Category Archives: Techniques

Woodworking projects, plans, techniques, tips, materials, and tool reviews

Get Woodworking Week

Get Woodworking Cub Scouts

Get Woodworking Week

Get Woodworking Week

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to build some Arrow of Light awards for a local Cub Scout troop. These are simple cherry boards with a routed edge detail that the Scouts will hang on their wall in their home. The plaque will have an arrow mounted on it, and the arrow will be painted with colored bands, each representing an achievement reached by that particular Scout. This award is used in the ceremony that transitions the Scouts from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, and there were 14 of them.

The Easy Stuff

I selected Cherry for this project and picked up some great pieces at Compton Lumber in Seattle. After  selecting face sides of the lumber to hide any defects or sapwood I rough cut the pieces to length and let them accilimate. After a few days I milled  the lumber to final dimensions and routed the edge and endgrain with a Freud Quadra cut bit on my router table. I was sure to route the end-grain first with a backing block, and then route the edge. This left a nice smooth cut with very little tearout.

Keyholes with a Plunge Router

To make these awards easy to hang on the wall I used a keyhole bit. With this bit you plunge into the piece creating room for the head of a nail, then move the bit along the upside of the back of the piece creating a recess for the nail and a slit for the shaft. There are cutters on the wide disc on the bottom of the bit and along the shaft of the bit. You’ll see how this works in the picture below.

I created a fixture to hold the boards securely and also guide the router in a straight line up the back of the piece with stops at the top and bottom. I used opposing wedges to hold the board against a fence, which worked better than any wacky creative clamping and was very low profile. There were 14 awards, and the jig helped me cook through all 28 keyholes quickly.

Arrow of Light Keyhole Router Bit

Arrow of Light Keyhole Router Bit

Arrow of Light Keyhole Jig

Arrow of Light Keyhole Jig

Arrow of Light Completed Keyhole

Arrow of Light Completed Keyhole

CNCs and Lasers – Oh My!

After completing the keyholes, it was time to add the Arrow of Light design. This was the most challenging part of the project because in the past the awards were laser engraved, and I don’t own a laser engraver. I contacted trophy shops in the area but there laser engravers were too small for a 34-inch long board, or they were going to charge outrageous prices.

A fellow online woodworker, Ralph Bagnall, offered to help by creating router templates for me. Ralph does some CNC work so I sent him the design. We had some conversations via phone and he quickly sent me some router templates. Ralph is a helpful, positive, and encouraging worker. You really should connect with him through his website or on Twitter @Consultingwood.

After trying the router templates, I decided to continue to look for laser engravers. It’s not that Ralph’s CNC skills weren’t awesome, it’s that the design just wasn’t suited for routing. Lots of corners on the design that the router just can’t get sharp enough.

Hackers, Makers, and Robots

Luckily I found Metrix Create:Space in Seattle. CreateSpace is one of those Hacker and Maker Spaces that has lots of gadgets and gear: 3D printers, laser engravers, CNC machines, robots, soldering stations, all kinds of cool stuff. Their prices are reasonable and they have friendly and helpful staff. I had 14 of these awards to laser engrave and it took about 10 minutes per award with help from the staff. I had to draw the design in Inkscape which is a free program, and it was very easy to use.

The laser engraver works like a giant inkjet printer, except for three main differences:

  1. The laser engraver is much bigger
  2. The wood stays still (with an inkjet the paper moves)
  3. It’s shooting a laser not ink

Here’s a video of the laser engraving an award. The smoke in this video is real, it smelled like a wonderful campfire in the workshop even with capable ventilation.

Even Machines Make Mistakes

Very rarely the laser would lose track of its position and the laser would engrave the wood in the wrong position. But it would do it perfectly and continue on, not knowing that it was messing up the award. When this happened I planed the surface new and let the laser take another shot.

Here’s what that looks like, compared to a correctly engraved award right out of the laser. The sap in the wood heats up and rises to the surface and the surface is left tacky. I cleaned that up with mineral spirits and then handplaned the surfaces crisp and clean.

Arrow of Light Laser Mixup

Arrow of Light Laser Mixup

Arrow of Light Laser Complete

Arrow of Light Laser Complete

Now Here’s the Fun Part

At this stage, the awards are ready for sanding and finish. Remember, there are fourteen of them. And they are for Cub Scouts matriculating into Boy Scouts. A day was scheduled at the Pack Leader’s garage, and I packed a road kit. I would deliver the awards and teach the Scouts to sand and oil their own awards. I chose Danish oil for the finish because it’s near impossible to get wrong. I brought my plane, my planing stop, sandpaper of various grits, rags, and Watco Danish Oil. I also brought the appropriate safety equipment including gloves and a bag to take all oily rags home.

After a brief tutoring session the boys were busy at work sanding along the grain, sanding the end grain to higher grits, and checking each other’s work. There were some boys who weren’t interested but for the most part the Scouts were really interested.

