am sure it will be one of your favorite reads, I know it will be mine.

Since the class, I have been working on more rough sketches on different pieces and will eventually start putting them into production and sharing them with you.

This first one is probably the easiest I will work on. I wanted it to be simple, so I could work through the entire process without making it more complicated than it should be. Probably a cop-out, but oh well. It started with a sketch. I find my best ideas come to me either in the middle of the night and in the process waking me up, or most often through the tedium of my day job. This is probably why most of my sketches you’ll see are done on a yellow sticky note pad.

I drew this out in less than a couple minutes. From there a mocked up a temp drafting table on my work bench and away I went. I decided on the proportions I wanted, in this case a 3:5. Three parts tall, and five parts wide. The side view is a 1:1. I may have to make a short video to show the rest of the process, as it’s fairly involved. It is safe to say that once the proportions are set, the details are so easy to fill in. Here are some photos of my set up.

And my completed design.

Once I had the proportions worked out on my drawing, I needed to translate that into an actual size I could build. Really this is the only time a measurement is needed. Doesn’t necessarily mean that a tape measurement is needed, but some standard of measurement is needed to translate the drawing into a finished product. In this case, I knew that my rails and styles are limited to the width of lumber I have. I could have just set a pair of dividers to the width of the lumber, but for this I knew my measurement was three and a half inches. My starting point. The other cool thing we worked on in the class is translating your drawings onto story sticks. If you’ve never tried this, I encourage you to try it out. If you don’t know, a story stick is just that. It is a thin stick of wood that has all of the main measurements on it, to include joinery (basically the “story” of your project). As you look at the following photos, you’ll see I used black and red marks on one of the sticks. The black marks are the height measurements and the red marks are the depth measurements. The other stick is my width measurements. I would have like to put them all on one stick (I was going to use a green pen for the third color) but the stick I had used was not long enough to get all the measurements on.

And there you have it. Everything I need to layout and build my blanket chest. And only one number needed. We’ll see how it turns out, but so far I am pretty excited. At least it’s very different from my normal procedure, and this year, anything different is good. It’s nice to deviate from my norm and to try new things in my woodworking adventure. I’ve been doing it the same way for so long now, I was growing stale and bored. Now I can’t wait to get into the shop!

Here are a couple of photos of the wood I selected, both the beginning pile and the pile of rough cut parts using only my story stick. The panel cutter was used to mark the widths of the inserts. I will share more as I move along, but it hard for me to remember to stop and get photos when I get going, as I get hyper focused on what I am doing.

One more photo…It’s of my bandsaw. I love this thing!! 3hp and 21″ of cutting awesomeness! It also doesn’t hurt that I have timberwolf bandsaw blades. It cut the Sapele like it was dried pine.

I am considering getting rid of my tablesaw and a few other machines, so I am not going to use it on this project to see how difficult it will be to adapt without it. Why would I get rid of my tablesaw you ask? Eventually I am going to move my shop into a much smaller space and I need to start deciding how to downsize. As I am re-thinking how I approach my woodworking, I am also re-thinking the tools I use. Crazy? Maybe, but I don’t really care. I am all about radical thinking right now! Thanks for reading!

Posted in furniture design, port townsend school of woodworking, shop photos, The Butler Did It, woodworking | 4 Comments

Woah, one year and counting

So today is my official one year anniversary for my blog! I didn’t even realize it until I was sitting down to write a post for get woodworking week. As I was looking for my entry from last year I realized my first post was my contribution to this special week. So I have decided to re-state part of the original post, because it is just as valid as it was last year. Plus it makes me laugh. Enjoy!

