Video 9 – GRR-Rip Block Storage

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jointer_grripblock_storageLike most jointers, mine came with two basic push blocks.  While they are safer to use than nothing at all, there is a better alternative out there.  A couple of years ago I bought one GRR-Rip Block at a woodworking show, and loved how it worked on the jointer.  I ended up buying a second one, and both are now dedicated for use at the jointer.  Since I no longer use the standard push blocks, and I didn’t want to start the new ones on the jointer tables, I decided it was time to change the storage on my jointer to accommodate the GRR-Rip Block.  I used scarp material from around the shop to put this together.  Since I got all my measurements off the blocks and jointer, I don’t have and any drawings on this one.  Just make sure that the bottom board is wide enough to accommodate both blocks as well as the two side pieces.  For the length, make sure it is long enough for the back support and the length of a block.  The new storage solution for the GRR-Rip blocks works very well to keep them out-of-the-way when they aren’t needed, but are easily grabbed when I am ready to face joint a board.

Painter’s Easel

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easel_complete The artist of our family is most definitely my step-daughter.  As her skill and talent develop, she needs a true easel, rather than books propping up a canvas on the kitchen table.

The construction is a basic a-frame style easel.  The center rail has a rabbet running down each side of it, forming a reverse t-track.  This allows the bottom shelf and the top clamp to be adjustable for both height and various sizes canvases.  The two movable parts lock in place with a couple of star knobs which essentially clamps them in place.  The support leg is adjustable so that the easel can tilt at various angles.  easel_inuseThis is accomplished  by using two lengths of wood, one of which has a through groove ran down most the length.  The other has a knob to hold the two pieces together.  A third piece links the to the lower length of wood and to the main a-frame of the easel.  This makes for a very stable support leg.

I decided to keep the wood unfinished.  This is because I honestly didn’t see the point of finishing it.  With being used to paint on, it is going to get messy.  Also, there is a good chance my daughter will want to paint it to make it her own.  She is the artist after all!  For this reason, I used poplar for the wood, both for the economy as well as it takes paint nicely.

This was a fun project to build!  In addition to that, I am looking forward to seeing the wonderful works of art my daughter will create on it!

Video 8 – Paper Towel Rack

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SketchUp Drawing – Paper Towel Rack

paper_towel_rackOkay I did have some fun, perhaps too much fun with this one, but both our cat and dog make a guest appearance in this video. :) I will state for the record, despite the light cast on the Pudge, our cat, she is a very good cat.

This project is good way to help freshen up the look of any kitchen. If I had to change one thing on the design, I would have put the rabbets on the sides rather than the back. It would have eliminated the clamping issues I had in the video, as well as made a cleaner looking joint. I had actually debated whether I wanted to redo the entire video to make the design change. After thinking it through, I felt there is still a lot of good information in the footage I had, and attempting to recreate that footage, some of that information may have been lost. However, this will be something I keep in mind as I design future projects for video.

The wood I used in the paper towel rack is cherry, and the finish is shellac that was buffed with a carnauba wax finish. It has hung over the sink for about a month now, and everyone in the family loves having it now.

March 2015 Shop Update – Redesigned Website!!

Published on by Mike  (2 Comments)

logo So if you haven’t noticed yet, I have completely redesigned my blog!  Before I get into too much detail, there is a group of people, that are in The Woodwhisperer Chatroom that I need to give a shout out to.  First is Travis (aka SynCro) he took the photo that I use as a logo, and made it into a more usable image for me, and his advice went a long way in coming up with the header design.  He did a great with it!  Next is Jason (aka Beamer) as he gave some great design advice as well helping me debug some Javascript and CSS.  Another shout out to Gary (aka EI).  He also did some treatment to my logo that I hope to eventually turn into a t-shirt design.  A big THANK YOU to you guys!  Finally, one last thank you to the entire chatroom.  The feedback you guys gave really inspired me to reconsider my ideas of web design.

There are a few features I want to highlight on the redesigned website.  First, the fresh look is a huge improvement over the old one.  The new look was long over due.  Next, I have made it easier to find the various avenues to subscribe to my content with the social network bar under the main menu.  More links will be coming soon as I am expanding those options as well.   Another improvement is that I made the comments links more apparent, in hopes that more comments are left.  The last new feature I wanted to highlight is the Video page.  Since I am planning on making videos a more integral part of my blog, there is a video page where my most current videos will be nicely laid out.  Over the next days & weeks I will likely be making tweaks as I go, so if you seem something out-of-place, let me know and I will get it fixed.