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 1

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 1

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 2

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 2

The Pay Off

It was a fun experience to share woodworking with some Scouts, and it was especially rewarding to see the kids who were genuinely interested in the work we did that day. It was fun to see these kids share this time with their Dads. Maybe I’ve started something in these kids and someday they’ll say “Hey Dad, can we do some woodworking this weekend?”

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 1

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 1

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 2

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 2

Woodworkers Discuss Design and Prototyping: Woodchat Transcript January 25th, 2012

Woodworkers discussed design and prototyping from sketching or drafting with paper and pencil, utilizing free tools like Google Sketchup or professional CAD programs like TurboCAD. We also discussed building foam prototypes like Rob Bois has done.

Woodchat Transcript January 25th, 2012 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern

@tomrbnsnfrnture: I am about to do some Extreme Laminating. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: RT @uppercutwood: #woodchat tonight 6pm/9pm “Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success” for Wednesday watch this http://t.co/z2Ef3n14

@McPhersonDoug: @uppercutwood ok- I’m new. how do I join in on #woodchat?

@DJOfurnituremkr: What is tonight’s topic? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @djofurnituremkr Was wondering the same about #woodchat. I actually get to join in tonight!

@thewoodninja: @SMeekWoodworks @djofurnituremkr “Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success” #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: RT @uppercutwood #woodchat s topic “Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success” for Wednesday

@MansFineFurn: @McPhersonDoug go to tweetchat, enter the hashing #woodchat, sign in with Twitter name, chat! Welcome to the group, c ya at 9est

@wintersedge: First night in woodchat. Looking forward to this and it should be quite interesting. #woodchat

@FlairWoodworks: I’ll be partaking in #Woodchat in 10 minutes time. All are welcome! (I’ll be posting as @ChrisHasFlair)

@uppercutwood: @McPhersonDoug I look forward to you joining #woodchat

@uppercutwood: 10 minutes to woodchat “Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success” #woodchat

@FlairWoodworks: RT @uppercutwood: 10 minutes to woodchat “Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success” #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: RT @uppercutwood: 10 minutes to woodchat “Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success” #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @SMeekWoodworks Good to “see” you again, Scott! #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: Looking forward to tonight’s #woodchat #woodchat

@WoodworkGuy: I am looking forward for #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @SMeekWoodworks How’s the new job at GPD going? #woodchat

@superdav721: Hello everyone #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @superdav721 welcome! #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: Hello. I’ll play the “new guy” role. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: To see a great video about using prototypes to work out the details, check this out from @theboisshop http://t.co/z2Ef3n14 #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: I already did my homework. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @McPhersonDoug hey Doug! glad you could jump in! #woodchat

@theboisshop: @uppercutwood Thanks for the props. Oh, and I’m home in time for #woodchat!

@McPhersonDoug: @uppercutwood thanks for the invite and for complimenting my work/website yesterday. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @theboisshop That’s fantastic, since I wanted you to contribute to the prototype discussion, pink foam guy! #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @McPhersonDoug no problem, it’s great stuff #woodchat

@uppercutwood: I’m also hanging out, with extras apparently. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: 6 o’clock boys! #woodchat

@uppercutwood: oh, and I have chew in. #dontbeoffended #woodchat

@WoodworkGuy: Hello all #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @ChrisHasFlair Chris! good to see you brohamich! #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: hey all #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: How did I earn that name? RT @uppercutwood: @ChrisHasFlair Chris! good to see you brohamich! #woodchat

@thewoodninja: Good evening woodchatters! Looking forward to this one. #woodchat

@Tumblewood: I may make it in at the end. I’ve got Tweetchat open #woodchat

@UserOfWood: i use cardboard sometimes.it’s quick and cheap https://t.co/WOZDkRdP #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Welcome everyone! Ready to get rolling? #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: Woodchat’ll never let me down, unlike my twice canceled book club. Evening guys! #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: When I make prototypes, I try to make parts removable. For example, I use lots of screws and little glue. #woodchat

@WoodworkGuy: Yes , indeed. #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: Lets do eet #woodchat

@woodshaver101: Hi all, whats the topic #woodchat

@superdav721: Yes please #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: If the first one I make turns out bad I call it a prototype. otherwise I call it done. #woodchat

@imaginer99: I do lots and lots of scribbling on my whiteboard and scraps of paper. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @woodshaver101 Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Topic tonight: Learning Design and Prototyping to Increase Confidence and Success #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: I’ll just throw this out: anyone see @renaissanceww post today postulating that designing (plans) aren’t necessary? (simplified) #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: Going to try doing the hangout and be here at the same time. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Well played! RT @benjamenjohnson: If the first one I make turns out bad I call it a prototype. otherwise I call it done. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: First to learn elements of design, George Walker is a good place to start. http://t.co/8sSiQDWl #woodchat

@thewoodninja: @benjamenjohnson I like that philosophy a lot! #woodchat

@JimAAshley: Evening all. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn I saw that over on G+. #woodchat

@superdav721: @MansFineFurn yes I did #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @MansFineFurn Saw that and posted a comment to send people here #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @MansFineFurn I put in my two cents worth. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Designing is necessary. You can do without plans. #woodchat