Why start a blog now? Great question. I hope this blog to be about my woodworking experience, but I think it will contain other things I think are important to me as well. I am fairly new to social media (just look at my followers on facebook, twitter and Google+, not many!) But I do follow a bunch of fellow woodworkers on these platforms, some at the start of the path I am currently on. But what a fantastic bunch of guys and gals! The free flowing of information is great and sometimes almost instantaneous. I don’t give my opinion on things I know a lot about, because I am still hesitant to jump in the digital stream, although I am trying to get better at it. But I do follow some really knowledgeable people, and also those with a thirst for that knowledge! This week the blog world is hosting “get woodworking week” hopefully to get people to try this wonderful hobby. So this is my little contribution to their great idea. It’s also a great reason to start this blog! If you’ve never tried woodworking I would encourage you to find other woodworkers in your area to share their enthusiasm and hopefully to push you to just do it, you won’t regret it. The ability to start with an idea and to work that through to a completed project is like no other feeling. I can’t put into words the sense of pride you get. Also the self-discipline, self-confidence and sense of accomplishment it gives you are immeasurable. I think it is one of the things that is greatly missed in today’s schools, and I am saddened that “intellectuals” in the education system would fail to see that as they cut these types of programs out of their districts. (I’ll get off of my soapbox now). I started woodworking because “necessity is the mother of invention”. As a newly married couple, we didn’t have the money for furniture, so I bought or borrowed some basic woodworking tools and away I went. It doesn’t take a lot to get started, mostly just the desire to learn and to try something new. Don’t think about it, just do it. Go now, quit reading, start woodworking! So hopefully I find myself with the extra time to continue this blog. For those of you who, by some miracle, do find yourself reading this, I would really appreciate if you would give me feedback; good, bad or indifferent. I thank you for reading.

Posted in The Butler Did It, woodworking | 2 Comments

A Leadership Principle and Design

I’m reminded today of one of the Marine Corps principles of leadership I was taught so many years ago, which says “know yourself and seek self improvement.” One of the things I know about myself, that I need to keep in check constantly, is my obsessive compulsiveness. One would only need to look at my Lie-Nielsen tool collection to see what happens when I don’t. I’ve put this picture up on twitter a couple of times. It does not include any of their other tools I have just planes!

Anyway I mention OCD because I see myself going down that path with my design work. I think about it constantly, even when I should be doing other things. Not that it is bad. Paper is fairly cheap…at least for now it seems. I’ve been working on my table designs from the earlier posts and will be posting them as I go along. Here are a couple of them.

As you can see my sketching skills are not that great, but they are improving. Of the seven designs that made it to the second round, I think these two are my favorite ones I know for sure I want to see built. Along with knowing yourself you should always seek to improve yourself. In that spirit, this afternoon my wife and I are heading up to Port Townsend for the weekend so I can take the “By Hand and By Eye” class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. It is the class that ties in with the book by Jim Tolpin and George Walker that should be coming out soon from Lost Art Press. I think it will be one of those classes that will propel me further in my development of these basic skills I have neglected for so long. Plus I just love PT. It’s only about 45 minutes from my house, but my wife and I always stay up there for little weekend getaways. Hopefully I’ll have some time to take photos and I will let you know how it goes.

Posted in furniture design, port townsend school of woodworking, woodworking | 5 Comments

Update to Design challenge accepted

After some discussion on Twitter, I have decided to add the entire process, unedited, as it was sent to me by Tim.  I think it is important to present it as it as such because each step is important to the process and leaving it out was a disservice to anyone wanting to try it. I didn’t include it originally because I am doing things a little differently than is described.  I am going to use the seven designs that survived the initial cut as practice, so I will be taking them through the process all the way to the maquette.  I may end up producing them all, but we’ll see…That’s going to be a lot of work! Enjoy!

  1. Day one: Sketch 20 variations on the table in 20 minutes. Take 5 sheets of paper quarter them and let your self go. Don’t worry about detail – this is all about form. Play with the curves. Limit yourself to the twenty minutes and focus on exploring – pick up on themes you like as the sketches evolve. This exercise is about tuning into design      elements that are important to you. This is not about thinking – this is about channeling your inner moose.
  2. Get Elizabeth to look at them with you and identify the ones she likes best.
  3. Take another 20 minutes and explore the top sketches from the first exercise. Come up with 16-20 new sketches
  4. Elizabeth will pick the one she likes the best.  Cheer loudly and drink wine.
  5. Next day: (Have you taken By Hand and By Eye?) Use proportions to refine the design – the overall proportions on the specific proportions – width of the base relative to the top height of the central column (if it survives the review).
  6. Next day build a maquette (or two).  If you have some 1/8″ ply handy use that, or resaw some poplar for legs, use some veneer or other thin stock for the top.
Posted in furniture design, Furniture maker, port townsend school of woodworking, The Butler Did It | Leave a comment