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Archives for August 2010

Sam Maloof…woodworking interview…1982

Sam Maloof, a master craftsman provides an insight into his work during this wonderful 21 minute interview that took place back in 1982. During this interview furnituremaker sits down and shares how he got started in woodworking without any formal training and he also shares with us his process of designing and building custom made furniture such as his famous rocking chair. As Sam continues he goes on to describe the wood finish that he applies to his furniture and also gives his recommendation on maintaining the finish when the wood project is completed.

During this woodworking video we will join the legendary craftsman in his woodworking shop where Sam freehand cuts the arms of a rocker on his band saw. We will witness the assortment of woodworking patterns for his furniture projects that Sam has made and accumulated throughout his woodworking career. Then we get the opportunity to watch Sam as he assembles a rocking chair by first starting with the seat and then by fitting components into their respectful joints. Sam goes on to shape parts of the chair with a router and and then uses hand tools for further shaping of the piece. We will then witness Sam as he applies his shop-made wood finish to complete this woodworking project.

To learn more of the Maloof Legacy pick up a copy of the September – October 2010 Woodworker West magazine. The article details how the three men who worked with Sam Maloof are continuing to create furniture designed by Sam.
For more information visit Maloof Woodworker, Inc

For more information about the Maloof Foundation (tours and events)

Check out more interviews and articles of Sam Maloof by Fine Woodworking magazine .

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Tommy MacDonald interviewed by Fine Woodworking

Tommy MacDonald was interviewed this morning by Fine Woodworking Editor Asa Christiana at the IWF in Atlanta, Georgia. As you may already know that Tommy MacDonald’s new show on WGBH called “Rough Cuts” will air this October. During this interview Tommy talks about some of the wood projects on the show, how he got his start in woodworking, and also about the positive influence of Norm Abram on him.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

15…Let’s Build a Magazine Case

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
Mark Twain…American author and humorist (1835-1910)

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

Many of woodworkers receive woodworking magazine subscriptions in the mail each month and as the time goes by these magazines accumulate. These magazines are a great source for reference and also inspiration so it is nice to have them protected and organized so that we can easily access the information. Now, a woodworker can simply purchase a magazine case from the publisher or from a local discount store and be done with it. However, since we are woodworkers why not select the wood of our choice and learn how to make our own wooden magazine case?

This woodworking video shows the woodworking equipment and woodworking techniques used to build a magazine case. The main power tools employed for this process are the table saw, the jointer, open drum sander, and the band saw. The dedicated dado sled for the table saw is featured in this tutorial and is used to cross cut dadoes. This table saw fixture is used for cutting rabbets, tenons, grooves, dadoes, and half-laps and makes production work easy and accurate. The cutting of rabbets are shown in this video.

Ribboned mahogany is selected as the material for the magazine case due to the woods nicely flowing grain as well as its captivating chatoyance. Mahogany machines well, is easy to sand, and it takes a nice finish. Tried and True oil varnish is used with a wipe on application and as a result the finished woodworking project has a warm hand rubbed look.

If you are a woodworking beginner pay attention to the details as shown in the band saw and table saw set-ups as they offer greater control and also greater safety.

The Band Saw Set-up
When ripping stock on the wood band saw there is a tall resaw fence clamped in place. This fence is aligned and set in accordance to the “drift” of the band saw blade. Also, notice that a featherboard keeps the bottom of the stock snug to the fence while the push stick directs the stock through the blade. This assures that the mahogany is tight to the resaw fence and also that one’s fingers and hands are clear of the band saw blade. Take you time and allow the blade to cut at its own pace.

The Table Saw Set-up
Notice the safety accessory used to control the stock as it is pushed through the table saw blade.
A small adjustable featherboard is used in the miter gauge slot in order to keep the stock tight to the table saw fence.
A shop-made featherboard is clamped to the table saw to keep wide stock tight to the fence. In this case an auxiliary board and a clamp is positioned against the featherboard to further control the situation

The Dado Sled Set-up.
The stop block clamped to the fence guarantees that stock is cut to uniform lengths. A quality dado blade set allows for fresh, clean cuts.

Keep in mind that these woodworking basics apply to beginning woodworking projects as well advanced projects.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Dedicated Miter Sled…revisited

“Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count.”
…Albert Einstein…Genius, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1879-1955)

The table saw is a primary tool in the woodworking shop and has been for many years. If you are a power tool woodworker chances are you have a table saw. Some woodworkers may debate which is their first tool of choice for their shop, however that is an argument for another post. In this post we will concentrate on one tool and one fixture for this tool.

Little is said in woodworking books, woodworking magazines, or woodworking online about the dedicated miter sled for the table saw and perhaps if you are a woodworking beginner you may not even know about the miter sled. So while you may not find this workshop accessory in woodworking catalogs, you may soon come to realize the difference this fixture can make for you and your projects.