@imaginer99: RT @thewoodninja: @benjamenjohnson I like that philosophy a lot! #woodchat

@woodshaver101: some of my best design ideas start with the classics,golden rectangles and the golden mean #woodchat

@UserOfWood: @uppercutwood i’d really like to take a class from George. he’s teaching one close to me, just need to see if the time works. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: Looks like he was getting a jump start on our conversation. #woodchat

@superdav721: @woodshaver101 agreed #woodchat

@thewoodninja: In 14 years, every one of my designs started with a function in mind. #woodchat

@dividedlight: Multitasking but I’m here tonight. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: I think for complex pieces prototypes are great to figure out the curves and crazy details. #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: I generally take @benjaminjohnson approach after some drawings. Also make changes throughout the build. #woodchat

@celamens: @uppercutwood I’m here! May be short though. #Woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @woodshaver101 I don’t worry about golden ratios when designing. I just trust my eye. By checking afterwards I know I get close. #woodchat

@Wood_Jedi: Hello my fellow woodchatters #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: On Shannon’s post, If I can’t figure out 90% of the project just from the pictures people post, I figure I shouldn’t be making it. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @McPhersonDoug That’s an iterative way #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: @uppercutwood I agree. Tough to get the feel for a piece sometimes w/o a full scale. #woodchat

@superdav721: @ChrisHasFlair Your eye usually will bring you to the ratio #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: I like to use SketchUp. Only downside is you can lose perspective of the actual size of the piece. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @McPhersonDoug I’m not sure I’ve ever built something without making at least one change along the way. #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: Not proud of either of my habits. Just sayin’ #woodchat

@Wood_Jedi: @ChrisHasFlair I use the Golden ratio often in my cabinet and box making

@when I need a simple design #woodchat

@woodshaver101: any one ever read the Chippendale directer.or the Victorian cabinet makers assistant #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @McPhersonDoug You just @replied the wrong guy.. check the spelling :>) #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @ChrisHasFlair I aggree its just a starting point #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: No. Have you? Recommended? RT @woodshaver101: any one ever read the Chippendale directer.or the Victorian cabinet makers assistant #woodchat

@celamens: Can someone fill me in on golden ratio? #Woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @benjamenjohnson Poor Benjamin 🙂 @McPhersonDoug #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: I like Sketchup, but I’d rather be working on something than drawing. If it was something that needed mass production it’s great. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @celamens The golden ratio is a naturally occurring ratio that is pleasing to the eye. 1:1.6, I believe. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Part of your reliance on design, plan, and prototype depends on who you are, where you are in your skills, and what you’ve built. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @celamens http://t.co/Df6s4cMO #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair 1:1.618 to be precise #woodchat

@WoodworkGuy: I am working on learning sketchup #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: All mine are steel 🙂 RT @WatkinsWoodWork: anyone make a golden rule to aid them in the design process? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @uppercutwood Also what you make. #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: Sorry I’m so quiet, was trying to find a TedTalks video about 3d printers. Thought it would fit for prototyping. #woodchat

@celamens: @uppercutwood Thanks! Will be reading that later. #Woodchat

@superdav721: @ChrisHasFlair i draw something out then apply my Fibonacci gauge to see how it worked out #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: I’m a Sketchup fan myself, but I can only handle sitting in front of it for so long. I’ve actually been drawing cabs all day on it #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: On the golden rule I just learned a cool fact, it is related to the Fibonacci sequence. Ain’t math great! #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @celamens http://t.co/Jkw9FxMl this little video explained it well #woodchat

@UserOfWood: @ramblinrdesigns i like sketchup too, but sometime proportions can get skewed. that’s where the mock-up comes in #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn 1.6180339887498948482 to be preciser! #woodchat


@ramblinrdesigns: This book has some helpful tips. http://t.co/ZS0PYdcT #woodchat

@Torch02: @SMeekWoodworks I heard @uppercutwood is waiting to get trained on a 3D printer at work #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @SMeekWoodworks Why don’t you find and post the video later? I don’t think anybody has time to watch it now during #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: @superdav721 Did u make or buy your gauge? I’ve been thinking of either building one or buying it but haven’t done so yet #woodchat

@Torch02: @ChrisHasFlair @MansFineFurn Just use 8:5 as “good enough” for the #GoldenRule #woodchat

@superdav721: @benjamenjohnson Walt Disney did 3 shows on the Fibonacci ratio that is great its on youtube. #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @ChrisHasFlair Good point. 🙂 #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @WatkinsWoodWork You can buy Phi rules from Lee Valley. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: Speaking of GoldenRatio,I don’t think the new toolbox I’m building has the right proportions, I bet it isn’t even close to the GR. #woodchat

@superdav721: @WatkinsWoodWork made it out of walnut. I have 3 of them at different scales. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @Torch02 and a laser printer too. Get to use them for free. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @superdav721 Donald duck in Mathemagic land? #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: @ChrisHasFlair @MansFineFurn You have tools that can make stuff to 19 decimal places? How much do those cost?? #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: Excellent thanks for the lead RT @ChrisHasFlair: @WatkinsWoodWork You can buy Phi rules from Lee Valley. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @uppercutwood I mean laser engraver/cutter #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: My design process starts with my sketchbook I carry with me at all times. I love hand sketching, when I take the time to do it. #woodchat