2015-03-30 23.56.33On the topic of videos, yes it has been too long since my last video release.  The good news is I have footage for two more video projects that are ready to be edited.  The delay in getting them edited was a result of getting the website redesign going.  Now that is complete I am going to circle back and get those videos edited and posted.  I really do want to get to a point of where I can post these weekly, but that may take a while to build up to.  Right now, especially since the weather is improving, I am hoping to get them out every other week.  If you have an idea of project you would like to see a video, leave your idea in the comments, or send it to me via the contact link.

kimmyLast, I mentioned a couple of updates ago that I quit drinking pop just after Christmas.  It has been 3 months now and I am happy to report that my beverage of choice is still water!  I have not touched a can or bottle of Coke or Pepsi at all since then.  I have lost around 10 pounds as a result, and have found I have a lot more energy.  Now with the weather warming up I try to take a daily walk with our dachshund mix, Kimmy.  The next phase is also trying to take the bike out a couple of times a week as well.

Until my next shop update, happy and safe woodworking to all!

Tool Buying

Published on by Mike  (4 Comments)

sanderBefore my woodworking hobby became as serious as it is today, when I bought a tool, I would go to a box store and bought what I thought was a good value on a good tool.  For many years, this worked well for me, especially as most of my projects were more DIY home improvement, where tolerances were a little more lax, and putty was available.  :)  Most of those tools were bought during the early years of my home ownership.  As much as I hate to say,  nearly all the power tools I bought during this period of have been replaced, over a period of the last 4-5 years.  Granted, these tools were bought for a different purpose and a much more limited budget than I have today, so in most cases it is hard to say I regret buying “x” tool because it did serve its purpose at one time, until my needs changed.  However, there were also some uninformed tool purchases over the years that I did regret.  Today, I take a very different view on my process for tool buying.

routerplaneSo what do I look for when buying woodworking tools today?  First lets look at hand tools.  When I buy a tool that I know I am going to get a lot of use out of, I tend to go for the premium tools.  My feeling is that these are truly once in a lifetime purchase, so I want to buy something that I know is held to a high standard of quality so that I can get that lifetime of usage out of it.  Also, a premium hand tool, while expensive, are easier to save up for than premium power tools.  I am not necessarily brand loyal when it comes to these tools, in fact my collection has tools from many different companies.  In fact, even though it is a premium brand,  I still do my homework on them.  Also, with hand tools, I think it is important to hold them in my hand and give them a try. Both Lie-Nielsen and Veritas travel around the country and give opportunities to take their tools to wood.  Typically, the one that feels best in my hands while using them is the one I buy.

bandsawWhen it comes to power tools, I would love to say I buy premium brand machines as well.  But, I can’t.  Unlike a premium hand tool which sells for a few hundred dollars, a premium machine sells for thousands of dollars, and lets face it, not all of us have the budget for these machines.  To make matters more challenging, very few places will let you fire up a saw and make test cuts right in the store, so getting a feel for a machine before purchase may not be possible.  I typically buy what I consider middle of the road machines.  With this level of machine, there are some real gems out there, but there are also some real stinkers as well.  To me, this is where it becomes vital to do my homework.  I still expect these machines to be long term purchase, and with this level of machine, this is feasible.  The first thing I look at is the construction and motor of the machine.  When possible I want the machine body, or at the very least the machines work surface to be cast iron.  The next thing I look at is the motor.  Is it a belt driven induction motor, or a direct drive universal?  The belt driven induction motor in most cases is superior to a direct drive system, with less vibration and more power.  Next, I look at what are the machines capabilities, and more importantly what are its limitations.  With the type of machines I buy, there are often trade offs to buying the premium version.  This can mean less power, smaller work surface, and possibly less precision & accuracy.  If I am willing and able to work around these limitations, that machine will go on my short list.  Finally, I check out reviews, forums, blog posts, and various other means of information about the machines on the Internet.  Once I have all the information I need, I make a decision on which tool I will buy.  :)

jointerWhen buying tools, it is possible to buy quality without busting your budget.  It may take some time to do your homework, as well saving up a little extra to meet your needs.  Most importantly, whatever you do buy, read up on how to safely use it, and them start making sawdust!