Monday, March 25, 2024

Micro jig dovetail sled

 My new micro jig sled using micro jig dovetail clamps is proving useful in a variety of operations, including tapering the back legs of the children's rockers I'm making as preparation for a class at ESSA in the fall.

When I taught making children's rockers in the past, one week was really not long enough, so I'm working on various jigs to clarify and simplify a complex project. Hopefully, that will leave more time for carving the backs. When I had my last rocking chair class, it was with the Diablo Woodworkers in the San Francisco Bay area, and I received photos in years after showing me student's finally finished work.

In addition to using the micro jig dovetail clamps  to hold the work directly on the jig, they can be used to clamp blocks in place trapping the work in position or you can use their kit to set up stops using the same dovetail grooves. The jig can also be useful for box making.

Make, fix and create...

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Mentored residency in wood

 The deadline to apply for my mentored residency program at ESSA approaches. More information can be found on the ESSA website, including the application material.

As leader of the program, I'm author of 15 woodworking books and over 100 articles in various woodworking magazines including Fine Woodworking. While I'm best known for box making, I've also done a lot of furniture design published in books and articles and for individual clients. For instance, the table shown was for a contractor in Little Rock and is assembled with mortise and tenon joints and sliding dovetails. The rocks embedded in the wood are a theme used in some of my furniture work and boxes.
Residents in the workshop will have full use of the ESSA machine room, lathe room and bench room, my experience in helping to move to the next level in their work, and on campus lodging.

Larry Copas, a local woodworker with profound experience in all kinds of machine use will also be available as a resource to residents.
Any questions? I welcome you to contact me direct.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Adding legs to a box.

Adding legs to a box.

Make, fix and create...

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Method or madness?

 The photo shows two of my demonstration boxes from my classes for board and staff at ESSA. They are made of ash and have now received a first application of Danish oil made using the Sam Maloof mixture of boiled linseed oil, mineral spirits and polyurethane varnish. The oil finish darkens the wood and enhances the grain, bringing natural colors to life, while adding just a bit of sheen and protection to the wood.

The lids have their shape for specific purposes. Being resawn at a 4 degree angle leaves them thick enough at the back for applying surface mounted hinges, and thin enough at the front to not appear overly clunky and graceless. An additional advantage is that by careful resawing, two lids can be cut from the same piece of wood. 

You may be curious how wood can be planed at an angle as was obviously done. First surface the wood on both sides. Then cut the one piece into two using the table saw set at the desired angle. The taping the outside faces together back into the original shape, run it through the planer again, surfacing the sawn sides.  To further utilize the angle of the lid as a design feature in the box, the ends of the lid taper toward the front corners and the front corners of the box taper toward the front, providing a natural spot for the fingers to engage in opening the box. That subtle feature is more easily observed in the open box.

Is all this method or madness? Check the photo, and you decide. If you don't like it, tell us why.

Make, fix and create. Insist that all education become likewise.