@superdav721: @benjamenjohnson you got it its great. Even the grandson liked it. He is 2 #woodchat

@imaginer99: @benjamenjohnson That’s the best one! #woodchat

@woodshaver101: I use e cabinet systems ,and a sketch pad #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @BobbyHagstrom I only use 2 decimal placed. My last piece was 100000000000000000.00mm x 161803398874989484.82mm. Just kidding. #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: Golden ratios or other mathematical concepts like fractal geometry can be a good “check” on a design to tweak dimensions. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: i need to get better at hand sketches suggestions? #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: Woodworking for Mere Mortals build a Phi “rule” Check that out http://t.co/Gh4ttzPH #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @WatkinsWoodWork Full disclosure, I work part-time at Lee Valley. #woodchat

@WoodworkGuy: LV… Great place! #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Practice. And don’t use a pencil so you’re not tempted to erase. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @ChrisHasFlair Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, do you get to play with all the neat tools? #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: Touché. U deserve a raise. RT @ChrisHasFlair: @WatkinsWoodWork Full disclosure, I work part-time at Lee Valley. #woodchat

@imaginer99: @MansFineFurn Just sketch what are you are thinking about. specifics at first #woodchat

@superdav721: I work with software all day. When sketching i use good old graph paper. #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: Finewoodworking had a great article on how to sketch several months back. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: A little off topic, but how do you shorten URLs in TweetChat? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @benjamenjohnson You bet! I was demoing Festools last week for three days. #woodchat

@wintersedge: I would be curious to see how many commercial woodworkers have moved to CNC in some aspect of their product builds. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @WatkinsWoodWork Please tell my boss 🙂 #woodchat

@woodshaver101: real cabinet makers us a napkin and a lumber crayon #woodchat

@Wood_Jedi: Has anyone tried the new cutting board design software @MeremortalsWW was showing in his last project video? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @MansFineFurn Just keep drawing. A lot. #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: I truly prefer to do a rough sketch and work by the seat of my pants. Tried sketchup but found it cumbersome. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: As much as I make fun of sketching I use the green engineering paper to do a rough sketch to figure out how much material I need. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Recommened book to get great at sketching http://t.co/OeJMjjgq #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: Trying to think of the author….Legendary Canadian woodworker #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: For some reason, I like to sketch designs using only a red pen on white paper. #woodchat

@dividedlight: I am still drafting on an antique wooden table. lol #woodchat

@superdav721: @woodshaver101 And toilet paper. Its the only room I am left alone in to think. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: When sketching, I use pen so I can’t erase. Then I look at all my sketches and see not only what I like but what I don’t. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @wintersedge not many, i think cnc tends to slow things down #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @ChrisHasFlair Sweet, I’m jealous, but do you ever buy any of the tools? #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: It’s your inner accountant RT @BobbyHagstrom: For some reason, I like to sketch designs using only a red pen on white paper. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @Wood_Jedi Cutting board design software? Seriously? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @wintersedge We get a lot of our router templates and jig parts made in CNC. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @superdav721 Real men use sandpaper. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @ChrisHasFlair Do you X out the designs you don’t like? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Me too. MT @WatkinsWoodWork: I prefer to do a sketch and work by the seat of my pants. Tried sketchup but found it cumbersome. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @superdav721 LOL. good one #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Chris Wong? Michael Fortune? RT @McPhersonDoug: Trying to think of the author….Legendary Canadian woodworker #woodchat

@superdav721: @benjamenjohnson I cant draw on sandpaper. I can erase with it. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: So, are you sketching or drafting? What do you consider the difference? #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @ChrisHasFlair Why do you use pen? If I couldn’t erase, I’d soon give up. #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @WatkinsWoodWork As with anything, practice makes it work better for you. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Of course. RT @benjamenjohnson: @ChrisHasFlair Sweet, Im jealous, but do you ever buy any of the tools? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: No. I know by looking. RT @uppercutwood: @ChrisHasFlair Do you X out the designs you dont like? #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: I do quite a bit of small work/boxes etc and my clientel is great in letting me just work it out as the piece progresses #woodchat

@superdav721: Sketching to me lets me change the idea. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Phil Lowe recommends making full size drawings to build from http://t.co/AU3onrj1 #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: There are two sides for a reason. RT @superdav721: @benjamenjohnson I cant draw on sandpaper. I can erase with it. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @uppercutwood sketching or cad drawing take about the same time,its being able to change things that cad has the advantage #woodchat

@dividedlight: @uppercutwood Sketching is freehand and drafting is to scale. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Paper is cheap. RT @benjamenjohnson: @ChrisHasFlair Why do you use pen? If I couldnt erase, Id soon give up. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @woodshaver101 Not for me. Sketching is much faster and easier to make changes with. #woodchat

