November 30, 2006

Woodturning As Art

Brian Simmons is a member of the American Association of Woodturners which has its headquarters at the Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. My wife and I recently had a chance to stay at the historic Saint Paul Hotel which is right across the street from the Landmark Center. There is almost always a show at the AAW Gallery, so we made a point of visiting while we were there.

There are currently two shows, featuring woodturning artists work from around the country on display at the Gallery. "Turning Twenty: Still Evolving" focuses on the emergence of woodturing as contemporary art over the last 20 years. And "Step Up To the Plate," features the work of 42 turning artists based on such diverse themes as baseball, civil rights, courage, and marriage. Each show is on display until December 15th in St. Paul. If you’re in the Twin Cities and you have time, I highly recommend stopping by to see the beautiful work on display.

Otherwise, you’ll hopefully be able to make it to Brian’s seminar at the Woodsmith Store this evening. The seminar is a repeat of a crowd favorite "Bowl Turning: From Log to Bowl in Under an Hour," put on by Brian last winter.

Our two Bloggers Specials downloads both come from ShopNotes magazine:

Bowl Gouge Basics is from ShopNotes issue #53, and

7 Must-Have Turning Tools is from ShopNotes issue #73.

I’ll see you there. – Joel  


Posted by Joel Hess @ 11:30 am Comments (2)...

November 29, 2006

Podcast #4: Building Picture Frames in Your Shop

I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving. It seems like more than just two weeks ago when we got together for Bryan Nelson’s router seminar. Missing even one week seems to put me out of kilter.

This week’s vodcast (or video podcast) features Chris Fitch, senior designer for Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench magazines. He gets right into building frames, explaining how simple it is to build one with just molded work pieces straight from the router table. Click the link to watch the seminar, "Building Picture Frames in Your Shop." 

I hope you enjoy Chris’ seminar and I’ll see you Thursday evening for another Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminar. -Joel 

Posted by Joel Hess @ 9:11 am Comments Off on Podcast #4: Building Picture Frames in Your Shop

November 22, 2006

Podcast #3: Why You Need Hand Planes In Your Shop

Welcome to the Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminars.

This week’s seminar is "Why You Need Hand Planes in Your Shop." Your seminar presenter is Randy Maxey, assitant editor for Woodsmith and ShopNotes magazines. To watch the seminar, click here.

Note: Please save to your favorites/bookmarks and visit us every week for more Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminars podcasts. -Joel

Posted by Joel Hess @ 2:37 pm Comments (1)...

Happy Thanksgiving

Bowl Turning

The Woodsmith Store will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd. So, of course, there won’t be a woodworking seminar this week. 

Please join us again on Thursday, November 30th for our next seminar: "Bowl Turning: From Log to Bowl in Under an Hour." Brian Simmons, our resident turning expert will be presenting the seminar. Brian has taught woodturning all over the country and counts Nick Cook and Willard Baxter among his mentors. Like Willard, Brian has taught woodturning at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Hope you can make it for this seminar. Happy Thanksgiving.


Posted by Joel Hess @ 2:36 pm Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving

November 16, 2006

Video Podcast #2: Mortise & Tenon

Welcome to the Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminars.

This week’s seminar is Joinery Fundamentals: Mortise & Tenon. Your seminar presenter is Joel Hess, associate editor for Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench magazines. To watch the seminar, click here.

Note: Please save to your favorites/bookmarks and visit us every week for more Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminars podcasts. -Joel

Posted by Joel Hess @ 11:59 am Comments Off on Video Podcast #2: Mortise & Tenon

Router Fundamentals: Tips & Tricks

Hitachi Router

I’m ashamed (proud?) to say that I own more routers than I need!

I have a Ryobi laminate trimmer, a Bosch 1617EVSPK, a Porter-Cable 893PK, and a DeWalt DW621. I even used to have a couple of old Craftsman routers that I bought at garage sales.

So, why so many routers? Good question.

I guess the best answer is that I use them a lot. The DeWalt is attached to my router table — that’s right — a plunge router in the router table! The Porter-Cable has two bases, so I’ve mounted the fixed base in my other router table that’s attached to one of the wings on my table saw. The Bosch is my favorite (it has a fixed and a plunge base as well) and I use it the most. I’ve even been using my laminate trimmer a lot lately for small jobs that don’t require a lot of horsepower.

Bryan Nelson, managing editor of ShopNotes magazine, uses routers a lot too. In fact, he has become the person we go to first whenever we have a seminar featuring routers. This week, Bryan will do his best to fill us in on all the tips and tricks he uses to get the most out of his router. He’ll also offer tips for choosing a router and what benefits the various styles and features offer.

Or, you could just do like I’ve done and buy one of each!