The dedicated Miter Sled for the table saw is a woodworking video tutorial on how to build one of the truly great table saw accessories. If you have ever worked with an accurately made table saw sled then you can attest to the difference it makes for your skill level and also for the all important qualities of your fine woodworking projects.

Now, some woodworkers may say that they use a a table saw miter gauge or some type of miter jig and that’s fine. Other woodworkers may say that they have chop saws or compound miter saws and that’s OK too. However, chances are if they ever had the opportunity to use a precision miter sled for the tablesaw then they would be using the miter sled.

It’s easy to see how this fixture for the table saw could find its origins in a cabinet shop, furniture shop, or a planing mill as the miter sled is worth its weight in gold when its time for production work. The nice thing about the miter sled is that you will never have to set up the angle for the miter after you accurately set the interior fences. (as the video reveals.) So, anytime the craftsman wants a dead-on miter that totals 90 degrees he reaches for the miter sled. One may raise the question “What if I need to cut my stock square and I don’t want to have to remove the miter sled or run to the chop saw all the time to make my cut?” In this case the miter sled can do the job again. Take a look at the push/pull fence closest to the woodworker and you will notice that there is ample room to make square cuts and thus adding to the versatility of this table saw sled.

The table saw miter sled is made with production work in mind. A convenient example in this instance would be making multiple picture frames as it really does not matter if you are make 10 picture frames or a 100 of them. If your picture frame is of equal lengths on all four sides then you really only need one stop block set- up to cut the necessary length for all four sides. In this case you simply need to cut the initial miter and then measure the needed length. Now, mark this length on the stock with a pencil and this will indicate where the table saw blade will cut the next miter. Set this pencil mark to the saw kerf as the side of this stock is set along the interior miter fence. Now, place the square end of a stop block against the miter fence and butt the block against the previously cut miter. Secure the stop block in place with a wood clamp and you are ready cut all day long if you need to.

(The above is a basic example. For production it would be better to cut stock lengths perhaps a 1/2 longer than needed and then cut one miter. Once the length of the piece is determined then cut the remaining miter. Then do the same for all remaining pieces of that particular length.)

The advantages of the miter sled:
1.) Dead-on accuracy.
2.) Can be used as a cross cut sled.
3.) It is very cost effective.
4.) In a small shop it can save space and possibly costs by eliminating the need for a chop saw or typical miter saw.
5.) The miter sled can easily be built within a few hours and ready for immediate usage.
6.) It may save the woodworker from unnecessarily buying an expensive miter guage.

a.)Make sure the base material is flat. Baltic Birch plywood or MDF are good choices. (1/2″ – 3/4″)
b.)Use straight grained hardwood for the push/pull fence and for the 90 degree miter fence. (maple is a good choice.)
c.) Use straight grained hardwood for the runners. (quarter sawn is preferred. maple and oak are good choices.)
d.) Should the fences be glued? (this is a personal choice. The miter sled pictured has fences that are glued using yellow glue.)
E.) Use a sharp, quality saw blade for best results.
f.) Make sure the table saw blade is set 90 degrees to the table.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

9 1/2″ x 12″ Vase…Segmented Woodturning

Segmented Woodturning a Tall Vase

Segmented woodturning on a wood lathe evokes a curiosity in woodworkers. Generally speaking, when a woodworker first views a segmented bowl or a tall decorative vase he or she will ask the question, “How did they do that?” Often times segmented pieces have various patterns that are simply beautiful to look at and yet puzzling to figure out as to how they were constructed. While it is apparent that woodturning tools and a wood lathe were used to shape the woodturnings, what is not entirely clear is how the segments and rings are glued and fitted together to form this wood art. How can all these pieces be accurately organized and well joined? That is the beauty of this wood craft!
Vase of Segmented Woodturning
The woodworking techniques used for segmented woodturning are essentially basic and yet evolved. To begin with a segmented woodturner will need a design to follow. Thankfully, today there is very good woodturning software available that makes the design factor a relatively simple procedure. Keep in mind tho that complex designs can also be performed with the software. Once you have created a design you can print it out along with a cutting list. The list will show you the angles and dimensions for the segments as well as the number of segments needed to complete each ring. In essence, the math part is taken care of for you.

From this point it is a matter of dimension the woods, cutting, gluing and assembling, and then turning your piece. The actual woodturning may actually be about 10% of the process.

So, if you are looking for some good woodworking ideas why not give segmented woodturning a try. Consider starting with a basic platter or perhaps a bowl. Get a feel for it and before long you will be advancing your skill level and in time people just may ask you, “How did you do that?”

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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