@McPhersonDoug: @ChrisHasFlair Michael Fortune #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: SketchUp helps me visualize joinery issues and create actual working dimensions. It gets easier the more you use it. #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: I would agree RT @dividedlight: @uppercutwood Sketching is freehand and drafting is to scale. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: We’re halfway over, any questions/topics you’d like to share or ask about? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: RT @dividedlight: @uppercutwood Sketching is freehand and drafting is to scale. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Twitter is choking #woodchat

@superdav721: @dividedlight I use graft paper to sketch with so it keeps me in a proper scale. It helps my eye. #woodchat

@WoodworkGuy: I like doodle/sketch to start with , then move to measured drawing #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: The job I am working on right now was sold to the client via a SketchUp rendering. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Breaking news: #woodchat killed Twitter. 🙂 #woodchat


@McPhersonDoug: the better you are at sketching, the closer you should be to drafting then, correct? #woodchat

@Wood_Jedi: @Chrishasflair Yes Seriously #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: CAD is more useful there. RT @ramblinrdesigns: The job I am working on right now was sold to the client via a SketchUp rendering. #woodchat

@superdav721: I like prototypes for designing my jigs. And if the final project is an exotic. I would rather practice on a secondary wood. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns For speculative work, that benefit doesn’t apply. #woodchat

@superdav721: @ChrisHasFlair what happened? #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: I made a mini prototype once. It was fun and helped me to see the size ratios.

@Barbie would have loved it. #woodchat”

@benjamenjohnson: @ramblinrdesigns I suppose that’s one reason to sit down and really learn SketchUp. I never thought of it like that. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: #woodchat We’re halfway over, any questions/topics you’d like to share or ask about?

@woodshaver101: @ChrisHasFlair I agree.everytime i show a job on my laptop,its a sold job #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @superdav721 I was getting messages saying “Twitter is overloaded” and “Twitter is down”. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Customers do like renderings before making the project deposit. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @superdav721 Good point about prototypes. Using cheaper wood to perfect it before you use exotics. #woodchat

@Bowtech_10: i like sketchup but i am better with acad in 2D #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @ChrisHasFlair The CAD programs I’ve seen are pricey. Plus, another learning curve to master is daunting. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @woodshaver101 How many hours do you put into the Sketchup model? Do you charge for designing? #woodchat

@Wood_Jedi: Just got a plan for a 17th century Pennsylvania Spice Cabinet I will be redrawing it in Sketch up before the build.. #woodchat

@superdav721: @benjamenjohnson To me the prototype is my scetchup. It is the way I debug the project. To scale. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @uppercutwood ,yes they do ,its more professional. image and presentation is important #woodchat

@uppercutwood: I think the takeaway for me is, it’s important to sketch for concepts and inspiraion. Whether or not you make plans is up to you. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @superdav721 I don’t think a rendering is as good as a physical prototype. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: I tend to plan just enough to feel confident about the build, and plan the hardest joinery, and then go forward. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @ChrisHasFlair I eat the time I spend creating the SketchUp model, but it also gets my mind into the project and helps me focus. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @ChrisHasFlair around 4 to 6 hours to draw a custom kitchen,I charge,if they want the drawings without signing a contract #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @ChrisHasFlair it is usually cheaper though. Do you prototype? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @uppercutwood Agreed #woodchat

@superdav721: @ChrisHasFlair Agreed very much so. #woodchat

@Bowtech_10: @uppercutwood this is what i usually do too #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @ramblinrdesigns I like Alibre Design as an inexpensive CAD program. #woodchat

@OnBlank: @WatkinsWoodWork #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns And if the job doesn’t happen? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @woodshaver101 That’s a good plan. #woodchat

@superdav721: @BillGriggs good evening. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @BillGriggs Thanks. I’ll have a look. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @uppercutwood When I am developing a new piece of furniture I do prototype. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @ramblinrdesigns ditto I do the sketchups for free to (usually) if the customer is serious. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Furniture, especially chairs, are much more interactive than cabinets and I can’t get a feel of ergonomics through a rendering. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @ChrisHasFlair Haven’t had that happen yet. Every design proposal I’ve created so far has turned into a job. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @uppercutwood same here, though one of my resolutions for the year is to be more regimented about making and saving designs #woodchat”

@ChrisHasFlair: The same goes to strength – what joinery is adequate, how thick does a certain part NEED to be… #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: I sketch w/ red pen for concepts, the work out difficult dimensions/ joinery angles in cad, since I have an engineering background.#woodchat

@BillGriggs: @ramblinrdesigns I have a discount code if you want it. Send me a direct message. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns Wow. That’s great. I hope that continues for you! #woodchat

@Bowtech_10: i make sure there serious and then design for free the design helps me more than them. that way i go in the right direction #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @ChrisHasFlair Prototyping joinery is definitely a good idea. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @ChrisHasFlair when you present a job and dont be afraid to ask to be paid,for your time,I include it if a contract is signed #woodchat

@BillGriggs: I just got a good offer on a Festool Domino. Are they worth it? #woodchat

