Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blogger Partay at WIA

Nik Brown has organized an opening night extravaganza at a local bar near the WIA convention center.

It's being billed as a blogger gathering, but all are welcome.  My partner and I will be there to keep everyone in line as we will no doubt be the only teetotalers.  Although, she's been known to dance on tables and I do a mean Joan Jett on the karaoke machine. (Kidding. We're Presbyterian.)

Here are the specifics.

Date and Time: Thursday, September 29, 7:00 p.m. until they give us the old heave-ho
Location: Keystone Bar & Grill, 313 Greenup Street, Covington, Kentucky

Those who've attended WIA in the past will tell you that one of the very best aspects of the event is talking with other woodworkers. Doggone it, we're a friendly bunch. So if you're in town that night, stop by, hang out, make some new friends, and chat with old ones.  (I just turned 47, so I'm one of the latter).

See you in a couple weeks!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Making Do

Scrub plane.
I am not a masochist.

I don't really like pain or discomfort.

But when you need to mill rough cut boards—none of which are flat enough to run through a power planer and are too wide for a power jointer—it's time to break out the handplanes and play some workout music.

Here is one method for flattening boards. Other woodworkers use different approaches.
Scalloped surface left by scrub plane.

First, remove high spots.  You can do this by traversing your board (planing across the grain) with a jack/fore or scrub plane—or any plane that can hog off thick chunks of wood—and checking your progress across the grain with winding sticks and with the grain with a long straightedge.

After that, you can switch to a jointer/try plane—or any plane with a slight camber on the iron and somewhat large mouth opening. This flattens the scalloped channels left by the previous plane.

Finally, a plane with a fine-set mouth and straight iron achieves a finished surface.
Transitional plane with slight camber.

Problem is, I do not have a jointer plane that can be used for step two. The wooden one that I made is set up for fine shavings along the edge of a board. I don't have time to make a new one, nor do I wish to part with more money having spent a chunk of change on lumber for my workbench.

This dilemma sent me to the basement (my former shop) in search of...anything. What I found was an old transitional plane (the love-child of a wooden plane and a metal plane) that was given to me years ago, and is about as attractive as Billy Ray Cyrus' Kentucky waterfall.
Chuck, my beefy short plane. 

We shall call him Ned. 

Ned needed a thorough scrubbing behind the ears to get him in working condition.  And his iron needed to be re-ground with a slight camber and steeper bevel.

Heavy and awkward and difficult to set up as he his, he performed pretty darn well. Well enough to be followed by the much easier to use and lighter weight Chuck.

I did not finish-plane the boards. I got one side flat enough to feed through my power planer.*

Check the flatness along the length
of the board with a straightedge.
Check across the grain with
winding sticks.
*See first sentence.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

When All Else Fails

Reach for a cabinet scraper.

Because I rarely work with ornery wood, this tool does not see much action in my shop. But when you're working with a species that won't play nice, the cabinet scraper is your best friend.

A neighbor asked if I would make some striped discs of wood for a jewelry project she's working on. So I glued up a bunch of exotic wood strips and planned to plane the laminated board to thickness once the glue dried.

Sometimes even a well-tuned and sharp handplane can't handle the likes of Chakte Viga.

You can use a card scraper for small projects like this, but a cabinet scraper keeps your work flat and prevents your thumbs from being set ablaze.

And it can save you from some frustrating scrapes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

WIA: A Month Away

We're in the home stretch for the Woodworking In America: The Ultimate Joinery Weekend conference.

If you've been riding the fence about attending, Lie-Nielsen is offering an incentive if you register before September 9:

Using the promo code below, you will save $25 when you register online for a Full Conference Package.  In addition, you will receive a $25 Lie-Nielsen gift certificate, courtesy of Popular Woodworking.  

Details are as follows:
• You must register before September 9, 2011.
• To register for WIA, visit:
• Enter the promotional code:  LieNielsen25 (this offer cannot be combined with other offers)
• You will save $25 off the the Full Conference price of $395, so you pay only $370.
• Lie-Nielsen will email you a $25 gift certificate on September 12, 2011.  
• Lie-Nielsen gift certificates may be used for a purchase on the Lie-Nielsen website (, by phone (1-800-327-2520), by email (, in their Maine showroom, or by bringing a printed copy to the Lie-Nielsen booth at Woodworking In America.

If that's not incentive enough, then you need to check out all the updates by Shannon Rogers, who has been hard at work interviewing Chris Schwarz, Adam Cherubini, Megan Fitzpatrick, Charles Brock, Mike Siemsen, and Thomas Lie-Nielsen about the event.

Shannon will have his own booth at the conference promoting his Hand Tool School. He'll also debut his new joinery bench.

If that's not enough to entice you, then maybe The Blogger Challenge will. Mike Siemsen thought it would be fun to create teams of bloggers who will go tool-to-tool at the Hand Tool Olympics booth, located in the marketplace.  

My impressive teammates are Rob Bois and Matt Gradwohl, and our team name is Foggy Bloggers. We'll compete against other teams in six events. All I know is, I hope I don't have to compete in the boring competition.