This week’s Blogger Special download is a five-page article from the Workbench December 2005 issue called:

A Guide to Buying the Right Router 


Posted by Joel Hess @ 11:41 am Comments Off on Router Fundamentals: Tips & Tricks

November 8, 2006

Things They Didn’t Teach You in Shop Class

Chris Fitch gives a good seminar. He’s so calm, cool, and natural when he’s up in front of a room full of people, you’d think he was a professional teacher instead of a designer. I came away from the seminar with lots of good information and I’m looking forward to getting into the shop and building a couple of frames.

I especially like the simple miter cut-off jig that Chris used in his demonstration. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the seminar, I’m going to make this one-page miter jig article available, so you can build one of your own if  you want to.

Cross-Grain Sanding

Were you taught to NEVER sand across the grain? Learn why Doug thinks that’s a myth. 

One thing that really upsets me, is when someone tells me I "have" to do something. But then they don’t tell me how to do it. How many times have you seen Norm Abram on New Yankee Workshop say "…measure the diagonals to make sure everything is square." But not a word on how to make it square if it’s not!

This week’s seminar, "Things They Didn’t Teach You in Shop Class" addresses this problem. Doug Hicks is the presenter for this first-time seminar. As a former shop teacher, Doug didn’t have too much trouble coming up with quite a few myth-busters.

For example, how many times have you heard Norm say "….growth rings up, growth rings down…" when talking about gluing up panels? Doug will explain why he thinks there are more important considerations when gluing up a panel than just arranging the boards so they have alternating grain patterns.

One of these days, I hope Norm glues up a frame that’s out of square. I want to see how fixes that kind of problem!

This week I’m offering three Blogger’s Special downloads:

The first is another ShopNotes Jigs & Accessories two-page article for building a multi-purpose push block.

Push Block 

I also have a five-page article on strong glue-ups from the fine "Bench Basics" feature in Workbench magazine.

10 Tips for Super-Strong Glue Joints

Finally, you’ll find a two-page article on how to make the grain pop when finishing. It’s from Woodsmith Issue No. 166.

Water-Based Dyes 

Doug also will be handing out line-art drawings of his push stick design and of the push block at the seminar. If you’re interested in getting a copy, I’m adding links to them below:

Doug’s Push Stick

Push Block 


Posted by Joel Hess @ 11:38 am Comments (5)...

November 6, 2006

Video Podcast #1: Dadoes, Grooves, Rabbets, & Laps

Welcome to the Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminars podcasts.

This week’s Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminar video podcast is Table Saw Fundamentals: Dadoes, Grooves, Rabbets, and Laps. Your seminar presenter is Doug Hicks, executive editor for Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench magazines. To watch the seminar, click here.

Note: Please save to your favorites/bookmarks and visit us every week for more Woodsmith Store Woodworking Seminars podcasts. -Joel 

Posted by Joel Hess @ 12:36 pm Comments (1)...

November 3, 2006

Blogger’s Special

Well, I’m not sure what I was looking at last evening. I was pretty sure I posted Blogger’s Specials for Randy’s hand plane seminar — and I did. If you check out the October 24th post, they were actually up a couple of days before the seminar.

Sorry for the mix up. Here they are again:

The October 24th hand plane seminar’s Blogger’s Specials include a great 2-page article from Woodsmith on how to get the most from your plane:

5 Steps to Perfect Plane Performance 

And, another two-page Jigs & Fixture article in Woodsmith that will help you get even more from your hand plane:  

Shooting Board

Posted by Joel Hess @ 9:42 am Comments (2)...

November 1, 2006

Enthusiasm Shows

Hand Plane_2

No one went away disappointed from last Thursday’s seminar.

I think it had a lot to do with Randy Maxey’s enthusiastic embrace of hand planes. You could tell that he doesn’t just collect hand planes (even though he does have a nice collection) — he also uses them.

And one hour was just not enough time. The question and answer portion at the end of the seminar could have lasted another 30 minutes easily. Randy had at least a dozen old hand planes on display, including several refurbished Stanley planes that he’s purchased through the years and then restored to their former glory. He made a good case for owning each of the different styles, from the huge Stanley No. 7 jointer to a simple block plane. At the end of the hour though, many of the people attending the seminar were lined up with questions and most said they wanted more of a chance to see the planes in action. That’s when Randy’s eyes really began to light up.

Watch for more hand plane seminars later this season!

This week’s seminar is also one you won’t want to miss. Chris Fitch, senior designer for Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench magazines will again be building picture frames. Last year, when he gave this seminar, it was simply called "Making Picture Frame Moldings." It turns out, that was not the half of it. Somehow, Chris managed to not only make the moldings, he also cut the miters and assembled a couple of frames AND talked a little about cutting the mat!

This year, we changed the name of the seminar to "Making Picture Frames in Your Shop." It starts at 6:30pm this Thursday. Hope you can make it.

The Bloggers Special this week is: Picture Frame Moldings

Posted by Joel Hess @ 9:49 am Comments Off on Enthusiasm Shows

Upcoming Events

Woodworking Seminars will begin again on Thursday evenings starting in October.

November 2006

Contact Us