@dividedlight: @benjamenjohnson I will prototype difficult joints with cheap wood to ensure my settings. Entry door mid-rails can be very tricky. #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: I’ve used graph paper/pen for simple stuff & it works fine. 3D renderings do help sell stuff; I just lack practice in Sketchup. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @BillGriggs I would but I don’t know how to send a direct message. Help please. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @BillGriggs there nice #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @SMeekWoodworks “Oops. I guess butt joints aren’t strong enough for a chair!” 😀 Does anyone have a CAD that will tell you that? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @BillGriggs It depends on if you will use it. I like mine and I think it’s worth it. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @BillGriggs i prefer my Jet Floor Stand Mortiser #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @ChrisHasFlair lol #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @BillGriggs YES! #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @BillGriggs YES! #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @BillGriggs Heard lots of good things about the domino even tho I don’t own one. #woodchat

@superdav721: @ChrisHasFlair My butt joints to my chair just fine.. sorry couldn’t help it. #woodchat

@Tumblewood: Hey guys…sorry I couldn’t chat tonight. #woodchat

@Bowtech_10: @superdav721 lol #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @superdav721 Do you use Superglue? (I couldn’t resist either!) #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns The @FestoolUSA Domino is an awesome machine. #woodchat

@superdav721: @ChrisHasFlair depends 😉 #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @BillGriggs I know my dad who has built custom cabinetry for about as long as I’ve been alive says they are worth every penny. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair Yes, I do in fact have CAD that will tell me that! #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @ramblinrdesigns send it through Twitter #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn No you don’t. Really? Really?! Do you trust it? #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: What is the general opinion about using pocket screw joinery for parts of a high end design? #woodchat

@BillGriggs: RT @ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns The @FestoolUSA Domino is an awesome machine. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @MansFineFurn What, do you model in Pro/E with Finite Element Analysis? #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @uppercutwood Why do you prefer it? #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair Yes, totally. (Do you trust airplane designs?) If one were to design, say a minimalist ash chair and… (cont) #woodchat

@superdav721: @ramblinrdesigns I cant do it. I dont know why. But I just cant. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns High-end design is different than high-end craftsmanship. With high-end design, anything goes. ANYTHING. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @ramblinrdesigns I like them for face frame joinery only, #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @BillGriggs I like the integral tendon, not the floating #woodchat

@BillGriggs: RT @SMeekWoodworks: @BillGriggs YES! #woodchat

@Bowtech_10: @ramblinrdesigns will for kitchen cabinets but not high end furniture #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @ramblinrdesigns I’d have no problem with it as long as it was completely hidden, but then again I’m not a paying customer. #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: @ramblinrdesigns Depends on where the pockets are on the piece #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair ..want to know how big a butt it can handle (safety margin), I can do it. @benjamenjohnson Solidworks #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: @benjamenjohnson @MansFineFurn Don’t tempt me to do FEA on my design! I have a whole book on stress analysis for doug fir… #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: haven’t had an opportunity for FEA on woodwork yet, but there’s always the first time! (ahem…minimalist ash chairs, for example) #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn You must have input for variables like material type, elasticity, glue, amount of stress applied, where, angle.. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @WatkinsWoodWork Mostly just face frame joinery. Completely hidden. #woodchat


@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Are you saying you have the software or a big butt? 😉 #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair yes, boundary conditions, material properties… are needed for that, but I digress. I want to design more like you #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn What is this ash chair you speak of? Tell me more! 😀 #woodchat

@superdav721: Good night all. Blessings and Peace. It was fun. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair yes #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: @ramblinrdesigns I’ve done a few pieces with pocket holes but only in areas that they were extremely hidden and inaccessible #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn That’s impressive. Solidworks, you say? Still, I feel more comfortable working in the real world. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: Fibonacci design video i think everyone would enjoy http://t.co/S6UWzVrr #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @ramblinrdesigns We had a bed made semi-custom and they left the pocket holes unplugged on the back of the headboard, not cool. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @celamens glad you could make it #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @superdav721 Goodnight, Dave. Hope nobody’s glued your butt to your chair. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: Goal for 2012: Sketch More, Draft Better, Prototype (aka get over the fear of ‘wasting’ materials on a prototype) and build more #woodchat

@woodshaver101: @benjamenjohnson I agree, pocket screw mania #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @benjamenjohnson Do you make your own dowel plugs for the pocket holes or buy them premade? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Probably the best thing that happened for me was getting a glut of wood, more than I know what to do with. #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: I make my own. RT @BillGriggs: @benjamenjohnson Do you make your own dowel plugs for the pocket holes or buy them premade? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @ChrisHasFlair Jealous #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @MansFineFurn Yeah, I have a cheap streak, I’m always afraid to waste good wood. I need to work on that too. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair I’ve got that too, hasn’t seemed to do it for me yet (frugal yankee that I am) I’ll get there, with your help #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: If I may ask, what did each of you have for dinner? I need some inspiration. (No Sketchup drawings, please!) #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Haven’t had dinner yet. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @SMeekWoodworks If you lived closer, I’d be trying to pawn some of it off on you. #woodchat

@woodshaver101: well Im out good night all GOD BLESS #woodchat

@hellobearrabbit: Just wanted to say hello to all my fellow woodworkers! #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @SMeekWoodworks Forgot to tell you, I’m sending your wood Friday, I didn’t mark which was which, so I’m sending them all, enjoy! #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @BillGriggs I’ve only used pocket joinery on stuff for the shop, so I don’t plug. But I know it’s a good strong joint #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @ChrisHasFlair Ramen. I didn’t want to be late for woodchat so I ate it while I chatted. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair Buffalo Chicken Salad #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn That sounds good! I don’t think we have any lettuce though… #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @theboisshop Hope Whitney was worth it! #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Same here. RT @benjamenjohnson: @BillGriggs Ive only used pocket joinery on stuff for the shop, so I dont plug. #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @benjamenjohnson I used a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes for my shop cabinets. Very strong. I’ll post a picture on my blog. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @BillGriggs when I plug straight holes, I have a set of plug cutters that I use to make matching plugs…sometimes it even works! #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair spinach? Arugula? Dandelion? wood shavings? #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @MansFineFurn Awesome! Looking forward to it. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @MansFineFurn @theboisshop had to leave to watch America’s Worst SitCom. #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: @hellobearrabbit Hello. Afraid you missed tonight’s chat. We’re all done. #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: I used pocket joinery on my bathroom cabinets; I left them unplugged because they were on the inside below the countertop. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @BillGriggs You could also put a veneer over the holes. That’s what I would do. #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: @ramblinrdesigns Ooh, I was thinking of that before dinner, I smelled it somewhere, but the kids wanted pizza #woodchat

@hellobearrabbit: @ramblinrdesigns oh well no worries, I figured some people were still trolling the hashtag 🙂 #woodchat

@SMeekWoodworks: @ChrisHasFlair Bummer #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Hmm. I should have at least ONE of those… #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @hellobearrabbit welcome! #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @hellobearrabbit Hello back at ya. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: Even though woodchat is “over” keep it going, we can hang #woodchat

@benjamenjohnson: Time to go read to my daughter, goodnight all! #woodchat

@ramblinrdesigns: Now you’re making me hungry. Guess I’ll have to go scare up some real dinner. Until next week. Same time. Same channel. Bye. #woodchat

@hellobearrabbit: @ChrisHasFlair nice! #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @ramblinrdesigns Goodnight! #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @ramblinrdesigns Try the Chili. It’s great. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair If you need other meal ideas, I’ll review the past week’s menu #woodchat

@WatkinsWoodWork: Catch u boys later. Time to spent some time with the mrs. And get our star trek nerd on… #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Woodchips and barbeque sauce sounds appetizing. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @MansFineFurn @ChrisHasFlair what should I eat tonight guys? #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: This weekend! Splitting a BIG red oak to make 17th c., Follansbee Joint Stools (pre-ordered the book today) http://t.co/dovVAsw3 #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Sounds fun. #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: So what did we learn tonight? #woodchat

@BobbyHagstrom: I had Doritos!! #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @BobbyHagstrom That’s healthy. #woodchat

@BillGriggs: @ChrisHasFlair How to do a stopped Dado. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @ChrisHasFlair I learned I need to learn to draw, and you need a little finite element analysis to temper your “reality” 😉 #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @BillGriggs Hmm. I missed that somehow. #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: Alright gents (and any remaining ladies) time for me to quit. Good times! #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: @MansFineFurn Too much reality? #woodchat

@ChrisHasFlair: Okay, I’m being dragged off to get dinner rolling. See you all later. #woodchat

@uppercutwood: OK guys I’m checking out, I’ll get the transcript posted darn soon at http://t.co/RlIo5QTB #woodchat

@MansFineFurn: @uppercutwood the tweet report link I sent you last week: if you save the html report of it, and link to that, transcript persists #woodchat

@uppercutwood: @MansFineFurn once you save it they keep it in their cache? Cool #woodchat

@BillGriggs: Good night woodchatters. See you next Wednesday at 9 PM East #woodchat

Fine Woodworking Live Logo

Fine Woodworking Live August 2-5 SUNY New Paltz

You know I’m a big fan of Woodworking in America, it is a great time away from the day job, focused on woodworking with other woodworkers. I’ve been to two of them so far with the first one was focused on skill building and making connections. Last year was about renewing those connections and getting some special tools. I had a blast and learned a lot. It was a great time.

This year Woodworking in America is splitting into two shows, the traditional venue in Cincinnati, and a new location in Pasadena California. At first, my reaction was mixed: I’ll miss the guys who attend the Cincinnati show when I’m in Pasadena, but I’m excited for a shorter and cheaper flight.

Now Fine Woodworking mixes up the whole situation again with their announcement of Fine Woodworking Live August 2-5 at SUNY New Paltz.

Fine Woodworking Live Logo

Fine Woodworking Live

Will I Be There

I’m not sure I’ll attend Fine Woodworking Live, but we do have friends in New York that are getting married – so we might be in that area anyway. If I’m in town, I’m attending. There isn’t a mention of a vendor area, but that wouldn’t stop me from attending anyway. However I’m currently planning to attend only one show: Woodworking in America in Pasadena.

Justifying Three Shows Per Year

After reading the post and some comments over on The Woodwhisperer’s site I am convinced that this is a good thing, and an opportunity to grow the woodworking community. To me it says a lot about the resurgence of woodworking to see Popular Woodworking believe that they will have enough attendance for two shows, and for FWW to believe that they believe they’ll still get enough attendees to justify their own, competing show. The business decision makers and sponsors behind these shows wouldn’t go for it if they didn’t believe they had the attendee numbers to justify three shows in one year. That’s awesome, and I hope all these shows are successful.

Top Speakers and Interesting Topics

After looking that the schedule for Fine Woodworking Live, I’m excited about the sessions. I don’t know if the format will be similar to other shows, but the speakers they have lined up and the topics they will cover are genuinely interesting to me.

After a quick look, the top topics for me are:

  • 5 Ways to Bend Wood with Michael Fortune
  • Essential Workbench Jigs with Matt Kenney
  • 40 Years of Woodworking Tricks with Christian Becksvoort
  • 7 Steps to Beautiful Boxes Instructor with Matt Kenney

Making New Connections

Last year at Woodworking in America, one key topic of discussion was “How to Save Woodworking” it’s been an ongoing theme with Christopher Schwarz and was the subject of a banquet dinner at Woodworking in America 2011. We’ve been encouraged to start blogs, bring others into the craft, and work hard to educate consumers about the benefits of working with local woodworkers.

Woodworkers have taken that task head on, creating the Modern Woodworkers Association, rebooting #Woodchat, and launching Get Woodworking Week.

Get Woodworking Week

Get Woodworking Week

So, although I’m still bummed that I won’t see all the Cincinnati Crazies, I’m excited to meet new woodworkers, encourage them in the craft, and bring them into the community. Overall these three shows will collectively reach more people, and that’s great for woodworking and those that support it.

Woodworker Showcase

An opportunity that Popular Woodworking and Fine Woodworking are uniquely suited to help with is to open their shows up to the general public to help educate and increase demand for locally made furniture. These shows could have woodworking showcases with pieces for sale; they could advertise to and educate consumers; and have targetted business, marketing, and sales seminars for woodworkers.

For there to be resurgence of woodworkers, there must be demand for the products we woodworkers make, and Popular Woodworking and Fine Woodworking could help small woodworkers with that through their shows.

Here’s an excerpt of an earlier post I made on the subject:

Consumers are buying more locally and responsibly produced products in many areas of their life. Families attend farmers markets, buy handmade goods on Etsy, pursue organic food and fair trade coffee, and buy electric cars. They do this even when the products aren’t necessarily better, they do it for two other reasons (in my opinion). 1. The product is more authentic, and 2. the product is more responsible. People in Seattle worry about the carbon footprint of the California grown tomato. No really, they do.

It’s hard for me to explain what I mean when I say a product is more authentic. I guess the best example I can give is that authentic means that someone with real skill actually touched the product. Think Adele vs. Katy Perry, or The Gap vs. a hand-knit sweater. Responsible I think is easy – no one buys a Prius because it’s fast, sexy, or good looking. It’s a very ugly, slow, and uncomfortable car. People buy a Prius because they want to be responsible. They may tell you it’s for the economics, but I don’t believe them, especially those that paid a premium when they were in short demand.

So I think the position that woodworkers need make clear with consumers is that locally produced custom handmade solid wood furniture is better quality, but it’s also authentic and more responsible. When customers know that the wood for their piece was hand selected, shaped, joined, and finished by your hands, a warmth is imparted on the piece. You can enhance this by including them in the design, bringing them along to pick out the wood, and blogging in detail as you build the piece. It’s kind of like ultrasound pictures for a baby in the womb, only in this case the baby is their furniture and the womb is your shop.

You can also have conversations with consumers about the responsibility of your product. Use FSC certified woods, safe finishes, and build your product well. Explain to them about mass produced furniture being built from trees that shouldn’t have been harvested in the first place being shipped by the container full across oceans, cite examples of toxic finishes found on foreign made products, and help them understand that your product will never fall apart and end up in a landfill. And of course stand by your product if it does need repair.

Call To Action

So, if you’re a woodworker and you’re going to attend a show, great! But don’t spend too much time lamenting that you might not see all of your woodworking friends at the show. Be excited that our craft is growing, be outgoing and open and meet new woodworkers, and encourage them to continue in the craft. Let them know about all the resources that are out there: Twitter, #Woodchat, Wood Talk Online Forums, Podcasts, Blogs, The Woodwhisperer Guild, and The Hand Tool School, the Modern Woodworkers Association, and other resources. Get their contact information, and follow-up with them. Answer their questions, and introduce them to others. Get cheap VistaPrint business cards containing this information, and hand them out.

Go Be a Woodworking Ambassador!